How to build a gaming pc guide
How To Build A Gaming PC In 2021: Step-By-Step Guide
How to build a gaming PC for beginners: All the parts you need. ?·?PC building How to build a gaming PC Starting from scratch? Check out our comprehensive article on building a gaming PC, and watch the .
It takes our technicians minutes to build a computer these days — a learned skill — but even that first-time build is completable within a span of hours. Almost anyone can build a computer. The DIY approach saves money and feels rewarding, but also prepares system owners for future troubleshooting and builds a useful, technical skillset.
Parts selection can be initially intimidating and late-night troubleshooting sometimes proves frustrating; the between process, though, the actual assembly — that's easy. The goal of this guide is to educate the correct steps to the entire process: we won't be giving you tools that automatically pick parts based on compatibility, here; no, our goal is to teach the why and the how of PC building.
You'll be capable of picking compatible parts and assembling builds fully independently after completing this walkthrough. The above video was made possible with support from CorsairMSIand Enermaxand is one of our highest-quality videos to-date. This is a demo system. You may tune parts lists to your liking. The assembly process remains the same, and so this list does not need to be copied.
In fact, we'd recommend fine-tuning any build to your needs. Our PC build guides are a good place to start and offer lists purpose-built for specific tasks or games. Our forums stand as the next best resource, where our staff can assist in tuning component selection for specific tasks to net the best cost-benefit. Note: This guide strictly pertains to system assembly and validation. For parts selection and compatibility checking, visit our forums and we'll get you one-on-one help!
Electro-static discharge ESD is deadly to system components. We've written a few guides about how to deal with ESD — check this one for steps on what element are present in alkanes to build your own grounding wire for component safety. It's best to find a direct path to ground, of course. A hard table wood with hard floors is the best combination. Carpet especially with socks — take those off will generate a charge on your body if dragging your feet.
Do not build on the carpet or similar materials. Most motherboards and GPUs will ship within a body of anti-static foam — that can be used to host parts when they're out of the box. External-from-case assembly is a build process we strongly encourage for all levels of system builder. Computer hardware has a high rate of DOA components — enough that there's a good chance of getting hit with them as your building career stretches ever onward.
Building outside of the case only takes a few minutes, grants easier access to the backplate CPU cooler and RAM, and validates components before cabling effort is involved. The bonus is that, once complete, most of the steps don't have to be repeated. CPU cooler installation is often one of the most frustrating processes of any PC build — largely because it's nigh-impossible to get access to the screws once the board is mounted — and external installation accelerates things.
This section of the guide will walk through those initial, out-of-case build steps. Much of this will apply to installation within the case final buildso follow along closely. Place the what is the principle of the variac supply on top of an anti-static surface — like the foam that often comes with motherboards — or non-conductive hard surface.
An anti-static mat or anti-static foam would be ideal. Do not place the motherboard on an insulating surface. A metal arm holds the socket cover down, and a plastic shroud will cover Intel sockets to protect the pins.
Whichever surface-mount technique your CPU uses, take great care not to bend the pins. Pop-out the plastic shroud, if one is present. Line-up the arrow on the CPU gold arrow in the corner with the one on the socket. With AMD, you can double-check by referencing blank spots on the underside of the CPU absence of pins with blank spots in the socket. Drop the CPU into the slot. Do not push. If pressure is required, something's wrong — inspect it, make adjustments, try again.
If all looks good, close the latching arm and lock it into place. Some pressure will be required, but you should not feel any serious resistance. Lock the arm to hold the CPU into place. There are dozens of CPU cooler mounting brackets. CLCs have gotten simplified as CoolIT and Asetek have dominated the market, each company using bracket standardized across their brands see who buys from these suppliers here — but coolers are still not globally standardized.
Check the manual or guide that comes with the cooler. That's the first thing to do. Follow that. A few points of advice, though:. Extreme series sockets X99 what is bulletin board system not presently require backplates for any CPU coolers we've installed. These are often the easiest for CPU cooler installation.
Non-Extreme Intel motherboards will require a backplate. Install this before mounting the board, to make life easier. AMD motherboards already include a backplate. Some CPU coolers will include a replacement — use that. Ensure that the screw tension is NOT warping the board. Over-tightening the backplate and CPU cooler will cause the board to warp in a non-straight line, which is bad for components. Do not over-tighten. Allow the tightening of the CPU cooler — done with opposing corners — to spread the compound.
More here. Be sure to connect the CPU cooler's power cable when done with the installation process. For liquid coolers, check the manual to see how the pump wants to be powered. Memory is easy. If saturating only half of the total memory slots, it's important to use the correct alternating slots to ensure multi-channel configurations are active.
Read more about multi-channel configurations and the impact of dual-channel speeds on gaming in our research article note: very little gaming impact, if any. Line-up the notch in the underside of the memory with the notch in the motherboard's memory socket. Evenly seat the RAM into the slot.
