Building your first gaming PC can be a harsh process without proper guidance. And it’s really scary if you don’t know how things work, or worse, you could probably lose your money if you don’t research well enough because:
- You could break something if you’re not careful enough.
- You may have compatibility issues with PC components.
- You’ll probably plug something in the wrong spot and the PC won’t turn on.
- End up with a low performance per price ratio because of bad choices.
- Your CPU or GPU may bottleneck.
But good news! Building a gaming PC is actually easy and even fun!
You just need the right guide to do it. But isn’t that the main reason you clicked on this page right? Well, that’s exactly what you’re going to find here!
So let’s begin.
Why Build If I Can Buy?
The thing is, pre-built PCs are usually more expensive because of the building process. You’re charged a significant premium because when they build it for you. You could easily buy the same pre-built components for separate for a much lower price.
Another thing to consider is that most prebuilt PC’s cut a lot of corners. So yes you may get a PC that looks equal to a pre-built PC on paper, but the actual components could be much lower in quality.
However, this topic has changed quite a lot for the last 3 years, so for further explanation of the Build vs Buy debate, you can go here.
A good rule of thumb is to buy a pre-built PC if you don’t care about budget, want to play games casually and also don’t have a few hours to dedicate to the PC building process.
If that isn’t your case and you want the best gaming performance for your budget, then you should ask yourself:
What Kind Of PC Do You Really Need?
This is the first step before making a buying decision. You should know exactly what you need before exceeding your investments or getting short.
Usually, people who want to build their own PC do it for the following reasons:
- Productivity: This requires a lot of math to be done in the least amount of time. If you’re into this world, high-core multithreading processing and lots of RAM is what you’re looking for to build your workstation.
Most of your investment (around 40%) should go to a multicore CPU like the AMD’s thread rippers, 25% to your GPU if you want to game sometimes, and 15% on getting at least 16GB RAM (32GB is recommended).
- Game Streaming: If you need to stream while doing something demanding like gaming. Then you’re looking for a complete set with a high core count, dedicated graphics card, and at least 16GB RAM.
You’ll have to invest a balanced amount between CPU and GPU. CPUs with multithreading specialization like the AMD’s Ryzen line will fit your needs while having a decent GPU to run your games smoothly in 1080p. So prepare for a big investment.
- Pure Gaming: This is the most flexible reason to build a PC and what we’re going to focus on. In this case, graphics power is the most impactful parameter for your gaming experience, followed by single-threading processing.
In our builds, we usually invest +30% of the budget on GPU and at least half of that on CPU.
The problem is… your budget level drastically affects these percentages.
So here’s when things start to get real.
We’ve seen that from your needs you can establish what parameters you’re requiring, what kind of components impacts the most on performance and how much you need to invest in those components.
So now we start deciding. We’re going to walk through each component in priority order. Meaning that the core components such as GPU and CPU are going to narrow your options for lesser components like a power supply.
This is to follow a step-by-step approach for your building process. Making your decision process a lot easier and enjoyable.
Also, we’re going to assume that you’re going for the gaming path. If you’re not then you might want to tweak this a bit based on the advice above.
So it’s time to begin!
Deciding On Your PC Components
1. Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
Short answer: Pick an updated GPU with at least 4GB of VRAM and GDDR5 technology for gaming. Use 8 GB of VRAM for 4k resolution and VR. Find here the best GPUs in the market for your budget.
Often called the graphics card. This piece of hardware renders all the images and videos that are shown on your monitor.
This is the most impactful component for gaming.
The GPU, based on what your CPU is processing, portrays with pixels every single action that’s actually happening in the game, video, or image. And it’s responsible for the fancy +60fps and 4k resolution gameplay that we all love to experience.
The most significant parameter you want to check is the VRAM. Since it is the memory quantity dedicated to rendering all the graphics data. So generally, the more the better.
While it also depends on the technology used. As long as it is GDDR5 or better, you shouldn’t waste your worries on it.
This a useful guideline to follow in order to know how much performance to expect from VRAM:
- 4GB VRAM: Decent for 1080p games resolution, it will smoothly run latest games on high settings.
- 6GB VRAM: Provides great performance for 1440p and 1080p games resolution on high to ultra settings.
- 8GB or more: You can now start playing VR titles. And run 4K and 1440p resolutions with outstanding performance.
2GB of VRAM is no longer enough for the latest games. But if you don’t plan to game seriously, don’t have enough budget or you don’t care about newer games, then it may work for you.
Be aware that VRAM can be a nice way to measure performance, but it’s not absolute for FPS’s. This video proves it, as well as this post from Techspot. So my reliable advice is buying GPUs from the latest generations rather than the old ones, even if they have 4GB or more VRAM.
