Building a gaming PC requires experience and knowledge of which component best suits and complements the other in your build. Having a rough image of what your PC looks like and what programs you want it to run can help when choosing certain parts, such as the GPU, Processor, etc.
- In the planning phase, you need to consider your budget, the upgradability of your PC, its performance, looks, and overclocking potential.
- It would be best to decide whether to build your custom PC or buy a prebuilt one.
- In the building phase, you must get compatible components and build your gaming PC by connecting every element.
- In the maintenance phase, you have to monitor the thermals and performance of your PC to look for any anomalies. Furthermore, you also have to clean the rig regularly.
The Planning Phase
In the planning phase, we will walk you through the factors you must consider before buying your components.
Whether your budget is $ 1,000 or $ 5,000 for your PC build, staying within your budget is essential. To achieve this, consider comparing prices from different stores rather than purchasing all components from one place. Research component prices thoroughly. If you find a part you like but a bit too expensive, consider exploring the used market for cost-effective options.
For more information, refer to our guide on How to Check Used Graphics Cards Before Buying.
While secondhand components can offer better value for money, they come with risks. For beginners without technical knowledge and testing expertise, it’s not recommended due to the potential for financial loss.
UpgradabilityConsider the upgradability of your PC when buying or building one. Choose components that support future upgrades, ensuring your PC stays relevant. With this approach, you can easily enhance your system’s performance by upgrading RAM, GPU, or other critical components without investing in an entirely new rig, saving you money and keeping your PC up to date.
When building a gaming PC, prioritize top-notch performance and component compatibility to avoid bottlenecks. This ensures that all parts work seamlessly together, unlocking the full potential of your setup.
A bottleneck occurs when your hardware isn’t in sync, with one component far surpassing another. Let’s say you have a high-end graphics card paired with a lackluster CPU, all while staying within budget. While you didn’t overspend, your CPU isn’t on par with your GPU, limiting its performance.
In essence, your CPU becomes a performance bottleneck for your GPU. Prioritizing compatibility ensures your gaming rig operates at its peak, delivering the performance you crave.
LooksEven though looks are not nearly as important as the other factors we have discussed, they can still matter to some gamers. You can show off your gaming PC build to your friends or make it in your style, setting it apart from other forms.
Unless you want to squeeze every bit of performance out of your rig and have the technical knowledge to succeed, this factor might not appeal to you.
The overclocking potential refers to your PC’s ability to handle high thermals to deliver more performance than it was meant to by default. When you overclock your PC, you feed it with more power, and in turn, you hope that your system runs stable and delivers higher performance.
It’s crucial to address the extra heat generated to maximize your system’s performance through overclocking. A robust cooling system is necessary to manage this heat effectively. Additionally, a capable power delivery system is essential to provide the required power seamlessly to components like the CPU, GPU, and RAM.
A PC built with excellent overclocking potential relies on a robust thermal solution and a reliable power delivery system. These are indispensable features in any gaming PC build. Our recommended build includes the following:
- A high-quality CPU cooler.
- A top-tier power supply.
- A sturdy motherboard designed to support overclocking.
Also Read: 12 Best GPU Overclocking Software
Pre-Built Systems Vs Custom Gaming PC
There are quite a few differences between Custom Gaming PCs and prebuilt systems. One might consider them the exact opposite of each other.
Prebuilt Gaming PC
Prebuilt Gaming PCs, the polar opposite of Custom Gaming PCs, offer a hassle-free route to gaming glory. You walk into a store, select a prebuilt system within your budget, and voilà – you’re gaming in hours, not days. Plus, the store provides a warranty, saving you from manufacturer hassles.
However, there’s a trade-off. Prebuilt systems generally cost more than their DIY counterparts. Customization options are limited, and swapping components can be pricier. While there’s some room for upgrades, it’s more flexible than a custom PC. If budget constraints allow, building your rig could save you some bucks and offer more customization freedom.
