Picture of Build your own computer
Why would someone go out and buy a computer from a manufaturer like Dell or Gateway, when they could build a more powerful computer for less money? The answer, they do not know how to build it.

This may sound like a complicated process, but in all actuality, it is very simple.

This guide will help you build your very own computer.

I want to appologize in advance for the resolution of the pictures. I hope they are still easy to understand.

DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for any damage done to hardware during installation.

I also do not want to be contacted about computer problems. Go to your local repair shop (NOT GEEK SQUAD OR FIREDOG) and get it fixed. If the computer that is having problems was the one that you built (or tried to) then I will help. I just don't want a bunch of people who are asking how to fix unrelated issues.

I hope you enjoy building your computer. I did. In fact I'm using the computer pictured right now.

For those of you who think this is too hard or don't have the time to build a custom PC, I have set up a website that will allow you to choose the parts you want and I will set it up and mail it to you. The address is *EDIT, This site is no longer available, sorry*

If you want to build a laptop computer, check out my Instructable on that
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amih29 days ago

I get all my parts from Tech for Less. They have the best prices and make building or repairing my projects cheap. http://www.techforless.com/cgi-bin/tech4less/login/friends?rcode=a994bf93-386b-11e5-add5-00237da73906

is it possible to use a case from a prebuilt computer? i have a couple old computers that need to be upgraded, i was wondering if i could gut them and replace everything with aftermarket parts

i think that you can

i think the part are in the same shape but better and lighter ;)

nerd74731 year ago

I would dual boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu 14.04 when it comes out or settle for 13.10 and upgrade later in April

