How to Build a PC - Step by Step Guide

Let's learn how to build a PC today... without any pain or fuss. Even if you're a complete beginner, there IS an easy way to build your own PC, and we shall show you how to do it right here.

How to Build a Computer

  1. Should I Buy or Build a PC?
  2. Parts to Build a Computer
  3. Installing a CPU Processor
  4. Installing a CPU Fan
  5. Installing RAM Memory
  6. Installing a Motherboard
  7. Installing a Power Supply
  8. Power Supply Connectors
  9. Installing a Hard Drive
  10. Installing a DVD Drive
  11. Installing a Graphics Card
  12. Computer Cable Management
  13. Computer Cable Connections

Why Should I Learn to Build a Computer?

1. Building a PC is Cheaper than Buying One

Everyone know it's cheaper to build a PC from scratch, but how much do you really save? If you compare a pre-assembled vs self-build PC with similar specifications, you can expect to save anywhere from $50 to $400 depending on how high-end the PC is (You tend to save more on higher end systems).

But the savings don't just stop there. In a few years' time, you'll be needing a more powerful PC again and you'll have two options: Upgrade your existing PC vs. buying a new one. That's where the big savings kick in... if you choose to upgrade instead of shelling out cash on a new PC.

Chances are that you will still be able to re-use your existing computer case, power supply, optical drive, monitor, keyboard, mouse and even operating system (e.g. Windows). In some cases, upgrading an existing PC will cost you less than half of a new computer's price.

2. You Can Custom Build Your Dream Machine

Many a time a store-bought PC either does not offer what you need, or it comes overloaded with all the extra bell and whistles that you don't want (but still have to pay for anyway).

Sure, some computer makers, most notably Dell, do allow you to customize your PC and tinker around with some specs but your choices are still fairly limited:

Want an after-market heat sink so you can overclock your CPU? Nope. How about installing a 1,000 watt power supply for your gaming beast? Nope again. Hmm perhaps something simple then: choose the brand of your hard drive? Sorry, still a nope. On the other hand, learn how to build a PC and the possibilities will be limited by just your imagination (and wallet).

Build a PC

3. You Get to Enjoy Longer Product Warranties

Most of the time, popular PC makers such as Acer, Dell, HP and Lenovo offer a standard 1 year warranty on the desktop computers that they sell. Want a longer warranty? Sure, then cough up (~$100 to $200) more for an extended warranty.

However it's a different story when you buy individual computer parts to build your own PC. Here are the average warranty periods offered by manufacturers of different computer parts (no extra fees or charges):


CPU
Motherboard
RAM
Power Supply
Hard Drive
Optical Drive
Computer Case
Graphics Card
Monitor

Warranty Period
3 years
3 years
Lifetime
2 to 7 years
2 to 5 years
1 year
1 to 3 years
2 to 3 years
3 years

Their standard 1 year PC warranty is starting to look a bit underwhelming, don't you think so?

When Should I Buy a Computer Instead?

While building your own PC is a rewarding pastime, it does call for time and effort (especially if you're a newbie). Someone with zero hardware experience would probably have to set aside 1 to 2 days to shop for his or her PC parts, plus invest another day to put it all together.

And sometimes, you build a PC and it just refuses to boot up at the first go. Maybe it's a SATA cable that has come loose, or perhaps it's a RAM stick that is not inserted correctly. So a bit of patience is required to troubleshoot the misbehaving PC.

The good news is that once you know your way around the insides of a PC, things start speeding up and knowing how to build your own PC becomes a time-saving skill. A master PC builder can churn out a complete PC in under 30 minutes, and anyone with enough experience should take less than 2 hours from start to finish (excluding installation of the operating system).

NEXT: Parts to Build a Computer