Build Your Own Computer

A Guide for the DIY PC Builder

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Building a PC

Step 1:
Getting Organized

Step 2:
Configure Your Case

Step 3:
Installing Your CPU

Step 4:
Install Memory (RAM)

Step 5:
Install Motherboard

Step 6:
Install Hard Drive & CD/DVD

Step 7:
Install Video Card

Step 8:
Install Accessories

Step 9:
Initial Power-up

Step 10:
BIOS Settings

Step 11:
Install Operating System



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Are you ready to build your own computer? I've created the Build Your Own Computer site to help provide you with all of the information you'll need to know to make your DIY PC building process go as smoothly as possible.

No matter if you're completely new to computers or an "Old Pro," here you'll find plenty of useful information and tons of tips and tricks to help you build a PC that's perfect for YOU.


My goal here is to give you the step-by-step instructions you'll need to build your own PC, But I've also assembled a list of parts for three typical DIY PC configurations that will appeal to most DIY PC builders.

Configuration 1:
Build Your Own $500 Bargain PC(Great DIY PC for web browsing and routine home-office work)

Configuration 2: Build Your Own $1000 Premium/Gaming PC (Good for many gaming and multimedia applications)

Configuration 3: Build Your Own High-Performance PC (Perfect DIY PC for high-end gaming, graphic design and multimedia work)

Once you've decided which DIY PC configuration above meets your needs (and budget!), continue on to the rest of the site to learn how to put it all together to build your own computer.

My Latest Build Your Own Computer - PC Parts List

Here's the latest parts list for a bargain PC build. Within my site you will find other recommendations for PC configurations based on different needs such as Gaming, Graphic Design, etc.

Parts List Updated on: [an error occurred while processing this directive]

Build Your Own Computer - Hardware List

See Parts Lists for Additional PC Configurations

Component Where to Buy Description Comments
CPU Amazon.com
$89.99
AMD AD631XWNGXBOX Athlon II X4 631 Processor - Quad Core, 4MB L2 Cache, 2.60 GHz, Socket FM1, 100W, Fan, Retail This is a retail version (i.e., shipped in a box with heatsink/fan included)... very convenient for an experienced or first-time bargain pc builder.
Motherboard Amazon.com
$102.99
ASUS F1A75-V PRO AMD A Series Motherboard - ATX, Socket FM1, AMD A75 Chipset, 1866MHz DDR3, SATA 6.0 Gb/s, RAID, 8-CH Audio, Gigabit LAN, SuperSpeed USB 3.0, AMD Dual Graphics Ready This board a great buy and will allow you to upgrade your system later on. It has many features that you may not expect to find for a cheap pc motherboard. It has on-board audio, video, plenty of USB ports. It's also CrossFire capable!
Memory Newegg.com
$41.99
Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory This package gives you two 2GB memory chips - total 4GB. You may find the same size memory in a cheaper brand, but you DON'T want to go cheap (even on a cheap computer!) when it comes to RAM.
Computer Case Amazon
$64.24
Cooler Master Elite 350 RC350-KKR500 500W Power Supply Mid Tower Case (Black) There's a decent amount of expansion room here for upgrading your custom-built, cheap PC. The case also includes 500-watt power supply, and plenty of USB ports.
Hard Drive TigerDirect
$79.99
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Western Digital WD5000AAKX Caviar Blue Hard Drive - 500GB, 3.5", SATA 6Gbps, 7200RPM, 16MB Nice drive! Fast, quiet, and 500GB... Great buy for a bargain PC!
CD/DVD TigerDirect
$27.99
HP HPDVD1260I Multiformat DVD/CD Writer - SATA (Retail "Boxed" Version) This drive pretty much does it all. Just about every CD and DVD format is supported.
Floppy Drive/ Card Reader TigerDirect
$9.99
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Sabrent CRW-UINB 7-Slot USB 2.0 Internal Memory Card Reader & Writer - Aluminum, SDHC/SDXC/M2, USB 2.0, Black, 3.5", Self Powered, SDHC, MicroSD Support Multi-format media card reader. Accepts most common types of media cards.
Keyboard TigerDirect
$15.99
Microsoft ANB-00001 Wired Keyboard 600 - USB, Black A basic but functional keyboard at a bargain price.
Mouse $13.99
TigerDirect
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Microsoft Basic Optical USB Mouse A basic optical USB mouse. Good quality and affordable.
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Build Your Own Computer - Software List

