How to build a PC: step-by-step guide

Everyone talks about building their own PC, but for those who are not familiar with how to build a PC, this might be a bit intimidating. Considering all the parts that a PC has it might feel that it’s expensive, hard or just stupid considering how many prebuilt PCs there are nowadays that can compete with even the best custom built PC builds. Luckily we at BestTech.Reviews have put together this awesome guide that will help you for years to come on how to build a PC step-by-step.

In this guide, we will walk you through on preparations (which tools and parts you need), what parts are required for the PC, accessories that you should get for your PC and how to put those parts together to build your own ultimate PC.

Prep 1: Tools

Workspace

To build the PC you will need a large surface such as a table or in some cases, even a clean floor will do. Just make sure that you are not building on a carpet or anything that can give an electrostatic discharge since this can damage the components. This also means that if you are building the PC on a table, don’t stand on a carpet that your feet will rub on.

Screwdrivers

For most PC parts you will be needing a Phillips #2 screwdriver that should work for most parts. Though if you will be installing an M.2 device you will be needing a Phillips #0 screwdriver. A pro tip is that always get a magnetic screwdriver. It will stop you from dropping and missing the screws.

Lucky for you a lot of times these are included with components, but you can never have too many tools.

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Organization system

To ensure all the screws go into the right places, we recommend some kind of organization system. You can use a screw organizer or even a small amount of tape to make the screws stuck to it in groups to remember better what goes where. Though we wholeheartedly recommend a screw organizer to ensure you don’t lose any screws and can keep everything organized.

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Stanley 014725 25-Removable Compartment Professional Organizer

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Anti-Static Wrist Strap

The Anti-Static Wrist Strap is not a must use item, but it can save you a lot of money by making sure you won’t accidentally damage any of the components with electrostatic discharge. As we always say, better to be safe than sorry and better use a few dollars than lose a hundred.

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Light Source

A good light source can be a lifesaver if you drop a screw so make sure you build in a well light area or have an external light source that you can extend so you can see everything clearly. A good choice for lighting is an external desk lamp that you can shine on the case and components to see more clearly where to pull through the cords and to make sure you are removing the right screws.

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Globe Electric 56963 Metal Clamp - Swing Arm Multi-Joint Desk Lamp, 32",...

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Zip Ties

Zip ties are not strictly necessary but they help to keep the cables in place and make the finished PC build cleaner. If you are not into zip ties you can also use twist-ties or in some cases Velcro straps that some cases have built in.

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TR Industrial TR88302 Multi-Purpose Cable Tie (100 Piece), 8", Black

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Scissors

Needed for cutting zip ties and when you unpack the components.

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Prep 2: Case

NZXT H500 – Compact ATX Mid-Tower Case

Before taking any of the other components you should consider that kind of case you want and how big the PC tower will be. There are three sizes available which vary from what kind of motherboards they can fit.

There are Full-tower, mid-tower, and mini-tower. Full-tower cases are usually chosen when you want to use Extended-ATX motherboards and standard full-size ATX-motherboards as for mid-tower uses standard full-size ATX-motherboards and mini-ITX boards and the mini-tower, of course, can only fit the mini-ITX boards.

The most important part when choosing a case is to think about what you are going to be using the PC and where will it be located. If you are building the PC for heavy gaming or heavy video editing go for the mid-tower or full-tower to ensure you get enough room for good GPU and cooling. Mini-towers are mainly used for work-related builds and might require special components built just for the mini-towers if you are thinking of using them for gaming or heavy duty work.

You can find a wide variety of PC cases in different price ranges, so choosing carefully the one for you might be the hardest part of building the PC.

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NZXT H500 – Compact ATX Mid-Tower Case – Tempered Glass Panel –...

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Prep 3: Components

Now that we have the tools and the case it’s time to choose the components for our new PC. You can find prebuilt PC building kits or you can research each component individually. Thought the most important part is to make sure each part is compatible with each other since not all parts work or fit together.

It’s also a good idea to make up a budget before buying anything to ensure you don’t find yourself penniless afterward since buying PC components can get out of hands when you are looking for the best of the best.

To sum this all up, make up a budget and make up a build list before purchasing anything.

Now for the components, you will be needing for your new PC:

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

The CPU or processor is the brain of the PC. The processor runs and sends signals to the other components of the PC so they know what to do. These are often called “tasks”.

