It is well known that building a PC piece by piece is cheaper, but the reality is that this option is not available to anyone because, either you have to at least have some basic notions of hardware components, or you have to have a good sponsor who can help you with the selection of the parts and the assembly. The latter perhaps not, because the most recognized stores offer assembly – at a cost, of course. As I write this, I’m not an expert, so I tell you my experience facing the challenge of building a PC gaming component with basic knowledge.
There are colleagues in the sector – and a few in CVC2– who know every model, every design, every format, and so on with a very long list of possibilities that define each hardware component and make them completely different from one another. This is not my case, but it wasn’t the first time that I’ve played with a printed circuit board full of transistors, much less. I wasn’t as knowledgeable of the last generation of processors or, for that matter, more complicated matters like chipsets and sockets, among other particularities of the motherboards, for example.
First thing: What I’m Going to Use the Computer for, Then Which Components I Need
First of all, you must set some guidelines, or so I thought. For example, what you want it for, and of course, among others, how much you can spend. Based on these two points, and perhaps some other less relevant ones, you can start the construction of a PC gaming computer piece by piece – or non-gaming, for multimedia or perhaps the office. In my case the computer has to fulfill office tasks, which is a basic matter, but also has to be able to edit photos and videos, for the work I perform here at CVC2.
And the budget was ‘as low as possible’. It may sound ambiguous, but it is what has defined my ‘strategy’ to assemble the computer by components, which goes through several phases. The first is the basic and essential, which was to select only motherboard, CPU and RAM. Because my initial intention was to ‘recycle’ the previous computer’s power supply and box, in addition to the hard drive, something that posed a frustrating issue was a slightly higher disbursement than expected.
The basics for a functional PC, and then I’ll buy the rest of the components
Considering what I said before, it was already clear that I wanted an Intel Kaby Lake CPU, but the performance differences between an i5 and an i7 were not enough – according to the benchmark – to cope with the overhead cost of choosing an Intel i7. I wanted an Intel i5 seventh generation, Kaby Lake, but the question was between the i5 7600 and i5 7600K. And here the differences are important, even when more thinking about the performance of video games, but when buying a CPU there is generally the possibility overclocking with high-end motherboards.
Having chosen the Intel i5 7600, I was now looking for a motherboard. I wanted it with the latest generation chip, but mid-range because I had already ruled out overclocking, so I opted for an Asrock H270 Pro4. Why this one and not another? Because in the first phase, when I still wasn’t going to buy a dedicated graphics card, I needed a motherboard with a D-SUB connection, because only one of the monitors that I use – out of two – has this connection. And no, I did not want an adapter.
The last of all this set was going to be RAM. And for my use of the computer, mainly for multitasking and for gaming while thinking about future needs, I decided on 16GB. The problem? This chipset limits the maximum usable frequency, in the first outlay I wanted an adjusted expense, and that I wanted to take advantage of the Dual Channel. So in this first purchase, only a 8GB to 2400 MHz HyperX FURY module. Is this enough? If I had not anticipated that my tower was not ATX, it would have been enough, but I realized at the last moment and I completed the purchase with a NOX Pax purchased ‘with urgency’ and a Cooler Master Hyper 212X, a fan for the CPU with 12-inch fan that fits in the pressure box – no joke, but the problem is the tower.
- Motherboard: Asrock H270 Pro4, 100 dollars
- CPU: Intel i5 7600K, 235 dollars
- Heatsink: Master Hyper 212X Cooler, 32 dollars
- RAM: HyperX FURY 8 GB, 55 dollars
- Tower: NOX Pax, 27 dollars
Total spent on the ‘first phase’: 449 dollars
I already have a functional computer, now all I need to do is complete it, make it a “Gaming’ Computer
So far, in my first purchase, I have already spent 457 dollars – which isn’t very much considering it’s capable of – and I already have a functional and perfectly operational computer. However, I do not have a Gaming PC yet which is what I was looking for from the beginning. But from the beginning of the construction piece by piece of the computer it was already clear that that (among other things) would come later, and among those things are the expansion of the RAM, an SSD and a graphics card. Specifically, the following components:
- SSD: SanDisk Ultra II 240 GB, 85 dollars
- Expansion of RAM: HyperX FURY 8 GB, 55 dollars
- Graphics card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB GDDR5, 235 dollars.
Total spent on the ‘first phase’: 375 dollars
With this second phase the computer being finished, the total cost of it would be 823 dollars for a configuration that, although it isn’t exactly the same as the clones, can go for 1,100 euros. However, it is also important to remember that I didn’t have to factor in the cost of a power supply – because I already had it – and a hard drive – because I ‘recycled’ that as well. I also saved money on is the Windows 10 license – which costs a buck – because it was also inherited by the new computer.
Advantages, Disadvantages, and What I Have Learned by Setting Up My Gaming PC Piece by Piece
As I said at the beginning, my idea of recycling the tower, the hard drive and the power supply was partially frustrating because I did not actually check the size of the tower, and it was not ATX. I found that the motherboard did not fit inside the PC tower that I had used before, and I had to run to the neighborhood computer store for the NOX Pax. Another problem that arose at this point, is that this tower does not have dust filters, nor has MOLEX connectors for the lighting LEDs and the front fan of the chassis – and only incorporates one. This was a serious fault.
But setting it up is tremendously simple. I already told you that I am not a hardware expert, but also not an absolute ‘noob’. In any case whatever you do not know how to do is on YouTube, or you can take advice in forums like tomshardware, or you can find the information in the manual of the motherboard and the rest of the components. Of course, remember that they are fragile components, and that the assembly must be done with much care.
The major advantage of setting up a component PC, which in my case was the decisive advantage, is that you choose how and when to spend your money on your new computer. First of all, as in my case you can set it up it progressively and have a good computer from the first minute without spending too much, even if you are building a real computer beast. And secondly, because you control the exact expenditure on each component, depending on usage, needs and budget.
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