How to build your own Gaming PC!



  • Hey Allies! About a year ago I had the pleasure of throwing around $400 into building my own custom PC. When I started I was literally googling “How to build a PC” and stalking all my friends who’d ever built one. I was completely overwhelmed by all the possible combinations and components available online. I had literally no idea where to even begin.

    Now, a year later, I’ve built my PC, added to it since, and absolutely love gaming on it! Because I love it so much, I thought it would be cool if our fantastically jolly community had a sort of nexus for PC building information. So here it is, your Easy Allies one stop resource for starting a new PC build!

    Have you built a PC? What online resources did you use? Were there articles that you found informative? How about videos that helped clarify how to choose or install components?

    Are you thinking about building a PC? What questions do you have? How can we the EZA community help you out?

    P.S. This thread is not to be a PC Master Race program. This thread is not to be a debate about the qualities of one brand/component over another. Please keep this completely about helping people build blazingly awesome gaming rigs!



  • For me, one of the most helpful places to start was www.pcpartpicker.com. If you have an idea of where you want to start, this website will help you determine if your chosen pieces are actually compatible, and if not, what some options are for swapping in compatible components. It also gives you links to where to buy as well as current prices. It's a fantastic tool, but you do need to have an idea of what you are looking for first.


  • Global Moderator

    I'm hoping to build a PC once I finish with my travels and find a place to stay! So i'll definitely be back to check this out at some stage next year!



  • I built my first PC about a year ago and was also pretty overwhelmed when I started out. I knew pretty much what I wanted and how much I wanted to spend and just looked at a lot of different sites/forums and went off of reviews on newegg or amazon, etc. I also took advantage of a lot of Black Friday and Christmas sales and saved quite a bit on some of the pricier items.



  • You have to pay close attention to the dimensions of your case, whether it'll fit certain video cards and/or cooling setups. Also read lots of motherboard reviews to make sure it doesn't have a high failure rate or other design shortcomings.



  • I've been exclusively building my own PCs since 1997. :)
    My current build is about 4 years old and really needs a new GPU, but other than that, still running like a champ!

    Most of the resources I used to select components for builds are defunct, it seems, but Tom's Hardware is still chugging along. That's a pretty good place to start.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-pc-builds,4390.html



  • Alright everybody, prepare for some amateur level questions here!

    I've been interesting in buying/building a PC for quite some time now, but price is really the thing holding me back. Is there a significant price difference between building/buying? I assume you save money by building, but if it's only $50 savings or so, I'd rather save myself the time. How much does building a rig usually cost? I can't imagine I'd ever fully switch to PC as I love my PS4, so I wouldn't need the latest and greatest, just something that can run most games on average settings. Finally, how long does it normally take to build a PC and does it require any specialized tools, like a solder?

    Thank you PC master race, I appreciate your help.



  • You get a lot more bang for your buck if you build. Pre-built PCs cut corners like crazy. You also get to pick exactly what you want, and that includes software. Prebuilts are usually filled to the brim with useless junk software. Installing and configuring the OS from scratch, although it takes quite a while, also means it will work exactly the way you want it.

    And no, you don't need any special tools. It's like putting together a simple puzzle. Part A goes in slot B, after which you plug in cable C. You just need to make sure that everything will work together. Pay close attention to chipset/CPU socket/RAM controller/PCI slot variations when picking a motherboard.



  • @SabotageTheTruth

    That's kind of a hard question to answer in some ways. It CAN be much cheaper to build a PC than buying one, There's super overpriced prebuilt PC's and bargain priced prebuilt PCs out there...

    It's kind of like asking whether it's cheaper cooking at home vs eating out.
    Cooking at home is not always cheaper than eating at restaurants. But you know what you put into the food and you can control the quality of the ingredients you use when you cook at home. The food at fast food restaurants can be cheaper than what you can cook yourself, but it can also be of suspect quality, and frequently shortcuts are taken in ingredients to reach that price point. You can get a good pre-built PC's but things like proprietary connectors/parts, bulk purchased parts that are close to end of life, etc. are all issues I've had with pre-built pc's I've worked on.

