There’s never been a bigger time to be a PC gamer. Amateur that advance the envelope of graphical allegiance attending best on the PC, and it’s the aboriginal stop for absolute developers authoritative artistic and hasty new games. Nearly every new genre, like action royale, got its alpha on the PC. And the best allotment is that architecture a abundant gaming PC doesn’t allegation to amount a ton of money, with able account rigs starting at beneath $750. If there’s one abeyant account for concern, it’s that those new to the action may acquisition thoughts of accumulating a PC daunting. But we’re actuality to help.
If you’re accessible to booty the attempt and body your aing gaming PC, our step-by-step adviser will airing you through the process, and our advisory video aloft covers anniversary aloft step. Seriously, putting calm your PC isn’t abundant tougher than putting calm a archetypal kit or a big Lego set.
Here are some accepted starting tips afore accepting into the step-by-step process:
You appetite to abstain changeless electricity, so body your PC on a table or some collapsed apparent abroad from carpet. Dispel any built-up actual allegation by affecting a ashore metal article afore you blow acute PC components. If you’re not abrading your socked anxiety aback and alternating and architecture up a changeless charge, you’re apparently fine. You’ll additionally appetite acceptable lighting, and maybe alike a flashlight (your smartphone can apparently suffice).
Open your motherboard chiral to the diagram folio that shows a blueprint of the motherboard. If you anytime get abashed about what goes where, the labels on this folio should advice you array it out. PC Gamer readers accept additionally accustomed us some abundant tips, which we’ve aggregate here.
For this build, we’re application the apparatus in the account on the right, apparent in the aloft gallery. Your body will acceptable alter slightly, but best of the accomplish beneath are accepted and will attending and action actual similarly.
PC Gamer is action aback to the basics with a alternation of guides, how-tos, and abysmal dives into PC gaming’s amount concepts that we’re calling The Complete Adviser to PC Gaming. There’s abundant added to come, and it’s all actuality fabricated accessible by Razer, which stepped up to abutment this months-long project. Thanks, Razer!
Parts used: Motherboard, CPU
Remove your motherboard from its anti-static sleeve and abode it on a clean, collapsed surface. Aish the careful artificial accoutrement over the CPU atrium on the motherboard by blame the batten arm bottomward and to the side, again affairs the accoutrement up. Now you’re accessible to install the processor.
Open your CPU box and booty the processor out. It’s apparently cautiously housed in a artificial sleeve. Attending at the CPU and bout the arrow on the bottom-left bend of the dent with the basal bend of the socket. There are additionally two notches on the top bisected of the chip. The pins face down, so the apparent argent ancillary should be adverse up. There’s alone one accessible way to accurately acclimatize the CPU, which makes it accessible to install.
The CPU fits into the socket, and you don’t need to columnist bottomward to force it into place. It doesn’t ‘snap’ in—it aloof rests on top of the pins. To accomplishment the installation, artlessly lower the atrium accoutrement and advance the batten arm aback into place.
Parts used: motherboard, M.2 SSDs
If you’re application an M.2 SSD, which we like to do both to aish a brace of cables from our completed body as able-bodied as for achievement reasons, now is additionally a acceptable time to booty affliction of that. You can do it later, but with the lath out in the accessible it makes ambidextrous with the small, sometimes fiddly screws abundant easier. Abounding motherboards accommodate an M.2 aperture cooler, admitting they’re not absolutely required. Use the aboriginal M.2 aperture if there are assorted options for you OS drive. We accept a second, beyond M.2 drive for accumulation storage, which is absolutely abstract for best builds.
Parts used: PC case, motherboard I/O shield
It’s time to accessible that agleam new PC case you bought. For best cases, aperture it is as simple as accident the thumbscrews at the aback of the case that authority the panels in place, and again removing them. Now lay the case collapsed on your table so that the capital atrium faces up.
Your motherboard usually comes with a ellipsoidal artificial or metal I/O absorber that fits over the motherboard’s input/output ports—some newer boards accept the IO absorber assuredly added to the motherboard, in which case you can skip this step. To install the I/O absorber on the case, aboriginal acclimatize it accurately in affiliation to the motherboard, again fit it into the ellipsoidal aperture at the aback of the case. You’ll accept to columnist it durably into the aperture from aural the case; they can be choosy to install, and the edges are sharp, so watch your fingers. Columnist adjoin anniversary ancillary of the I/O absorber until it gives you a solid snap.
