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Build Your Own PC on a Budget: A DIY Guide for Hobbyists and Gamers

Book Description

Design and assemble an inexpensive yet fast and reliable PC

Construct the PC of your dreams using the practical information contained in this hands-on guide. Build Your Own PC on a Budget explains, step-by-step, how to put together a customized computer that is affordable, stable, and powerful. Discover how to choose the parts that fit your needs, safely connect and test components, add video and peripherals, install an operating system, connect to the Internet, and go wireless. Security, maintenance, and software updates are fully covered in this DIY book.

  • Look inside a PC and understand how each component works
  • Decide what you want from your PC and develop a design plan
  • Create a cost-effective parts list and select the best vendors
  • Wire up the motherboard, processor, and add-on boards
  • Connect storage devices, display adapters, and peripherals
  • Securely connect to LANs, WiFi networks, and the Internet
  • Install your operating system, device drivers, and applications
  • Maintain your PC, update software, and back up your data

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication
  5. About the Author
  6. Contents
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. Introduction
  9. Part I—Developing a PC Plan
    1. 1 Defining What You Want
      1. Considering Why Off-the-Shelf Systems Aren’t Appealing
        1. Dealing with Standard Off-the-Shelf Systems
        2. Dealing with Customizable Off-the-Shelf Systems
        3. Employing the Bare-Bones Kits
      2. Writing Down Goals for Your System
      3. Creating a Budget
      4. Identifying the Parts You Have Now
        1. Defining What Reusable Means
        2. Obtaining Documentation for Existing Parts
        3. Ensuring the Part Is Actually Usable
    2. 2 Introducing the Major Parts
      1. Opening the Case
      2. Understanding the Role of the Motherboard
      3. Providing Power to the System
      4. Considering the Add-on Boards
        1. Working with Display Adapters
        2. Hearing with Sound Cards
        3. Providing Interfaces Using Host Adapters
        4. Controlling Access Using Security Device Cards
        5. Considering Other Add-on Boards
      5. Deciding on Storage Devices
      6. Connecting with Cables
      7. Keeping Things Cool
      8. Focusing on External Connectivity
        1. Dealing with Network Cards
        2. Dealing with Port Cards
    3. 3 Considering the Vendors
      1. Getting on Vendor Sites
        1. Performing Quick Comparisons
        2. Obtaining Part Information in the Correct Order
      2. Performing Apples-to-Apples Comparisons
        1. Understanding the Value of Testing
        2. Performing Comparisons Efficiently
      3. Finding Reliable Reviews
        1. Getting Good Professional Reviews
        2. Understanding the Value of Points
        3. Using the Good Review Checklist
      4. Understanding the Compatibility Pitfalls
        1. Considering Problems with Standards Adherence
        2. Considering Problems with Feature Extensions
        3. Working Through the Odd Bad Part
        4. Dealing with Compatibility Issues
      5. Reading Between the Lines
    4. 4 Getting What You Need
      1. Creating and Verifying a Purchase List
        1. Dealing with Specifics
        2. Considering Reputation
        3. Performing Comparison Shopping
        4. Verifying the Warranty
        5. Checking the Return Policy
      2. Making the Purchases
        1. Allowing Scripts
        2. Getting Your Information Together
        3. Completing Your Purchase
      3. Verifying the Package Contents
        1. Checking the Boxes
        2. Checking the Individual Parts Box Content
        3. Making a List of Extras
      4. Getting the Extras You Need
      5. Ensuring the Documentation Is Complete
      6. Inventorying the Required Tools
        1. Obtaining a Computer Toolkit
        2. Getting Individual Tools
      7. Setting Up a Work Area
        1. Selecting a Worktable
        2. Ensuring You Have Enough Light
        3. Checking the Outlets
        4. Keeping Your Work Area Clean
  10. Part II—Building the Hardware
    1. 5 Adding RAM and Processor
      1. Understanding Static Electricity
      2. Verifying the Processor and RAM Positions
      3. Adding Cooling to the Processor
        1. Understanding the Need for Thermal Paste
        2. Working with Standard Processor Cooling
