Youll need a kick-ass PC to get started in your house, but there are so many ways to obtain good computers these days, you'll need to make a decision.
Do you purchase a pre-built PC? Or do you purchase your own components and build the PC with your hands?
Computer Lab Week is a celebration of those classic 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 great position to guide you through the making of your own PC in the past ten years. Lets talk about what youll need to build your own PC, what it's like to get a custom pre-built PC online, and which I recommend.
What do you need to build your own gaming PC?
It's a challenging task, but it can be immensely rewarding. It gives you complete control in the process, and makes your PC feel like your own creation. It also makes upgrading your PC easier because you know exactly how everything 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 beginner's resource that will allow you to compare different components so you can get exactly what you want (and it will tell you if any of your components are incorrect). You may also purchase individual parts from an online store like Amazon, or pick them up at a local store like Micro Center.
When you begin this process, you should understand that PCs are complex and variable. One wrong move may cause problems when trying to restart your PC for a test. And if you are unconcerned about your static electricity buildup, you may end up accidentally ruining one of your costly components.
This process requires hours of effort and precision. If it is your first time, I recommend bringing a trusted pal along. Particularly if they have never built a PC.
Youll need a flat surface for the building process as well as 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 should do to and your order of operations.
The above video from ECPU is a great resource for novices. They start by explaining the components and why they are important before moving on to the actual construction. There are also timestamps in the video that make it easy to skip around.
It's worth noting that all PC builds are somewhat different depending on the components you select. If you're having trouble with a component you've selected that the person in your video tutorial doesn't, try reading the instructions or even better looking for a build video for your particular case, motherboard, or processor.
How do you get a customized pre-built PC?
Outside of building your own PC, you can either purchase a pre-built one at a store like Best Buy or customize one on 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 up their PC customizer. You may also try your hypothetical build out in popular modern games such as Elden Ring.
As long as all of your components are in sync, itll warn you if the graphics card you want is too big for your case, for instance. A professional will gather your components for you, build the PC, and ship it to your house. All you have to do is remove the weird, gigantic packing peanuts inside the case and plug it in.
It's all very convenient, and it's made me swallow the huge financial burden of a brand-new PC. I used the built-in Affirm partnership to purchase my iBuyPower PC. It protected my credit and gave me a low rate and a 12-month payment schedule, which paid for it in the end.
If you have the cash or a really good credit card, you can purchase the whole thing upfront. However, getting a custom might make things easier if you go the route I went with monthly payments.
Which do I recommend?
I never had a major failure during one of my projects, and my PC always booted on the first or second try. Many more 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 many improvements and upgrades as well as a pandemic, I wanted to do something simple and easy. That's exactly what I got from the custom-order PC I got in 2021. I still picked all my components, but I didn't 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.
Without question, when I get a new PC in many years from now, I'll be buying a custom one again. It's just simpler in almost every sense, and I used iBuyPower extensively. Nonetheless, I still appreciate the learning I learned from my previous computers. I'll eventually be able to upgrade my current computer because I know how to install computer components correctly.
If this is your first PC and you like to learn, youll appreciate the learning curve of doing it yourself. Buying a custom build is the easiest way to get into PC gaming. It's quick, it's simple, and it just works.
It's now easier than ever to get your hands on the finest gaming gear. With PS5s selling as fast as they can stock them, and Pokemon cards disappearing from virtual shelves, it's important to know where to buy and when.