Buying a pre-assembled PC can seem complicated enough nowadays, with technology advancing faster than one can cope. Hence, building a PC can feel even more confusing, particularly for the average user whose knowledge of components is superficial at best. Gone are the days where simple functionality was sufficient – such as browsing, word processing and data processing. The average modern computer needs to provide more flexibility by working across the media spectrum. Browsing, music, Skype, videos and games are all a must.
In truth, building a computer is no more difficult than a form-fitter or shape-puzzle game for toddlers, and once familiarity with acronyms, parts and brands is acquired, it can ultimately result in a fun and rewarding experience.
PC builds are essentially divided into two types: the flexible build and the specific one. A flexible PC will ideally provide stable all-round performance, without emphasis on one aspect. It may have on-board graphics, a mainstream sound-card, standard I/O functions (keyboard, printer) and internet browsing. A good example is a family PC. A specific build will perhaps be focused for video/audio editing, web development or gaming - essential components will be carefully picked, while others omitted.
This computer parts selection guide should provide all the information needed for those who are less experienced, thus instilling confidence when attempting that elusive first-time build. It is helpful to have at least some knowledge of how components work and integrate in the standard ATX configuration. The following articles should provide insight on component function without being too overwhelming.