But if you want to understand the GPU lines and hierarchy, I highly recommend checking this post for further explanation. It also serves as a great guide to choose your GPU, since this is our first decision step.
Also, a general rule of thumb is to invest at least half of your GPU budget on your CPU.
Why? Because the CPU is the second most impactful part of your build. And if your CPU gets short, it’s definitely going to bottleneck the GPU because the images would need to wait for your CPU to react. And that’s exactly what I’m about to explain right next.
2. Central Processing Unit (CPU)
Short answer: Buy up-to-date CPUs with 3GHz+ and at least 4/8 cores. More cores the better as long you can afford it, being 8/16 cores the top end for gaming. Choose AMD Ryzens for the best performance per dollar, and Intel for high-end performance.
Or just “the processor”, is the real master of the puppets. This little chip is responsible for all the mathematics behind any software. And is usually claimed as the “brain” of your PC.
But the reality is even better than that. Because it has MANY brains which are called “cores”, and each core has its own performance measurement called “clock speed”.
Those two things (cores count and clock speed) are what you really need to look for when making your decision (Don’t pay too much attention to LCache). But since this is our second step, your decision needs to make sense with your selected GPU.
Core counts usually express the number of tasks you can handle at the same time. Each core has its own threads, and thanks to the hyperthreading technology, most high-end processors have two threads per core, allowing them to perform even better.
The clock speed parameter, on the other hand, is the quantity of information your processor can handle per second, usually expressed in gigahertz (GHz). This parameter can be boosted with overclocking.
For gaming, you’ll need a strong single-core performance from your CPU, as well as higher clock speed. Here’s a helpful guideline to aid your decision:
- Low-end: The budget options, these often have 4/4 cores and around 3,5 GHz. You’ll be able to play latest games at medium settings, and older games from high to ultra settings depending on your GPU (and how old they are obviously).
- Mid-range: This is the happy balance between vivid gaming experience and affordable prices. These CPUs usually has 6/6 or 6/12 cores and around 3.4 GHz. Serving you to play on high to ultra settings in most games, maintaining +60 fps along the way. As well as supporting streaming decently.
- High-end: 4K and Ultra settings? Hell yeah… If you buy a high-end boy, you’ll find yourself with no worries about updating your processor for a long time. Normally, they have more than 8/8 cores and 3.6 GHz, and you’ll be able to stream like nothing!
But they are just…of course, quite expensive.
This post has tested the most optimal CPUs from each category and can be helpful for you to get an idea of their performance.
Dual-core processors are getting quite obsolete. But if you don’t care about newer games, don’t game too seriously and your budget is tight, it could ONLY be an option if it comes from latest generations.
And that’s another thing, all these parameters can only be compared with other processors of the SAME generation. Because the oldest generations, even with good numbers, don’t perform the same as the latest ones. That’s why it is highly recommended to buy up-to-date hardware.
It’s also important to choose your brand: Intel or AMD; or Blue team vs Red team; or Single-thread vs Multi-thread; or etc…
In this post, we made a deep research of this topic and came into very interesting conclusions. Checking it will save you a lot of time.
We recommend to not over-complicate your life in this part. AMD is the right choice for budget gamers and for multi-thread processing, and Intel for high single-thread performance (better gaming, for now…).
Basically, you’ll want Intel if you don’t care much about budget and AMD if you’re looking for high performance per dollar. But again, read the post for further information.
Short answer: Make sure it has AM4 socket for Ryzen’s CPUs or LGA for Intel’s (for the right gen). The M-ATX size is usually the best choice for the number of slots you get per dollar, while ATX is a nice standard if you need more than 4 PCIe slots. Remember to buy branded models. We recommend checking this post to find the best options.
Her friends call her “mobo”. She’s literally the mother of every chip you’re going to install in your computer… Because SHE IS your computer and everything is plugged into her (no pun intended).
Despite this, you should decide your CPU first before even thinking about the mobo you’re going to buy.
This is because of compatibility, AND… Your motherboard doesn’t really affect your gaming performance, so there’s no real “gaming motherboard”.
That being said, the features you need to look for in your mobo are compatibility, chipset, size, and manufacturer brand.
Compatibility is easy but a bit tricky, here’s a simple guideline for CPU compatibility:
- For AMD’s CPUs: All the Ryzens has the same compatibility with mobos with AM4 sockets, being the X470, B450, Z370 and X399 the most popular chipsets. Just make sure your pick has AM4 socket in it for your Ryzen CPU.
