You know what parts are needed, and just what to look for when shopping for the parts, now you just need to know, how to assemble the computer. Well here on this page I will walk you through the steps to take in assembling your computer, which you will be able to do in as little as two hours or less, I’ll be showing you just how easy it really is. My last computer I built took me one and half hours to build, that’s a long time for me, the reason being I was taking photo’s as I went along to document my latest build which I’m planning on doing a whole post on it latter down the road.
We will start out with finding the best place to build the computer and what sort of tools you will want, (nothing special, you most likely have them on hand already). And I will cover some precautions to take to keep your hardware from any damage while building your system. So if you’re ready, which I’m sure you are, let’s jump to it.
Finding a place to assemble your computer
First things first, you need a place to build this thing, if you have a work bench, great, just make sure you have a clean surface to work on, and it’s not on carpet. Why not on carpet (good question), Static electricity which can be produced by shuffling around on the carpet (as you most likely already know) this can do some damage to certain components when they get zap by it, so no carpet. I use my kitchen table, it has a lot of room for everything and is in a well lit area, which is nice when your eyes are not as young as they used to be, and it’s on tiled floor, no static.
I like to use the 4 in 1 screw driver that has a large and small Philips on one end, and a large and small flat screw driver on the other end of a shaft that has a 10 mm hex driver and an 8 mm hex driver. I’ll bet you already have one of these or something similar, next thing would be some wire cutters, or even some sharp scissors, these will be used for cutting zip-ties that you will use for cable management.
Familiarize yourself with your Computer Parts
Now it’s time to unpack your computer parts from their shipping box. Once you have them all out, and on your table take a few moments and familiarize yourself with them, you can leave them in their storage boxes until it’s time to install them,
Getting the Case ready for your Hardware
We will start with the case; take it out of the box and set it on your table (duh) remove both sides of the case by unscrewing the screws on the back and sliding them off (piece of cake). 🙂 Now find the bag with the mounting screws and set them aside , we will get to them shortly. With the case opened up take a look at the inside of the case so you can get familiar with the layout, where the motherboard will mount, where your hard drive and optical drive will mount, and where the power supply mounts.
I/O Shield: Next open up the Motherboard box and take out the I/O shield which is a metal plate with strange looking holes in it, this is going to support the ports on the back of your motherboard. Now find the rectangular slot on the back of the case, this is where you will snap the shield into place, making sure that it is in line with the ports on the motherboard. Note that the edges are sharp, it will take a little of force to snap it in place.
Motherboard Standoffs: Now take out the motherboard and align it up to the I/O shield on the case, do not insert it, this is so you can see what mounting holes on the motherboard line up with the ones on the case; you will be installing the standoffs to these holes. Go ahead and put the motherboard back in its box (to keep it safe) now locate the standoffs from your bag of screws and snugly screw them onto the case where they lined up with the motherboard. Simple, yes?
Power Supply: Next item will be to mount the power supply, while some people will install this at the end of the build I prefer to install it now so I don’t have to work around the other hardware, as the power supply is kind of bulky. If your case came with one you get to skip this step. If not continue on. You should see a large rectangular hole on the back of the case, it will be either on top of the case or the bottom. This is where you will mount it with the screws found in that bag of screws you have from the case.
If you’re not sure which screws to use look at the packing slip to see if they have listed each item that came with the case, it should show which screws are used for the different hardware. If there isn’t one go with the trial and error method, (I usually do it this way) making sure as not to force the wrong screw in. One more item and we can set the case off to the side.
Case Fans: If your case came with a fan or fans you get to skip this step. If not then now is as good a time as any to do it. All you have to do is place them over the vent holes, and aliening the fan with the screw holes, attach it to the case using the screws that came with the fan. Take note of which way the air flows from the fan, if you’re installing one to the front of the case, install it so that it will draw air into the case and force it out the back.
All other fans you will want to install them so they will force the air out of the case. If the fan does not show the direction of air flow all you have to do is plug the fan into the corresponding plug of the power supply, then turn the PS on and check the air flow of the fan, presto you’re set. Once you have your fan installed you can set the case to the side and we will begin work on setting up the motherboard.
Getting the Motherboard ready:
Before we install the motherboard into the case we will want to install the CPU, along with its heat sink, and cooling fan, and your memory sticks onto the motherboard. To do this I like to use the box that the motherboard came in as a Minnie table to prevent any damage to the underside of the Motherboard.
CPU: First thing, locate the CPU socket and release the tension lever to open it up to allow for the processor. Go ahead and open up the CPU box and carefully take out the processor handling it by the sides, locate the arrow or notch on the processor and align it with the arrow on the CPU socket of the motherboard. It will drop into place with no added force as long as it is aligned properly; whatever you do don’t force it! It will just bend the pins (not a good thing) 🙁 . Now lower the tension lever into its locked position, this will take a little effort and make some cricking noise, don’t worry this is normal.
CPU Cooler Fan: Locate the Processors manual and follow the instruction on how to install your particular heat sink and cooler fan, I would list them here but there are several different methods used, and you don’t need to confuse yourself with all the different ways. You’re going to want to check the bottom of the heat sink to see if it has any thermal compound applied to it, (it looks like white grease).
