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How To Build a PC


  • Case: If a computer is like a brain, the case is the head that houses it all. Because we’re trying to build a small, TV-friendly PC, you might consider Fractal Design’s minimalistic Node 304 Mini ITX case. There are plenty of cheaper Mini ITX cases out there, but Fractal Design’s build quality, noise minimization, and cooling qualities are excellent.
  • CPU: You know the part of your brain that does the whole ‘conscious thought’ process? That’s a CPU, which comes in two main brands, AMD or Intel. AMD processors tend to be less expensive, so we’re picking the AMD A8-3870K, a solid 3 GHZ processor that, won’t break the bank.
  • Motherboard: Functioning like your nervous system, the motherboard is the bit all the other bits plug into so they can communicate. Since the processor’s an AMD that uses an F1 socket, and the case is designed for the Mini ITX form factor, you’ll need a compatible motherboard. ASRock’s A75M-ITX is a highly-rated mobo, it’s fairly inexpensive.
  • Graphics Card: Taking on the visual processing duties is the graphics card, which interprets the data it’s given to create coherent images. Sapphire’s take on AMD’s Radeon HD 7770  won’t be running games at 4K resolution, but it won’t have a hard time running most games at pleasing settings in 1080p either.
  • Hard Drive: Without long-term memory, we’d be like Drew Barrymore in that movie where she forgot stuff all the time. A hard drive is the device that stores a computer’s data. For our purposes, a 7200 RPM drive is fine. For this build, we’re running with a simple 500 GB Seagate drive.
  • Memory: If a hard-drive is long-term memory, then RAM, or memory, is a computer’s short-term memory. Data is taken from the slower long-term memory and streamed to the short term memory, which is where the CPU processes the data it’s been given. Many people have been recommending picking up Samsung’s new 30nm RAM, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s fast, inexpensive for 4GB, and draws less power than standard memory.
  • Power Supply: Without a power supply, your computer won’t run, so it should go without saying that you’ll want to pick a good one. In my experience, power supply issues have accounted for nearly all computer-related mishaps, so it’s a good idea to pick a supply from a trusted brand. My personal favorite is Corsair, you can’t really go wrong with their CX 600 series.
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