Monthly Archives: April 2013

The basics to building your own computer

These days, it’s not just dedicated geeks who are building their own computers. Everyone is getting in on it, because the benefits of building one definitely outweigh the benefits of getting a pre-made, branded computer.

Crafting your own tech gear can be a very rewarding experience. After you’ve done a tech purge and sold your stuff on, get your workbench clear for some construction. This is a basic guide to get you thinking about where to start when you want to build your computer.

Figuring out your finances

Firstly, you need to decide what your budget is. Generally speaking, you should be able to build a pretty fast, powerful machine for under a thousand dollars. Once you’ve ascertained your budget, you should start thinking about what you’re going to be using your computer for.

Do you intend it to be your one-stop shop for all of your gaming needs? Perhaps you’re a video editor who wants the ultimate editing suite. Or, you want it to be a production machine for music. Once you’ve figured out what you’re going to be using it for, you’ll be able to continue to the next stage.

Getting the basic requirements

Before you start getting specific, you’ll need the following parts as a minimum. You’ll need a case, firstly, and these can be ergonomic ones that are easier to carry, but are usually a little more expensive.

You’ll also need a motherboard, a processor, memory, a hard drive (or two, depending on your needs) and a video and sound card. Bear in mind, some motherboards come integrated with video and sound.

Other things you could throw in there are an LCD screen, a DVD drive, and a keyboard and mouse, provided you don’t already have these.

Motherboard and processor

Picking out the right processor for you is crucial. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘best’ processor – everything is dictated by your needs. Check online for comparison charts and what’s best for your requirements. Once you’ve picked one, you need to go over the specifications in order to determine what kind of motherboard you’ll need.

Your choices depend on the compatibility and features of the processor and motherboard you have in mind.

Video card and memory

Unless you play video games or you’re a video/film editor, you’ll only need a basic video card. You should always get a separate video card, if you want extra speed. Motherboards with integrated video will run slower.

As for memory, it ultimately depends on what operating system you’re using and its capabilities. There’s no point inundating your system with excessive memory, unless you really need it.

Hard drive

The general rule is to only buy SATA hard drives. They’re much faster than IDE drives. What you should also look out for are the ones with strong warranties, in case of failure. Try to buy one that has a lot of good reviews.

Tips on building the best gaming rig

It’s no secret that the current generation of consoles – and arguably the next – are on their way out as platforms for video gaming. Even if the new PS4 and Xbox 720 are advanced in their capabilities, they too will be outrun by the incredible development of PC processing power.

The latest trend, of course, is to build your own gaming ‘rig’, or computer. New PC games are best played on these types of computers, which are rigged up to provide the best gaming experience possible.

This article goes over just some of the basics to get you started with building your own gaming rig – bear in mind, it’s not an exhaustive list, but just a starting point to some of the more important components.

Picking a processor

When it comes down to gaming, there are only two microprocessor manufacturers – Intel and AMD Intel is the way to go, if you can afford it. AMD processors take up more power and are slower, but are more affordable. Core i7-3770 is extremely popular, not just for gaming, but for other ‘heavy’ tasks like video compression and encoding.

Quad-core processors are something you might want to have a look at, too. Most experts agree that dual-core processors aren’t exactly up to scratch with handling the latest requirements for games.

Graphics card

If you are going to spend most of your money on a single part for your computer, it should definitely be on your graphics card. If you want the absolute best and money is not an obstacle for you, you should go for the NVidia 690 – it’s the best money can buy, so expect to spend in between 800 to 1,000!

Other graphics cards that are close to the top, but cost less include the NVidia GTX 680 or the AMD HD 7970, which both cost around 400. For half that price, you could get the NVidia GTX 670 or 660 Ti.


The more expensive motherboards have additional components inside them, like fan-speed controllers and so on. What you need to concern yourself with is whether or not the socket type of your processor matches up with the motherboard.

Although motherboards support a wide variety of memory speeds, it’s important to match up the right type of memory to your motherboard. As long as you’re packing 8GB of RAM, you should be OK! Take into account whether or not you want to ‘overclock’ your system too.