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How to Build a Computer
Transcript of How to Build a Computer
The System Unit
How to Build a Computer
Pre-Built computer vs Build your own computer
Matches your needs
Easier to upgrade - understand it completely.
Less time (building and installing software)
Time to build and install software
No warranty - dangerous for the novice
Determine the Function of the Computer
Do you want a really inexpensive computer for the kids to use? A small, quiet machine to use as a media computer in the living room? A high-end gaming computer? Or maybe you need a powerful machine with a lot of disk space for video editing.
Find the parts you need
Research and Purchase
Read magazines and online consumer review sites for more information. Online forums like AnandTech are also very helpful when specific information is needed. Remember, this is one of the most important steps, because everything will depend on your hardware. There are many guides and reviews available from online magazines and consumer review websites. Samples include:
Moore's law is the observation that, over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years.
His prediction in 1965 has proven to be accurate, in part because the law is now used in the semiconductor industry to guide long-term planning and to set targets for research and development.
Don't waste money on expensive parts you may not need.
The law is named after Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of the Intel Corporation
On 13 April 2005, Gordon Moore stated in an interview that the law cannot be sustained indefinitely: "It can't continue forever. The nature of exponentials is that you push them out and eventually disaster happens". He also noted that transistors would eventually reach the limits of miniaturization at atomic levels:
In terms of size [of transistors] you can see that we're approaching the size of atoms which is a fundamental barrier, but it'll be two or three generations before we get that far—but that's as far out as we've ever been able to see. We have another 10 to 20 years before we reach a fundamental limit. By then they'll be able to make bigger chips and have transistor budgets in the billions.
Case + Cooling system
This is the brain of your computer. Almost all processors are multi-core, meaning they are essentially multiple processors in one. Compare specs and find a processor that has the speed that you will need to run the programs you want. Also take into account power usage and ease of cooling.
If you want performance, go with Intel. AMD is cheaper, but they are not as fast.
Motherboards come in many form-factors, but the most common are ATX and MicroATX.
Make sure that your motherboard supports all of the other components that you wish to install. If you are planning on installing a high-end graphics card, the motherboard will need to support the PCI Express interface. If you want to install lots of RAM, your motherboard will need to be able to hold at least 4 sticks.
Your choice here will depend on what processor you have, how much memory you want, the size of your case, and how many drives you want to connect to it.
RAM (Random Access Memory) is where programs store information that they are using. If you don’t have enough RAM, your programs will run much slower than they should. The RAM you can purchase is dictated by the motherboard that you choose. The speed of the RAM that you install must be supported by the motherboard.
RAM should always be installed in matching pairs of sticks. All the RAM in the system should be the same speed, and preferably the same make and model. For example, if you want 8 GB of RAM, you can install two matching 4 GB sticks or four matching 2 GB sticks.
If you intend to use more than 4 GB of RAM, you will need to install a 64-bit operating system. 32-bit operating systems do not recognize more than 4 GB of RAM, even if more is installed.
Your hard drive stores all of your data and installed programs.
Storage space has gotten much cheaper over the years, and it is easy to find up to a couple of terabytes of storage for just a little money.
Hard drives come in many speeds, the most common being 7200 RPM, 10,000 RPM, or Solid State. Solid state drives are the fastest available, but the cost is significantly higher than a traditional drive.
Regular old mechanical hard disk drives are cheap right now, but solid state drive prices are dropping like crazy. If you want fast and reliable, go with solid state.
Putting your operating system and critical programs on a smaller drive, and then storing everything else on a larger drive, will lead to faster loading times for your system.
This is what houses your computer components. The size of the case will be determined by how many drives you will be installing, as well as the size of your motherboard. Cases range from cheap and functional to flashy and expensive.
If you intend to run a lot of high-end components, you will be dealing with a lot more heat output than slower components. Choose a case that promotes good airflow and allows you to install more fans.
The motherboard is what connects all of the internal components of your computer.
The processor you purchase will determine the type of motherboard you will need. Different processors have different “socket” sizes, and only work with motherboards that support that socket.
A dedicated graphics card is essential for playing the latest games, but not a major issue for an office computer.
Intel motherboards have integrated graphics, so you don’t need a dedicated card if you’re planning to use the computer for web browsing and emails.
Some AMD boards will need a video card.
The power supply powers all of your components in your computer. Some cases come with a power supply already installed, but most require you to provide your own. The power supply should be powerful enough to charge all of your components, but not so powerful that you waste electricity by powering more than you need.