Haha ,great
ssaldkar2 years ago
i wouldn't use windows Vista on the high end computing, i would use Windows 7.
nkutadinata6 years ago
Hey, I'm really new in building PC. In fact, I don't even understand which part is important whatsoever. Is there any instructables or books that I can read? Thanks
Nkutadinata, I have found an amazing site made to explain every part of your computer and give's you a few link's to some nice stuff!
Link: http://www.buildeasypc.com/hw/hardware.htm
another option is buying a barebones computer, in which case you need to buy much less stuff, generally: -memory (RAM) --look at what the computer/motherboard lists as its memory standard (i.e. DDR2 1066) and make sure that you get every number correct. You will get the best performance out of the highest rated memory for your comptuer. -processor (CPU) --make sure you get one that will fit in the motherboard's socket. AMD is almost always cheaper than Intel's equivalent, so if you are going for a budget computer, AMD is definitely the way to go. -CD/DVD Drive -- depends on what you need. Make sure that if your drive is Serial ATA (SATA) that you check the motherboard's specs to see if it has matching SATA ports. If it is listed as Parallel ATA (PATA or IDE) then you need to make sure that your motherboard has enough IDE ports. -Hard Drive -- much like the CD/DVD drive, comes in either SATA or IDE forms You must also check to see if the barebones PC has the following, which it generally has -Onboard video--if this computer is going to be a hardcore gaming computer, you might want a separate video card. -Onboard network card (or LAN card)--if the motherboard doesn't have one of these then you need to buy a separate card if you want to connect to the internet. Lastly, you will need to consider an OS -Windows--Expensive, but most commonly used. XP Home can be found for ~$85 on newegg -Linux--Most distros are free, but you will need to find one that is a good match for you. Most will not run Windows programs (executables) on a fresh install, but I have had some success installing a program called Wine which allows Windows programs to be ran -Mac--I'm not even going to go there
I like the last line... tsk tsk, silly Apple, when will they realize that they can't beat Microsoft?
kenobr100 rkr4 years ago
i don't think they are trying to beat them microsoft is unbeatable or at least currently unbeatable and i presume apple know that :)
And that's why apple decided to more or less ignore personal computers and attack the smartphone/handheld market
awang8 rkr5 years ago
Seriously, even Vista is faster than Mac. Can't they realize our new hardware is becoming faster and faster and more capable?
Not to mention Windows 7. Holy crap it is awesome (using it to post this!).
Every computer I use has 7 on it. Very fast, very power-conservative, and has never crashed for me (with the exception of one that happened because of a dead HDD... 2 days after I installed on it)
rkr Madrias3575 years ago
Yes, Windows 7 is by far the best operating system so far. Dare I even say better than what XP was for its time? Also, I know how to get it for free, so I had no trouble in deciding to switch.
bhjohnp1 rkr4 years ago
nah, Windows 7 hasn't been that much of a hit..at least not yet-QUICK! rumor is out! I,ve seen images and videos of a posibble Windows 2013!!!! Its looks really cool check it out on youyube for yourself and spread word!!!!!!!!
rkr bhjohnp14 years ago
Yes, Windows 8 does look like it'll integrate some cool concepts.
Madrias357 rkr5 years ago
XP, most people don't remember XP was as bad as Vista when it first came out, but it was better than Windows ME. Second was that a lot of early updates and SP1 cured XP's buggyness. 7 is probably the only 'box-stable' operating system they've made so far.
mrtape01 awang85 years ago
vista is the worst posible os just don't get it waste of money.
I wouldn't go as far as to say that, but Vista does certainly have its issues. Too bad my laptop is more or less stuck with Vista since Acer hasn't done a good job of releasing all of the WIndows 7 drivers needed to run 7 perfectly.
it does have issues i just realy don't recomend it i like 7 so fast. I had it before got way slow just from 1 use it was a tower to im just realy disapointed in MS big mistake just glad they learned from it. sorry bout my spelling.
REA rkr5 years ago
lol silly M$, when will they realize that they can't beat Linux?
rkr REA5 years ago
Funny, but I personally don't like how Linux can't run executable files.
REA rkr5 years ago
really, because the thing i like about the Linux distro i uses is that i can run windows executables.
Madrias357 REA5 years ago
Out of curiousity, which distro is that? Might switch if it's one I've heard of.
REA Madrias3575 years ago
any distro. theres a program called WinE(Windows Emulation) that allows Linux to run most Windows programs. its avalible for Ubuntu, Debian, RedHat, Fedora, CentOS, SUSE, Mandriva, Slackware, FreeBSD, PC-BSD, Solaris, and OpenSolaris.
Madrias357 REA5 years ago
Well, then it's going on my Ubuntu system. Still learning Linux, so things take longer to figure out.
REA Madrias3575 years ago
go to terminal and type "sudo apt-get install wine" or if youre running Lucid, go to Applications>Ubuntu Software Manager and type "wine" or system>administration>Synaptic Package Manager and search "wine" or DL the .deb file from the website and execute it.
Madrias357 REA5 years ago
I don't know which version I'm running (currently typing from Win 7 with the Dual Boot)
REA Madrias3575 years ago
well, the sudo apt-get command works for any version. so does synaptic.
Like REA mentioned, WINE is available for almost any Linux OS

An interesting OS is ReactOS. It isn't Linux, it is designed off of Windows XP but built from scratch. Basically it's a free, open source Windows XP.


