Build your PC

How to buy or build your own desktop in 2017

build your own computerThe article runs about the criteria of choosing a reliable and inexpensive modern computer. After reading the article, you will understand that not always the high price of PC ensures the same high performance and reliability. The results of tests and statistics of failure of various components will give you all the necessary information to buy a PC with the best price and performance.

In the final part of the article you will see typical assembly of computers for such categories as:

  • Budget home computer;
  • Universal office computer;
  • Games powerful computer.

We selected models in each category, focusing on such parameters as reliability, low noise and affordable cost.

Table of Contents

  1. Objectives and budget
  2. Case and power supply
  3. Processor
  4. Motherboard
  5. Video(Grapgics) card
  6. RAM
  7. Hard drive
  8. The optical disc drive
  9. Typical configurations of a PC in 2017

Objectives and budget

Let’s start with the amount of money that you want to spend.

  • Up to $300 – This price category is presented by cheap computers for home and office. This technique is able to perform a series of simple tasks, such as processing text and graphics, video playback, work with popular applications that run modern games at minimum settings and a number of other functions. Today they are bought less, because users prefer budget laptops than desktop PCs with poor configuration.
  • From $300 to $700 – This price limit is presented by a multifunction PC game and some Assembly. This segment is considered to be the most numerous in terms of the models of PC. In this category you can find a good modern computer that will easily run demanding programs and popular game releases. Computers at the price from 300 to 700 dollars are considered the best choice as a home and work PC.
  • From $700 and above – This segment of the market of personal PC is presented by a powerful “machine”, able to cope with complex tasks. Such PC easily reproduces the latest games on the highest settings. This category of computers is interesting for gamers. This audience is willing to pay good money for a powerful gaming station.
  • Specialized PC – This category includes a variety of assemblies that are formed specifically for a certain purpose. These PCs are stations for video editing, DJing, three dimensional render, etc. As a rule, highly specialized assemblies incorporate the latest generation of CPU, graphics card, sound card, motherboard and other components.

The choice of components

Case and power supply

Despite the fact that the power supply, and case can be purchased separately, in practice, bought a set of “housing+block”. What are the options of the PC case?


desktop PCTable horizontal format is used in budget builds. In practice, it is uncommon, since the small housing restricts the choice of hardware. However, if the user does not puzzle the computer with difficult tasks – Desktop can be an excellent option to build ergonomic PC that will appreciate the quiet operation. Despite the fact that desktops belong to the budget category of the computer equipment; companies that produce horizontal housings offer high-quality and robust design.

Horizontal format has its drawbacks – in such PC you cannot install a powerful CPU and video card, as the cooling system of the desktop is not designed for serious loads. Another minus – the computer is designed as a stand for the monitor and takes place on the desktop.


tower PCVertical system unit is the most popular type of housing, which is considered to be a classic. Tower is unique because it allows you to collect PC from almost any hardware.

Also see: How to buy WiFi router

This category is the most numerous in terms of the presented models. The budget of “towers” at the price from 20 to 40 dollars can disappoint the poor build quality. Experts do not recommend taking these models as connectors and buttons in them are easily damaged and cheap power supply can lead to more serious damage. The life of such “towers” is limited to 2-3 years, after which the computer starts to break down. The most popular breakdowns:

  • The failure of the main connectors;
  • Grabbing buttons on the central panel;
  • The failure of the DVD drive;
  • The cooler begins to operate;
  • Vibration of the cooling system;
  • The discrepancy between the real capacity of the unit to the declared value.

The mid-price segment is represented by a sturdy metal or plastic casing. Experts recommend giving preference to these “towers”. Proven brands are those brands like Zalman, Chieftec, Cooler Master, Thermaltake and FSP. All of these models have different ergonomics and efficient cooling system. The body will appreciate the strength and durability. The service center system blocks fall much less than more expensive options.

There computer market is also full of expensive high-end system blocks. They usually combine ergonomics, functionality and aesthetics. Many of them are provided with backlight.



