Congratulations on deciding to build your own computer! In this guide, we’ll take you through the building process one step at a time.
Building your own computer is an incredibly rewarding experience. And, while it might seem like an intimidating process, the reality is that it isn’t that difficult to do—especially, if you have a thorough guide to take you through the process.
In this guide, we’ve tried to lay out the steps for building a computer in a simple and easy to understand manner. We’ve provided written steps and supplemented them with video steps to help make each step easy to follow.
So, whether you’ve got your parts and you’re ready to start building, or you’re getting ready for an upcoming build and you want to become familiar with the building process beforehand, this will help you get started.
Table of Contents
i. Choosing Your Parts
If you haven’t chosen your parts yet, we’ve simplified the process. We have put together a number of part lists for a range of budgets that you can use as-is, or as a template to modify to your liking.
So, whether you have a huge budget and you want to build a powerful gaming PC, or you are working with a tighter budget and you want to build an affordable machine that can still handle games on a 1080P monitor, the links below will take you to a bunch of different build options:
High-End Gaming PC Builds ($1,000+)
Budget-Friendly Gaming PC Builds ($300-$800)
I. Pre-Build Prep
Before you jump into putting your new computer together, there’s a couple of items you should have, a few things you should do, and a number of things you should take into consideration before getting started.
1. Make Sure You Have the Following…
- All of the components necessary to build your computer.
- A #1 or #2 Phillips-Head screwdriver (if you can get a screwdriver with a magnetic tip, that would be ideal.)
- USB flash drive with Windows 10 on it (click here for how to install Windows 10 from a USB drive)
- Zip ties for cable management (and wire cutters or scissors to trim them off)
- Extra SATA cables if you’re installing multiple storage devices and/or an optical drive
- A flashlight or some kind of light source (the light from your smart phone will work) can be helpful
- Access to the internet to help you troubleshoot any problems that may arise during the build
2. Read Through Our Guide on the Most Common PC Building Mistakes
We’ve put together a list of the most common mistakes first-time builders make when building their PC. This list will help you know what not to do—which can be just as useful as knowing what to do.
Check out the list here.
*NOTE: If you’ve already selected your components you can skip down the list to the section specifically related to the building process.
3. Read Through Your Motherboard’s Manual
Nobody likes reading a manual. But, if it’s your first time building a PC, the manual that comes with your motherboard contains a lot of information you must know in order to build your computer correctly.
So, while you probably want to jump right into building your computer, if you’re a first-timer, it will be a good idea to take the time to read through your motherboard’s manual before you get started.
At the very least, be sure to read the section on RAM installation (correct RAM placement can vary from motherboard to motherboard) and take note of the section that tells you how to install the front panel connector from your case—you’ll need to come back to that page when it’s time to connect the front panel connector to your motherboard.
*NOTE: Your case’s manual is worth reading through as well.
4. Clear a Space to Build On—Preferably On A Large Table
There are a lot of parts that go into building a computer, whether it’s the components themselves, or the screws, standoffs, and cables that secure and connect everything together. So, it’s important to give yourself plenty of room to not only assemble your computer, but to also keep track of all of your components and the parts and cables that go with them.
And, if you can organize your components and the screws/cables that go with them, you’ll have a much easier time assembling your system. You don’t want to get the screws that secure your motherboard in place mixed up with the screws that mount your power supply to your case.
Ultimately, the ideal place to build your system is on a large well-lit table.
And, make sure you avoid building your system on carpet, as the static electricity build-up in the carpet can damage your components. If the table you’re building your computer on is located on carpet, it’d be a good idea to wear an anti-static wrist band during the build as well to ensure that you don’t transfer any static electricity to your components.
5. Think About Cable Management BEFORE You Build
Many guides mention something like “Don’t forget about cable management!” towards the end of the guide. However, cable management should be taken into consideration from the very beginning.
This will be difficult to do for first-time builders who aren’t familiar with where all of their cables will end up going. But, it can be done if you plan accordingly.
Here are some tips you can use to help you get youself more familiar with cable management before you start building your computer.