        3. Understanding Liquid Processor Cooling
      4. Inserting the Processor
        1. Orienting the Processor
        2. Locking the Processor Down
      5. Installing the RAM
        1. Looking at the RAM Sockets
        2. Inserting and Securing the RAM
    2. 6 Installing the Motherboard
      1. Configuring the Case
      2. Installing a Power Supply
      3. Identifying the Power Plugs and Sockets
      4. Setting Up the Motherboard
      5. Ensuring the Motherboard Is in Place
        1. Installing the Standoffs
        2. Positioning the Motherboard
        3. Screwing the Motherboard in Place
      6. Connecting the Case Features to the Motherboard
        1. Identifying the Pins on the Motherboard
        2. Connecting the Case Plugs
      7. Testing Your Initial Setup
    3. 7 Providing Video
      1. Understanding the Video Basics
        1. Understanding How Things Work
        2. Using a Special Motherboard Socket
        3. Finding the Special Power Supply Connection
        4. Viewing the Back of the Card
      2. Installing the Video Card Correctly
      3. Connecting Any Required Cables
      4. Considering CrossFire and SLI Configuration Needs
        1. Configuring the Motherboard
        2. Using the Correct Slot
        3. Making the Required Power Supply Connections
        4. Making Connections Between Cards
      5. Considering TV Tuner Configuration Needs
      6. Connecting Devices
      7. Performing a Quick Video Test
    4. 8 Mounting Permanent Storage
      1. Understanding Permanent Storage Basics
        1. Defining the Form Factors
        2. Considering the Power Cable
        3. Considering the Data Cable
        4. Working with Drive Size Adapters
      2. Installing a SATA Drive
      3. Installing an Optical Drive
      4. Working with Solid-State Drives
      5. Using USB Storage
      6. Working with External Drives
      7. Considering Other Permanent Storage Options
        1. Considering the SCSI Option
        2. Understanding RAID
    5. 9 Attaching Auxiliary Devices
      1. Choosing Keyboard and Other Input Devices Carefully
      2. Connecting the Keyboard
        1. Considering the Advantages of Wired Keyboards
        2. Working with Wired Keyboards
        3. Working with Wireless Keyboards
      3. Connecting the Mouse or Trackball
        1. Considering the Trackball Difference
        2. Working with a Wired Mouse or Trackball
        3. Working with a Wireless Mouse or Trackball
      4. Testing the Basic Setup
      5. Adding a Printer
      6. Working with Webcams
      7. Providing Other Device Connections
  11. Part III—Considering Networks
    1. 10 Installing a LAN
      1. Understanding LAN Basics
        1. Considering the LAN Hardware
        2. Creating the Physical Connection
        3. Considering the LAN Software
        4. Seeing the Other Connections
      2. Configuring the Motherboard LAN
        1. Dealing with Jumpers
        2. Performing the System Configuration
        3. Considering Multiple-LAN Motherboards
      3. Installing a Separate LAN Card
      4. Using External LAN Solutions
      5. Understanding WLAN Essentials
        1. Defining the WLAN
        2. Delving into Wi-Fi
        3. Delving into WiMAX
      6. Considering LAN Security
        1. Developing a Security Plan
        2. Creating Useful Passwords
        3. Defining the Hazards of WLAN
    2. 11 Connecting to the Internet
      1. Configuring Multiple LANs
        1. Considering the Need for a Router
        2. Connecting to the LANs
        3. Determining Your Internet Connection Type
      2. Connecting a MODEM
        1. Defining the Purpose of a MODEM
        2. Obtaining the Correct MODEM
        3. Configuring the MODEM
        4. Connecting to the MODEM
        5. Using a Test System to Check the Connection
      3. Using Alternative Connectivity Options
      4. Considering Internet Security
        1. Defining the Internet Difference
        2. Locking Your System Down
        3. Locking the Browser Down
        4. Relying on Firewalls
        5. Using Other Security Measures
    3. 12 Accessing Wireless Devices
      1. Understanding the Common Wireless Standards
      2. Ensuring You Have the Correct Wireless Support
      3. Configuring Common Computer Devices
      4. Configuring Alternative Devices
      5. Considering Wireless Device Security
        1. Defining the Types of Intrusions
        2. Protecting the Communication Channel
        3. Protecting the Network
