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Step by step guide on how to build a computer

how to build a computer

Don't know how to build a computer? Here's a guide.

So you're about to build a computer hmm? The road you will travel on is a long and dangerous path. Buy long I mean short, and by dangerous I mean a little frustrating. As long as you are able to keep hardware that's compatible you'll be absolutely solid. I recommend you read this quick article so things go more smoothly.

Components (Necessary)

  1. Processor
  2. Motherboard
  3. Power Supply
  4. Case
  5. Sata cables
  6. Hard Drive Disk (HDD)
  7. Random Accessed Memory (RAM)

 After market options

  1. Cooling system
  2. High-end cases
  3. Graphics card*
  4. USB Extension
  5. Network Card
  6. Blu-ray burner
  7. Anti static wrist band (optional)
  8. Solid State Drive (SSD)

Make a checklist and check it twice because there's are the absolute essentials to build a computer (Monitors, mouse, and keyboard not included). If you forget any of these things while shopping you'll be making a second trip. *Also, a little note about the graphics card, if you do plan on gaming then you will need one. At that point it actually becomes a necessity. However, if you don't plan on gaming or doing much graphically intensive work, then it's an option (Always good to have though).*

 For compatibility and pricing I suggest using PcPartPicker as medium in which you choose your parts before going out and purchasing them via fry's electronics or newegg.

The Building Process

Okay, you've got your table full of computer parts and you're ready to go. Here I will go through the build process as universal as possible (therefore making it easy to understand no matter what build you have).

Take out the motherboard first and open the box, keep the owners manual somewhere easily reachable because you will be referring to it at least once throughout building. Your motherboard is the hub of all your computer parts and should be kept safe from static electricity. It should also come in a little plastic anti-static bag.

Don't make this mistake: Some builders (even experienced ones) think this anti static bag is magical on the inside and out. Well they're only half right. To keep the inside non-conductive, manufacturers must put a conductive surface on the outside. Some users put their motherboards on this conductive surface and essentially blow their computer up on first boot during the test phase.

This will be you if you don't listen
That being said, place the motherboard on top of the cardboard box it came in. It should be a rather colorful box depending on the manufacturer you bought it from (Gigabyte is color crazy).

Right about now is where I want to tell you about Zero Insertion Force. When building computers, the law of Zero Insertion Force basically says "If it won't fit, don't force it idiot". These parts are made to go together, simply jiggle it around a LITTLE bit (very tiny amount) if you didn't line it up correctly. If you want to be extra safe then take it out and try again but only dropping (for processors) for plugs such as the 6-pin and 8-pin and 24-pin connectors should go in relative smoothly but with a little resistance. Those are the types where you might have to get a little rough.

Take out your processor and with ZERO INSERTION FORCE put it into the socket. You can find the socket near the top of the motherboard.

Intel Processor

Intel Socket w/ lever up
AMD Processor
AMD Socket w/ lever up

(Opening the lever may be tricky but you essentially just push down a little then out then it should release on it's own)


This is probably the most simple installation you can do for a computer. Simply grab the sticks or modules of RAM, line up the notch on the slot and push lightly. You can locate the RAM slots directly adjacent to the processor socket. They're are long thin lines usually alternating in color. Refer to your motherboard manual for the configuration of RAM Sticks. (One general rule I use is "Use one color and not the other" which means if you have two sticks use one color, if you have 4 then you can configure them anyway you want. If you do have two use the color that's closest to the processor.)
In case you were having trouble, this is what RAM looks like.


Installing a heatsink and fan is as easy as solving a small puzzle. For Intel you simply line up the four corners with the holes on the motherboard, push in the pins and twist them. For AMD you have to hook two ends of the heatsink on and switch the lever. Simple enough, right? In case not here are two videos:


AMD (Please ignore the bad music, It's not my video)

Power Supply

The PSU might be a little tricky. However, because we're building to test the system this will be a pretty easy setup for now. Plug the PSU 8-pin CPU Power pin into the CPU Power socket (Hint for geniuses, it'll be next to the CPU). Plug the 24-pin Motherboard connector into the 24-pin motherboard slot (It's on the edge of the motherboard).

When you install a power supply in a computer case, the mounting point is usually either at the top or bottom backside of the case. The side that faces out on the power supply is the side with the switch.


At this point you can plug in your system and test to see if it will post. You must have the processor and heatsink in, the ram seated, and the power supply plugged into necessary facets.

Turn the power on and if it starts with no problems such as shutting down or restarting then it's posted! (Plug a monitor into the integrated graphics port on the motherboard for more in-depth view on the POST). You can now put the items in your computer

HDD (or SDD)

Now you can unpackage that hard drive/ solid state drive and plug it in via SATA! Your motherboard should've came with SATA cables. These are long black or red (depending on speed) cables that you'll be dealing with profusely. Trying to get these cables to look nicely on a non-cable management case is like trying to get rid of herpes, you can't. However they shouldn't be too much of a nuisance. You simply plug one end of the SATA cable into the HDD/SSD and then into the port on a motherboard. Be sure to plug in the SATA power, it looks the same but is a big wider, this cable comes from your power supply.

The Blue ports are SATA

Graphics Card (If you opted for one)

Let me be the first to say congratulations on your new graphics card. Installation is simple, there is a PCIE slot usually underneath the processor that is usually blue, black, or red. Put slide the graphics card in and screw it into the case and you're solid. If it has power connection requirements then be sure to plug in the 6-pin or 8-pin power. (Sometimes it requires both).


You should essentially be done with the bare basics! If there was anything I missed that you want more info on feel free to contact us! you can find our contact information on the top of the page by clicking the Contact Us button.