Building a barebones computer is a great way to make sure you get exactly what you want. Before you get started with this project, make sure you take the time to become familiar with the various barebones computer parts that you will need to purchase and assemble.

Why build a barebones computer?

When you purchase a computer directly from a manufacturer, you may be able to customize a few of the things that are inside of it. Specifically, you should be able to choose your processor, size of your hard drive, and video card. The problem is that your options are limited to 3 or 4 selections, and you may not have any input on the brand of parts the manufacturer is using. If you purchase a computer from a store, you will not be able to customize your computer at all.

By selecting specific barebones computer parts you can ensure that the final product is everything you hoped it would be. In many cases, you may even find that building a barebones computer is actually much cheaper than purchasing a customizable computer from a manufacturer.


Selecting the right case for your barebones computer is one of the most important decisions you will make. A small case will take up less space, but you will be limited in terms of scalability. If you want to add several different type of drives to your computer over time, make sure you select a barebones computer case that can accommodate the expansion capabilities that you desire.


Every single part that you install in your computer will be attached to the motherboard in one way or another. It is important that you pick a solid motherboard that can accommodate every single part that you want to include in your barebones computer. If you are purchasing a barebones computer kit, it is possible the motherboard will be included. Do your research and make sure the model that is included will meet your needs!


The CPU is the brains of your barebones computer. This is one component that you will not find included in a kit. Do some research on the various popular CPU models and find one that is appropriate for your usage. Don't pick a Celeron CPU if you want a computer that is capable of heavy-duty gaming!


It won't take you long to figure out that there are tons of different types of RAM available. If you aren't sure which type of RAM you want to use, pick your motherboard and CPU first. The decision will ultimately be made for you as you will be limited to whatever type of RAM is compatible with your motherboard. There are motherboards that can accommodate more than one type of RAM, however, these are unusual.

Hard Drives

Hard drives are fairly inexpensive today. It generally pays to select a capacity that is larger than you think you might need. You'll be surprised how quickly your hard drive fills up. This is especially true if you plan to utilize several software applications, or if you store a large amount of video and photographs on your computer!

Tip: Always do a price comparison between a barebones computer and a similar computer sold by the manufacturer. Make sure you really will be saving money by building your own computer if price is a top priority! If you are looking for the experience of building your own computer, this may be less of a factor for you.