Tip #1: Check out this list of good cable management examples.
Tip #2: Read through your motherboard’s manual. This will give you a good idea of where everything will plug in.
Tip #3: Skim through this guide before you build to get a sense of when you will install each component.
Tip #4: Before you start building, temporarily place your motherboard inside of your case so you can get an idea of where the ports line up in relation to where cable cutouts on your case are. This will give you a good idea of where you should run your cables so that they will come out closest to the ports they need to be plugged into.
Tip #5: As a general rule of thumb, you want to run as much of your cables behind the motherboard tray and storage cages as possible.
Tip #6: The length of your PSU’s cables and the size of your case will play a big role on cable management. In some instances, your cables may not be long enough to where they can be routed behind the motherboard tray. After you mount your PSU, it’s a good idea to do a test run, by running the cables behind the motherboard tray and through the cutouts nearest to where you think they’ll end up. That way, you’ll have a good idea on whether or not you can run them behind the tray before you start installing components.
Tip #7: Most modern cases have hooks and cutouts that you can use to tie your cables down with a zip tie. Use them!
Tip #8: While modular and semi-modular power supplies are more expensive than non-modular power supplies, they are much easier to do cable management with as you won’t have to figure out where to hide/secure excess cables.
Tip #9: If you are going to use a non-modular power supply, you can place your excess cables inside hard drive/SSD cages or underneath PSU shrouds (if your case has one).
Tip #10: Bundle cables together that are going in the same direction.
It will be tough to get your cable management perfect on the first try. And, really, your cable management doesn’t have to be perfect. The goal is really just to ensure that you don’t have a mess of cables that restrict airflow going into and out of your case.
But, having some sort of plan on cable management before you start building is half the battle.
II. The Build
Now that you’ve gotten through the Pre-Build Prep section, it’s time to start assembling your build. In this section, we’ve gone through the step-by-step process of assembling your computer to help you put your system together quickly and efficiently.
1. Open Up Your Case
The first thing you’re going to want to do is open up your case.
Take off both of the side panels. Typically, these are held in place by thumbscrews at the back of the case.
If you’re installing additional fans or an AIO on the front/top of the case, take off the front/top panel (if applicable) as well.
If you have a case that has a PSU shroud, it’s a good idea to remove that now as well.
And, remove any packaging that comes in the case (manual, screws, HDD/SSD installation brackets, etc.). I also like to untie/release the case cables as well and reroute them behind the motherboard tray.
2. Install Additional Case Fans
All modern cases come with at least a single fan installed at the back of the case. And, most options come with at least one fan installed on the front of the case as well.
If you want to add additional case fans, it’s a good idea to install them now.
Installing case fans is simple, as pretty much all cases have specific slots where extra fans can go. And, all you have to do is use the provided screws to mount the fan to the case.
*NOTE: You can install extra case fans later, but as you start adding components into your case, you’ll run out of room to work with and it can be more difficult to install case fans later in the building process. This is especially true for those of you that want to install fans on the top panel of the case—once the CPU cooler is installed, it can make installing case fans on the top of the case difficult.
It should also be noted, though, that if you do install additional fans on top of the case before you mount your motherboard and you have a more compact case, it can be tough to access the mount-holes on the top of the motherboard, making it difficult to screw the motherboard into the upper standoffs.
Airflow Direction on Case Fans
As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to pull air in from the front of the case and exhaust it out of the back (and, if available, the top) of the case.
So, if you’re installing additional fans on your case, you’ll want to make sure that they’re pointed in the right direction.
Check with the existing fan configuration of your case, first, though, before you assume that your front fans are pulling in air and your rear fans are exhausting air.
If you have a case that has a single fan on the back of the case, you can probably assume that it is exhausting air out of the back. And, in that case, it’s safe to install your additional fan(s) at the front of the case in an intake configuration.
Also, most fans have an arrow on them that tell you which direction the fan pushes the air through it. The arrow will help you properly configure your fan so that the air is flowing in the right direction.
