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What You Need To Build A PC

What Is Necessary



While motherboards differ greatly in features and chipsets, the minimum requirements you should look for are 133 MHz bus, Ultra ATA/100, 3 PCI slots, and an AGP slot. It is important to note that some motherboards with integrated video do not include a AGP slot, which severely limits upgrading the graphics of the system in the future. Some added features to look for are integrated video, sound, and networking.


There are three types of memory currently in use, SDRAM, Rambus, and DDR. SDRAM is the oldest of the technologies and will likely be phased out in 2002. DDR memory is SDRAM memory that runs at twice the rate by working on both sides of a clock cycle. Rambus is the most advanced form of memory, its preformance has been subpar so far. Only the type of memory your motherboard will support can be utilised, memory faster than what is supported will usually run at the slower speed without problems. The more memory in a system, the better the system will preform.

Hard Drive


There are two main chooses in monitors, the aging CRT (cathode ray tube) displays and LCD (liquid crystal display) flat panel displays. While cost for LCD's have come down quite a bit, you still pay a premium for the smaller footprint and digital signal. If your going to buy a CRT monitor look for a flat screen and maximum resolution of 2048 x 1536.


The case hold everything together, there are three main sizes: desktop, mini-tower, and tower. The more drives you plan to put in the case the bigger the case you should get. Be careful to get a case that the style of motherboard you wish to place in it.


Since the PC has been around, keyboards have been used. While the keyboard has changed little in its history, newer keyboards have become more ergonomically correct and have added programmable keys.


Video Card

Unless you have build in video on your motherboard, a video card is necessary. For a normal user any cheap card will do. The more you pay the more 3d performance you will receive. If you plan to use a flat panel monitor, make sure to get a card that has the correct type of output for the monitor.


What Might Be Necessary

Floppy Disk Drive

While the floppy disk drive use to be a mainstay in every PC, these days they are only necessary when putting a system together. Once all software that comes on a disk is installed most people wont need the drive too often.


the most obvious reason to have modem is to get on the internet. More importantly when building a computer is getting updates for all your hardware and software. By installing the latest updates when you first put the system together you are less likely to have problems in the future.

PCI Data Card

This card allows for more EIDE of SCSI based drives than are provided for by the motherboard. Many motherboards due not provide native support for SCSI based drives. Also at certain points drives will support higher speeds than the ports on the motherboard, the drive will run ok but will not be able to take advantage of the full speed of the drive.

Network Card

A simple card used to connect to lans, most cards today are 10/100 and are basically the same. Many motherboards now have built-in networking ports.

What Is Not Necessary



Removable Storage

Sound Card

Required for listening to any sounds other than cd-music and system beeps. Basic sound cards are now integrated into many motherboards, but only provide two channel audio and headphones. With a PCI based sound card their is usually support for four channel audio and some form of digital audio port. High-edn cards now usually come with a external or internal drive providing more ports and easier to reach ports.



Game Pad

Backup Drive


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