Google ‘How to build a PC’ and you’ll soon find yourself treading water among some 480 million results. You don’t need 480 million results, so I’ve compiled a few of the most useful sites (comprising hardware/ software guides and forums) I bookmarked during the process.
Digital Foundry’s £300 PC
The warlocks at Digital Foundry build a console-pummelling PC for a paltry £300. That’s less than the price of three Nintendo Wiis! This should be to you what the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne was to young Brucey: your get up and go.
The chaps at DF talk budgeting, parts and a little about piecing things together, but it’s mostly a benchmarking exercise with video comparisons of a selection of recent games vs. their console counterparts. Basically, if that’s what they can conjure up with £300, you should come away feeling pretty good about things.
Ars Technica’s How-To-Hardware (Must-Read)
Extensive, informative and well-penned step-by-step guide to buying and building all the way up to BIOS. Includes big pictures, vaguely terrifying videos and plenty of opinion.
Ars Technica’s How-To-Software
Part deus of Ars’ DIY guide, handling all things post-build: BIOS, Windows installation and driver updates. Another good guide but be sure to read the BIOS section of your motherboard manual as well.
Hardware Heaven’s How-To
Not quite as up-to-date or extensive as the Ars guide but it’s cleaner and easier to follow, hacking away all the blubber and leaving an incisive how-to guide to throwing all your parts together and pressing the on switch. Plenty of pictures and useful tips. Worth having open in a tab when it comes to building.
Eurogamer’s Budget Gaming PC Thread
Extremely knowledgable group of gamers/builders that helped time and again with my prospective build. 77 pages rammed full of questions and answers with a few jokes thrown in for good measure.
Hardware-Revolution’s Monumental Parts & Budgeting Guide (Must-Read)
A riff on the Falcon Guide, Hardware-Revolution’s colour-coordinated, multi-tiered parts guide is colossal, must-read material for before you start Googling parts and prices.
Hardware-Revolution’s 10 Quick Tips for 1st Time PC Builders
I’ll let you work it out.
Tom’s Hardware’s 23 Troubleshooting Steps for a Naughty Newborn PC (Must-Read)
23 steps to wheedle a naughty PC into turning on. This should be your first port of call in the event of silence, accompanied by the faint smell of burning metal. Tips like: “Did you remove the plastic guard over the CPU socket?” live alongside those of a less humbling nature: “Have you tried resetting the CMOS?” No, not the cosmos. The CMOS! GOT THAT?
Tom’s Hardware is generally a great destination for anything PC related.
How to Partition a Hard Drive in Windows 7
This happy chappy will walk you through the partitioning and formatting process for any additional hard drives or SSDs. Easy enough once you know how.