How to DIY build your own PC step by step

Ever wanted to know how to DIY build your own PC step by step? Ever wanted to build your own PC but don’t have a clue? If this is you, this guide is for you. Well, the PC is one sophisticated piece of electronic equipment. You don’t wanna mess around with it… Hey, I’m just kidding.

In this section, we cover how to actually assemble your PC components, in an easy and straightforward way. Like we said earlier, even if you haven’t done this before, we’ll guide you step by step to accomplish this feat. By the time we’re done, you should have built your PC easily.

By now you should have known the main purpose you are building your PC for, such as for gaming, graphic design, CAD/CAM purposes, or video editing. If you have not, click here to select the type of PC you want to build and follow our recommended hardware to get started. You can now come back and resume from here.

As we mentioned earlier, there are some basic tools you need to build your PC, such as a screwdriver, an anti-static kit, an airy open space, thermal paste for the CPU, needle-nosed forceps/pliers, and LED torchlight. Keep these handy because you are going to need them.

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How to DIY build your own PC step by step – Preliminaries

First things first, once you have all the components needed to build your PC, the next thing is to carefully unbox all the components, and place them on a table neatly arranged. Make sure you keep the manuals and warranty cards handy. Never dispose of them because you may need them later.

Caution on RAM handling!!!

Be careful when handling the components, especially the RAM and motherboard. Don’t touch the contacts with your bare hand. Always hold the RAM by the sides. Never touch the gold contact points with your bare hands, as built-up static electricity could damage the circuitry.

Wrong way to hold RAM


The wrong way to hold RAM modules

Right way to hold RAM


The right way to hold RAM modules

Also, never touch the soldered contact points on the motherboard with your bare hands, always hold the motherboard by the sides.

Static Electricity concerns

Your body is always carrying a load of electric charge, and it could be negative or positive. This is static electricity, and the right quantity can damage your PC components.

Here are some precautions against static electricity.

  • Always wear the anti-static wrist band and connect it to the PC case, before handling your PC components, to avoid the danger of static electricity
  • Also, stand on the anti-static mat when fixing the components to reduce the build-up of static electricity
  • Keep the power supply unit cable attached (but switch the unit off) to keep it grounded
  • Avoid rubbing yourself against the carpet. It’s always better to stand on the anti-static mat
  • Touch the metal part of the chassis or a metal pole nearby to discharge static, before handling components
  • Work on a flat and hard solid surface.

Installing the Power Supply

how to DIY build your own pc step by step

After you’ve properly grounded and discharged yourself of static, gently position the case on the table. Locate the screws holding the side panel and unscrew them. Remove and place by the side. 

Depending on the type of power supply you bought, it could be any of the three:

  • Modular – cables are not connected permanently to the unit
  • Semi-Modular – some cables are permanently fixed to the unit, like the CPU and ATX cable.
  • Non-Modular – all the cables are permanently fixed to the power supply unit.

Modular and semi-modular power supplies are the easiest to use. Most power supply units nowadays are fully modular and some semi-modular.

To determine how to install the power supply, you should check the PC case for the provided space. Some PC cases have a provision on the top of the case or the bottom. In both cases, the power supply fan must face the direction of the back of the PC case.

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Steps to install the Power Supply

  1. Slide the power supply unit into the provided space with the fan facing the rear of the PC case.
  2. Screw in the screws that came with the case in the four holes at the back of the case.
  3. Make sure the unit is switched off using the switch behind.
  4. Plug the power supply unit into a power socket to keep the PC grounded.
  5. Keep all the power cables handy (modular power supply) for use shortly.

Installing the Processor

Next, we install the processor. Now doing this is quite easy.

  1. First of all, place the motherboard on the table, making sure to handle it by the edges. Also, make sure the protective anti-static bag it shipped with is still intact. Remove the anti-static bag, leaving the protective foam underneath.
  2. Next, gently remove the plastic cap covering the processor socket on the motherboard and un-clasp the locking latch. You should see the pins on the processor socket.
  3. Next, remove the processor from its box, handling it by the edges. You should see the marking on the processor for aligning it properly in the socket. Simply drop it in the processor socket, with the marking aligning with the marking on the socket.
  4. Next, close the latch to secure the processor, applying some force.
PC processor

Hold the processor by the edges

Processor Alignment

Align the processor with the notch on the socket

install the processor in the socket

Install processor in the socket

 

Apply CPU thermal paste

Apply CPU thermal paste

Next, we install the processor cooler.

