Question on building PCs

By Zurles · 35 replies
Dec 11, 2006
  1. i'm completly new to anything to do with building computers etc and have no idea how hard it is to install anything, but i really want to get good at it, and im the kind of person that sticks at things and gives it his all.

    few questions

    if i bought a crappy $500 dolar computer, and then 5 years later it blows, can i modify every aspect of that computer to make it be able to play the best game nowadays? could i replace the motherboard, upgrade the ram to 2k, change the graphics card, change the cpu, without actualy purchasing a new computer? what are the limits?

    also.. has anyone got a guide or knows where i can learn how to be as knowledgable at modifieng and building computers as some of u guys are?

  2. halo71

    halo71 TS Rookie Posts: 1,090

    I am no expert at building PC's. But if that thing is that old I would say start over, buy all new stuff.

    What are the limits you ask? That's up to you! How much you want to spend. Sky's the limit.

    Also, if you search this site. You will find an abundance of information on building a PC.
  3. Zurles

    Zurles TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 94

    my computer spec is

    2.50ghz p4

    geforce fx 5700 le 256mb

    1024mb of something like pic1900 ram,

    this is my problem, i want to be able to run the newest games on the highest graphics the cheapest way possible. so i need a new gfx card and new ram and probably new processor, and also my motherboard is bad so i can only run low quality memory, and i only have 2 RAM slots. is it possible to upgrade? i dont tons of money to spend, im from uk and i have like £500 total max, thats almost $1000 dollars so what to do
  4. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,975   +9

    That is, basically, purchasing a new computer. Building them can save you a lot of money. If you are looking to do these things, we would need to know your budget.
    Remember that talent takes practice and most of us, at one point, knew nothing about computers. If I find a guide, I'll repost, but you should also receive help from the forums as well. If you are looking to build a new computer, I would post a new thread in the "CPU" section of the website. List;
    a. Your budget
    b. You expectations
    c. Your knowledge level
    d. Your preferences

    Good Luck!!!
  5. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    I have built many pc's so you can always count on my help!!:)
  6. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    To answer your example - Yes you could replace the motherboard, along with that you'd have to get a new cpu because old cpus don't fit into new motherboards, different sockets/pin configurations.

    Building computers is far easier than most people that don't build them think. You really can't screw it up too bad because things only fit in 1 spot and in 1 direction. The harder problem is getting it to boot up the first time and begin installing your OS.

    As far as a guide, I believe there is one on this site somewhere, but really what you should do is take the side of your case off and then look at things in there, take the cards out, see how the drives are hooked up, ect. I wouldn't mess with your CPU heatsink or fan though, that part is easy enough to get right when you build and something you don't want to mess with if its working properly (not overheating).

    Places like newegg are great for getting the components you need. I find it is easier to first come up with a general idea of what you want to build and then choose a motherboard. Build everything around the motherboard.

    Things that are motherboard specific (not necessarly brand, but type) are:
    Video Card
    and now Hard Drives (IDE/PATA vs SATA)

    After that you'd need to pick out stuff like a case, powersupply, keyboard, monitor.

    You can upgrade just about any computer, but at some point you've reached the max the motherboard supports (processor/ram).

    You could build a whole new pretty good computer for under $1000 easy. Here is some parts from a recent build of mine:
    Get a better Video Card (that one was actually for another build) and a better motherboard, ignore that top thing, ignore the external enclosure, get a case, and add a hard drive and you are set.
  7. Zurles

    Zurles TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 94

    hmm seems confusing, so
    Video Card
    Hard Drives
    power supply?
    is what i need to buy?

    cant i use the power supply and case of my current computer.. i dont get it
  8. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    You might be able to use your case if it isn't too cramped (check the size of the motherboards you are considering). Likely can't use the power supply, it may be too weak. Not enough watts/amps.
  9. Zurles

    Zurles TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 94

    Do you know somewhere where i can list the things i need and check price, similar to your table you posted
  10. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,182   +469

    Yes. Go to, register and set up a wish list. Add/subtract potential components to the list and it will keep a running total of the cost. If any prices change (as they do from day to day), the list automatically changes. Also, if any items go out of stock, it will tell you automatically. You save the wish list and you can go back to it anytime later to work on it.

