Believe it or not, the hardest part about building a PC isn’t the building – it’s figuring out which parts to buy. But before you rush out to your favorite PC hardware store and load up your shopping cart with the latest components, there are some things you need to figure out first.
There are many types of PCs you can build. Do you want an extreme gaming rig to play all the latest games at maximum settings? Do you want a digital media workhorse for your graphic design business? Maybe you just want a simple machine that lets your grandparents access email and browse the web.
Whatever type of PC you’re building, these are all questions you must answer before you start. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending way too much time (and probably money) on ordering parts you don’t need.
Fortunately, this part of the PC building process also happens to be fun.
Here are the 3 most important things you need to do before building a PC:
#1 Make a List of PC Hardware
Write down all the PC hardware you need and set aside some time to research the different options that are available. Doing so will not only help you figure out which parts you need to buy, but it will also teach you a lot about PCs in general.
The main components of a PC include:
Optional components of a PC depending on your needs include:
There are countless accessories you can install inside a PC but you’ll need to focus on the main components first. You should also budget for a monitor, keyboard, and mouse if you don’t have those already. I know this sounds like a lot of stuff you need to buy (and it is) but trust me when I say it’s totally worth it.
The satisfaction you’ll get from building your own PC is a great accomplishment.
#2 Make Sure PC Hardware is Compatible
There are plenty of great resources available on the web that will help you put together a nice list of PC hardware. Our favorite option at NZXT is PCPartPicker because it makes sure all your components are compatible and it also finds the lowest prices available. Other popular resources are the buildapc and NZXT subreddits where you’ll find a thriving community eager to help you out.
My suggestion is that you not only create and share a list of PC hardware, but that you go the extra mile and ask questions. No question is “too dumb” because chances are someone else is wondering the same exact thing.
Don’t be shy to start a thread on Reddit or tag @NZXT on Twitter with your questions. You’ll be surprised how helpful the entire PC DIY community is.
#3 Assemble Your Tools
After you’ve done your research and got answers to all your questions, you are now ready to build. Don’t be nervous, building a PC is easy and as simple as connecting Lego blocks. You just have to make sure you’re using the right blocks,.
Tools you’ll need:
In reality, you only need one tool (screwdriver) to get the job done. But we believe in keeping things nice and tidy. That’s why we design tie-down points into every one of our cases and send you a baggie full of zip ties with every purchase.
Pro tip: Keeping things organized also helps you install upgrades in the future.
With your parts and tools in order, it’s now time to start building. Just be sure to use a non-conductive surface (like wood or cardboard) and “connect the Lego blocks.”