- For Intel’s CPUs: Each new generation of Intel’s processor has its own compatible motherboard chipset. So every time you want to upgrade a 7th-gen Intel CPU to 9th you’ll have to change the motherboard as well (You can use this tool to check your Intel CPU’s compatibility)
DO NOT OVERLOOK COMPATIBILITY – It is really really important to make sure that everything on your set is compatible. Always try to re-check if your components are compatible every time you think about it. Otherwise, something bad could happen…
For gamers, the chipsets are important for their overclocking capabilities. Because in order to overclock, both processor and motherboard should be able to allow it.
Also, knowing how much PCIe slots your mobo has comes in handy if you’re looking to upgrade in the future. As well as saving you some money.
Here’s a guideline to understand motherboards overclocking capabilities per brand:
- Intel CPUs: Needs both a K- or X-series of CPU and a Z-series motherboard.
- AMD CPUs: Needs B- or X-series motherboards. All modern AMD processors are overclockable.
If you want to have a deeper understanding of motherboards and their chipsets, this article will explain it nicely to you.
After you’ve chosen your socket type and chipset, is now time to select the size.
The larger, the more slots and space you have to expand and upgrade your build. And the smaller, the more space you save for your room. Some of the most used sizes are:
- ATX: They measure 12×9.6 inches, and are the standard model. Their prices vary from the cheapest to the highest amounts according to their quality. These normally are the most recommended for their capacity, quality, and wide compatibility. This is the way to go if you like the standard normie.
- M-ATX: They are 9.6×9.6 inches, so they’re square. They have a decent balance between slots and size. If you like squares and lower prices, this should be your option.
- ITX: Even smaller, 6.7×6.7 inches… So now you can imagine how tiny a PC can be. However, you may struggle to install your GPU here, so choose it if you live in Hong Kong or somewhere similar.
- E-ATX: Now this is the big 12×13 inches mom… It was made to support more slots for RAM, USB 3.0, GPUs and more high-end features. Buy it if you really need more PCIe slots, because they’re really expensive.
As for the manufacturer’s brand: Gigabyte, ASUS, MSI, EVGA, and ASRock are the way to go. Not branded motherboards ARE NOT an option, you’ll regret it.
We understand that choosing your motherboard can be overwhelming for the huge amount of options out there.
So do to yourself a favor, and go to this post to find the best motherboards we’ve reviewed and quality checked. You’ll save money and time as well!
4. RAM Memory
Short answer: 16GB of RAM is optimal for the long-term, while 8GB can still work right now. Remember to place more than two sticks to improve efficiency. Visit this post to encounter our recommended RAM sticks for your build.
RAM stands for Random Access Memory, and it’s also quite impactful on game performance, but just because it works as an instant backup memory for the CPU. So it’s performance is limited to your CPU choice.
Normally, more is always better for your system. And for gaming, you’ll need at least 8GB for now.
It’s worth to say, however, that it is a matter of time until the minimum requirement for smooth gaming reaches the 16GBs.
So we recommend 16GB to secure your future high-end gaming performance, but if your budget is tight and your CPU isn’t that great, then 8GB is a pretty great start.
If undecided, check this article for deeper comparison.
Heck, even 4GB can work today…
But as I said, is a matter of time until games take the next step.
Also, always try to use two or more slots to install your RAM. For example, if you’re going for 8GB, install two 4GB sticks in your motherboard instead of one 8GB stick. That will improve the way your CPU manage your RAM and work efficiently.
If you don’t know where to start to buy your RAM, check this post and make your choice right there!
It must be noted, that for today’s standards, the DDR4 RAM sticks are the most recommended because of the efficiency they provide. So you should consider it before buying something incompatible.
5. Storage Disk (SSD, SSHD, M.2, and HDD).
Short answer: Use a mix of both types if you can afford it. Use HDD only if you don’t care about loading speed, or use SSHD hybrids to improve some few things a little more. You can check our list to start with a solid choice.
Now you need to store your information.
The storage capacity isn’t a big deal since 1 TB is more than enough today and for the upcoming years.
The big deal is to choose between having SSD or HDD or Both.
It turns out that the Solid State Disks (SSDs) are much faster for transferring information than the regular Hard Drive Disks (HDDs)…
But of course, SSDs are more expensive.
A good practice is to buy both. A 500GB HDD with 128GB/240GB SSD is going serve you well if you can afford it. Since installing your operating system in your SSD is going to speed up every loading and transfer process.
And the same happens with games. If there are some games that take lots of time to load or it just requires a fast loading speed (like an MMORPG or any online game), then you should install them on your SSD.
An option here could be the M.2 SSDs, which is a slimmed down form factor of the SSDs (normally compared with a stick of gum). This technology allows you to install your solid state drive in a PCIe 3.0 slot, greatly improving performance.