There are two main performance metrics for CPU which are core count and clock speed. Core count tells you how many processors the CPU has. The more cores you have the more simultaneous jobs the CPU can do. The clock speed, on the other hand, tells us how quickly the CPU will be handling and performing each task. The higher end CPUs feature more cores and high core speeds making them quicker but also more expensive.

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AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler - YD270XBGAFBOX

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Motherboard

The motherboard also known as the mobo is the main circuit board that all other components are attached. This includes the CPU and Graphics card as well the memory, optical drives and other components you might use for your PC.

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ASUS ROG Strix B450-F Gaming Motherboard (ATX) AMD Ryzen 2 AM4 DDR4...

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Memory (RAM)

Random Access Memory (RAM) is a short-term memory. This memory is used by the CPU to save different tasks that are expected from it. It’s faster and easier to access than the long-term memory (storage, eg.g hard drives) your PC uses to save files. The usual amount of RAM used for gaming PCs is 16 GB of RAM, but you can manage with just 8 GB if you are building a work PC. The hard part is determining how much you actually need since, too much and it won’t be used and you have just wasted money and too little and it will affect the performance.

Another thing to keep in mind when choosing the amount of RAM is to check how much RAM does your CPU and motherboard support RAM. Also remember to check the RAM speed, since older and not as fast RAM can become a bottleneck for your CPU.

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Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

The Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is the component that handles all the heavy graphical lifting. They usually come with their own video memory and active cooling systems to ensure they don’t heat and burn up, though external cooling for the case is almost always a must to keep the GPU and CPU from overheating. If you are building a PC for gaming consider checking what kind of GPU is recommended by the game publisher. A good FPS for any game is around 60 FPS (frames per second), though anyone thinking of playing VR (virtual reality) games should aim for consistent 90 FPS to ensure better gaming experience.

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Storage – Solid-State Drives (SSD) – Hard Disk Drives (HDDs)

As you might have heard the SSD is the faster one from these two storages, though both have their pros and cons. SSD might be faster, but its also much more expensive. On the other hand, you have to be more careful with HDD on dropping it for it might get scratched or damaged more easily, because of its mechanical build versus the flash memory build of the SSD.

The good thing is that you don’t have to choose one of these. Instead, if you wish you can go with a smaller SSD where you install your operating system and add an HDD for bigger files to ensure your PC starts up quick and you got all the space for your files you could wish for.

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Samsung SSD 860 EVO 500GB 2.5 inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E500B/AM)

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Power Supply Unit (PSU)

The power supply unit is probably the most boring part of your PC but it’s also one of the most important. To ensure all your components work like a charm you need to choose the right size and powerful enough so it can power up all your parts. If it’s too small your GPU might not get the power it needs to run. It’s also a good thing to check for the warranty of the power to ensure its a high-quality one.

PSUs are available in non-modular, semi-modular and full-modular styles. Non-modular PSU’s have all cables permanently attached and are the cheapest ones, while semi-modular might have just the essentials attached to it. The most expensive ones full-modular have all the cables under your command, but they tend to go for a higher price because of the extra convenience so think twice before getting one of them.

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System colling – CPU cooling and case airflow

To ensure maximum life expectancy for all your components and flawless run time you need to cool up your system. CPU and GPU usually have dedicated cooling and some cases might have few fans as well.

There are two main ways to cool your PC: air and liquid.

Air cooling is the cheaper option and is usually handled with fans blowing cool air in and the hot air out, thus cooling the whole case and components inside of it.

Liquid cooling uses liquid coolant to soak up the heat and then moving that liquid to a radiator where the heat is removed from the liquid again so it may return and soak up more heat again. Liquid cooling can cool your PC more and in many cases its the optimal choice for gamers, but it can get pricey.

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Operating System

For the operating system, you got different options. The most common is the Windows 10, though you could also go with the Apples macOS though it might not support all the parts, and for the third option you got the free option which is Linux (we recommend Ubuntu for beginners), though you might need some more experience with it to get the most out of it. So be sure to select OS that supports the PC you’re building.

We personally recommend Windows 10 since its the most common option and most supported among gamers.

