Introduction: Assembling a Desktop Computer

These instructions are to help you assemble your PC. This process can be complicated and there are many points where components can be easily damaged. Please read through all of these instructions thoroughly before starting so you know of possible problems and dangers to the components. This is to help you end with a computer in good working order.

Skills required
Though having a lot of knowledge about computers is not needed it can help greatly in understanding these instructions and reducing the time needed to complete this project. However, it is required that you can be patient. As it can take a lot of time to complete, some parts need extra care, and in the end problems may elude you for a long time.

As computers are complex machines with many small or fragile parts, it is highly recommended to do this project in an area where you will not be disturbed by small children.

Time required
Modern computers have a wide range of complexity and their users also vary greatly. This wide range of complexity and knowledge can make the time to complete a computer also vary greatly. If this is your first time assembling a computer I suggest setting aside an entire afternoon for this project. As going over all the components to find small problems can take a long time.

Static discharge can damage components. It is important to reduce the possibility of this happening as much as possible.

Be Grounded: Touching a metal object ever so often during this project will discharge and static buildup you have and with protect components from potential damage

Clothing: Make sure you are not wearing clothing that is likely to create static like fluffy jackets.

Project Area: Work on a solid surface and not on carpet if possible. As carpet is more likely to create static.

Humidity: Adding humidity to the air in a dry climate lowers the ability for static to collect. Turning on a humidifier would be best but something like a running dishwasher can also help.

As static is a large danger to components dust, hair and other things that could interrupt connections can also be a problem. It is best to make sure the area you are working in is clean, your hands are clean, and hair is put up to help prevent damage to components.

The Materials

Note: Before putting your computer together it is important to make sure all your components are compatible. As not all are designed to fit together and not all are able to communicate correctly with each other. If you need more information on how to check compatibility please look at these documents or search Google for more information.

  • Case
  • Motherboard
  • CPU
  • RAM
  • Graphics Card*
  • Power Supply
  • Hard Drive
  • DVD or CD drive**
  • Wall cord
  • SATA cords

*Some motherboards have built in graphics and do not require a graphics card. This component is for those who need computers for visual intensive programs like editing or gaming.

**If you are installing an OS you need to check if it is a DVD, if so a DVD drive is required or you will not be able to install your OS.


  • Screwdriver
  • Small wrench
  • Bowl to hold screws
  • Access to wall outlet


The components I will be useing are

  • Haf Cooler Master case
  • Gigabyte motherboard
  • Intel processor
  • Two sticks of Corsair RAM
  • EVGA GTX 660 graphics card
  • 650 Watt power supply
  • SATA hard drive
  • SATA DVD drive

Step 1: Compatibility Check All of Your Components

This was already mentioned but it is very important. If you do not make sure all of your components work together correctly you will not have a working computer before you even start this project.

Step 2: Take Out Screws and Cover Off the Case

Step 3: Lay the Case on Its Side

Laying the case on its side on a clean, solid surface is best.

Step 4: Install the Stand Up Screws

Sometimes there are labels on the case of what screw holes to use, if not, you need to look at your motherboard and the case to figure out which ones you need to use. You can put them in with only your hands, however you should make sure they are in securly with a small wrench.

Step 5: Install the I/o Plate From Inside the Case

This plate should come with your motherboard and will fit into the hole on the back of your computer from the inside of the case.

Step 6: Insert Mobo and Screw Down

Note: make sure to keep wires from the case out of the way.

With the i/o plate in, it may seem a little difficult to get the motherboard to sit properly.You may have to use a little more force than you think is necessary but still be wary,if you do not have the i/o plate in correctly or do not line up the ports on the motherboard, components can be damaged.

Step 7: Insert PSU and Screw Down

The power supply can normally be put at the top or bottom of the computer.
At the bottom, four screws on the back,as seen in the first image, will hold it in place and at the top, four screw on top will hold it in place. the second image shows three of the four holes you would use to install the psu into the top of the case.

