How To Build a PC : An Infographic Planning Your Build (First and foremost, Safety!) If this is your first computer, it’s a good idea to do some planning ahead of time. Create a proper work environment with adequate lighting and space. Make sure you have all of the necessary tools on hand for convenient access. Keep a container nearby to hold loose pieces such as screws. Keep a guide or reference material nearby (this guide, or How To Build a PC an instructional video). You should also briefly read through How To Build a PC the appropriate sections of the instructions for the specific pieces you’re about to assemble. These are often included in the product package as a paper insert.
Check that your location is not susceptible to static electricity, which has the potential to damage your components. Be mindful of safety precautions. Surprisingly, there aren’t many tools required to assemble a PC. Screwdriver (Philips head) – For almost all screws, including case and component mounting screws. Screwdriver with a flat head – How To Build a PC You may require this when installing your CPU cooler, so keep one on hand just in case. Extras available as options include:
- If you are concerned about static electricity hurting your parts, you can use an anti-static wrist strap.
- Cable ties are essential for cable management (unless your case has some included with it). These will keep all of the cables in your case neat and tidy.
- Scissors – For trimming superfluous cable ties and removing any unsightly plastic packaging from your computer parts.
- Flashlight – If you need a little more light to see what you’re doing, bring one with you.
- Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) and Computer Components
You may have heard that electrostatic discharge (ESD), sometimes known as’static,’ is detrimental to computer components. This is what this refers to if you’ve ever been shocked by static electricity while touching a metal object.
ESD can occasionally reach thousands of Volts, causing damage to computer components. In general, though, it is uncommon. It’s quite unlikely that you’ll have any ESD concerns if you follow proper practise (e.g., grounding oneself to remove any static build-up). Simply touching the metal casing of your computer case will bring you to the same electrical potential as it. This can be done frequently throughout the assembling process to discharge any electrical potential that has accumulated.
Limit how much you walk around and what you touch to avoid accumulating any charge on your body (for example, you don’t want to be shuffling your feet on a carpeted floor on a dry day while installing your new PC). If you become concerned, simply return to the computer case by touching it with your naked hands. If you’re still worried about static, you may acquire an anti-static wrist strap, which basically keeps your body in contact with the computer case at all times while you’re building your PC.
About Our Step-by-Step Computer Building Instructions
There are several approaches to designing a computer, and when it comes down to it, go with the one that makes you the most comfortable. The technique depicted in our computer build infographic is only one of the ways we choose to create PCs, but it is not without flexibility. For example, you could easily move around steps (as we did when we went through our full build instructions) or even perform a ‘out of the case’ build. Opinions abound on the internet, and the truth is that nearly all of the many ways are justifiable, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Other possible build orders and popular ‘build methods’ are as follows:
1. Building Outside the Case:
This method entails partially assembling the motherboard and accompanying units How To Build a PC (CPU, CPU cooler, and RAM) outside of the case, then transplanting the entire unit inside the case before continuing with the build assembly.
Pros: You have plenty of ‘working room’ outside the casing to put the CPU, cooling, and RAM. You have better sight to ensure that components are properly installed.
Cons: Failure to properly support the components when mounting them on the motherboard may result in damage. Attempting to instal the motherboard into the case with components such as the CPU cooler already attached may be challenging, depending on where the motherboard mounts are positioned. If other parts, such as the CPU cooler or RAM, get in the way, you may not be able to fit your screwdriver where it needs to be. If you have an aftermarket CPU cooler, it may come with a rear bracket that must be secured to the motherboard. Install hardware on the motherboard before inserting it into the casing in this situation (though some cases may have a cutout in the motherboard mounting plate that allows you to access this section of the motherboard – depending on your case).
2. Changing the Mounting Components’ Order
Whether you build ‘within the case’ or ‘outside the case,’ you can assemble individual parts in almost any sequence you like.
- Power supply -> Motherboard -> CPU -> RAM -> Graphics card -> Storage and optical discs are some examples.
- Power supply -> Motherboard -> Storage and optical drives -> CPU -> RAM -> Graphics card
- It is entirely up to you! However, if you’re new, we recommend following a build guide until you figure out your unique preferences for build order.
Depending on the order of assembly, some parts may interfere with other parts when attempting to mount them, or they may result in less working space/room within the case for installing other parts.
Take caution since some things must be installed in a specific order (for instance, you cannot instal the CPU cooler without first installing the CPU).
If you deviate from the recommended order, keep in mind that you may not be able to access fastening points (for example, some graphics card/motherboard combinations may prevent you from releasing the RAM fastening clips once the graphics card is installed; in this case, you would need to instal your RAM before your graphics card).
Steps in Computer Assembly
Step 1: Case in Point
Remove the screws from the back.
Remove the side cover.
It is best to operate on your computer while it is laying sideways on a flat surface, with the open side facing up. Before you begin assembling parts, remember to ground yourself (by touching the case). Keep any screws that came with the case separate and keep track of the different types. Most cases will come with How To Build a PC a few different screw packages, and they may have different sizes or threads, so be sure to match them up as best as possible with the correct mounting places. If you are unsure, consult the literature that comes with your computer case.
Step 2: Install the Motherboard
- Install motherboard standoffs in the casing.
- Remove the case’s rear I/O plate (if it exists) and replace it with the motherboard’s I/O plate.
- Install the motherboard on top of the mounting standoffs. Because there are a few different sizes (also known as ‘form factors’) of motherboard available, most cases contain screw positions that can support the various sizes of motherboard. You don’t have to put mounting standoffs in all of them; simply the ones that correspond to your motherboard will suffice.
- The I/O plate is an input-output plate, which is just a metal cover tailored to your motherboard. You’ll need to remove the default I/O plate that came with your case and replace it with the one that came with your motherboard.
- Screws and standoffs are frequently included with your computer case, although screws may also be included with a motherboard.
Step 3: Install the Processor (CPU)
- On the motherboard, locate the CPU socket holder.
- To release and hinge open the CPU socket cover, lift the latch lever.
- Line up any alignment notches or the triangle marked on the corner of the CPU to the triangle marked on the motherboard while holding the CPU by its sides. Place it gently into the motherboard socket to seat the CPU.
- Close the CPU socket holder by lowering the CPU socket cover over the CPU and closing the latch lever.
- Do not use force to place the CPU. Avoid pressing down on the back of the CPU with your fingers, as any residue from your hands can ruin the heat transfer surface for the cooler that will be installed next.