How To Build Your Gaming PC

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How To Build A Gaming PC

When I was playing my first online games, Dota 1 & CS (I know, I’m ancient), my trusty Windows Vista laptop with 4 GB Ram was more than enough to run these games smoothly.

As games like Assassin’s Creeds, The Witcher 3, Final Fantasy got released, I realized it really wasn’t going to cut it.

So I decided to learn how to build my own gaming PC so as enjoy the games in the full experience that they were made to!

Whether you’re a father wanting to build a gaming PC for your kid as a gift or you’re a gamer like myself, preparation is key. If you're a total beginner and have yet to start building, you can start from the Pre-Building phase, if you have already bought your parts, you can go straight to Putting It All Together!

In this guide, you'll go from a total beginner to building your first Gaming PC with 5 Simple Steps

1. Pre-Building -the critical planning before purchasing & building,

2. Must-have Components - we discuss the main components in a PC & critical ones that you should focus on that affect gaming performance

3. Additional Components - if you want the best and feel fancy

4. Peripherals - the PC parts that you interact the most with

5. Putting it all together!

1. Pre-Building

1.1 Location / 'Play' Station

Think of the location of where you’re going to place your Gaming PC setup. 

It could be anywhere with a power point & easy connectivity to your internet connection - a cozy corner in your room or your gaming space in your living room.

You can roughly determine how big the PC case and your peripherals can go / or can't go.

You can also think about whether you should go for premium features like glass side panel to enjoy your cool RGB lighting while you play. If your PC is placed under the table where you can't see it, then perhaps you don't feel the need to go for such features.

1.2 PC Cases

Types of PC Cases

You want to pick a PC case that’s the right size and has room for all your hardware and USB devices.

You’ll also want to consider based on how much upgrading and expansion you plan to do in the future.

Some PC cases also offer special features like spacious interiors, silent features, and extensive water-cooling support.

Simply shortlist it for now as we need to match it with your hardware and components.

Types of Cases – For your gaming PC, we’ll be looking mostly at Mini, Mid and Full Tower

The type of PC cases also affects the type of motherboard sizes / form factor you can fit as you can see above.

The most common motherboard sizes are MicroATX (mATX) and ATX.  

Mini Tower can fit mini-ITX and MiroATX,

Mid Tower can fit Mini-ITX, Micro ATX and ATX

Full Tower can fit Mini-ITX, Micro ATX, ATX and EATX.

Mini Towers often measure to 16 inches high, and are ideal for people who want a minimalistic design, or having a mobile PC for LAN parties. If you travel a lot yet you want the best performance PC, you can go for Mini Towers.

Simpler design and less materials needed, and most mini towers are able to accept (cheaper) standard sized components.

Just know that you’ll need to be really careful while you plan for your components due to it’s little room for error and upgrades (get the pun). It’s also not suitable for multi-GPU setups and overclocking.

Most mid-towers run up to 18 inches high and this is the standard build. If you’re looking for the common and gaming optimized PC build, this is ideal.

They have the most common form factor, enough room to fit a closed-loop CPU cooler, a couple of expansion slots for graphics cards, and enough storage.

Graphic cards are the hottest components in a PC and a mid-tower’s interior allows for better air circulation, more space for additional case fans and larger heat sinks.

You also get better cable management - the extra drive bays, additional cable routing holes and bigger side panel clearance.

Full-tower cases often measure more than 20 inches in height and are longer and deeper than mid-tower cases, which makes them ideal if you’re intending to use a massive Extended-ATX motherboard.

So if you’re planning to get a long-term rig, with extra features like water-cooling, even more storage, and you have enough space, you can go for this.

Other things to look out for when shortlisting PC Cases

Press the ... to open the toggle box!

Drive Bays

When you buy a PC case, usually they will come with Drive Bays

5.25-Inch, 3.5-Inch, and 2.5-Inch

A 5.25-inch bay is meant for an optical drive (such as a DVD or Blu-ray drive)

While the 3.5-inch and 2.5 inch bay are meant for your hard drives, 2.5 inch being the standard size for laptops. As some PC gamers prefer to have a smaller hard drive for space for other components.