When building a PC myself I think of the following: 1. Processor Start with this. Which one ??? Intel or AMD ... Ff you're considering a hackintosh, Intel is probably the way to go. 1.a. Most intel processors need the LGA775 socket (dual core / core 2 duo / Quad core etc) For home rigs avoid the Xeon as they need special memory (more expensive) The latest i7 chipsets are very expensive and likely to come down rapidly in price -- get this only if you are really, really serious about gaming. For the rest stick with the 775. 1.b. almost all AMD chipsets come on the AM2 / AM2+ and AM3 - if you get a mb with AM3 support you can use any AM2 / AM2+ and AM3 processor. 2. Graphics Before choosing your motherboard you'll need to consider the graphics. First ask the question "do you want integrated or non integrated graphics?". For the non gamers the integrated stuff should be okay. I am very happy with the ASUS P5N7A-VM nForce motherboard that integrates the geforce 9300 graphics. The ATI cards appear (from the forums) to have better Linux compatibility but that said my Geforce works quite nicely. The intel integrated stuff is by and large the lesser option. Avoid SIS chipsets at all costs. If you're a casual gamer one card will be enough. If you can, you're better off choosing something more powerful (middle/upper range so that it lasts). If you're very serious, consider a dual or triple setup. nVidia have the older more established SLI standard while ATI have an equivelent called Crossfire. I don't think there is huge differences between nVidia and ATI.. You decide. 3. Motherboard chipset If you're more serious about games you'll want something that can take two or more graphics cards. As indicated above SLI is nVidia and Crossfire is ATI There are the Intel chipsets that have both nVidia and Crossfire compatibility. If I was a serious gamer I would consider these knowing that I will need to buy a separate (set of) graphics card(s). If you've got older hard drives or optical drives obtain a motherboard that has IDE interfaces in addition to the now standard SATA. 4. Power supply and case You'll need a case that is compatible with your motherboard... don't try putting an ATX motherboard into a barebones case... If you're set on a certain case this will have an impact on your motherboard choice. I wanted something standard but restrained in size so I chose a Micro-ATX case thus I was restricted to Micro ATX motherboards. If you can, try to obtain a power supply over 450 watts with a fan as big as possible - this makes 'em quiter. One with SATA power plugs is better. 5. Get your hard disks in SATA and your optical drives in SATA. If you've older stuff make sure that your motherboard supports ISA. Don't forget you'll need to ensure that for each drive you've a SATA cable and if necessary adaptors for the power supply (molex to sata). 6. Cooling First thing about cooling is to ensure that the processor has sufficient cooling and that it is possible for air to pass across the place occupied by the processor. If you've got a smaller case and or two or more graphics cards the standard intel CPU cooler won't be enough... Get a bigger design possibly with heat-pipes. You'll need to consider cable arrangement to ensure that this airflow across the cpu heatsink is possible. I think that should get you started.
Go to forums like Bit-tech.net and read up about these types of question Be sure to ask questions there too, they love to help people out
abran53 years ago
I would want to make an advanced computer (making 3d video games)for our company
gmouser4 years ago
Could i use a terra-bit external harddrive and use that for the main harddrive.
ardebot1234 years ago
i built one for only $115!!!!
Kerm7 years ago
Building a computer from used parts is not difficult, but beware the many variables between mother boards, power supplies, memory configurations, type and speed. It's great to bring a machine back to life. It's sad to look at stuff you just paid for that won't work for you. In the end, you cannot build an up-to-date computer from purchased parts less expensively than buying a new complete computer.
Exhibit A: I have recently built a lightweight PC (Net-top) that would have cost around $300 from a commercial manufacturer. You know what it cost to build? Around $60. I just saved 240 bucks by building it myself. There are even more testimonials below this comment.

Exhibit B: Your argument just doesn't make sense. Why would anyone build a computer themselves if it cost as much or more than a commercial one? Sure, maybe there is the DIY fun and personal interest, but if it cost as much as you said it does, next to nobody would be doing it unless they had the necessary money just burning a hole in their pocket.

Exhibit C: The manufacturers have to make money from building these computers. Therefore, the computer has to cost more than the sum of the parts. DIY computer builders are almost always building it for personal use, meaning that all they have to pay is the money for the parts. Parts + profit margin = less than just Parts? I don't think so.

I built an equivalent $1400 system for almost nothing ($600) At the time, the Core 2 Quad was the hottest thing on the market. I got a Core 2 Duo instead (E6600, last item purchased) to save on my budget I have 4 GB ot OCZ Reaper RAM. I wanted fast, I got it. I skimped on my mainboard (80 dollar board that does what I want) because I didn't need much. A GTS 250 from EVGA cleared up the Graphics department, and I had to install 3 disk drives (2 DVD burners and a Blu-Ray burner) just for fun. My 4 HDD RAID array is just a mess. I'm running both Striped and Mirrored on 4 250GB drives (cheap, efficient, and not a problem) What would I change today? I'd've built it in AMD's Socket AM3.
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