How To Build A PC

Step 8: Select The Finishing Components

At this point, it’s now possible to get your new build up and running with nothing more than the components gathered from the previous pages. However, there are a final few parts, which can transform a merely good build into a great build, all while adding extra functionality.

Although most retail-boxed CPUs come with their own heat sink and fan, they tend to be noisy and inefficient, and are often tossed in favor of something more effective. Those looking to build the ultimate HTPC will mostly benefit from a small, aftermarket mini-ITX air cooler. Meanwhile, those looking to squeeze every last bit of performance out of their build will likely see the most benefit from a big air cooler or closed-loop liquid cooling system. We review the entire range, and our Best Cooling column has pricing and performance data for some of the best coolers on the market.

The ever increasing number of downloadable programs, coupled with the fact that most modern operating systems can now be installed via a flash drive, means that most of our readers may never have a need for an optical drive. For other enthusiasts, the ability to run old programs or play media is still very much a requirement. With online prices for popular models ranging from $20 to $40, even the most tight-fisted builder should be able to afford one.

Professionals who work with photos or videos on a daily basis may opt for a card reader. Meanwhile, other power users may prefer additions like premium sound cards or TV tuners, although integrated sound is quite good nowadays and Internet-based streaming services have rendered TV cards largely unnecessary. Then again, that's what makes the PC so great. You have the freedom to swap parts in and out as your needs change.

These items are typically optional for most builds, so let’s get back to the mandatory steps.

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  • James_39
    Selecting the case is a bizarre thing to have in Step 1.Surely that would be best placed once all other components, including accessories, have been factored in? Otherwise you end up selecting components purely on the basis they fit in your case, not forgetting that some (most) cases don't support water cooling kits/pipes etc mentioned in Step 8.