Before you build a building, you need a plan. The old proverb “Measure twice, cut once” applies fully here. You need to carefully select your PC components to make sure they are all compatible with each other and with what you want. So, this whole article is all about choosing parts before spending a buck or touching a screwdriver.
So you decided to jump in and build your own desktop PC. You may be ready to take your PC gaming to the next level, build a small entertainment machine, or save money by assembling a budget machine. Whatever your intentions are PC Builder site is here to help you.
How to Choose a Processor?
Let’s start with the CPU, which is the brain of the computer. This is a good place to start as this will determine other compatible parts.
AMD or Intel? The first question is what brand? These two processor manufacturers have been using them for decades. It usually oscillates like this: Intel sells more and more raw power is available at the high end of the market, and AMD competes on price and power efficiency. For example, Intel’s latest Core X-series processors offer staggering speeds and cores for those who can spend more on a processor alone, while AMD’s Ryzen series offers savings at the same typical performance level.
How to Choose the Right Motherboard for Your Custom PC?
Which socket? Intel and AMD have developed multiple CPU socket designs for different classes of processors, so you need to choose the right CPU and motherboard for each other. So, you can quickly narrow down your selection here by finding a motherboard that is compatible with your chosen processor. Check the socket of the CPU of your choice (e.g. Intel’s LGA 1151 socket), then narrow your search to the motherboard that contains that socket.
What size? The motherboard you choose should be compatible with the case you are using. We’ll go into more detail about this in the examples section below. The basics are that the ATX is a standard size tower computer, the micro ATX board is for a slightly smaller tower, and the Mini-ITX board is a more compact build. These sizes do not necessarily match the power. You could have a very cheap ATX build or a very powerful Mini-ITX gaming machine, but the expansion options will be more limited on smaller boards and a bit more difficult.
How Much Memory Is Good?
For basic modern computing, we suggest a minimum of 8GB, which you can usually get with a 4GBx2 stick setup. Gamers, media creators and virtual machine users will want more. The next efficient step is 16 GB. If you’re going to be multitasking all day and building a massive system that can handle huge games in 4K visual quality, you’ll need the last bit of RAM you can fit into the case (typically 32GB or 64GB on today’s high-end products).
You need to check your motherboard to see which RAM generations your motherboard supports. DDR3 and DDR4 are currently two existing standards, and RAM is not backwards compatible. Total RAM capacity is determined by the number of RAM slots on the motherboard and the individual maximum capacity.