    The link I posted earlier has tested pc builds at many different price-points. I've built PC's from $250-1800, depending on what I want it to do. Building a rig that runs "most games at average settings" will probably cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of what you're paying for a console, but average settings is kind of varied and subjective, obviously :)

    Once you get all the parts assembled and in front of you, a first time builder will probably take a few hours to put the hardware together. Non-magnetic screwdriver in like a size 0 or size 1, and a static electricity grounding strap (or just being super careful with discharging static while handling parts) is pretty much all you need. All the parts are going to snap together without tools. There's generally only one way part A will fit into slot B. So if something doesn't fit right, don't force it!

    Building a PC isn't rocket science or even car mechanics. It's kind of like advanced legos.
    There shouldn't be any soldering or anything involved.



  • This is a general overview of building a pc. It may vary depending on your actual parts, but it's generally correct.
    http://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Computer



  • @TokyoSlim @Oscillator thank ya both for the replies. I've got several months of research ahead of me until I can afford to undertake this project... unless any of you also wants to fund my adventure? Think of the joy of being someone's computer daddy!

    Okay, I'll stop now.



  • @tokeeffe9 Well then! Now is the time to start paying attention to trends in the market for hardware. It will make picking things out easier when it comes time to build. :)



  • @Oscillator said in How to build your own Gaming PC!:

    You have to pay close attention to the dimensions of your case, whether it'll fit certain video cards and/or cooling setups. Also read lots of motherboard reviews to make sure it doesn't have a high failure rate or other design shortcomings.

    This is absolutely true! I made the mistake of not paying enough attention and had to modify my case and leave out one of my three HDDs to fit my GPU. But I got it to work. This is one place where PCPartPicker really shines. It helps catch those mistakes.



  • @TokyoSlim I'll have to check this one out! I'd never looked at it before.



  • In my limited experience, building a PC is all about getting a balance you like between a few of the more expensive and specific components. These components are the CPU, the GPU (graphics card), and the Motherboard (MoBo).

    The first big question is, "which one of these three is most important"? If you are gaming, the GPU is probably the most important. If you are wanting to do batch photo editing, you probably want a screaming CPU. If you want to hang a gajillion things off the MoBo, then you might want to pay more attention to it's available connections.

    Assuming you are after a gaming PC, your first stop is Tom's Hardware Best GPU (or the latest version of this article.) Here you will find the latest and greatest of the gaming GPUs. You may also want to look at their best budget GPU line up as well.

    Key things to pay attention to for your GPU selection is how it attaches to your MoBo, and what kind of outputs it has. If you want HDMI, you are in luck, almost everyone has that.

    After you have a GPU picked out, it's time for the MoBo and CPU. Once again, Tom's Hardward has the goods for CPUs . Check out what they have to say and find one that works for you. Remember to pay attention to what socket it uses, as that determines how it interfaces with the MoBo. Tom's Hardware Motherboards will help you pick out a good one, but now you really must pay attention to the socket for the CPU and the connection for the GPU.

    Once you have a GPU, CPU, and MoBo that all work together nicely, go over to PCPartPicker and put your choices into their fantastic site. Then start adding components. You'll still need a power supply, memory, a cooling system, a hard drive or two, a case, and anything else you want to attach like a WiFi card etc.



  • @Av8orGamer @TokyoSlim I just looked at this wiki. It's fantastic! Thanks for sharing.



  • IMO, the most FUN part of building a PC is picking a case. Ho-lee, is there variety or what! My favorites are from Cooler Master.



  • @Oscillator I did a REALLY poor job of this. :( a good case is really worth the cost.



  • @Oscillator I'm pretty picky about cases. :)
    I'm currently using a Corsair Obsidian 650D.



  • I am still rocking my Therlmaltake Element V from over 6 years ago... And inside is also mostly from that time... I would love to upgrade it, but I don't have the cash to do so... And now I'm studying programming for the next three years... Funfun...