Before you build a PC, you’re obviously going to need the right parts. That’due south why we’re here.
Picking the right components for the build you demand can be a daunting process at first, only in one case y’all swoop in, you’ll encounter that it’s non only surprisingly unproblematic, it’southward a heck of a lot of fun. This guide is past no ways meant to be exhaustive, it’due south more a primer on what you’ll need to know to get together up the correct parts, and start putting your dream build together.
We’ll by and large exist focused on building a gaming PC here, but this guide should cover the nuts for everything from a high-terminate work rig for professional applications to a simple media reckoner.
And if yous’d rather purchase a pre-built, rather than building your own, we have a guide for that too.
Alright, let’s get to it!
What Do Y’all Need to Build a PC?
The processor, or Cardinal Processing Unit of measurement, is the brain of the PC. Information technology’southward what converts the instructions you provide into actions the computer tin execute, and tells all the other parts of your build how to piece of work together. If the CPU is the brain, the remainder of the system is the trunk.
The CPU is probably the single most important component for any computer, and as yous’d expect in that location are almost endless options at a variety of cost ranges. The ii primary manufacturers in the consumer PC space are Intel and AMD, and even within those brands, there are plenty of choices. For AMD you’ll nearly probable exist looking at a third generation Ryzen, or Threadripper if yous desire high-end. Intel’southward Core i designated CPUs are all solid choices, though you’ll probably want to consider a 12th Gen i5 or i7 if you’re looking to put together a serious gaming or streaming rig. If that isn’t enough oomph for you, then peradventure a Core i9 is more your thing.
The motherboard is essentially a big excursion board that connects all the components that make upward your PC, and allows communication between all the dissimilar hardware. As with annihilation in PC edifice, there are options galore, from simple motherboards at the lower-end of the cost spectrum all the fashion upwardly to feature-rich boards with all sorts of bells and whistles.
The type of motherboard yous need will largely depend on what CPU you purchased and what features you’re interested in. Non every CPU works with every motherboard, so you’ll want to make sure you get the right one. Features similar CPU overclocking capabilities, lighting, and connectivity options are all factors to keep in heed when purchasing a motherboard.
Bank check out this total breakdown on how to choose a motherboard for all the info y’all’ll need to make an informed decision.
Video Card/Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
The Graphics Processing Unit of measurement (GPU) will take the most bear upon on your gaming feel. The GPU is essentially what allows your computer to practice the complex graphics calculations that allow your PC games to look so adept. Though many CPUs take integrated graphics, a GPU is absolutely required if you lot want to have a modern PC gaming experience.
The ii biggest players in the earth of graphics cards are AMD and Nvidia. Depending on how much you want to invest, you can go with something on the lower-cease of modernistic GPUs, like the GeForce RTX 3050 from Nvidia, or the Radeon RX 6500 from AMD. If you want a cut-border feel, Nvidia’southward RTX 3090 Ti is the current rex of consumer facing GPUs, with the Radeon RX 6900 XT from AMD not far behind.
If you’re looking for the best gaming experience, the GPU might be the priciest component you’ll buy, but y’all’re non going to want to skimp here, especially if y’all’re looking to get into gaming at higher resolutions and frame rates.
To learn more than almost what card will piece of work best for your needs, check out our guide on how to choose a graphics bill of fare.
Random Admission Memory (RAM) is essentially your PC’south brusk-term memory. Information technology keeps data you use regularly easily accessible, so your PC doesn’t take to admission a storage device every time you lot need to use that data. It’s different from your chief storage devices in that RAM resets when it doesn’t have ability, which is why you withal need larger storage drives for long term information storage.
When it comes to RAM, the more the merrier. You can’t really have also much RAM, but for practical purposes, most gaming systems volition be fine with 16GB, or 32GB if you want to go along your PC viable for several years.
RAM varies widely in speed, size, and design, then check out our RAM guide for answers to whatsoever questions you lot might have when it comes to memory.
Storage is where your information is…well, stored, so your PC tin access information technology. This includes files, games, your operating system, any data that you need to access will be kept on a storage drive. In the past, storage more often than not consisted of hard disk drive drives (HDD), just now solid state drives (SSD) are more than widely available. SSDs are significantly faster, quieter, and more durable, but also cost more per gigabyte.