Apply light pressure with thumbs on the outsides of the stick. RAM should no longer be loose. The pins should be all the way down. The video card how to build a gaming pc guide be removed after initial testing so that we can install the system books on how to have a conversation the case, but pre-build necessitates dGPU testing. If using an IGP integrated graphicsskip this step.
Lower the card into the slot, then apply light pressure until the clamp makes a 'pop' noise similar to RAM socketing noise. If running multi-GPU or custom configurations, check the manual to ensure that the correct PCI-e slots are being used. We only need a few of the cables for an out-of-case build. For this process, it's just the essentials:. Locate the pin power header on the side of the motherboard. Connect pin power to this slot; ensure the clip lines-up with the plastic outcropping on the housing.
Locate 8-pin power header near the CPU this is the one that most people overlook. Connect 8-pin header to this slot. This will not work.
Ensure it is the appropriate 12V EPS connector. Locate power headers on video card, if present. Some cards like a low-end Ti or similar will not require PSU power and can run entirely on the power provided through the PCI-e slot. No force should be required. Make how to wind a waltham pocket watch that no screws or metal components are causing bridges or touching the components. Make sure how to build a gaming pc guide are not touching the components.
Connect peripherals monitor, keyboard, mouse for testing. This is not the same as a desk speaker. A PC speaker communicates with the motherboard firmware to fire beep POST power-on self-test codes if something does not work. To get this Franken-build working, we'll have to find a way to power-on the motherboard without the case's power button. Some motherboards now include on-board power and reset buttons — you could use one of those, if it's present.
Our previous guide goes into depth on this, if curious. Use manual if not clearly marked. This is almost always in the bottom-right corner, but sometimes is bottom-center. This will cause electricity to travel from one pin to the other, which will jump the system to life.
Remove screwdriver immediately from the circuit. Leaving it here will eventually trigger a shutdown equivalent of holding power button to turn off a PC. Does it boot?
2. Clean your workspace
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Putting together a gaming PC build can be an intimidating process, but it doesn't have to be so hard if you know what you're doing. The PC is the most powerful gaming platform out there. A strong gaming computer has the potential for higher resolutions, faster frame rates, and better visuals than current consoles can even come close to achieving. It can be very tempting to build your own gaming PC, but if you don't know where to start, it can also be quite intimidating and turn you off entirely.
Thankfully, it doesn't have to be that way. PCs are much easier to build than they were in the past, and while it's not as easy as putting together a Lego spaceship, you don't have to be scared of it. That's why we've put together this straightforward guide on how to build a gaming PC. It's intended for those who are a little wary of building their first PC or just need a little refresher of the steps to doing so.
Of course, due to the current pandemic, many online stores are experiencing product shortages and shipping delays that could interfere with your PC build, so be sure to check the estimated delivery date when ordering from stores like Newegg or Amazon. Actually picking your parts can be daunting, especially when you factor in compatibility and power consumption. We used the website to build our rig and highly recommend using it for yours.
It makes it easy to stay within your budget and lets you know if your components are compatible with each other--it'll even make suggestions if there are issues with your chosen parts. If you're looking for some accessories to round out your new gaming rig, check out the best gaming mice , best gaming headset , best capture card for streaming , best gaming keyboard , and best budget gaming monitors.
Fortunately, you don't need many tools or extra parts to build your PC--almost everything you need will be included in your components' boxes.
However, there are a few items you'll need to have ready before you start building your PC. For the vast majority of your build, you'll be using a No. You'll want a tube of thermal paste to keep your CPU's temperature low during use.
Most CPU coolers come with thermal paste already applied, which means you won't need any extra. However, if you do end up buying a tube of thermal paste, you can clean the cooler's paste off and use your own.
We've attempted to simplify the process of building a gaming PC as much as possible here, but if you're not familiar with PC hardware, some of the terms in this guide may need some clarification. We've briefly explained some of the parts and terminology we'll be using below. Feel free to reference this section as you work on your build.
This will handle displaying images on your PC. The more elaborate and complex these images are, the more power you'll need from your graphics card. The two big names in the graphics card game are Nvidia and AMD. Motherboard: The motherboard is where all of the components are installed, allowing them to work together and perform their functions properly.
This provides much faster access to saving and accessing data. The more RAM you have--paired with a good-quality processor--the faster your PC can perform its various functions.
Cooling system: The cooling system is used to protect the CPU from overheating. OS: OS stands for operating system. Most gaming PCs will utilize Windows it's what we suggest--though some people may want to install Linux. We've included a breakdown of our recommended PC build alongside a much more affordable gaming PC build. This should give you an idea of the vast price range you can expect when starting to build your first PC. More expensive PC builds will absolutely rock your bank account, but they're more likely to be future-proofed--you won't need to upgrade the PC's components for quite some time, and when you do, you likely won't need to upgrade more than your graphics card.
The cheaper PCs can still provide an excellent experience at a much more affordable price, but you may need to upgrade it more often if you want to keep up with new releases. Either way, you're sure to have a fantastic gaming experience, as long as you keep your expectations in check with your budget. Keep in mind that many a PC build these days lacks an optical drive since actual disk usage is rare nowadays , but you always add one later if you need one.
