Building a PC

Assembly and configuration2 H 19 M

Learn how to build a custom computer desktop. Watch step-by-step installation videos for the most common computer components like a motherboard, CPU, fan and more.

  • Building a PC
    • Component Selection
    • Component Selection Part 2
    • PC Assembly
    • BIOS Configuration
    • BIOS Configuration Part 2

Component Selection

26 M

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  • Episode Description
  • Transcript

In this episode, Daniel and Wes explain some of the pre-planning required when preparing to build a custom PC. They then guide you through the process of shopping for components while sticking to the customer's budget.

[MUSIC] All right, greetings everyone and welcome to another great episode of ITProTV. I'm your host Daniel Lowrey, joining me today is none other than Mr. Wes Bryan. How's it going today Mr. Wes?. >> It's going great, it's good to be here. Good to be back with the ITProTV crew here and, we got a really fun show today. We're gonna be talking about building computers. And one of the things that we're gonna do in this episode is we're gonna try to set the stage for well what do you need to put together, a list. We're gonna develop our shopping list and get our components ready to go. And we're gonna set a budget, we're gonna find out. How close we can get to that budget. If we have a couple thousand dollars, we have $5,000 out, well guess what? I don't really think we have a problem >> [LAUGHS] >> on what we want to build. But that's not always the case. Not everybody just has money to just keep throwing out there. At least, I don't know about you Dan I know I don't. [LAUGH] >> I'm poor. >> Right, so, hopefully one of the things that we can do today is help you guys when you come away from this show knowing a little bit of the method to the madness. Developing a list, setting a budget, and seeing how close we can get to that budget when it comes to building a computer. >> That's right. We're gonna kinda operate under the assumption that we're a couple of computer techs, or maybe you're a self employed guy, you're trying to get into the field and do stuff like that. Building custom PCs for people is typically a job that newbies get into and it's a great one, because it allows you to work with components. You start understanding what's out there, what's available for the customer market and working with equipment, giving you some real hands on. So, that's one of the reasons we wanted to do this show. Now, as Wes said there's some pre-planning that's gonna go along. We are gonna set a budget for ourselves, it's not gonna be gargantuan. Win, but it's not going to be a pittance either. We're gonna make sure that it's mid to the road, make sure there's a little bit of money in the kitty, for us to pick out some components, and try to meet that mark. Now Wes, obviously we've got our budget. Where did we set our budget at? >> We set our budget at around 700 to $800. At first Dan and I were talking, we're like, we're going to go for $700, and then I was thinking. Well, we might need a little cushion. Because if I'm spending money, you always have in your minds eye what you're gonna go for, but sometimes it doesn't happen. So we're gonna say 700 to $800 range here and we're gonna look at some of the components that we have to put into that case, and some of the requirements. Now if you're the average end-user you know you might save some money if you're just gonna buy it outright from an OEM, or original equipment manufacturer. But one of the great things about building your own and having it customized for you, is you can tailor make it a little more to your needs. So that's what we're gonna do here. >> Awesome, so I guess, where do we begin? We've got our budget. >> That's right. >> We know we don't need the top of the line, we know we don't want the bargain basement either. We need that mid range, so now, where do we start? What's the first component we should tackle? >> That's right. Well, you need a place to store all the components that are gonna be in the system unit, right, the system unit. >> [LAUGH] >> Yeah, exactly, so with the system unit, it holds everything together, right? Our system unit, one of the major components that are part of the system unit is something known as a case or a tower. You might hear many different terms, chassis, case, tower. So, don't let any of those terms confuse you. Just remember that some places might call it a little bit different, primarily what we talk about is the tower. Now, when it comes to the tower there are some very, very important things that you got to consider. One of the first things we got to consider is something called form factor. Now form factor for us typically describes the size of the case and more importantly what kind of motherboard we can put in the case. So that’s one of the first things that you want to start out with. Now when it comes to the form factor, you can also have what is known as the mid-range or the full tower. Now the full tower, you've got to be careful. It might be the size of a small refrigerator. So if you're storing your components, how big is your desk? You really have to consider: do I have a lot of space? If I have a lot of space, well then, I could probably go with a full size tower. Maybe space is a little bit limited, and if it is you can reduce that down to even a midsize tower. Maybe you don't have any space at all and then you're going to go even smaller form factor of what's known as a slimline case. But we're gonna go ahead and hit middle of the road here. We're gonna say we're not going to go for the refrigerator size computer and at the same time we're not gonna go for