Building Your Own PC: Our Perspective

Many of our blog posts thus far have focused on social media, marketing theory, virtual reality, and 360° video. It is ironic that we have discussed all of these things, but have never really delved deep into what actually makes them tick……the computer; the most magnificent piece of technology to impact the modern era. It is almost impossible to think what current day life would be like without the computer given that almost all of us use one on a day-to-day basis.

At RedFox we have been heavy into editing 360° and VR videos. Editing and rendering this type of video format requires a lot of processing power beyond just your standard laptop or desktop computer. In fact, even the Macbook Pro (which is known for its video capabilities) couldn’t appropriately handle the processing power needed to render our 360° 4K videos. You may be thinking to yourself, “How did you overcome this problem?” Well the answer is simple; we built one.

Buying A Pre-Built Computer: The Truth

Many people view building a computer to be a large undertaking where anything that can go wrong will go wrong. It is much easier to drive over to your local electronics store and buy a marked up already built computer because hey…..the people who built it must’ve known what they were doing. The sad fact is many of the computers sold in stores are built to be marked up with the illusion that you are getting a lot of processing power for the money; this is simply not true. It is possible to build your own computer for a fraction of the cost of buying a complete build in the store. The processing power alone of a custom PC make the electronics store computers pale in comparison. Based on our experience there are three things you are going to need if you’re going to build your own computer; parts, time, and patience. That’s it.

The Process

Before you decide to build a computer it’s important to answer why you’re building the computer and what primary purpose it will serve. Are you building it to play high resolution video games? Will it be for multimedia music and video editing? Are you building it for basic office work? Once you have this figured out you can begin researching parts and other completed builds people have done. In our case, we needed to build a computer that could edit high quality 360° 4K videos, play high resolution video games, and could handle multimedia video and music editing to some extent.

Luckily, there are many websites available to help you research and buy computer parts. Some popular websites include Newegg.com, PCPartPicker.com, and even amazon.com. For our build we decided to utilize PCPartPicker to research and select our parts (we actually recommend using PCPartPicker as it let’s you pick and combine parts using a compatibility filter to ensure that what you buy will actually work). PCPartPicker also gives you real-time pricing data on parts from vendors like Newegg, Best Buy, and Amazon to get the best bang for your buck.

The Parts

When it comes to building a computer the same parts will always be required no matter the build. Here is a list of the parts you will need in order to build a computer:

  • CPU – The main processing unit.
  • Motherboard – Acts as the “Hub” for all of your components so they can communicate with one another.
  • RAM (Random Access Memory) – Temporarily stores data and files for quick access.
  • Video Card – To display graphics.
  • CPU Cooler – To ensure that your CPU does not overheat.
  • HDD (Hard Disk Drive) – To store all of your data.
  • Power Supply – To power all of your components.
  • Case – To house all of your components
  • Operating System – Allows you to interact with the computer and manage all of your software and hardware.

Once you have your parts selected you can buy them from various vendors using PCPartPicker, or you can cross-reference your chosen parts through Amazon.com (if you have Amazon Prime the parts will be delivered in two-days).

The Build

Once you order your parts and have them delivered you’re well on your way to start building your computer. The first rule of thumb is to ALWAYS unbox your parts and build your computer on either a hard wood or static free surface. If any amount of static electricity were to reach your parts they will be destroyed and leave you feeling very angry. All of your parts should come included with manuals on how to connect the components to the motherboard and what components go where. The best manual to utilize (we discovered) would be your motherboard manual as this manual gives the most comprehensive overview of how to install and connect your components.

There is no “one way” to start building your computer and the components can be connected in any order. However, the below outline reflects how we assembled our computer in about 8 hours (mind you this was our first time and we were moving incredibly slow to make sure everything was connected properly).

Step 1: Install the CPU into the motherboard.

Step 2: Install the CPU Cooler (only if air cooled with an external fan housing).

Step 3: Install the RAM in the RAM card slots.

Step 4: Install the motherboard I/O shield into the case.

Step 5: Install the motherboard into the case.

Step 6: Install your CPU Cooler (only if liquid cooled).

Step 5: Connect all of the appropriate fans and the case power button to the motherboard.

Step 6: Install your HDD into the case.

Step 7: Install your power supply.

Step 8: Install your video card into the motherboard.

Step 9: Connect all of the necessary components to the power supply.

Step 10: Use zip strips to manage the wires in the case and seal the case with the case cover.

This is an image of the internal components to our computer
All of our connected components before powering up.

Once you have completed all of the above steps it is time to connect your computer to a monitor and plug it into power. Finally, the moment of truth has arrived and you can power on your computer. If everything is connected properly the computer should boot and your monitor should display the motherboard’s System Bios screen. It is here where you will complete Step 11 and install your chosen operating system. Once the operating system is installed you have successfully built your computer.

The completed build of our computer.
Our completed build.

As we stated above, all computers are different in terms of processing power and what it can accomplish. CPU’s, RAM, and the motherboard type will all vary according to what you want. At the end of the day building your own computer will always be more cost effective and allows you to be creative with the components that you choose to install. We can confirm however since building our computer we have cut down our video rendering time from over 45 minutes to less than 10. You don’t have to be a tech geek to build a computer. You just need have a goal, do your research, and be prepared to exert a lot of patience to build the computer of your dreams….at least for three years.

 

*Below you will find a listing of the computer parts we selected to build our computer.

 

CPU: Intel Core i7 7700

Motherboard: MSI Arsenal Gaming Intel Z270 DDR4 HDMI USB 3 CrossFire ATX Motherboard

CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H100i v2 Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler

HDD: WD Black 2TB Performance Desktop Hard Disk Drive – 7200 RPM

RAM: G.Skill Ripjaw V Series 16GB

Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW

Power Supply: EVGA SuperNova 650 G1, 80+ Gold 650W

Operating System: Windows 10 Home (64 bit)

Case: Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-02 Mid Tower Gaming Case

 

Nick Myers is a Partner at RedFox Creative. For more information or to leave a comment, use the contact form below. We’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

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