The right storage solution will vary, though a mutual configuration is a smaller NVMe or SATA SSD for your operating system and virtually usually used files, and a larger HDD for your larger files. Y’all can likewise rely on external storage solutions, which have the advantage of being portable.
The Samsung 980 Pro G.two SSD is i of the near popular solid land solutions, and the 3TB Seagate BarraCuda HDD will work great for larger installations and file storage.
If y’all want to learn more than about all the different types of storage, cheque out our guide on choosing the correct storage.
This is where all of your precious parts are going to live, and what most people recollect of when they imagine a PC. Cases are one of the most customizable parts of a PC, and then y’all tin can get cases in just about every shape and size you lot tin imagine. Though every instance is different, they are all designed for roughly the same components, meaning they share similarities across brands and layouts. In that location’s always going to exist a identify to install the motherboard and power supply, for example, though the configurations of where everything is located may vary.
Unless you’re looking to build something small, or with advanced features like custom cooling loops, most cases volition work just fine. Just find i that’s the correct size, and looks the manner you want information technology to, and you should exist good to go.
Another important feature to consider when it comes to cases is cooling. Many cases will come with fans already installed, which can be useful, only if low temperatures are important to you, you’ll want to brand sure there’s room for the cooling solution you need. A simple dominion of thumb is that if you’re wanting to exercise a lot of custom piece of work, the bigger the instance, the meliorate.
If you’re looking for a unique open air pattern, check out the Thermaltake P5. If you lot want lighting options, have a look at the Carbide Spec-Omega RGB from Corsair. For something elementary, bonny, and reliable, keep the Rosewill Cullinan in mind. Or if you plan to go the custom watercooling route in the future, you can’t get wrong with the Lian Li O11 Dynamic.
Power Supply Unit (PSU)
As yous probably guessed by the name, the Power Supply Unit (PSU) provides the power that allows your build to role. The PSU is often overlooked, because if yous accept a relatively unproblematic build, any power supply will usually work. That said, it’s absolutely worth doing your inquiry on efficiencies, wattage, and quality, especially if you’re putting together a more complex organisation. If you are using loftier-end video cards (or multiple video cards) or a custom cooling loop, you’ll definitely desire to make sure you accept a PSU with enough wattage.
A good reference is this power supply reckoner, which allows you to come across what kind of power requirements y’all’ll need based on your organisation.
If y’all’re looking for a beefy PSU for a super fancy organization, y’all can go to the high-end of the spectrum like the Seasonic Prime GS-1000 1000w If something simpler is more in line with what you need, the Rosewill HIVE 550S 550w power supply might be a proficient fit.
Your CPU works incredibly hard, and that creates heat.
Keeping your CPU cool is critical to your system running properly, and though many CPUs come with a cooler, ofttimes times you’ll want something a little more powerful. These options tin range from simple fans and heatsinks to elaborate liquid cooling solutions. For your starting time build, you lot’ll probably want either a fan based solution, or an All In One (AIO) liquid CPU cooler if you’re planning on overclocking your CPU. The procedure of installing these cooling solutions varies from product to product, but ordinarily involve attaching it to your motherboard, and using thermal paste to make sure heat is dissipated properly from your CPU.
It sounds complicated, but information technology’s really not. Even the AIO liquid coolers are self-contained, and yous don’t ever have to actually deal with the liquid within. Simply make sure the libation is compatible with your CPU and motherboard, and that yous accept enough room in your case. The rest is just a affair of post-obit the included instructions.
1 of the nearly popular entry-level air coolers is the Noctua NH-L9x65, perfect if you want a reasonably priced silent fan from ane of the all-time PC cooling manufacturers on the planet. If you’re looking to get into AIO liquid coolers, bank check out the NZXT Kraken X73. Not merely is information technology a great CPU libation, it has some awesome lighting options as well.
Now that you’ve picked out the parts for your build, it’south fourth dimension to talk about everything else you’ll need for a quality gaming feel. Let’s showtime with a monitor. After all, a sweet gaming PC isn’t much skillful if you tin’t see anything.