    The list above appears to be taken from Newegg too, but from an invoice which is after the items were purchased.
  11. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,273

  12. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Posts: 302

    Try to learn as much as you can before actually starting the build. That might be kinda hard, since most of the learning comes from actually building it. Before my first build, I did s***loads of research beforehand.

    I did a lot of Google searches for guides, and while reading the guides, if I didn't get certain terminology or certain procedures, then I would open yet another window and Google that too...Endlessly reading threads in PC tech forums (such as this) also helped too.

    The less confusion you have before starting the build, the easier it will be.

    As for help with selection of the parts, you still need to tell us (what cfitzarl said before): Your budget, expectations, knowledge, preferences, etc.

    Also try to do research on the parts you're interested in. Google them up for official reviews and ratings, and see if it matches your expectations.
    Always remember, an informed buyer is more likely to be a satisfied buyer!!

    Good luck with your build :)
  13. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,273

    Yes, good luck with your build. After you build make sure to stick around Techspot and show some pictures of final build ;)

    Do what Grafficks said about doing a crapload of Research so when you get the parts you can get the build done in 2-3 hours ( it's that easy ;) ) instead of 6 years :haha:

    If you have any more questions you know where to ask ;)
  14. kyleman

    kyleman TS Rookie Posts: 91

    For my first ever build to be complete i still need a 400w ps...but i aint got **** $$..dag nabbit
  15. sw123

    sw123 TS Rookie Posts: 595

    I've only built one PC in my life, but im gonna build another one soon. He wants a multimedia/gaming pc(my customer) and he wants to spend $1000. If you want, I can give you his specs that im gonna build for him. Also, I found a website that has computers around $1000, its quality, and it is The book they published taught me to build PC's, and they have many recommendations :) They also show you how to build computer easily. The book is probably around $29.95, and it is called "Dude, you can do it! How to build a sweeet PC" Try it!

  16. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,273

    Why pay for a book on how to build computers when he can get help from us / google? ;)
  17. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    Well said!! We are here to help!! Use us!!:)
  18. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,273

    Yeah we are better teachers then any book ;)
  19. sw123

    sw123 TS Rookie Posts: 595

    well, ok but it has like pics and stuff...maybe tht book is at you local library, id at least search.
  20. Grafficks

    Grafficks TS Rookie Posts: 302

    Books might not exactly be the best choice to learn how to build a computer. The best way is to either research off the internet, or read the manuals that come with the hardware you buy.

    Why? Because "new" computer hardware is very quickly outdated, in about six months.

    Even the most recent computer-building book would only explain stuff about how to install a graphics an AGP slot!!
    And it will give a preview on "upcoming next-gen dual-core processors", which are now not so "next-gen" anymore..

    So basically my point is very few books can explain the most up-to-date info on PC building. Books take time to be written then published. However, the stuff you can learn from a book are the universal facts about PC building, stuff that will not change as time progresses.

    egh..well that's what I think! :)
  21. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,273

    Yeah I agree with Grafficks, Books get outdated real quick but Internet guides / Forums are always up to date because they can be easily updated at anytime, So if you ever have questions just ask here :D
  22. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Still, there are a lot of know-nothings who write books and magazines and flyers on how to build computers. About PC is one of them. They will suggest such things as "Blow out the case with compressed air, or suck out the air with a vacuum cleaner, when those both generate ruinous static electricity.
    I suspect many of these people are writers who have actually worked on five computers or less. There is a lot of dangerous information out there.
    You can luck out on building your computer, but you are at risk if you don't have experience at doing it.

    As Maimonides once said, "Just because it is in books doesn't mean it is true."

    Anybody can write a book. Anybody can write a magazine article.

    Did you know that half the writers for the major computer magazines are journlists, rather than technicians or engineers.
  23. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    blowing and vacuuming computers is not dangerous if you ground yourself and the computer. NOT doing cleaning at all is worse.
  24. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,388

    Just because one has 5 years experience in an area doesn't mean someone with less experience cannot be equal to them in that area or even better. Many people on this website have less than 5 years experience, myself included, and I most of us could probably write computer building guides too.

    PS. Techspot people PWN books!
  25. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,273

    I agree with MetalX, Techspot does pwn books :haha:

    Also he is right... More years of experience doesnt mean they are better then less years of experience, I been building computers for almost a year and I know more then some people who been building for longer then I have :D
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