The M.2 form factor can also work on the regular SATA slot at the same speed as the regular 2.5inch SATA SSD, with the difference that it’s much easier to install and need no cable at all.
But make sure the drive you’re buying specifies if it comes whether with “NVMe M.2 (PCIe slot)” or “SATA3 M.2” connection. Because the PCIe or NVMe (the protocol) is the faster, and the SATA is the normal one.
Whether or not it is worth to buy an M.2 SSD for gaming. The NVMe is much faster, but overkill it for gaming… And you guessed it, it’s more expensive than the already expensive SSDs.
Now between M.2 SATA SSD and 2.5inch SATA SSD, depends on what your motherboard is able to support. Since some mobos can support either SATA or NVMe in the same M.2 slot; or have nothing… So buy accordingly to what your mobo and your budget can support.
It’s obvious that M.2 technology is what the future of storage is aiming for, but if you decide to buy one of these, make sure that your motherboard has the required slot to install it.
In the end, if you’re installing offline games, old games or if you simply don’t care about load speed, HDD is your right option. Because it’s cheap, abounding and sometimes fast enough.
Also, all media like videos, music or documents will work the same. So HDD is also the best option for them.
If you can’t afford an SSD and its M.2 family, and loading speed is indifferent to you, go for the HDD.
Additionally, there’s another option (yes, more). A hybrid disk called SSHD (Solid State Hard Drive). Which combines the best from both worlds into one. Providing the space and longevity of the HDD and the loading speed of SSDs, but only on the most used apps (including the OS).
These are a nice option if you don’t have the budget to buy both disks for separate and still want to have better performance than HDDs.
However, it may not work fast enough if you have plenty of games. But at least you’ll boot your system faster, as well as the most played games on your PC.
If you want to know prices and the best of the market to compare. This post will help you a lot to make your choice.
6. Power Supply Unit (PSU).
Short answer: Buy 80+ bronze rated PSUs with at least 500 Watts. Go for 750 Watts only if you’re using many GPUs. Choose modular PSUs for more comfort and better cooling if you can afford it, if not, use a non-modular.
Choosing the PSU is like buying the right gasoline for your car. Because you wouldn’t buy the cheapest gas for your Mustang, right?
This boy is responsible for providing the amount of energy your PC is demanding right now. So it’s important to ensure that your PSU meets your gaming power requirements.
You’ll need to look for 3 things: wattage, efficiency rate, and modularity.
For wattage, you just need to follow your current build’s power requirement using this Wattage Calculator. The page will automatically recommend you something that covers your demand.
But for gaming, you’ll generally need these wattages:
- 500/600 Watts: This is the safe and regular option for gamers. They provide enough power to max out your GPU’s potential and will most likely last many years with you. If you’re using only 1 GPU on your build, this is a safe option.
- 750 Watts: If you want to abuse overclocking and you’re interested in using two GPUs then you should think about getting this wattage. 600 Watts could be enough though, but 750 Watts is safer and comes with more cables for $25 difference.
- +750 Watts: Going above 750 Watts is not really necessary for gaming. You’ll need it if you go crazy using multiple GPUs, you’re building a workstation and if you’re using many hard drives.
As for the rating, watch out for the efficiency of your PSU, because the higher the rating, the less energy you’re going to waste and less heat it’s going generate. Generally, you have to look for certificated 80+ bronze efficiency rating PSUs in order to spend less energy and guarantee the product quality.
Also, if you don’t want your PC to burn, make sure you’re buying from popular brands like EVGA, Seasonic, and Corsair.
The last thing to check is modularity. It will determine your PSU’s built-in cables, so the main factors to consider when choosing the modularity is budget and built-in cables. There are a total of 3 types:
- Non-modular: These PSUs come with all the cables permanently connected in the PSU. They’re cheaper because the manufacturing process is faster… But uglier. Buy non-modular if you are on a budget and don’t care about dealing with a mess of cables.
- Semi-modular: Here’s the not-so-happy medium between budget and cable management. Only the main cables like the 24-pin cable and sometimes a PCIe comes permanently built-in. They’re just a bit cheaper than the modular, so if your budget can afford it, it may worth it to buy a modular instead.
- Modular: The expensive choice, but the most comfortable. You have control over the cables you need and you don’t have to deal with a mess of cables in the building process. Also, if you need to change your PSU, it’s far easier to do it with modular PSUs rather than nones and semis.
All in all, modular PSUs will bring you better airflow, fewer temperature issues, and much more convenience when dealing with cables. So it’s up to you how much you’re willing to spend for comfort and better cooling efficiency.
But in the end, if you’re really scared of burning your house because of your PSU. Then take a look at this post to ensure you’re buying quality products.