Installing the Processor Cooler

Installing the CPU Cooler

Installing the CPU Cooler-the arrows indicate where to insert the pins

You’ve successfully installed the processor! Hurray! Next on the list is the processor cooler. In some cases, the processor you bought may have a cooler included with the purchase, or you bought it separately. The installation is the same.

  • Air Coolers

Chances are your cooler is the air-type cooler, with its distinctive large fan. You may need to apply the thermal paste. If the cooler came with thermal paste pre-applied (if it’s a bundled AMD or Intel cooler), then there’s no need to apply thermal paste. Otherwise, if your cooler is a used one or bought separately, then simply apply a pea-sized amount of thermal paste on the processor. Nothing more.

how to DIY build your own pc step by step

Secure the CPU Cooler

Make sure the four push pins for securing the cooler are facing the correct direction. The grooves on the push pins should be facing the center of the CPU fan. Place it on the processor gently (right on top of the drop of thermal paste), into the four holes on the four corners of the processor socket.

Once you get the proper alignment, place your thumbs on the two diagonal and opposite push pins and press down firmly on both pins at the same time until you hear a “clicking” sound. Do the same for the other pair.

Next, attach the included power connector to the 4-pin header for the cooler on the motherboard. Look for it near the processor socket.

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  • Liquid Coolers
All-in-One Liquid CPU Cooler

All-in-One Liquid CPU Cooler

If you got an all-in-one liquid cooling system, then it’s time to install it. The advantages of a liquid cooling solution are obvious – better cooling efficiency for overclocked processors.

An all-in-one liquid cooler is made up of the pump, radiator, radiator fans, and installation brackets and screws.

  1. First of all, you need to install the back-plate on the underside of your motherboard, behind the CPU. This will be used to secure the pump assembly firmly on top of the processor. Your cooler should include brackets for either an Intel or AMD processor socket design. Check your cooler’s included manual for the right position for the adjustable mounts that came with it. Having done this, locate the four holes under the processor socket on the motherboard, insert the bracket’s mounting points into these holes, then move around to the front of the motherboard. Securely hold the bracket in place with the four included screws.
  2. Next, we install the radiator fans on the radiator. The fans come loose in the box; they need to be attached to the radiator before installing the assembly into the case. Depending on available space in your PC case and airflow preference, you can install the fans on both sides of the radiator for enhanced cooling performance. Connect the fans to the radiator using the screws supplied. Position the fans in such a way as to ensure their cables can reach the motherboard fan headers easily. Always consult your cooler manual for installation directions if you are lost at any stage.
  3. A good PC case should include installation mounting points for the radiator. You may find these on top of the case. Carefully insert the radiator into the case, and arrange the fan cables neatly by the side. Do not bash the pump or twist the rubber hoses that connect it to the radiator as you position the cooler into position. Simply use the supplied screws and washers to install the radiator into the mounting points on the case.
  4. Next, you need to secure the pump to the motherboard and CPU. If you haven’t done so already, connect the integrated retention bracket to the pump. It should fit neatly over the motherboard standoffs we installed earlier. Then, place the pump onto the CPU, making sure the standoffs go through the holes on the retention brackets. Then, check the radiator tubing to ensure there are no twists or blockages. Finally, firmly screw on the cooler with the supplied thumbscrews. You should find that the front and rear brackets are now tight.
  5. Finally, attach the power cables to the appropriate connector on the power supply unit and the motherboard – the pump to the fan header next to the processor socket, and then the standard SATA power connector to the appropriate power supply socket. Next, connect the fan cables to the power supply unit.

At this stage, you did it. Sit back and pat yourself for a job well done.

Installing the RAM

how to DIY build your own pc step by step

Hold the RAM by the edges or top

how to DIY build your own pc step by step

Next, install the RAM modules. Remember to hold the RAM sticks by the side, not on the golden contact points.

Your motherboard should have like four RAM slots, and most motherboards require installing the RAM modules serially, i.e., slot 1, slot 2, slot 3, and slot 4. If you have two sticks of 8GB each, that means you must install them in the first and second RAM slots. Each RAM slot on the motherboard is labeled appropriately, so you shouldn’t have any problem locating the correct slot.

To install the RAM sticks,

  1. Relax the clips at each end of the RAM slots on your motherboard.
  2. Align the RAM modules with the notches on the slots.
  3. Firmly press down evenly until you hear the “click” sound of the RAM clips snapping in place, holding the RAM securely.
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