The desktop PC is a PC that, unlike a laptop , can also be built . In fact, it is sufficient to assemble all the necessary components following the correct installation procedure . Obviously, this is an operation to be carried out with awareness and which should be dealt with in a separate guide. Today, however, we will focus on everything you need to put together a PC: which components to choose, what to pay attention to and what to aim for according to your needs.
- How much do you need to spend to build a PC?
- Which processor to choose?
- How to choose the most suitable motherboard?
- Is the graphics card necessary?
- A good amount of RAM ensures maximum fluidity
- Storage: SSD, M.2 SSD, or NVMe?
- A good power supply ensures reliability
- Case: pay attention to dimensions and compatibility with components
- Heatsink: better air or liquid?
How much do you need to spend to build a PC?
Obviously this is the first question to answer. Many components also have economic alternatives, which in the high-end versions even exceed 1,000 euros. A clear example are the graphics cards: the Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti has a rather affordable price, while the RTX 3080 Ti (reference point for video games in 4K) exceeds 1,000 euros (and indeed, with the question of cryptocurrency mining it can reach dizzying figures). For this reason, it is important to understand what the total budget is available, in order to be able to distribute it equally among the various components.
An 800 euro computer can do most of the work very well, but, if you want, you could spend up to 4,000 euro aiming for a machine capable of high-level photo editing, or to be used as a workstation. After all, everyone’s needs can be extremely varied.
Obviously, it is not certain that only certain components can correspond to a certain budget. In case you want a computer dedicated to gaming, you will certainly aim for a better video card perhaps sacrificing the number of SSDs. On the other hand, if the priority is to manage a lot of files and use e-mails, you may not need a dedicated video card but a lot of storage space. We can safely say that the budget is directly proportional to the needs.
Which processor to choose?
The processor is an essential component. While the graphics card can sometimes be sacrificed, the processor or CPU is literally the brain of the computer. On the market there are different types in many price ranges, from a few hundred euros up to over thousands of euros.
In the logic of a balanced configuration, to date the advice is to turn to an Intel Core i7 11700K or an AMD Ryzen 5800X . These CPUs are perfect to meet the needs of those who need to play games, use some light video and photo editing programs, or to browse, watch videos, manage documents and in general the Office Suite (Word, Excel, Power Point). However, there are more difficult tasks that require more power. Not only playing in 4k, but also professional graphics rendering, use of rather elaborate CAD programs and software.
In these cases it may be worth aiming for processors like Intel’s Threadrippers or i9s , but the price inevitably goes up. It is therefore necessary to evaluate the investment, which can still be justified in the case of professional use (with a return on investment) or unlimited budgets. As you can easily imagine, each processor is designed to meet specific needs, so it is good to understand exactly the type of use that you will make of the PC, to choose the best while respecting your budget.
How to choose the most suitable motherboard?
The motherboard is as indispensable as the processor. It is in fact the base where all the other components will be installed, from the CPU to the video card. The first thing to choose is the format: ATX, E-ATX, XL-ATX, mini-ITX, ITX .
The dimensions are in fact important, as they will define not only the overall dimensions of the PC, but also the possibility of making a more or less powerful system. A small motherboard will have fewer expansion slots for video cards, but an ATX motherboard will take up a lot of space forcing us to build a very large computer. Also, you should choose one that can support the performance required by the CPU. As already written, it all depends on the specific needs.
A low-end CPU will not require too much power, but in case you want to play games or overclock , then better get a motherboard that can support such operations. Above all, it is good to make sure that the motherboard chipset is compatible with the chosen processor.
At present, considering compatibility with Intel and AMD (the two main CPU manufacturers on the market) and value for money, we would like to recommend MSI’s Mag Z590 Tomahawk WiFi model , which is also on offer online.
Is the graphics card necessary?
A self-respecting PC cannot fail to have a graphics card . Or maybe not? The answer is: it depends. The graphics card, or GPU, takes care of processing the video signal that is sent to the screen. Many processors have an integrated graphics card, but this may not be enough other than to show the normal operating system.
Much also depends on the type of monitor connected. A Full-HD monitor is now fully supported even by lower-end graphics cards, but if we’re talking about 4K or UltraWide monitors like the Samsung C49HG90DMR , then a powerful graphics card will have better performance.
If, on the other hand, you intend to play, then it is good to know how an RTX 3060 allows you to play well up to QHD resolution, without having to give up detail and shadows. The RTX 3080 Ti and 3090 , on the other hand, manage to support the 4K resolution well, but are superfluous in the event that Full-HD is limited. Overall, however, Nvidia remains a point of reference in this particular area.
The graphics card can also lend a hand in the case of graphic renderings: its computational power can sometimes exceed that of the processor, helping to finish the job faster. In this case it is good to make sure that the editing program used is compatible with your video card, knowing that for this area the most suitable are the Nvidia Quadro .
