Build your own PC
We offer advice for people who would like to build PCs.
This can be a good way of getting the PC you need without spending money on components that you don't want or need.
As a rule components you source yourself will be of higher quality and more reliable than those used by some larger computer companies as this is one of the ways that they save money.
If you are keen to build your own PC here are some of components explained:
- Memory - PC memory, or computer data storage, is the collection of components and recording media that retain digital data. Storing information is one of the core functions of a computer. The memory and the processor form the basis of your PC system.
- Processor - The processor, or central processing unit, is the part of your PC that carries out its functions and instruction from your computer program. Your processor’s performance and speed can be affected by the level of memory you have and the number of processors
— for example the dual-core and multi-core processors will increase the performance.
- Motherboard - A motherboard is the central printed circuit board in your PC and contains many of the crucial components. It also provides connectors for your peripherals including your keyboard and mouse. They are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes, called computer form factor. The three main form factors are ATX; Micro ATX (an example of which is on the next page); and Mini ITX. Mini ITX form factors are often used when reduced noise and a compact system is required, such as in home theatre systems.
- Hard Drive - A hard disk drive (HDD) is a storage device for digital data and the main device used for secondary data storage. Flash-based SSD (solid state drive) is another emerging memory technology. SSD offers faster response times, is highly efficient and more robust than the traditional hard drives. As well as internal hard drives, you will find external and portable hard drives for added storage options.
- Graphics card (GPU) - A graphics card is an expansion card, which generates improved images for the display. Many high performance graphics cards can be used for graphically demanding applications like gaming; accelerating the rendering of 3D scenes and 2D graphics and capture video.
- Sound Card - A sound card is another expansion card. It enables the input and output of audio signals to and from your PC as part of the computer program. A sound card can increase the audio capability for multimedia applications.
- Optical Drive - The optical disc drive reads and/or writes data to or from optical discs such as compact discs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs.
- Power Supply Unit (PSU) - A power supply unit supplies power to other components in your PC. They are usually built to conform to the ATX form factor. This means different power supplies can be interchanged with different components inside your computer.
- Compute Case - A computer case is the chassis that contains most of the components of your PC. The power supply unit and drive bays usually fit within sheet metal enclosures in the case. A rear panel houses peripheral connectors from the motherboard. Available in a range of sizes, tower cases can handle the biggest hardware, while mini tower cases save space and portable units are great for gaming on the move.