Note: It is more common to see the PSU at the bottom which is set up already to be used so if you choose to put it at the top you may have to follow instructions that came with your case to do so properly

Step 8: Open CPU Slot, Remove Cover, Insert CPU, and Close

Danger: If the CPU is NOT lined up correctly it can damage the component beyond repair

Please use the image here to do this step properly, it is the instructions given with an intel motherboard and I believe it shows how to do this step better than I could explain.

Note: You may seem to need more force than you think is necessary to close the CPU, if you have it lined up properly there should be no problems.

Step 9: Install CPU Fan

Some fans are screwed on and others have pushpins. All you have to do is line up the holes and makes sure it sits correctly unmoving when you are finished.

Step 10: Insert RAM Into RAM Slots

This video shows installing RAM, a GPU, and a wireless card. Along with hooking up the power cords, front panel cords, and fan connectors.

Step 11: Insert Extra Cards Like Video, Sound, or Wireless Cards

In this image you see hooks designed to require no screws. One is left open because the way the GPU is designed it is unable to hook properly so I used a screw to correctly hold the GPU in place. For other cases it is likely you will need to use screws to hold down your extra cards.

Step 12: Install Hard Drive

For the case I am using there are easy to use bays you slide your hard drives into, as seen in the image. If you are using multiple hard drives I suggest spacing them apart for maximum airflow.

Step 13: Install DvD Drive

for the case in the image, to install disc drives all you have to do is insert it from the front and push the correct button which inserts the "screws" that would normally hold it in place.

Step 14: Connect Motherboard Power Connectors

The motherboard always has a main large 24 pin connector, seen in the first image, and sometimes has other smaller power connector like the one in the second image.

Step 15: Peripheral Power Connectors

The hard drive and disc drives both have their own power inputs. find the correct connectors for them on the psu and plug them in.

Sometimes the extra cards you have installed require extra power. This graphics card for example requires two extra power connectors.

Step 16: Plug in Fan Cords

Your CPU fan should have a specific fan plug in spot near it.

Now you should find all the fan plug ins on your motherboard and decide how to attach the fans on your case. The first image is what a fan connector looks like and the second is what they connect too.

Step 17: Plug in Front Panel Cords

For this step, you will have to reference your motherboards manual as the location each wire for your case needs to be plugged into can be different for each motherboard

For USB cords you may need to refer to a map of your motherboard to find the proper place to plug these into.

If you have eSATA it simply plugs into a SATA slot on the motherboard

HD audio will also have to be located on your motherboard as its location cande different for each motherboard.

Step 18: Plug in Peripheral Cords

For your disc drives and hard drives you should need SATA cords which simply plug into the SATA ports on the motherboard.

An image is given as an example of a SATA cord.

Step 19: Plug in Wall Cord and Turn On

If your computer turns on and stays on, all your fans turn on, and all lights turn on correctly, congratulations! You have just put together a working computer. You can now connect peripherals like a mouse, keyboard and monitor and start installing your new OS system if you did not get a hard drive with one.
Otherwise, if you are having problems please continue onto the next step for trouble shooting.

Step 20: Trouble Shooting

I will not be taking into account problems with compatibility and will only look into problems that may have occurred while going through these instructions.

Computer wont turn on:
Make sure on the back of your computer the I/0 switch on the power supply is switched to the I. As seen in the first image.

If this does not work, look at your front panel wires. Make sure they are connected to the correct pins and in the correct orientation.
You will have to refer to your motherboards manual for the proper connections.

Fans wont work:
Sometimes there is an un-used pin for case fans. Make sure your connectors are connected to the correct pins and are in the correct orientation. The second image is an example of what one of these fan connections look like.

Lights wont work:
Look at where all the small wires for your front panel connect, make sure they are on the right pins and in the correct orientation. You will have to refer to your motherboards manual for the proper connections.