the matchbox size computer. I think one of the best mid range form factors is gonna be something known as your midsize ATXK. So it's one that's very important for us. Now when you're considering buying a case there are some characteristics that you have to be aware of. For instance how many hard drives can you store in this. Now again we're not gonna go with a gaming case where we have to have a gazillion drives, and that'd be awesome. But you also gotta think about things like expansion. So if I start out with a case that only has maybe two hard drive bays, well I'm kinda limited as to what I can do potentially in the future. So we have to make sure that we get a case that has enough drive bays for it. We need to make sure that what kinda optical drives we might need to put into this machine. Are we gonna have one that's DVD, maybe one that's Blu-ray. Are we gonna have a combo? Because that's the difference between having enough of the five and a half inch bays that optical drives typically stay in, versus not having enough. So some good considerations there. One of the things you also have to consider too, if you're gonna buy a case. Do I need any front panel connectors, in the positioning of those connectors? Some people, they put their case right next to them where their work station is, and they like top mounted IO ports. Maybe to be able to plug in a headset to the top of the case rather than having to fumble down and plug it down into the bottom of the case. So that might really be something you have to consider as well. Sometimes you can even get them with ESATA ports on the top. If I've got an extra laptop drive that I'm not using anymore, I can just plug it right in. And I can use it as an external drive. I would say probably one thing that you also have to consider is power supplies. Is the power supply gonna be part of the case or not. So, one of the things that we're going to do here is, let's go ahead and maybe take a look at some cases, maybe do some comparison here. So, we've gone and kinda done some of the research ahead of time. To try to help just ease the burden of all of the research you have to do for this. So let's go ahead and I've got our computer case pulled up here on the screen. Now, one of the things that you want to do, do your research. You can go to many different places here. I've got one pulled up, again kind of doing that research beforehand. I've also got one here. Tiger direct too. So you do have a couple of options, but one of the first things you want to do is you want to look at the specifications of the case. >> Good idea. When it comes to cases like we've been kinda hinting toward. You need enough room inside to put all your components if you're gonna have some massive gaming rig that's super awesome, gigantic, crazy video cards that you can buy and I've seen them there. They have their own fans and heatsinks and everything. You're going to need room for that, right? So buying the correct case for what your application is, is kind of important. Now Wes you talked a little bit at the beginning when we were jumping into this case business. >> Mm-hm. >> About form factors. Different types of motherboards as well. >> Yep. >> Also has to make sure it fits the right motherboard, right? >> That's, that's right too. So, for instance, the case that I have right here, the one that I've picked out. And I've got a couple, so I'm not just picking on one vendor. You might have a vendor out there you like. This is New Egg, great vendor. We got another one here. For TigerDirect. Now notice they've got some of the same specifications and the specification I want you to look at here is Standard ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX. If I switch on over to the other one that we've looked at, well, they've only got one ATX, but what does that mean for us? Well, the ATX form factor has differed throughout the years. So you have to be very very mindful of what motherboard form factor you're gonna get, because three of the form factors that have to match in any computer build. We've already mentioned one. The case is very important cuz everything has to fit inside the case. But then the second factor that's coming up here is the motherboard. The case and the motherboard have to match, because if you get one of these giant motherboards and you try to put it into this little top set like box, well, obviously, you're not gonna break out the hammer and try to break that thing in there and do any customizations. So, I have to make sure that if I've got a ATX case, in this case you can see some of the specifications behind it. Does it have what I need? Well, it's got three, oh, five and a quarter inch base. It looks like this one has, what is it? Three and a half inch base, which are internal drives. And this one even supports solid state too. So you can see those 2.5 inch drive bays. Now, I have to get a motherboard that matches the same thing. I've gone ahead and I've picked a motherboard that you can see has the Micro ATX form factor. Now here's the thing that I have to consider, is the Micro ATX gonna fit in this case? Well if we went with this case, we might run into a problem cuz remember it only says ATX here. So if I scroll down and I wanna find out, does this motherboard have the compatibility with my case or vice versa, however you wanna say that. One of the first things I have to do is I have to look right here and you can see this says MICRO ATX. And ATX here. So looks like this motherboard is going to support our case, or vice versa. Our case is going to support our motherboard. Now, when it comes to your motherboard, the form factor is absolutely critical. Now, in relationship to your case, a lot of times when