Do It Yourself – Custom Spec & Build Your Very Own Personal Computer

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This piece was written for readers who like to “Do It Yourself” and engage in building something with their hands that is not just technical, but simple and fun.

I started out with a brief description of each component that is vital to the operation of any system. Followed by my recommendations of components that should be used based on cost, quality, and experience dealing with them.

Processor

A processor is a logic circuitry that responds to and processes the basic instructions that drive a computer. The four primary functions of a processor are: fetch, decode, execute and write.

Recommendation: The Intel Core i5 processor, which I recommend for everyday office use. With the introduction of newer technology, this will soon become the minimum for home use once cost stays low.

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Hard Drive

Hard drives are used to load the operating system, install applications and programs, and store data and information. Hard drives come in various sizes and can store data from a whole other computer’s hard drive.

Recommendation: When looking to buy or source a hard drive I would recommend a 1 TB hard drive. These go for around 450 TTD – 550 TTD based on the brand.

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Another nifty idea I have started to utilize is the use of Solid State Drive (SSD) Hard Drive. Solid State Drives do not have moving parts as they do not use magnetic platters as the 1 TB hard drive. This is why they are called Solid State Drives, as their data storage uses flash memory.

Using an SSD as the primary bootable (startup) drive and the 1 TB hard drive as the secondary data drive allows for the computer system to boot quickly and perform fast when using applications, programs, and retrieving data stored on the drive. Data stored on the secondary 1 TB hard drive can be of any size and it will not compromise the integrity of the system performance.

An SSD hard drive with 256 GB capacity usually goes for around 550 TTD and a 500 GB for around 1200 TTD.

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Random Access Memory (RAM)

RAM is volatile memory, and loses stored information when power is lost. RAM is the place in a computing device where the operating system, application programs, and data in current use are kept so they can be quickly reached by the device’s processor.

Recommendation: With the most recent operating system Windows 10 on the market, the use of RAM in PC’s also had to step up. Based also on the type of motherboard that is being used, a minimum of 8GB DDR4 is recommended for optimal performance. With the visually appealing and colourful experience Windows 10 has to offer, this amount of RAM will allow you to stream, surf the Internet, and run multiple programs all at the same time with minimal disruption..

8GB DDR4 RAM start around 850 TTD.

4

Motherboard

While there are a multitude of motherboard brands and models for different processors and different use, they all do one thing:  bring all components together, to connect and work with each other.

Recommendation: Below is an example of an ASUS Motherboard which has the capability to work effectively with DDR4 memory, DVI, HDMI, and VGA for connecting a monitor.

Cost for a motherboard like this is around 1700 TTD.

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Power Supply Unit (PSU)

PSU supplies power to the PC and all components connected. While most CPU cases come with a power supply unit they are usually not giving you the fully advertised 600 watts, nor are they running at optimum capacity when needed. This is where most users have a slamming computer system and the power always seem to cut off or not boot.

A known fact is that a power supply unit should be chosen based on the power the motherboard and its combined components installed and working to peak performance will require. Choosing any reputable brand name that operates consistently in normal use and at peak hours is a must.

Recommendation: Below is an example of a good power supply unit which cost 400 TTD – 800 TTD based on brand and watts.

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Central Processing Unit (CPU) Case

There are various cases available out there from low end to server type, to ones used for gaming. What should be looked at is one that can fit the motherboard chosen and the other parts that will be installed in the unit. In addition, you should ensure that this case has enough space for ventilation, and enough fan outlets for proper cooling.

Recommendation: Choose a case based on the components’ sizes and with sufficient ventilation. A low cost case which can do this job cost about 250 TTD – 400 TTD depending on your selection.

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Monitor

Monitors have evolved from those old-timey-looking Televisions (called CRT) to flat wide screen LED display devices. Even the connection has evolved from VGA to DVI, HDMI, and even Bluetooth.

VGAVideo Graphics Array is usually blue in color on the motherboards and on the cable to connect to the monitor.

DVIDigital Visual Interface is used to connect a video source to a display device such as a computer monitor.
HDMIHigh-Definition Multimedia Interface transfers audio and video uncompressed from an HDMI-compliant source to a compatible computer monitor.

Recommendation: A few things you should look for when purchasing is the video connection type for your computer. Using the motherboard example mentioned earlier in this article, you can integrate with either VGA, HDMI, or DVI monitor once available at the computer store. Another consideration is the size of the monitor, which is usually measured diagonally.

Monitors these days come in sizes 19 inches to 32 inches, and vary in cost due to the size and brand. Monitors start from 850 TTD – 2500 TTD.

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Operating System

While most of the world loved Windows XP it was truly outdated and insecure. It’s the same love most users have for Windows 7. However, support for Windows 7 will end in 2020.

I have always been an advocate for newer technology and since Windows 10’s launch in 2015 the software has become much more stable and user friendly. Not to mention you will have to pay a high amount to get any other operating system besides this version.

Windows 10 is a home version and Windows 10 Pro is a workstation version which has added features such as: all that come with Windows 10 (home version), plus sophisticated connectivity, privacy tools, ability to join Domains, Group Policy Management, Bitlocker, Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer, Remote Desktop, Client Hyper-V and Direct Access.

Windows 10 Home 64 bit cost 850 TTD and Windows 10 Pro cost 1550 TTD

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Conclusion

My recommendations to get or build a good personal computer system:

  1. Intel Core i5 Processor
  2. 1TB Hard Drive (Optional – 500 GB SSD Primary and 1 TB HDD Secondary)
  3. 8GB DDR4 RAM (Minimum)
  4. ATX Motherboard with VGA, HDMI and DVI ports that are also DDR4 compliant
  5. Brand name Power Supply Unit with minimum 600 watts output
  6. ATX CPU Case with enough room for ventilation and space to fit all components
  7. 19-23 inch Monitor (based on your budget)
  8. Windows 10 Home/Pro (based on your budget)
Maurice

Projects|Facility|Technology Lead|

This entry has 7 replies

  1. Akil says:

    Very informative but can you give more examples on the differences between a Hard Drive and a SSD.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Very innovative

  3. Anonymous says:

    This breakdown is just what someone who is not an IT tech needs…Like me, lol

  4. Anonymous says:

    Great information, very easy to understand.

  5. Devon Kissoon says:

    Very informative and well written piece Maurice!

  6. Stacy-Ann Guerra says:

    easy to understand and detailed!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Nice piece 🙂