If you've never done it before, the idea of building a computer from the ground up can seem very intimidating—but it's one of the most satisfying projects a tech enthusiast can take on.
Being more of a software gal than a hardware geek myself, I was the only Lifehacker editor who had never built a PC from scratch. So when I needed a new PC late last year, I took the plunge and built my custom system. I'm so glad I did—the project turned out to be one of my proudest accomplishments of 2008. If you've cracked open your PC before to install a new hard drive or TV capture card, but you've never built a whole new system from the ground up, it's not as difficult as you might think. Here are my notes for first-timers who want to build instead of buy their next computer.