Tool-Free Design

Yeap, you guessed it, you don’t need to use your screws or screwdriver for this! Usually they use levers or buttons for you to mount your components.

Power Supply Unit Mount (PSU), PSU Form Factor, PSU Shroud

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Flex ATX

You need a PSU to get electricity to power your PC (duh). And usually the mounting area is either at the top or bottom of the case, located near the rear.

PSU has their own form factor (do not get confused by the motherboard ones), which are defined by dimensions that include the mounting location.

Current electrical standards such as ATX12V and EPS12V are the same.

 

The standard PSU is ATX PS/2 –

Standard Dimensions (Actual may vary) - 150mm (W) x 86mm (H) x 140mm (D)

ATX PS/3 is compatible with ATX PS/2, the difference is this has shorter depth

Standard Dimensions (Actual may vary) - 150mm (W) x 86mm (H) x 100mm (D)

SFX is popular with smaller computer cases and can be used in cases that support ATX PS/2 with simple adapters or brackets.
Standard Dimensions (Actual may vary) - 125mm (W) x 63.5mm (H) x 100mm (D)

Flex ATX

For even small computer cases -
Standard dimension for this form factor is: 81.5mm (W) x 40.5mm (H) x 150mm (D)

TFX is used in computer cases with limited height or non-standard shapes.
Standard dimension for this form factor is: 85mm (W) x 65mm (H) x 175mm (D)

A power supply is useless if it can’t connect every component of your PC, so make sure it has all the required connector types.

(If you want to know how to choose a PSU, click for guide https://www.newegg.com/insider/how-to-choose-a-pc-power-supply-buying-guide/)

If you’re looking at transparent cases, you’ll probably be keen in a PSU shroud as it hides the entire PSU box from view, so it has a neater appearance.

Fan Mounts

The most common fan sizes are 120mm and 140mm, and there are many more.

So the fans you get got to match the mounts, which usually has screw holes predrilled in the case for the specific fan size.

CPU and GPU space

If you’re looking to go high-end and even more customizable with your PC, you’ll want to take note of these measurements.

As some components like graphic cards and extra CPU coolers need more space, some standard sized PC cases are unable to fit them.

So some PC cases have removable parts for you to extend the space.

Front I/O Panel

Usually located in the front of the PC case, you’re probably familiar with this as that’s where you plug your headphones, microphones, USBs into the ports available.

The key is to make sure your motherboard has matching headers for the ports that your case has, otherwise it’s wasted space.

Standard modern motherboards will include one USB 3.0 headers and two USB 2.0 headers.

Expansion Slots

Usually located at the back of the case, where your PC case can accommodate the metal spine of whatever ‘extra’ cards you install on the motherboard.

Do note that motherboard also have ‘expansion slots’, where you can easily add or replace cards without having to replace the whole motherboard.

1.3 PC Build Tools & Workspace

Before you begin, you’ll want to have a workspace, like a table, so that you can keep all your items neatly.

Choose a place that doesn’t have a carpet to prevent accidental electrostatic discharge.

Tools

  • Screw Driver (you may need)- Choose magnetic tipped ones if you can, so it's easier for you to get it in place.
  • Zip Ties
  • Scissors
  • Light Source (your phone with a light can do the trick)


2. Must Have Components 

In this portion of the guide, we will be going through the basic components of a PC and what each part are for.

Must Have Components in Gaming PC

The ones that have the most impact on gaming performance are...

the Graphic card, RAM and Storage!

Though the rest may not have maximum impact, we recommend you to follow the process in order, so you can choose the right components for your PC to function smoothly and reliably!

Let’s get started!

2.1 Central Processing Unit (CPU) or Processor

CPU

You can think of CPU as the brain of your PC.

The CPU is the main chip in telling all the other components in a PC what to do, according to the instructions it is given by the programs (software) running on that computer.

There are two main manufacturers of computer CPU. Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) lead the market in terms of speed and quality.