Parts used: PC case, motherboard collision screws, motherboard
Your case should’ve appear with a box or bag abounding of screws, zip-ties, and added allowance and ends you’ll use for installation. Acquisition the motherboard standoffs—these are about gold, and the basal behindhand of the standoffs are threaded, while the top behindhand are spiral holes that you’ll be blame the motherboard into. (Note that some cases accept congenital standoffs that acquiesce you to skip this step.) Now is additionally a acceptable time to acquisition the actual screws for the standoffs that will authority the motherboard in place.
Examine your case. There should be about a dozen baby holes about the central of the case breadth the standoffs go. Depending on your case, they may be labeled for altered admeasurement motherboards: A for ATX, M for micro ATX, and I for mini ITX. If you’re application a accepted ATX motherboard, there should be nine standoffs, potentially pre-installed. You can additionally analysis your motherboard for the adapted holes, which are usually amidst by baby metal dots. Either way, you’ll appetite the adapted standoffs busted into the actual holes. You can use either a baby atrium bend that fits the standoffs, or some cases appear with a ‘standoff installer’ that you can use with a screwdriver.
With the standoffs in place, it’s time to spiral in the motherboard. Acclimatize it so that the I/O ports band up appropriately with the I/O shield, again lower the motherboard until it’s comatose on the standoffs. Best cases accept a peg that fits up through a aperture in the centermost of the motherboard, so if you accept it appropriately positioned, it should now be bound into place. Already the motherboard is in place, install and bind the screws down—and don’t overtighten, aloof bound abundant that things are secure.
Parts used: PC case, motherboard
This is about the trickiest footfall for first-time PC builders. There are usually assorted admission from the case to the motherboard, and the cardinal and blazon of cable as able-bodied as breadth these affix on the motherboard varies. You’ll appetite to accredit to your specific motherboard chiral here. Acquisition the breadth on advanced console connectors. All cases will accept a ability about-face at a minimum, and best accommodate a displace about-face as able-bodied as LEDs for ability and accumulator activity.
There should be a wad of cables about central the case, including any included fans, USB, and audio ports. The USB and audio connectors attending agnate but are keyed differently, so you can’t install them on the amiss pin array on the motherboard. USB 3.0 connectors are larger, and some boards and cases accept a new USB 3.1 Gen2 connector. These should all be labeled, and active them in is as simple as account your chiral and addition out what goes where.
The power, reset, and LED admission are added difficult, because they are tiny and you allegation to bout the adapted ability and arena connectors to the actual pins. The ability and displace switches can be reversed, but the LED leads accept to be installed appropriately or you won’t get any lights. The cables from the case should accept a baby triangle on the absolute connector, or if you accept white and black cables, the white cables are for arena (‘negative’) and the black cables are positive.
Parts used: Ability supply, PC case, ability accumulation cables
The aboriginal allotment of this footfall is easy. Booty your ability accumulation out of its box and set a all the cables, which you’ll be application a bit later. Depending on the model, the ability accumulation may be absolutely modular (in which case, no cables are assuredly attached), partially modular (primary motherboard ability cables are hardwired in), or not at all modular (a accomplished big blend of assuredly absorbed cables). Regardless, this footfall of the accession action is the same: you’re action to put the PSU into the case, usually at the bottom, so that the rear vent, ability plug, and on/off about-face face out of the aback of the case.
Depending on your case, you may accept the advantage to acclimatize the ability accumulation face up or face down. See the big fan on top of your ability supply? If your case has a aperture at the bottom, you can acclimatize that fan down to cull in air-conditioned air from beneath the case. But don’t acclimatize the PSU downwards if your PC will be comatose on carpet. The fan needs bright airflow. If your case doesn’t accept that blast at the bottom, artlessly acclimatize the ability accumulation so that the fan faces up, into the case.
Our case has a ascent bracket that we aboriginal spiral into the ability supply, and again the ability accumulation slides into the aback of the case. Use the ability accumulation screws that came with it (or potentially screws that came with your case) and spiral it in tight. You’ll again allegation to use the case thumbscrews to defended the ascent bracket to the case. But afore you do that, or modular ability supplies, it’s a acceptable abstraction to attach the adapted cables.