Custom Gaming PC
The idea behind a Custom Gaming PC is simple: you buy particular components from different places or just a single store (depending on your preference), and you build the system yourself at home.There are a bunch of advantages surrounding this methodology, so let’s go over them quickly:
- The range of customization is unparalleled in Custom Gaming PCs.
- As you already know the details about the internal components used, it would be easier for you to swap them out.
- Since you’re purchasing each part individually, you can get a better deal on them and save a bunch of money.
As with the advantages, there are also a few disadvantages of building a Custom Gaming PC, like:
- It takes time and expertise. The proper knowledge and skills are required to make a custom PC.
- Since you’re buying parts separately, if something goes wrong, you will have to contact the manufacturer for a warranty claim, which can be a headache since they are different components and have separate warranties.
- You need to know which components to use to find suitable and compatible parts.
Also Read: How Long Does it Take to Build A PC?
Which One Should You Go For?
We at Tech4gamers recommend that you go for building your custom setup so that you can save some cash. However, purchasing a prebuilt arrangement is best if you need more time and skills.
Also Read: How Much Does It Cost to Build A PC
If you have a friend or know someone who has built a PC before, we recommend you contact that person to avoid some rookie mistakes people make when building their first PC.
Tool Required for Building PC
Building a PC is relatively easy. In fact, with a couple of Phillips Head screws and a few other tools, you can get right down to business. Here are a few of the most essential tools required for building a gaming PC:
- Phillips Screwdriver (Number #1)
- Phillips Screwdriver (Number #2)
- Standard Flathead Screwdriver
- Hex Nut Driver
- A magnetic screw tray or magnetic mat (to stay organized)
- Anti-static mat or Anti-Static wristband
- Zip Ties
- Thermal Paste
With these tools, you should be good to go with your PC-building experience. We recommend you go for magnetic screwdrivers, which can be a lifesaver when staying organized.
The Building Phase
Once you have completed the planning phase, you will have a rough idea as to what type of gaming PC you’re after and your budget. With these answers in mind, you can finally move to the building phase
Get The ComponentsThe first step of the building phase is to get the components; as simple as it may sound, it is the most crucial step. Every part you select must fall within your budget and go perfectly with the rest of the components.
For a good gaming setup, you need to do lots of market research and select the components that offer the perfect blend of performance and price. To get an idea of the compatibility and pricing for each element, you can head over to PCPartPicker, select the parts, and see how your build turns out.
To further ease up the process, Tech4Gamers has compiled various buying guides, including guides on the following PC builds:
- Best Gaming PC Under $500
- Best Gaming PC Under $1000
- Best Gaming PC Under $1500
- Best Gaming PC Under $2000
By following these guides, you can skip the headache of selecting every part yourself. In addition, we also have a ton of principles regarding the best components for a specific CPU or GPU. Hence, you can also check them out.
Avoid Basic MistakesIf you’re a beginner, you’re likely to make many mistakes throughout your first PC-building experience. However, you can read our PC Building Mistakes To Avoid guide and know what to watch out for.
First and foremost, make sure you’re assembling your rig on a flat and suitable surface, and by proper, we mean that you need to stay away from any metallic exterior because that can short-circuit your components.
Furthermore, ensure you’re equipped with an anti-static wristband or working on an anti-static mat; this way, you and your components won’t get a static shock. Apart from this, there are many other rookie mistakes that you can make as well, and we will warn you about them as we progress toward our finished rig.
The first component you are going to put together is the CPU. However, before you do so, you need to unbox the motherboard and place it on a suitable surface. Next up, follow these steps:
- First, push down on the small metal lever that’s next to the socket and then slide it away; this will open the socket. For older AMD CPUs, lift the metal lever.
- After that, remove the plastic cover from the CPU socket.
- Please remove the processor from its box and gently hold it from the edges (Never have it from the bottom). Make sure you never apply any force in the next step.