To choose the best CPU, you’ll need to look at the specifications of the games you’re intending to play, and make sure you match your motherboard and RAM to it.

Rule of thumb: Get the latest generation if your budget fits, and make sure you have the budget for a full PC set – don’t get the most expensive CPU and pair it with weak graphic cards.

If you mostly play CPU intensive single player titles like Assassin’s Creed, Final Fantasy, you’ll need at least intel® Core™ i5-2500(3.3GHz and above)/ AMD FX™-6100 (3.3GHz and above, just to play it in low settings.

If you want the full experience, you’ll need Intel® Core™ i7-3770(3.4GHz and above)/ AMD FX™-8350(4.0 GHz and above)

Other modern popular games like League of Legends, CS:GO, Fortnite are not as intensive so the above will suffice.

That being said, as more and more games are programmed to take advantage of multiple CPU cores, if you can, try to go for 6 cores so as to ‘future-proof’ it for a few more years.

CPU Terms that you can know

  • Cores, Threads

You can think of the cores as parts of the brain in your CPU, and now most CPU have multiple cores – each core can perform operations separately from the others.

Threads are like the neural links connecting to the brain – which help the cores process information in a more efficient manner.

If you’re simply playing games with a standard Intel® Core™ i5-2500– it has 4 cores, you should have a smooth gaming experience.

If you’re planning on running multiple tasks like playing CS:GO while streaming on Twitch, you’ll want to look at threads as well as a multi threaded or hyper-threaded processor will help your PC run the games with playable frame rates while also handling the tasks with recording/streaming.

2.2 Motherboard

Motherboard

Your motherboard is like the heart of your computer where it relays/bring ‘blood’ (information and electricity) to your whole PC.

It is the main hub where it connects to all your other PC components.

Though getting the most high-end motherboard may not directly impact gaming performance, choosing a low-quality motherboard can cause serious issues.

If your motherboard spoils - it’s quite troublesome to change the whole motherboard as compared to a graphic card. You’ll probably need to change your PC case as well, unless you get the same motherboard again.

So, at this stage, you should have shortlisted your Motherboard form factor (mITX vs mATX vs ATX) and you can begin to zoom in on the specific motherboard itself.

For networking features, if you’re using Wi-Fi connection, you may want to pick a motherboard that has built-in support, or simply buy an add-on Wi-Fi adaptor if you wish.

All the motherboard comes with LAN (wired cable), so no worries about that.

Match with CPU

So after you’ve chosen your CPU, you’ll have to find a matching motherboard.

Intel CPU are only compatible with Intel Motherboards, likewise for AMD.

To match them, you must make sure the CPU socket type (processor interface) and the motherboard chipset is compatible – (they will state in the product information, read before you buy!)

Match with RAM

Your motherboard can only support one of the two RAM Types (DDR3 or DDR4) and make sure it can support the RAM speed and capacity. 

Most modern standard motherboards have minimally one PCIe 3.0 x16 slot for your graphics card.

If you're looking to ‘future proof’ your build or leaving options to add some extra cards like Wi-Fi card, sound card, network cards, look at the Expansion slots available.

Keep in mind the number of USB ports to make sure your board has enough for your needs as well.

PCI-E Sizes Vs Lanes

There are four primary sizes of the PCIe Port: x1, x4, x8, and x16, to fit the respective cards -

PCIE Sizes

(Image credit: Erwin Mulialim/Wikimedia Commons)

PCIE Card Sizes

Image: Rainer Knäpper, Free Art License

The larger the size, the more maximum connections for the card to the port.

These connections are known as “lanes”

Sometimes the motherboard has limitations - A x16 port might be able to fit the size of an x16 card, but only have enough data lanes for something much less speedy, like x4 - which means even though it is a x16 port, it doesn't provide enough juice to fully support a x16 card.

So make sure you understand how to read the PCIE specs.

PCIE x1-2 means that the port only has 1 data lane, and the -2 means it’s the second x1 port on the motherboard.

PCIE x4-1 means that the port only has 4 data lane.

