A good computer "build" must be based on knowledge and planning. If there is one piece of advice I can give to the prospective builder, it is to learn all you can, and use the knowledge you gain to plan your computer as throughly as possible. This is the key to a smooth, satisfying experience, resulting in a computer that works exactly as you want.
The knowledge you need may be acquired through several routes. There is an almost unlimited number of websites offering information about building computers. If you prefer books, there are guides written at almost every level, from beginners, to something an engineer would have to puzzle over.
Most important is that your information be recent. Computer building has gone through many changes in only the last few years, so that a text five years old is almost hopelessly out of date. It is not that simply chips and motherboards and such have improved, the very techniques of assembly have changed. Many steps have been streamlined and simplified, giving today’s builder a much easier time than when I first took up this pursuit.
To me, the most enjoyable part of building a computer is the planning stage, where I can select the features I want to accomplish whatever job the computer is intended for. I experiment mentally with different combinations of motherboard, CPU, graphics card, and all the rest, trying to get it all right on paper before I ever commit a dollar of money, or a minute of time to an actual build. I believe if you follow this approach you’ll find your problems fewer, and your rewards far greater.
Michael Quarles is the author of Building a PC for Beginners .