Youll need to get started with a kick-ass PC if you want to make a kick-ass computer lab in your house. But there are so many approaches to getting good PCs these days, youll need to make a decision:
Do you buy a pre-built PC? Or do you buy your own components and build the PC with your bare 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 the perfect place to teach you about all you need to know about making your own PC over the past ten years, as well as what it's like to get a custom pre-built PC online.
What do you need to build your own gaming PC?
It's a laborious undertaking, but it can be rewarding. It allows you to have complete control of the system, and it makes your PC feel like your own creation. It also makes upgrading your PC simpler, because you know exactly how every piece and component fits together.
Lets get started with everything youll need to build 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
I recommend PCPartPicker as a great starting point for beginners, since it will allow you to compare different parts so you can get exactly what you want (and it will tell you if any of your components are incompatible with one another). You may also purchase individual parts from an online retailer like Amazon, or pick them up at a local store like Micro Center.
If you are thinking about starting your PC for a test, you should understand that PCs are complex and variable. One wrong move might cause you difficulties. And if you are unwarranted about your static electricity buildup, you might end up accidentally ruining one of your expensive components.
This step requires hours of effort and skill. If you are doing this for the first time, I recommend bringing a trusted pal with you, particularly if they have built a computer before.
Youll need a flat surface and either an iPad, laptop, or phone to watch a tutorial. The finest way to construct a PC is with a companion video that demonstrates exactly what you need to do and your procedure.
The above video from ECPU is a great introduction to the basics of building. There are also timestamps in the video that make it easy to skip around.
All PC builds are slightly different depending on the components you choose. If youre having trouble with a piece you don't see in your video tutorial, try reading the instructions or better looking for a build video for your particular case, motherboard, or processor.
How do you get a customized pre-built PC?
Outside of buying a pre-built PC from a store like Best Buy, you can also get one customized at an online storefront like iBuyPower. The first can be fine, but I recommend you buy custom.
All you have to do is go to the iBuyPowers website (there are many websites like this, such as CyberPowerPC) and open their PC customizer. You can select your components from a large selection and even test how your hypothetical build will run popular modern games like Elden Ring.
As long as all your components fit together, itll warn you if the graphics card you want is too big for your case, for instance you can check out. Then, an expert will gather 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 was all very convenient, and it made my huge financial burden of purchasing a new computer much less difficult for me to bear. Affirm provided me with a low rate and a 12-month payment plan.
If you have the cash or a really solid credit card, you can purchase the whole thing upfront. However, getting a custom might make things easier if you go the way I did with monthly payments.
Which do I recommend?
I never encountered a major issue during one of my builds, and my PC always booted on the first or second try. Many other talented PC builders I know havent been so fortunate, but I did have great experiences.
After several upgrades and upgrades as well as a pandemic, I wanted to do something simple and straightforward. The custom-order PC I received in 2021 provided me with a great product for both work and play. Most importantly, I was able to pay for the computer over the course of a year, which was invaluable for my family during the epidemic.
Without hesitation, I'll be purchasing a custom one again when I get a new PC many years from now. It's just simpler in almost every sense, and I had an excellent experience with iBuyPower. However, I still appreciate the experience I had building my previous computers. I'll eventually be able to upgrade my current PC because I know how to install computer components safely.
If this is your first PC and you like to learn, you'll appreciate the experience of doing it yourself. However, purchasing a custom build is the easiest way to get into PC gaming. It's fast, easy, and simple.
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