So, when it comes to choosing a motherboard, try to stick with trusted manufacturers like Asus, MSI, Gigabyte or AsRock.

2.3 RAM (Random Access Memory)

RAM

Imagine the RAM as a post-it note for your brain – so you can jot down quick ideas and notes.

Even the fastest CPU needs a ‘temporary’ memory for quick access while processing information like the assets needed for games.

You’ll need a fast CPU and an ample amount of RAM for a speedy gaming PC.

RAM Types

Through the years, the standard RAM types are DDR1, DDR2, DDR3, DDR4. However, most have gone obsolete as technology gets better.

Since 2017, all modern motherboard use the latest DDR4 technology for their RAM.

Match with CPU and Motherboard

So if you’re upgrading your old PC, you may not be able to fit your DDR4 card into your old motherboard and CPU. You may want to do a quick search

  • Search for System Information, and then under System Summary, you’ll be able to see which motherboard you have in the System Model field.
  • Find that model on the manufacturer’s website and check the specifications. Or you can also check whether your current CPU can support it under Memory Specifications / Memory Type.

Form Factor / Ram Slots

Assuming you’re buying a new set - after you choose your CPU and motherboard, look at whether your motherboard has enough slots to support dual, triple or quad channel mode.

Mini ITX motherboards usually only support two RAM slots, mATX and ATX motherboards usually support four slots.

The more RAM slots it supports, means better performance as computer memory works best in conjunction with the same speed and preferably with identical memory modules.

Try to buy your RAM as memory kits like 16GB (4 x 4GB) so that you can match the amount of identical memory in the number of DIMM slots on your motherboard.

As getting multiple low-capacity modules is usually more affordable than getting a single high-capacity one. You could get 2×8 GB or 4 x 4GB instead of a single 16 GB stick.

It is also more convenient for you if one of them spoils due to long usage, and you still can use your PC with the remaining RAMs while you buy the replacement.

Match Speeds

Check what speed the processor supports and match that to the RAM that you buy.

If you’re thinking of overclocking your CPU, you will also be increasing the clock speed of your memory. Check the speeds listed as 'OC' in brackets for your motherboard and RAM

Capacity

As of current standards, you can go for 16GB or 8GB Ram, 4GB is too little for modern games. Anything higher is too much as you don’t usually need 32GB for gaming.

Operating Frequency

Generally ranges from 2133MHz to 3200MHz for DDR4

You don’t really need to go for high-end (4600MHz) here, save it up for your GPU.

2.4 Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) & Graphics Card

graphics card

Similar to the CPU and Motherboard, a GPU is a processor in a Graphics card (AKA Daughterboard) and is designed specifically to perform intensive tasks like graphics rendering.

As it produces a lot of heat, the Graphics card even has a VRAM and BIOS chip and usually a cooling fan.

They are like the visual nerves and a second brain for the body.

For GPUs, two main companies produce them - Nvidia and AMD (Radeon).

Though, when you purchase a dedicated GPU, you usually purchase the Graphic Card and the GPU comes with it.

There are many manufacturers of Graphics card that supports both Nvidia and AMD series, so you may get overwhelmed.

Before you jump in and compare the graphic cards, take note of these

PC Power & Case - Make sure your case has enough room for the card you’re considering, and that your power supply has enough watts to spare.

Match your desired monitor resolution and refresh rates– many mainstream cards can support 1080p, but you’ll need a better card for 4K.

If your monitor has a whooping 240ghz refresh rate, you’ll need a high-end card for its full potential.

If your monitor maxes out at 60Hz and 1080p, you don’t need go overboard as your display can’t keep up.

There are graphic cards that support Sync Tech – (Freesync AMD, g-sync Nvidia), and you’ll need a Monitor that supports the relevant Sync Tech as well.

Take note of the VRAM capacity as this is the Graphic card’s own RAM for graphic processing.

Main thing to keep in mind is the cooling technology – 

Cooling Technology of Graphic Cards

Open-Air coolers has its heatsink exposed to the outside of the card and expel the hot air into the PC case.