you see these multiple form factor names in the list, it's because they have different mounting points. So you don't have to worry about, it's not certainly a one size fits all, but you can fit different form factors inside there. The other thing I think about when I think about a motherboard is going to be how many hard drive connections does it have? Does it have video support? Does it have sound support? But I can tell you one of the first things that we really need to know here is this whole concept of what family, what product line are we going to go with? And for us today there's really two major product lines. And that product line is either going to be Intel or it's going to be AMD. Now, when it comes to that, that's going to be your choice. Some people like Intel and are going to stick with Intel. Some people like AMD and they're gonna stick with AMD. And that is one of the most crucial things, I would say if you're gonna start with a motherboard, you have to know well what product line am I gonna get, because in some of the other components that we talk about they have to match. You can't mix and match. So knowing whether you're going to go with AMD or you're going to go with Intel, is going to be one of the first things that you want to discuss. >> Yeah. And then don't forget, you got to cool the stinking things. Whether you're an AMD fan or you're an Intel fan, great. Wave that flag as hard as you like. >> [LAUGH] >> But you want to make sure that a case stays cool, because if you don't it's going to burn the thing up and it's going to be a useless hunk of brick. >> [LAUGH] >> And that's not what we want. So cooling is also an important factor when it comes into which motherboard you actually choose. And also the case that you bought. How are we gonna get, is it gonna be a large cooling device? Is it gonna be a small? And Wes, actually there's quite a few different types of cooling systems that you can run into. >> There is. There is. Now, again depending on what you're gonna do with the overall build, it's really gonna dictate which one of these cooling options you're gonna have. See when you buy your case, sometimes not all the time, but sometimes you might have some fans included in the case. One of the things that usually happens is when you buy a CPU it typically comes with a heat sic, just a metal block that sits on top of the CPU. And for the most part if you're not applying more voltage, you're not trying to get extra performance and pump more electrical current into that CPU than what it's generally rated at, you should be good with a stock cooling. Now, if you want to go a little bit farther than this, if you want to go overboard on it, a little bit more advanced of a set up, you could go with something like liquid cooling. Now, with a liquid cooling, it is fun, but I will tell you something, I have always had a problem with should I take an electrical component, and run a liquid across that? >> Yeah, it's definitely something that would probably cross the mind of an average person of moderate intelligence. We understand that electricity and water, not the best of friends, when it comes to things we want to buy and keep running. If you get the two mixed together, well you're gonna have yourself another brick. And maybe even a fire, oh that'll be fun. No it won't be fun. But liquid cooling it's come a long way, it's not like you're just hosing in some fish tank pipes in there, all right Wes. >> Hopefully. [LAUGH] >> They kind of look like radiators to be honest with you. >> They really do. I tell you what, let's go ahead and let's take the time to look at some of these cooling options. Because, you have a lot of options out there and which one you go with is really gonna be based on your knowledge, your skill level as a tech. Because some of the liquid cooling systems, they can be, they can come in a lot of parts if you will. If you don't know those individual parts, it could be a little difficult. So here we've got many different options. You can see some air coolers here, some water and liquid coolers. If you are an entry-level technician, maybe you wanna try using liquid cool. Corsair makes some good ones here that are all self contained systems. So you don't have to put the liquid in. You don't have to screw down the water blocks, any of the water blocks that are across the chip set, and it's relatively easy. It's a good entry level type of liquid cooling system. Now you can go, certainly, as extravagant as you want based on whatever your price point is. Let's see here, there's another one. That one looks like it's an all internal system. There we go, so there's another one here. And again you can look at the specifications there. And there we go. >> Looks like what's in my car. >> Yes that's exactly it, well Dan made a good point, it's like these look a lot like radiators right. Well, that's exactly what they're doing, they're taking this whatever the liquid is inside of them and it's trying to dissipate that heat off of whatever it's cooling. Cuz it could cool the CPU, could cool the memory, and then pass it through a radiator, and that process just keeps continuing here. So again, depending on the complexity of the build, it's really gonna tell you which one of these cooling solutions you're gonna use. All in ones are very good if you are just starting out, however if you wanna get a bit farther than that, you can. You also have the option too to when it comes to cooling, is buying cases fans. Now when you buy a case fan, you have certain common sizes, you have what are known as 80 millimeter, the 20 millimeter and even some of the 250 millimeter fans too. You can see some other shapes here as well, like 140 millimeter. Now, one