Learn How to Build a Computer
4.3 (296 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,301 students enrolled

Learn How to Build a Computer

Learn which parts you need, the features to look for, where to buy them, and the step-by-step process of building it.
4.3 (296 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,301 students enrolled
Created by Ty Price
Last updated 7/2013
English
English [Auto]
Current price: $15.99 Original price: $24.99 Discount: 36% off
2 days left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 5 hours on-demand video
  • 8 articles
  • 10 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Determine which parts you need to buy
  • Compare features and benefits of different makes and models of parts
  • Buy your computer parts from the most reliable sources
  • Put together all of the parts that make up your PC
  • Install a Windows operating system
  • Install anti-virus software
  • Test your built computer is running at optimal temperatures
  • Troubleshoot your build in case something didn't go right on the first try
Requirements
  • None
  • No previous computer building/repair experience
Description

Building a computer is fun, affordable, and empowering. It's fun being able to choose all of the parts that will go into your machine, it's cheaper than buying a PC from a manufacturer like Dell or HP, and it's just so darn cool to DIY!

This course is for anyone that has ever wanted to build their own computer.

For this course, I purchased all the parts I needed for a new computer. I show you each part, tell you about the features I thought were important, describe other features you may want to look for, demonstrate how to build the entire computer, and then install the necessary operating system and software.

You will go from having no idea what's inside a computer to having a full working computer after this course.

You will be able to do the following:
  • Figure out your computer's main purpose
  • Determine which parts you need to buy
  • Compare features and benefits of different makes and models of parts
  • Buy your computer parts from the most reliable sources
  • Put together all of the parts that make up your PC
  • Install a Windows operating system
  • Install anti-virus software
  • Test your built computer is running at optimal temperatures
  • Troubleshoot your build in case something didn't go right on the first try
FAQ:

What operating system do you demonstrate how to install?
Windows 7. I am adding a video on how to install Windows 8 and Linux as well.

How much do the parts cost?
It depends on what you want to do with your new PC. You can spend anywhere from $300 to $3000 on your build. The first thing to do is to identify the purpose of your computer. Are you going to use it for gaming or video editing, or just basic website browsing and media playback? The more performance your machine is, the more it will cost. We've listed out the following sample configurations in the course:

  • Basic PC ($300)
  • Basic PC ($400)
  • Gaming PC ($464)
  • Gaming PC ($800)
  • Gaming PC ($1500
  • Video Editing PC ($1500)
  • Home Theater PC ($500)

How long will I have access to the videos?
Forever :) Your access won't expire</strong>

Do you offer a money-back guarantee?
Yes, we have a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you're unhappy for any reason we'll refund 100% of your investment. Of course, if there is anything we can do to help you, we'd love the opportunity to do so first.</strong>

Can I install Mac OS on a computer I build?
Yes, the method of actually putting together the computer hardware is independent of which operating system you're installing. However, Mac OS will only work with a very limited set of hardware, so building a "Hackintosh" is outside the scope of this course.

Who this course is for:
  • Anyone who wants to build a computer
  • Anyone who wants to save money on the cost of a new computer
  • Anyone who wants to develop a new skill
  • No previous experience, knowledge, or training needed
Course content
Expand all 53 lectures 05:47:46
+ Getting Started
10 lectures 01:04:40
Follow along step-by-step as I build a brand new computer in this course. I'll show you the parts you'll need, tell you which features to look for, and demonstrate how to put the PC together and install OS and software.
Preview 01:03
Computer hardware ranges in features, performance, and price. This video introduces you to the notion that you can spend anywhere from $300 to $3000 on a computer. The price of your build will depend on what you plan on doing with your PC and which performance features are important for you.
Preview 05:12
Most people build computers for the following types of uses:

  • Basic: Email, Facebook, Music, Photos, Video
  • Gaming: Playing games like Battlefield 3, Crysis 3, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, etc.
  • Video Editing: Editing video projects and movies
  • Home Theater: Using a PC to stream, download, and playback media to a TV or projector

Preview 07:51
In this lecture we'll go over all of the necessary components needed to build a computer. We'll also talk about parts you can add for improved performance, but aren't required for the PC to operate.
Preview 13:29
Similar to buying tires for your car, there are certain aspects of the PC part picking process that you have to get right, and others that will just depend on your personal preference.
Similar to Buying Tires for Your Car
05:12
In this lecture we'll discuss a computer that can be built for just $300. It would be perfect for anyone that plans on mainly doing email, Facebook, Microsoft Office, listening to music, watching movies, and other basic tasks.