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Power and other parameters of the power supply

power supplyMany users mistakenly believe that expensive, high-performance power supply – a necessary attribute of normal working computer. But practice shows that expensive units with a capacity of over 500 watts are only needed by a quick gaming station, the cost of which exceeds $ 700. The average user enough power in the range of 400-500 watts. And given the fact that the power consumption of modern processors and graphics cards decreases every year the need for a powerful power supply is eliminated. A much more important parameter is the presence of the PFC module. This element of the power supply ensures reliable operation of the PC when surges.  

The noise from the system unit

power supply noisePractice shows that coolers with the size of 120-140 mm, mounted in the lower part, make much less noise than the 80 mm fans mounted in the back. Some blocks are equipped with “smart” control system of the cooler, which itself selects the amount of rotation of the blades. These units have almost no noise when working. If the buyer is interested in this technique they should look for blocks marked “Silent”, etc.power supply noice Nevertheless, a powerful high-performance PC cannot be silent on the definition because such equipment is equipped with additional exhaust coolers. Experts recommend not saving on the cooling system, and when choosing between the quietness and quality of the cooling system, they should give preference to the second.  


The life of the PC is highly dependent on temperature, which is kept inside the system unit. The cooling of the computers of average power with integrated graphics and a dual-core processor is often performed by built-in power supply fan. For a more powerful PC, we recommend installing an additional exhaust cooler at the top rear of the case. Some gaming stations are equipped with still and the top of the cooler, which the most effectively removes the heated air.


CPU-AMD-IntelToday the market is divided between processor brands Intel and AMD. The products of both brands have their own advantages and disadvantages. More detailed information on the choice of microprocessor will help to determine this important element of your PC, and find the optimal solution for price and performance. It is also recommended to familiarize you with the assembly of “motherboard + CPU” because the interaction of these two components affects the performance characteristics of the PC.  


motherboard-ASUS_GIGABYTEThe motherboard market is fairly broad in the number of brands. The market leaders are 2 brands – Asus and Gigabyte. It is recommended to choose a motherboard from one of these brands, as both are largely ahead of the design of competitions of second tier. The main advantages of boards from Gigabyte and Asus are their reliability. Although I must say that the bad models from time to time release almost all manufacturers. This is especially true of expensive fancy boards that have not been yet tested in practice. Among the additional bonuses are offered to the customers by Asus and Gigabyte are consistently producing updating of the BIOS, which corrects the deficiencies of previous versions and provides support for new equipment. In fairness I must say that lately in terms of reliability Asus is ahead of the Gigabyte, as these motherboards almost never go down in the first few years of operation. Collecting computer user needs to understand one simple thing – the simpler the design of the motherboard is, the more reliable it will be. The presence of a large number of connectors, multichannel audio outputs and other elements only complicates the design of the motherboard, making it less reliable. Important points when selecting a motherboard:  

  • The power of the CPU socket needs to surpass the performance of the processor or at least meet them;
  • Chipset must be set high (1 cm) radiator;
  • For processors with a TDP of 80W above the mandatory presence of a radiator;
  • The presence of several standard connectors for USB 3.0/3.1 and one USB Type-C;
  • Connector 3.0 for SATA connections for SSD in the future;
  • The presence of predominantly solid capacitors on the motherboard.

          With regard to the number of memory connectors, 2 connectors are more than enough. Given that the vast majority of motherboards are equipped with at least 4 ports SATA 2.0, this option is not worth paying attention to. It is recommended to buy a motherboard with video connectors of VGA, DVI or HDMI, even if you have full graphics card. The latter can fail, which happens often, and in this case, the monitor can be connected to the connector on the motherboard directly and continue working on your PC.

