Computer Components


Dec 23, 2012
I've created a basic overview of a PC builder's basic needs to knowledge on building a computer, I'd like to see what you think.


Hello Tom's and welcome to my computer thread. I am going to tell you the basic things you need for a computer. I have built 2 computers and have read many forums on hardware and such, so I consider myself qualified to tell you all how to do this, but please don't hold me accountable for any problems. I only have worked with Intel CPUs so that is what I will focus on.


The main part of a computer is the motherboard. Everything you you need to plug in and start up the computer goes into this piece of hardware. I will list all the components of the motherboard you need to be aware of.

BIOS - The BIOS is what actually starts your computer. Motherboards for Intel have either Ivy Bridge (3rd Generation) or Sandy Bridge (2nd Generation) CPU compatibility. NOTICE: Some eTailers do not state what generation they support, so be aware and check the manufacturer website.
CPU Socket - Motherboards have either AMD or LGA1155 (Intel) sockets. The socket will also affect the CPU fan you would have to get.
RAM Slots - RAM, or random access memory is what holds the short-term processes of applications. There are tree kinds or RAM; DDR1, DDR2, and DDR3. Most motherboards support DDR3. There are also RAM frequencies that you need to be aware of; 1333Mhz, 1600Mhz. Most CPUs support dual-channel memory, which means that a single 4Gb RAM card will be slower than two 2Gb RAM cards, and a single 8Gb RAM card will be slower than two 4Gb RAM cards, and so forth.
PCI Express Slots - There are two kinds of PCIE slots. The larger kind holds video cards and the smaller kind holds wireless cards and audio cards. Most computers have built in graphics and audio, so you only need to worry about the wireless.
VGA, USB, and other Slots - On the side of your motherboard should be various slots for inputting your keyboard, mouse, screen, speakers, etc. Some motherboards support USB 3.0, a kind of faster USB slot. Make sure that there are all the slots you need for your stuff.
SATA - SATA slots are basically overpowered USB ports that handle data for your disk drive and Hard drive/ SSD drive. You want either 3Gb per second or 6Gb per second.


The CPU handles all the processing of binary code (The operating system handles the JavaScript code or whatever). The speed is measure in gigahertz, or Ghz. You want about 3Ghz of processing for usual speed, but 2.4Ghz or so will do fine. There are Intel and AMD processors and both have their pluses and minuses, so chose between them.


I already discussed most of RAM under the motherboard, so this is the rest, which is not much. RAM is pretty heap compared to most other components of the computer, so don't be afraid to spend a few extra bucks buying from a trusted supplier. I believe RAM is different in PCs than in Macs, but I've never worked with one.

Disk Drive

If you are building a computer from scratch then you absolutely MUST have a disk drive to instal the driver software and operating system, Linux or Windows. You will probably want a drive that has a burner in it. You can also get a Blu-ray drive if you want, but I don't see the need to.

Hard Drive

There are two kinds of hard drives, SSD and HDD. SSD is much more expensive, but boots faster (?) and is smaller. SSD is a waste of money unless you are making a laptop, which I have no idea how to do. HDDs hold up to about 3 terabytes, while SSDs hold up to about 250Gb.


The case is what holds all the components and fans. You will probably want one with MicroATX and ATX slots for your motherboard screws. Some cases, the more expensive ones, have fans and a power supply (See Power Supply and Fans). You want your case to be relatively big to allow airflow, the size is often referenced to as a mid-tower case. If you want to show off your work, get a case with a window on the side. The case has cords inside of it for the power button, LEDs, and USB ports. Inside the front of the case there are two box-like areas, the top one is for putting in your disk drive and the bottom one is for putting in your hard drive/ SSD.

Power Supply

The power supply is pretty self explaining, it supplies power to all your components. It usually screws into the back of your case. On the back of the power supply there should be a little switch, not the power switch, that says 110/115 and 220/230. If you are in the US set it to 110/115 and if you are in Europe set it to 220/230. I unfortunately dont know what it is elsewhere, you would have to do some research. You want a power supply that has Molex and SATA power connectors and about 600/500W of power to support everything in your computer.


There are two different kinds of fans; CPU fans and ventilation fans. Most CPUs come with stock fans, but if you want to overclock you should get a higher grade fan. Ventilation fans need to be in the front and back and come in different sizes, so check your case to see what sizes it supports.

Graphics Cards

For all you gamers and animators, I suggest getting an upgraded video card for your computer. Most computers already have built in graphics, but sometimes you need some extra speed. For the everyday gamer 1Gb (1024Mb) should be enough, but for proffesional gamers and animators I suggest getting a 3-5Gb video card. Video cards, although they have their own processing, use RAM memory, so you may need an extra RAM upgrade for your performance.