This building a PC guide will show you how to make a computer from scratch. Although you don’t know how to assemble a PC, it’s not necessary to read a computer build guide to figure it out with the help of the manuals, even if it’s your first time building a PC.
That’s how easy it is unless you want to assemble a desktop with a custom liquid cooling system for the first time. It’s more difficult to find all the compatible PC parts to put them together. So, why bother doing it yourself if you can rely on professionals from a computer store?
Table of Contents:
Imagine you buy a car piece by piece in different places, wheels here, a body there, an engine in a third store, a steering wheel at a flea market, a chair from eBay... Thus, finding the cheapest parts, you probably can assemble a budget Frankenstein. In the case of a computer, the assembly of all parts can be done by yourself, this is simple science.
The answer is clearly yes. Building a PC is cheaper than buying a pre-made desktop. However, if you are not interested in the exact details, but simple functionality is important, then buying a somewhat outdated pre-built computer will cost even less, as well as the custom assembly of this junk. Any company will be happy to get rid of the garbage that is not subject to further upgrade. The second hand is the cheapest option, Amazon, for instance, also sells used and refurbished computers.
There are not so many people who love to buy processors at the highest price on the day they are released. But if you have money, why not? You may be highly ambitious and need to have the latest technology. Why dash the hopes and illusion that the best teach better? Maybe you are planning to buy something that will not become obsolete for the next hundred years. But it will most likely become obsolete next year because a technological breakthrough may take place.
Progress is a tricky thing; it often goes the other way. Along with the planned hardware improvements, real scientific and technological revolutions take place, radically changing the filling of your iron friend. Moreover, a manufacturer by chance or deliberately comes up with a new socket on a motherboard for a new processor, and all your upgrade plans in a five-year period go down the drain.
Anyway, must buy not too outdated hardware like a processor for 10 bucks because, frankly, parts made of a mixture of non-ferrous metal and cardboard are not eternal. There are, of course, exceptions to RAM that give a lifetime guarantee, but everything else is morally and physically obsolete in 5 years. At most, after 10 years, it begins to crumble before your eyes.
The price, which is regulated by demand, is not cheaper for a hot product; rather, on the contrary, a company that assembles a PC for you will make a discount than a retail seller of individual parts.
The choice of PC parts is influenced by ads, advice from friends, personal experience, preferences, providence, and specific knowledge. For example, once I bought a Gigabyte or Asus motherboard, it served me well, and now I have the right feeling that this is my choice.
It is not recommended to be guided by the price and take a pig in a poke of an unknown brand. But if you are a jack of all trades and can fix the resistances on the chipset with a soldering iron, then it is possible to take a chance. If it doesn't work out, it can be used in the production of a combat robot.
All PC parts on the market have their own reputable manufacturer. For example, Intel and AMD. So it's not difficult to choose a brand. There are not so many of them to get lost, two, as a rule, in a democratic world with 2 political parties and Coca-Cola with Pepsi.
The next issue is compatibility. Here, especially if you don't trust a custom PC builder, you need to know a little where to stick certain computer components. Of course, a seller wants to assemble a more expensive desktop from cheaper parts for you. So a smart order is definitely better than, let's say, “I need the best gaming computer”.
Read more about picking PC parts.
On Fastchooser, you can quickly and easily choose and compare PC parts. As for PC specs, the bigger the numbers, the better. There are exceptions, however, like it is better if the weight and power consumption are less.
It is also easy to check the compatibility of a motherboard, processor, GPU, and RAM on our website by clicking the button “PC part compatibility”.
Finally, your choice may be influenced by the appearance of computer parts, especially if you plan to put a transparent case on a table to admire LED fans. Human insides are not so attractive though.
It’s better to ask “how easy is it to build a PC?” Assembling components is, perhaps, the easiest part. I can't help boasting that I've built and upgraded several computers with my own hands. If compared to assembling furniture, the desktop building is simpler but more responsible because the parts are more expensive and fragile.
It took me and my wife 3 days to assemble the kitchen furniture, and a computer is assembled in less than 30 minutes.
Everyone can handle twisting screws and inserting parts into slots. Manufacturers also make sure the connectors have a unique shape so that you can't insert them in the wrong places. In a pinch, you can always ask Google where and how.
When installing components, you need a screwdriver. Do not use leverage and force or additional tools such as pliers, hammer, ax, wrenches.