Video card

videocards-asusFor gaming PCs the graphics card is a key component because its performance affects the playback quality of the gameplay and its possibility as such. Powerful cards  are needed for the games, but installing them in your home or office PC is not required. Modern, even integrated graphics card can easily cope with most multimedia tasks. Among the many brands producing video card, the Asus stands out. These GPUs offer perfect ergonomics and reliable cooling system. But there are also many alternative, less reliable options.


RAMLeaders in reliability are considered Board RAM from brands such as Kingston, Crucial and Samsung. There are good reviews about Hynix and Transcend. You are recommended to select one of these brands. Also note the frequency of the memory. For non-gaming PC, the best choice would be the formats DDR3 frequency from 1333 to 1866 MHz and DDR4 with frequency from 2133 to 2666 MHz. Expensive overclocked model of memory demonstrated low reliability compared to standard-frequency circuit boards so that the average man should be abandoned from buying them. It makes sense so set overclocking model only in a powerful gaming PC. During the normal operation of the computer performance the gains from installing this memory will be insignificant, but this assembled computer will lose in reliability. Read more about choosing RAM here.  

Hard drive

Manufacturers hard driveHard drive manufacturers quite a lot. However, to highlight the clear leaders in terms of reliability (namely, this parameter is important for storing large amounts of information) is very difficult. This is partly due to the fact that many large companies in recent years have united under one brand, and it is unwise to judge the reliability of their products, focusing on models of last years. However, a failure model is almost every manufacturer.   And yet there is a sense to distinguish the products of such brands as:      


  • WD;
  • Seagate;
  • Toshiba.

        Optimism gives the fact that in recent years the reliability of HDD-drives in general significantly increased. As of 2014, less than 1% of hard drives fail within the first 6 months of operation. The volume how to choose hddGiven the fact that the average photo files and videos that the user stores on the hard disk, do not exceed 200 GB, then there is no need to bulk HDD. A hard disk with capacity of 1000 GB will be enough for work and play. If you plan to store computer large amounts of information on the computer – control drive models with a quality cooling system. How can you determine the ability of the HDD to keep the temperature at a normal level? Deep cutouts at the bottom of Winchester suggest that the design uses more capacious plate, which are reliable and not overheat. You can’t always find out the information about the numbers of plates as manufacturers are reluctant to publish these data. The optimal choice is the disk with one plate of 1000 GB. Speed The products of most manufacturers can be divided into 3 main categories according to the setting of the rotation speed of the spindle.    

  • 5400-5900 rpm (Eco, Green, Purple, Archive)These HDD is designed to store data. However, their performance is not much lower than that of high-speed hard drives. Their advantages are low cost, absence of noise and the fact that they rarely overheat.
  • 7200 rpm (Mainstream, Blue)HDD for the mass market are balanced by price and the performance parameters. They differ by the produced noise, which in some cases may be referred to as the hum for the whole PC case.
  • 7200 rpm (Performance Black)Fast hard drives with minimal noise and vibration. The price of such models is quite high.

HDD vs SSD: which to choose?

The main advantage of SSD is high speed, exceeding the corresponding figures of the HDD several times. The main disadvantage of SSD is their low reliability and inability for long-term storage of information. Experts were chosen hybrid formula that delivers maximum speed and reliability – SSD 64 GB + HDD, 5400-5900 rpm. With this kit you will receive efficient and virtually silent PC.

The optical disc drive

dvdToday, the need to install the CD-drive is extremely small. All the necessary programs, games, movies and music files can be found on the web. The installation of the CD is appropriate when you have a CD collection you’d like to play on the computer. As for the Blue-Ray drives, this purchase is lost when you consider that most of the films to be presented in the media. An exception may be the case when you have a collection of licensed discs. With regard to reliability of optical drives, here it is better to give preference to well-known brands such as Asus and LG. Models of these brands are equipped with a powerful laser, while cheaper products normally cease to read discs after only a year of operation.