If your PC is a big, roomy case and has a few case fans, this should be better as your PC will have better airflow.

Blower type coolers focuses on drawing in the air from the case and blows all the hot air out of the case – that’s why some call it the rear exhaust.

If you’re going minimalistic and your PC is smaller with fewer fans and restricted airflow, you may want to go for the blower.

All-in-One (AIO) water coolers have one big benefit over any air cooled card and that is exhaust control. As they have an external radiator to give the ‘exhaust’ benefit like a blower card yet you have the performance of open air.

It is a form of liquid cooling where it contains pressurized coolant inside of the loop and it runs between the radiator and the CPU block. This method transfers heat away from the CPU via the coolant, and the coolant returns back to the radiator to get cooled off.

This makes AIO cards very appealing to users with limited airflow that still want to get the most out of overclocking their video card.

Just note - AIO coolers require an intermediate level of knowledge at building PC’s since you need to plan ahead with the radiator size and compatibility with the case.

2.5 Storage

Storage - HDD

This is where your PC stores and retrieves all the information – like a brain’s memory.

Your PC needs a storage to hold critical information like your Operating System and Games!

There are 2 main types – Hard Disk Drive (HDD), Solid-State Drive (SSD) SATA

HDD is the oldest storage technology – where it functions with a spinning magnetic plate to store information.

They are still able to have large capacities and are the cheapest means of storage. They take up more space, so small case builders take note!

If you’re running on a budget, a HDD with sufficient storage is enough as they are affordable though there may be a bit of noise when the drive is in use.

SSD uses a circuit technology and doesn’t have any movable parts like the HDD.

They are also smaller at 25-inch, can read and write data faster than a typical HDD, as well as faster boot and load times for your OS and games. As you guessed it, they are pricier than HDD.

If you’re planning to go mid-tier, you can go for SSD SATA for your main drive and minimally you should get 1 TB.

You can get HDDs as reliable backup drives.

There’s another form factor to the SSD tech - M2.

M2 SATA looks like a daughterboard and you connect it directly to the motherboard (no need cables!) and is really suitable for small sized PCs.

Because SSDs are so fast that their only limiting factor is the SATA connection method that has been traditionally used. And now. there’s a new standard called NVMe

M2. NVMe is the cream of the crop and can provide 7x more write speeds than SATA.

If you’re going really high end, you’ll want to get M2. Nvme.

2.6 Case Fans

Case Fans

Case fans are like the temperature control mechanism in for your body.

Get at least 3 case fans -  

1 for  front mounted intake fan, 1 for rear mounted exhaust fan, At least 1 to support either side.

Choose one that has low noise level – 19dBA and can replace your PC airflow 30 times in a minute.

Some terminology you got to know.

Fan Size - there are various fan sizes with – 120-140mm is the most common ones

Airflow – CFM  (Cubic feet per minute) or m3/h --> 1 CFM = 1.699011

Take the airflow (CFM) divide by your PC case volume and you’ll know how many times the fan can replace the air within the PC in a minute.

For example – the NZXT H70i, a mid-tower PC case, with the following dimensions. W: 230mm H: 516mm D: 494mm

Take all your Depth, Width and Height measurements in mm and divide by 305 to convert to feet and multiply them together to get your volume in cubic feet.

0.754 x 1.691 x 1.619 = 2.065 cubic feet

Take a case fan with 59.5 CFM, that will mean that the fan can replace it 28 times within a minute.

The Max Fan speed is RPM – some are not running full speed for all fans at all times which is why PWM (Pulse width modulation) – usually comes with 4 pin connecter

Adjust your RPM settings in your BIOS

If your case fan does not have the 4 pin connector, you won’t have PWM, but some motherboard allows you to do voltage control, and adjust the RPM indirectly based on that.

Static Pressure - The higher the static pressure, the better the fan can force air through resistance on the other side of the fan.

