Computer building is a favorite hobby of mine and maybe something I’ll pass along to my kids some day (wife permitting). If you’re unfamiliar, it might seem intimidating, but it’s actually not too hard to get a handle on. You mostly just have to make sure you get parts that will work with each other.
Here’s the list of basic parts you’ll need:
- Power supply
- RAM (memory)
- Hard drive
- Graphics card (unless you want to use onboard graphics)
- Operating system (e.g. Windows, Linux etc.)
That’s really about it. The case holds the other parts and comes in a range of sizes. The one pictured above is a large size (full-tower). Power supplies come in a range of wattages, typically 500W to 1200W. More power is needed for high-end systems with powerful CPU’s, multiple graphics cards etc.
The motherboard, CPU (Central Processing Unit — the “brain” of the computer) and RAM are the parts you want to make sure work together. Start with the CPU you’d like to use and then see which motherboard is compatible. The motherboard will tell you which RAM modules it accepts. 8 to 16GB of RAM is typical today.
Some CPU’s come with integrated graphics. You won’t be playing sophisticated games with them, but otherwise they get the job done. Alternatively, you can look into dedicated graphics cards.
What you’ll do with the machine will determine the parts you buy. It could range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. If you get into this hobby, you might end up looking into air and liquid cooling products, braided cabling, lighting and other non-necessities. That’s when the real fun starts, hehe.
Comment with any specific questions you have. I love getting people into this hobby and am happy to help you figure out your build.