Short answer: Generally, the size depends on your motherboard selection. So you should mostly look for updated features like USB 3.0, and room for 2 fan coolers if possible. Take a look at our recommendations to aid your decision.
The case is the house of your build, where the mother lives with the rest of her children (big family!).
It’s one of the easiest components to choose from. You just need to make sure that the size coincides with your motherboard.
And since you’ve already chosen the size of your mobo, now you’ve narrowed the options quite a lot.
The next features you need to look for are:
- Modern support for USB and latest features.
- Appropriate room for fan coolers. If it has space for two fans you’re done.
- Quality check. If it’s durable and well designed.
- And cool appearance!
If you don’t know where to start, you’ll find this post quite helpful to make your buying decision.
When Should I Buy A Fan Cooler?
Many processors (mostly AMD) comes with a fan cooler already, and if you’re not planning to run many tasks at the same time and over-saturate your PC, then you should be fine that way.
However, if you want to overclock, we highly recommend you to buy an extra fan cooler to avoid overheating your system, since that process will generate more heat than normal.
On the other hand, many other components like the HDD may generate an important amount of heat. So it’s a safe investment to buy a $30 fan cooler in order to avoid reduced performance because of overheating issues.
If keeping your system fresh seems like a great idea to you. Then it’s important for you to know the different sizes and make sure that your case has room for it.
There’re 120mm, 140mm and 200mm case fans. Normally, the bigger means less noise. Which is great, but you’ll need to make sure that your case supports it.
If you’re interested in liquid cooling systems for your CPU by the way. This post has an interesting opinion about it – SPOILER: You don’t really need it.
Imagine buying your PC and don’t being able to use it…
That would be terrible. You need to consider those parts along with your build.
But there’s a nice advantage here – You have NOTHING to worry about.
Very few compatibility issues, no overheating, no risks to burn your house…
No wrong choice.
So we’re going to be brief since you literally have plenty of options to choose from.
Your PC graphics capabilities are limited by your monitor. So make sure to buy what you need. If you plan to play at 1080p 60hz only, then buy a monitor that supports that.
It all depends on what your build is capable of. So you should know well what you can run. A good rule is:
- For Below $500 Builds: 1080p with 60Hz.
- For Above $700 Builds: 1440p with 144Hz.
- $1000 And Above Builds: 2k to 4k resolution.
The size of your monitor really depends on your preference and if you’re living in Hong Kong right now (yes, another Hong Kong joke).
If you don’t know where to start. Check out this page to find the best monitors for your budget.
Here, you’re looking for ergonomic options. And you’ll find mechanical keyboards a lot more comfortable rather than membrane mini-keyboards with no click and no touch.
The backlighting option is pretty handy to have. But you don’t need to worry a lot about it since most gaming keyboards have backlit already. The rest are just aesthetics.
N-Key-Rollover is also important, but it comes as well with almost every gaming keyboard. The same happens with the key switch, with the difference that you’ll need to choose how you want to feel your pushes. But to sum up a bit:
- Blue Switches: Clicky sound and mechanical feeling (usually called “bump”). You’ll probably bother your neighbors with it, but you’ll feel every stroke. The right choice for typing.
- Red Switches: They have almost no tactile feeling (called “linear” behavior), letting you make faster clicks. Recommended for fast-paced games.
- Brown Switches: It has “bump” but no “clicky” sound. A mix of both worlds. Choose it if you need to feel each stroke to play well.
If you’re looking for a great deal, Here is a nice and affordable combo from Redragon, don’t miss it!
And if you’re not interested, look at this post with many other options to choose from.
Most gaming mice are ergonomic enough and use optical technology.
Also, if you’re looking for a specific sensibility level or don’t know what would feel better for you, there’re many mice with adjustable DPI to find your sweet spot.
Backlit in your mouse is not necessary in my opinion, but most mice will have fancy lighting.
Having more than three buttons in your mouse can be helpful depending on the games you want to play though.
In the end, there’re many options to choose from according to the games you’re going to play:
- For FPS games, check the Top 10 Best FPS PC Gaming Mice
- And if your an MMO guy, then check the Top 10 Best MMO Gaming Mice
4. Audio Setup
Now you need to hear your opponent’s steps.
Generally, use headphones if you’re not living alone and want some privacy. You’ll find the best audio quality from brands like Sennheiser, Audio Technica, Logitech or Razer. They’re much more affordable than speakers.
The speakers, on the other hand, provide an immersive gaming experience you can’t replace with headphones. The bass and the sounds panning are features that your headphones cannot equal.
Speakers are a bit expensive, of course, but if you care about game sounds then you should consider the best speakers under $200!
