Building your own PC is a superb way of gaining an intricate knowledge of PC components and how a computer works.
It allows you to custom-make your spec and make it economical. Getting your hands dirty (well, maybe not so much building a PC) is always more satisfying when it comes together.
If this is your first build, and that’s why you’re reading this article, then you probably feel like you’re entering the unknown.
- How is this going to go?
- How long is it going to take?
- How much is it going to cost?
- Will it work?
- The list goes on…
So we’ve compiled a list of what you need to get to start and get you on the front foot.
So let’s get into:
How to Build your Own PC
Start with determining the purpose of the build.
What is the reason behind the build? Are you looking for a:
- A gaming PC?
- A higher grade in creative programs?
- A simplistic build to prove you can do it?
- Something to show off to your friends that looks like a disco?
Your motivations will guide your choices when to start to look for PC components.
Picking Intel or AMD.
That’s all the choice you have. So researching CPUs and their individual power specs is vital.
Remember, the CPU is the heartbeat and core of the PC. However, you have plenty of other components to go, so don’t blow all your money here.
Both are equally perfect for many builds, and it just determines what type of motherboard you’ll be shopping for.
Look for coolers that come with thermal paste.
Please don’t overlook the intense heat that a PC will deliver. You should always be aware of the importance of PC Cooling.
Applying thermal paste is usually for the more experienced builder as it can get messy, but if you’re good with your hands, go for it; though it’s an extra step when you consider, you can buy pre-applied thermal paste options out there.
PC Components – Make sure they are compatible.
There are various components on the market, all offering different specs for every kind of computer build. However, that doesn’t mean they are compatible.
So if you’ve bought a motherboard that isn’t compatible with your CPU or, for a speedy SSD, an M.2 slot, then you are in trouble.
Make sure you do your research before you begin to ensure everything is compatible, and here is an excellent place to start.
Budget can be a big denominator here. Whatever your range of spending you go with on the CPU and graphics card then, you can build similar market-priced components around your CPU and graphics card. There’s no good running out of money and not having enough for an SSD!
Don’t be heavy-handed with your components.
Easy to say, but we can all be clumsy. Many components you will require for any build, big or small, can be extremely fragile.
Others are the complete opposite, like a hard drive. So ripping packaging especially packaging that is melted for protection, is a bad idea.
Use something very sharp to piece and carefully cut away at your packaging.
Beware static electricity
With many components being not just delicate when opening them but also fragile to any unnecessary charge of electricity, you have to take this into consideration.
So another tip is to try not to build on a nylon carpet and certainly no socks! Especially without rubber gloves.
These may sound like basic tips, but they are off the back of failed projects; we are not insulting your intelligence!
If you can’t work with thin gloves, make sure you touch something else metal before you start each procedure.
Have the First-Aid kit at hand
Getting cut on some of the cheaper packagings on lower-end goods is commonplace. It’s a badge of honour among builders, but have one around just in case.
Organise a toolkit
Often overlooked are decent tools, and plenty of them before you start. Nothing is worse than a momentum killer when you are building your PC.
The absolute basics are:
- Philipps mid-sized screwdriver
- Triple-pronged parts receiver (you’ll drop countless tiny screws into your machine and on the floor
- Pliers are always handy for any screws being stubborn
- And plenty of other gadgets, just in case…
Make an appropriate workspace.
Basics often overlooked are lighting, as people automatically think I’ll buy a desktop lamp, and I’ll be fine. A different light perspective can be desperately needed for tricky bits of your build.
So when we say workspace, we are talking about not just enough desk size. Of course, ensure you have enough desk space to lay all your components out in the space you choose.
Building a PC can be laborious, so you want everything quickly within reach.
The instructions are there for a reason.
After you’ve got a few builds under your wings, you’ll be fine, but we all try and go for it without reading the instructions, but that’s fair play when we buy a TV, or a fridge which we all know are pretty universal.
Components are far from it, so make sure you keep them and refer back to them. There’s nothing wrong with reading them five times if you don’t understand them!
Listen for a click
Many compatible components are made to click when connected correctly. So double-check when installing RAM or implementing a cable if you don’t hear a click!
Avoid jamming anything
As we touched on earlier, many components and their packaging are fragile and are easily bent, broken and rendered unusable.
If anything doesn’t seem to be fitting, don’t force it; hold back and take a good look at your instruction manual; there’s a chance you’re installing it wrong.
These are precision instruments. Take time to adjust and rotate what you are trying to fit, and take a step back or three with the manual before you try to force anything.
Keep your cabling in order
You will be surprised how quickly your cabling can get out of control during a PC build.
We all know there’ll be a bunch of cables going in and out of your machine at the end. The visibility of your motherboard is essential.
Also, if you tied and organised your cabling, your finished build with be much more aesthetically pleasing.
Try and keep what is necessary tied and bunched to avoid trying to interweave further down the line and, even worse, having to take two steps backwards as you’ve got yourself all tangled up.
Before buying your first component, use the online family
If you are a PC enthusiast, you are likely already connected to online communities or have like-minded friends.
But if you are genuinely just looking at getting into the building and it’s a first-time. Forums such as Tom’s Hardware Forum are a great way to be specific about any part of your PC build and speak to people worldwide with ideas and solutions. Hey, that is what a build is all about!
On-the-spot troubleshooting is what you need!
Always have in the back of your mind that this can be fun. However, on your first build, you will likely encounter a few hiccups with PC components along the way, which is natural. But look at it as a creative process; each time you have to troubleshoot, you learn something new. Good luck! Keep plugging away and keep building.