2.7 Operating System

There are 3 Main OS – Microsoft Windows, Linux and MacOS

You’re probably at the wrong article if you’re thinking of building a Mac computer.. Mac is a great OS, however, you can’t just buy a MacOS like you buy a Windows OS. It comes with the computer.

Windows has the biggest selection of games, though many hate Windows 10 due to the constant updates.

Besides that, it has top quality performance and can support the newest games that are coming out.

Don’t ponder too much, if you want the most standard, just get the Windows 10 Home and uninstall the bloatware.

2.8 Power Supply (PSU)

Power Supply Unit

It’s easy to be distracted by the GPUs, Storage and RAM, and you may just want to get any power supply to run your PC.

But a power supply that doesn’t provide reliable power can cause problems such as random resets and freezes.

It’s literally the energy your body (PC) needs.

How to calculate your PSU – The best one provides the right amount of wattage to all components simulataneously.

amps * volts = watts

Multiply the total amps of all components by the total volts of all components

It’s really quite scary as a beginner, so you can also use this handy calculator from Outervision

Choose one that has good efficient rating  - Look for units with “80 Plus” certification.

Average users with average needs should probably stick to the simple 80 Plus or the 80 Plus Bronze level unless they find a particularly juicy deal on a Silver or Gold PSU.

3: Add ons

3.1 Sound Card

Sound Card

The soundcard that comes with your motherboard is sufficient for most gamers..

If you’re still reading this, you probably love your clear & crisps sounds and take no chances on static or any hiss from your audio.

Sound card VS External USB DAC

A Dedicated sound card is more for professionals or musicians that need to add effects or clean up audio. You may have a higher risk of getting electrical noise as the sound card is installed on the motherboard with all the components running.

For the best audio output quality, we would recommend getting an External USB DAC or external sound card.

Make sure you get quality headphones or speakers, otherwise you won’t hear much difference.

3.2 CD Drive

Optical Drive

If you’re playing retro games, you may need a CD Drive. Though it’s going to phase out soon as most games are not published via physical drives anymore.

4. Peripherals


4.1 Monitor

Gaming Monitor

You'll need a monitor that can display the action without getting you to blurred images, flicker, tearing, and other motion artifacts.

Generally, gamers should prioritize fast refresh rates and low response times, but to choose a right one, we recommend to choose from the Panel Size onwards.

Panel Size and Monitor Resolution

To get the right Panel size, it’s best to look at your gaming station.

For baseline Panel size, 24-inches would be good enough, unless your table has enough real estate and your sitting/standing position is not too close that it hurts your eyes. (20-40 inches)

If you want to go full geeky – you can take a look at Esportstales chart.

Monitor Resolution

For gaming, 1080 and 1440p is sufficient. If you want to go high-end, you can go for 4K, but make sure your graphic cards can support. The manufacturer will state it in the product information.

If you want to game without compromises at 4K—there are currently only three cards available that deliver, the GTX 1080 Ti, the Titan Xp and the Titan V.

Refresh Rates

This tells you the number of times your monitor updates with new information per second and is measured in hertz (Hz). Bigger numbers equal better, smoother and less choppy images.

Synch Tech

G-Sync (NVDIA) and FreeSync (AMD) – To prevent screen tearing, most modern gaming monitors with either imaging technology and compatible graphics card, allows the display to dynamically alter its refresh rate in order to match it with the GPU’s frame rate.

The result is a variable refresh rate (VRR) which eliminates all screen tearing, juddering, and stuttering with minimal (~1ms) input lag penalty.

Generally, you can go for FreeSync as it’s more affordable and does the job well.

4.2 Speakers 

USB Speakers

If you want to get the most out of your games, you’ll want a good set of speakers.

The sound quality of a speaker is the result of several elements—materials, design, and execution—and every detail matters in the final sound. 

Speakers that sound good to you are good speakers, even if someone else may prefer a different set.

Some companies provide 30 day audition periods and you can try out, and return for full refund if you’re not happy with it.

Take note of the features like bluetooth connectivity, subwoofers (to handle the bass) and LED lightings (I know we gamers love them) 

4.3 Headsets

Headphones

As a gamer in modern society, you’ll probably need gaming headsets as you may not want to disturb your roommate, or hear jarring noises from the kitchen. 

