How to Build a Computer

Building a computer does not have to be overly complicated. All you need is the right parts and an understanding of how they are all connected together. Sounds easy right? Great, let's get started.

To build a computer you will need these parts.

  • Power Supply (PSU) - This should be big enough to power everything that you will be installing into your computer. You can use a Power Supply Calculator to figure out how many watts you will need.
  • Computer Chassis - Pick a design you like and roll with it. We would suggest something with a good rating on Newegg. Some cases can be more difficult to assemble computers into than others.
  • Motherboard - Probably the most essential part in the computer. You will be plugging everything into the motherboard and everything has to be compatible with it. If you pick out parts that are not compatible you will have to go through returns. So select the motherboard early on in the building process and reduce head-aches by making sure everything is compatible with it.
  • Hard Drives - We suggest to use a Solid State Hard drive to boot your operating system and applications and a standard hard drive to store all of your data. We suggest to use two hard drives because having a second hard drive for your data makes it easy for you to move your information from one computer to the next. As well, solid state drives are not cheap, housing a lot of music, images, movies or other files can take up too much space, making a SSD un-economical.
  • CD/DVD-Rom Optical Drives - A standard DVD drive should be fine unless you need something better. We use standard LiteOn iHas drives (about ).
  • Processor (CPU) - You should select an i5 or greater for your build (or any build for that matter). If it is in your budget we suggest install an i7, it will give you a better experience when using your computer and likely outlast the i5 and be less prone to getting outdated.
  • Graphics Card (GPU) - The ball is in your court on which graphics card to choose, it depends on your needs. If you are only building your computer to do basic tasks, get a GPU for about , for gaming, you may want to spend more. If you go with an expensive graphics card, be sure that it will fit in the computer case.
  • Memory (RAM) - This is a pretty easy one, for everyday computers 8GB is good, 4GB is likely too little and if you want to go on the safe side, 16GB is an easy choice.

After you have selected all of the parts you want to put into the computer you can put them on order. You could spend 1-3 hours choosing parts and researching. It is always a good idea to use Passmark Benchmarks when choosing parts. Sometimes you can find more efficient hardware at lower prices. For your first computer build it might not be a bad idea to source all of the parts from one place, we suggest Newegg. They ship fast and are reliable. You can always shop around though and save a little money.

Once your parts arrive it’s time to start putting everything together.

  1. Unbox the Chassis, Power Supply, Motherboard, RAM and have the CPU ready (however keep it in the plastic case)

  2. Some chassis come with a pre-installed power supply, if yours is installed, move on, if not, go ahead and install the PSU. You will just have to put a few screws in to lock it into place.

  3. Install the stand-offs into the chassis to make a place for the motherboard. The stand-offs should only be installed where the screws will line-up.

  4. Lower the motherboard into the chassis and gently place the screws in to secure the motherboard. Do not over-tighten the screws.

  5. Install the RAM into the motherboard DIMM slots.

  6. Install the CPU into the motherboard. You will want to do this carefully as the CPU and motherboard can be damaged if you do not follow proper procedures. Make sure the CPU notches are lined up with the notches in the motherboard and put the CPU in place. Secure the CPU and install the heat-sink fan over the top of it. Plug the fan cord into the Fan CPU pins on the motherboard.

  7. Any cables coming from the chassis include the front LED’s and USB ports can be plugged into the motherboard. Any fans from the chassis can also be plugged in.

  8. Next install your hard drive(s) into the computer chassis. Pull the sata power cable from the power supply down to the hard drive(s) and plug them in. Plug the sata cables into the hard drives and then into the motherboard.

  9. Install the optical drive, plug sata power into the drive and plug a sata cable into the back of it and connect it to the motherboard.

  10. Lastly plug the cables coming from the PSU to power the motherboard and processer into the motherboard. You are looking for a 24-Pin ATX power cable for the motherboard and 8-Pin power cable for the processor. Plug both of these into the motherboard.

  11. Lastly, install the graphics card. You will need to unscrew a slot for it in the back of the computer chassis and possibly run additional power to it from your PSU if you bought a large gaming card.

That should do it. Go ahead and connect your computer, mouse and monitor to the computer and power it up. If everything is installed properly the computer will boot to the motherboard BIOS and you’re ready to install the operating system of your choice.

Posted: January 21st, 2015

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