So you’ve got your PC parts, and you’re ready to start building your own PC – where do you start? Well, we’re here to help with just that. In this article, we’ll show you how to put your PC parts together to get a complete system.
You need five main components to build a functional PC: motherboard, processor, RAM, storage drive, and PSU. Of course, these are the bare minimum. To really complete your PC, you’ll also need a graphics card for better gaming performance, and a case to house (and protect) all of your components. With that said, let’s start building your PC!
Outside the Case
In our PC build guide video above, we’re setting up the motherboard outside of the case first to make sure that it will actually boot up. There are a couple of reasons why we’re doing this: it’s much easier to install the parts and troubleshoot any possible issue without the cramped enclosure of a case, and if any of the PC components are faulty, you won’t have to go through the trouble of disassembling the system to send it in for warranty.
To check if your system will boot up, you’ll need to install the processor, RAM, and PSU to the motherboard – we’ll start with the processor.
In order to install the processor, look for a small triangle on the chip itself. Once you’ve figured out where it is, lift up the bar beside the CPU socket on the motherboard, and line up the processor’s arrow with the arrow on the motherboard.
Now, place the processor onto the socket gently – we cannot stress this enough. It should just fall into place without force, and when you got the processor aligned with the socket, bring down the bar. Install the stock fan next (it has thermal paste pre-applied), and you’re done with the processor’s installation.
Next is the RAM. If you bought a kit with two RAM sticks, make sure they are inserted in alternating slots; that’s how they can work in dual-channel mode. Aside from that, make sure that your RAM is facing the right direction – the middle notch in the RAM should go into the slot easily. Open the tab at either sides of the slot, insert the RAM, and push it in until you hear a distinct click.
Okay, we only need to connect the PSU to the motherboard now to check if the system boots up. Connect the 24-pin power connector to the motherboard, and use an eight-pin connector to provide power to the CPU. Do that, and you’re ready to power up your system.
Graphics Card (Dependent)
This is an extra step for those who are installing a Ryzen CPU like the one in our system. The thing is, unlike Intel processors, Ryzen CPUs (besides the G series) do not come with any integrated GPU. In order for the PC to display, well, anything, you’ll need a graphics card.
Installing a graphics card is easy. Find for the PCIe slot, open the tab, and push in your graphics card to the slot. Depending on what kind of GPU you have, you may need to provide power to it from the PSU. For example, certain variants of the Radeon RX 560 don’t have PSU connectors; they only need to draw power from the motherboard. But if your GPU does need power from the PSU like our RX 580 graphics card, find the appropriate cable that comes with your PSU, and plug it to the GPU.
Once you’ve done that, connect your system to a monitor, and see if it boots up. If it does, great, these parts are working properly. You’re now ready to install the motherboard to your case.
Oh, don’t forget to take out the GPU if you have it installed like we do – it’s much easier to place the motherboard into the case without the GPU attached to it.
Inside the Case
Now, we need to put all of these parts into a case. Of course, you don’t have to put your PC components into a case, but it will protect your precious hardware from the elements. Not only can it protect these sensitive components from dust, a case also discourages anyone from touching them – especially if you have kids around. Better airflow is also another reason why you’d want to get a case.
Nonetheless, let’s get to it.
Before we put in the motherboard, install the PSU to your case first, and exactly how you do this will depend on the case you get. Generally, you’d want to make sure that the PSU’s fan is facing down; this will allow it to draw cool air from the bottom of the case. Aside from that, make sure the switch and power cable connector is directly accessible outside of the case.
Secure your PSU to your case with the provided screws (these should come with the case), and you’re done with this part.
Installing the Motherboard
These steps will vary depending on the case you get. For ours, the standoff screws where the motherboard will be placed on are already installed. Line up the screw holes with the motherboard’s, and secure it to the case with the provided screws. Again, these should come with your PC case.
If your motherboard comes with a separate IO shield, install that first to your case before placing your motherboard. Our particular motherboard has the IO shield built-in, so we can skip this step. Like what we did outside of the case earlier in the build, you now need to provide power to the motherboard and CPU by connecting the appropriate cables from the PSU to the dedicated pins.
Last but certainly not least is connecting the cables from the case to the motherboard, and these may include power cables from the case’s built-in fans. Look for the appropriate labels on the motherboard (refer to the manual otherwise) and insert these connectors accordingly.
Now, get either your HDD or SSD, and insert it to your case. From there, you need to connect two cables to it: a SATA power cable from the PSU (to provide power), and a SATA data cable, which is then connected to the motherboard.
Our build uses a standard HDD along with an M.2 SSD. The latter, as its name suggests, is installed into an M.2 slot on the motherboard. And that’s it – power is drawn from the motherboard itself.
Graphics Card (Again)
Finally, all we need to do now is install the graphics card…for the second time, in our case. First, line up the graphics card with the PCIe slot, and check how many expansion slots you’ll have to take out from the case in order to install the GPU. Remove as many as necessary (usually two slots), plug in your GPU to the PCIe slot, screw it to the case, and provide power to the GPU with the appropriate power cable from the PSU – if necessary.
And that’s it! Right now, you’ll have a bunch of wires running through your PC. Tidy them up as much as you want, and you are done building your PC.
There are two things to focus on in our build: the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 processor, and the PowerColor Radeon RX 580 graphics card. We will be reviewing this CPU and GPU combo in the next couple of weeks, and it’s the very reason why we’re building this system.
Anyway, we’re not quite done yet with our PC build guide. In the next video, we’ll cover the software side of things, where we will install Windows 10 on our brand new PC. Once we’ve done that, we’ll have our PC up and running. Until then, stay tuned to Nextrift’s YouTube channel!