There are so many different types of Gaming headsets – from wireless, to glasses-friendly headphones, we have a separate guide for that.

Basic things to look out for are how the ear headphones fit on your head is one of the most important things to consider. A bad fit can be physically painful

4.4 Keyboard

Gaming Keyboard

Alright, here comes the first part of your command control – AKA Keyboard.

Other than the RBG Lightings, to better your gaming experience, find metal or ABS build keyboards (for durability) with

Key Rollover (aka Anti-Ghosting)

Especially for those of you with fast reflexes, find those with N-Key Rollover to prevent simultaneous keystrokes from being omitted.

Customization

Some keyboards allow you to assign macros - useful for activating multiple skills or abilities with a single tap, however, if you’re playing competitively, please check whether it’s against the rules to do so.

4.5 Mouse

Mouse

Well, you’re probably familiar with this and don’t need much of a guide right?

Choosing the best gaming mouse for your build really depends on what game you’re playing, how many buttons you need, what are the DPI that you need.

Generally speaking, find out your grip style and hand size, choose a suitable one – from shooter mouse, MOBA or MMO mouse, ambidextrous to mobile mouse.

4.6 Controllers

controller

If you play racing games or arcade games that need fine control, you may want to have a controller on standby.

You can’t go wrong with a Xbox One controller, yet if you’re looking for more oomph, you can check out those with special features like DPI switch, wireless gamepad.

5. Putting it All Together / Installation

After you have bought & gotten all your PC components, it’s time to build it!

Step 1: Install the CPU to the Motherboard  

Parts needed: Motherboard & CPU

Take the motherboard, put it on your work surface and locate the CPU socket - a square slot usually covered by a protective plastic cap.

On it, you'll see a small arrow, this indicates the direction your CPU has to match.

Next to the CPU socket, you'll see a small metal lever. Press down on the lever and pull it gently to the side (away from the socket) to open the socket tray.

Take your CPU out of it’s packaging – be careful when handling

Both the CPU and the CPU socket are fragile.

Hold the CPU on the edges — never touch the pins on the bottom of the chip, because your fingers can add dust or oil, and try not to touch the top of the chip either.

So once you slot it in accordingly to the correct direction, place the lever back and tuck it in to close the socket tray.

STEP 2: Install CPU Cooling to the CPU  

Parts needed: Motherboard with installed CPU, CPU cooler, thermal paste, CPU cooler manual

There are different types of CPU coolers. For exact installation instructions, consult the manual that came with your CPU cooler.

Some CPU has a CPU cooler mounting bracket pre-installed and you may need to remove or replace according to your cooler.

Step 3: Install RAM

Parts needed: Motherboard RAM, motherboard user manual

Take a look at your motherboard user manual and find out which are the RAM slots that take priority and insert them accordingly to the RAM memory kits/set that you bought.

Take note of the position of the golden pins on the bottom of the RAM, make sure you orient it to the same direction so that you can fit it into the slot.

Once aligned, simply push down gently and you should hear 2 clicks.

STEP 4: Mount Power Supply To PC Case

Parts needed: PSU, case, PSU cables, Phillips #2 screwdriver

Take note of your PSU and the fan locations so you can orientate it properly to ensure proper airflow.

Your PC case will have a specific location where you can install your PSU. (Mine is at the top of my case)

Ideally, you want to orient the PSU so that its fan faces outside the case (via a vent).

If your case has no alternative vents, mount the PSU so the fan is facing up (into the case) and make sure it has enough clearance.

P.S Note that I've plugged in the PSU to the motherboard in the video - you can proceed to do that after you have installed your motherboard to the PC case.

STEP 5: Install Motherboard to the PC Case 

Parts/tools: Case, motherboard, Phillips #2 screwdriver, screws, motherboard user manual

If your motherboard came with an unattached I/O shield (sheet of metal with cutouts for the ports), first snap it into place in the back of your case (make sure it's oriented correctly). The have sharp edges, so be careful.

Once the I/O shield is in place, you can install the motherboard.

Make sure your cables are all pulled through to the correct place, and then place the motherboard (align it with the I/O shield, first). Using the screwdriver, mount the first screw — the center screw — to hold the motherboard in place.

 Make sure you do not drag your motherboard across the standoffs attached to the chassis.

STEP 6: Install GPU to the Motherboard 

Parts/tools: Motherboard, GPU, Phillips #2 screwdriver, screws, motherboard user manual

If your motherboard has more than one PCIe* x16 slot, check the user manual to see if one slot needs to be prioritized. If any slot can be used, try to choose a slot so that your GPU can have some airflow.

You may need to remove I/O covers to fit your GPU's I/O (HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, etc) so that you can connect them from the rear.

Remove the GPU from its antistatic packaging and align it with both the rear PC bracket and the GPU slot itself, and then gently push it into the slot (you may hear a click).

Once the GPU is fully seated, secure it to the case using the screws. If your GPU requires power connectors, connect it to the power supply from your PSU.

You can also install your sound card (if you have) at this point.

STEP 7: Install Storage onto your PC Case

Parts/tools: Motherboard, Your Choice of Storage, Phillips #2 screwdriver, screws, PC case user manual

Every PC case is a little different when it comes to drive bays.

They could range from tool-free bays, or metal brackets.

If you have tool-free bays, each bay will have its own plastic lever or switch. Open the lever or switch, pull out the tray and place your drive in the tray — some 3.5-inch trays will be designed to accept 2.5-inch trays. 

If they are, you'll need to secure the 2.5-inch drive to the 3.5-inch tray so it doesn't move around. Slide the tray back into the bay. It should click into place.

If you have metal brackets - slide the drive between the metal bracket and the side of your case and screw it into place. 

Once your drives are all secured, connect them to the motherboard (using a SATA cable, which should have come with either your drive or your motherboard) and to the power supply.

You can also install your CD drive if you have, at this point

STEP 8: Install Operating System

Parts/tools: PC, monitor, mouse, keyboard, OS saved to a flash drive

Now it's time to install your operating system (OS).

Plug in the flash drive that contains your OS, as well as your monitor, mouse, and keyboard, and turn on your PC.

The first screen you see will tell you to press a key to enter the system setup or BIOS.

Press the key to open BIOS. (check your motherboard's user manual.)

Make sure all of your components are installed properly by checking your PC's system info.

Next, find the Boot page (may be called "Boot Order" or "Boot Priority") and change the boot order for your flash drive to be first and the drive you want to install your OS on (if you're using an SSD as a boot drive, you will want to install the OS here) is second.

Restart your computer. Your computer will boot from the USB and the OS installer will pop up. 

Summary

Wow, you have gone from a beginner to a young PC builder! Congratulations!

Though this is simply the start of your PC-building journey as new technologies come out year after year, you don't really need to keep up with the trends until the prices become more affordable. Thank you for reading thus far!

We have touched on what are the must-have components in a Gaming PC and what’s important for your gaming performance and how to put it all together, step-by-step.

If you’re looking for specific gaming PC gear buyer guides, you may want to check out our other links.

Please do your research before you buy them, make sure the components match one another and have fun!

Do let us know how did your building go and comment below if you need any further help!

All the best!

Credits 

Featured Image -
Balkouras from Unsplash

PCIe Slots - 
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PCIe_x1_Anschluss_mit_millimetermass_IMGP2797_smial_wp.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PCIe_x4_Anschluss_mit_millimetermass_IMGP2794_smial_wp.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PCIe_x16_Anschluss_mit_millimetermass_IMGP2848_smial_wp.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Qle3442-cu_10gbe_nic.jpg

DAC - 
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:KORG_DS-DAC-10_-_1-bit_USB-DAC_(photozou_208854840).jpg

Gaming Monitor- By Marco Verge
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/48716523948

Gaming Keyboard - 
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:KL610_gaming_keyboard.jpg


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