Step by Step guide on how to build a PC

Building a PC is a huge part of the joy of PC gaming. No-one starts off as an expert PC builder, though, and here we’ll take you through the entire process step-by-step.

Step by Step guide on how to build a PC
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Building a PC is a huge part of the joy of PC gaming. No-one starts off as an expert PC builder, though, and here we’ll take you through the entire process step-by-step.


Let’s build. First, take off both side panels on the case. You’ll need access to both sides for inserting hardware, cable management, and general ease of access. It can get crowded, quick. Move any cables inside of the case out of the way. We’ll get to moving.


Your chassis should include motherboard standoff screws (sometimes they’re gold instead of black). These prevent your motherboard from making direct contact with the back of the chassis, which could short out the board. Reference the holes on your motherboard to see where the standoffs need to be, since this can vary. Screw them in tightly. Take the I/O (input/output) shield and line it up with the frame from inside the case. Make sure you have it facing in the right direction before
you pop it in. Again, make sure that you check your motherboard for reference. Push it in, making sure not to press too hard on the centre (but you might have to really press hard on those edges in order to make sure that it’s in the right place). There should be a satisfying click from each side once it’s aligned correctly and as it snaps into place. With this done, we can move onto the motherboard itself.


Once the chassis is prepped, it’s time for you to insert the motherboard. This chassis has a convenient built-in standoff that centres the motherboard for you. However, not all cases will have one, so when you place it down –make sure that you do so gently – there may be some resistance up against the I/O shield. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about. Just make sure that no metal prongs accidentally get lodged into a USB port, otherwise its game over! Once the motherboard is aligned with the standoffs, screw down the centre – don’t tighten it yet – and then do the opposite corners. Screwing in opposite corners is a good rule of thumb for installing anything in a PC, as it lowers the risk of misaligning and potentially damaging your hardware. Tighten the screws bit by bit until the motherboard is firmly in place. Don’t overdo it. If it isn’t jostling around, it should be secure. Once it’s secure, tighten up the screws slowly and gently, working from opposite corners, to make sure that the motherboard stays seated correctly.


Good job. If you’re reading this and not cursing or crying, you’ve successfully got a motherboard in a PC case. Next up we deal with the most important part of any PC: the CPU. Treat the CPU like an inexplicably living brain in a glass jar. Hold it at the edges and avoid touching the underside. Finger grease can mess with the heat diffusion, which is not good on one of the most expensive, vital, volatile PC components. To install it, lift the lever on the CPU socket on the motherboard, remove the plastic placeholder, and locate the golden arrow on your CPU. This, and the notches on your CPU, will let you know how to align the CPU above the slot. Make sure everything is matched up, and then carefully lower the CPU straight down onto the socket. It should fit in effortlessly, so don’t put extra pressure on it. CPUs are easily damaged. Once the CPU is in place, lower the socket shield and secure it by pulling and locking the metal lever down. You’ll feel resistance, and likely a few heart palpitations, but try not to worry too much, everything is (probably) okay.


Now, for something much simpler… A PC isn’t powered by magic, so a power supply (PSU) is necessary. In this article we are using a modular unit, meaning we can plug and pull cables as needed. Some PSUs have cables built into the unit, making cable management a hassle, so if you can, go modular. Installing is simple. Just make sure the PSU fan is either facing the chassis vent (or upwards if it works in with your airflow scheme) and then screw it in from outside the case.


With the PSU in, it’s time for another simple step: the memory. First, you’ll need to locate the DIMM slots. Any DIMM-wit could do it! Sorry, that wasn’t helpful. They’re the four, thin, RAM-length slots next to the CPU. In order to take advantage of any dual-channel functionality, you’ll need to install the RAM in alternating slots. Refer to your motherboard documents for details, but for us, the slots were labelled. Placing the RAM is simple. Make sure the locks at the end of each slot are open, find the notch in your RAM, line it up with the notch in the slot, insert it, and push until the lock clicks and the RAM is securely in place. Don’t be afraid to push down hard.


Part 2 of this article is coming