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This site uses an unusual navigation system. In addition to the menu on the top, there are "mini-menus" on the bottom of every page to allow you to quickly switch back and forth. The "Getting Started" link on the top of each page will take you to a map of the site.
You can also click here if you get lost. That page is a sitemap of all the pages related to actually building a computer but not all of the extra informational pages. The links for "Components" and "Software" will take you to mini-maps of the pages dealing with those topics.
In addition, some subjects are divided into multiple pages, with mini-maps on the bottom to navigate between those pages. The reason I chose this odd layout is because I know from experience that designing and building a computer is not quite as much of a step-by-step process as one might hope. It involves a lot of back-and-forth, as well. After experimenting with different navigation styles, this one seemed most like the actual process.
And after years of the site being live and undergoing several rebuilds, I still think it works pretty well. That's a good question. After all, it's a lot easier to buy a computer from a reputable computer shop than it is to build one yourself. Here are some of the reasons. As was mentioned above, when you design your own computer, you can build it to suit the things you want it to do.
The days when all computers had to do was check e-mail and surf the Web are over. A high-end smart phone or a decent tablet can do those things and much more well enough. Like any other do-it-yourself project, computer building requires certain skills, tools, and resources. For example:. Now, let's begin the process. Funny enough, the first step to assemble a PC is to disassemble it.
Well, your case that is. Some cases may only have one removable side panel, but most will have two so that you can work from both sides the rear side is handy to access for managing your cables later on. Go ahead and remove both side panels, or the main side panel at least usually the left side of the case.
M any modern cases use thumbscrews to hold the side panels in place, meaning you can just use your hands to undo them, but s ometimes you'll still need to use a screwdriver to initially loosen them up enough to the point where you can then use your hands. Other cases will just have standard screws that you'll need to fully unscrew with your screwdriver. The Cooler Master N case for our I ntel build example did need the screwdriver to open up:.
For our AMD build example using the DeepCool Matrexx 30 case, it can be opened up without the screwdriver by simply undoing the thumbscrews by hand:. Once you've removed the screws on each of the 4 corners of the case, the panel should simply slide off. If it's a glass panel like the one pictured above for our DeepCool Matrexx 30, be careful with it and make sure to place your case on its side before undoing the screws so that it doesn't accidentally fall off and once removed gently place the glass panel somewhere safe where it won't get scratched or marked.
So now that's your case opened up; yup, told you we're keeping it real basic here so nobody gets left behind. Not even your Grandma, who may very well be in on the tangible Half Life Alyx hype of late and be assembling a high end gaming PC build to get in on the action respect, but I think she'll have a heart attack when that first headcrab pounces right at your face in freakin' VR. Inside your case you'll find the already attached front panel cables pictured below which we'll connect to the motherboard later on, pre-installed fans and their cables which also connect to the mobo later, and you should also find a bag of screws which you'll want to open up and keep handy.
Just don't lose any screws and keep them all together somewhere. The Cooler Master N Mini Tower case has a drive caddy, but it's a smaller case and we've only got one storage drive for this build plus we have a non-modular power supply to install for this build which takes up more room so I removed the caddy by simply unscrewing it:.
The majority of cases will come with fans already pre-installed inside, so there's nothing to do for these stock-standard fans besides plug them into the motherboard when the time comes. There should be a fan in the back of the case to push out warm air called an exhaust fan , and if a case comes with 2 fans then the second one will likely be in the front to suck cool air in from outside the case to provide airflow onto your internal components called an intake fan.
Most cases will also have support for more fans should you want to buy some to increase airflow further. For our Intel build, the Cooler Master N has two pre-installed fans, and it's a budget gaming PC build so there's no need for any more than that. The DeepCool Matrexx 30 for our budget AMD build only comes with 1 fan exhaust fan in the back , so I've gone ahead and got an extra mm fan that will go in the front to fortify airflow and add some cool green lighting that will be visible through the front mesh panel of this already quite slick-looking budget case can definitely recommend this one.
The extra fan we'll add to the budget AMD build. It's worth mentioning that if you're not using a graphics card, and are simply using the integrated graphics of a CPU like the AMD Athlon G or the G or G for that matter , you could get away with just the 1 fan. Low powered systems like these really don't need much airflow. Now we've prepared the case, there are two different approaches you can take from here when learning how to build a PC from scratch for the first time.
You can either:. So what's best? Should you install your PC parts outside or inside the case? Either can work, but the first option external is generally best and what I'd recommend for most people. It has more pros than cons compared to fitting the motherboard first. It can be more difficult to reach in and install parts onto your motherboard when it's mounted inside your case.
Working on your motherboard outside the case gives you much more room to move, makes it easier to see where to install things like the CPU, and makes it easier to firmly insert your RAM and CPU cooler which can require a firm little push. For example, pushing your RAM down firmly onto the board is a whole lot easier when it's on a flat surface; applying too much pressure to the motherboard when it's installed in the case could flex the board too much and damage something. Plus, installing your parts outside the case allows you to quickly check that all those parts are working fine by temporarily connecting your PSU to the motherboard we'll get to that later.
You can install the graphics card onto the motherboard outside the case too, to include that in your quick component test, but you'll want to remove the GPU before installing the motherboard into the case and install the GPU after. Don't worry if you're confused, as all will become clear. Before touching your motherboard, or any other component for that matter, remember that you need to ground your physical body first to remove any static electricity build-up.