If you don’t know how to start building a PC, you need a plan with the steps of building a PC. So, let’s assemble a computer step by step.
Each CPU comes with a manual with pictures. Engineers come up with slightly different mounting methods for different motherboards and processors, so you need to follow specific instructions.
Installing a processor is the most difficult and delicate moment. In order not to damage the computer's brain, do not worry, hold the CPU carefully and confidently by the edges. Look at the markings and put it into the socket accordingly. Don’t force it into the socket, just put it gently. Make sure that no flecks get between the contacts. Then use the latch that securely fixes the CPU in the socket.
You can’t install the wrong memory because the manufacturer prudently makes different sizes and numbers of contacts for different modules.
To find out in which slots to insert RAM modules, refer to the manuals for the motherboard in which the pictures show where to insert if you have one memory stick, two, etc. 2 sticks, a dual-channel mode is most likely placed through slot 1 and 3, or 2 and 4.
Then bend open the latches that can be bent along the edges of the slot. Sometimes they are on both edges, sometimes the latch is only on one side. Insert a memory stick straight-vertically into the slot and press into it until the latch is captured by the cutout on the slot, and a characteristic click is heard. Fix the latch if it didn't fit in by itself. The memory is installed.
Apply a thin layer of paste between the processor and fan for better heat dissipation. Next, install a fan suitable for this socket into the board, and, finally, connect it to the motherboard’s protruding pins under which you'll find the note “CPU-fan”.
Depending on the case, it may be more convenient to install a CPU cooler after you mount a motherboard, PSU and connect all the wires because a CPU cooler takes much space. However, don’t forget to attach the back part of the cooler (if it has one) to the motherboard before you install it.
Install a blanking plate between the motherboard and the case, having removed any metal covers of the blanking plate for your motherboard’s ports if necessary.
A motherboard is installed in a PC case of a suitable size and attached with screws on prepared standard holes. Don’t force screws in too tight.
All the contacts for a monitor, Internet, speaker system, keyboard, mouse, PCI devices are directed to the rear wall of the tower.
Next, connect the motherboard to the PSU with two large connectors. Also, connect the positive and negative cables of the power switch, reset switch (if your PC case has it), HDD connector to the corresponding ports on the motherboard.
Don’t forget about front-mounted audio and USB ports. If you put several fans to your PC case, it’s better to connect them to the motherboard too so that it can automatically control their speed.
Motherboard’s jumpers and connectors have notes not to be confused. Their colors may also coincide to make the process of connecting even easier. Nonetheless, check with the manual to connect everything properly.
A motherboard has a special PCIe x16 slot for a graphics card. There is a latch on the slot which is pressed during installation and removal.
Before the installation, don’t forget to remove the blanking plate for your GPU. Then install the video card with its fan facing the bottom of the case and screw it to its place. Check the manual. You may also need to plug in a power connector.
A PSU (power supply unit) powers the motherboard and everything that is connected to it. A monitor and speakers are not connected to the PSU.
A power supply is attached to its place in the case with screws, contacts outward.
There are many wires coming from this device, and at first glance, it is easy to get confused. However, everything is quite simple. Several wires are intended for the motherboard, the rest for video cards, storage drives, such as SSD and HDD.
It’s better to place all the wires on the other side of the case so that they don’t prevent the airflow, and it looks neat.
Special compartments for HDDs are located in the front of the desktop chassis where they are fixed with screws. SSDs are attached to the side of the case with the help of mounting brackets. But not all cases come with the brackets. If your case doesn’t have them, you’ll have to buy them.
Connect storage drives to the PSU with a thick SATA cable and to the motherboard with a thin SATA cable. The connectors have unique configurations which make it easy to fit a plug into a socket. No need to poke and shove at random. And be careful not to break the connectors.
If you want to install an NVMe SSD, you should stick it into the M.2 slot on the motherboard. So make sure your motherboard comes with this slot if you want this type of SSD. After the installation, screw down the NVMe SSD from the other side to the standoff mount of your motherboard.
Despite the complexity of the internal architecture of a computer, it has only one cable from each device. They all have unique shapes and colors to avoid mistakes.
The list of cables:
- A PSU cable (is connected to an electrical outlet);
- A keyboard cable;
- A mouse cable;
- Internet cable;
- Audio cable;
- A monitor cable.
If you are still unsure about assembling a computer by yourself, watch the video about PC building.