3. Install Your Power Supply
Power supplies are fairly easy to install. You’re most likely going to install them in the bottom-rear corner of the case. However, some cases opt for a top-mounted PSU.
It will be fairly easy to tell where your PSU needs to be mounted because on the back panel of the case there will be a large cutout where the PSU will be mounted to.
To mount your power supply:
- Slide it into the case next to the power supply cutout
- If your case has a vent below where the PSU will sit, install your PSU so the fan is facing down
- If your case does not have a vent below where the PSU will sit, install your PSU so the fan is facing up
- Line up the screw holes on the cutout with the screw holes on the power supply
- Using the screws that come with your power supply, use a Phillips-Head screwdriver to secure the PSU to the case
*NOTE: Once your PSU is installed, it’s a good idea to do a dry run on routing your cables. Simply take each of your PSU’s main cables (24-pin motherboard power cable, CPU power cable, PCIe cable, and case wires) and route them behind the motherboard tray and run them through the cutout closest to where they will end up being plugged in at. This will give you a good idea on how to go about doing your cable management.
However, when you go to install your motherboard, just make sure that you aren’t trapping the cables beneath the motherboard. And, since you’ve already ran your cables behind the motherboard tray, when you lie your case on its back, it will be resting on those cables, which can make it unstable. I use the various packing components to wedge under the corners of the case to help keep it level and stable.
If you’re a first-time builder, after you do a dry run on routing the cables, you can also temporarily place your motherboard into the case to get an idea of where everything needs to go and you can adjust your cable management strategy accordingly.
PSU Fan Up or Down?
The fan on your power supply is an intake fan. Its job is to pull in air from outside the power supply to help keep the internal components of the power supply cool.
However, if your power supply fan is pointed up into the case, it will be pulling air from inside your case. That air will be warmer than the air outside of the case.
So, if your case has a vent below where the power supply will sit, you can turn the power supply so that the fan is pointing down, and the power supply will pull in the cooler air from outside the case instead.
Most modern cases have vents that allow you to mount your PSU fan-side-down, but if your case does not have such a vent, you’ll have to point your PSU fan up (because pointing it down when there is no vent will block airflow into the PSU).
4. Install Your CPU (Outside Case)
For your CPU, memory, CPU cooler, and M.2 devices (if you have them), it’s a good idea to install them on your motherboard before you mount your motherboard to your case.
You can install those components after you mount your motherboard, but it makes the process difficult, and, depending on what case you have, it may be difficult to mount your CPU cooler after mounting your motherboard. If you do mount your motherboard first, it’s a good idea to at least get your CPU cooler’s brackets in place first.
But, really, you’d be much better off installing those components before you mount the motherboard to your case. You can do so by placing the motherboard on top of the box that the motherboard came in and then installing the components listed above.
And, of those components the first one you should install is your CPU.
Here’s how to do so:
- Unlock the lever on the motherboard socket by pressing down on it, moving it away from the socket, and pulling it back
- Remove the plastic CPU socket cover (for Intel CPUs)
- Take the CPU out of its plastic package, holding it by the edges
- Line up the triangle corner on the CPU with the triangle corner on the CPU socket on the motherboard
- Gently lower the CPU down into the CPU socket on the motherboard until it rests fully in place (do not try to press it into the socket or force it into the socket!)
- Lower the lever back down and lock it into place
*NOTE: After you rest the CPU into the socket and before you lock the lever back in place, make sure you check to see that the CPU is sitting flush inside of the socket. For AMD CPUs, if one of the pins is bent, it will not fully seat in the socket and you’ll have to find the bent pin and try to push it back in place.
5. Install Your RAM (Outside Case)
After your CPU is in place, you can install your memory.
You’ll want to consult your motherboard manual first to see what slot(s) you’re supposed to install your memory in.
