Purchasing a Custom Computer for Beginners

This will be a small guide on how to best set yourself up to purchase a first computer. Most guides want to focus on the pricing and make that the most important aspect of finding a computer. 

But there is a great deal of additions to consider before purchasing a computer than just spending thousands of dollars.

Before moving on about how to purchase a computer, here is a layout of a guide-line to follow along with and the steps I normally take when it comes to find a computer I would like to purchase.

  1. My Goal for purchasing the computer
  2. My Budget for what I am willing to spend
  3. Accessories that I might need to add to stay within the budget
  4. Layout of the space in which my computer will be
  5. Supporting your goal with the right components
  6. Double checking components for compatibility, longevity, and pricing
  7. Committing to the time investment

*An abundance to cover, but make note that the first two steps are more aimed to those who want to purchase a prebuilt computer. The rest of the steps are more focused on a custom computer as there is more thought required when considering to buy a computer that will be built. 

To help everyone fully understand the process of building a computer, and making sure to not fall into the same mistakes I and most of the world has made, make sure to have all the necessary tools available from the beginning. 

It can be very frustrating when initially starting and definitely the most satisfying when all the pieces come together. So stick with me as we go through this journey together!

The Goal for purchasing a Computer

The goal before even purchasing a computer should be a focal point. Now everyone have things that they want and this is not different from choosing a car or house, it is an investment. 

Does the appearance have appeal? What does the inside look like? How efficient is it?How much is it going to cost? What are the other items that might help support this purchase? 

These are the questions that are asked for any avenue of making a large payment. So keep theses in mind when moving through the rest of this article.

Having a goal for what you specifically require should already be laid out so there will be no second guessing or over spending when getting into this beforehand. Not only will you have a better idea of a dream computer, but there is a list and a plan which will help set up for a better success. 

Budget

Now looking into budget,  the first thing that is needed is to know how much parts and such might cost. Having a rough estimate will allow a better understanding of how much the budget is set at. 

Having a total and knowing the existing prices is not realistic as there might be a gaming computer for $1500 but realize that the things you need might increase that number to well over $2000. 

Things can and will constantly change that is life and this is the best way to lay out a solid financial plan. (Increase set account for a few extra $300 or so just in case)

It is also important to have this plan for a budget as shopping for a computer can be tedious when having that salesman talking you into buying more than what was originally planned. 

My first time looking at a computer parts I person at Fry’s Electronics, I had a total of 4 people trying to talk to me and sell better parts or adding extra pieces for my computer (This was all to just boost their sales numbers).

Here is a small list of thresholds for computers to visually set the stage for your success.

  • $1000 (computer probably without a graphics card, used more for storage and basic use, some prebuilt computers have graphics cards in this range, basic processing power)
  • $1500 (basic computer for gaming, has graphics card with some solid components for gaming, but lack luster in storage, might have an SSD, solid processing power)
  • $2000 (Getting into the range where most of your components are very good for gaming or even 3d art, has plentiful amount of storage for extras such as photos but could bog down computer if you use up too much storage, usually has SSD and even a HDD at the same time)
  • $2500 (the very high end of computer parts, you get everything you are looking for such as graphics, storage, processing power, usually has two large SSD storages, if you have seen the shiny computers this is what those usually look like, this level of computer will last you years if taken care of properly)
  • $3000+ (we are still going up?! This is the range where people have gone to the next level and have multiple computers connected to run 3-5 screens at the same time, this takes a lot of time to set up as well as money)

Remember that most of these ranges are rough estimates to give a better idea of what items to look for when purchasing parts and/or prebuilt computers. By having visuals for reference helped a great deal when I first looked at parts for my computer.

Accessories and prices to consider in the budget

Along with the budget that was covered in the last section, now there is a need to factor in some of the accessories that will be thrown in, because who doesn’t like flashy lights or super shiny toys. 

This could be a few things from mice, keyboard, monitors, desk, chair, etc. These could throw anyone a curve ball when considering that there is a budget so let’s take a look at some accessories and rough estimates.