You lot can become with a simple, entry-level 1920×1080 monitor or TV if you want, but part of the fun of PC gaming is that yous have more options. If you invested in a good system thus far, yous might desire to move up to higher resolutions, like 2540×1440, or even 3840×2160 (4K) for truly crystal clear images. Yous can also upgrade to a higher refresh rate similar 144Hz or fifty-fifty 240Hz, which volition make everything look significantly smoother. Depending on your GPU, y’all may want to invest in a monitor that supports either Nvidia’southward G-Sync or AMD’s Freesync, every bit this volition reduce screen tearing and further improve your gameplay experience.
All of these factors, including others like brandish size or aspect ratio, are going to increase cost. That said, there’s non much betoken in having a powerful PC if what you’re seeing doesn’t expect great, so it’s probably worth the investment. For gaming however, it’s primarily about choosing a monitor with low input lag and fast pixel response times.
If y’all’re looking for a moderately priced entry-level gaming monitor, the curved Acer ED242QR has Freesync and a 144Hz refresh rate, a perfect match for an entry level to mid-range GPU. If y’all want to become super high-end, the Alienware 34 has just about everything you need for a luxurious gaming feel.
A mouse is just a mouse right?
Nope. Like everything else nosotros’ve been talking about, y’all can get a mouse that perfectly matches your way. If yous’re a gamer, having mappable buttons might be important to you lot, too every bit being able to adjust the DPI (substantially the speed of the cursor) on the fly. Maybe you want a wireless mouse, or an outside-the-box design.
The most of import thing is probably comfort, and then brand certain you lot find a mouse that feels correct. Ane of the most popular gaming mice (for skilful reason) is the Logitech G502 Hero, but there are lots of keen mice out there from companies like Corsair, Razer, and plenty of others.
Check out our breakdown on how to find the right mouse for more than info.
Even with something equally seemingly straightforward as a keyboard, there are a ton of options. Do you want the traditional feel of a membrane keyboard, or the precise tactile feedback of mechanical switches? Exercise you want wired or wireless? Do you need macro keys? How important is RGB lighting?
There’s a lot of corking keyboards out there, so y’all can detect exactly what works for yous. One of the near popular mechanical keyboards is the Corsair K70 LUX. The Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition is a great entry-level mechanical board with Razer optical switches.
The best mode to learn your own preference is by testing different keyboards, but this guide on how to choose the correct keyboard is also a great place to start.
The Operating System (OS) is the software that allows you to interact with your computer. In one case it’s installed on your storage device (preferably a SSD,) yous can then beginning installing all of your programs, games, and whatever else you’re going to utilise your figurer for.
In that location are several operating systems to choose from, but by far the about pop for the boilerplate person is Microsoft Windows 11, due to its widespread use and straightforward user feel. While many still stick with Windows 10, it’s only a matter of time until Windows xi eclipses its predecessor.
Linux is likewise pop, and has the added reward of being free, though it also has a scrap more of a learning curve.
Putting Together Your PC
One time y’all have everything ready to go, it’s time to actually start building.
This is the part that many people detect intimidating, but one time you get started, you’ll see that these components are designed to exist put together hands. As long as you lot’ve done your enquiry and know everything is compatible, information technology really is like putting together a fancy Lego kit.
This video will walk you through the unabridged procedure:
Hither are few more tips to go on in listen while yous get started.
Installing Memory (RAM)
Memory is one of the more straightforward components to install. First by pushing open up the 2 tabs on either side of the RAM slot on the motherboard slot. Await to the memory guide to check that y’all’re installing with the right orientation. One time the RAM module is lined up with the slot, but push downward until you lot hear a click, then make sure the tabs are closed. Repeat those steps for whatever boosted memory.
Depending on your example, it might be easier to do this earlier you install the motherboard into the case.
Installing the CPU
Nigh CPUs today don’t have pins, every bit the connector pins are unremarkably located on the motherboard. This is keen, because damaging the expensive CPU is much worse than the (usually) cheaper motherboard.
The process may vary slightly depending on the CPU and motherboard, but unremarkably installation follows a similar pattern.
