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Never built a PC before, would appreciate any tips on how to build one!

Nautilus

Member
As the title says, I need help building a PC.

Quick background: I never built a PC before. Whenever I used one, I always used the "family" PC, and it always came pre build. Grown up now and earned some cash that I can finally have my own PC.

I want to build one because not only it ends up being more affordable overall, but I can also focus more of my budget on things that are more important, something that buying one that is pre-build does not allow.And its a good knowledge to have, to be able to be more self-sufficient on these kinds on things(Its not a life changing skill, but still).

But alas, having no experience building one before, I have almost no clue what to do. So that's why I came here. I wanted to ask if you guys were willing to give me a few pointers. Namely, I need help with three things:

1) The components I need to buy. Doing a quick google search, it seems that I need to buy:

- A PC Case
- A CPU
- A Motherboard
- A Memory(RAM)
-A GPU
- Storage
- A Power Supply Unit(PSU
-A system cooling

Did I forget anything?I guess I need an OS, but I'll just have to buy a Windows and install it, right? So is there anything else?

2) What parts to buy. I'll use this PC for pretty much anything, but I want to be able to play games with it. I want it to be powerful enough to run all, or at least most, games(not at full settings, I don't have enough money for that lol). My budget is around 1k dollars. I imagine that's enough, but if 100 or 200 dollars is required to buy a certain part and the cost benefit is worthwhile, I'm willing to fork out the money. I do have an overall idea on what to buy(Like buying an RTX3060 or at least a 2060 if the 3060 ends up being too expensive), but I would really appreciate to hear from someone who knows what he's talking about.

3) A good youtube tutorial teaching step by step, as if he's talking to a baby, on how to assemble all of it together. I am a complete newbie regarding this topic, so a really through video is what I need.

And that's it. Sorry if its too much to ask, but I really appreciate any help that I can get regarding this!
 
Do you must have it right this moment? In a few months there will be a whole new platform from AMD AM5 + new series of GFX cards from both sides.

I would look in to building around AM5 since it's likely to be supported for many years like AM4. [so by simply swapping out CPU and GPU in a few years you'll get a top performing PC with all other same parts]


 
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HTK

Member
If you want to play around picking components and make sure compatibility is good start here: https://pcpartpicker.com/

Windows 11 can be purchased for like $10 bucks at those 3rd party places. Most PC Building YouTubers have a link along with a discount code so that should save you $100+

Look at other builds with your same budget, easiest way to build is copy someone else build that has done all of the research. Look at YouTube Builds with your budget.

Building is actually the easiest part, researching, knowing which parts you want specifically, what aesthetic you're going for all these things are much harder than the build itself.

Software is a big one, based on what mobo you pick make sure you download all of the utility items you need: LAN Drivers, BIOS etc.. etc..

Quick Building Steps:
1. Take out the Motherboard
2. Plug in the CPU
3. Plug in RAM Memory (Are you going Dual Channel or Quad Channel? Dual Channel means 2 Memory Sticks, Quad is 4 Memory Sticks. Dual Channel is typically faster. Also, if its Dual Channel. Make sure you plug it in the correct slots, they are not random.)
4. Plug in SSD Storage
5. Place it into the Case (Screw it in)
6. Mount your Air Cooler or AIO Liquid Cooler (If its AIO make sure your case is compatible and that you know which way to place the radiator, if its an Air Cooler make sure you can fit in the case and that it can clear the memory)
7. Take out the PSU and plug in the necessary wires
8. Place the PSU into the case and route the wires to the Motherboard
9. If you have additional fans you can set them up also at this time.
10. Boot up with your Windows 11 ISO on the USB and begin Windows Setup
11. Install all the appropriate Mobo utility software

That's on top of my head just things to keep in mind in terms of the process. Good luck!

Edit Thread: Updated the RAM Memory a lot of folks get this wrong.
 
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I think your best bet is, as others have already pointed out, to have a look at something like pcpartpicker or youtube build videos aimed at your budget. As long as the parts lists/videos are up to date, you should be getting great advice there.

At 1k budget i'd try to cut corners whereever possible to maximize budget for GPU. Make sure PSU is at least bronze rated, though.
 
Ensure compatibility between the MOBO and your other components. Sucks when you realize you purchased the wrong type of RAM or M.2 drive and they won't play nicely with your main chipsets (easy to avoid if you double-check what's supported).

If you're building in anything larger than a mini-ITX case, you shouldn't have to worry about size dimensions, but just be aware. Otherwise the only other advice is with respect to cooling options, but I recommend just going ahead with an aftermarket air-based heatsink (Be Quiet! has been my favorite for awhile) or an AIO watercooling option.

