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PC Building 101: A Quick Guide to PC Parts
Looking for a new hobby in quarantine?
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way people spend their time. Now that the public is compelled to stay indoors, changes in school setups, work arrangements and daily routines have given everyone more time on their hands. Since many people don’t have to wake up early and spend hours commuting, they have allocated the extra hours to their hobbies.
Besides art, reading or watching Netflix, gaming has also seen a significant surge during this period of the health crisis. To stay entertained at home, many have doubled down on gaming and invested in their own PC setup. Getting one is ideal since it gives its users the best performance for gaming and other daily tasks at a cost-efficient price!
Compared to consoles that have fixed components, building your desktop computer is a customizable experience. You can adjust specs according to your needs and save money by getting the best parts in the market.
Essential Components to Building a PC
If you're interested in building your PC, you should start by knowing its different components. Get started on a high note with this guide on essential computer parts!
The PC case or tower is the box that holds all of the computer’s components. It can be opened or closed just like a cabinet, has designated buttons outside and usually has predefined areas where the parts are to be placed or attached to, along with the screws and holes required for installation. Cases come in different colors and sizes; some even have LED lights or glass side panels.
The motherboard or mainboard is considered the computer’s nervous system. It's the primary circuit board where all other components will be attached, acting like the central hub that supplies power to, manages and connects all these parts. Through the motherboard, the pieces will work together to perform processes.
The motherboard has connectors for various cables such as power cables and data cables, sockets for processors, and slots for the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). It also has little building blocks, such as transistors, capacitors and jumpers, making the different components work well.
3. Processor (CPU)
The Central Processing Unit (CPU) fits snugly into its corresponding socket on the motherboard. CPU types have a specific socket, usually named 2066, LGA1200 AM4, and so on, so make sure they're compatible with the motherboard.
The CPU is the "brain" of the computer, and without it, nothing would work. It's responsible for computing and calculating information and processing all the instructions it receives from the computer's software and other components. The CPU will calculate almost every process, so having a fast CPU with high clocks and core count will make your computer faster.
4. Memory (RAM)
Random Access Memory (RAM), similar to the brain's short-term memory, holds bursts of information for a limited time to complete tasks quickly. This means that all your data will pass through this component.
RAM allows the computer to execute processes. More RAM means more processes can be completed and faster. Think of RAM capacity as the ability of the computer to have multiple browser tabs, programs and games open at the same time.
5. Graphics Card
The graphics card or video card makes it possible for images to display on the monitor. The GPU is the chip on the graphics card that performs the actual calculations needed to render and display the image, which is why GPU is often used interchangeably with the graphics card or video card.
There are two types of GPUs: integrated GPU (iGPU) and discrete GPU. An iGPU is integrated into the CPU, which means you don't need an additional GPU to attach a monitor. However, an iGPU's performance is limited. If you do graphics-heavy tasks such as high-end gaming, video editing, graphic design and the like, you need a discreet GPU.
There are three types of storage: HDD, SSD and NVMe SSD. All of these store data, but they differ in speed. HDD has the slowest speed and will usually read and save data at about 100 MB/s, SSD can read and write at around 500 MB/s, while NVMe SSD can read and write data up to 7000 MB/s.
Both HDDs and SSDs go into a SATA plug on the motherboard via a SATA cable and require power from a Power Supply Unit (PSU). The NVMe SSD doesn’t need those and is plugged into the motherboard directly.
7. Power Supply Unit
Without a PSU, everything will be rendered useless since you won't be able to turn on the computer. Different PSU brands have different wattage or efficiencies. However, it's essential to know first how much wattage your PC build requires to run stable. Take note of how much wattage you'll need if you plan to add more components to your build as well.
8. Cooling System
As the CPU draws power, it can generate a lot of heat. Thus, you need a CPU cooler for it to operate flawlessly. Ensure that your CPU cooler is compatible with your motherboard and CPU sockets. The CPU is not the only thing that needs cooling, though, so you can attach case fans to the inside of the case, too. It pulls in cool air from the front of the PC and blows hot air out the back.
9. Operating System (OS)
Windows 10 is currently the leading operating system you can use on your computer. You can install the OS using a Win10 DVD (assuming your PC has a DVD player) or download it directly from the internet.
10. Monitors and Input Devices
Lastly, you need a monitor to see the data or programs being executed by your computer. Monitors come in different sizes, colors, aspect ratios and resolutions, so pick one that suits your needs. Don't forget essential input devices, such as a mouse to move the cursor around and a keyboard to enter text and specific commands. You can also add other devices such as graphic tablets or pens.
Building a PC is an Enjoyable Process
Despite the possibility of a few mishaps or hiccups, the challenges are actually what makes PC building more interesting! It's a great way to pass the time. Make sure to put in the effort and concentration to learn the process—the components you've learned from this article will give you a clear overview of how to build a PC.
Building a PC results in something extremely functional for work and play, so don't be surprised if it becomes your new hobby! Pair your powerful PC setup with a strong and reliable internet connection, now made possible by Globe. Get in touch and inquire about Globe At Home Broadband Plans today!