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How To Build A Desktop PC in 15 Simple Steps

How To Build A Desktop PC in 15 Simple Steps

Adam Robinson

| 02 Sep 2021 | Category: Inspiration
Ever thought about building your own computer?

In the last few decades, the daily use of computers has become almost ubiquitous among the population for both work and commercial purposes. While desktops are amazing pieces of technology; compact, versatile, and capable of enriching our lives in many ways, they can be quite expensive. The optimal PCs, such as those designated for gaming and those that have the most efficient components cost around £2.5K. General purpose desktops range from £850 to £1550. Even the most basic, barebones PC can cost around £350, and this isn’t even taking into account peripheral devices such as mice and monitors.

Needless to say, you might want to look for a less expensive alternative. By assembling a computer yourself, you can save about a third of the money you would have spent on going to the usual retailers. For high end PCs, the amount of money you save could therefore be nearly £1K.

Whether you want to save money, upgrade some components or just want to prove that you’re tech-savvy, this guide will teach you how to build your own fully functional PC. You can then budget your own components and build the desktop to your liking.

Getting Set Up

First, let’s list all the parts of a computer and why you’ll need them, as well as the tools you’ll need to fit them with. Be careful when buying parts, make sure that they are functional and compatible with each other. If finding compatible parts is difficult, or you don’t have the time to shop for each individual part, you can purchase a barebones kit. These kits contain the fundamental parts of the computer, and ones which are compatible with each other.

All the Components You Need

  • Computer Case
  • Holds all the parts together and protects them from damage.
  • PSU
  • Stands for Power Supply Unit, converts the AC current in the power socket to DC current in the components, allowing them to function in a safe manner.
  • CPU
  • Stands for Central Processing Unit, the ‘brains’ of the computer, where all instructions are processed.
  • RAM
  • Stands for Random Access Memory, stores applications currently being used.
  • Hard Drive
  • The main memory of the computer.
  • Optical Drive
  • Reads external memory storages like CDs
  • Case Fan
  • Creates air circulation and keeps the computer cool.
  • CPU Fan
  • Keeps the CPU cool and prevents it from overheating.
  • Cabling
  • To attach everything together.

All the Tools You Need

  • Screws and Screwdriver
  • Will fix the components in place and hold the case together.
  • Wire Cutter/Stripper
  • Good for removing all the packaging that components may come with.
  • Pliers
  • Useful when you need to apply a lot of force to a little component.
  • Spanner
  • Fixes in larger bolts that some computers might have.
  • Utility Knife
  • Will probably contain the tool you need if it’s none of the aforementioned ones.
  • Torch
  • So you can see what you’re doing.
  • Heat Sink Glue
  • Attaches the CPU fan to the CPU and helps to regulate its temperature.
  • Grounding Strap
  • Prevents static buildup, protecting the electrical components and the user from discharge.
Constructing the Computer

By now you will have every component and tool you’ll need to hand, and you can start assembling the computer. Here’s a diagram of what most PC interiors look like, so you know where to put everything.

https://hawkpointtechnologies.com/computer-components/

  1. Remove the side panels of the computer case.
  • Unscrew the screws that hold the panels in place and slide them off the motherboard.
  1. Remove the drive bay cover so as to be able to install the hard and optical drives.
  • There will be two drive bays, one smaller than the other.
  • The hard drive will fit into the smaller bay, the optical drive will fit into the larger bay.
  1. Attach the grounding strap to your wrist and plug into the computer case to prevent static from damaging the computer components.
  1. Fit and screw the motherboard into the computer case.
  1. Fit and screw the hard drive into a drive bay with the corresponding size.
  1. Fit and screw the optical drive into a drive bay with the corresponding size.
  1. Install the CPU into the large, square shaped socket on the motherboard.
  • Line the mark on the CPU with the mark on the motherboard so the CPU is correctly aligned.
  • Lock the CPU in place with the metal clip on the socket.
  1. Install the RAM into the two long sockets in the motherboard.
  • Check the tabs on the RAM sticks to see if they are in the correct sockets.
  1. Apply some heat sink glue to the CPU and attach the cooling fan.
  • Use the mounting tabs on the fan to correctly align it, then lock into place with the clip on the motherboard.
  1. Plug the cooling fan’s power cable into the motherboard.
  1. Fit and screw the case fan on the square panel at the back of the computer case.
  • Align the fan so that it blows air out of the case
  1. Fit and screw in the PSU in the large space left in the case.
  1. Connect the cables so that all components are connected to the PSU.
  • Ensure you use the correct cabling.
  1. Reconstruct the case.
  1. Plug any peripherals (like mice and monitors) into the PC and power it on.
Conclusion

So hopefully you’ve built the computer and it’s fully functional; fantastic! It’s not as hard as it looks, right? You can now feel satisfied that you’re a true techie and saved yourself some money in the process – great stuff!

Sources:

  1. Cost of a Desktop Computer – Electronics Prices and Recommendations – CostHelper
  2. How Much Does It Cost To Build A Gaming PC In 2021? (costaide.com)
  3. https://hawkpointtechnologies.com/computer-components/ 
  4. How to Assemble a Basic Desktop PC : 15 Steps – Instructables

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