How to Build Your Own Computer

This page is intended to give you a general idea about building your own computer. It is not a detailed step by step guide. There are plenty of those elsewhere on the net. My intention here was to introduce you to the parts required and give you a basic, simplified idea of what makes up a computer.

There are obviously a plethora of possible computer configurations and hardware that you could put into a new computer. I have selected the basic components required for a general purpose home or small office PC. .

1. These are the parts that I have selected in order of importance.

Processor:  You have two choices:  Intel or AMD. The Processor or CPU plugs into a Socket on the Motherboard and the Sockets come in different sizes and Pin Configurations; they are not interchangeable.

Intel Core i5 10400 (10th Generation CPU) LGA 1200 Socket $319.00

Motherboard: Must be compatible with the Processor Socket LGA1200 and must be able to support 10th Generation i5 CPU

   Gigabyte Motherboard B460M D3H - $189.00

Graphics: Integrated or Dedicated, that is the question. Every Computer needs a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) of some sort. The GPU provides output to your display.

Most motherboards these days come with GPUs integrated into the motherboard or even the CPU itself. For decades now, it’s been common for motherboard manufacturers to include a serviceable GPU built right into the chipset of the motherboard–no extra hardware required. Buy a motherboard, get a simple built-in GPU that can produce an image on your display. Within the last six years or so, that integrated GPU has been integrated into the CPU instead.

Special Note of Caution when selecting your CPU: Not all CPU's come with Integrated Graphics. AMD CPU's are a case in point. So check the specifications on your chosen CPU before you make the purchase. If you get a CPU and Motherboard that does not have integrated graphics you will have to purchase a Dedicated Graphics Card.

Some Intel® Core® processors ending with the letter 'F' and Intel® Core™ X-series Processors (processors number ending with 'X' ) do not have Intel® Processors Graphics.

Dedicated GPUs, as the name implies, are separate pieces of hardware devoted exclusively to handling graphic processing. The biggest benefit of a dedicated GPU is performance. Not only does a dedicated graphics card have a sophisticated computer chip designed explicitly for the task of processing video, the GPU, but it also has dedicated RAM for the task (which is typically faster and better optimized for the task than your general system RAM). This increase in power benefits not only the obvious tasks (like playing video games) but also makes tasks like processing images in Photoshop smoother and faster.

Memory (RAM):  Must be compatible with the Motherboard and Processor.  DDR4 Type RAM.  Not interchangeable with other DDR types.

    Crucial DDR-4 RAM - $105.00

Solid State Hard Drive Crucial MX500 500GB M.2 SSD $99.00:

Optical Drive: LG DVD16X - Super Multi DVD Rewriter - $58.00

Case and Power Supply:  Must be compatible with Motherboard Form Factor.

    Gigabyte AC700G case.

    Power Supply - Gigabye 850W Acrus 80 - $189.00

Sound and Video: Integrated into Motherboard. You may have plug-in sound and video cards if required for high end applications.
Operating System:  Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64bit OEM DVD - $199.00

2. These are the basic steps for assembling a computer:

     (1) Mount the Processor, Heat Sink and Fan to the Motherboard and connect the fan power cable.

     (2) Install the Memory (RAM)

    (3) Prepare the case.  Install the power supply and make sure the mounting studs match the motherboard mounting holes.

     (4) Mount the Motherboard to the case and connect the power supply cables.

     (5) Connect the front panel cables to the motherboard.

     (6) Install the Hard Drive and Optical Drive.  Connect their power and data cables.

3. The following is a more detailed guide to assembling the Motherboard:

     (1) Attach your anti-static wrist device and make sure it has a good earth connection.  Static electricity in your body or clothing will damage the components.

     (2) Unpack the Motherboard, Processor, Heat sink, Fan, and RAM and set them on your work bench on top of their anti-static protection. Make sure you do not touch the contacts.

     (3) Installing the CPU: This is the most critical step. You have to be very careful installing the CPU. These steps were copied directly from the Motherboard Manual.

cpu

cpu

cpu

fan

fan

Installing the memory:

ram

4. The following articles are links to Hardware Secrets who have excellent guides on computer hardware so there is no need to duplicate that information here. Make sure you read all the pages for that topic then return to this page.

Everything You Need To Know About The Screws Used on The PC.

Installing the Motherboard

Installing the Hard Drive

Everything you need to know about the BIOS

5. Now you can connect the Keyboard, Mouse and Monitor and connect the Mains power cord.

6. Turn the PC on and watch the screen,  Press the F2 key or the Del key to enter the BIOS setup. Configure the BIOS to boot off of the Optical Drive first and Hard Drive second.  Insert the Windows 7 CD, save the BIOS settings and exit. When the computer reboots it will boot off of the Windows 7 disk. Follow the prompts to install the operating system.

 

HTML5 CSS - This page last updated on 2 March 2021