• Question: how do you build a computer

    Asked by sgcpss42 to David, James, Mike, Suze, Will on 14 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Suze Kundu

      Suze Kundu answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      Another good question for the boys – personally, I go to PC World and ask them to put it all together for me! I’m also interested in finding out the answer to this one 🙂

    • Photo: William Eborall

      William Eborall answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      Hi sgcpss42. The main steps in building a PC are:
      1. Fit the motherboard into the case.
      2. Fit the processor to the motherboard.
      3. Attach the cooling fan and heat sink to the processor.
      4. Plug the memory into the motherboard.
      5. Attach the power cables to the motherboard.
      6. Slot the graphics card into the motherboard and attach a power cable to it.
      7. Fit a hard drive into the case, attach a data cable between it and the motherboard and plug a power cable into it.
      8. Repeat step 8 for a CD/DVD drive.
      9. Switch it on and install an operating system.

      For a more detailed guide see: http://www.buildyourown.org.uk/pc-building/

    • Photo: James Marrow

      James Marrow answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      Did you know that a computer is just a set of on/off switches all connected together in different ways? You just need a few billion of them to do anything useful (and to make them very very small).

      My first computer was a ZX81 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZX81) – it had 1kb of memory

      (I’ve just bought a 6-core PC with 48 Gb memory for my research work – that’s 48 million times more memory and I don’t know how much faster – but it’s still a load of switches that go between 0 and 1)

      update – I just checked (geek!). The ZX81 had a speed of 3.25 MHz, and my new computer is 1333 MHz. That’s actually not such a huge increase in speed in 15 years when you think about it, only 400 times.

    • Photo: Mike Dodd

      Mike Dodd answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      I’m with Suze on this one, I’ve never built a computer, although I wanted to when I was at school (but didn’t have the money)

    • Photo: David Ingram

      David Ingram answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      If you mean a PC you can buy all the large components and assemble them in a case as William explains (above).

      You can start with a different processor and build a motherboard add memory and then start programming it with a bank of on-off switches. its a bit complex and can be done fore a very simple machine. I had a friend who built his own computer using the processor used in washing machines and hand programmed enough of the operating system to read a disk and then built it up from there – the process is called “Boot Strapping” because it’s like lifting yourself up by your boot straps.