Don't worry, you do not need a very detailed knowledge of electronic components for learning how to build a computer from scratch. You don't have to design the motherboard of your computer, or start with studying the IC or processor technology.
Here, we will just try to build a computer from start to finish, with just the basic knowledge of the basic components. First of all, we need to choose the right components and then we can go over to integrate them.
Choosing Components to Build a Computer
It's not required to mention that the most important part of your computer is the Central Processing Unit (CPU). Once you decide which processor you want to use, you can go on to choose the other components.
There are a variety of factors you need to consider. Do you need a 64 bit processor or just a 32 bit processor, which would suffice the needs of your kids. You also need to decide upon, which brand you want to go for your computer processor. Intel and AMD are the two major players in the market.
The primary memory of your computer, RAM decides how fast your computer will run. If you are thinking of running high-end applications or an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for programming purposes, better consider getting a good amount of RAM for your computer. Nowadays, computer RAMs should at least be in Giga Bytes (Gbs).
This is the secondary storage unit. Here, you store all your data permanently. So, if you are a movie lover or music lover, get a hard drive with large capacity. Again, here too, you can definitely cut down the cost according to your requirements.
Do you want a DVD RW or a combo drive? A DVD RW will allow you to read and write DVDs as well as CDs. However, a combo drive may allow you to just read DVDs and CDs but not write DVDs. You may also consider the latest technologies too, like Blu-ray, etc., while deciding on this factor.
USB and Firewire
Both these components are useful. If you need just USB ports, then decide on the number of USB ports you may require. You may need to plug in multiple USB devices at the same time, hence consider getting more than three USB ports.
Many would list this option at a higher position in their components list. However, your basic needs may not include gaming and you may just want to build a low cost computer for basic purposes. Hence, this is optional, but a very important feature that can improve your overall multimedia experience.
Once you are done with all the above components, you can decide on the computer motherboard. Check if the motherboard is compatible with all the components. Also, check that you have got additional RAM slots, in case you want to upgrade your computer later. Also, get a proper heat sink or fan for cooling your computer.
After deciding on the motherboard, go for the CPU case. See that your cabinet, has provisions for adding additional optical drives, which you may want to incorporate later. The SMPS (Single Mode Power Supply), which provides power to the computer, is usually a part of the cabinet.
Cables and Cards
Finally, remember to bring the IDE cables, sound card, network card, and video card, without which your computer won't function properly. Try to get an RJ 45 network card as a USB network card will tie up one of your USB ports.
Integrating the Components
So, you have got all your components. Now, the manual that you get along with your motherboard is your bible throughout the assembling process. Follow the instructions given in the manual. Locate the slots for each component and connect them.
For devices like the hard drive or optical drives, you will have two sets of cables, one coming from the SMPS to provide power supply and the other that connects to the motherboard and hence the computer processor. Be very careful during the integration process. Finally, mount the motherboard and all its components in the CPU.
Finally, decide on the computer peripherals that you need to connect to your computer, so that it is complete. The computer monitor is your output device. You can decide upon, whether you want a TFT screen or a CRT screen.
The other input devices required are the keyboard and mouse. You can take up a computer keyboard that has Internet keys as well as other multimedia keys on it. Lastly, connect all these components to your cabinet.
You can follow these simple steps and learn how to build a computer from scratch easily and save money. Make it a point that you research a lot about the various components before taking the plunge to build a new computer. During the integration process, do not connect the SMPS to the power supply.