But how to know which parts to buy?
In this guide, we will provide useful information to choose every single piece of hardware for a modern, powerful computer. The expense needed to create this computer will depend on some components (which can also be ignored if we wanted to reduce the cost) but I anticipate that to get a modern desktop PC we can’t spend less than € 500, unless we want to find us with an old computer in a few years (even a few months!).
- Main components of the computer
- Auxiliary components (specific needs)
Main components of the computer
Here below we have collected all the main components of a computer, to be taken absolutely if we want it to start and use it for basic functions (surfing the Internet, etc.).
Processor or CPU
Processors can be both Intel and AMD, and each of these manufacturers offers advantages and disadvantages. Clearly, the more you spend and buy a powerful processor, the faster and faster your computer will be. Multicore processors are those with multiple CPU units, so they offer the possibility of opening multiple programs without slowing down the PC.
To be comfortable we will have to focus on a processor with at least 4 cores, but the more the better (we don’t give them the scruple, it is better to abound in order to find ourselves with powerful computers even in which year).
The best Intel processor for quality/price ratio is definitely the Intel Core i5-9400F (171 €), equipped with 6 cores at a frequency of 2.9 GHz (which can be automatically raised up to 4 GHz) and support for RAM memories DDR4.
If instead, we want to focus on an AMD processor, we recommend that you consider the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 (€ 158), equipped with 6 cores and 12 virtual threads, available at a frequency of 3.4 GHz (up to 4 GHz ), simple overclocking and support for DDR4 memories.
To learn more about the subject, please read our guides on Differences between AMD and Intel processors and between i5 and i7 CPUs and how to Buy the computer’s processor or CPU; what you need to know.
The motherboard is a very important component for the computer since it houses the processor and all the other internal components for the PC (which can be connected or inserted into it).
Obviously we have to choose a motherboard compatible with the chosen CPU, given pc and the insertion point of the processor is profoundly different between Intel and AMD.
If we have decided to focus on an Intel processor (as recommended above), we advise you to take a look at the MSI Z390-A PRO motherboard (€ 135).
If instead, we took an AMD processor (like the one recommended in the previous chapter), we can view the Gigabyte B450 AORUS M motherboard (€ 88).
Now all the recent motherboards use the new BIOS called UEFI (Universal Extensible Firmware Interface) although, as seen in another guide explaining what the BIOS is for and what it does on a computer, only a few more technical users may need it.
READ ALSO: How the computer’s motherboard is made
The computer’s RAM is where the short-term memory resides, which empties when the PC is turned off (while the hard disk is the long-term memory). More space we have, more programs we can open simultaneously without slowing down the PC. The minimum amount of RAM we recommend using is 8GB so that you can carry out the vast majority of tasks without problems.
For both motherboards previously seen, we can use a RAM kit (composed of two 4 GB modules each) like the Kingston HyperX Fury 8GB (56 €).
The currently widespread technology for RAM is DDR4, which offers high speeds and very low power consumption, as also described in our guide to types of computer RAM: DDR, shape, and speed.
The mechanical hard disk has now been replaced by SSDs, very fast and silent storage units, which we recommend to use regardless of all modern PCs instead of mechanical disks.
A good SSD to buy for the equipment we are creating is the SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD of 1TB (119 €), which offers the right compromise between the amount of space and price, while still maintaining very high performance.
To use it, simply connect the drive with a SATA cable to the motherboard and use one of the power cables available from the power supply.
To choose another SSD, we invite you to read our guide to the best SSD discs to buy to make your PC run as fast as a tablet.
Power is an important component to choose from because it must be powerful enough to be able to power the various parts connected to the motherboard and the computer. We always choose, if possible power supply with a power exceeding 450W, so as to possibly also provide a hardware upgrade without having to change this component again. To improve the cooling of the air and reduce the bulk of the wires, we choose a modular power supply, that is with a good part of the removable cables (we connect from time to time only the cables that are needed).
The best power supply we can use for the configuration we are creating in this guide is the Thermaltake Smart SE 530W (53 €).
In another article, we showed you how to choose the PC power supply, which sums up everything you need to know.
The case is the casing that holds all the pieces assembled in the motherboard inside, so it is the most visible part of a computer (the one that immediately catches the eye as soon as we see it). The higher price may depend mainly on aesthetics and particular design.
The important thing is that the case of our interest can contain the motherboard chosen previously (since it can also have different shapes), the power supply has a number of front doors sufficient to be able to immediately use some PC functions (for example USB ports, headphone ports, microphone ports, etc.) without having to use each time the sockets and connectors on the back of the computer.
The best case for all the components chosen so far (sober without overdoing it) is the Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5 (€ 50).
