Building your own PC is a real rite of passage. You’ve gone from buying ready-made computers that anyone can get to building your own customized computer. It is very nice. , , and also intimidating. But the process itself is actually quite simple. We will guide you through everything you need to know.
Some quick notes
However, if you do things in an awkward order, all is not lost. You may need to loosen a few screws or use pliers to attach some cables in hard to reach places, but it shouldn’t be too hard to get it to work.
Plus, a cleanly connected computer will be quieter, cooler, and look better. It’s not necessary to waste time checking that the cables are routed correctly, but it’s a good idea. Most cables should be routed behind the motherboard tray (where the motherboard is located) and then back to the front of the board. Not only does this look better, but it also allows for better flow around the heat-producing parts of your PC.
Use Velcro straps or twist ties to keep them secure. You can use zippers, but if you ever have to cut them, be extremely careful not to cut the cable.
Would you like to see the process in video form? We will help you:
1. Eliminate static risk
Static electricity can destroy the sensitive components you use to build your computer. Even a tiny shock can fry a motherboard or processor. Therefore, you will want to take certain steps to ensure that you are not going to build up and release static electricity.
One common way to do this is to wear an anti-static wrist strap. You can get one of these for about five dollars and it will keep you grounded and prevent static electricity damage. This is an easy way to be safe.
If you don’t have one, you can take other precautions. Standing on the bare floor, not on the carpet, while you are building. Do not wear wool socks or a large sweater. Try to minimize the amount of clothing you wear; jeans and t-shirt are good. Touch a grounded piece of bare metal often during assembly and always before handling a component (your computer’s metal case is a good option). Try not to move around while you are assembling the computer. All of these things will help reduce the amount of static you create.
With a note to that effect, be careful when handling your components. They are very sensitive, and bending a tiny pin or getting oil from your skin on one of the pins can affect how they work. Therefore, be especially careful not to touch the contact points. Hold the components by the edges. In general, be careful when working with this stuff and you’ll be fine.
2. Put it all together
The first thing you’ll want to do is collect all of your materials. Gather your case, all your components, and all your manuals together. Take a small screwdriver, small needle nose pliers, thermal paste (if your CPU didn’t come with a stock cooler), and scissors or a knife to open the packages.
You can take everything out of the box now if you want. Leave components in antistatic packaging. Removing all those boxes will give you more room to work, but it will also make everything a little less secure. So it’s up to you. However, I would recommend leaving all guides aside as there is a good chance you will have to refer to them multiple times.
Here are the components I used for my own build:
- Case: Corsair Carbide Series 100R (UK)
- Motherboard: Asus ATX DDR4 H170-PRO / CSM ( UK )
- Processor: Intel Core i5-6500 3.2GHz Quad Core Skylake (UK)
- RAM: Corsair Vengenace LPX 8GB DDR4 2400MHz (UK)
- Video card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 WINDFORCE 6G (UK)
- SSD: SanDisk SSD Plus 240 GB (UK)
- Hard Drive: WD Blue 1TB 7200rpm (UK)
- Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone G550
These instructions will apply to almost any set of components, but review your manuals to make sure you haven’t missed anything specific to your particular machine.
3. Install the motherboard I/O board
Don’t forget this step! This is a common PC build error.
First remove the side panels from your case. They are probably held on by a couple of screws; remove them, then slide out the side panels.
Each motherboard comes with an I/O shield that attaches to the back of the case from the inside. It should be clear which orientation to use (any marks on the screen will be top right), but if it isn’t, see how your motherboard will be oriented in the case. The ports on the board must match the ports on the screen.
You may need to push on the shield to make it snap into place on the back of the case.
4. Install the motherboard
If the processor is the heart of your computer, the motherboard is the nervous system. Coordinates the activities of the various components. Your computer case will have a few screws that hold the motherboard in place, so make sure you have those and a small screwdriver handy.
It should be obvious where your motherboard goes; the ports will be aligned with the I/O shield. There will also be a few standoffs — small posts that keep your motherboard from touching the side of the case. Align the holes in the motherboard with the screw slots and place the motherboard down.
Getting the board right can be a bit tricky, especially with an I/O shield. You may need to move it around a little or slightly bend the metal parts on the back of the shield. Be very careful when doing this and don’t touch the pins on the board.
After the motherboard is properly installed, loosely insert the screws, then tighten them one by one. Don’t go crazy; they don’t have to be very tight, just neat, and you can damage the board if you overtighten them. Just apply enough force to make sure the board won’t move. Be sure to insert a screw into each hole on the motherboard.
There are several cables coming from your case that can now be connected to the motherboard. These are very small connectors that will be labeled «LED+», «LED-«, «HDD+», «Reset», etc. and must be connected to the appropriate pins on the motherboard. Each case will be different, so please refer to your motherboard and case manuals. You can also connect a built-in fan.
My motherboard fan pins are labeled CHA FAN1 (as in «chassis») ; look for something similar on your board.
5. Install the processor
The port for the processor will be obvious on any motherboard; it is a prominent square panel. To open the panel, press the lever and slide it sideways to pull it out from under the metal retainer that holds it. Raise on your hand to expose the pins for the processor.
Holding the processor by its edges, carefully place it on the port. If you have an Intel processor, there will be two notches that will align if you have it in the correct orientation. AMD processors have a golden triangle in one corner that matches up with the triangle in the processor socket. (It’s also very likely that text printed on the processor will be oriented in the same direction as text printed on the motherboard.)
Once you have installed the processor in the socket, use the lever to lower the panel cover. Push down on the lever — this will take some pressure, so you’ll need to push hard — and slide it back under the metal retainer.
6. Install the CPU fan
Your processor will be doing a lot of hard work, which means it will generate quite a bit of heat. A CPU fan (or other type of cooler if you opt for a third-party option) helps keep it cool, extending the life of your CPU. If your processor came with a cooling fan, then it’s almost certain that the fan already has thermal paste. Look for silver stripes on the metal heatsink.