This Week: Building A Computer

This week I am going to be building a computer for a customer, and I thought I would share with you the various steps that go into building a computer.
Building a new computer is not for everyone. Some budgets just will not allow it. So I am going to show you what it takes to build one; I am not going to discuss the different options for buying a new computer (of which there are several). Because I am building a new computer for someone this is to show what it looks like.

Step One: Budget. How much can you you spend on a new computer. Be honest with yourself, this is the most important step. A new computer will be at least $500; and it will just go up from there.
In order to know how much money you should spend for the parts for your new computer, you must decide(step 1a) what you are going to do with it, or what you intend to do with it down the road (say, in six months or so).
Are you going to:
Play video games? If you are, double or triple your budget. Video games are computer resource intensive and will not run on budget “boxes” (slang for the chassis the computer sits in).

Use office productivity software? Programs like Word, Excel, Powerpoint and your email program will run on even the cheapest of computers (except Office 2007).

Use photo, audio or video production or manipulation software? Programs such as Photoshop, CAD, any 3D modeling program, or any program to turn you home video into an actual movie (or to move DVD’s to portable players) are almost as resource-hungry as video games. You should assume your budget to be double your initial estimate.
How do you know whether your first idea of a budget is right? That brings us to…

Step Two: Research. Now that you know what you want to do, you need to find the parts. Ok, how? There are a myriad ways to to do research, but only a few will get you the right parts that fit your budget.
You could ask the the salesman at the nearest Big Box Store, because teenagers know everything, right? No. You find a local computer store and ask the salesperson there what would be best for your needs and budget. Or…
You use the Internet. After all, if its one the Internet, it must be true, right. No. You go to www.resellerratings.com and see which website has the fewest complaints (and the highest customer ratings). Then you check out the various recommended websites and look for your desired parts. Some of the websites have customer ratings on the same page as the parts. Make sure you read whats there.
If you are not sure that about your part selection, or want to know what more knowledgeable people think, type the name of the part into Google(or your favorite search engine) followed by the word “reviews”. Then read. Then buy.

Tomorrow, Step Three.