For the course project, I wanted to build a strong CAD workhorse, as well as a nice gaming setup. With the focus on what the PC will be used for, I would start by setting up the case on a solid workstation and use ESD protective equipment.
Case: The case is where the party is happening. Most of the components will be housed within the case. I like the look of the full tower cases that have a glass side panel. I chose the Dark Base Pro 900 made by be quiet! for these reasons.
Motherboard: If the case is where the party is happening, the motherboard would be the host of the party. The motherboard has the sockets, expansion slots, ports, and connectors that most of the components will be installed to. It also holds the CMOS. The I/O shield would be where most of the input and output devices would be connected. The motherboard should be installed within the case using the appropriate standoffs, so the motherboard isn’t in direct contact with the side of the case.
CPU: The central processing unit would be the life of the party. It handles the core processing tasks given to it by the user. The CPU will be placed in the CPU socket of the motherboard.
CPU Cooling Unit: The CPU’s cooling unit will utilize a heat sink that will transfer heat from the CPU and away from other components on the motherboard. The CPU cooling unit will be placed on top of the CPU with thermal paste and will most likely be connected to the appropriate fan pin slot on the motherboard.
RAM: These components will handle the volatile memory and the higher the GB capacity the smoother the operating experience should be. RAM modules should be seated in the appropriate saddles on the motherboard. Multiple modules could be utilized for more memory as well as configured in multi-channel modes, so each module communicates with the CPU at the same time.
Storage: The SDD, HDD, or both that are installed in the PC will store the PC’s non-volatile memory. These storage devices will retain their data even when the PC is turned off. I chose a Samsung 970 Evo Plus SDD for the OS, and that will be plugged into one of the motherboard’s M.2 slots as well as a SATA port.
OS: The operating system manages the PC and allows the user to input commands to the CPU or other components.
GPU: The graphics processing unit takes the burden of the display processing from the CPU and can process the display data much faster than the CPU. The I/O shield would offer the display ports. Another extension of this would be a sound card that would handle the audio processes for the CPU.
Power Supply: The PSU is how the PC receives power. Components will either receive electricity from the motherboard or directly from the PSU.
Monitor: An output device that will present the audio and more importantly the visual information. The ports that are available on the I/O shield of the GPU will help determine what cable to use when connecting the monitor to the PC.
Keyboard and Mouse: These are input devices that would be plugged into the appropriate port on the I/O shield of the motherboard on the back of the PC.
The AMD Radeon Pro GPU I selected for my build was by far the most expensive component. It was important to me to invest in a quality GPU because of the design work I would want to do on this PC, and I wanted to avoid a choppy display.