ThePerfectCore's PC Building Guide

PC Case

This is the big box that all the important things fit into. You can build your rig without a case, but unless you plan to nail all of your components to your wall (like me), I don't reccomend that.

There are several requirements that will need to be met when you're looking for a case. This is where things get technical. First, it's going to have to be a standard ATX Form Factor case. This doesn't mean anything other than that the specific layout of all the screw holes/slots/dimensions (lol) in the case are made to fit the components you're going to put in there. Also, it can't be a huge tower made for a server, unless you LIKE having your PC double as a bedside table. You shouldn't have to look hard to find an mid-tower ATX case, all electronic warehouse stores should carry them.

Next, it's going to have to be sturdy. Meaning, if you have too much to drink and you end up tripping over you case, it won't collapse like a sun-faded Dr Pepper can. Stay away from the bargain cases and pay a little extra for something that won't turn into an expensive accident later on down the road.

Lastly, make sure the case you buy comes with a good power supply unit installed. If there isn't one pre-installed, or has a pre-installed PSU that blows, you'll have to go shopping for one. I'll touch on this a little more in the next section. Once you've found something that is good and sturdy, and has a PSU pre-installed, anything else you want is up to you. If you want a case with a window or something that turns pink with blue dots under a blacklight, that's fine. *Kicks basic-beige case*


Power Supply Unit

- You shouldn't have to put much thought into this component, although ironically enough, it is arguably the most important part of your PC. If you don't know what a PSU is, or you're just curious, take a gander at this picture:


That thing that the red arrow is pointing at? With all the wires and other fun things sticking out? That's the PSU.

When you're out looking for a good PSU, be sure to find something that can power your behemoth. Currently, a 300 watt PSU is bare minimum for running a killer machine. Look for something closer to 400 watts, so your PC doesn't blackout when you plug in every piece of computer hardware you own. Also, stay away from no-name or generic PSUs. Look for PSUs from reputable companies, like the one in the picture *cough*Antec*cough*. Opt for something that isn't in the bargain bin. Trust me, an extra 20 bucks now can save you loads of time later.



- Before we start messing with the fun things inside the case, let's get the boring stuff out of the way. Most people, when building a new machine, usually keep their old monitor. This is perfectly fine, as long as the monitor is relatively new (i.e. anything built after '99). However, if you plan on using a 12" job you got with your Win95 Compaq back in '96, then you might want to reconsider.

First of all, make sure the monitor is large enough to suit your needs. I don't know about you, but I find it extremely difficult and triesome to play games on a small monitor. I recommend at least something that has at least 17" of viewable. If you don't know what size monitor you have now, you can find out by taking a ruler or measure tape and mesauring diagonally across your monitor.

Next, check to see what refresh rates and resolutions your would-be new monitor can support. The refresh rate is how many times your monitor can "draw" the image in the screen per second. A 60hz refresh rate may seem fast, but if you don't want headaches and loads of eye strain, you might want to look into something that can hit upwards of 85hz or even 100hz.

Resolution refers to how many pixels the monitor can draw on the screen. Does 307200 pixels sound like alot? Well, it's not - at 640x480, you'd be constantly resizing windows and hiding the task bar just hit "OK". Standard desktop resolution is currently 1024x768, which fits comfortably on a 17" monitor. Anything higher makes smaller text difficult to read. Look for something that can do at least 1280x1024, even if you think you'll never need something like that. You never know when you might want that extra bit of desktop room.

One last thing about monitors. The dot pitch is an important thing to look for. This term refers to the space between all the dots on the screen. The smaller this number is, the better.

Next: Keyboards, Mice, Speakers, and the Motherboard
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