- If you have an Intel processor or an AMD 7000 processor, you will find markings around the edge of the processor. You will also find a similar marking on the CPU socket. Orient the processor according to the marking on both the chip and the socket, and gently insert the processor into the socket. If you have an older AMD processor, make sure the pins at the bottom of the processor are seated into the socket holes.
- Do the reverse of step 2, that is, lower the metal lever down and slide it into its place. For older AMD processors, all you have to do is push down the metal lever.
That’s it, you have just installed your CPU, and now you can move on to installing the rest of the components.
- With the CPU in its place, let’s install the RAM. We are installing it before the CPU Cooler because once the cooler is installed, you might not have enough room to install the RAM sticks comfortably.
Before you dive right into plugging in the RAM, we recommend you review your motherboard’s manual once and check out its DIMM slot configuration for optimal performance.
Conventionally, if you have 4x DIMM Slots and want to install 2x RAM sticks, the first stick should go in the first slot furthest from the CPU socket, and then the second stick should go in the second slot away from the CPU socket. The RAM sticks need to be installed in alternate places.
Here’s how you can install RAM:
- First, make sure the plastic clips at the ends of each DIMM slot are unlatched.
- Take the first RAM stick, and orient it according to the DIMM slot. You will notice that there is a space on the RAM’s connector; that space needs to match the DIMM slot.
- Next, gently press down the RAM while keeping the orientation intact. Apply light force with both thumbs on each RAM end if needed until you hear a satisfying click noise. That’s the noise of the plastic clips latching on the RAM.
- Repeat the same process for the next RAM.
That’s it, now the RAM is in place, and you can move on to the CPU cooler.
Install CPU Cooler
It is time we put in the CPU cooler and come one step closer to finalizing our build. Before you continue, it’s time to bring out a Phillips screwdriver and some thermal paste because you will need both of them.
The exact instructions for installing a CPU cooler vary depending on your motherboard socket, cooler type, and platform. You should refer to the installation guide that came with your CPU cooler, as it will contain information about retention clips, the backplate, standoff screws, and more.
Nevertheless, here’s what you will have to do to install the CPU Cooler:
- First, install the backplate compatible with your CPU socket to the motherboard. The backplate goes on the back of the motherboard, and it helps the cooler to screw into the motherboard. You will likely use standoff screws to install the backplate. If your cooler doesn’t have a backplate, you can ignore this step.
- Next, check if your cooler comes with pre-applied thermal paste. If it does, you don’t have to apply thermal paste on the CPU. If it doesn’t, apply thermal paste the size of a pea onto the CPU.Applying thermal paste (image Credits Fruugo)
- You should remove the fan from the cooler for this step. Hold your cooler above the CPU socket and orient it according to the standoffs of the backplate you installed in the first step. If you didn’t install a backplate, introduce the cooler to the holes around the CPU socket.
- Now, it’s time to install the CPU cooler over your CPU. Make sure the protective film at the base of your cooler is removed. While keeping the cooler aligned with the holes or standoffs, gently place it onto the spots so the thermal paste is spread evenly.
- Now, start tightening each screw.
- Even though the CPU cooler is finally in its place, the process isn’t over; you still have to connect it to the motherboard. Head over to the CPU cooler’s manual again for the cables and see which line goes where. Generally, you must plug the fan’s cable into the CPU_FAN header, a 4-pin header found around the edge of the board’s top side or below the CPU socket. If you have RGB fans, then refer to our guide on How To Connect RGB Fans To the Motherboard
- Next, check if your cooler comes with pre-applied thermal paste. If it does, then you don’t have to apply thermal paste on the CPU yourself. If it doesn’t, then apply thermal paste the size of a pea onto the CPU.
With the CPU cooler in place, you can move towards installing SSDs.
Install M.2 SSDs
Once you have located the M.2 slot, follow these steps to install the SSD:
- Unscrew the small screw from the M.2 slot. Make sure you don’t lose it.
