Part III

Useful Links

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

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/df-hardware-introducing-the-digital-foundry-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)

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2011/04/how-to-build-your-own-computer-ask-ars-diy-series-part-i/

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

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2011/04/ask-ars-computer-building-diy-series-part-ii-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 

http://www.hardwareheaven.com/articles.php?articleid=132

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

http://www.eurogamer.net/forum/thread/158311

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)

http://www.hardware-revolution.com/computer-systems/gaming-pc/

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

http://www.hardware-revolution.com/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)

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/261145-13-perform-steps-posting-boot-video-problems

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

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/windows7/ht/partition-hard-drive-windows-7.htm

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.

 

Part IV: Budgeting & Parts

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