        4. Understanding the Role of Wireless Access Points
  12. Part IV—Installing the Software
    1. 13 Installing the Operating System
      1. Choosing an Operating System
        1. Defining What You Want to Do
        2. Considering Version Issues
        3. Considering Longevity
        4. Exploring Alternative Solutions
      2. Obtaining the Vendor Installation Instructions
        1. Locating the Windows Instructions
        2. Choosing a Linux Flavor
        3. Hacking OS X
      3. Ensuring You Have All the Details
        1. Getting a Licensed Copy
        2. Obtaining Manuals
        3. Performing Backups
        4. Downloading Device Drivers
      4. Performing the Installation
    2. 14 Accessing the Devices
      1. Understanding the Operating System to Device Connection
        1. Considering the Use of Low-Level Resources
        2. Avoiding Device Conflicts
        3. Circumventing Application Conflicts
      2. Relying on Operating System Drivers
        1. Defining the Advantages of Automatic Access
        2. Considering the Missing Device
      3. Obtaining and Using Device Vendor Drivers
        1. Considering the Advantages of Vendor Drivers
        2. Keeping Vendor Drivers Updated
      4. Installing the Device Drivers
        1. Documenting Driver Settings
        2. Performing a System Backup
        3. Removing Existing Drivers
        4. Performing Required System Reboots
        5. Installing the New Driver
      5. Overcoming Driver-Specific Problems
        1. Ensuring Device Connectivity
        2. Disabling the Driver Temporarily
        3. Verifying Driver Settings
        4. Considering the Device Driver Mismatch
    3. 15 Choosing Applications
      1. Matching Applications to Your System
      2. Verifying the Hardware Requirements
        1. Validating the Platform Requirements
        2. Checking Version Information
        3. Considering Connectivity Requirements
      3. Obtaining Application Reviews
      4. Installing the Application
        1. Avoiding Installation Complexities
        2. Using an Installation Program
        3. Unpacking the Application
        4. Working with Web-Based Applications
      5. Correcting Application Installation Problems
        1. Dealing with Mismatches
        2. Finding Missing Components
        3. Getting Peer Help
        4. Resetting an Installation
      6. Removing Errant and Unused Applications
  13. Part V—Performing Maintenance
    1. 16 Maintaining the Hardware
      1. Cleaning the Outside
        1. Vacuuming the Louvers and Cables
        2. Wiping the Case
        3. Checking for Damage
      2. Cleaning the Inside
        1. Opening the Case
        2. Spraying the Dust Out
        3. Cleaning the Filters
      3. Inspecting Your Hardware
        1. Checking the Add-on Boards
        2. Checking the Storage Devices
        3. Checking the Cables
      4. Keeping Things Cool
        1. Spinning the Fan Blades
        2. Performing a Powered Test
      5. Obtaining Spare Parts
        1. Creating a Parts List
        2. Shopping for Older Parts
        3. Getting Updated Parts
      6. Maintaining Essential Spares
      7. Creating a Maintenance Schedule
    2. 17 Managing the Software
      1. Performing Required Updates
        1. Setting Software to Check Updates Automatically
        2. Validating the Update
        3. Downloading and Installing the Update
        4. Testing the Update
      2. Keeping Things Secure
        1. Starting with Passwords
        2. Installing the Correct Background Applications
        3. Applying Security Updates Quickly
        4. Reading Those Installation and Update Screens
      3. Dealing with System Slowdowns
        1. Removing Unused Applications
        2. Cleaning the Hard Drive
        3. Cleaning Up the Operating System
      4. Keeping Data Safe
        1. Performing Backups
        2. Keeping Backups Off-Site
        3. Encrypting Data as Needed
      5. Overcoming Disasters
        1. Checking Drivers, Services, and Agents
        2. Testing Errant Hardware
        3. Restoring a Backup
    3. 18 Preparing for Updates
      1. Maintaining a Wish List
      2. Building with Expansion in Mind
        1. Developing a Processor Plan
        2. Upgrading Your RAM
        3. Upgrading a Display Adapter
        4. Adding a Display Adapter
        5. Increasing Your Storage
        6. Obtaining Special Add-ons
      3. Considering the Role of Software
      4. Obtaining and Installing Hardware Updates
      5. Knowing When to Retire Your Old System
  14. Index