Once you’ve consulted your manual and you know which slot(s) your RAM is supposed to go in, do the following:
- Unlock the clip on the side of the DIMM slot
- Line up the notch on your memory stick with the divider in the DIMM slot
- Lower the RAM into the DIMM slot and make sure it is lined up correctly
- Apply pressure to the memory stick until it ‘clicks’ into place (the clip should lock back into place as well)
*NOTE: It can take a good amount of pressure to get the RAM to fully seat into the DIMM slot. There should be a fairly loud ‘clicking’ noise (not a cracking or crunching noise) and the clip that you unlocked should click back into place.
6. Install Your CPU Cooler (Outside Case)
How you install your CPU cooler will depend on what type of CPU cooler you have.
If you have a stock Intel CPU cooler, you will need to follow a specific set of instructions to install it correctly. If you have a stock AMD cooler, you’ll need to follow a different set of instructions. If you have an after market air cooler, the installation process will probably be different. And, if you’re opting for an AIO cooler or a custom liquid cooling setup, you’ll have to follow different instructions to install it.
However, other than Intel’s stock cooler, installing an air CPU cooler or AIO cooler will usually require attaching a back plate behind the motherboard, and then mounting the CPU cooler/AIO block onto the back plate from the front of the motherboard.
How to Install AMD’s Ryzen Coolers
- Unscrew the plastic brackets to the right and left of the CPU socket
- To avoid interference with memory in the A1 slot, face the AMD logo on the fan rim towards the I/O ports
- Lower the CPU cooler down so that it lines up with the screw holes from the backplate (where the plastic brackets were screwed into)
- Start screwing in the four spring-loaded screws, turning each screw a few turns at a time in a criss-cross pattern back and forth
- Screw the screws in all the way until they stop turning
- Plug the fan cable into the CHA_FAN1 header
How to Install Intel’s Stock Cooler
- Make sure the pins on the cooler are twisted so that the arrow on top is not pointed directly at the fan casing
- Line up the cooler’s four pins over the CPU cooler mounting holes around your motherboard’s CPU socket
- Make sure that the fan is positioned in a way that the fan wire can be connected to the CPU_FAN header
- Lower the cooler so that all of the pins are sticking through the holes in the motherboard
- Apply downward force to the pins on the opposite corners of the cooler until they click into place. Then switch and press down the other two pins.
*NOTE: CPU coolers typically come with thremal paste pre-applied to the heatsink. This is completely fine to use, but if you prefer a different brand of thermal paste, you can clean off the pre-applied thermal paste and apply your own to the back of your processor.
After Market Coolers and AIOs
Most after market coolers and AIOs will come with multiple brackets for different CPU sockets. So, make sure that if you have an AMD CPU that you use the appropriate AMD bracket that comes with your cooler. (In fact, you won’t be able to use any other bracket, because they will not fit.)
For AIO coolers, you’ll also need to install the radiator and fans onto the case. But, you should wait until after you mount your motherboard to do so.
7. If You Have An M.2 Device, Install It Now (Outside Case)
If you’re opting for an M.2 storage device, you should go ahead and install it now before you mount your motherboard.
To install your M.2 storage device:
- Remove M.2 heatsinks (if applicable) and the screw that holds the M.2 device in place
- Insert your M.2 device into the slot
- Hold the M.2 device down so that it rests on the stand and lines up with the screw hole
- Screw the M.2 device into place
- Re-install the M.2 heatsinks (if applicable)
*NOTE: In the image above, the M.2 device is installed under a heatsink. Some cases won’t have a heatsink and you’ll just have to seat the M.2 device, press it down, and screw it into place with the M.2 screw.
8. Install Your I/O Shield
The I/O shield that comes with your motherboard is basically just a plate with cutouts for your motherboard’s ports. It installs onto the back of your case.
You need to install your I/O shield before you place your motherboard in your case, because it cannot be installed once the motherboard is mounted.
To install your I/O shield:
- Remove the I/O shield from its plastic packaging (if applicable)
- From the inside of your case, lower the I/O shield into position, making sure it’s right-side up
- Press the I/O shield into the cutout until it snaps into place
*NOTE: It can take a decent amount of pressure to get the I/O shield in place. Your best bet is to work in one corner of the I/O shield and then move around the edges until it has fully seated into the slot.
