Learning About Computer Components

There are lots of different computer components that make up functional PCs. Building your own computer can be a rewarding DIY project. It'll also save you money if you're building a high-performance system for gaming or video editing. What's more, your PC will be custom-tailored to your performance needs.


Key PC Components for Building a System

The first step is getting the right computer parts. The six essential parts you'll need for a working PC are the case, motherboard, processor, RAM, hard drive, and power supply unit. A computer case is an enclosure for all the other components. This chassis serves as housing for a PC's internal hardware. The motherboard is the core piece that connects the computer's electronic components. Motherboards come in different sizes, and with a wide variety of sockets. Choose one that's compatible with the processor and case that you want.

The processor, or CPU, is critical to the PC's overall performance. Most desktop computers use Intel and AMD chips. When shopping for a processor, consider clock speed, number of cores, cache size, and the amount of RAM. If you're building a home PC, the minimum memory capacity you should consider is 4GB. For a gaming system, go for 8GB of RAM or higher.

The two options for computer storage are hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs). SSDs are faster and quieter. They're also more durable and consume less energy. However, HDDs are more affordable, and available in higher capacities.

The power supply unit, or PSU, converts the computer's power from the outlet into usable power for the other parts inside the case or enclosure. The PSU takes the AC power and converts it into continuous power that the computer requires so it can run smoothly and normally. This converted, usable power is called DC.


Other Hardware Required for a Gaming Computer

When building a gaming PC, you'll also need a graphics display card and a cooling system. The graphics card is responsible for image rendering and video playback. For a powerful gaming computer, choose an NVIDIA or AMD GPU with video RAM of 4GB or higher. Coolers prevent processors and video cards from overheating by blowing cool air over them and venting hot air. Effective cooling requires fans and heat sinks. Power users need thermal paste and circulating cooling liquid when overclocking GPUs and CPUs. Finally, if you want to make your gaming system look as cool and powerful as it runs, outfit it with computer lighting essentials.


What Computer Components Do I Need for a Server?

Servers are usually pre-built computers with high-performance CPU processors, lots of input/output ports, and high-wattage power supply units. To install them, you'll need server components such as rackmount chassis and cabinets. You can upgrade servers by adding graphics cards, and swapping RAM modules and storage drives.


If you want to build your own custom PC, there's no better place to find everything you need than at B&H Photo.