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Microsoft Windows 10 Home | USB Flash Drive

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If you haven’t chosen your monitor, keyboard or mouse yet, here are some of our favorites:

  • Dell Gaming LED-Lit Monitor 27″
  • Logitech G502 HERO High-Performance Gaming Mouse
  • Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard

Dell Gaming LED-Lit Monitor 27″ Black

The Dell Gaming Monitor is a Full HD 1920 x 1080 monitor. It’s equipped with a LED FHD that shows vivid colors and a whopping 144 Hz refresh rate that will make all games run smoothly on it. the Dell Gaming LED-Lit Monitor also has integrated speakers so you can watch movies or even listen to music with it, though the sound might not be as high quality as with headphones or external speakers.

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Dell Gaming LED-Lit Monitor 27" Black (D2719HGF), FHD (1920 x 1080) at...

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Logitech G502 HERO High-Performance Gaming Mouse

Logitech G502 HERO is a 16 000 DPI mouse for those who require speed and accuracy. It has 11 customizable buttons and onboard memory for those who like to take their mouses with them or use them on different PCs, so they can save their settings on it.

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Logitech G502 HERO High Performance Gaming Mouse

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$54.00 $79.99

Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard

Prodigy Series Logitech G keyboard is an advanced gaming-grade keyboard that promises up to 4x faster than standard keyboards so every keypress is near instantaneous from fingers to screen. Its also equipped with 5 lighting zones and up to 16.8 million colors to match any kind of style you could think of.

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Logitech G213 Gaming Keyboard with Dedicated Media Controls, 16.8 Million Lighting Colors...

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Example build for $1000 Gaming PC

Example build for $1000 Gaming PC

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Example build for $600 Gaming PC

Example build for $600 Gaming PC

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Install CPU

Take the motherboard out of its antistatic packaging and place it on your work surface. Make sure you have the motherboard right side up and find the CPU socket. The CPU socket usually has a small metal lever you need to press down to open it up. Press it gently to open the socket.

Open the CPU and remove it from its packaging, but be careful when handling the CPU. Best way to handle is it by grabbing it from the sides and do not touch the pins with your hands. Your hands can also add dust or oil which is not good for the chip. Also, do not touch the top of the chip either.

In one of the corners of the CPU, you can usually see an arrow that tells which way it goes into the CPU socket. Gently place the GPU in the socket. When its placed down you may lower the retention lewer down and push it back in its place. You might need a small amount of force to pin the lever down, but please remember that seating the CPU shouldn’t require any.

Install CPU

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Install CPU Coolin

The motherboard may have bracket preinstalled which needs to be removed so you can install the CPU cooler. After removing the bracket, check if your CPU cooler has a pre-applied thermal paste or if you need to add a small amount on top of the CPU yourself. The amount shouldn’t be more than a small dot or no larger than a grain of rice on the middle of the CPU. After this feel free to place the CPU cooler on top of the CPU with even pressure so the thermal paste gets spread evenly.

Install CPU cooling

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Install memory (RAM)

Depending on how many RAM slots your motherboard has and how many of them you are using (usually two or four), simply remove the RAM from the packaging, press down the RAM locks on both side of the slot and snap it in place. The RAM should be lined with a notch between the golden pins, but if you have any doubts consult your motherboard’s manual.

RAM

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Tear down the PC case

Before installing the motherboard inside the PC case, remove all platings and covers as much as you can to ensure its opened up and you can easily access the cable management and other parts.

Tear down the PC case

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Storage installation

After removing all the necessary parts of the case its time to place the SSD storage. Most modern PC cases come with an SSD bays of some sort so you can easily place them where you need. Attach the required cables and pull the other ends through the cable management holes to the other side so you can attach them to the motherboard.

Install SSD

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Install the motherboard to the case

After installing the storage to the case and having the CPU installed with it’s cooler on top of it, its time to install the motherboard to the case. In some cases, there might be a stud on the center to help you position the motherboard more easily, though some might not have this. Just be careful when placing it down so you don’t scratch the bottom of the motherboard and damaged any of the circuits or other parts of it.

After placing it in the case remember to secure it safely with the screws from each corner and other places that are required. A full-sized ATX motherboard might have up to 9 screws to secure it in its place.

Just a reminder that be careful with the screwdriver not to damage any of the components or to short them. This is the part where electrostatic electricity might damage your motherboard so its good idea to have the anti-static wristband in use.

