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How to Build Custom Computer Systems

by Paul Sanders

Custom computer system with blue running lights

Building your own computer system from scratch is a great way to have total control over its capabilities. Once you've built a custom computer system, you'll know exactly what your computer is capable of and how to upgrade it when the time comes. Here are some steps for assembling the right computer hardware.

Customizing a Computer System:

  1. Choose a computer case. Your desktop computer case holds all the components for your computer system. A computer case usually includes a power supply and a back panel. Some advanced cases will feature liquid-cooling systems, multiple computer fans and running lights.

  2. Install a compatible motherboard. The motherboard is the platform for your computer system. Most of your computer hardware connects to it. Make sure the motherboard fits the desktop PC case you've chosen and install it with any included panels and connections to the power supply.

  3. Insert a computer processor. Computer processors are the center of all computer systems. The processor slips into a socket on your motherboard. This also needs to be compatible with your motherboard to function. Take care when inserting the chip, as it is very fragile.

  4. Plug in computer memory sticks. A few gigabytes of RAM, in memory sticks, will insert into the memory slots on the motherboard. Your computer system will automatically recognize them. When choosing RAM, make sure that you use memory sticks with the proper interface for your motherboard. All memory sticks have to match in order to work together.

  5. Connect your hard drive and disc drives. Hard drives and optical disc drives will typically slide into slots near the front of the computer case. They connect to your computer system via cables to the motherboard.

  6. Add any expansion cards. As long as the expansion slots on your motherboard will accept them, you can install video cards, sound cards and other expansion devices to enhance your computer's performance. Check to be sure you have enough space to accommodate the video cards and that they use the same slots.

  7. Include any computer accessories. You may want to look at keyboards, mice and other input devices for controlling your computer systems. Webcams, microphones and other devices can give your computer additional abilities. Most computer accessories can connect to your computer system through USB ports on your computer.

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