Component Where to Buy Description Comments
Operating System Amazon.com
$161.66
Microsoft Windows 7 Choose the version of Windows best suited for your needs. For most, Windows 7 Home Premium is a good choice. When you shop for your copy of Windows, you may be confused by the options. If you have an existing copy of Windows (say Windows XP or Vista) and you have the original media (CD/DVD), you can purchase an Upgrade version of Windows 7 for significantly less. But remember, if you don't have the old discs, or if you're not installing over an old version, it wont work! You can also buy the cheaper OEM (System Builder) version of Windows, but the license will not allow you to move it to new hardware if you upgrade at any time in the future! So, buying the full retail version may work out better for you in the long run.
Online Backup Software Click here to try Mozy for FREE! Mozy Online Backup
Up to 2GB FREE!
Don't skimp on backing up your new PC. You can lose everything in a flash--through no fault of your own. Protect yourself--it is well worth the money. It can cost THOUSANDS of dollars to recover data from a damaged hard drive if you don't have a good backup!
Anti-Virus Software Kaspersky Labs
FREE 30 day trial!
Kaspersky Labs
If you're going to build your own computer, you'll need to protect it. You've heard about what kind of damage that viruses, malware, and trojans can do to your computer. Be sure to protect yourself. Kaspersky Labs has been in the business for quite a while, and in my experience as an enterprise-level systems administrator, I've come to depend on Kaspersky's services--They're usually the first ones on the block to update their virus definitions in response to a newly discovered threats!
Full Internet Security Amazon.com
$25.90
Norton Internet Security 2012 Internet Security Suites combine Antivirus, Malware, and other protective services in one package. Norton Internet Security 2012 also includes a Firewall for additional protection.


For those of you that want a little more info on how to build your own PC or are curious about the DIY PC process, please read on and feel free to browse through the rest of the site.

One of the first steps in deciding what computer system is right for you is to honestly evaluate your computer needs. For example, do you need a power-gaming system with an insanely fast graphics card, high resolution monitor, tons of memory, and/or a cutting edge, super-fast processor? Or are your needs more modest? Perhaps you just need a PC that's great for checking email, browsing the Internet, and running office applications? Or, maybe your needs fall somewhere in between? Your decision here will have a huge impact on the final price of your new DIY PC. Depending on your needs, you could end up with a system costing just a few hundred dollars to a system costing several thousands of dollars.

Throughout the Build Your Own Computer site, I will help guide you on your path to choosing the right computer. I'll help you to identify your requirements and enable you to make an informed, sensible decision about your computer purchase and how to build your own PC to suit your needs..


Store Brand vs. "Build your Own PC"
So, let's get started by examining your options. Obviously, you're here because you're considering building your own computer, but for some of you, this will be either be too time-consuming or difficult a task. You should seriously consider the advantages/disadvantages of building your own PC vs. buying a new or used system. When you build your own computer, you get a certain sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that store-bought systems may fail to deliver. And if you design your DIY PC system properly, you will likely end up with a system that is well suited for upgrades in the years to come.

Choosing Compatible Components
Many would-be DIY PC builders have anxieties about not knowing which PC components are compatible with each other. This is a justifiable concern--there are many, MANY options available to anyone who chooses the build your own PC path, but I'll walk you through the process, step-by-step. I also highly recommend that you take a look at my example configurations above detailing the parts you'll need to build your own PC. Here I've done a lot of the legwork for you and chosen components that are compatible with the latest versions of Windows and Linux, have readily available drivers, and are upgradeable for the future.

Technical Support when Building Your Own PC
With a name-brand system you'll most likely have technical support available to you if you run in to any issues, but depending on where you purchase your computer, your experience with technical support may vary greatly. When you build your own computer, you're not going to have a toll-free number to call for all-in-one support, but if you're resourceful, you can find just about any solution to your problem by posing questions to various forums on the Internet. There are many knowledgeable engineers out there that will be are more than happy to answer your questions and help you through the process to build your own computer.

Warranty Concerns with a DIY PC
A store-bought system will likely include a warranty of some sort. You will not get this all-encompassing warranty with a DIY PC system. However, if you choose good quality products from well-known resellers (such as Tiger Direct), you will receive the warranty coverage of each product's manufacturer.

DIY PC Costs
Now for the big question, am I going to save money by building my own PC? Well, the answer is a resounding "possibly." PCs are cheap nowadays, but sometimes they're cheap for a reason. PC manufacturers may outfit your new system with standard parts that you, as a DIY PC builder, would choose not to use due to low quality construction or limited compatibility and/or upgradeability. You have a good chance of saving money when you build your own PC, but don't expect an incredible cost savings. What you can expect by building your own pc is to learn a great deal about the inner-workings of your computer. You will also end up with a system customized to your exact specifications--no more, no less. So, is it worth it? I definitely think so...

Operating System and Software
If you've ever purchased a PC before (especially recently), you know that a store-bought, pre-assembled system will most likely be pre-loaded with an operating system and a suite of software. The operating system will likely be highly customized by the PC manufacturer and will be pre-loaded with a lot of software that you will NEVER need. You'll also find free trials of software that vendors have paid the PC manufacturer to load onto their systems in the hopes that you'll be enticed enough to buy the full versions. This practice often gets out of hand, and the customer ends up with a system so bogged down with "crapware" that it runs horribly slow right out of the box. Needless to say, when you build your own PC, you have total control over what is installed on your new DIY PC. This is one of the HUGE benefits you realize when you build your own PC.


Build Your Own PC - Computer Kits - Computer Kits and blueprints. Up to date parts listings for building your own computer.

Build Your Own Computer - Choosing Components - Choosing the right PC components to build a PC

Build Your Own PC - Preparing Your Work Area - Preparing your work area to assemble your PC. Learn what tools you'll require and what precautions you'll need to take.

Build Your Own Computer - PC Assembly - Step-by-step instructions for assembling a your DIY PC

Contact Us - Give feedback or make suggestions to help make the Build Your Own Computer site more helpful

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