How to build your own Desktop PC

In this page we’ll walk you through how to build your own desktop PC. There’s a nice, short video guide at the bottom for those of you that prefer to learn visually.

There are many perks to building your own computer instead of buying one from the store. By building it yourself you can design a machine that meets your desired specifications exactly, instead of just finding the pre-built machine that is closest to what you had in mind. There’s also the fact that it can be cheaper, you can be as creative as you like with it, and you get to learn exactly how your machine fits together.


In order to compete this tutorial you will need to have purchased the following:

  • Processor & Cooler
  • Motherboard & RAM
  • Graphics Card (If the integrated graphics is not enough for your desired use)
  • Hard Drive (We recommend a decent solid state drive)
  • CD or DVD Writer (optional – you can have external ones that plug into your machine through USB connections)
  • Sound Card (optional)
  • Computer Case
  • Power Supply
  • Monitor
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse


The first stage to building your own PC


The PC case will include motherboard spacers and screws. These should be used to fix your motherboard into the case in the proper position. The spacers should fit nicely into the corners and side holes and everything should line up with the holes in your motherboard.

There should be an input/output shield that comes with the motherboard. This should be used if the motherboard has a different jack arrangement to the case. You can mount this from the inside of the case.

Now that your motherboard is in place you can install your CPU. There should be a lever on the side of the socket that can be raised. Once the lever has been raised on the socket you should be able to push the CPU in, bearing in mind that the pins are designed to only go in one way. Once the processor has been put into place, lower the lever to lock everything into place.

Now, apply a small, pea shaped amount of thermal paste to the back of the processor and then press the cooler down on top. The paste should seal the cooler to the top of the processor effectively.


The second stage to building your own PC


Now that the cooler has been mounted to the processor, you will need to plug the fan power into the appropriate socket on the motherboard. It will usually be labelled well enough for you to identify it.

The ram can now be added. To do this, locate the appropriate DIMM’s. Open the tabs at either end, line your RAM up so that the groove at the bottom of it matches the one on the socket. (This is to prevent you from installing it the wrong way) 

Now push the RAM down firmly and it will click into place with the clips on either side sealing shut again.

If you decided to purchase a graphics card you will need to slot it into the brown AGP space closest to the processor. Screw the card in after making sure it is set appropriately.

There will be two rows of pins in the corner of your motherboard, you will need to read your motherboard manual to know which case leads to attach to which pins.


The final stage to building your own PC


We can now mount the CD/DVD drive (If you decided to get one) and the hard drive. The motherboard typically has 2 IDE channels, that will each support two devices. Installing two IDE devices on the same cable will mean the first device is the master and the second device is the slave.

Search for a HDD and CD drive manual for the right jumper settings. You ought to do this before you screw the drives into place.

Ensure the IDE cable that has a red coloured stripe lines up with pin 1.

Finally, plug in the main ATX power cable and connect all drives with the power supply. On the off chance that you have more case coolers, you may likewise connect them.

Finally, connect your screen, console, mouse and speakers to the back of the case. Plug the power lead into the power supply unit. 

You’re ready for your first boot now, but double check everything first beforehand.

Congratulations, you now know how to build your own desktop PC, and you have now finished building yours.


Prefer to see it done? Watch this short video below on how to build your own desktop PC. This video will go into greater detail, explaining more advanced features for fine tuning your machine towards gaming, such as overclocking. 




Now that you’ve got your machine ready, why not take a look at our page on operating systems and application programs to find out what you can install on it.