Build Your Own PC/Computer

All of the information you need to build your own PC/computer

An Antec P180 ATX PC case with its side panel removed showing the motherboard, power supply unit (bottom left) and drive bays (down the right-hand side)

An Antec P180 ATX PC case with its side panel removed showing the motherboard, power supply unit (bottom left) and drive bays (down the right-hand side)

This section of this website provides all of the information required to build your own PC and install Windows, the latest versions of which are called Windows 10 (Home and Pro versions), released on July 29, 2015.

Click here! to skip the preamble and go directly to the CONTENTS menu.

Building a desktop PC is not very difficult. Moreover, once you know how to build a PC that works after Windows or an alternative operating system has been installed, you’ll know how to repair one should any of its hardware components fail.

Buy components new and from the same supplier

Unless you are an experienced PC builder, do yourself a favour, do your best to buy the components from the same supplier and buy new components, not used ones. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble if you have to return anything. If you buy from different suppliers, you have to keep all of the invoices. Note  that processors and RAM can be difficult to return because the supplier tends to assume that the buyer screwed them up by not installing them properly. Processors and SSD drives very seldom fail or come dead on arrival. Data recovery companies very rarely get failed SSD drives sent in for data recover.

PCI Express (PCIe) backwards compatibility

PCIe 4.0: What’s New and Why It Matters –

“PCIe is also backward compatible. If you have a PCIe 4.0 graphics card [or a PCIe NVMe SSD] you can use it with a motherboard designed for PCIe 3.0; however, the card’s available bandwidth would be limited to the capabilities of PCIe 3.0. Conversely, a PCIe 3.0 card can fit in a PCIe 4.0 slot, but again it would be limited by PCIe 3.0.”

https://www.howtogeek.com/424453/pcie-4.0-whats-new-and-why-it-matters/

If you have built your own PC that uses an AMD processor check for device driver updates

If you own a brand-name PC, check its manufacturer’s website for device-driver updates. However, if you have built your own PC and it uses an AMD processor, check the AMD website for driver updates. Unfortunately, this is necessary because AMD does not update its CPU drivers automatically. Driver updates fix problems such as performance and security issues and bugs. Watch the following video that discusses this and demonstrates how to update AMD drivers.

The One Thing You MUST Do Differently If You Have An AMD System –

Use an an alternative operating system to Windows

You might want to use a version of Linux instead of Windows.If you just want to build a workstation that connects to the web, you can save money by using a free distribution of Linux. You only have to pay for a distribution of Linux in order to receive support.

If it is an old PC that can only run a version of Windows that Microsoft no longer supports, it should work just fine using a distribution of Linux.

Moreover, you can use the install disc of Ubuntu Linux and Mint Linux as a rescue disc. It boots the system as a fully-featured version without installing itself on the hard disk or SSD drive.

Switch to Linux Mint, a secure, reliable operating system

You just have to buy a few components and then assemble them. The components are: PC case, power supply unit (PSU), hard disk drive or SSD drive, CD/DVD/Blu-ray drive, motherboard, processor & processor cooling unit, RAM memory modules, video/graphics card and sound card, if these are not supplied by chips on the motherboard. The motherboard can come with graphics and sound chips but these are only suitable for a workstation not for high-intensity computing such as video editing and playing PC games. The best option is to buy a case without a power supply and then buy your own quality unit because the case might not come with one of sufficient quality.

After the introduction, which provides very useful general self-build information, all of the internal components of a PC are dealt with in detail – the case and power supply unit, the motherboard, processor and RAM memory and the storage (hard disk and SSD drives) and optical CD/DVD disc drives, etc. The keyboard and mouse just have to be plugged into the PC using a USB or PS/2 port. I still have desktop PCs that still use an old-technology PS/2 keyboard and mouse.

Note that images are only provided as illustrations where words alone don’t get the job done properly. I feel certain that I would have been able to build a PC successfully for the first time using only the information provided here. However, if anything is unclear, you can use web searches to clarify matters by using suitable search queries. YouTube is an excellent source of component-installation videos.

CONTENTS

1.Foreword, Disclaimer and Warnings

2.  – Introduction to building a desktop PC

3.Cables, case modding, device drivers, BIOS/UEFI

4.The PC case and power supply unit (PSU)

5.The PC case is a neglected component

6.If the power supply unit fails dramatically…

7.Some useful case and component cooling information

8.Detailed PC Power Supply/PSU Information

9.Installation of motherboard, processor (CPU) and RAM memory

10.How to install a motherboard in the case & choices of processor & cooling units

11.Installing the processor (CPU) and its heatsink-and-fan or liquid-cooling units

12. How to install DDR/DDR2/DDR3/DDR4 RAM memory

13.SATA hard disk drives, SSD and CD/DVD/Blu-ray drives

14.Installing CD/DVD/Blu-ray optical drives

15.Installing video/graphics and sound cards

16.Install a PCI, PCIe and external USB sound card

17.How to connect a sound card to other devices and configure Windows

18.Desktop PC installation checklist and the installation of Windows 7/8.1/10

RELEVANT POSTS ON THIS WEBSITE

POSTWhat to do if a faulty processor/CPU is the cause when Win10 fails to install on a new build PC

POST: High-end AMD motherboard and Ryzen CPU PC freezes due to automatic BIOS overclocking set by default

POST: PC building details that make or break a build

POST: Cause of a slow M.2 SSD on AMD-based motherboard

POST: Steps you take to diagnose the dead  motherboard of a desktop PC

POST: Replace the motherboard without reinstalling Windows 7/8.1/10

POST: Immediate computer startup shutdown problem: Faulty reset switch causes computer shutdown during startup

POST: Using the slmgr command to transfer Win10 license to a new PC/computer or activate Windows via the Command Prompt

POST: Microsoft processor support – Only Windows 10 given support on the latest AMD and Intel Processors (CPUs) – but fixes are available – plus how to disable Win10 data-gathering (telemetry)

POSTUpgrade Win7 PC to Win10 or build or buy a new one?

POST: How to get Win10 free and use it free any time after the July 29 2016 deadline for the free offer

POST: How to find out if a PC’s motherboard provides particular graphics card support

Next page: Foreword, Disclaimer and Warnings