of the things you want to keep in mind when you're talking about buying a cooling system, see if it's a liquid cooling system, we don't really have to worry about noise. No noise at all. All right. But if you're buying your fans, you definitely have to worry about how loud they are, especially if you start the case up and it sounds like a helicopter taking off. So, pay attention to which fans your case takes. Your CPU typically comes with a fan. And if you're not doing things like over-clocking, most often the stock cooling system will be just fine. >> So then we've got to motherboards, right? That's where we're at. We've got a processor for it, we've got a cooling system for that. We gotta take that into account. Also wanna take into account, sometimes Motherboards will come with on board things like video and sound. And that might be a good way to go, it can do some advantageous things for us. We can also make sure that we get it large enough, with enough expansion slots to add in those video or sound if that's the way we're gonna go. But again, it's all gonna come back to that, oh, what does the customer need. >> Hm-mm. >> Versus what we have available. >> And what the price point is. >> Yeah. >> Exactly. So, for instance, if your customer plans on trying to keep this for a couple of years of not being outdated like the proverbial computer usually is outdated in six months, and then you might want to make sure that you have also room for additional expansion too. And that'll all be in the specifications of the motherboard itself, again, if you're maybe trying to price cut a little bit here you can go with the on board video. But if you're gonna do any kind of video rendering that might not be feasible, so you might have to add that extra video capability. The same thing goes with your sound. One of the other things to keep in mind though, I want to get back to though is those adapter slots. Depending on how much expansion you wanna do in the future, pay attention to that, cuz that could be a deal breaker. I know when I was buying my gigabyte board at the house, I had looked at another board and it only had two PCIE slot. Well, I needed three, I can't remember exactly what I was doing but I needed three. Three is better than one or two, so, for that board it was the perfect price. Everything was set up exactly the way I wanted, except for that there, so that was the deal breaker on the motherboard, so make sure that you have room for expansion. >> Yeah, I tend to be under the philosophy of, I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it if I can get away with that. And so, you gotta take into account maybe one day, I will want that extra expansion slot. So, if you have the money and you can go for a board that has more expansion slots, that might be a good idea, just forward thinking. Now, that brings us to, we've got motherboard now, right? We understand, we've got the CPU, gotta cool it, we have expansion slots. Maybe we'll go with some on board sound or video. But another one of the big components that we're gonna have to really focus in on is the hard drive. How much storage space am I going to need for this thing? How fast do I need that guy to run? What kind of reliability am I gonna go with a RAID array? All sorts of things come into mind when it comes to storages. Internal, external. This can be very bogging down, it can get you spinning your wheels going, okay do I want this one? Or do I wanna go with that one? Again, a lot of times it's gonna come down to price, what can you afford? I always say get the the best product that you can afford that sticks to your budget. Don't go over that, cuz next thing you know, you're nickel and dimming yourself. You set your budget at $700, and now it's $1700. >> [LAUGH] >> You think, well, I only added, you know, these small components. They add up, so be mindful of that, especially if it’s a customer’s build, but the hard drive is a place where if they want good performance, this is where you might want to spend some more money. >> Yeah, and that’s a good thing to consider, too, is whether you’re going to do the traditional mechanical drive. Now, traditional mechanical drives that we talk about, they can usually scale up to large storage capacities. And you don't get charged an arm and a leg for them, but it might reduce a little bit of the performance. The other thing to keep in mind is, what interface? And it's usually serial ATA in the PC environment today, but, how many of those interfaces? So, how many drives does the mother board support? So, you're gonna notice a commonality here, where we keep going back to that mother board, right? Well, I need to make sure that if I, yeah. It's nice to have four drive base, eight drive based on your case there. But if the motherboard only has two drive interfaces cases, then you're pretty much limited. The other consideration might be solid state storage. It's not uncommon today to say hey, I'm gonna get a smaller solid state storage device, and maybe put my operating system on that. And then turn around and get like one of the traditional mechanical drives for the data that I'm gonna store, cuz of the fact that dollar for dollar if you're just storing data, you're gonna get more of a benefit out of those traditional heart mechanical drives than you will the solid state storage device. You also have to pay attention to vendor as well. So one of the things that we do, and you know, quantity is another big thing too. If you are gonna use storage erase, if you're gonna use a RAID array like that, now we're getting into a situation. Does the motherboard support RAID? All right. Or does, do you have to get an additional adapter card? If you have to get an