Most of these parts could be swapped out with a similar model from another manufacturer and still be a good computer. This is an example of what you can put together for very little money.
Sample Basic PC Configuration
09:12
Sample Gaming PC Configurations
15:51
Sample Home Theater PC Configuration
03:09
Best Places to Buy Parts
01:36
What Will You Use Your PC For?
02:05
+ Choosing Parts
19 lectures 01:56:22

Here is an overview of the parts you'll need to buy to build a complete computer. I briefly explain a little about each of the parts I've purchased for my new computer build and why.

Preview 10:21

Even though technology rapidly advances, the main components and how you put them together hasn't really changed all that much. The process of building a PC is hardly different than it was 10 years ago, and most likely 5-10 years from today.

For instance, modern hard drives have SATA connections. Years ago they had IDE connections. Even though the modern SATA connector looks different and operates at a higher speed, the hard drive still needs to plug into the motherboard via power and data cables.

You can be confident that what you learn here today will remain very relevant in the near future.

Preview 01:33

A computer case houses all of the computer's parts. Its quality and features have a direct impact on the longevity and convenience of the PC.

A case with a good number of fans (or places to put fans) and cable management features will aid airflow and allow you to properly cool the inside of the case and its components.

Convenience features like front-panel USB or headphone ports, or a tray to set your iPod/smartphone on top of the case, make using your computer a more enjoyable experience.

Things to consider when buying a computer case:

  • Size
  • Expansion Bays
  • Ease of Installation
  • Cooling & Airflow
  • Front Panel Connections
  • Form Factor
  • Upgrade-ability
Check out the "Choosing Parts for Your Computer" PDF below for more info and tips
Popular case manufacturers:
Top Rated Cases on Amazon:
View top 100

Preview 10:02

Like the name suggests, a power supply plugs into your home's outlet and supplies the power to your motherboard, CPU, and other components.

Things to consider when buying a power supply:

  • Make sure it has enough Watts to run all of the components
  • Higher efficiency ratings mean lower energy costs
  • A modular interface allows you to only use the power cables you need
  • You can compare power supplies based on how loud their fans get
Check out the "Choosing Parts for Your Computer" PDF for more info and tips

Popular Power Supply Manufacturers:

Top Rated Power Supplies on Amazon.com: View Top 100

Preview 08:44
The motherboard is the main circuit board in your computer. All of the other components plug into it; that is, the CPU, memory, graphics card, hard drive, optical drive, etc. It is an essential item in every computer.

The motherboard has a "socket", which is what the CPU (processor) plugs into. Your motherboard and CPU need to have the same socket type, i.e. LGA 1155, LGA 2011, LGA 1150

Things to consider when buying a motherboard:

  • Socket
  • Chipset
  • PCI Express and PCI Slots
  • Number of USB Ports and Speed
  • SATA and IDE Support
  • Onboard Audio
  • Number of memroy slots and the maximum amount of memory allowed
Check out the "Choosing Parts for Your Computer" PDF below for more info and tips

Popular Motherboard Manufacturers:

Top Rated Motherboards on Amazon.com: View Top 100

Best Selling Motherboards on Amazon.com: View Best Sellers

Newly Released Motherboards on Amazon.com: View New Releases

Choosing a Motherboard
09:19
Exploring Motherboards in More Detail
07:26
The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is also known as the processor. It is the main processing chip of the computer which reads and executes program instructions.

A CPU's socket must match the motherboard's socket.

Things to consider when buying a CPU:

  • Socket
  • Clock speed
  • Number of cores
  • Cache
  • Cooling
Check out the "Choosing Parts for Your Computer" PDF below for more info and tips

Two CPU Manufacturers to Choose From:

Top Rated CPU's on Amazon: View Top 100

Newly Released CPU's on Amazon: View New Releases

Choosing a CPU
09:05
Exploring CPUs in More Detail
01:45
The system memory is often referred to as RAM, which stands for Random Access Memory. It is a temporary storage location used to store data and information.

With everything else held constant, a computer with more memory, i.e 8GB vs 4GB, tends to feel a little more responsive.

Check out the "Choosing Parts for Your Computer" PDF below for more info and tips

Popular Memory Manufacturers:

Top Rated Memory on Amazon.com: View Top 100

Choosing RAM (Memory)
03:13
Exploring RAM (Memory) in More Detail
07:19
A hard drive is where you save all of your user data. The operating system is stored here as well as your pictures, videos, music, documents, programs, etc.

Most computers use mechanical hard drives made up of physical parts. It's becoming increasingly popular, especially in laptops and high-end PCs, to use solid state drives due to their data transfer rates, physical size, weight, and reliability.

