are a beginner at computers, begin at your local small computer store.
For the purposes of buying parts you are much better off dealing with a small
store than a large chain or electronic warehouse, provided you get a good feeling about the place
when you walk in of course.
are used to dealing with computers in terms of individual components, so they
are better equipped to help you out. Tell them you are planning to build
your own PC. They will be able to make sure that the parts you get are compatible,
at least. You will have an idea of what you want the computer to do
once it's built, so go with that. Once you have all the parts on the list, it's
time to start building your computer.
Now, if it seems we've already skipped too many steps for you, I
suggest you have a peek at the PCSTATS ShoppingList - this
is a list of gear the staff here draw up each month for a few different price
ranges. The ShoppingList consists of computer components we'd actually
buy ourselves, and of course you're always encouraged to substitute your own
choices for what we've listed. At the very least you can use it as a
shopping list so you don't begin your
project missing that one vital component.
First though, a brief rant about static
This is where things may get a little argumentative. First things
first, there is no doubt that Electro-static discharge can destroy computer components.
Static Electricity is also known as ESD, or that shock you get when you touch
the doorknob after walking across the office carpeting.
The question is, how careful do
you have to be? Is it necessary to properly ground yourself with an
electrostatic wrist strap before touching computer components, or do you just exercise a few
I have to
admit I fall on the latter side, but I'm not the only
one. Walk into any of those small computer stores you see by the hundred in any
city, and go to the back. I'll bet you the guy up to his
elbows in computer parts there is not wearing a wrist-strap, most likely because he
is also the guy who is going to come out to
the front and try to sell you something too. Yet this store will
turn out computers as reliable on average as any other computer store you could
Sure you could say "what about
the big manufacturers? What about Dell? Don't their techs wear wrist straps?" I'm
sure they do. The thing is, I don't believe that Dell (as one example) has a
parts failure rate that is significantly lower than that of any other major or
minor manufacturer, and if there is a minor difference, it is going to be
because major manufacturers have a standardized quality control system in place
that your local AlphaBetaGamma computer store is not going to be able to
emulate. With a few simple precautions, I don't think we need to worry much
Simple precautions: Build your computer
on a hard surface, away from carpets if possible. Wear shoes and a short-sleeved
cotton shirt. Synthetic materials like polar fleece are
excellent static generators, so it's best to wear natural fibers which
don't create little lightning clouds everytime you shift your feet.
Use the anti-static bags that come with most computer components as mats to rest
the components on your workspace. If you often get static shocks in your home, it
may be a good idea to plug the power cord into your powersupply and turn
the switch at the back to the OFF position. You can then touch the metal case
of the power supply (or the unpainted metal area of the computer case if the
PSU is already mounted) to ground yourself while you work.
Be sure to unplug the power cord from the power supply before connecting any of the power cables to the components, however.