Step by step – How to build a computer.

Building a Personal Computer (PC):

You may be asking yourself: What do you need to build a computer? or How to build a computer from scratch?
Its not difficult to build a computer from scratch. Take a look at how I build computers for an idea on how a computer is built.

Parts needed for a computer build:

-Computer case (Amazon)
-Motherboard (Amazon)
-CPU (Processor) (Amazon)
-Ram (Memory) (Amazon)
-Graphics card (if no built in graphics) (Amazon)
-Power supply (Amazon)
-CD/DVD drive (Amazon)
-Extra fans (some cases do not come with any) (Amazon)
-Operating system (Windows/Linus) (Amazon)

All parts you pick must be compatible with each other!
Start with what motherboard and processor you want, then find everything else compatible with those.

Tools needed:

-Pliers (Amazon)
-Screw drivers (Amazon)

Just got in a batch of computers to build.

I layout all the parts in an open workspace.

The case is placed on the table.

Both the side panels are removed. There are 4 screws – 2 for each side.
Some computers have a 1 piece cover that slides off both sides and the top in 1 piece.

Set aside the 2 sides for a while.

Inside the case, you may find a power supply already installed (not all cases come with a power supply)
You also usually find a bag of screws, zip ties, a speaker (for the pc beeps and beep codes).

Remove the bag of parts, and move all the wires out of the way.

The back of the case has a hole for the motherboard ports to stick through.

The motherboard should come with a metal panel to cover the ports.

You insert it form the inside of the case.

Just a light push and it pops in. Be sure to put it on in the right direction. (check the motherboard for the location of the ps2 ports or usb)

Next we need to install the motherboard raisers. These lift the motherboard off the case and prevents the board from shorting out against the metal case.

Place the motherboard inside, and pick where the mounting screws will line up.

Be sure to test fit it a few times, and make sure every single screw hole lines up.
If you added a raiser in the wrong spot, it can short out the board.

Get some pliers and tighten down the raisers.

Lay the board in place.

Layout your parts from the part bag, and separate the screws by type.

The larger threaded screws fit the raiser, so I used those to hold the board in place.
Some raisers use the smaller screws.

Next, to install the processor.

Note: The processor is very delicate to static electricity. One touch, and it can be zapped!
To prevent this from happening, you need an antistatic wrist strap connected to ground, or a grounded computer case and hold the case with one hand.
The ground strap is a much better solution.

To release the clamp, there is a lever that is unlatched and pulled up.

Now the clamp pulls open. There is a plastic cover to protect the pins on the socket.

Remove the plastic cover. Inspect the CPU (processor) socket for identification marks for where pin one is at.
The mark can be a triangle printed in the plastic at a corner of the connector.
Or can be one corner of the CPU pin-out is different then the other 3 corners.

Now to un-box the CPU (processor).

The processor comes in a little anti-static plastic shell.
Do not open this until you are protected from static electricity.
Just lifting your arm up will make enough static to zap a processor or ram (memory).

Look at the pin-out of the CPU, and the top of the CPU for identification marks where pin one is at.
Then compare again to the CPU socket.

Now insert the CPU into the socket. There should be no force at all to get it in properly.
Just gently place the CPU on the socket and it should fall right into place. Any force and it may bend a pin.
If it does not fall right into place, then you may need to rotate the CPU, check the pin out and line up pin one.

Now close the metal clamp then lower the latch and lock it in.

The CPU came with a heat sink and fan. The heat sink already has thermal compound on it for easy installation.
If your heat sink does not have compound on it, you can add thermal compound from a tube or jar.
Thermal compound helps transfer the heat from the CPU to the heat sink for much better cooling.
I place the heat sink onto the CPU.

This heat sink clicks into place by pushing on all 4 tabs.
Some heat sinks screw on, or clamp into place.

Next, locate the CPU fan connector on the motherboard.

Then connect the CPU fan to the connector.



Now I install the RAM (computer memory).
There are little tabs on both sides of the ram slot. Push them into the outside position.
The ram should only go in one way, there is an alignment tab and grove.
Gently push in the ram and the tabs on both sides should click in and lock.

Push all the RAM locking tabs into the locked position towards the ram to ensure its locked.

Now to connect all the front panel connections. These are the LEDs, buttons, and USB on the front of the case.

For these connections, you may need the manual from the motherboard.
But some motherboards do label them onto the board for easy identification.

This is what the diagram looks like for this motherboard.

These are the front panel USB, and audio connections.

The front USB connections just plug in place. Follow the manual if the board is not labeled.

The front audio connector is all the way in the back corner of this motherboard.

Now all the front ports and buttons are connected.

Now to tuck some wiring, it helps with airflow, and prevents wires from getting caught in fans.

This is the messy wiring.

Now its all tied up nice and clean.


Next is to install the hard drive.

On this case, the hard drive is mounted on the side pillar. Most cases mount the hard drive in the middle.

The drive slides in.

Line up the 4 screw holes.

Then add 4 screws. These are the larger threaded screws.

Here is what it looks like so far.

This case came with a plastic sheet to protect the front.

I remove just the top part, so I can install the CD/DVD drive, and add identification stickers.

There is a sticker included with the CPU, and often with the motherboard also.

This is the back (sticky side) of the Intel processor sticker.

I place the sticker on a clean, dust free surface on the case.

Then I pop out a drive bay cover, by gently pushing it out from inside the case.

There are 2 little tabs, one on each side holding it to the case.

Insert the CD/DVD drive from outside the case. Stop when the drive is flush with the case front.

There are a lot of screw holes to hold the drive in place.

I like to use 2 screw per side, in opposite spots. It holds the drive fine.
The screws are the fine threaded ones.

Don’t forget to screw it in from the opposite side. This helps it hold stable.

I wrap the plastic back on the front to prevent scratches while I build and transport it.

These are the SATA data connections on the motherboard.

This is the connections on the hard drive. SATA data (the smaller connector) and power (the larger connector).

The CD/DVD drive are also SATA like the hard drive.

This is the SATA cables. They came with this motherboard.

I connect the SATA data cable to the hard drive and the motherboard.

Then connect the other cable from the motherboard to the CD/DVD drive.



Now for the power connections. This is the main motherboard power connection.
This should only insert one way, but also check for a pin-out in the manual to be sure.

I now zip tie the power and SATA wires out of the way.

This connector is labeled PCI-E. This is mostly used for some video cards.

There is also another 4 or 8 pin 12v connector that’s needed on most motherboards.

This motherboard has a 4 pin 12v connector needed to operate properly.
I checked the manual to get the pin-out from the 8 pin connector and how its used in the 4 connector plug.

The connector is connected with 4 ports connected, and 4 ports hanging off the side, as it shows in the manual.

I connect the SATA power for the hard drive and the CD/DVD drive.
Any power connections I am not using, I bundle up and zip tie.

Then I tuck them out of the way.

Here is a view of the back of the computer, after the case sides were installed.

And here is the front view.

Here is the finished lot of computers I had to build.
The next step would be to install the operating system (Windows), and stick the license sticker on the case.
Then install the system drivers, windows updates, and programs.

Another batch of computers came in… Time to get busy…

That was quick… (OK… it took a few days)

Another example inside the case. I made sure all the wires were tied up out of the way.
This case has the motherboard in the upper left corner, and the power supply in the bottom left.
You can also see how the hard drive mounts differently then the other case.