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Learn how to choose computer parts that suit YOUR needs

By Robert B.



So you've decided to build your own computer! But you have to choose computer parts before you start building.

Here is a rough outline of the various computer parts you'll need. For more information on each computer part, just follow the link and I've dedicated a page for each part on to how to choose computer parts so you only purchase what you'll need!

  • Computer case - You have tons of choices for these; colors, sizes, number of drive bays, etc. Most motherboards are built for an ATX case, which are larger than the AT cases. Make sure you have at least two hard drive bays and three to four 5.25" drive bays for things like CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs. Keep in mind when you choose computer parts that you can get computer cases with one clear side so you can show of those colorful and glowing parts. Also, some cases come with a power supply, so look into that as well.

  • Power Supply - Most basic computers are fine with a 250 to 300 watt power supply. But if you plan on adding more demanding video and sound cards, you may want to get a more powerful power supply.

  • Motherboard - This is the core computer part. It determines how easily you can upgrade your computer in the future. Try to select one that will easily allow you to add RAM, upgrade processors, built in Ethernet, and allow you to use many PCI cards. Try to stay away from motherboards with built in video; they tend to become outdated very quickly.

  • Processor - This is the second most important decision you'll make when you choose computer parts. When building a new computer, you'll want to get at least a Pentium 3 or an AMD processor. Try to get at least 2 GHz of speed on that processor or it will become very obsolete and you'll find your computer getting sluggish over time.

  • Types of RAM - Although Windows XP recommends a ridiculously low amount of RAM, I'd get at least 256 MB to start. When you're ready for more speed, it's just a simple addition of more RAM!


  • Floppy disk drive - There is really no "special" type of floppy drive to get. Just get a basic one, they can be had for pretty cheap.

  • Hard drive - Consider getting at least one hard drive with 40 GB of space. Manufacturers have made it extremely cheap to get a hard drive with a ton of free space.

  • CD-ROM - Get at least a CD-ROM drive, but preferably a CD-RW so you can store more data or burn your own CD's. A 32x speed should be plenty fast.

  • DVD-ROM - If you ever want to view DVD movies on your computer, then this would be a great investment. You can also get DVD-ROMs that read CD-ROMs and that can also burn CD's, so shop around!

  • Graphics Card - A good graphics card can be the difference between good and great image quality on any monitor. Be sure to get a 32 MB AGP at the least.

  • Ethernet Card - Try to get a motherboard with a built-in Ethernet plug. These type are generally more reliable and you won't have to take up a PCI slot to have the internet.

  • Sound Card - If you don't plan on having surround sound or anything that requires crystal clear quality sound, look for a motherboard with built in sound.

  • Modem - Although dial-up is becoming increasingly less popular, if you have it then you need a good modem. Modems are so cheap today you should opt to get a 56K modem to give you a little extra speed out of your dial up.

  • Monitor - If you have extra money in your budget, definitely spring for an LCD. Not only are they more attractive than a CRT, but they don't take up hardly any room on your desk. You don't have to get a huge LCD display, I have a 15 inch one that works great!

  • Keyboard and Mouse - Don't go spending an arm and a leg on these. There are two main types of keyboards, corded and cordless. If you want to cut back on the amount of cords, then get a cordless keyboard, but keep in mind that it'll use batteries. Ball mouses are pretty obsolete. Get at least an optical mouse and a cordless one if you don't like the cords!



Don't stress out about it when you decide to choose computer parts. Just be sure to do your research, make sure you have options to upgrade cheaply in the future, and compare prices. If you do all of those you shouldn't have any trouble when you choose computer parts!



Want even more details to choose computer parts?

I've released an e-book that is packed full of step-by-step instructions, photographs, and videos to help you choose parts and build your own PC.

The details provided above are only a fraction of what you'll receive in the ebook.

If you're serious about upgrading or building a computer, you'll need this guide!

Interested? Read more here...