If you've ordered and received your new PC components and are now finally ready to put your new system together and load up your favorite game, this mini guide on how to build a PC is here to help point you in the right direction.
Keep in mind that the guidance in this QuickStart guide is aimed at those who don't need detailed instruction and who are already fairly confident with the thought of building a computer - if you're a beginner to PC hardware and computers in general I suggest downloading our much more in-depth PC building tutorial here instead which not only includes a lot more step by step instruction with supporting images from our latest real-life 2017 build, but that also includes other important information rarely found in PC building guides such as how to maintain, upgrade, and fully optimize your new gaming PC build.
Ok, so if you don't feel you need much guidance on building your PC, or you've perhaps built a PC in the past and want a quick refresher on the main steps involved, keep on reading. Firstly, I recommend having a read of our Safety Precautions article as it covers important information about building your PC safety and correctly so that you don't damage yourself or your expensive hardware. Your PC components come in an anti-static bag, but do not remove them from their bags until you need to.
The case and components should provide all the bits and pieces that you need for an installation, but you'll need a screwdriver as well. Anti-static wrist bands are useful and recommended for beginners, but not necessary if you ground yourself properly before handling your parts, and make sure you're not working on carpet.
The first step to build your PC is preparing the computer case. You want to have enough room, ample lighting, and a big enough sturdy table or desk (non-conductive surface) with at least two nearby mains power outlets. Unpack the computer case and remove the side panels using your screwdriver if you need to (some cases have thumbscrews) and then lay the case on its side so you have easy access to the inside to install your components.
At this point you'll want to get familiar with the inside of your case and remove or move any racks or bays that you either don't need or that may get in the way during installation. If you have additional case fans then you'll want to install them now and plan out the airflow of your build by placing them in strategic positions.
Some builders prefer installing it later on, but at this point you could install the power supply if you wanted to get that out of the way. It fits into the large hole at the back end of the case which is usually bottom-mounted but sometimes top-mounted. Make sure that the power socket and fan outlet face outwards, and secure the PSU with the screws that came with it.
Note that some cases have rubber feet on the bottom of the case to support your PSU; if not check if they're supplied with your case and install them, or you could always buy some (not necessary though). Leave all of the power connections that come with your PSU for now as you'll have to install them all later on once you've installed all of your parts.
Once you have prepared the case and installed the PSU you're ready to install all of your components into your case. There are various ways to do this such as installing your motherboard into the case first and then installing your parts onto your motherboard, or you could do what's called an external build where you install some parts onto the motherboard first (such as the CPU, cooler and RAM - probably not the graphics card though as it may make installing the mobo into the case a little harder) and then you fit the motherboard into the case. Either way, here are our tips on installing each part:
Once all your parts are installed carefully, correctly and firmly, you'll need to connect all of the front panel connections from your case to your motherboard. This is one of the more confusing parts, especially for newbies, and you'll most likely have to refer to your case and/or motherboard manual to check where all the connections go into on the motherboard.
You wan't to be careful with this as you don't want to bend any pins (they should all connect one way only) and you want to be sure to match up the positive and negative signs on some of the ports (such as your power-on and reset switch connections).
Once you've connected the front panel connections from your case to your motherboard, you'll need to connect up all of your power supply cables. There is the main 24+4 pin connector, the CPU power connector, the PCI-E connectors (depending on your graphics card; some cards won't need this and will be powered by your motherboard), the SATA power cables for each storage device (not to be confused with the SATA data cables which you connect from the hard drive to your motherboard as well), and the molex cables which you can use to connect to your case fans if your motherboard doesn't have the connections for this already.
Once you think you've done everything, make sure to double check all your front panel connections and power supply connections are all connected and firmly in place, and also have a look over all your parts to see whether they're still in all in place properly as they may have moved during the installation process.
Now connect up your peripherals, including your monitor so you can actually see what's going on when you power on. Switch on the power supply, and press the On button on the front of your case.
The power light on the front of your PC should light up and you should see and/or hear your case fans and CPU fan spinning. A few seconds later you should see some sort of text being displayed on the monitor, and if this happens then the first boot up was a success and you can continue to the next step which is configuring your BIOS.
If you have first boot problems then it could mean any number of things have gone wrong but you shouldn't panic as it most often is something basic that you missed. You should first double check all installations and connections, and then start eliminating one part at a time until you find what's causing the issues (you may have something dead or damaged). You could also decipher your motherboard's beep codes if you have a post-speaker to pinpoint the exact issue.
Once you have configured the BIOS for the first time, you can continue to install your operating system. Most of you will be installing Windows 10 and all you need to do is follow the basic steps on-screen after putting in the Windows disk (or USB drive). You may need to set the boot-drive to your USB or disk if the installation steps don't immediately come on-screen by changing the boot device settings in your BIOS.
Once you have installed the operating system, you can then move onto installing your device drivers, updating Windows, and installing all of your additional software programs such as security, apps, entertainment, and games.
Note: The above was just a quick overview of how to build a PC; don't miss our full PC building eBook for a much more detailed, comprehensive A-Z guide on building your first gaming PC.