  • Monitors ($150)
  • Desk ($200-500)
  • Chair ($150-300)
  • Mouse ($50-100)
  • Keyboard ($80-150)
  • Mouse Pad ($5-20)
  • Headset ($60-150)
  • Speakers ($20-200)

Like I said before, rough estimates there could be a headset out there that will run up to $400 or even speakers around the same price. It is all based on goals/ideals and what the end result will be. Make sure when coming up with a good budget to look into this section to make sure to get an accurate cost.

I know when first building a custom computer, it was tempting to get all the things.

For example, on top of the main components for the computer, there was a headset, a keyboard, a mouse, and speakers that would change color, and you get the idea. It is not realistic for most to want to spend more money than they have too, especially only for the smaller accessories.

Environment of computer

This is my favorite part as I’m sure we all love to look at a brand new home and speculate how things are going to sit and be at THIS angle. This is much of the same and is by far another important piece of making a computer last. 

Majority of this can be achieved even before spending an insane amount of money on a computer. Some things to take account for are as follows:

  • Desk size
  • Room size
  • Space around computer for air circulation 
  • How many monitors will you be using
  • Will you have speakers instead of a headset

These all play a part that creates a whole which makes the amount of space very important to have for all the computer items. Having a large desk could change things in a big way as it might require to put the computer in a different room depending on room size. Same thing goes for the space around the computer. 

If the desk is larger it might hold more things such as computer monitors but lack the space to support good air flow. Finally having additives like speakers instead of a headset will occur with small amounts of clutter and this will effect your space. 

All of these things effect future purchases as it could determine if a smaller or larger desk is needed, a different computer monitor, or even a computer case. Even the smaller things can make a big impact with every decision! 

Supporting your goal with the right components

Moving back to the underlined goal for purchasing a computer, having a goal as stated above was the most important thing. But what if I told you the most important wasn’t the actual goal, but supporting your goal.

For example, if the goal is to get in shape, it might be in your best interest to support that and eat healthy right? For purchasing a computer, the goal works the same way. So get the needed support by buying the most optimal components for that.

Research is the key here as it will give a guide on how to understand specific parts that are essential for your custom PC. Having this tailored to your end result will give the best computer for you. 

This will allow for better equipped know how to later repairing, upgrading, or replacing components down the line if they go bad. Combining knowledge with the budget will only enhance the vision of your computer whether it is one you built or even a prebuilt computer. Knowledge is power my friend!

Know what you are buying

Pulling back to the research part, this is playing into most of what has been covered so far. Even if purchasing a prebuilt computer, just knowing all the components and what is being bought is crucial in this process. 

Not only will there be a better understanding of what you are buying, it will help later down the road if there are upgrades for your computer or replace parts. You will know exactly what parts that are required to be replaced, what parts work together and so on.

little research goes a long way and I can’t stress this part enough. When first building a computer or even purchasing one, just knowing the components could save you a lot of money from the people trying to sell you more expensive PC’s. The place to begin would be the major components and then work your way down the list:

  1. Processor
  2. Motherboard
  3. Graphics Card
  4. RAM
  5. Power Supply
  6. Computer Case
  7. Extra cords if needed
  8. Extra Fans if needed
  9. Coolant
  10. Disk Drive

Committing to the time investment

The last thing to cover is one of the simple tasks but most difficult to take on. Commit to the time. It does take quite a bit of time to build your first ever computer. Even the second or third one takes awhile to put together. 

You have a goal, create a plan, get a budget, research parts, purchase the parts, and when they all finally arrive, putting it all together. This can be time consuming and maybe the most frustrating as you just want to have your PC now! 

However if  just coming into the process with an open mind, and accept the time constraints and have the resolve to just do it, it will be best and most satisfying success when diving into this journey and seeing the end result.

Don’t rush, and have fun with it. You will find much more joy in building your custom PC as I did when creating my very first computer.

The End Result

Thanks for sitting through this one. If you have made it to the end here, I hope you have a better idea where to begin when it comes to building your computer and getting into the tech world. 

Let me know if this content has help you in anyway, I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment or send me an email to let me know how things went for you building a computer at Tekchaser@gmail.com. Until the next one, bye!