- Hold the SSD from its edges, and slide it in the slot with its connector end first.
- You will notice that the SSD is not seated completely. It is poking upwards from the other end at an angle of roughly 30°. Don’t worry; take the screw you removed in the first step and gently screw it in place again.
After following these steps, your PC will have the storage installed. If you have more than 2 SSDs, follow the same procedure for the 2nd SSD.
Before we move toward the motherboard, it’s best to install the IO Shield first. The process is simple; you can pull it off in about a minute. Just place the IO Shield on the case and gently press each corner until it snaps into its place.
With the IO Shield good to go, here’s how you can install the motherboard:
- Make sure there are no internal cables around the motherboard tray. After that, check if the PC Case has standoffs pre-installed. If not, then install the standoffs yourself.
- First, lift the motherboard gently and hover it over the motherboard tray of your PC. Align the motherboard’s rear IO ports according to the IO Shield you just installed. Also, align the holes on the motherboard with the standoffs on the case. Gently place the motherboard on the motherboard tray.
- Start screwing the motherboard in its place.
That’s it; in just three steps, you have your CPU, RAM, CPU Cooler, and motherboard inside the PC case.
- After installing the CPU Cooler and the motherboard, you will find installing the PSU as easy as ABC. All you have to do is:
- Unplug all the cables from the PSU if it’s modular.
- Figure out where the PSU is supposed to go in your PC case. Usually, the PSU slot is located at the bottom.
- Next, figure out the orientation of the PSU. You want the PSU to get proper ventilation; for this reason, you should orient it in such a way that the fan on the PSU faces the vent on the back of the case. However, if your case comes with a bottom vent, then you can also face the fan of the PSU on that side.
- Put the PSU into its slot with the orientation you decided in step 3, and screw it in its place with the 4 screws that it came with.
- Take the 24-pin connector, and plug one end into the PSU and the other end into the motherboard. You will find a 24-pin connector on the side of the motherboard.
- Repeat the same step for an 8-pin connector which is used to power the CPU. You will find an 8-pin connector near the top of the motherboard around the CPU socket.
- Ensure you are using the cable management features like velcro straps your case comes with.
After these steps, the PSU will be installed, and you can move toward the GPU.
First, you must identify the x16 PCIe slot to install the GPU. It should be colored differently than the other PCIe slots, and even if it’s the same color, it should be a bit long.
If you can’t identify it, refer to your motherboard’s manual just to be safe. Once you know which one is the x16 PCIe slot, follow these steps to install the GPU:
- First of all, unscrew the PCIe slot brackets from the case. These brackets ensure that dust does not enter from the back. However, you have to remove them to install the GPU. Once it’s placed, you can put them back on.
- You will find a plastic latch on one end of the PCIe x16 slot; push it down.
- Hold the GPU firmly and push it down gently into the slot while aligning its connector with the x16 slot. You will hear a satisfying click once the GPU has latched onto its place.
- After that, you will notice that the GPU’s bracket fits perfectly in the PCIe slot bracket you removed in the first step. Screw in the GPU’s frame so that it is secured. If you removed other PCIe slot brackets in the first step, you should screw them back now.
With your GPU connected, you must plug it in with the PSU using the relevant connector. You can refer to your GPU’s manual to determine which connector and adapter you need.
Now, you have finally built your gaming PC. However, you should do cable management to make it tidy and clean.
There are many cables that you will have to connect throughout your system. From the PC case’s front IO header to RGB fans, always refer to the instruction manual if you need help figuring out which cable goes where.
Managing all of these cables can be a hectic job. However, it is highly recommended as it makes further upgrades, maintenance, and troubleshooting easier.
When building your rig, you must use velcro straps and zip ties throughout the build to properly manage the cables. First, group together the wires that seem to be going to the same place or near each other, then tie them up with a velcro strap or a zip tie and route them so that they neither block the airflow nor are they visible.
