Computers are pretty amazing. They open up the world to us through the Internet, connect us to family and friends we never get to see and they provide us with copious amounts of entertainment. They also cost a lot of money.
A decent Mac laptop can run you easily $1,200 or more, while “extreme gaming machines” by Alienware or Origin can cost around $3,000. However, Building your own computer cannot only be pretty easy with the right information, but it can also save you tons of money. A $3,000 Alienware machine can cost you roughly $1,000 if you build it yourself — even cheaper if you do not need the most powerful parts.
(CU Independent/Zachary Cook)
I built my first PC with the high school graduation money I received from family and friends. It was enough to build a good one: 2 ATI Radeon 5700 GPU’s, an Intel Core i-7 930 processor, 6 GB of 1333 MHz RAM, and a quality Asus motherboard and Crosair power supply. With the help of some computer-building guides I successfully put it all together.
Everything just turned on.
That moment when the computer turned on, didn’t explode and just worked felt amazing. Building a computer yourself can be a truly rewarding experience, so I wish to share the process of building one with you, a fellow CU student, so that you too can experience the benefits and satisfaction.
Will Smith, editor of Tested.com, said he builds computers for a variety of reasons including personal satisfaction.
“I build desktops for a few reasons, pride of ownership, difficulty of getting exactly the machine I want for a good price,” Smith said. “Homebrew machines are also more upgradeable, and they don’t come pre-installed with a bunch of garbage software.”
Computer science students around campus mostly agreed that building a computer is worthwhile. Hannah Thomas, a 19-year-old sophomore computer science major, said that she hopes to one day apply her education by developing computer software.
(CU Independent/Zachary Cook)
“I’ve never built a computer before, but I’d like to someday write the operating software for one,” Thomas said.
But why build a PC?
It’s cheap. The prices for most desktops and laptops are outrageous, but building one yourself can save you tons of money by giving you more value for your dollar.
It can be a lot of fun. With the right information, building a custom PC will be easy, and you’ll learn a lot.
The satisfaction. Like mentioned earlier, there is nothing quite like building something and having it work.
With this in mind, here are the parts:
The best place to order parts for a custom PC is Newegg.com and Amazon.com. Both are unanimously praised as the best places to shop for PC parts, but places like Tigerdirect.com and Microcenter are just as good.
As for the Buff Build I recommend? Three are appropriate for different budgets. These PC’s are built without Windows, which you can get for free as a CU student here.
Three PC Buff Builds:
The budget HTPC build: This PC is not only affordable, but perfect if all you want to do with your computer is surf the web, email, watch movies, or do some light gaming. This computer can always be used with a normal computer monitor too, even though the computer is planned with TV use in mind.
The middle ground: Don’t want a small HTPC, but a normal custom built PC? Then look to this build!
The Buff Build: This is the build that is in the pictures throughout this article. The best of both worlds, this mini-ITX computer is small enough to be by a TV, but has just as much power as bigger sized builds. Perfect companion to bring to LAN parties! I just built this myself, and it runs great! “Borderlands 2” on the big screen TV with all the graphics settings maxed out is the best way to get loot with your buddies.
At first, building a computer can seem overwhelming, but with the right information it can be pretty manageable. With the parts I picked out and the right guide, in a couple hours you should have your very own custom built PC. The benefits outweigh the time investment, since getting so much media for free—and legally—makes building a custom PC, especially for the TV, the best value for your dollar.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Zachary Cook at Zachary.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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