9. Install Your Motherboard Standoffs
Motherboard standoffs create a buffer between your case and your motherboard. If you were to screw your motherboard directly onto your case, you would short your motherboard and damage your system.
So, before you can mount your motherboard to your case, you need to screw in the standoffs (which is, then, where your motherboard will get screwed into.)
Here’s how to install your motherboard’s standoffs:
- Find the diagram on your case that tells you what holes you need to put standoffs in to fit your motherboard
- Using your hands or the Phillips-Head cap and a Phillips-Head screwdriver, screw in the standoffs
*NOTE: Depending on the case you have, it will likely have a diagram that will tell you which holes you need to install standoffs in to match your motherboard. The standoff holes on your case are marked accordingly. If you have a micro-ATX motherboard, the diagram will tell you what holes you need to put standoffs in in order to lineup with the mounting holes on your motherboard (and, the same is true if you have a standard-ATX, mini-ITX, or extended-ATX motherboard.)
**NOTE: Your motherboard will likely come with a small tool that looks like a cap that has a Phillips-Head slot pattern on the top of it. This rests over the hexagonal design of the standoffs and allows you to use a Phillips-Head screwdriver to screw them in.
10. Install Your Motherboard (& AIO Radiator & Fans if You Have Them)
Once your motherboard standoffs are installed, you can now install your motherboard.
- Lower your motherboard down into your case so that it is resting on the standoffs
- Maneuver your motherboard so that its ports lineup with the appropriate slots on the I/O shield
- Slide your motherboard towards the I/O shield so that the ports stick out a bit
- Your motherboard’s mounting holes should now be lined up with the screw holes on the standoffs
- Using the screws that came with your motherboard, start screwing your motherboard into the standoffs
At this point, you can stand your case up and plug in your 24-pin power cable and 4/8-pin CPU power cable into your motherboard.
You can also plug in your case fans to your motherboard as well.
And, if you chose an AIO cooler, you’ll want to mount your radiator (and the fans that go with it) to your case now.
11. Install Storage Devices
Most cases have designated areas to install hard drives and solid state drives, whether that’s in a designated hard drive/SSD cage, or a specific slot for SSDs.
In some instances, installing storage devices into your case requires mounting them to a bracket with screws and, at other times, the process is toolless.
If you’re not sure of where to install your storage device, consult your case’s manual. That will let you know where your storage devices will go.
Once you’ve found where your storage devices should be installed…
- Install your storage device(s) as instructed by your case’s manual
- Connect a SATA cable to your storage device and plug the other end into a SATA port on your motherboard.
- Route the SATA power cable from your power supply behind your motherboard tray and around to your storage device and plug it in
12. Connect USB, Audio, Case Wires/Cables, & Case Fans
At this point, you’ve installed nearly all of the components in your system. There are just a few more wires and cables that you need to plug in or connect.
And, if you are adding a standalone graphics card to your build, you’ll need to install that, too.
However, there are a lot of small cables that need to be installed in ports at the bottom of your motherboard and, once you install your graphics card, those ports will be difficult to reach. So, it’s a good idea to install those cables before you install your graphics card.
Those cables are:
- USB cables
- HD Audio
- Front panel connector (Power, Reset, LED, etc.)
To find out where these cables should be installed, you will need to consult your motherboard’s manual.
USB headers and the HD audio header are fairly easy to identify as they are marked on the motherboard.
The case wires are a bit more difficult because they are a group of tiny 1- and 2-pin cables and they must be installed in a specific way. Your motherboard will give you a diagram that shows exactly how they should be installed, though, so as long as you follow it you should have no problems.
Plug-In Any Case Fans That Haven’t Yet Been Connected
If you haven’t plugged in case fans to the motherboard, yet, you can do so now.
Fan headers on the motherboard will be labeled CHA_FAN1, CHA_FAN2, CHA_FAN3 and so on and so forth.
Make sure when installing fans that the groove on the casing of the 3 or 4-pin fans slides into the bracket on the fan header on the motherboard.
13. Install Your Graphics Card
Now that everything is connected, all you have left to do is install your graphics card.
