How to Build a Computer

Lead Image
  • 3-6 hours
  • Advanced
  • 300-2,000
What You'll Need
Combination screwdrivers
Soldering wire
Soldering gun
Computer chassis/ case
Central processing unit
Power supply
Random-access memory
Hard disk drive
Graphics card

Building a computer can be a very satisfying experience. It can help you control costs, and allow you to fine tune the performance of your machine for your specific needs. It's also just a fun, exciting project!

Constructing your own PC can be a great way to learn about computing hardware, which will help you understand the basis of all kinds of digital technology. You'll also get a completely customized machine as a finished product, with components that match your preference, from pinching pennies to powerful performance.

If you’re the type of person who desires to understand how things work, you’re in the right place. Here are the tools and materials you’ll require to build a PC.

The Components

Getting the right parts should be the first step to building a computer. While there are countless parts to select from, they all fall into elementary categories. The crucial computer components are:

1. Chassis/Case.

Many people associate computers with this box. It’s not useful on its own, although it houses each component inside.

computer chassis with wires and hands

2. Motherboard

This is the heart of your computer. All the other components are attached to the motherboard.

3. Central Processing Unit/Processor

The CPU is the PC’s ‘brain’. It does most of the actual calculation.

4. Power Supply

This provides power to the computer by taking power from your socket and controlling it to the motherboard, and all the other computer parts.

5. Random Access Memory

This is the PC’s “temporary core”. The CPU uses it to keep program commands and information it’s currently working with. The more the RAM, the more your computer can do simultaneously.

6. Hard Disk Drive

This is the “long-term memory” of the PC. Contrary to RAM, the data stored on it is retained even when your PC is switched off. It stores all your programs and data and your operating system.

7. GPU/Graphics Card/Video Card

Although the CPU manages most computation, the (GPU) Graphics Processing Unit does all the calculations involving graphics. These are connected into a slot on the motherboard and offer a place to attach a monitor to your computer.

A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1 - Open the Case

Using your multipurpose screwdriver, take off the back screws and then the side covers off. Remove the covers and set the case wide open.

Step 2 - Attach the Motherboard

computer motherboard

The process of making your computer starts with the motherboard. All the other components are connected to the motherboard. However, you need to start by connecting your motherboard to the base of the casing. Connect the motherboard standoffs to the case using your screwdriver and the screws purchased with the motherboard. If there’s the rear I/O plate, punch it out and substitute it with the I/O plate of the motherboard. Ensure the motherboard is fastened into position on top of the mounting standoffs.

Step 3 - Attach the CPU

Find the socket holder of the CPU on the motherboard. The latch bar should be lifted to expel the hinge and open the socket cover of the processor. To make sure there’s correct orientation, line up any of the alignment indentation or the triangle at the CPU’s corner to the one marked on the motherboard while grasping the processor by its sides. Lower the cover of the socket over the processor and take down the fastening bar closed again to make the holder of the processor secure.

Step 4 - Connect the Processor’s Cooler

If needed, the thermal paste should be applied to the CPU’s back. Put the CPU cooler and attach it in place. Connect the power cord mounted to the cooling fan into the connector of the motherboard.

Step 5 - Connect the Electricity Supply

Attach the PSU and mount using screws to the attachment points of the case. The biggest cable connector from the power supply cable should be plugged into the motherboard’s power cord. Then, connect the 8-pin cable connector from the supply cable into the electrical connector of the CPU.

Step 6 - Attach RAM

installing drive in computer

Squeeze to open the clips at the two RAM attachment ends. Using the attachment slot, line up the notch of the RAM stick and attach the Random Access Memory- squeeze it through the slot. The tabs are supposed to fasten close automatically when pressing the RAM down, securing it into position. Connect any other RAM sticks using a similar procedure.

Step 7 - Connect the Graphics Card

Take off the enlargement slot lid from the back of your case where you’ll install the card. Put the graphic card into the PCI enlargement slot on the motherboard’s lower half. Align it and squeeze down firmly to seat the graphic card. Ensure the power connector is connected from your electricity supply into the graphics card. However, not all graphics cards need an outside power source.

Step 8 - Attach the Storage Drives

Connect the drive into the case bays. Attach the storage drive into position using screws via the case frame into the attachment holes found on the storage drive. With a SATA cord, attach the storage drive onto the motherboard. Plug the power cord to the storage drive and attach any other drives in a similar method.

hands closing in computer drive

Step 9 - Attach the Optical Drive

Take away any front panels from the case of the computer where you’ll mount the optical drive. Attach the optical drive onto the case by mounting with screws through the case frame into the attachment holes found on it. Using a SATA cord, attach the optical drive onto the motherboard. Attach the power cord from your electricity supply to the disc drive.

Step 10 - Attach the Fans and the Front Panel Connectors

hands installing fan into computer

With the screws and clips supplied, mount any fans in the case as needed. Attach any case fan electricity connectors to the manifold fan headers found at the diverse positions on the motherboard. Mount any front panel audio connectors to the front sound header of the motherboard and attach any front panel USB connectors to the motherboard USB headers.

Step 11 - Close the Case and Attach Peripherals

Put back the side covers to the case and fasten the side panel with case screws. Attach peripheral components comprising monitor, mouse, speakers, and keyboard.

Ready to Go

Boot up the computer and ensure that everything is working properly as all the components are in the case. Turn on the device and press the power button.