However, we recommend having both for versatility in case you have new neighbors. So don’t forget to check the best gaming headsets under $100!
AND if you’re really an audiophile, and you care about sound quality. We’ve reviewed The Best DAS’s For Any Price Range. So don’t miss it out!
Now It’s Time To Build Your PC!
You have all the pieces for your build, waiting to be assembled.
But now you have no clue where to start…
Normally, your mobo’s manual will help you a lot with the CPU installing, GPU, Ports, power supply and such; as well as your case manual if you have one.
Tools you will need to build a PC:
90% of your time building your PC will be playing with screws, cable managing, and connecting stuff. So there’s no complicated process at all. You’ll take around 1 hour if you’re lightning quick and 5 hours your first time if you’re slow with this kind of work.
- 1 screwdriver.
- Any basic Phillips Head screwdriver will work here.
- Additional Thermal paste (Optional)
- Most CPU’s come with this, but usually, it’s too little which results in issues in the long-run.
- Internet-connected device (if you get lost).
- Having access to your phone, laptop or tablet will allow you to access information like this article for help!
- Flatwork area with NO CARPET
- THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Make sure that you’re not working on the carpet as this can send static that could potentially kill a PC component worth $100s.
I still remember the day, I built my first PC.
It took me hours going through videos and tutorials step-by-step to piece it together. When I finally assembled it the thing wouldn’t power on! Frustrated I spent an additional 3 hours and still couldn’t find what was wrong with the PC.
I had to completely look over the whole PC and I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it. At around 2 am I had to call it quits as I was quite exhausted. When I woke up the next day I went to go check on the PC and realized that I had simply forgotten to plug up the motherboard to the power supply…
The moral of the story is that if you can’t figure out why your PC isn’t working and you’re exhausted then go to sleep and I bet you will be able to see the problem when you wake up. Sometimes all you need to do is step away and take a breather!
Putting your PC together: 14 Steps To Build Your PC
1. Start With The Motherboard
First things first take your motherboard out and lay it on a flat surface. Your motherboard houses everything for your PC and is the home base.
You want to put both the CPU and RAM on your motherboard before even putting it into the case because it’s much easier doing it now rather than when it’s inside of the case since you have a lot more space!
2. Install the CPU To The Motherboard
There are a few steps that come with installing a CPU to your motherboard. One piece of advice before we begin is to just be VERY careful with the CPU. It’s a rather fragile piece.
First thing is to identify the CPU socket. The GIF above is showing an AM4 socket so if you have an Intel CPU it will look different.
Align the highlighted CPU corners with the same highlighted corners on the socket and place the CPU into the socket. If you don’t align this correctly the CPU won’t work!
Now pull the lever next to the CPU all the way down. This is going to tighten the CPU and make sure that it’s actually connected to the motherboard.
3. Install the CPU Cooler To The CPU
Now it’s time to install your CPU cooler! First off you’ll want to apply a bit of thermal paste to your CPU. Your cooler may already have some of this pre-applied.
If not, you’re going to want to put just enough thermal paste so that it’ll fill the whole surface once the cooler is pressed into the CPU. If you apply too much or too little paste it will cause overheating issues. The gif above shows you a great estimate of how much you want to apply.
Once that’s done you’re going to want to install the CPU cooler. If you are using a stock cooler then this will be a fairly easy task, but aftermarket coolers like the one in the gif above usually require more effort.
Make sure to connect your CPU cooler to the motherboard otherwise it won’t actually power on and work.
Follow the guidelines that come with your cooler and do exactly as it says and you shouldn’t have any issues.
4. Install the RAM To The Motherboard
After you’ve installed the CPU and the CPU cooler it’s time to install the RAM. Make sure to look at your motherboard’s manual to identify which slots you should put your RAM sticks in. It might not seem like it matters, but it does!
Putting RAM in the wrong slots could lead to you handicapping your RAM, and also your PC.
5. Open The Case (FRONT & BACK)
Now it’s time to begin prepping the case. Make sure to open both the front and the back of your PC case!
6. Put The Motherboard Into The Case
Before you put the motherboard into the case there’s one very important, but easily overlooked thing that needs to be done.
That thing is the IO shield. This protects your motherboard from unwanted damage that could happen without this protector. Make sure that the IO shield clamps in tight before moving forward.
Now it’s time to move the motherboard into the case. There are two things you need to look for.
Make sure that your motherboard is aligning with the pegs on the motherboard. These aligning pegs could differ depending on your motherboard’s classification.
Read your case’s manual if you have issues identifying how to align your motherboard.