additional adapter card to support the RAID functionality, kinda like Dan said, maybe that put us a couple $100 over what our budget was. So there again, that's something that if you're gonna do multiple drives, just take a look at the specifications of the motherboard and see if it has that integrated functionality. If it doesn't, there again, that might not be the motherboard for you, if you truly do need that functionality. Average end user a lot of times doesn't need this, but again, It's gonna be based on the customer's needs. >> Yeah, Wes, it really brings up a really good question that I was sitting here thinking of. Capacity, right? We're all like, give me all the space I can get my hands on, cuz Lord knows I'm going to fill it up. But with SSDs, I don't usually get as much capacity unless I'm willing to pay gargantuan amounts of money. So, the question comes in, do I go with the mechanical drive where I don't get the performance that I would with the SSD but I do get the capacity or is it worth more the money to go for the performance of the SSD. A nice quick speed, everything's coming at me that way I like it. What's the better of the two? >> Well, there again, how much money do you have to spend? What is you're price point? Cuz you can even get into trouble when it comes to selecting a solid state drive. One of the things that might be beneficial to the end user is to get one of these smaller solid state drives that per gig, dollar for dollar, they are fairly cheap. Today they are, it certainly wasn't the case a couple years back. You could spend hundreds of dollars on even a small SSD, so as the solid state drives get a little bit better if you need maybe performance on some kind of application, if you're running, i don't know, the Adobe, like Photoshop or something like that. You need some really good performance, then maybe a smaller solid state drive is gonna be good for you, but if you can't justify the cost to get the performance, then you can always back up and say you know what I'll just go with what we've been using for a very long time. And I can get two terabytes for half of the price of what I got something that might only be 100 gigs. >> Yeah I would say on a budget build. Probably the best way to go is a really fast mechanical drive cuz you're gonna get lots of storage, that's gonna not cost you as much as solid state. But if you still want to go solid state cuz you just, like he said, maybe you're running Photoshop, maybe you're doing audio work or video rendering, those types of things. This application can really hit performance when it comes to the drive itself. So, go with a small SSD for things like the applications and the operating system and then spend the rest of your money as much storage with a mechanical drives as you can. Probably, the best of both worlds, right. >> Yeah, I've got an older Intel X 25 M and it's just a little 80 gig solid state drive. And I put my operating system on that. I ended up going out and getting a second 80 gig solid state drive, you're saying 80 gigs, man. Gosh, I got thumb drives that are bigger than that today. What are you using it for? I don't put any data on it, other than what applications need. So, for instance, I use virtualization technology, so I put all of my virtual machines on that second stylus state drive. But when it comes to the data like my, I don't know videos, my music, that data, I don't really access too much. And it can stand on, it can sit on those traditional drives. And the one good thing about the traditional drives is if you're just storing your data, you can scale up to a very large capacity for a relatively cheap amount today. You're drives, like, Western Digital Caviar Black editions which is a higher end PC hard drive, they go for 70 bucks. So very easily, you could go up to two to four terabytes. It doesn't cost quite as much as the solid state. But again, if you need the performance solid states, it is going to be where it's at. >> All right. So what are we going to put inside of our computer that we're building today? >> We're gonna go ahead, we're gonna put a, let's see here. We've got a case here, this is the series 200 R Corsair. I think what we're gonna see here, is this LGA Intel gigabyte board. We kind of went mid range on the processor here cuz everybody wants the i7. But we said, not quite the i7, we're gonna go with the i5 here. All right, here's the one that I think is going to be best for our build. It's a drive that I've actually used. And this one here is the western digital black series, so you're gonna get moderate amount of performance out of this, it's got the larger cache in it and you know the price isn't too bad either, it's only about $70. So, you know dollar for dollar, one terabyte drive here, 7200 RPM's on the newest interface for $70. You really can't beat that, especially if you're again, building for a budget. >> Awesome. >> Yep. >> All right, Wes, well, really good looking drive you got there and that's gonna be great for our build what we're trying to do. And you know what, we've got a whole lot more that we gotta talk about. There's actually a few more components we wanna stick in this turkey but we've run out of time for this episode. So we're gonna have to make a part two. Wes, I know I'm looking forward to it. I can't wait to see what the end price is. Did we meet our budget or not? >> We're hoping [LAUGH]. >> Yeah, we are hoping at that. Hopefully, we'll see you guys in part two on that. But as for this, we're gonna go ahead and close it down. Signing off for ITProTV, I've been your host Danielle Lawrie. >> And I'm Wes Bryant. >> And we'll see you next time >> [SOUND]

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