It would help if you routed the cables through the back of the motherboard tray; this way, most of the wires will be tucked away neatly, and your PC will look better and tidier.
To get your new gaming PC up and running, follow these steps:
- Connect all peripherals, including the monitor, via HDMI to the GPU.
- Power on the PC.
- Insert a bootable USB drive with Windows Setup.
- When prompted, access the Boot Menu by pressing the specified key (e.g., F10, F11, or F12).
- Choose the USB drive in the Boot Menu.
- Follow the onscreen instructions to install Windows.
- Activate Windows using an existing license key or purchase a new one if needed.
The Maintenance Phase
Now that you have built your gaming rig, you must be excited to enjoy it and run some games. However, it is best to thoroughly check to see if everything is connected and working correctly. Furthermore, it is also advised that you learn a few tips to maintain the computer so it runs smoothly with time.
First, head to the BIOS and see if all the components appear. For instance, check if all the RAMs are detected and if all the storage you have installed is showing up. If all is good and well, then you can move to the next step, that is, to monitor the temperatures and performance.
Monitor Thermals and Performance
You can use software like MSI Afterburner to monitor the thermals of your PC. After installing such software, play a few games and notice the performance. Is it running smoothly, as expected? Is there a fluctuation in performance? How are the thermals doing?
If your PC faces any thermal problems, it might be due to improper air cooler installation. Recheck whether it’s seated correctly and whether the thermal paste is adequate. You can also refer to our guides on How To Lower GPU Temperature and How To Lower CPU Temperature for more troubleshooting techniques.
Now that your PC is ready, you will likely spend a lot of time gaming on it. However, as time passes, you need to thoroughly clean your system to prolong its lifespan and get the most out of it.
What happens is that, with time, dust will begin to accumulate on the motherboard and other components, and now that the element is covered with dust, it will trap more heat. Also, dust in the fans and the heatsink can mess with the system’s airflow.
As a result, your PC will not perform as well as it used to. On top of that, if any component begins to overheat, then you also risk damaging it or decreasing its lifespan. Therefore, cleaning your PC now and then is necessary to keep it up and running for a long time. You can also read our guide on How Often Should I Clean My PC? to get an idea of how regularly a PC needs to be cleaned.
For more information regarding PC maintenance, read our guides on:
- How To Clean A Motherboard
- How To Clean PC Fans
- How to Clean Your PC Without Compressed Air
- How to Clean Tempered Glass
Frequently Asked Questions
[wsfq]Is buying a cheaper CPU a good idea? [/wsfq][wsfa] First, you should note that more inexpensive components do not function as well as expensive ones. You must see what CPU is compatible with your build at your price point. [/wsfa]
[wsfq] Are secondhand Prebuilt units any good? [wsfq] We recommend you avoid purchasing secondhand builds as they are more prone to issues. [wsfa]
[wsfq]Can I link my Spotify account to Discord on Xbox? [/wsfq][wsfa] You can connect Spotify to your discord account to share your music taste with fellow gamers or friends. [/wsfa][/ws
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Ali Rashid Khan is an avid gamer, hardware enthusiast, photographer, and devoted litterateur with a period of experience spanning more than 14 years. Sporting a specialization with regards to the latest tech in flagship phones, gaming laptops, and top-of-the-line PCs, Ali is known for consistently presenting the most detailed objective perspective on all types of gaming products, ranging from the Best Motherboards, CPU Coolers, RAM kits, GPUs, and PSUs amongst numerous other peripherals. When he’s not busy writing, you’ll find Ali meddling with mechanical keyboards, indulging in vehicular racing, or professionally competing worldwide with fellow mind-sport athletes in Scrabble at an international level. Currently speaking, Ali has completed his A-Level GCEs with plans to go into either Allopathic Medicine or Business Studies, or who knows, perhaps a full-time dedicated technological journalist.