Youll need to purchase a kick-ass PC to start a kick-ass computer lab at home. But when it comes to getting good PCs today, there are so many options. Make a decision:
Do you purchase a pre-built PC? Or do you buy your own components and build the PC with your hands?
Computer Lab Week is a tribute to the old school games, likeOregon Trail and Number Munchers, that prevented us from being productive. Sure, you should be doing homework, but Carmen Sandiego is on the loose!
Im in a good position to assist you through the entire process of constructing your own computer over the last ten years. Lets talk about what it takes to get a custom pre-built PC online, and which I recommend.
What do you need to build your own gaming PC?
Building a PC is arduous work, but it can be rewarding. It gives you total control in the process, and it makes your PC feel like your own creation. It makes upgrading your PC easier as well.
Let's get started with everything youll need to make a complete computer and be able to test it on your own:
- A case
- A processor (CPU)
- A processor cooler
- A motherboard
- Multiple sticks of memory (RAM)
- A hard drive
- A graphics card (GPU)
- A power supply (PSU)
- Thermal paste
- A flashlight
- A screwdriver
- An anti-static wrist strap (optional, but recommended)
- A copy of Windows (or another operating system)
- A monitor
- A mouse
- A keyboard
For novices, I recommend PCPartPicker. It's a great resource for beginners and will allow you to compare different parts so you can get exactly what you want (and it'll tell you if any of your components are wrong). You can also purchase individual parts from an online store like Amazon, or pick them up at a local store like Micro Center.
To proceed through this process, you need to understand that computers are complex and fickle. One wrong move could cause problems when trying to boot your PC for a test. And if you are not careful about your static electricity buildup, you might end up accidentally frying one of your expensive components.
This takes hours of research and dedication. If it's your first time, I recommend bringing a trusted pal along. Particularly if they've ever built a PC.
For the building process, you'll need a flat surface and either an iPad, laptop, or smartphone to watch a tutorial. The finest way to make a PC is with a companion video that explains everything you need to do and your order of operations.
The ECPU video above is a great resource for novices. They begin by deciphering the components and why they are important before moving onto the actual work. There are timestamps in the video that make it simple to skip around.
Its important to note that each PC build is different in response to the components you select. If you're having trouble with a component you've already purchased that the person in your video tutorial doesn't, try reading the instructions or better looking for a build video for your specific case, motherboard, or processor.
How do you get a customized pre-built PC?
Outside of building your own PC, you may either buy a pre-built one at a store like Best Buy or customize one online, like iBuyPower. The first option may be fine, but I recommend you buy custom.
All you need to do is go to the iBuyPowers website (there are many websites like this, such as CyberPowerPC) and open their PC customizer. You can also test whether or not your hypothetical build will run popular modern games like Elden Ring.
As long as all of your components are seated, itll warn you if the graphics card you want is too big for your case, for instance. You can have an expert fabricate your parts for you, build the PC, and deliver it to your house. All you need to do when it arrives is remove the weird, gigantic packing peanuts inside the case.
It's all very straightforward, and it made my brand-new PC much easier to swallow. Through the built-in Affirm partnership, I was able to purchase my iBuyPower PC for an additional $189, but it was worth it for the chance to upgrade my old desktop a year early.
If you have the cash or a really good credit card, you may purchase the whole package upfront. However, if the PC cost is the biggest obstacle for you, getting a custom might make things easier, as I did with monthly payments.
Which do I recommend?
Over ten years of building machines, I never encountered a major flaw during one of my builds. My PC always booted on the first or second try. Many other talented PC builders I know havent been so fortunate, but I had great experiences. I also really enjoyed the process and originally imagined it would be something I would do every few years for the rest of my life.
After several upgrades and improvements as well as a pandemic, I wanted to do something simple and straightforward. I still purchased all my components, but I didnt have to do any of the labor. Most importantly, I was able to pay for the computer over the course of a year, which was extremely beneficial to my family during the epidemic.
I'll be purchasing a custom PC in the near future, without hesitation. It's just simpler in almost every sense, and I used iBuyPower in my previous computers. Despite the fact that I'm still interested in their functionality, I'll eventually be able to upgrade my current PC because I know how to install computer components correctly.
If this is your first PC and you like to play, you'll appreciate the effort of doing it yourself. That being said, purchasing a custom build is the most effective strategy for novice PC gamers. It's simple, it's cheap, and it just works.
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