Typical configurations of a PC in 2017

The presented PC configurations are selected on the key parameters that determine the price of the computer. They include safety, silent work and optimal performance. Some component parts can be replaced by the similar “hardware” of the other brands. However, it is recommended that you choose the components from the same manufacturer (or at least the like-minded ones). This article offers the options on the base DD3 and DDR4. Among Intel Processor, oriented to the platform DDR4, you should choose the models of the sixth generation. In this case, BIOS upgrade becomes unnecessary, and all the drivers for Windows 7 and 10 are available on the public Internet. The vast majority of PC assemblies use silent and well-protected Chieftec blocks of the modification APS-###SB. We choose them due to their stable work in the sharp power surges. All the presented assemblies don’t include the costs of operating system, anti-virus software, paid office programs, etc. Moreover, none of them has the optical disk drive, as we considered it archaic and irrelevant for most PC users. But if you want, you can always buy it for your PC. Do you want to assemble the computer on your own? Everything is very simple – even a beginner can handle the assembly. When completing the system block, it is important to remember that all details muse perfectly match the dimensions and be collected like a constructor. Remember – no force, everything must be done in no time. You must be especially cautious when working with the processor and motherboard socket. Before installing the operating system, you must update BIOS. It will help you to be sure that the whole resource of processor will be involved in work. BIOS upgrade also has the bug fixes, which is very useful for the stable work of PC.  

The best configuration of budget PC in 2017

Chieftec IX-01B Rosewill Stallion Series 400W Kingston SSDNow V300 120GB
Chieftec IX-01B Rosewill Stallion Series 400W Kingston SSDNow V300 120GB
ASUS N3150I-C Kingston ValueRAM DDR3
ASUS N3150I-C Kingston ValueRAM DDR3 4Gb 1600GHz

Every year the computer equipment gets cheaper, and today you can buy a good small PC (22х20х6 cm) at a reasonable price. The four core processor allows you to use PC for office work, or as a full multimedia centre. The computer has the high-speed SSD disk, where Windows operating system is literally flying. It takes a few seconds to boot your PC. You can use such computer to play simple office games and some latest computer games with minimum graphics. Buying the budget PC with monitor, keyboard and acoustics, you should know that you can purchase a pretty quick laptop with the compatible operating characteristics for the same amount of money. At that, you will get a compact computer.  

The best configuration of the universal PC 2017

Zalman Z1 Chieftec GPS-550AB WD Caviar 1000GB
Zalman Z1 Chieftec GPS-550AB WD Caviar 1000GB
AMD A8-7600 Asus A88XM-PLUS Kingston ValueRAM DDR3 4Gb 1600GHz
AMD A8-7600 Asus A88XM-PLUS Kingston ValueRAM DDR3 4Gb 1600GHz 
Intel i3-6100 BOX Asus H110M-PLUS Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2х4Gb
Intel i3-6100 BOX Asus H110M-PLUS Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2х4Gb 2133GHz

Universal PC requires 8 GB of RAM and the working capacity of integrated video card. This computer will handle the “hard” programs and some “demanding” games (but only with the minimum graphics). If the user won’t be satisfied with the graphic performance, he/she can complete it with the discrete graphics chip in mid-range segment. The PC based on Intel will work much faster than AMD. Moreover, Intel supplies its processors with more powerful integrated video cards, which is visible in working with the graphical applications.  

The best configuration of the budget gaming PC 2017

Zalman Z1 Chieftec GPS-550AB WD Caviar 1000GB Asus PH-GTX1050-2G
Zalman Z1 Chieftec GPS-550AB WD Caviar 1000GB Asus PH-GTX1050-2G
AMD Athlon X4 860K Asus A88XM-PLUS Kingston ValueRAM DDR3 4Gb 1600GHz
AMD Athlon X4 860K Asus A88XM-PLUS Kingston ValueRAM DDR3 4Gb 1600GHz 
Intel i3-6100 BOX Asus H110M-PLUS Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2х4Gb
Intel i3-6100 BOX Asus H110M-PLUS Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2х4Gb 2133GHz

The perfect gaming PC must combine power, silent work and moderate size. Such PCs can work on the cheap “quick” microprocessors and 8 GB RAM. The PC on the base of Intel will work much faster than that based on AMD. The essential attribute of gaming PC is the powerful video card, which allows you to play games with medium and high graphics.  

