Introduction: How to Build a Custom PC: the Complete N0ob's Guide to Building a Computer
This Instructable will take you through the basic steps of building a computer. What you will need for this is:
~Power supply (if not included with case)
~CD Rom drive/DVD Rom drive/Floppy Drive
~Modem/Ethernet card/Wireless card
~Extra Fans (if you would like)
Any input is welcome!
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Step 1: Get Your Stuff
I usually get most of my stuff online at New Egg, but you can get them at Tiger Direct or any electronics place. (It's a topic for another instructable, so I won't get carried away.)
Another great site for cheap parts, courtesy of mas-retals:
--->Make sure your motherboard is compatible with the processor you choose! (Socket AM2, etc.)
~CD / DVD Drives / Burners
--Make sure that your motherboard supports your drives' data interfaces (Serial ATA< Parallel ATA, or any other type, same with PCI and AGP devices)
Once you get your parts, make sure you also have:
~ Phillip's or flat head screw driver (The size of the screws on the outside of the case)
--This depends on the type of screws in your computer case
~Small head Phillip's/Flat head screw drivers
--For mounting the motherboard/hard drive/DVD rom/CD rom/Floppy drive
--May be unnecessary, but always be careful when handling delicate computer components, such as the processor.
Step 2: Install Components - Power Supply
This step is for those people whose cases did not have power supplies currently residing in their bare abodes.
First, you must switch the power output to your appropriate voltage. For America and Canada, the voltage is around 110 - 120 VAC at 60 Hz, but for Europe, you would set it to 230 VAC at 50 Hz. If you don't set this correctly, you risk frying your motherboard!
(Thanks to CameronSS and Phesarnion for the input about this!)
There are about four (4) screws you need deal with to screw it into your case. Just make sure that it's going the correct way (check the outside faceplate) and it's pretty much self explanatory from there.
Next, we'll move onto the motherboard.
Step 3: Install Components - Motherboard
The motherboard connects all of the PC together. It is home to the CPU and the interfaces for the disk drives and hard drives.
First, we want to mount the motherboard before we connect any wires or put in the processor. There are most probably four to six screws in the mounting.
After the motherboard is mounted, the next step is to insert the processor. Though it varies with technicalities, all processors generally are locked into place and then the heatsink is put on top of them to, well, remove the heat and prevent the processor from overheating. Instructions for installing both of these components lie inside their boxes, so check there if you need specifics.
Step 4: Inserting the RAM & PCI Components
To install the RAM (Random Access Memory, the amount of space a computer has to function), simply pull up the two fins and slide it in. Again, it varies from machine to machine, but always be gentle with these parts. They will break. A friend of mine broke his motherboard when trying to force the RAM into its slot.
The PCI components range from Ethernet cards to modems. A wireless card and a TV tuner card are being used in my demonstration. To put these in, you either need to take a cover off of the back (see pictures) or simply screw the card in after it's put in. Once more, be careful with the cards, but also MAKE SURE they are fully inserted.
AGP components are installed just like PCI cards, except in the AGP port. AGP cards are graphics card, while PCI and PCI express cards can be any type of component. You can check your motherboard manual to discern which slots are PCI or PCI express or AGP. Generally there is only one AGP slot.
Step 5: Installing & Connecting the Drives
Any 5.25" optical disk drive fits into the 5.25" drive bay, or the front section of the computer case. The hard drive, though, is connected in the lower drive bay (3.5") as opposed to the upper part where most internal drives are located. If you want to use an old school floppy drive, you'll most likely need to secure it in the smaller drive bay as well. The most common form of securing these in place is by using screws on either side of the drive bay.
To do this, you will need both case covers off so you can reach both sides of the drive bay. Simply slide the drive into place, whether it be DVD or CD, line up the screw holes with the holes on the drive bay, and tighten the screws in place. In my demonstration, I only use fours screws per drive.
As for connections, the white connectors with four large holes in it them are the power cables that plug into the optical and hard drives. Also plugging into the hard drives are ATA data cables (either serial, which are the small black cables, or parallel, the older wide cables)
Step 6: Extra Ventilation & Finish
In my case, I wanted to make sure my computer was cool enough because there wasn't any fan blowing in cool air/extracting hot air. I picked up a fan at my local Micro Center and screwed it into the holed area on the back of the case. I then hooked it up to a molex connector with the adapter included and was done.
Finally, you can plug in the rest of the power cables to the motherboard. After this, screw up your case, plug in the power, monitor, mouse, and keyboard, and get ready to install an operating system. (My next Instructable).
Step 7: Your Custom Comps!
'"'i built my first computer a little over a year ago
and im just now upgrading it
i now have 1gig of RAM
an AMD athlon 64-bit x2 4300+ 2.4ghz
EVGA GeForce 8600 256mb
and with the new processor i also got an Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro
~i also have 240 gig hard drive"
"I built a perfectly good computer with:
A Dell Optiplex GX240 mintower case that had a 250W PS and a motherboard with a 1.6GHz CPU (bought at a garage sale)
1gig of DDR memory
A 120GB Maxtor drive (very old and slow) and a 40GB Seagate for backup
A DVD-ROM (now dead)
A DVD/CD burner (dead, don't buy cheap products people!)
A Creative Soundblaster Audigy
A Nvidia GeForce 4200
A USB 2.0 card
A U.S. Robotics Wireless card
The case I have opens like a clamshell and is easy to work on, it just doesn't have any space for extra fans..."
"I am a bit of a geek overlord myself. My most powerful self constructed computer has 2 quad core xeon processors, 8 gb memory, and 2 tb hardrive(s) 2gb video cache, 12 usb 2.0 ports, 4 dvd dual layer r/w and 2 floppy. It took me 3 years to complete it.