So, let's go ahead and prepare your motherboard. Carefully remove your motherboard from the anti-static bag it came with, and holding the board by its edges, place it on top of your motherboard box or on your desk if you don't have the box. Motherboards and other parts can be quite sturdy in general, but accidentally bending a pin or even getting oil from your skin on there could damage something. Just take precaution with all your parts and carefully follow all instructions throughout this carefully-written walkthrough and you'll be fine, ad all you really need to remember is to hold components by their edges or metal backplates, and don't touch anything you're unsure about.
Extra Safety Tip. Do not sit your motherboard on top of the anti-static bag it came with, as the outside of the bag is not guaranteed to be a safe surface to work on. There's differing opinions on this in computer science circles, but just use the motherboard box instead to be on the safe side. It's time to install the new brains of your battlestation onto your motherboard, which deserves its own separate page to explain all the steps as well as answers to common questions about CPU installs.
If I included this entire tutorial on a single page it would be too long and might take a while to load in your browser but if you do want this entire PC assembly tutorial in a single all-in-one PDF to download or print out easily see our eBook version. So when you're ready, head over to the CPU section of this guide. But we also have a guide on installing an aftermarket cooler too using one the most popular third-party models as an example Hyper series for anyone not using the stock-standard cooler provided by Intel or AMD.
Fitting your memory modules is one of the easiest, quickest parts to install when assembling a computer, but there are some things to know including which specific memory slots on the motherboard to install them in technically called DIMM slots, short for Dual In-Line Memory Module. If you planned a smart PC parts list , you'll have gotten 2 memory modules for your PC build instead of just the 1 in order to take advantage of the performance benefits of running dual channel memory.
Though if you're on a real tight budget, a single module isn't the end of the world. If you were also wise about choosing your motherboard, and got one that has 4 memory slots so you can have 2 slots free for a future upgrade, the question is which 2 slots do you use now? It does matter, so head over to our full RAM guide for all the details and install steps.
If you have an M. Plus, M. For all the steps see our M. Full Steps: How to Install an M. This is another technically optional step when learning how to build a PC from scratch, but it is considered good practice and can be worth it in the event you get unlucky and end up having a component that's faulty or DOA Dead on Arrival.
It's something I recommend to most first-time builders, however feel free to skip this step if you're feeling confident and just want to finish your build sooner rather than later. Doing a quick check that the parts you've installed thus far are all working is easy, and just requires you to temporarily plug in the PSU and jump-start the motherboard with your screwdriver, and it can save you time down the road because it's harder to do troubleshooting or uninstall something when everything is already fitted in the case.
Oh, and you might want to temporarily install your GPU for the test too, and then remove it to be able to mount your motherboard in the case otherwise the GPU would get in the way. All is explained in our external test guide so head on over if you do want to give your parts a quick check for signs of life, which also explains how to quickly check your CPU temperature in the BIOS while you're at it to confirm your CPU, cooler, and paste are all installed properly.
This first requires you to fit the motherboard backplate and install the case standoffs screws that create a gap between the case and motherboard. Then it's a matter of carefully lowering the board in to first match up with the backplate, and then onto the standoffs. Lastly, you screw in the board to secure it.
After this key step of PC assembly, your construction will really starting to take form. For full steps and photos, plus an FAQ about standoffs and backplates they can be annoying , don't miss our comprehensive beginner's guide. Technically speaking, this is yet another optional step when learning how to build a PC as some of you are going to be building an APU gaming PC without a graphics card in other words, using the CPU's integrated graphics; shoutout to fellow low-spec gamers as I know what it's like to have to roll that way my whole life until only just recently.
But for most people assembling a gaming PC, chances are you'll have a graphics card to install. It's easy to do but check out our full step by step guide as there are a few things involved including using the right PCIe slot on larger motherboards that have more than one full-length PCIe slot spoiler; it's almost always the top slot , removing the correct rear metal bracket on your case, securing the card with screws, and connecting it to the PSU when your PSU is installed though.
You might also have other PCIe PCI Express cards to install such as a wireless desktop adapter card for WiFi or a sound card for audio production purposes, so now's as good a time as any to get that done. How to Install a Graphics Card. How to Install a Wireless Network Card. How to Install a Sound Card. Earlier we went over installing M. Exactly where they go will depend on your specific case, but they'll typically be slotted into a drive bay. We'll explain the cable connections later on in this guide after we've installed the PSU into the case including tips on cable management , but for the physical installation of your HDD or SSD see our dedicated guide if you need full detail and photos.
But it's definitely not completely dead, and there's a lot of people who still include them in their PC builds for playing older games, watching physical movies, or burning discs. So if you need to install one, it's a simple process of removing your case front panel, sliding it through a 5.
Your case has a range of features on the front such as USB ports, power on button, reset button, headphone jack, mic jack, etc. These need to be plugged in to the correct connections on the motherboard technically called motherboard headers , but exactly where they plug in on the motherboard will vary from board to board so you'll want to consult your motherboard manual and then dive into the steps.
You probably want to do this before installing the power supply in the case the next upcoming step - especially in smaller cases. Having the power supply already installed in your case can sometimes make reaching and connecting the front panel connections to your motherboard a bit harder, because these ports are on the bottom of your motherboard and the top of your power supply might get in the way.
Physically fitting the PSU into your computer case is another quick and easy part of learning how to build a PC, but as with most PC assembly steps there's always a few little things to know and potential questions you might have as a first-timer.
That's what this guide is about: how to build a PC from scratch. It can be daunting for a lot of reasons—it's expensive, it's complex, it can get messy. Step by step · 1. Strip down. First thing you'll want to do is strip the case down as far as you can go. · 2. Fan-tastic · 3. Mobo Installation · 4. Newegg's custom PC builder makes it easy for you to compare components, find compatible parts, save your builds, and share your builds with friends.