Enjoy!
 

Xyphie

Member
Some combination of either a AMD Ryzen 5600 or Intel 12400F CPU (with the correct motherboard), 16GB DDR4 RAM 3200-3600, ~1 TB M.2 SSD, Radeon RX 6600 GPU is roughly what you can get for $1000.

Threw this together in like 5 minutes, you can probably optimize it here and there depending on what's on sale at any given moment.

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/Q3MjRv

Power supply is totally overspecced, but will allow you to reuse it in the future with anything except for perhaps the absolute highest-end combinations of >$500CPU and >$1500 GPU, it's well worth spending like $20-30 extra here. If you want to you can forgo the CPU cooler, both processors come with one but I like getting at least a $30-40 one just for noise reasons.

If you need a monitor opt for a 2560x1440 IPS monitor with >144Hz refresh rate, these go on sale all the time for like $250-300, there's really no good reason to buy a 1080p monitor even for a budget build. Something from this list here that's on sale in the $250 range.
 
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I'll add this for choosing GPU/CPU :

The Higher the Resolution the lower the CPU requirement due to GPU bottleneck, if you only play games at fixed resolution (let say your TV is 4K and you only play at 4K), a cheap CPU will do.

The reason that most build max out both CPU and GPU is to give flexibility, you could do 1080p 240hz (mostly for competitive multiplayer game) or 4K 60hz (mostly for single player triple A experience), but if you choose a cheap CPU like I mentioned above then you could only do 4K 60hz, since that cheap CPU won't be handling higher fps

Btw, emulation is also CPU heavy and light on GPU

I hope this tip helps you balancing your budget towards your preference.
 
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Ironbunny

Member
Two tips:

Windows 11 needs UEFI mode so make sure its enabled and not in legacy mode. If your PC doesnt start try reseatting your memory modules and possibly change their places (same slots but different module in different slot). Reseat your GPU if if memory module reseatting doesnt help. Do not over tighten your CPU cooler with a screwrider. Two things I wouldnt save too much money is PSU and GPU.
 

TrueLegend

Member
Module 0: Parts Procurement (within your budget)

PC Case: Silverstone FARA R1 Case:
Gamers Nexus approved budget case. Your experience will depend on the quality of your monitor output rather the coolness of your case.

CPU: Intel i5 12400:
It can handle 4k60 gaming for 99.999 percent of games out there

CPU Cooler: Deepcool gamaexx v2 CPU cooler:
Wasting too much on cpu cooling is stupid idea than getting a higher tier cpu

GPU: Nvidia RTX 3060
1440p very high settings with dumb settings turned off like uber raytracing

Corsair 8 x 2 GB RAM:
CAS16 rams are better than CAS18 ones but are expensive. The Acronym represents latency. A couple of milliseconds make zero difference in longterm experience. But try to get higher clocked one within budget i.e. 3200mhz or above.

Crucial BX500 1 TB SATA SSD or P2 M2 SSD :
Top and cheapest manufacturer of SSDs.
A couple of microseconds make zero difference in experience. Do not buy Kingston they have some S11 flash controller issues.

SeaSonic S12II-620 Bronze PSU:
Expensive but realiable PSU for not burning your home down.

Motherboard:
Motherboard is tricky. Even cheapest motherboard will give you the same performance as the most expensive one in gaming but for other types of works the choices vary. If it's mostly for gaming try to focus on these factors.
0. Get 12th gen Compatible motherboard
1. On board Wifi
2. On board Bluetooth
3. Visual Feed for troubleshooting in form of lights
4. Get a mobo with only two slots for RAM
Asus is the most reliable brand

PCPartPicker Part List:

CPU: Intel Core i5-12400F 2.5 GHz 6-Core Processor ($179.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Deepcool GAMMAXX 400 V2 64.5 CFM CPU Cooler ($18.98 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte B660M DS3H DDR4 Micro ATX LGA1700 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: *Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 Memory ($57.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Crucial P2 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive ($71.98 @ Amazon)
Video Card: MSI GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB VENTUS 2X Video Card ($369.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Silverstone FARA R1 ATX Mid Tower Case ($75.98 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12III 650 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($69.00 @ Amazon)
Total: $953.90
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
*Lowest price parts chosen from parametric criteria
Generated by PCPartPicker 2022-08-10 17:54 EDT-0400

Module 1: Getting Hardware Running


1. Set your PSU in case
2. Slot CPU in motherboard and RAM in motherboard
3. Mount your air cooler on CPU
4. Place mobo on the case by screwing it
5. Plug your GPU in PCI lane and screw it in case (usually just one screw)
6. Plug all the power cables appropriately ( you will know by looking at it with a bit of help from YouTube) basically power cables to connect mobo and to connect GPU from PSU and to connect Case to mobo. (3 sets of wire) The case to mobo will have a wire with a lot of wires at one end usually carrying reset, power, audio and usb keys powering, just don't worry about that one. Just looking at google images will solve it.

7. Slot M2 SSD or Plug Sata cable (in case you went for SATA SSD) in mobo on one end and SSD on another. Also attach power cable coming from PSU to SSD. Mount your SSD.

Module 2: Get Software Running

1.Press Del Button at bootup and enter bios
Disable on board graphics. Enable UEFI and XMP. Enable Intel Trusted Platform service or something which sounds similar. Press F10.

2. Disable each toggle Microsoft offers you during OS installation. Remove all Microsoft apps for sanity after installation.

3. Download some open source softwares
1. Peazip
2. Bulk crap uninstaller
3. Change Pagefile size: Just search google and follow instructions
4. Apply clear standby memory tweak to save yourself from Windows 11 memory leak issues. Again google is your friend.

Highly Recommended open source productivity softwares
1. Calibre for all kind of books and document mega management and daily news scraping and for reading pdf. Also libreoffice for office work.
2. Darktable for all kind of normal high end photo editing and management but not manipulation like photoshop. Windows photos app is pretty good too.
3. Install chrome or firefox and install ublock origin extention for adfree life. And spoiler protection extention for spoilerfree youtube.
4. Bookmark PCGamingWiki for all kind of issues and solutions revolving a particular game.
 
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GametimeUK

Member
For a relatively small premium I got my Motherboard, CPU, Cooler and Ram as a pick the parts myself bundle that they pre assembled for me. I also got 3 year warranty on it.

I bought the rest of the components separate and built it. It was as easy as slapping the parts in the case and wiring it up at that point. This may be good for you depending on if you can get bundles at a good price. It was the 3 year warranty that made it worthwhile for me.

Either way building isn't as difficult as you may first think. Have fun.
 

intbal

Member
Did I forget anything?I guess I need an OS, but I'll just have to buy a Windows and install it, right? So is there anything else?

Don't forget the most important component.
The dazzling RGB lighting.

 
1. It doesn’t hurt to go off a recommended build, as you will have an idea that the parts work together.

2. Read the motherboard manual before you start.

3. The graphics card is always the finickity bit - if there is a quick-start guide - follow that.

4. Make sure your psu is powerful enough.

Good luck! Very satisfying to do, I find.
 
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nkarafo

Member
Don't overdo it with the thermal paste. Use a small amount on the center of the CPU and let the cooler spread it itself.
 

lachesis

Member
As a newb myself, I think finding "compatible" parts being the biggest challenge.
So start with the motherboard and go with its specification. When I think of building a rig, I think of CPU and GPU first.. or what type of gizmos it would have to have - but I think it benefits to think what kind of motherboard to build it is more beneficial.

It's been a while since I built one... so PC building maybe somewhat different... but sometimes a power supply's cord wasn't sufficient or long enough (had FT02 case) I didn't know how many PWM fan ports a specific motherboard had vs what the case (different case) offered etc. Not really a super big deal, as you can find work-arounds in the most cases - but read up some of the reviewers experiences, pros and cons etc.
 

SScorpio

Member
I would wait a month or 2 and see how the new Nvidia cards shake out. I wouldn’t be surprised if their budget cards outperform the current mid range cards.
If this release is like the others, it's very likely we'll be getting the 4070, 4080, and 4090 in a month or two. With the 4050 and 4060 being 6-8 months away.

That said, we should continue to see major price drops on GPUs over the coming weeks, especially if you are OK with buying in the used market. Currently, the rumor is the 4070 will be about the power of a 3090. We'll see what price it ends up at, but that would be crazy cost/performance if it's in the $500-600 range. If you can get that much performance, in a new card at that price. Then the used market is going to drop like a rock.

It's also rumored that EVGA, ASUS, etc are sitting on 100s of Millions to over a Billion in inventory with current gen cards. This is positioning to be an epic buyers market for GPUs after the multi-year drought.
 
Make sure motherboard has a dedicated audio part with dac - it makes a world of difference from one that doesn't [don't know if any 670 will still be with generic audio, but you can't count it out], unless of course you already have a dedicated sound card to use or planning on getting one.

Don't overdo it with the thermal paste. Use a small amount on the center of the CPU and let the cooler spread it itself.
Nah manual spread will always be safest to avoid anomalies like one 1 core running 5-10C hotter than others just because one side didn't spread far enough. But if you have to be quick or are really lazy then X pattern is allright.

 

GreatnessRD

Member
Nice to see another coming across to the "MasterRace". Here are a few things you should consider when stepping into your first DIY build.

  • What's your budget?
  • What resolution do you want to play at?
  • Are you using this PC strictly for gaming and/or work?
This will help you pick out and maximize your build once you get settled on how you want to use your system. As stated above, PC partpicker is really good at helping to get an estimate of what your parts will cost and how much power it will need to be ran. Whatever you end up doing, make sure you don't cheap out on your power supply. The most important part of the entire build.
 

Esca

Member
Don't forget or be stingy on a good kbm and controller. Some games are just better on the controller
 

nkarafo

Member
Nah manual spread will always be safest to avoid anomalies like one 1 core running 5-10C hotter than others just because one side didn't spread far enough. But if you have to be quick or are really lazy then X pattern is allright.
Never had this issue.

Also, you do know the CPU size isn't nearly as big as the thermal plate and it's just a small area in the middle.

Also in the video he needs to drop a bit more paste in the middle, so it spreads a bit further.
 
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Sensates

Neo Member
Look at some of PC World's live build video, they do it real time no edit so it could be quite long, but I love their banters and such so it always feels very relaxing to me. One of the latest builds among many:

 

ArtHands

Thinks buying more servers can fix a bad patch
Just make sure your mobo is compatible with CPU. Some shops might sell you a mobo+CPU bundle if you are confused. Consult/buildapc or pcpartpicker.com to ensure they work with each other
Also get a reputable power supply. After you’re done its just fitting the parts all together.
 

Gp1

Member
Just sharing my experience.
I've just built a Core i5 12400f / MSI B660m Bazooka / 16gb DDR4 3600 (remember to set XMP profile on bios) / 1060 (from my old build) / Antec 520w PSU (old build) on a GALAX MAtx case yesterday to replace my deceased old sandy bridge pc. It was my first 100% custom built Pc.

I chose to buy now with an Alder Lake rather than wait for the new AMD because probably it will be expensive than the prices we have now. DDR5 still is expensive AF where I live and the budget friendly motherboards will probably arrive much later. That way I still have some upgrade headroom for a new raptor lake if needed.
Besides that, playing games in my work laptop simply isn't fun and I don't have a console for more than a decade now.

If you want something in the "budget" range this is probably the best bet for now.

The "assemble part" is just like a big and expensive Lego set.

Follow this guide and check the motherboard manual.
It's hard to mess up if you have a good working space.

The hardest part is:
1. The fricking flimsy pushpin on the Intel CPU cooler that looks like it's going to break if you force it in the motherboard, or simply isn't going to fit (remember to rotate then 90° clockwise to install)
2. Connect the damn front panel cables.
3. Cable management or simply make the entire thing not look like a rathole, specially with a non-modular PSU.

If i had to choose a GPU, i would probably go with a 3060 or something in that level (FSR/DSR) can up this to a 4k tv without much hassle) and a PSU with at least 650-700w (next gen GPUs will probably be power hungry)
 

Black_Stride

do not tempt fate do not contrain Wonder Woman's thighs do not do not
Module 0: Parts Procurement (within your budget)

PC Case: Silverstone FARA R1 Case:
Gamers Nexus approved budget case. Your experience will depend on the quality of your monitor output rather the coolness of your case.

CPU: Intel i5 12400:
It can handle 4k60 gaming for 99.999 percent of games out there

CPU Cooler: Deepcool gamaexx v2 CPU cooler:
Wasting too much on cpu cooling is stupid idea than getting a higher tier cpu

GPU: Nvidia RTX 3060
1440p very high settings with dumb settings turned off like uber raytracing

Corsair 8 x 2 GB RAM:
CAS16 rams are better than CAS18 ones but are expensive. The Acronym represents latency. A couple of milliseconds make zero difference in longterm experience. But try to get higher clocked one within budget i.e. 3200mhz or above.

Crucial BX500 1 TB SATA SSD or P2 M2 SSD :
Top and cheapest manufacturer of SSDs.
A couple of microseconds make zero difference in experience. Do not buy Kingston they have some S11 flash controller issues.

SeaSonic S12II-620 Bronze PSU:
Expensive but realiable PSU for not burning your home down.

Motherboard:
Motherboard is tricky. Even cheapest motherboard will give you the same performance as the most expensive one in gaming but for other types of works the choices vary. If it's mostly for gaming try to focus on these factors.
0. Get 12th gen Compatible motherboard
1. On board Wifi
2. On board Bluetooth
3. Visual Feed for troubleshooting in form of lights
4. Get a mobo with only two slots for RAM
Asus is the most reliable brand

PCPartPicker Part List:

CPU: Intel Core i5-12400F 2.5 GHz 6-Core Processor ($179.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Deepcool GAMMAXX 400 V2 64.5 CFM CPU Cooler ($18.98 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte B660M DS3H DDR4 Micro ATX LGA1700 Motherboard ($109.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: *Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 Memory ($57.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Crucial P2 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive ($71.98 @ Amazon)
Video Card: MSI GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB VENTUS 2X Video Card ($369.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Silverstone FARA R1 ATX Mid Tower Case ($75.98 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12III 650 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($69.00 @ Amazon)
Total: $953.90
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
*Lowest price parts chosen from parametric criteria
Generated by PCPartPicker 2022-08-10 17:54 EDT-0400

Absolutely stellar job right here^^^


This is such a sensible build and will easily last you the generation.
Maybe upgrade to Nvidias after Ada GPUs whenever they drop, but realistically everything posted above is super solid.

MSI also have some really good ITX motherboard and they are one of the manufacturers who dont give a damn what Intel says....they allow BCLK overclocking of all CPUs K or no K.
So the K SKUs are even less relevant.
A 12400F OC will easily match a 12600K that costs twice as much.
 

AJUMP23

Gold Member
Take your time, make sure you slot things correctly, have good cable management, don't forget the thermal paste.
 
Is it true that you could build a pc cheaper than what you would pay in a shop or online with the price of parts now?

I was messing about in excel calculating parts and I think I would be better off getting one in a shop and just adding ram, graphics card etc. Am I crazy?
 

CobraAB

Member
Plenty of material online on how to do it.

Built my 1st PC in 1993. There was no YouTube or online discussions like this. Hell, I did not have internet yet!

A PC build with a Intel 486DX33. 4 MB ram and like a 80MB HD. Had some sort of ATI (before they were bought by AMD).

Quite interesting. Lots of trial and error. Was initially a DOS machine then upgraded to Windows 3.1 which was just really a Windows shell on top of DOS.

Needed separate controller board for floppy drive and hard drive.

Man o man…
 
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NeonDelta

Member
Is it true that you could build a pc cheaper than what you would pay in a shop or online with the price of parts now?

I was messing about in excel calculating parts and I think I would be better off getting one in a shop and just adding ram, graphics card etc. Am I crazy?
its always been cheaper/better to build it yourself than pre-builds

prebuilds usually have cheap components for the same price you can buy better components.

the only reason people have been buying prebuilds recently is because it was the only way to get certain GPUs, this is no longer the case in most countries.
 
been building for over 20 years.

you dont need an expensive PSU or mobo.
buy the best GPU you can afford.
CPU isnt nearly as important as GPU.
you dont have to buy all your RAM at once... for example, you can buy 8GB now and 8GB later.
cheap aftermarket CPU coolers are a good idea if you can afford it.
SSDs are worth the money over HDDs.
 

Beechos

Member
been building for over 20 years.

you dont need an expensive PSU or mobo.
buy the best GPU you can afford.
CPU isnt nearly as important as GPU.
you dont have to buy all your RAM at once... for example, you can buy 8GB now and 8GB later.
cheap aftermarket CPU coolers are a good idea if you can afford it.
SSDs are worth the money over HDDs.
Im surprised ive been building computers since the late 80s but havent built one in about 8 years and power supply was one of the things people usually didnt skimp on. Since alot of the cheaper ones didnt really output the wattage advertised. Especially with these power hungry video cards/intel cpus i wouldve figured that would be important as ever. Maybe theres better standards/quality control with power supplies nowadays.
 

64bitmodels

Reverse groomer.
1. just do it. i was afraid too until i actually did it and then everything clicked
2. STUDY, STUDY, STUDY!!!! research on which components give the best bang for buck and always, ALWAYS check up on the newest stuff available. i didnt research that much and ended up with a 4 year out of date motherboard which limits the performance of my CPU and GPU (also really slow RAM)
3. Don't listen to the verge and always take everything they say as nothing but satire
4. have fun!!!!!
 

Apocryphon

Gold Member
Use PC Part Picker to identify the components to buy. It tells you if there are incompatibilities and will remove a lot of the stress you get with a first build:

 
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