Putting together your very own custom gaming PC for the first time is an exciting and fun task. Yet as a newbie there are some things you need to be aware of before going ahead with your build to ensure you don't run into problems that will put a damper on your experience. The following handy hints and tips will help you along your way to easily building a functional high performance build.
1. Plan your build well
Make sure you give yourself enough time to plan ahead for which components you will choose to make up your first build. Firstly you will need to ask yourself some basic questions such as how much you're willing to spend on your build and also figure out exactly what you will be using the PC for. In other words, which specific games and programs are you going to be using the most, and what sort of performance do you want to achieve in these particular applications.
If you only like playing older style games that don't require cutting edge hardware, then there's no point spending thousands on a high end gaming build. On the other hand, if you're like most gamers and wish to play the latest games on high settings then you will need a capable build with the right components to achieve this.
Once you've figured out what sort of machine you need, you will need to select your complete list of parts to fit your overall budget and make sure they all work together! If you're new to this it is definitely advised that you seek out some good advice from others who have built a working compatible build instead of just aimlessly choosing random parts because they look cool and hope for the best. Not all parts will work together, so it's a good idea to seek out premade builds from reputable sources to ensure you build a functional and effective system. You can see our recommended builds here which we strive to keep as updated as possible
2. Buy all parts together if possible
There are a couple of reasons why it's a great idea to buy all of your components at the same time. The most important reason is because some parts will have a limited time frame in which you can return them for a replacement in the odd case that they are defective.
So if you buy one component at a time, you can't test them before you have all of your parts together. So if you have a defective part and you end up testing it after the expired time frame for returning it, then you're stuck with a defective part and there's not much you can do.
Sure, you can argue that it is quite rare that you will get a defective part which is true, but in my opinion it's not worth the risk as it does still happen these days so you are better off avoiding this potential problem altogether by buying your parts in one go.
Another reason to buy all your parts together is that as times goes on new parts come out and prices drop on older parts. It's possible that if you wait a fair while between buying parts you may find that some new parts aren't compatible with older parts. Again, this is uncommon but it's definitely a possibility especially if you wait a long time between your component purchases.
3. Buy online to save moneyOnline retailers have less overhead and costs than brick and mortar stores and so they can afford to offer more competitive prices. These days buying online is very safe, secure and fast. Your parts will also be delivered straight to your door which is very convenient. I highly recommend Amazon to buy your components because their prices are great.
4. Don't rush the installation
If you're building your very first custom computer you will want to allow enough time for you to take your time with it. Allow yourself a decent slot of time to complete your build so you don't rush it as you are more likely to do something wrong, forget something, or worst of all damage a part if you try and speed through the process. Also, build your system on a large table with good lighting if possible, and avoid placing your build or parts on carpet at all costs. Learn how to install your build here.
5. Handle your parts with care
Computer hardware can be quite fragile and you want to be very cautious when handling your parts. Keep your parts in their bags until you are ready to install them.
Only hold components on their sides and never force anything in or out unless you know what you're doing. If something doesn't fit in easily, do not try and force it in. Simply find another way to slot it in without using force.
6. Don't panic if your PC won't power on
If you think you have installed all your parts correctly and you press the PC power-on button and nothing happens, stay calm. Or perhaps your computer turns on but your monitor is blank and you don't see anything. These issues are quite common and they could be due to a number of things. More often than not it will be something simple that you missed.
There are a few basics to check that we sometimes take for granted. Firstly, double check every power connection. The motherboard requires a 24 pin connector, and also either a 4 or 8 pin connector. Your video card will need either one or two 6 or 8 pin PCI-Express connectors. Check that you connected the cables that came with your case to the bottom of your motherboard. This may seem stupid but also be sure you have plugged the power supply cord into a wall power socket and switched on the power supply.
See this useful article for more troubleshooting tips: