Preconfigured desktop computers are designed with features for a specific situation such as office work, creative design and editing, gaming, home use or student computing. Since most people have a variety of activities for which they use their computer, off-the-shelf systems are almost always a compromise. Fortunately, do-it-yourself computer building is fairly common these days, and with a few basic tools, the right parts and a good motherboard, you can build exactly the computer you need. If you need a lot of storage or a solid-state hard drive, you can include it. Add plenty of RAM for fast response times and graphics processing and include a powerful graphics card and CPU for great real-time gaming. If this is your first system, consider using a well-known system brand to pull it all together, such as an Asus motherboard.
The CPU brand and type which you intend to use will be a major factor guiding your choice of motherboard. The system CPU support includes the right type of socket for the CPU and hardware for the heatsink and fan which keep the system running at top performance even with demanding computing tasks. Make sure the motherboard, such as an Asus motherboard, specifically supports the exact CPU type you want to use.
Gamers know and other CPU builders should be aware that handling the heat generated by your system is critical to good performance and long system life. While not many people include a water cooling system, high-quality air-cooling equipment is available for your system including multi-speed quiet-running case and CPU fans. Don't forget to use thermal grease when mounting or replacing CPU cooling equipment.
Your computer case needs proper printed circuit board mounts for the motherboard, PCI Express slots for your add-on graphics and other hardware, cutouts for your USB 3.1 ports and other connections, and other PC components. What components of the system you want to include internally, such as hard drives, determine the case form factor, such as tower or mini tower, which you select. External peripheral connections allow you to add more storage and other components beyond the case capacity.
One of the big advantages of building your own PC is to start off with the amount of RAM (memory) you need and make sure that the motherboard supports higher-speed RAM if that's what you want to use. This is an area where a lot of off-the-shelf systems come up short, sometimes not even including enough room for memory expansion. Second to the CPU, memory is the next most important performance-enhancing item in the system.
Don't skimp on the power supply. It's the mother of all components in your system. A low-wattage power supply can produce voltage problems when under heavy load which are hard to diagnose, showing as potential hardware defects throughout the system. A well-cooled, higher-capacity power supply with the right wiring harnesses for your application will supply your main board or logic board, disk drives, graphics cards, network and other hardware with steady, well-regulated power.
Motherboards include a basic graphics chipset, but in many cases, you'll want to add a more powerful graphics card to satisfy your needs and drive your monitor to full resolution and colour gamut. In some cases, the GPU or graphics processor is used as a special-purpose processor to support artificial intelligence and other applications in addition to driving your computer display.