Introduction: Assembling a Small Gaming Computer

It can be pricey paying for a computer to play games. A lot of gaming computers come pre-assembled through vendors. Often times it’s much cheaper to buy the parts and build it yourself. The hard part is knowing how to get started. These instructions will go over the basic assembly procedures most desktops will undergo. For more detailed instructions that can apply to your specific computer case, it would be best to also address your motherboard and computer case manual.

The components used in this particular build are:

1x PC Case (SilverStone RVZ01 Mini-ITX case)

1x Power Supply (SilverStone 600W Modular Power Supply)

1x Graphics Card (Nvidia Geforce GTX 970)

1x Motherboard (Gigabyte Z97 motherboard)

2x RAM sticks (HyperX Savage 16GB DDR3 (2x8GB))

1x Processor (Intel I7 4790K)

1x Fan (Noctua-L9i fan)

1x Storage (SSD or HardDrive) – (Samsung 850 Pro 512 GB)

Tools:

Screwdriver

Notice to user:

The specific components are the parts used in this build. Specific parts can be swapped out for different alternatives, so long as they are compatible with each other.

Step 1: Open the PC Case

Place the computer on a flat surface, lying horizontal. Using a screwdriver, loosen the screws at the back of the case. After removing the screws, the top portion of the case should slide right out.

Step 2: Insert Processor Into Motherboard

The processor needs to be inserted into the motherboard socket, and then is clamped down. The socket can identified by its square shape. For the processor insertion process, it’s best to refer to motherboard specific instructions in case the clamping feature is different.

Step 3: Align Fan Onto Motherboard

The fan will go directly on top of the motherboard. The highlighted blue section of the bottom of the CPU fan should contact the highlighted blue section on the processor. Then each red corner should have a slot to insert into the motherboard.

*Note: most processors come with the fan already attached making this step unnecessary

Step 4: Connect Fan With Motherboard

With the fan aligned, underneath the motherboard will be slots for the fan to be connected by screws. Some fans come with easier to use pins. For specific application instruction, refer to your processor and motherboard manual.

Step 5: Insert Motherboard Into PC Case

Next the motherboard is screwed into the case. For this installation, it connects to the case with four screws in the corner. When installing with screws, it’s best to do so in a crisscross pattern as shown.

Step 6:

Each power supply comes with appropriate cables that fit into a certain socket. For this power supply there is a 24 pin, an 8 pin, an 8 blue pin, and a 6 pin socket. For more specifics, make sure to follow your power supply manual.

Step 7: Connect Power Supply With Case

Some PC cases have an internal connection for the power supply like this build does. Ensure the case is connected to the power supply.

Step 8: Insert Power Supply to Case

Now it’s time to screw the power supply into the case. Normally these screws are located at the four corners of the power supply.

Step 9: Insert RAM Into Motherboard

Next install the RAM into the motherboard. The sockets for the RAM are long and narrow. There is a slit that orientates the ram in a specific way as well, so it can only be inserted in one direction.

Step 10: Connect CPU Fan to Motherboard

Connect the CPU fan onto the CPU fan socket in the motherboard. The socket in this motherboard happened to be colored white, and has a text that is labeled, “CPU Fan.” For a more specific location, refer to your motherboard manual.

Step 11: Connect Front PC Front Panel Lighting Indicators

PC cases that come with panel lightning have wires that connect to the motherboard. The location on the motherboard is indicated with multi colored pins, and is indicated with “Panel.” There is a specific way to connect these wires which requires your motherboard manual.

Step 12: Connect Front USB 3.0 to Motherboard

If your PC case has front USB 3.0 ports, it can connected onto the motherboard. The cable can be identified with the “USB” text, and the socket it connects to should be unique. This build happens to have the 3.0 socket located next to the RAM and LED panel sockets.

Step 13: Connect Power 8-4pin Cable From Power Supply to Motherboard

There is an 8 pin socket that runs from the power supply and turns into a 4 pin socket. This connects onto the motherboard, near the CPU fan area. For a specific location, refer to your motherboard manual.

Step 14: Connect 24 Pin Cable From Power Supply to Motherboard

This next cable should be the largest at 24 pins, and runs from the power supply onto the motherboard. Connect the 24 pin cable form the power supply to the 24 pin socket on the motherboard. It should be the only socket there that is large enough.

Step 15: Insert Storage (SSD or Hard Drive) Into Case

Next install your storage choice into the case. A lot of cases come with special brackets or other clever methods. This will be dependent on your choice of case. This build has the storage installed through a bracket.

Step 16: Connect Power to Storage

There is a 6 pin cable that runs from the power supply with L-shaped sockets attached to it. This connects into the computer storage. Of the two available L-shaped sockets on the storage, it is the larger socket.

Step 17: Connect Storage to Motherboard

Now connect the storage to the motherboard. There is a smaller L-shaped socket cable that fits into the last slot of the storage which matches a socket on the motherboard. The socket selections are identified with SATA 0, 1, 2, 3. Your selection is dependent on the motherboard manual and your intended configuration. The motherboard manual has specifics on SATA configuration. This build goes with SATA 0.

Step 18: Connect Power to Graphics Card

The last power cable turns into a 6 and 8 pin cable. This connects in the appropriate socket on the graphics card. The cable connects to the power supply through a blue socket.

Step 19: Insert Graphics Card Into Motherboard

Now insert the graphics card into the motherboard. The graphics card connect point has a specific shape, and only aligns to one socket size on the mother board.

Step 20: Secure Graphics Card Into PC Case

Some PC cases have a bracket that may cover the graphics card or fasten it down. Ensure the bracket is secured.

Step 21: Close PC Case

With the last component in place, it’s time to close the case back up with its screws.

Conclusion

With the computer built, you are all set. From here on the basics of computer assembly have been provided, and can be leveraged to computer builds of all sizes. The hard part comes from deciding which components to use that fit your intended purpose. This build in particular is intended for gaming. With an idea of how to assembly computers, overtime, you will be able to swap out parts as they get old.

Comments

author
magnuswf (author)2016-03-28

You forgot to show how to add thermal paste to the cpu!! This can be vital to the cpu's mileage and make the pc run hot, and sometimes crash!

author
djkaye (author)magnuswf2016-05-05

some coolers come with pre-applied thermal paste - I think he/she was using one that did or a stock one...

author
makeosaurus (author)2016-03-27

How much did it cost you to build?

author
hpascoal (author)makeosaurus2016-03-27

This build at the time cost ~$1000. It was $150 less if I take into account buying my some hardware (SSD) on cyber Monday. I've learned that for just gaming, the i7 is actually overkill. The i5 4690k is just as good.

Some resources to look at prices include Newegg, Amazon, and Fry's. These websites have deals often.

Also pcpartpicker is a great resource that compiles all of your parts, and checks for socket compatibility.

author
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-03-26

Nice DIY computer build.

author
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-03-26

Nice DIY computer build.

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