How to build a custom computer, Part 1: Getting Started

Today we look at big and bulky desktop PCs like they are a thing of the past. Our mobile devices pack huge amounts of processing power and they manage to squeeze that into very small formats. Consoles are taking over gaming, but a good desktop PC can still turn heads.

Origin PC Custom Gaming Desktop
Origin PC Custom Gaming Desktop

There are many companies that provide “custom” gaming desktops and so forth, but there are some tips you can apply to any desktop PC. Before you invest money into any solution like this, ask yourself what you will use it for mostly. A very basic configuration can cost way under $500 and will still play HD content, provide you with ample storage and many other great ways to make your time worthwhile.

If you are looking for a solid workstation or a beastly gaming machine, things get a lot more difficult.

There are a couple of rules that you can keep in mind for any of the above mentioned choices:

  • Upgrades – you want your system to support the latest upgrades for as long as possible; a good motherboard is the key to do just that
  • Chassis – invest in a good computer chassis since this will last you for ages; this also influences cooling, wire management and what hardware you can fit into it
  • Power Supply – get a certified power supply with ample wattage; a home office/ multimedia PC will do just fine with a 450 Watt power supply but if you want some gaming, go for a 600 Watt PSU as a minimum
  • Storage – do not go overboard here; despite the massive storage needs today’s multimedia files have and the massive amount of space games take up, there is no point in investing in a lot of storage from the start; save the money since you can add more later
  • Memory – you can always get more later and 8 GB (2x 4GB kits) are quite cheap and provide you with ample performance

Building a desktop PC isn’t difficult either. Buying the components and assembling the system yourself is very easy and you could finish one easily in one day. Most of these ready-built machines have that added to the price tag, so you can save some money there. Not only that, but you will have the pride of running your own system.

If you are unsure about the entire process, worry not since companies like AVA Direct even offer barebones or DIY systems for just a few dollars. Getting a good desktop PC off the ground can be fun, cheap and rewarding. To help you with the entire process, I will be posting a small series covering all the important aspects of building a PC from scratch.