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Table Of Contents  How to Build Your Own PC - Save A Buck And Learn A Lot
 9  Chapter 2: Component Overview

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Basic Steps in Building Your PC

Building your own PC involves selecting and buying a few key components (see Figure 1) and then connecting them together with ribbon cables (Figure 2) and other standard connectors that are usually provided with the components. For example, most power connectors come permanently attached to the power supply which itself usually comes with your computer case.


Figure 1: All the parts you need to build your own PC, except the case

In front is a mainboard with RAM, CPU, and heatsink installed. Above the mainboard are an AGP video card and a PCI modem card. To the left is the hard drive with its ribbon cable. To the right is the CD-RW drive and floppy drive.

 


Some components, such as PCI expansion cards and the mainboard, will also require using a Phillips screwdriver to secure them properly. A Phillips screwdriver is probably the only tool you’ll need. A small flat-nosed screwdriver is sometimes useful for prying out PCI expansion slot covers or the case’s I/O shield. If you have short fingernails and you need to change jumpers, a needle-nose pliers is sometimes handy.


Figure 2: Ribbon cables

. On the left is a hard drive ribbon cable. On the right is a floppy drive ribbon cable. Notice the twist in the floppy cable. The end with the twist plugs into the floppy drive. The other end plugs into the mainboard.

 


After assembling your computer, you’ll need to install an operating system, which is really just a software procedure. It’s common to talk about “installing” software, even though it only involves inserting CDs into the CD drive as required.

Your PC will be fully assembled before we install software. We’ll take you through installing an operating system step-by-step in detail in another chapter.

You may also want to examine and/or modify your system’s BIOS, which we’ll discuss later. Many times, you’ll be able to get your PC up and running adequately without tinkering with the mainboard’s BIOS at all. But, tweaking the BIOS may enhance your system’s performance. Make changes to BIOS very carefully. For example, if you update your mainboard’s BIOS with Flash BIOS and your computer hangs, it’s possible your PC will no longer boot at all.

We’ll also discuss partitioning and formatting a hard drive. But, first, we need to get our parts together.


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Chapter 2: Component Overview
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Static Electricity and Component Handling
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How to Build Your Own PC (http://www.PCGuide.com/byop/) on PCGuide.com
Version 1.0 - Version Date: May 4, 2005

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