Start by unlocking the CPU bar. So, open up the CPU door, place the CPU in the right direction, (arrows marked on both volition help you line it up), close the door, and lock the bar down. Mounting the heatsink is also dependent of your hardware, but information technology generally connects through the four holes closest to the CPU socket. Usually this is washed through screws or locking/twisting plastic pins. Remember to use a sensible portion of thermal paste when mounting the heatsink; an amount roughly the size of a pea is a proficient reference.
Also, exist sure to plug the CPU cooler into the motherboard so it volition take the power it needs to function. The verbal process should be clearly articulated in the instructions that come up with your libation.
Once again, installing the CPU and CPU libation is best done before the motherboard is placed in the case to keep things every bit simple as possible.
Preparing Your Case
The first pace to getting your motherboard in your case is installing standoffs. Standoffs are pocket-sized brass spacers that friction match up with the screw holes on your motherboard, and work to go along the metal on the motherboard from touching the metal in your case. Make sure to install them where screw holes are present in the case, and consult your case manual if it isn’t obvious where these holes are.
Your motherboard will come with a cover called an I/O shield. This embrace should be placed over all the external connections that are visible from the outside of the case. Make sure you line it upward properly and snap it on. It’s piece of cake to forget this step, and information technology tin be a pain to go dorsum to install it, so exercise your all-time to retrieve the beginning time.
Installing the Motherboard
Remember, your motherboard is essentially a huge circuit board, which means information technology’southward delicate.
It’south important to be careful every bit yous line upwardly the holes and add screws to all of the standoffs you placed inside your instance. You want the motherboard to be secure and not loose, but you also don’t want to over-tighten the screws. If the board is angle at all, you’ve over-tightened.
Y’all may need to push the motherboard slightly dorsum towards the expansion slot embrace before screwing it in, but as long as you line up all the screws, y’all should be proficient to get.
Install Everything Else
In one case your motherboard is mounted, everything else is fairly straightforward. Use the video we shared above for more particular.
The GPU will live in the PCIe slot. Make sure you remove any expansion coverings, and be sure information technology clicks into place properly and is secured with screws one time installed.
If you take an K.two drive, advisedly install it into the appropriate slot on your motherboard, and use the small-scale screw to keep it secure. Again, do not over-tighten.
A good rule when installing components is to use a scrap of force, but if you lot feel like something isn’t fitting, information technology’s good to double check that it’s in the correct place. This stuff is designed to fit together, and so you shouldn’t take to button also difficult.
Your video card, storage devices, and motherboard volition all need power from the power supply.
The proper cables should be included with your PSU. If not, apply the adapter provided with the video menu box. Your hard bulldoze or SSD volition as well demand a power cablevision, as well as a SATA or data cable, unless yous’re using an Thousand.two equally described above. All of these cables should be included with your devices.
The correct cable to utilise from the power supply to the components that need that power should be fairly obvious. Merely friction match the plug to the connection the component needs, and bank check any manuals if it isn’t super clear.
Installing fans will vary on your cooling setup, but again, information technology should be fairly articulate what goes where. Only friction match the cable to the input on your motherboard, and check your manual if you run into whatever issues.
Fire It Up
Once everything is wired upwards and looks the manner y’all desire it to, it’s fourth dimension to plug in the power supply, striking that power push button, and turn on your new computer. If everything is connected properly, you should see your motherboard’s BIOS screen.
The final step is to install your operating system of selection, and starting time using your new PC!
If everything didn’t come up together on your first try, don’t panic, this happens to the best of us. It’s near always an easy fix.
Luckily, your figurer volition often tell you what is wrong, whether in the BIOS bill of fare, or via an fault message from your motherboard. This is where inquiry comes in handy, as any error you lot’re running into will be something someone else has probably encountered and resolved also.
Nosotros put together a handy guide to five common PC problems and how to fix them, and then take a wait at that before you spend too much fourth dimension researching.
Whether this is your first PC, or your fiftieth, congrats on taking the time to acquire how to put a PC together. In that location’s e’er more than to learn, just if you’ve come this far, you’re well on your way to becoming a DIY master.
Have fun, and happy PC gaming!