We’re going to show you how to build your own PC, component by component. In this video we will focus on the case and the motherboard. In later episodes we will cover the CPU, RAM, storage, video card, power supply, and cooling.
When shopping for any PC components you should set a budget. Think about what you plan to use the PC for and allocate the most money to the components that are your highest priority. Research your purchase by reading as many reviews of the components as you can. Great benchmarks are worth nothing if consistency and reliability are nowhere to be found. You should try to future-proof your build by accounting for the latest features and standards. You want a PC to last a long time and technology is constantly changing.
When picking a case you will need to consider all of the components that will go inside. Cases come in a variety of form factors to match your motherboard. They are referred to as ATX sizes - mini, micro, super, etc. Make sure that whatever size you choose is large enough to house all the components you are going to put in it and be sure it matches your motherboard. In addition to case size, the type of case you get is important too. If you are looking for something quiet, there are cases made with noise-dampening materials on the front and side panels. Cases with a side window usually come with built in ambient lighting and/or support for RGB LED strips to really make your system internals look really cool. There are open systems which provide easy access to all your components the best airflow, but they do leave your system open to dirt, dust, and you’ll hear everything. Nowadays there are also tool-free cases that don’t even require a screwdriver to get at your components!
Cases also have a dedicated area for the PSU, or power supply unit and some cases even come with it included. Decide if you want your PSU bottom mounted to your system so it has a lower center of gravity, thus making it more stable, or rear-mounted, which is usually the top rear, which provides your system with more build and cooling options. Make sure the case you choose supports every type of port you anticipate needing. Most cases come with two front panel USB ports. Will you also want SATA, memory card slots, USB 3.0, etc? These are all important to consider.
The motherboard connects all the most important components of your PC and allows communication between them. It is the most complex part of your whole system. When choosing the right motherboard, remember that it needs to match your case’s form factor. The most common size of motherboard is Standard ATX, which stands for Intel’s Advanced Technology Extended. Then there’s flex, micro, embedded, and mini, which are smaller and extended and workstation for larger builds. The primary differences between small and large boards are the number of expansion slots and CPU support. You need to match your motherboard to your CPU just like you have to match the case to the motherboard. Different CPUs fit different processor sockets, so you may want to decide what CPU you want first, and then find a motherboard to match. Your motherboard manufacturer should have a full list of which CPU series each board is compatible with.
The chipset on your motherboard determines CPU, RAM, and storage type compatibility, as well as which USB version and PCI-e protocols will be supported by your PC, so be aware of all the features you think you’ll need when shopping for motherboards. When you are making that feature wish list, take your future needs into consideration. Will you want USB 3.1 or USB Type-C? How about M.2 SSDs? Will you on-board wireless because that’s typically only included on smaller motherboards, but you may not have a spare PCI slot for a network card on a pricier motherboard. Though, inexpensive Wi-Fi and Bluetooth add-ons are available if you built yourself into a corner.
Once you’ve chosen your motherboard and case, you are well on your way to building your own custom rig. The motherboard will include documentation about how to connect all the various components. But don’t get too carried away and buy everything just because you know where it goes. We’ll get into the nitty gritty of the CPU, RAM, GPU, and a bunch of other letters that go together in later episodes. Have you built your own system before? If you have any tips to share, please leave them in the comments below, and if this is your first build, and you plan on assembling it alongside this series, keep us posted on your progress! We’d love to hear about it.
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