Mouse and keyboard
The mouse and the keyboard are the main input tools on the computer since they allow you to move the cursor and write in the text fields.
If we have already had a fixed PC before, we can save on these components “recycling” mouse and keyboard, especially if they are still in good condition. If we are looking for a new kit, we recommend you to bet on the kit offered by the Trust Classic line Keyboard and Mouse Set (€ 26).
Do we want wireless devices? In this case, we can focus on the Logitech MK270 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Kit (€ 24).
READ ALSO: Best PC keyboard to buy: wifi, ergonomic and backlit.
The monitor is an important output device since it shows everything that happens on the operating system allowing us to interact with the various programs. If we have discontinued an old PC, we can still use the old monitor, especially if supports 1080p resolution and if it has a DVI or HDMI cable. If the monitor is too old, does not support the required resolution or has the old VGA connection, we advise you to focus on the new HP 24W Monitor for Desktop PC 24 “(€ 99).
If we look for other monitor models, we can find them in our guide the Best PC monitors to buy between 100 and 200 Euros.
Auxiliary components (specific needs)
In this part of the guide, we have collected the secondary components, which can be purchased at a later time or only in the presence of specific needs (for example video games).
Dedicated graphics card
On all modern CPUs (including those indicated at the start of the guide) there is an integrated graphics chip, able to offer the minimum 3D performance for the operating system and for the graphics acceleration required by the programs.
But if we wish to play some recent video-game titles and getting good quality, we will inevitably have to install a dedicated video card; given that the expense is not indifferent, we can very well carry it out a few months after having bought all the essential components and assembled the essential PC.
If we want to bet on an NVIDIA card (maximum quality with any game), we recommend that you consider the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2060 of 6 GB (€ 409).
If instead, we want to save something without giving up too much on quality, we can bet on an AMD card like the XFX Radeon RX 590 8 GB (€ 249).
To view other models of video cards and learn more about how to choose them, we refer you to reading our guide on How to choose the video card for PC graphics.
All processors have a small heat sink with a fan in the package, able to keep the temperature of this delicate component under control. Too bad that this component tends to always be very noisy and to fill with dust easily, overheating the CPU and slowing down its performance after a short time.
To get better cooling we can opt for an enhanced heat sink, like the ARCTIC Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2 (€ 20), compatible with both CPUs proposed in the guide.
If instead, we want superior cooling, we can focus on liquid cooling by choosing a kit like the Enermax Aquafusion 120mm (80 €).
Do we want to find out more about the sinks? We advise you to read the guide on CPU cooler: when to buy it new.
If your computer is close enough to your home modem, you should connect it via an Ethernet cable to bring Internet connectivity. If however, the PC is too far away, we will have to equip it with an internal Wi-Fi adapter, so that we can connect wirelessly.
The best product we can buy for the purpose is the Asus PCI-Express Wireless AC1300 (47 €), equipped with two adjustable antennas, compatible with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks and equipped with IEEE 802.11ac technology support (transfer speed up to 867 Mbps). This card must be placed in the PCI-Express x1 slot present in the central part of the motherboard, usually just above the video card slot.
Generally speaking, there are two important things keep this in mind when buying a new computer or any piece of hardware. Whatever you buy today, it will surely be surpassed by a new product in a year, it will surely be surpassed by the PC average after 3 years and will be obsolete after 5 years.
When choosing the pieces of a computer you need to consider what you need today, without thinking about tomorrow and, at the same time, try to buy recently released pieces, in order not to buy old components that could become incompatible with the outgoing ones.
READ ALSO: Check Compatibility between CPU, RAM, and motherboard, if they work together in a PC.
The second rule is to hold the balanced computer: if you buy a PC with a low-power processor, you don’t need to buy a high-end graphics card or mount 16 GB of RAM.
If you have a 1080p monitor, you don’t need to buy a graphics card that can handle higher resolutions (4K), since we’ll never use them (as long as we have that monitor of course).
To be certain of compatibility between the various parts of the computer, between the processor, motherboard, RAM and video card, you can find a valid support on the PC Part Keeper website, perfect also for those who have to change some pieces on their old PC.
Finally, another important thing to consider is that if you buy an assembled PC today by choosing certain pieces, nothing in a few months or a year prohibits changing some without having to buy everything back.
As seen, you can easily change RAM, power supply and hard disk without having large technical capabilities and the same goes for the video card.
Below we have collected all the best guides on how to assemble a good PC based on the budget available so that you can compare them with the components seen in this guide:
- High-performance 600 Euro assembled PC with high performance
- Assemble a perfect and excellent 300 Euro PC: what to buy
- Which is the most powerful PC with the absolute best hardware (which you can buy)
- How to assemble the PC, assemble the parts and build a computer from scratch