Introduction: Assembling a PC

Buying a brand new computer nowadays can get very expensive. However, it’s fairly easy to save hundreds of dollars by hand-picking the parts and assembling it yourself. Many people immediately assume that they could never build one themselves, however, it is not all that difficult of a task. The most daunting step of knowing what parts to choose has been made incredibly easy by online resources such as pcpartpicker, which ensures a PC is getting everything it needs. Instead what will be covered is how to go about assembling all those parts and turning it into a functioning machine.

Step 1: Find a Suitable Workspace

When ready to begin, find a large, clean surface that is preferably in a room without carpet. If there’s no other choice, then wearing shoes would be smart to ensure no static buildup. As long as people do not get careless, static shocks rarely happen. However, if you still need more reassurance, anti-static wristbands are cheap and great to have for PC building. Also, you will need a small Phillips screwdriver (some motherboards or CPU fans may require a larger one).

Step 2: Assembling the Motherboard

First, install the power supply by simply screwing it into place with the screws that were provided. Most cases have a power supply mount along the bottom, however, some older cases still have it in the top left. After that, open the motherboard and CPU, saving the motherboard box as a surface to set it on. The bottom of the CPU is incredibly fragile, and even touching it can ruin some of the pins from the oils in our skin. Hold it along the side and gently place it in the slot on the motherboard, making sure that it slightly drops in place as all the pins go in. Most motherboards then have a lever that when flipped secures the CPU in place. Now, open up the CPU fan and ensure it has thermal paste applied to it already (every stock fan comes with it pre-applied). When installing the cooler, press straight down onto the CPU without moving it side to side much, as this can unevenly spread the thermal paste and cause heating problems later on. Most CPU fans are very simple to install, however, some come with tricky brackets that must be installed along the backside. If stuck, just refer to the instructions provided with it. Then, install your memory (RAM) as shown in the video by inserting them into the slots that are almost always directly to the right of the CPU and clicking them in place. By this point, the motherboard is almost completely assembled, and it can be placed inside the case, secured by nine screws.

Step 3: Graphics Card Installation and Cable Management

Now, if you have a graphics card, install this by clicking it in its slot right underneath the CPU as shown in the video, then securing it with the screw along the side of the case. Now comes a part that is often quite annoying and difficult, and that is cable management. As shown in the picture, cables can get very messy. The power supply will have cables for the main power, the CPU power, the graphics card power, and the hard drive/solid-state drive power. Take note that some graphics cards do not need a power cord as they get it directly from the motherboard. Using the space along the back of the case, find a way to route the cables all to their respective spots without having them blocking any of the fans too much.

Step 4: HDD/SSD Installation

Finally, install the HDD/SSD by sliding it into one of the trays in the case. If installing a solid state drive and the case does not have slots made for them, I recommend using velcro strips to secure it in the case as the SSD does not get hot and can practically be seated anywhere. The SATA cable will be provided, which plugs from the back of the disk straight to one of the ports on the motherboard labeled “SATA” as shown, while the power will be one of your many power supply cords.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

From here, all that’s left to do is to locate the small cables connected to the case stemming from the front. Most cases will have cables for power, reset, audio, and sometimes LED’s depending on the case. Along the bottom right of the motherboard, there is a set of pins which is where they will be hooking up to. However, this part can be quite tricky, and so it is recommended to refer to the motherboard manual to know exactly which pin is which before plugging them each in. Finally, plug the PC in and power it on. If all of the fans are running fine and the monitor boots up to a sort of settings screen (BIOS) as shown, then everything’s good to go.