The Basic Components of a Desktop Computer Build

We are going to keep it short and simple for you.

These are the basic components of any desktop computer build.
You must buy all of these parts to have a functioning desktop.
This information is “evergreen” and will not change with time.

Computer Parts List

  1. CPU
  2. Motherboard
  3. Memory
  4. Hard Drive
  5. Power Supply Unit
  6. Case

There are a few optional parts as well.
If your CPU does not come with a fan/cooler, you will need a CPU fan.
If your CPU does not have integrated graphics, you will need a separate graphics card.
If you plan on gaming, you will need a graphics card.
If your motherboard does not have built-in WiFi, you may need a wireless card or adapter.

Explanation of Parts

CPU: The CPU is the computer’s processor or brain. It will handle all the tasks you run. Several options are available at any given moment, and it can be quite confusing on which brand you should choose, such as Intel or AMD. And even when you narrow it down to a brand, the “Generation” constantly changes. That is why we suggest you research before buying any CPU.

There are a few things to look out for with a CPU that can determine the rest of your build. Mainly, does it have integrated graphics, and what does it mean? Integrating graphics is a great option if you are only using your computer for work because you do not need a separate graphics card. You can save a lot of money this way. However, if you are gaming and don’t have integrated graphics, you must buy a separate graphics card.

Motherboard: The motherboard, aka mobo is like the veins of the computer allowing all the different components to interact with one another. You can’t pick any mobo; you must get one that matches the “socket” of your CPU. Once you narrow down the socket, you can decide whether you want built-in WiFi, or extra expansion slots.

Your motherboard size will have to match the computer case you decide to build in. The sizes are Mini ATX, Micro ATX, ATX, E-ATX. Don’t buy a full-sized mobo if you want to fit it all in a micro case.

Computer Memory aka RAM: RAM, or Random Access Memory, acts as a current deck of processes and handles as many tasks as possible in the cache rather than from the hard drive. In today’s computing world, you should probably get at least 16GB of RAM for any build. The price has come down enough to make this possible. You must also match your RAM to your motherboard. Most mobos handle DDR4, but you can easily tell when you buy it.

Hard Drive Hard Drive is the physical storage of the computer. This is where your Operating System(Windows) and programs will install. The prices have come down a lot, so you will most likely get an SSD drive for much faster operations. Typically a build will have a 500GB SSD for the OS, and if you need extra storage for large files, a lot of pictures, videos, etc., you would buy a second 1TB or larger HDD for extra space. Many offices now have network-attached storage, so you may not need to store all the files on your desktop.

Power Supply Unit aka PSU: Not a lot to say about PSU’s. They are pretty universal and fit most computer cases. For a light work machine, a 500w will do. If you’re going to build a gaming computer, maybe a 650w is a better idea. But you almost can’t go wrong with picking a PSU. They have the proper fitting and cables to hook to your computer.

Computer Case: The tower or case is mostly a personal preference. Some look really cool, and some are very basic. The only real thing to look out for is the size. You have to decide the size of your computer when picking a case and match the motherboard to the case. These are the sizes from smallest to largest. Mini ATX, Micro ATX, ATX, E-ATX. So in a way, you might want to pick your case first, then build around it.

Graphics Card: This is a whole new level of building and goes beyond the basic elementary components of a PC. If you are building a gaming computer, you will need a GFX card and a basic idea of what card to buy. The market for GFX cards is ever-evolving at a fast rate, so one week’s technology can be next month’s relic. If you are ready to pick a card, do a lot of current research on the matter. Youtube is full of recent reviews that match your favorite games.

If you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment, and we’ll help you out.

Scroll to Top