The best configuration of average gaming PC 2017

Zalman Z1 Chieftec GPS-550AB Kingston SSDNow V300 240GB
Zalman Z1 Chieftec GPS-550AB Kingston SSDNow V300 240GB
WD Caviar 1000GB Asus DUAL-GTX1060-3G
WD Caviar 1000GB Asus DUAL-GTX1060-3G
Intel Core i5-4590 BOX Asus B85M-G Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3 2x8Gb 1866GHz
Intel Core i5-4590 BOX Asus B85M-G Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3 2x8Gb 1866GHz
Intel Core i5-6500 BOX Asus B150M Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2666GHz 2x8Gb
Intel Core i5-6500 BOX Asus B150M Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2666GHz 2x8Gb

          Such PCs are equipped with the processors from the mid-price segment, SSD disk and not very expensive high-performance video card. Such equipment will allow you to play games with the high settings (and even maximum setting in some games).  

The best configuration of the powerful gaming PC 2017

Zalman Z3 Plus Thermaltake TR2 600 Watt Samsung 850 EVO 250GB
Zalman Z3 Plus Thermaltake TR2 600 Watt Samsung 850 EVO 250GB
WD Caviar 2000GB WD20EZRZ Asus DUAL-GTX1070-8G
WD Caviar 2000GB WD20EZRZ Asus DUAL-GTX1070-8G
Intel Core i7-4790K BOX Asus Z97M-PLUS Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3 2x8Gb 1866GHz
Intel Core i7-4790K BOX Asus Z97M-PLUS Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3 2x8Gb 1866GHz
Intel Core i7-6700K BOX Asus Z170-A Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2666GHz 2x8Gb
Intel Core i7-6700K BOX Asus Z170-A Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 2x8Gb 2666GHz

          Powerful PC with a reasonable price that can handle any game or complex program. Fast, powerful and very responsive PC won’t leave any user indifferent. It can be used not only for the games; you can edit videos, make music, paint, watch your favorite movies in high quality and surf on the Internet. Such computer must easily download most games with ultrahigh graphics.  

The best configuration of the super-powerful gaming PC 2017

Zalman Z3 Plus Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB 650W Samsung 850 EVO 250GB
Zalman Z3 Plus Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB 650W Samsung 850 EVO 250GB
WD Caviar 2000GB WD20EZRZ Asus STRIX-GTX1080-8G-GAMING
WD Caviar 2000GB WD20EZRZ Asus STRIX-GTX1080-8G-GAMING
Intel Core i7-4790K BOX Asus Z97M-PLUS Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3 2x8Gb 1866GHz
Intel Core i7-4790K BOX Asus Z97M-PLUS Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3 2x8Gb 1866GHz
Intel Core Desktop i7-7700K ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero CORSAIR DOMINATOR Platinum Series
Intel Core Desktop i7-7700K ASUS ROG Maximus IX Hero CORSAIR DOMINATOR Platinum Series 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4

          Super-powerful gaming PC must be equipped with the flagship video card, high-speed SSD disk and fast processor of the last generation. Assembling such computer, you can be sure that in a couple of years it will be at the top of the most powerful gaming PCs. Moreover, you can always speed up the gaming PC (if necessary). Such computer will meet the demands of the gamer who wants to play the latest games with maximum graphics for the next couple of years.  

Also see: How to choose a laptop and How to choose a monitor  


As you can see, the choice of computer components is easy even for an inexperienced user. Following our advice, you will easily build a perfect computer, whether a budget office PC, a universal computer or a powerful Game Station. You can put all the components together on your own, as the PC is built on the principle of constructor. You should also update your BIOS before the installation of Windows.

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