Installing a graphics card is fairly straightforward, but there are a few steps involved.
Here’s how to do it:
- Locate the uppermost PCIe slot on your motherboard
- Take your graphics card and lower it down over the PCIe slot (but don’t push it in)
- Look to the left of the graphics card and make note of the two panels that cover it
- Bring your graphics card back out of the case and take the panels out (you either have to break them off, or unscrew a top panel that holds them in place)
- Once those panels are free, you can insert your graphics card into the PCIe slot. Press it down until it clicks into place
- Your graphics card should have a steel bracket that is now resting on top of the back panel of the case and there should be screw holes on both the bracket and the case that now line up. Use the provided screws and screw the graphics card onto that panel.
- If there was a top plate that held the panels in place, screw that back in
- Once your graphics card is in place, grab the PCIe power cable from your power supply and plug it into your graphics card (ideally, the PCIe power cable should be routed behind your motherboard tray.)
14. Power on Your Build
That’s it! You’ve now assembled your computer!
All you need to do now is turn it on.
- First, plug your computer into a known-working outlet
- If the outlet you’ve plugged your computer into is controlled by a wall switch, make sure the switch is on
- On the back of your power supply, switch the power supply on (so the “|” is down).
- On the front of your case, push the power button
Your computer will now boot up! All you have to do now is install Windows or whatever operating system you have chosen and you’ll be able to start using your computer!
III. Post Build
Nice work! You’ve successfully built your computer! However, there’s still more work to do. You need to install an operating system, update your OS and your drivers, stress test and check your system’s temperatures, and finish up your cable management.
1. Install OS
Now that your build has powered up, you need to install your operating system. If you’re building a gaming PC, you’ll likely want to choose Windows 10 for your operating system.
There are a couple of ways that you can install Windows 10 on your computer. You can get a disc that comes with an activation key and install it via an optical drive, or you can install it with a USB flash drive.
We like to install Windows with a USB flash drive so that we don’t have to purchase an optical drive just to install Windows. To get Windows 10 on your USB drive, follow our step-by-step guide on Installing Windows from A USB Drive.
Once the Windows 10 installation has been setup on your USB drive, do the following:
- Insert the USB flash drive into a USB port on your computer
- Turn on the computer
- During startup, go into the Boot Menu (usually by hitting F11 or some other F-key)
- From there, choose to boot from USB
- Your computer should reboot into Windows 10 setup
- Go through the prompts to install Windows 10 on your computer
*NOTE: During the Windows 10 setup, it will ask you for your activation key. You can purchase an activation key from microsoft.com. However, you can also skip putting in your activation key and enter it in later. In fact, there is no real downside to running Windows 10 without an activation key (other than a few personalization options). You can run Windows 10 indefinitely even if you don’t activate it.
2. Quickly Check Your CPU Temperature
Before you start updating Windows and installing new GPU and motherboard drivers, you should quickly check and see if your CPU is operating at a safe temperature.
To do so, download Core Temp and open it. Monitor your CPU to see how hot it is running.
For a guide on how to tell whether your CPU is running at proper temperatures, read our guide on Safe CPU Temps.
Or, you can just do a Google search for [your processor] temp (like Ryzen 5 3600) and browse through Reddit posts and forums to see what other temps users are getting.
Ultimately, it’s better to confirm if there’s a major problem with your CPU now, rather than going through the long process of updating Windows and drivers and then finding out your CPU is running too hot.
*NOTE: Before you start stress testing your system, it’s a good idea to go through the update process so that you can eliminate driver updates and/or Windows updates as a culprit behind any problems that might pop up during stress testing.
3. Windows Updates
After Windows 10 is installed, you’re going to want to make sure that you install all of the latest updates.
To do so, simply do the following:
- In the Windows 10 search bar in the task bar, type ‘Check for Updates’ and hit enter
- In the ‘Check for Updates’ window, hit the ‘Check for updates’ button
- Windows will search for and download any new updates
- After the new updates have downloaded, restart your PC so the updates can be installed
4. Update Drivers
Along with updating Windows, you’ll also want to update your GPU’s drivers and your motherboard’s drivers.