Now that you’ve identified the pegs align your motherboard with the IO shield and on the corresponding pegs. Take your screws and tighten the motherboard into the pegs. Make sure that all the highlighted peg holes in the motherboard have a screw in it. Make sure that your motherboard is totally secure inside the case.
if you’re not sure what’s supposed to be screwed and what’s not then check your motherboard manual for more specific assistance.
7. Install The Power Supply
The motherboard has finally been secured inside of the case! Now it’s time to move on to the power supply. The first thing is to notice whether you have a modular, semi-modular, or non-modular power supply.
Modular PSU’s lead to much cleaner building, but cost more. Semi-modular PSU’s offer the most value and non-modular PSU’s tend to be cheaper, but also a lot messier as well.
If you have a Modular or Semi-Modular you’re going to need to know what to hook up to your PSU. If you have a power supply that’s not modular then you can skip this.
What to hook up to your PSU: (You May Also Want To Refer To Your PSU Manual!)
- 1 x 24 Motherboard Connector (Semi-Modular already has this connected)
- 1 x 8pin & 1 x EPS 12V 8pin – connects and powers the CPU
- 6 x 8pin PCI-E – Graphics card connector
- 2 x SATA cables – for accessories like SSD/HDD
After connecting all of your cables it’s time to install the power supply. Make sure that you install the PSU with the fan facing down!
You’re either going to have to take the cover off of your case and install the PSU from the front or you’re going to have to install it from the side.
8. Install Storage (SSD/Hard Drive)
It’s time to install your SSD or Hard Drive! Installing this is pretty straightforward.
- Connect one of the SATA Cables from the PSU to the hard drive.
- Find the SATA cable that should come with your motherboard. This is the smaller cable in the gif.
- Then take this same cable and install the other end to the motherboard!
Another option with an SSD is to install it on the front of the PC. There’s no performance difference, but if your case has this piece it adds a cool look to your PC. You still will need to connect the SATA cables to your SSD.
9. Connecting Critical Components To Motherboard
This is a very important section. One of the most common mistakes that people make when building a PC is not connecting the cords properly so make sure to keep an eye out here.
Installing USB 3.0: Install the USB 3.0 right into the slot shown above. Reference your motherboard manual for more clarification.
Installing Power LED, Reset Switch, HDD LED, Power Switch: Power and Reset cables must be connected in a specific order. You can see the location of the power and reset switch on your motherboard. These must be put in the right order.
USB 2.0: Make sure that you also install your USB 2.0 connector or none of your USB 2.0s will work.
HD Audio: Consult your motherboard manual and make sure that this is connected as well.
Installing the Motherboard 24-pin power connector:
This is the big power connector! Usually, this is on the top right of the motherboard and is easy to spot. Make sure to clamp it in tight. Once it’s in shouldn’t be able to move at all.
Installing the CPU 8-pin connector:
Connect the CPU pins into the 8-pin slot on your motherboard. If you can’t find this check your motherboard’s manual.
10. Install The Graphics Card
Now it’s time to install the heart of your PC, The graphics card!
- First, unscrew two slots on the back of your case. Not the top one, but the two below the top one. You can see this in the gif.
- Then slide your graphics card into the corresponding slot on your motherboard. Make sure that the fit is correct and you hear a snap as it locks into place.
- After that connect the 6+2 PCI-E cable into the graphics card.
After that make sure that the graphics card is secure. At this point, everything should be ready to go!
11. Try Turning It On!
Hopefully, you’re PC just turned on! If it didn’t then try checking over every step and making sure you did things right.
If you still can’t find a solution then leave a comment below and we’ll try to help you troubleshoot!
Computer Turned On? What To Do Next!
12. Plug Your Monitor Into Your PC
The final task is actually being able to see what your PC is displaying.
This is pretty simple.
- Plug up either an HDMI, DVI, or VGA port into the computer.
- Plug up power adapter to monitor
- PC should display!
If you still don’t see how to do this then refer to the manual that came with your monitor and it should explain this to you.
13. Install Your Operating System (Windows)
Probably the only unfortunate thing about building a PC is that you have to actually install your operating system.
A lot of people tend to forget about this, but it can leave you with a pretty expensive bill. Retailing at around $100 it’s not cheap.
Fortunately, I’ve found a site that sells Windows 10 keys for only around $30! The name of the site is Kinguin.net (NOT AN AFFILIATE LINK)
If you want you could also look at other operating systems like Linux, but they just don’t really compare.
14. Install Your Drivers
So now you’ve set everything up just to be greeted with a 360p display. Why is this? Well, this is because your graphics card hasn’t fully been synced with your PC yet.
Make sure to install your video card drivers and everything should look crystal sharp! Whether you have an Nvidia or an AMD GPU you can find the drivers on their websites.
After the GPU you’re going to want to look for drivers for your Motherboard. You should already have one installed, but it’s usually out of date.