If it doesn’t have any then you will need to apply some yourself. If there isn’t any thermal compound with the processor you can pick some up from your local computer store. Apply a small amount, about the size of a grain of rice to the center, that’s all you will need, when the processor heats up it will spread over the whole surface of the CPU. If you add too much it would leak out the sides down onto the connectors and cause a mess (no fun). Next locate the CPU’s fan plug and plug this into the motherboard where it is labeled CPU fan.
RAM: Find the memory sockets on the motherboard and make sure the clips are in the open position. Then take note of the notch on your memory sticks and align them with the notch on the sockets of the motherboard, go ahead and insert your memory sticks, this will take some force to insert these. When inserted properly you will be able to snap the clips back into place locking down the memory sticks.
Here is a video that will walk you through the steps we just went over, giving you a look at how it’s all done.
Installing the Motherboard:
Position the motherboard so that the I/O ports are lined up with the I/O shield on the case. Set the motherboard into place making sure the ports are seated into the shield and all of the mounting holes align with the standoffs on the case. If you find any mounting holes with no standoff showing then install them now. However do not install more standoffs than the motherboard requires, this will prevent shorting out anything on the backside of the motherboard. Now locate the screws from your screw bag and insert them into the mounting holes and snug them down with just a small amount of force. Now you are all set to install some drives.
Installing the Hard Drive:
Check the cases instruction sheet to see where and how the hard drive is to be installed; there are different methods for the insertion of the hard drive. Some cases have bays that slide out allowing you to fasten the hard drive with screws to the bay and then sliding it back into place. Others you just slide the drive into place and secure it with the screws while others provide other methods, so check out the sheet and install your drive (drive’s), this is easier than it sounds. Now if you are going to install more than one drive you will want to leave an empty bay between your drives for better air flow around them. Next up will be your optical drive.
Installing the Optical Drive:
Your optical drive will install from the front of your case by removing the plastic cover covering the 5.25” bay. You will then notice a metal plate in the way, this will come off by inserting a flat head screw driver in the slott and twisting it up and down till it pops out, now slide the drive into place and fasten it with the screws from your bag, just as easy as the hard drive, or easier.
Installing PCI Expansions cards (Graphics, Sound):
If you don’t have any cards to install, you can skip this step, if you do have one, then start by locating where your PCI expansion slots are on your motherboard, your motherboard manual will show which ones they are. Next remove the plate on the back of the computer case that aligns with the top most PCI slot, keep the hex screw to use in fastening the card. Now slid the card into place so that the metal bracket fits in the case where you removed the plate, you should be able to push the card into the PCI slot with a little effort, then fasten it to the back of the case with the hex screw you took off. If you have any other cards, install them in the same way. Great job, now all we have left to do is to connect Data Cables and Power Cables.
This is where your zip-ties come in handy. As you go along connecting the data and power cables to their respected points you will want to keep them as tidy as possible, out of the way. You will want to avoid having a bunch of cables blocking the air flow causing poor air circulation. If your case comes with clips or holes for routing the cables by all means take advantage of them.
I have provided a video below that will give you a better understanding in ways to rout your cables, I recommend watching it.
Connecting data cables:
Packaged with your motherboard you will find red SATA cables for connecting your drives to your motherboard. Referring to your motherboards manual locate the SATA ports, connect one end of the cable there and the other end into your drive, they are keyed so they will only fit in one way, preventing the chance of any wrong connections. Wow that was just too easy. 🙂
Connecting power cables:
First thing we will want to do is connect the wires coming from the front of the case to the motherboard, these are marked Power SW, Reset SW, HDD Led, USB, HD Audio, and so on, you will want to refer to your motherboards manual to locate where they connect, once you have done this go ahead and plug them into their corresponding spots.
Here is a ten minute video showing you how this is done.
OK now the power plugs, we will start with the 24 pin power plug, referring to your motherboard manual, you will insert this plug into the corresponding slot on the motherboard, push down on the plug until it clicks, this is the main power supply for the motherboard. Next you will want to plug in the 4 pin power plug into its corresponding slot located near the CPU, this one supplies power to the CPU, push down on it until it clicks.
Next the power for your hard drive and optical drive, these are the skinny black plugs coming from the power supply, they are also keyed to fit in one way. Go ahead and plug these in to your drives.
If you installed a Graphics card it may require power from the power supply, if so you will find a 6 pin plug that looks similar to the 24 pin plug coming from the power supply, go ahead and plug this one in.
Now for the case fans, some fans may have a small 3 or 4 pin plug notched, that will connect directly to the motherboard headers labeled case fans or just fan,
if not just use the Molex power plugs, you will find that these take some effort to insert and even more effort to unplug them.
Conclusion to How to Assemble the Computer:
You have now gone over all the steps in building your own custom computer, I hope that this has shown you just how easy it can be, and put to rest any doubts that you might have had.
If you have the time (41 minutes) and would like to see the whole process in action, then check this video out, by JayzTwoCents.
If you enjoyed this video you can check out more video’s done by JazyTwoCents Here.
Once you have your computer built your next and final step will be turning it on and configuring your Bios utility (this is where we tell the computer what to do when the power is turned on), from there you need to install your Operating system and other software needed to run your computer. I have covered this in detail on another post called How to install the Operating System.
If you still have questions, ask away below in the comment section and I will get right back to you, just remember there are no dumb questions, the only bad question is the one that doesn’t get asked.
Have a wonderful day and a fun time in building your computer. 🙂