Want to learn how to build a gaming PC? Udemy’s “How To Build a Custom Gaming PC” course aims to teach you just that, but I headed into the course with some doubts. The last time we looked at a Udemy computer build course, it turned out to be pure garbage. It was realistically the worst guide you could hope for when building a PC. Today’s course is taught by a different instructor, however, and with any luck this course will prove to be worthwhile. Let’s dive in.
Before we get started, I should mention that this course was originally released in 2016 and the parts used while building the system are outdated by today’s standards. That doesn’t mean the information in the course can’t help you; the instructions on building the computer are essentially the same today as they were in 2016. The instructor also gives detailed information on what to consider while picking parts, which can also help you when selecting items today.
In the system design section of the course, we hit a small hiccup with the advice given. The instructor recommends you select parts for your system in the following order:
- PCI-E Cards
- Optical Drives
The biggest issue here is the placement of the motherboard so far down on the list. I think most system builders would agree that you should select the processor you want first, but I would typically recommend selecting the motherboard second. The motherboard you choose will determine how many ports you have available for storage devices and add-on cards, and it also will determine how large the system you select will be. Following the order above could occasionally cause you to buy a GPU that’s too large for the system you build, or cause you to buy extra hardware you are unable to connect to your system, again due to size limitations or a shortage of ports. That said, the order used by the instructor could work and it’s not a major issue.
Otherwise, the information in the system builder section is solid and provides you with a good foundation with which to move forward with planning your PC build. In the next section that is devoted to PC cases, we hit another bump as the instructor mixes up his terminology. The instructor refers to mini-ITX cases and mini-ITX brackets as being HTPC cases and HTPC brackets. An HTPC ( a.k.a. Home Theater Personal Computer) is actually not a form factor and does not designate a system’s size. HTPC computers are typically quite small, but they can be any size and use motherboards of various sizes.
After this slip-up, the instructor gets back on track with an informative lecture on the importance of case air pressure. If you are looking to build a gaming computer, this is highly important for preventing heat damage to your system. The next section of the course discusses motherboards, but just lightly. The instructor leaves some information out, but he hits all the important points that you would need to know during the building process.
The course continues with the instructor discussing each component as the PC is assembled, and for the most part, the class is informative. Towards the end of the course, we again hit a small snag when the instructor talks about add-on cards. First, the instructor says that PCI-E x32 devices are becoming popular now, which is an interface that’s so rare and unused that I’ve never even heard of it before today, and I review motherboards for a living. Put simply, this just isn’t true. Next, the instructor says that while you can use small PCI-E devices like a PCI-E x1 or PCI-E x4 card in a PCI-E x16 slot, the same is not possible in reverse. This is again, inaccurate. Some motherboards purposefully use open-ended PCI-E x1 slots that can take PCI-E x16 cards, and you can also use riser cards to connect larger PCI-E devices to smaller slots. They won’t perform as well, but you should be aware this is possible.
Overall, Udemy’s “How To Build a Custom Gaming PC” course does a decent job of showing you how to build a PC. Most of the information in the course is solid and will help you understand more about the various components, but the instructor makes mistakes in places as mentioned above. You could go far worse when selecting a course to help you learn to build a system, however, and overall I’d recommend this as an solid course for beginners looking to build their first desktop computer.
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