I was confused whether to buy a laptop (which comes will all goodies) or a custom PC build (which is, altogether, an opposite of laptop). First, I thought to go with a laptop but then decided to make my own budget custom PC build on friend’s suggestion.

Disclaimer: This article is my experience / journey I went through to create my own custom PC build. This isn’t a Nutshell like article which explains everything instead it just covers things I came to know for my own requirement.

Here is the preface of what I learned. I might have missed many things but at least, I hope covered the fundamentals:

• DDR4
• M.2
• SLI motherboards
• Z series motherboards
• Processor with suffix “K”
• Gsync and Free sync monitors
• SSD, HDD and SSHD
• Crossfire and SLI
• Overclocking

First or all, we just can’t take any motherboard, processor, GPU, cooler, SMPS etc and assemble to form a PC. That would be completely unethical or opposite of wise (stupid?).

Being myself a toddler in this technical field of PC components, I started reading articles where authors used to form budget and premium PCs with components which are compatible with each other. I wondered how they are selecting those components. The names of those components are also like ZLPXBULLSHT, 7600uk etc.. There might be some common pattern in that stupid names and yes there is.. read on.

I needed a fast processor which could work for at least more 3 years easily. So, in my case, I decided not to compromise and go with the latest (as of this writing) Intel processor i7 8th generation (There is also i9 category processors which are just unnecessarily premium with just more cores, makes no sense). Then I realized there are some model numbers even in 8th generation. I just chose the latest one which is i7 8700 but there is also a variant in it i.e i7 8700k. On my research, I realized that the suffix k stands for overclocking feature i.e we can increase the performance speed of the processor with help of motherboard. Not with any motherboard but a Z series one. Also, the 8th generation processors need a motherboard which is above 300 series. So while buying a motherboard, I need to look out for model number something like Z3XX for compatibility.

Then being a gamer, I decided to go with GTX 1050ti GPU (since it is affordable and runs my games like CS GO, Witcher 3, GTA 5 and Skyrim smooth enough for better experience). Keeping the future scope in mind where I could possibly attach more GPUs to my motherboard, I researched on this topic, where I found that pairing/bridging of two or more GPUs is known as SLI (in case of Nvidia) and Crossfire (in case of AMD GPUs). Not all motherboards support these type of pairing, only the motherboards which have SLI or Crossfire mentioned in their model number does that i.e a model number like Z3XX SLI or Z3XX Crossfire (few motherboards have option for both SLI and Crossfire labels).

So, the motherboard to go with is Z3XX SLI (as I opt for Nvidia). Also, I chose DDR4 because it consumes lesser power than DDR3.

Note: No matter how much you consider the future scope, these brands know how to cut it down. Take the case of introducing new 300 series motherboards which are only compatible with the 8th generation processors not the ones below 300 series (not even X299 which are premium motherboards)

Since here I am considering a processor which could be overclocked and also a beast like GPU (Rat when compared to Titan). So, it is better not to compromise on Cooling system.

Now, coming to M.2, it is actually the latest way where the data transfer rate is faster compare to older methods like SATA. Usually, this can be helpful to reduce boot time (~10 sec) of the system. Since, I was fine with higher boot time (i.e around 1 min), I opted not to have SSD for now but definitely considered that the Motherboard is M.2 compatible. There is also Hybrid version of both SSD and HDD known as SSHD where I didn’t look much out.

And when I was browsing through monitors, I came to know that there are two types of gaming monitors i.e G-Sync (Nvidia) and FreeSync (AMD). These methods are used to reduce the screen tearing because of higher FPS. I would suggest to read articles to know more about it. At last, one thing I concluded is that G-Sync monitors are too expensive compare to budget monitors which are usually FreeSync. So, decided to go with Freesync monitor.

And here is my custom build’s configuration:

Type Brand/Model name Price
650W SMPS (= switched-mode power supply) CORSAIR SMPS VS650 - 650 WATT PSU WITH ACTIVE PFC CP-9020098-UK Rs.4,300
Cooling system COOLER MASTER CPU AIR COOLER HYPER 212X RR-212X-20PM-R1 Rs.2,850
16GB RAM CORSAIR DESKTOP RAM VENGEANCE LPX SERIES - 16GB (16GBx1) DDR4 DRAM 3000MHz BLACK (CMK16GX4M1B3000C15) CMK16GX4M1B3000C15 Rs.13,000
GTX 1050ti GPU ZOTAC GRAPHICS CARD PASCAL SERIES - GTX 1050 TI 4GB GDDR5 (ZT-P10510A-10L) ZT-P10510A-10L Rs.11,500
i7-8700k CPU INTEL PROCESSOR CORE i7-8700K (INTEL 8TH GEN, LGA1151 SOCKET, 12M CACHE, UP TO 4.70 GHz) i7-8700K Rs.29,600
Motherboard GIGABYTE MOTHERBOARD Z370M-D3H (INTEL SOCKET 1151/8TH GENERATION CORE SERIES CPU/MAX 64GB DDR4-4000MHZ MEMORY) Z370M-D3H Rs.11,300
1TB HDD I had spare in my home
Computer case Zebronics Rs. 1,500
UPS Intex Rs. 1,500
29” ultra-wide monitor LG 21:9 Ultrawide 29UM59 29-inch Monitor (Black) Rs. 20,995

I bought most of the above components from mdcomputers.com where the prices were lower compared to Flipkart and Amazon. Also, the delivery was fast (got in two days!!).

Things I messed in above configuration are:

• I didn’t go with SLI compatible Motherboard. I came to know about SLI after assembling the components (I could have still returned the component but opted not to). Anyway, the motherboard is still compatible with Crossfire. (Edit: SLI is actually supported only with few selected GPUs, here is the list)
• I should have selected a better cooling system i.e probably a liquid cooling system because the configuration which I bought has a CPU and Motherboard which can be overclocked which means more heat. Although, the existing cooling system is fine if I don’t overclock (which I think I won’t for more one year).