In terms of technology, building a gaming PC is the best investment. Even the most powerful streaming box cannot compete with a good gaming rig in power, durability, and versatility. You can use a gaming PC for various tasks, from typing up documents to editing videos. A serviced and maintained system could last five to ten years – with regular upgrades maybe even longer.
It’s still a daunting task for newcomers to build a PC. The PC Gamer and Tom’s Hardware sites are among a few sources of good guides. While both stories revolve around mechanics, they stress the importance of components and how they fit together. we would have found even these guides a little intimidating before we built our first PC.
How to Build a Custom Gaming PC
Tom’s Guide has decided to take a more experiential approach and split the process into two parts. A must-have before you build a PC is a purpose. How does a prebuilt machine differ from what you’re looking for? Can certain parts help facilitate that? You will need half a dozen different pieces, but what do you do with hundreds of varying tech specs? This is why the first part of our series on building a PC focuses on picking pieces. We need to learn more about each component. In addition, I’ll discuss our thoughts behind each decision and the tradeoffs we made.
ENSURE ALL YOUR COMPONENTS ARE FUNCTIONING PROPERLY
It’s worthwhile to set up a temporary testbench before you tuck away all your parts so that you can make sure no components are faulty, saving you the trouble of having to take apart your entire PC.
Alternatively, if you do not want to spend too much money on proper test bench PCs too frequently, you can make your test bench for free if you do not wish to assemble your own Describe the situation. You can prop up the motherboard with a cardboard box on top of the anti-static sheet that comes with the motherboard. We’ll show you how to hook up the best gaming monitor and keyboard after plugging in your RAM, CPU, cooler, and graphics card. The only thing you need is BIOS capability because we’re just checking that we can boot.
It is likely your modules will operate correctly if you can access the BIOS without any issues. The RAM on the motherboard makes installation of the CPU, cooler, and RAM much easier. Unplug the GPU and put it aside for a moment. Turn off the test bench then. Are you having trouble? In the case that your motherboard supports the latest CPU, you don’t need to update the BIOS.
MOUNT THE POWER SUPPLY AND YOUR WATER COOLER
All the shiny new parts will now go in your PC case. Since the power supply is fairly bulky, we’ll begin with it. Keeping your power supply as cool as possible involves more than making sure your logo is facing the right way. Whenever your power supply sits in a space where a vent is present, like most PC cases nowadays, you should turn the fan toward that vent so it can catch cooler air. The fan on your computer’s power supply should be aimed toward the inside of the case if it lacks a vent.
Installing your power supply will be the next step. The case should include a large square space that nicely fits the store at the top or bottom. You will find it in an empty square on the back of the case. (Your PC and cable will be connected simultaneously after the installation). You then simply slide it into place and secure it. In addition, if you have an AIO cooler, you should build your larger radiator now, before your case becomes too crowded. It is important that the radiator fans push air in the right direction – you can usually see which way the air should flow, or refer to the manual in the box.
INSTALL THE MOTHERBOARD, CPU, M.2 SSD, AND RAM
Putting in the motherboard, CPU, and memory will give your computer its first real look. In case you accidentally jam an errant thumb into the CPU socket due to failing to see what you’re doing, it’s best to leave all the parts on the board – since you’ve already tested them earlier.
We will now discuss thermal paste. In order to proceed, you will need a tiny plastic syringe filled with silvery goo. Place your processor in place after viewing your silicon square. This is where your processor goes. You’re going to sit on your heat sink. The heat sink on this processor is copper-plated. In order to position the thermal paste correctly on top of the processor, its copper circle aligns perfectly with its silicon square.
In addition, make sure your motherboard tray has the risers. These are the small standing pieces that screw into the motherboard. The machine will probably come with these already installed. If you’re adding a smaller motherboard, you might have to rearrange them. Installing the board directly into the metal of a case would probably lead to toasting your poor little PC parts.
The motherboard mounting tray of the chassis should also have a cut-out behind the CPU socket. To adjust the CPU cooler bracket, you’ll need to access the back panel if there is one. A power supply is required in order for the motherboard to function. In addition, if you’ve been eyeing an M.2 NVMe SSD, now’d be the perfect time to install that as well (and why not? M.2 NVMe SSDs are some of the best for gaming). It is necessary to remove the M.2 SSD mounting screw from the M.2 slot, install the SSD, and then replace the mounting screw.
INSTALL YOUR CPU COOLER
The CPU cooler must first be mounted to the motherboard before the mounting bracket can be attached. The CPU cooler you picked must be among the best, right? The cooler likely comes with some thermal paste and a sticker instructing you to remove it before installation when it’s straight out of the box. Just remove the thermal paste, not the sticker.
In the absence of pre-applied paste, thermal paste is available from Amazon. This paste is sufficient for the installation of most CPU coolers. In addition, if you choose to install an air cooler instead of our liquid cooler, you also need to consider its direction. The fan should blow air across the heatsink towards the case exhaust fan to vent the hot air outside the chassis.
INSTALL THE SATA SSD AND HARD DRIVE
This build uses SATA SSDs, but the process is similar if you’re working with hard drives from an old PC or installing a SATA SSD. We recommend installing RAM first. Would you please explain what the post on the bottom is for? Place your RAM sticks in a line starting at the bottom, and make sure they are slid in. Slide them to the left. You will be able to lock them into place once you have done this. Make sure that you skip the slot between two RAM sticks if you have two. Check the manual of your motherboard to see the space you should use.
A large percentage of chassis today feature tool-free drive bays, allowing you to install a 3.5-inch hard drive quickly. You’ll most likely need to use a screwdriver to attach a 2.5-inch SSD to a bay caddy. Power and data connections for these two SATA drives should be facing the back of the case.
INSTALL YOUR GRAPHICS CARD
Your gaming PC is ready for its newest component: the graphics card. Video games deliver pixels at speed imaginable only by programmers of yesterday, and that’s what makes them so exciting to play. In the end, we’re going to install a graphics card since it is a little tricky if it is on the motherboard. This guide will help you install the graphics card in depth if you’re having trouble. The instruction manual for your motherboard should contain a PCIe slot. The motherboard has an open horizontal slot next to a small plastic latch. The GPU goes here.
There is a GPU on the back of your case (the side that has HDMI and DisplayPort). The horizontal slot must be lined up with your case’s back. This lock should be visible upon inserting the GPU. If it isn’t, then confirm the GPU is inserted correctly. It should be plugged directly into the nearest PCIe port and the power cable should be attached directly. You should fill all power sockets on your GPU.
A PC that once looked pure now has a lot of cables on it – at least until you read our guide to managing cables properly. It’s a little less cumbersome than it looks if you’re using a modular power supply since you need to plug everything into it. As a result of chassis cable routing, motherboard, CPU, SATA, Molex, and graphics card power cables are hidden.
You should now be able to connect your motherboard and storage drives to your power supply. This checklist should be useful for plugging in the rest of the cables, however:If you want to fix bad actors when your PC has successfully started, don’t use cable ties right away.
TEST AND TROUBLESHOOT YOUR GAMING PC
The first time you start the computer, remove the side panel. If something does not work correctly, you’ll have access to troubleshooting instantly. RAM should be the first place you check for issues. It may be necessary to restart the computer and reposition your memory modules if your memory is temperamental.
Alternatively, loosening the CPU cooler screws can also solve the problem since tightening too much of them can bend the motherboard, which would affect the delicate connections. Your power button may not be working because the front panel power cable has been plugged into the incorrect header. There is typically a power button on the motherboard of the best gaming motherboards to troubleshoot this issue.
The boot priority settings are worth checking. You can enter the boot menu and select the drive that contains your OS installation if you can access the BIOS but cannot begin to boot Windows or any other operating system. In the end, you’ll have a system you’d be proud to display on your favorite gaming desk with no hitches. Should your gaming PC run like a charm, then you will need to figure out how to boost performance to make it perform at its best. A good mouse, chair, and microphone will be a good investment.