Both your motherboard and graphics card will come with a driver update disc, but if you don’t have an optical drive, you won’t be able to install them. And, if there has been any new driver release since your motherboard/GPU were boxed up, the disc won’t have them.
So, it’s always a good idea to go right to the manufacturer’s website and get the latest drivers.
Update Your AMD GPU’s Drivers
- Go to amd.com/en/support
- Using the product list field, find your graphics card
- Hit ‘Submit’
- Select Windows 10 64-Bit
- Hit ‘Download’ on the option with the newest release date
- Once the download has finished, open up the .exe and hit ‘Install’
- After it extracts the install files, in the EULA window, hit ‘Accept and Express Install’
- The drivers will install
- When it has finished installing, it’s a good idea to restart the computer
Update Your NVIDIA GPU’s Drivers
- Go to nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx
- In the drop-down menus, choose the options that match your graphics card and settings
- Hit ‘Search’
- On the next page, hit ‘Download’
- And, on the next page, hit ‘Download’ again
- Once the download finishes, open up the .exe
- Choose your extraction path and hit ‘OK’
- When the license agreement pops up, hit ‘Agree and Continue’
- Then choose the ‘Express (Recommended)’ option and hit ‘Next’
- When the drivers have finished updating, restart your computer
*NOTE: When installing new GPU drivers, your screen might go black for a moment. This is normal.
Update Your Motherboard’s Drivers
Updating your motherboard’s drivers is a bit different of a process than updating your GPU’s drivers. Whereas there are really only two main GPU manufacturers, there are a ton of different motherboard manufacturers. And, whereas there is usually only one set of drivers to install for your GPU, there might be multiple drivers that you’ll need to install for your motherboard.
So, here is the general process for updating your motherboard’s drivers:
- Search ‘[your motherboard manufacturer] drivers’ in Google (i.e. asrock drivers)
- The top result is probably the option you want—click it
- On that page, use the search feature to locate your specific motherboard model
- Once you’ve located your specific motherboard model, you’ll be able to look through the available drivers
- Download and install the drivers that have a release date within the last few months
5. Stress Test and Monitor Temperatures
After you’ve gotten everything updated, the next thing you’ll want to do is put your computer under stress and monitor its temperatures.
For a list of tools you can use to stress test your system, check out our guide The 11 Best Tools to Stress Test Your PC (CPU, RAM, & GPU).
*NOTE: For a less hardcore way of testing your system, you can just start playing some demanding games and monitor how hot your CPU and GPU are running. (You can use Core Temp and GPU-Z to monitor your CPU and GPU.)
6. Finishing Up Cable Management
It’s a good idea to wait to tidy up the cables behind the motherboard tray until you know your computer is getting power. In fact, if you want to be really safe, it’s probably best if you wait until after you’ve made sure that your computer is working properly (booted it up, installed Windows, and stress tested it) to go back and tidy up the cables behind the motherboard tray.
The reason for this is that, if there’s anything wrong that isn’t immediately noticeable and you zip tie down all your cables, you’re going to have to cut some (or all) of the zip ties, fix the problem, and then redo the cable management.
So, make sure your computer boots up and is getting proper temperatures before you go back in and tidy up all of the cables.
You’re Done! Sort of…
Congratulations! You’ve built your own computer!
The system is built, it’s updated, and you’ve tested it to make sure everything is running okay.
Now, you just need to download your favorite games and programs (and you should probably get an anti-virus on there ASAP, as well) so you can start using your system as you intended.
But, it’s important to note that your job is never truly over. It’s crucial that you keep your PC running at its best. To do so, you’ll want to routinely clean out the inside of your computer, update drivers and check for Windows updates, and monitor your hardware’s temperatures. And, as your needs and/or budget changes, you can make upgrades to your system, too.
So, your job as a system builder and PC enthusiast is never truly over.
However, for the time being, you can take satisfaction in knowing that you’ve just done what most people never will: you’ve built your own computer.