At this point its also a good time to attach all the extra cables coming from the storage and other parts we already have installed to the motherboard so we don’t forget to do that.

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PSU positioning and install

After the motherboard is safely secured in the case, take out your PSU. In most cases, the PSU is positioned on the back of the PC with the power cord coming from the back, but some might have it placed sideways. To ensure the right positioning check out the case manual.

Some cases might also come with a PSU bracket that needs to be removed before the power supply may be installed so remember to check that as well when installing it.

Another good thing to consider is to place the power source so that the heat it blows is faced towards the cases fans, so the heat can be removed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

After this its simply pushing it on its place and securing the screws (usually four) in place to ensure its attached security to the case.

Install PSU

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Install GPU

Before installing the GPU locate the PCIe*x16 slot on your motherboard. This will be the longest one of the PCIe* slots and is usually located in the middle of the motherboard.

After locating it, check your case to see if there are any I/O covers (small metal tabs that block the back of the PC and cover it from dirt and fingers). Remove the covers depending on how big your GPU is. You might need to remove two (usually just one is enough) of them depending on the size of the GPU and how many ports it supports.

After that remove the anti-static packaging. There is a small notch between the GPU pins making that there are fewer pins on one of the sides than the other. Make sure you place the GPU the right way so it matches the notch when gently pushing it down and securing it in its place.

Once the GPU is fully seated connect the auxiliary power connectors and connect it to the power supply.

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Last check up

As always its good idea to check that everything is firmly secured, nothing is hanging in the way of the fans and everything is in order before closing the PC case. After double checking everything and making sure everything is in place we can close up the PC and power it up. If it seems to power up without any problems we can move on to the last step which is the installation of the operating system.

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Install the operating system

Depending on the OS you will be installing you usually require to have the installed placed on a USB flash drive. Attach the flash drive to your new PC with other accessories like mouse, keyboard and your monitor. When the PC starts you should be prompt to start up your BIOS.

Press the button to start it up and check that your BIOS has recognized all the internal parts including GPU, RAM and SSD / HD storage. After this move with arrow buttons to the right menu where you find the Boot page ( might be called “Boot Order” or “Boot Priority”) and change it so the flash drive will be booted first. Save and exit BIOS.

After restarting the PC it should now start the installation process from the USB flash drive. Follow the instructions and you should be done in a few moments.

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Finishing up

After installing the operating system remember to do last checkups that everything is working correctly and downloading all the required updates and drivers for your components. Now that your drivers are updated and installed we can only congratulate you on building your very own PC.

The best part of building your own PC is that you can build it as expensive or as cheap as you want with just the parts you want. So don’t take a no for an answer and build your own dream PC today.

If you have any questions or wish to improve our build guide, leave a comment below in the comment section.

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Custom vs Prebuilt PCs

What if I’m not into or up to the task of building my own custom PC? – If you feel like building a PC from scratch isn’t for you, you can always buy a prebuilt. With a prebuilt PC, you can be sure all the components are compatible and you can get what you paid for. Here are few of our picks on prebuilt PCs that we can recommend for anyone just starting to get into PC gaming and even for those who need a little bit of extra power for more demanding games, video editing or other graphically demanding jobs.

iBUYPOWER Enthusiast Gaming PC Computer Desktop AMD Ryzen 3 1200 3.1GHz, NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB, 8GB DDR4-2666 RAM,...

& Free shipping
$669.99 $739.99
in stock

CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Master GMA1394A Gaming PC (Liquid Cooled AMD Ryzen 7 2700 3.2GHz, 16GB DDR4, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB,...

& Free shipping
$1,387.00 $1,469.00
in stock

CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8080A4 Gaming PC (Liquid Cooled Intel i7-9700K 3.6GHz, 16GB DDR4, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 8GB, 240GB...

& Free shipping
$1,899.99
in stock

iBUYPOWER Pro Gaming PC Computer Desktop Intel i7-9700k 8-Core 3.6 GHz, Geforce RTX 2070 8GB, 16GB DDR4, 1TB HDD, 240GB...

& Free shipping
$2,255.89
in stock
Last update was on: 22/06/2019 00:51
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BONUS: Build with me – Video

For a full-on video guide, we have picked the “How to Build a PC! Step-by-step from “Bitwit” channel. It’s a great video which you can follow.

 

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