Installing the Parts
Sooner or later when you're building a computer, it's time for installing the parts. You've done your research,
used your build list and purchased your parts. Time to build your gamer. This page is your
check list of what to do in what order.
If you've never built a gaming pc before, set aside a couple of hours to do this. Make sure you will
be interruption free. Installing the parts always, always takes longer then you think it will.
A simple Mobo and CPU upgrade takes between 20 and 40 minutes. Building a complete system will take you a
minimum of 30 minutes. It will take much longer if:
- you've never built a computer before
- or it's been a while since you've built a computer
- or you run into issues during your build
- non magnetic screw drivers
- anti-static mat, mat
- anti-static wrist strap
- case screws
- motherboard mounts (if not built into case)
- cable ties
- compressed air, an air compressor or a shop vac with pc attachments
Basic install steps:
If it is a used case:
- remove all power connectors
- unplug all optical drives
- uninstall your add in cards
- remove motherboard from case
- check for dropped screws in case
New or motherboard removed case:
- Blow out your computer case, a new case tends to have shavings and/or dust that needs to be gone
- On the new motherboard, remove it from packaging, be very careful how you touch it, lay it on the
- Install your CPU
- Applying thermal grease/paste on CPU, OEMs will not come with thermal
grease or you might prefer a brand over the stock grade
- Install heat sink fan (CPU Cooler) on your CPU
- Install your RAM / Memory
- Install your power supply (PSU)
- Install your motherboard into case
- Connect your front panel headers
- Install your add in cards (graphics card, sound card etc.)
- Install your hard drive(s)
- Install your optical drive(s)
- Connect all of your cables
- Make cables neat and keep airflow passages unblocked
While I say use a magnetic free screw drive. I don't do that. I do find a magnetic tip screw driver much easier
to use when installing the Mobo especially. If you choose to do what I do, not what I advise, remember magnetic
items really do not play so well with electronic items. Be extremely care, eh?
All motherboards come with instructions. Take a quick look at them. If you've never built a computer, the layout
of your particular motherboard will be useful to look at before installing the parts.
Depending on the case, sometimes you have to change up the install order. Do what you need to do.
Static Electricity and electronic parts do not play well together. Make
sure to ground yourself. Do not put the parts together standing on carpet. Do not put the case together on the
carpet/floor. Use common sense.
If you are using some of your existing hardware (ie case) do not have the power cable plugged into the wall. All
power to the case needs to be off and unplugged. You and the case need to be grounded.
Pay close attention to the front panel headers. Your motherboard instructions will tell you how to line up the
header cables to the header pins. No, they are not all the same.
An issue can be the front panel power switch's cable plastic end from your case does not fit the power pins on
your new motherboard. If you header cable is a 3 pin header and your motherboard has 2 pins instead of 3 pin
headers, you will have to very, very, very carefully cut the empty slot on your cable header. That will then
separate the cable end so it can fit on the 2 pins on your motherboard. Do not mess this up or you will be
re-wiring your case front power button and be seriously pissed off.
After you have installed the parts, double check that they are all connected properly.
- RAM needs to be seated firmly in the DIMM slots
- Check that you've connected both power cables to the motherboard
- Check that your drives been properly connected to both the PSU and the motherboard
- Make sure your video card is properly seated and is properly connected to the PSU
These are the main places mistakes are made. Take your time. Installing the parts is simply a step by step
process. Double check yourself as you go.
Btw: Murphy's Law is that if you close up the case before you power it on, you will have to open the case
Return from Installing the Parts to Home Page
Part Definitions - A bit about what each part does.
Cheap gaming pc - Suggested build for a cheap, but fast gaming
Gaming PC - Suggested build a mid-range gaming computer.
Hardcore Gaming Rig - Tips for building a hardcore gaming pc.
When Friends Ask for Help with Computer Issues - Giving help is similar to
project scope creep. Some things to be aware of before you merge onto the road paved with good intentions.