Thinking of assembling your own desktop PC? It sure is an exciting way to get a deep into knowing how computers work. Not only is it a very effective approach to building a desktop custom-tailored for your exact needs and preferences, but it also allows you to be literally hands on and take true ownership of something that you’ll use extensively. Completing the project successfully will instill a sense of pride and a feeling of loyalty in you.

Sure it all seems like a great idea… until you get to know firsthand how confusing (and intimidating) it can be. Even if you’ve gathered information about all the necessary components and peripherals and can spare the time and money, you’re inevitably hit with a wave of uncertainty.

Don’t worry, if you’re not confident on building a PC, here are a few tips to help the beginner.

Find the purpose.

What’s the reason that you’re building a PC? Is it for a home media server or the ultimate gaming machine? Or for something to handle your routine work, or just a build to do common web browsing? Or maybe it’s a combination of these. In any case, your decision will impact your choice of components.

Choose a Processor: Intel or AMD.

The CPU is the cornerstone of your PC, so your choice is a very crucial one. Research a bit on the processor that has the specs (and power) suited for your purpose. Keep in mind that it’s not the only component of your computer, so you better not blow your entire budget on it.

Either brand has it’s strengths, and the particular model you end up choosing will determine other components like the motherboard and graphics as well. For help in selecting a suitable CPU, you can check out various CPU buying guides and best-of lists on major technical websites.

Most processors come with coolers or heat-sinks, but if you have to get one, it’s better to opt for a cooler that offers pre-applied thermal paste. Using thermal paste can be messy at times, especially for novices.

Make sure you’re choosing components that are compatible and perform together in harmony. Again, there are plenty of online resources to help you make the right choices like motherboard, memory, graphics, SSD and cabinet buying guides. It’s also important that you keep track of the prices and the overall budget.

PC components are tiny, fragile and can get damaged easily if you handle them without adequate care. Something as normal a tearing open the packaging of the CPU can end up in bent pins, as an example, and damaged components may very well result in a compromised unit.

Beware of static electricity that builds up in one’s body. A static discharge can be damaging for electronic components. To ensure safety, you can make use of an anti-static wrist strap or simply touch a metal or earthed object before you begin work on the computer.

Lastly, keep the first-aid kit handy. Some cases and components come with sharp or pointed edges, making it likely that you injure yourself.

Remember, building a PC is fun! Think of it as a creative process; every setback merely gives you the opportunity to work on a new strategy or try out a different approach.

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