I’ve Always Wanted To Know:
How hard is it to build a computer? What tools and parts go into one?
Building a computer gives you the opportunity to select the components you want and only pay for the things you need. Building your own computer, especially if you are buying a gaming or mid to high end computer, can save you a lot of money over going with a large manufacturer like Dell or HP.
So how hard is it? Surprisingly easy. Most components today are plug and play and require very little setup past installing a driver disk or downloading an update. The difficulty comes in selecting the right components and assembling it with patience. A broken pin or cracked memory board can render the part useless so it’s important to take your time.
What tools do you need?
- A phillips head screwdriver.
- A clean area to work in with enough space to fit the components and the case
- Good lighting
- Anti-static wristband or other method of removing static electricity before you touch components.
So what parts do you need to build a computer?
- Processor (CPU)
- RAM (Memory)
- Hard Drive
- CD/DVD drive
- Power Supply
- Monitor (if you don’t already have one)
- Keyboard and Mouse (if you don’t already have one)
- Operating System Copy (You can buy OEM copies to save a few dollars if you’re building the PC brand new)
- Video Card (may be optional, depends if your motherboard/cpu has onboard (integrated) video)
- Upgraded CPU Fan (optional)
So how do you choose? What components are best? Sometimes it’s best to leave this part to the professionals or people who keep up on the latest parts so we highly recommend looking at Tom’s Hardware for the System Builder Marathon which features $500, $1000 and $2000 PC builds with detailed parts lists and performance comparisons. You can also find on Tom’s Hardware detailed reviews of computer parts along with Best Item for the Money and comparison charts to help you choose those key components.
The most recent system builder marathon articles for June 2012 be found here:
The question of where to buy components is an important one and I recommend Newegg.com . They offer an extensive selection of parts and offer reasonable shipping rates. If you are looking for custom cases, fans or cooling components for your machine I’d highly recommend FrozenCpu.com  which is US company run out of Rochester, NY with a fantastic team of technogeeks I had the opportunity to meet. If you want all the cables and connectors in your case to be a certain color and the fans to be ultra silent these are the guys who can get you the parts to make it happen.
Finally: When in doubt stop and ask questions! It’s better to post on a forum online and ask a question before breaking something. WorldStart’s user forum  has many knowledgeable people along with Tom’s Hardware forum  and other tech related forums.