Assembling the motherboard outside of the case will make your whole experience much easier to deal with. Our general rule of thumb is to install as many parts as possible before screwing it into your case. An important thing to note before starting on your motherboard is that you should refer to its manual as often as possible, as your specific motherboard may suggest specific ways or places to install your components.
Also, keep in mind that certain parts will require some force when plugging them in, while others simply just need to be placed into their respective spots. Please pay close attention to the following instructions before installing your components. The first thing you'll want to do is make sure you're assembling your PC on a flat surface. Don't build it on a carpet--the mixture of static electricity and your PC's parts is a dangerous combination and could cause damage to your components.
It's unlikely to happen, but we still suggest touching your metal case from time to time to help ground yourself and avoid this from happening. Instead, build your rig in a room with hardwood or laminate floors like a dining room or kitchen--we even went the extra mile and took our socks off. Take your motherboard out of its packaging and then place it on a flat surface. You can lay it directly on your table, but we personally placed it on top of its box to avoid scratching our desk.
At this point, you're ready to start. Your motherboard's CPU socket will be protected by a piece of plastic, which you'll be able to remove when you open the tray.
All you need to do is gently push down on the tray's metal arm and pull it out. Once it's free of the tray, lift it up to open the socket and the protective plastic will fall out. Be sure to keep this plastic piece in case of any issues with your motherboard, as you'll need to reinsert it before sending it back to the manufacturer.
Your CPU should have some small half-circle indents in its board. Once you've figured out how to place your CPU into its socket, do so gently. Do not apply pressure directly on the CPU--simply close the tray and make sure the metal arm is locked into its original position, which may require a bit of force. Your motherboard may have protective thermal guards on your M. Once you've taken any guards off the motherboard, you can slot in your M.
These require a little bit of force to slot into their respective slots, but don't push too hard--they should slide in quite easily. Once the M. At this point, you take the respective screw that is often included with your motherboard , push each M. At this point, you can take the thermal guard and place it on top of each M.
This is another step where you'll want to reference your motherboard's manual, which should be able to tell you which order to place the RAM in. If you have four slots and only two sticks of RAM, then you should make sure the two sticks are spaced apart in either the first and third slot or second and fourth--your motherboard manual can advise you here.
First off, be sure to flip down the plastic clips on both sides of each slot you plan on using. Inserting the RAM requires more force, but make sure you start small and then ramp up your pressure gradually. When you hear a click, your RAM is in its slot. This should cause the plastic clips to flip up, gripping your RAM. If you notice your clips haven't flipped up, then your RAM may not be seated properly.
It's almost time to throw your motherboard into your case, but first you'll need to screw in some standoff screws that you'll place your motherboard onto before screwing it in. These standoffs will come with your motherboard, and once you've located them, you can start screwing them into your case.
There should be about a dozen holes for the standoffs to fit into. Refer to your case's manual if you're having trouble finding them. Once the standoffs are screwed in, you're ready to insert your motherboard. The standoffs make it easy to place your motherboard into your case, but don't start screwing it in straight away. It'll be a rectangle, and you'll want your motherboard to be inserted comfortably into this space so that you can access all of the ports.
Once everything fits, you can start screwing your motherboard onto the standoffs with the appropriate screws. Don't forget that you don't want to screw anything too tightly. Just turn your screwdriver until everything is securely tightened, and then you're ready to move on. Installing the power supply into your case is often quite easy. You'll want to refer to your specific case's manual for this, but it's pretty straightforward. First, we took our case's mounting bracket and screwed it onto the back of our power supply.
You'll notice your power supply also sports a fan, which is used to circulate air. If you're planning on placing your finished gaming PC on a hardwood floor or desk, then feel free to aim this fan downward; if you're placing your gaming PC on a carpeted floor, then you'll want to aim the fan upward.
Once you've figured out which way your PSU needs to be oriented, and screwed on the mounting bracket, you can easily slide it into your case and tighten the bracket's screws. Depending on how much room you have for your PSU, you may want to hold off on screwing it in until you've plugged in all of its various power cables.
Your case should have a specific bay area dedicated to holding these kinds of drives. Locate this area, then look for two metal clasps on the left and right side of each bay. Squeeze these clasps and then pull the bay out. Here is where you'll be able to screw in your SATA drive and keep it stable inside your case. Find the SATA slot on your motherboard and plug the other side of the appropriate cable into it, then plug the other side of the PSU cable into your power supply.
Your drive is now installed, though you will need to format it once your PC is up and running. Now, you're ready to start plugging cables into your motherboard. This part requires some patience, as your case cables are extremely tiny and can be difficult to orient. You'll want to reference both your case and motherboard manuals during this step. Some motherboards, like our Aorus Ultra, come with a bus that you can plug the case cables into before inserting them into the motherboard.
This makes this step much easier.
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