Check out the "Choosing Parts for Your Computer" PDF below for more info and tips

Popular Mechanical Hard Drive Manufacturers:

2012 Hard Drive Performance Chart: View Chart

Popular Solid State Hard Drive Manufacturers:

2012 Solid State Drive Performance Chart: View Chart

Top Rated Mechanical Hard Drives on Amazon.com: View Top 100 Hard Drives

Top Rated Solid State Drives on Amazon.com: View Top 100 SSDs

Choosing a Hard Drive
04:19
Exploring Hard Drives in More Detail
09:54
The graphics card (or video card) is the component responsible for displaying what you see on your computer screen. Your computer monitor plugs into your graphics card via a DVI, VGA, HDMI, or DisplayPort connection, and then the graphics card plugs into your motherboard.

Not every computer requires a dedicated graphics card. Some CPU's and motherboards have built in graphics. If you're building a PC for every day use like email, Facebook, YouTube, and Microsoft Office then you'll do just fine with the integrated graphics found in a CPU and/or motherboard.

If you plan on doing gaming, video editing, CAD work, or anything else that is graphics-intensive, then a separate, dedicated video card is recommended.

While AMD and NVIDIA are really the only companies that make the chipsets for consumer video cards, many other companies use their technology and sell cards.
Check out the "Choose Parts for Your Computer" PDF below for more tips and information

Two Main Video Card Chipset Manufacturers:
Popular AMD Video Card Makers:
Popular NVIDIA Video Card Makers: 
Top Rated Video Cards on Amazon.com: View Top 100

Choosing a Graphics Card
05:50
Exploring Graphics Cards in More Detail
10:54
The name optical drive refers to CD, DVD, and Blu-ray drives. They can read and/or write data. 

Optical drives are less important these days due to software, movies, and music all being available for download or streaming online, but most people will use a disc drive from time to time.

If you ever plan on playing a CD, watching a DVD/Blu-ray, installing software from a CD/DVD, want to create audio or video discs, then you'll want some kind of optical drive.

Check out the "Choosing Parts for Your Computer" PDF below for more tips and information

Popular Blu-ray / DVD / CD Drive Manufacturers are:
Top Rated Blu-Ray Drives on Amazon.com: View Blu-ray Drives 

Top Rated DVD Drives on Amazon.com: View DVD Drives
Choosing an Optical Drive
02:04
Exploring Optical Drives in More Detail
02:55
After you put your computer together you'll need to install an operating system such as Windows 7 or Windows 8. If you're installing Windows, you have the option to buy a retail installation disc that allows you to install and uninstall the OS. Some retail packaging comes with 3 licenses so you can install the software on multiple computers.

I would recommend staying away from the traditional consumer Windows software discs that you normally see in stores and purchase a "System Builder" version. The System Builder is made for people that are building a computer. The great thing is it is a lot cheaper. The caveats are it can only be installed once and can never be uninstalled and placed on another computer, and you have to choose the correct version for your system: 32-bit or 64-bit.

Windows System Builder Discs on Amazon.com: View System Builders
Choosing an Operating System Installation Disc
01:01

Test your knowledge of computer components and their features in this short quiz. While it is optional, these questions touch on important items you should know when finding and comparing parts for your new computer. These questions are based on the videos and written lectures in the Choosing Parts section.

Understanding the Parts of a Computer
17 questions
+ Installing Parts
8 lectures 57:41
Installing the CPU
04:43
Installing the CPU Cooler (Heatsink)
16:48
Installing the RAM (Memory)
05:53
Installing the Power Supply
04:27
Installing the Motherboard in the Case
11:01
Installing the Graphics Card
03:51
Installing the Hard Drive(s)
06:58
Installing the Optical Drive
04:00
+ Connecting Power & Data Cables
8 lectures 50:58
Connecting Power Cables to the Motherboard and CPU
08:58
Power Cables That You'll Need to Connect to Power Supply
01:22
Connecting the Front Panel
16:09
Connecting Additional Power Cable to Graphics Card
02:06
Connecting Power Cables to Hard Drive(s) and Optical Drive
11:50
Connecting Data Cables to Hard Drive(s) and Optical Drive
06:22
Reviewing Connections
02:55
Storing Unused Parts
01:16
+ Turning Computer On and Installing Windows & Drivers
8 lectures 58:04
Turning the Computer On
06:20
Installing Windows 7
13:29
Installing Drivers
07:37
Updating Windows and Installing Anti-Virus Software
05:49
Checking Your CPU's Temperature
08:07
Graphics Card Driver
00:47
Troubleshooting
07:37
Formatting a Second Hard Drive
08:18