A good amount of RAM ensures maximum fluidity
RAM, or random access memory , is the lifeblood of any PC. Considering the complexity of the operations carried out today by computers, it is now necessary to have a good quantity of them to obtain maximum fluidity from the system and to be able to use multiple programs at the same time.
RAMs are characterized by frequency and capacity. The first can range from 2400 MHz up to over 4.000 MHz of the top of the range, while the capacity of a single bank can be 2, 4, 8 or 16 GB. Most PCs usually support up to 128GB of RAM, but in most cases 16GB is more than enough to handle most situations.
Always looking at the value for money, at present a point of reference are the RAMs of the Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro series . In fact, they offer full compatibility with Intel and AMD, guarantee high-level performance and, among other things, give the computer an important aesthetic impact being characterized by the presence of RGB LEDs (as the name suggests) that light up continuously.
Storage: SSD, M.2 SSD, or NVMe?
In recent years it has become perhaps one of the most critical aspects of building a PC. In fact, until some time ago there were only mechanical hard drives, now you can also choose between SSD , SSD M.2 or NVMe . If traditional SSD performance guarantee up to 20 times higher than those of a mechanical hard drive, the SSD type NVMe also exceed 8 times those of the SSD SATA. Obviously, to obtain these results, the cost is much higher.
In most cases, a SATA-type SSD, combined with a larger mechanical hard disk, is still the best choice today to have both loading speed and space to keep all your data. Those who have to deal with particularly heavy files and documents, can safely think of investing their money in an NVMe SSD , in order to have stellar performance.
Among the various models on the market, at this time we would like to recommend Corsair’s MP600 Pro series . It guarantees a sequential read speed of up to 4,950 MB / sec and a sequential write speed of up to 3,950 MB / sec. The most balanced version is certainly the one with 1 Terabyte of memory.
A good power supply ensures reliability
The power supply is a fundamental part of every PC. Its role is in fact to supply electricity to all the components chosen. This means that choosing a good quality one ensures reliability and longevity for the whole machine.
In most cases, a power supply with more than 650 Watts will hardly be really useful. In a classic configuration with 16GB of RAM, 11th generation Intel i7 processor and Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti video card , the power consumption will be around 300 Watts in conditions of maximum consumption, so it is useless to aim for a 1000 Watt power supply .
The rule to follow is to buy a power supply that can offer 20% more power than is really needed. A 10% will be needed if you intend to overclock , while the other 10% will be needed to avoid having the power supply work constantly at its maximum capacity. The higher the efficiency, the less electricity will be wasted in the form of heat.
Considering the suggested configuration, the advice is to opt for Corsair ‘s RM1000X , equipped with the 80+ Gold certification and equipped with a 135 mm fan. In this way you have all the energy you need and, at the same time, you avoid spending mind-boggling amounts. All this despite being a 1,000 Watt model, a real best buy.
Case: pay attention to dimensions and compatibility with components
The case is nothing more than the casing into which all the components will be inserted. Most of those commercially available are equipped with some fans already fitted as standard. When choosing, it is good to make sure of the dimensions and above all of the compatibility with all components.
For example, certain video cards (especially the higher-end ones) turn out to be too large and long to fit into medium-sized homes. Similar speech if you opt for a customized liquid cooling system: it is good to check that in the case you choose there is actually the space to mount it.
Regarding our purchase advice, as always the watchwords are “quality / price ratio”. The model to focus on today is MSI’s MAG Forge 100R. It is characterized by a tempered glass side bulkhead that allows you to view all the internal components (excellent in combination with the RGB LEDs of the Corsair RAM). The chassis supports liquid coolers up to 360mm versions. The mesh front allows maximum internal ventilation for optimized dissipation of all key components.
Heatsink: better air or liquid?
The heatsink is another fundamental element regarding the assembly of the PC: its role is to collect the heat generated by the components and dissipate it, in order to allow the best possible use. There are two macro-categories of heat sinks: those with air, usually cheaper, but often also more bulky; the liquid ones, more performing but also noisier and more expensive.
The choice derives solely from the type of use: for an office computer, an air cooler will be more than enough; in case you want to make more complicated renderings and operations, then a liquid cooler could guarantee more constant performance especially in summer.
Among the various models on the market, at present we would like to recommend the MPG CoreLiquid K360 from MSI. Equipped with RGB LEDs (therefore perfect to combine with the case we have reported to you), it is able to keep the RTX 3080 Ti and the Intel Core i7 11700K at bay . A significant advantage in terms of longevity and overall performance.
These are the fundamental components needed to assemble a PC . The available budget must therefore be divided for each of them, trying to invest most of the piece that will have the greatest impact on our use. A gamer will certainly divert it to the graphics card, while a professional may decide to spend as much for the processor and less for the other components. In case you are dealing with a large amount of data, investing in a good SSD is the most sensible choice. As we have seen, a lot depends on the needs.