Here are the driver download pages for:
Peripherals: At this point, the last thing you need to look at is installing drivers for your keyboard, mouse, and any other items that may be connected to your PC.
That’s It! Your PC Is Now Ready To Go.
Prefer Video? Watch This Video On How To Build Your PC Step-by-Step!
The video below by BitWit is an amazing step-by-step tutorial on building a PC. Watch this from start to finish while building your PC and you should have no problems whatsoever!
Building Is Better, But It Takes Time.
When you decide to build, you take around 80% of your time researching, deciding and mixing options instead of… Well, Building.
That’s why it’s much easier and relieving for you to check our builds, instead of investing hours and hours of reading and choosing with uncertainty if it’s going to work.
We’ve passed through all this process many times, for many budgets. Ranging from $350 to $400 to $500 and so on up to $2000! Squeezing the most FPS possible from each budget.
Choose your budget according to your needs, and choose your build according to your budget, that’s easy!
If you’re not sure about your needs, I’m going to describe many common personas and their respective recommendations. And if you fit with any of them, then you’ll find your best choice!
Persona #1 Professional Gamer
You take gaming seriously, every fps counts for you, and you require the best of the best to improve your experience, your competitivity, and even your skills.
You’re not only into Esports but you challenge yourself with every new game to complete it and achieve every hardcore goal ever possible.
YOU WANT THE BEAST to satisfy yourself. The best of the best. The build that will last several years and you’ll still find yourself playing at smooth 4K resolution.
Reach constant 240 FPS in Esports titles, enjoy 4K resolution in triple-A games and experience the latest VR games with no issues. You can even record your gameplays while streaming with this ultimate build!
THE BEAST is the best you can get.
Persona #2 Game Streamer
Twitching is your business, you need to stream at the highest quality possible, at least at 1080p and 60 fps.
Because you have to entertain your viewers in order to build engagement for your channel. And maybe you can make some mistakes, but technical mistakes are unacceptable for you.
That’s why you require The Streamer Build to stop caring about the number of programs you’re using right now, believe me.
The multithreading provided by this PC is going to stream with no effort while running your triple-A games beyond 60 fps in ultra settings.
Persona #3 Enthusiast
You love gaming, and you’re always up-to-date with gaming news. So you don’t care about the recent tragic news from your city if there’s a new Nintendo announcement of the next Pokemon game.
The problem is, you’re willing to spend a lot of money on a PC. But you shouldn’t do it, basically because you can’t afford it.
It’s not that you’re poor or something, but you have responsibilities.
And we understand. That’s why we recommend you the rounded $1000 build for an AWESOME machine!
It will give you everything you need to play all those games you love so much and for a rounded price. Play triple-A titles in max settings for a long time and without worries. You’ll love that machine!
Persona #4 Casual Player
You like games, you really do. But you like to invest in other things as well.
Things like traveling, your significant other and real sports fill your life as much as gaming, but drain your money as much as well.
So you’re not willing to invest $2000 just to play games, that’s silly, right?
But if you’re going to invest in a gaming machine, you want a great experience as well.
That means you’re looking for The Beauty And The Beast Build ($600). Which will give you the perfect balance to enjoy well enough your games while enjoying other activities!
Persona #5 Minimum Requirement
You really like gaming, even more than casuals. But you’re a lot more frustrated because you’re looking for the minimum investment possible for your incredibly tight budget.
You automatically look at the minimum requirements instead of the recommended, use speed boosters, and oh heck you HATE SHADOWS AND V-SYNC.
But you’re used to it, you always say “skill doesn’t come from fps”. Which is true… until your screen freezes and GG.
But here’s a little light of hope for you: The Underdog Build. ($350)
You’ll find this machine the relieving point between cheap prices and stopping your need to check “Game Debate” or “Can You RUN It?” before attempting to play something.
And it’s much better than that. You’ll stop playing in low settings and start ranking to medium settings, and for the latest games!
This will be like a miracle for you.
Conclusion – It’s Time To Make A Decision…
We’ve given to you a lot of resources to start your gaming journey. So the only thing left you have to do is… Decide.
You’ll find recommendations here and everywhere, but you’re the only one responsible for your own actions.
Our job is to guide you and provide you with valuable information for you to not fall and make a mistake.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything… Do something.
And maybe you’ll fail, but that will teach you much more than any YouTube video.
So right now, take the step.
And if everything goes well. Nice, enjoy yourself!
If something goes wrong and you learn. That’s also good.
If you don’t fit with any persona described above, feel free to check all our builds. And maybe you’ll feel more comfortable with your choices.
I hope this guide has been helpful for you to make a decision.