How to Build Your Own Custom Gaming Computer in 9 Simple Steps

Rajat Hardy
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Step 1: Select Your CPU

(Central Processing Unit)

Step 2: Pick the RAM That Meets Your Gaming Needs

Choosing RAM (Random Access Memory) is all about understanding your needs. If you buy a top-of-the-line gaming computer but don’t have enough RAM to match, you can quickly run into a situation where you can’t keep up with the game you’re playing.

RAM has an enormous impact on overall performance. For example, if you’re running an outdated operating system and you have 4GB of RAM in your computer, you will find that the system runs more smoothly than if you had 6GB of RAM in the same computer, but that operating system. Alternately, if you’re running a special software program that requires a lot of RAM and you don’t have enough, your computer could crash.

So, the first rule of thumb is to make sure that you’re getting the RAM that you need. The next question is how you figure out what that is. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy as saying that you have 4GB of RAM so you need 8GB more. Computer specs aren’t as simple as a calculator.

Step 3: Find the Right Motherboard

When it’s time to choose a motherboard, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure you are choosing a motherboard compatible with your processor and the number of RAM sticks you want to use.

But maybe the most important thing to think about if you’re buying your first gaming computer is think about what you’ll be using the machine to do. For example, if you’re running a lot of programs and the computer gets really hot, you may want a motherboard with a heatsink.

One way to narrow down your options is to look at motherboard’s features. As with processors, each motherboard’s features are different. One of the most popular is having the number of SATA or IDE ports available.

Finding a motherboard with the ports you want will make adding a working disk drive, or even a hard drive, or even a DVD drive, much simpler. And since RAM is extraordinarily easy to install, the motherboard you pick will have a big impact on the amount of storage and memory you can add later on.

Given the expense of upgrading, however, it may make sense to get as much as you can into a good motherboard.

Step 4: Slot in the Hard Drive / SSD Drive

If you’re using an SSD, you’ll need to install it now in the hard drive bay. If you’re using a hard drive, you’ll need to install it now as well. In general, if the inside of the case has a removable section that looks like a lot of metal and plastic grill, in which you can see some bays, that’s where you’ll install the hard drive or SSD.

The bays are just square holes in the metal, so they’re easy to fit your hard drive into. They’ll have a little latch, or some sort of mechanism to unlock them, so make sure you read the directions manual first to familiarize yourself with it.

Then, you’ll just line up the hard drive with the bay and push it in and release the latch until it’s locked in place.

These bays should have a screw hole in the bottom of them, so you’ll want to put the screw in that hole so that the hard drive doesn’t move within the bay.

Step 5: Choose the Best Graphics & Sound Cards

The graphics card is what processes the information in the games you play. It’s crucial for a smooth and awesome experience. If possible, always go for the best graphics card you can. If you know or have gamers in your family, ask for advice.

This is one of the most important parts to get the job done right. Sound cards are imperative for people who like to immerse themselves in games. Quality sound helps you get more into the game, and it’s especially important for FPS games. If you’re picking up a good motherboard, make sure the onboard sound is high quality.

Here are the comparison charts so you can get an idea of what’s the best in each category.

Step 6: Decide on a Case

Even though the case is a small part of the computer, it has an impact on overall performance and is also a component for which you have a lot of options.

Step 6: Decide on a Case

There are hundreds of case styles and many more to choose from. Your decision about the right case for your custom PC may hinge on how much you want to spend and the form factor that you’re looking for.

The case is the outer shell of your custom computer. It protects the other components and allows the other components to work together. The case you use must also have room for some of the other components, such as the hard drive, the motherboard, and the power supply.

The case may help cool or even water-cool your gaming PC. It depends on how much airflow the case has and if it has the space for a radiator or extra fans. You may also be able to choose fans that can move more air than the stock fans.

Fan performance is measured by the maximum airflow of the fan. This is often measured in CFM, short for cubic feet per minute. For example, the Corsair SP120 fan moves approximately 42 CFM, while the SP120 fan moves around 28 CFM. Either is fine for most systems, but if you are building a gaming PC with an overclocked CPU, a case with a side panel fan that moves a lot of air is a must.

Step 7: Install Fans, a CPU Cooler, Case Controls, etc.

Now that the case is fully assembled and the frame is on the table, it’s time to install fans, an internal case light, an internal case control card (if you’ve decided to get one), and any other other internal components that can safely be added to the computer before the motherboard is installed.

To do this, you’ll need to install the motherboard standoffs provided for you. Standoffs are small pillars of metal that keep the computer case from shorting out against the circuit board inside the computer. There are generally two types of standoffs, dedicated motherboard standoffs, and computer case standoffs.

Dedicated Motherboard Standoffs

Motherboard standoffs (not pictured) are thinner than computer case standoffs. This is because they mount directly to the motherboard. You’ll notice they have several holes. These holes should line up with the holes on your motherboard mounting bracket.

Step 8: Protect with the Right Power Supply

If you plan on building your own gaming computer then you have got to get a power supply. There is nothing more annoying than getting everything working properly and having the computer randomly shut off in the middle of a game.

You know those gigantic boxes of popcorn they sell at movie theaters? Imagine that size power supply inside your computer. It’s HUGE. It will take up a lot of space, but it’s what your computer needs in order to run without shut downs.

The power supply you need is one of the most important parts in your build. Power supplies come in various shapes, sizes, and have unique features specific to what you need.

If you’re going to be switching between various media devices, you’ll need an adapter to make those connections work. The power supply can provide that for you.

You will want to be sure that no adapter stands you buy get too close to the power supply, as you may be overloading the cables that come with the power supply. An adapter that is too close to the power supply can blow out the power supply.

In order to replace your power supply, you’re going to have to take apart your case. The steps are almost identical to the first few steps when you were getting your PC ready to be assembled.

Step 9: Power On!

Once connecting all the wires and checking all connections, plug in the power cord.

Also, connect the HDMI cord to your television and switch it to the correct input.

If your monitor has speakers, turn them on.

Double check the BIOS screen.

Hit the Power button.

The computer is starting to build up a little heat at this point, so it’s normal to hear the fan spin up and start blowing air through the heatsink fins.

Play some tunes!