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There is never an easy step by step guide to building your computer. It can be hard to know where to start and what you should do first, so I am writing this to try to make it easier for you to take the first step. I know how difficult and confusing it can be to start with, so here we go!
By this point you should have all of your components together, and ready to start. You want to make sure that you get a big enough table to work with, you don’t want to be sat on a bed or a carpet at this would create static which can potentially damage the electrical components that you are working with. It is also advised that you should make sure you wear an anti-static band that attaches to the case to make sure you are grounded and won’t damage any off the components. You don’t have to use this though as long as your skin is on the case as this would stop static building up.
When building a computer you need very few tools to complete it. All you will need would be an anti-static band to make sure you don’t damage any components, a couple of different sized screwdrivers, and some cable ties to keep it looking nice and tidy. I have done a comparison of a couple of different tool kits here that will be just right for building computers.
CPU Installation on Motherboard
What I didn’t know when I build my gaming computer is what the easiest way to put it together.
In my opinion, you want to put the CPU into the socket on the motherboard, make sure it is seated correctly and lock it down with the little metal bar. To make sure it seats correctly you want to match the triangle in the corner of the CPU to the triangle that is on the socket of the motherboard, if these don’t align and you forge it you will damage the pins on the CPU which will stop it working. All you need to do is slot it on top, it shouldn’t take any force at all to sit properly, if it is in correctly you should be able to lock the bar down with minimal pressure.
Fitting CPU Cooler and RAM
The mistake I made the first time is fitting the motherboard straight into the case which gives you very little room to work with.Once you have the CPU on the motherboard it is a lot easier to install your CPU cooler out of the case. The next step for you is to make sure the right CPU cooler bracket is on the motherboard, if you need to change it you should have the instructions come with the cooler that you have ordered along with the correct fittings. Then it is to apply your thermal paste (comes with most CPU coolers). You don’t want to get this on any of your motherboard or CPU pins as again this will damage your components. It is advised you want to put a pea-size dollop in the middle of the CPU so that it spreads evenly when applying the cooler, the more evenly it spreads the more effective it will be at cooling the CPU.
At this stage, you can also install the ram modules into the motherboard. You will need to make surethe tabs on both ends of each slot are pushed back ready to fit the ram. The first ram stick should be put in slot number two and the second should be put into slot 4, this tends to be the second one from the left coming away from the CPU and the last slot, if you are confused you can check in your motherboard manual, this should tell you what the is primary slots to use if you are only installing two ram sticks. If you are installing 4 ram stick it won’t matter what slots you are using as they will all be filled. Again you won’t need to apply much pressure at all, if you have them the correct way around you should put them in straight then press each end in and the tabs should click up to lock them in position.
Fitting the Motherboard into the Case
This is the point you should fit the motherboard into your case. You should have all the fittings that you require come with the motherboard or case, so all you need to do is line the motherboard up with the mounting points on the case and screw them in, you don’t want to screw it too tight as it will crack the motherboard but you want it tight enough that the motherboard won’t move around. If you have an AIO CPU cooler you may want to screw the radiator into place as well unless you can leave it as this may make it hard to plug in the wiring from the PSU depending on the size of the case. If you have a large ATX case it shouldn’t matter if you fit the radiator now or later. This is a relatively straight forward part of your build.
Installing Case Fans
Now your computer is starting to come together! The next step for you is to start installing the case fans into the positions that you want. The most common way to fit the fans is to have the ones at the front sucking in cool air, then on top and rear would be the exhaust for the hot air, if you have the space you can have one on the bottom of the case also sucking in cool air however it will also take in a lot of dust. Most ATX cases would accept 2-3 fans in the front 2-3 fans on top with one on the rear. When fitting the fans into the case you will want to make sure you can fit them around the right way, on the edge of the fan in the plastic it should have an arrow showing you what way is the top and what way the air will flow through it, light the image here. If you haven’t installed the radiator for your AIO you will want to screw the fans to the radiator and put it into the position you want, just make sure that you don’t kink the hose as this will stop it from pumping the water around as required.
Installing Graphics Card
Step number five would be installing your graphics card. This is another one of the easiest tasks, similarto the ram sticks you will want to use the top slot as this is the primary slot, again you can check to make sure this is correct by looking in your motherboard manual. You need to make sure the tabs either end are pressed back ready for the GPU, you will also need to make sure that you remove the PCIe plate in the back of the case, depending on the size of the GPU you may need to remove two, once these are out you can slot the graphics card straight into the slot on the motherboard. If the graphics card is seated correctly it will be flush at the back of the case and if you put the front of the card the tab should click back and lock the GPU in place. You will need to screw the GPU to the case where you removed the panel(s). If you have a second graphics card you just need to repeat the same process and make sure it is seated correctly. If you do have a second GPU you will need to make sure you have a SLI bridge to join them together.
Fitting Power Supply
When it comes to fitting the power supply into the case it is a lot easier with a fully modular unit. This means you can choose what wires you want to use and you don’t have excess wiring that you have to try and hide in the case. If you do have a fully modular unit this step will be easy, all you have to do is screw the PSU in with the 4 screws at the back of the case to hold it in place, you can plug in the wires that you are going to use and have them coming out the back of the case for the time being. If you have a normal fully wired PSU it will be a bit harder to keep the build clean and tidy, but you still need to fit the PSU the same, screw it in at the back of the computer, and have the wires hanging out of the way for the moment.
Fitting Hard Drives/SSD’s
One of the final steps for building your build is fitting the hard drives or SSD’s depending on what you plan on using.Most people would have an SSD for the operating system as this would allow you to boot your computer up quicker than an HDD, then have a much larger HDD for storage as these are considerably cheaper for bigger memory. All you have to do is put these into the slots that are built into the case, at the same time you will want to fit the SATA cables between the HDD/SSD and the motherboard. If you have an SSD you will need a tray similar to this to fit it into the larger HDD slot as they are smaller in size
Connect up Wiring
Finally, it is time to connect it all up, this is probably the hardest part especially if you have a tempered glass side panel as you will want it to look clean and tidy so you are going to need to think about the wiring placement. Again if you have a fully modular PSU this is easier as you won’t have as many excess wires to hide. When it comes to connecting everything you will want to connect all of the relevant wiring to your PSU.
First, off you will want to make sure you connect the 24 pins to the motherboard, and the 4 or 8 pins to the top of the motherboard, this is the main power supplies.
Next is you want to connect up your graphics card wiring, the plug will vary depending on how powerful your GPU is.
You will need to make sure you link the front panel header cables that have the power button,reset button, power LED, HDD LED, and speaker socket. Make sure to look at your motherboard manual to make sure that you fit these around the correct way as it can be very confusing.
Then you will want to plug in the USB header from the front panel as well to make the front USB ports work.
Next would be the hard drives and SSD’s, you need to plug the power SATA cables in to make sure they all power up at the same time.
Now it is just the fans, you will need to connect your case fans to the fan hubs on the motherboard, you may find that you haven’t got enough ports on the motherboard which won’t be a problem as your fans should come with a splitter cable, you connect this to the motherboard then the fans connect to the splitter.
If you have fitted an AIO cooler you will need to plug the AIO into the motherboard CPU Pump header to make sure that the water pump powers up otherwise it won’t work at all.
You have built your own computer! At this stage you should be ready to plug it in and power it on!
This guide is only aimed at your air cooled or AIO cooled computer builds, I will create one for water cooled computers as well to try and make it a little less daunting. If you have any questions or problems please leave a comment below and I will come back to you