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How to Build Your Own PC (Page 1/9)

Posted: September 09, 2002
Written by: Chris Angelini

How to Build Your Own PC

For many, building a computer is scarier than working on a car. There are complicated components, lots of electricity, and the looming possibility that you may very well fry an expensive processor. There is something to be said for "working under the hood," though. It should be an entertaining process that, when finished, should invoke a feeling of pride. Think Da Vinci and the Mona Lisa or Enzo Ferrari and one of the most prestigious car manufacturers in the world. And with a little pricing research, a powerful machine can be built for an affordable sum.

Saving money isnít the only benefit to building your own computer. In addition, you will acquire knowledge otherwise required for an upgrade further down the road. Youíll also get exactly what you want. For example, if gaming is important, splurge on a RADEON 9700 Pro and settle for a 60GB IDE drive rather than an expensive SCSI setup. Planning on using the PC as a home entertainment hub? Invest in a good sound card (Creative Labs and Hercules both make excellent units) and pick up a DVD drive.

Before you can sit down at your new computer desk though, youíll need to actually build the system. Piecing a computer together may sound like a daunting task, but if you take a couple of precautions, there is nothing to worry about. Iíll be right here the whole time to ensure you donít axe the power grid in your locale, but realize that I canít give out my phone number so technical support is something you have to arrange. Most components include warranties and a toll-free number. If you suspect a particular piece of hardware is causing dissention in the ranks, donít hesitate to ask for help.

Before We Begin

In order to ensure everything goes smoothly, gather a few important tools. A Philips head screwdriver is a must and needle-nosed pliers are often helpful. It doesnít matter if your allegiance lies with the Pentium 4 or Athlon XP Ė buy quality thermal grease to keep the processor in contact with the heat sink. If you donít have an anti-static wrist band, make a conscious effort to touch a ground point every so often (exposed metal on the case works fine) to keep electrostatic discharge from damaging any of your components. Finally, pour yourself a soda, pick up a towel (sweat and delicate hardware donít mix), and clear some space on a desk or countertop.

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