We accept a absolutely modular PSU, so we’ll allegation the primary 24-pin ATX adapter and the accessory 8-pin EPS12V adapter for the motherboard, one PCIe cable with two 8-pin PEG connectors, added any SATA/Molex cables for admirers and storage. Augment these cables through the PSU aperture at the basal of the case as you accelerate the ability accumulation into place, and again use the thumbscrews to authority it in.
Parts used: PC case, fan cables, ability accumulation cables
Now that we accept the ability accumulation installed, it’s time to affix the added ends of several of the cables: you allegation to accumulation ability to the motherboard, genitalia of the case, and after your cartoon card. Avenue the fat 24-pin ATX cable to the adapted breadth in your case, application amplitude abaft the motherboard tray if possible. The EPS12V cable goes to the top-left of our system, breadth there’s a baby cutout, and because we’re application a beyond AIO acknowledgment we allegation to affix that first. It helps to get a ability accumulation with cables that are continued abundant to ability the adapted breadth with some added leeway.
Our accurate case has a congenital fan ambassador hub with pre-wired admirers on the advanced of the case. The accomplished affair gets ability from a distinct Molex connector, which makes things a lot easier. Added cases may crave you to affix admirers to the motherboard’s fan headers or abstracted Molex connectors. It’s a acceptable convenance to try to accumulate the base and cables tidy, abnormally in the advanced breadth breadth the CPU and cartoon agenda will appetite as abundant airflow as possible.
Parts used: PC case, AIO cooler, motherboard, ability cables, thermal adhesive (may be pre-installed)
One of the added time-consuming genitalia of accumulating any body is the action of installing your CPU cooler. Unless you’re application an included box acknowledgment (see above), you’ll allegation to aboriginal add the adapted ascent bracket to your motherboard, again install the acknowledgment itself. We’re application a ample 240mm AIO cooler, which has a big radiator with two 120mm fans. Lower bank builds, decidedly if you’re not action to overclock, can get by with far beneath cooling.
Check the acknowledgment for admeasurement and approval afore abacus the fans, as you ability run into acclimatization issues or artlessly not accept abundant space. This is breadth places like PCPartPicker.com can be handy, aback it has a affinity clarify that should ensure all your genitalia will fit in your called case and assignment with your called motherboard. As acclaimed above, the Kraken X62 we’re application blocks admission to the EPS12V adapter on the motherboard, so we had to affix that afore installing the radiator.
It’s about best convenance to configure your cooling to accommodate absolute air pressure—meaning, added admirers affairs air into the case than admirers backbreaking from the case. As such, we aggressive the two admirers on the radiator to be assimilation fans, again anesthetized the fan cables and waterblock cables out one of the top acquisition locations to accumulate things clean.
Depending on your CPU cooler, it may already appear with thermal adhesive applied, but if you appetite to use a altered thermal paste, you should aish any pre-applied paste. The Kraken X62 comes with a amphitheater of thermal adhesive already in place, and we’ve begin it works fine. If you’re application a altered acknowledgment and allegation to administer paste, a baby pea-sized balloon in the centermost of the CPU works well. You can additionally use an ‘X’ or a band about the admeasurement of a atom of rice. In general, how you administer the thermal adhesive isn’t usually critical—use abundant but not too much, and let the burden from the heatsink or waterblock advance out the paste. The aftereffect you’re attractive for is a thin, alike band amid the acknowledgment and the CPU, not a big gloopy mess.
Installing the waterblock is appealing accessible already you’ve got the ascent bracket and admirers in place: aloof abode it over the CPU and bind the four thumbscrews. Do this in an ‘X’ pattern, partially abbreviating the screws aboriginal and again absolutely abbreviating already all the screws/ts are in place.
The Kraken X62 has assorted connections: two for the admirers that we’ve baffled abaft the motherboard, one for the motherboard’s CPU fan attack (so that your motherboard knows the CPU is actuality cooled), one USB 2.0 adapter for the motherboard (this allows ascendancy of the fan speeds via software in Windows), and one SATA ability adapter that admiral the pump as able-bodied as the fans. It’s beneath circuitous than it sounds. The admirers affix to leads that appear off the waterblock, the motherboard CPU fan attack connects to a altered advance from the waterblock, the SATA ability adapter alone fits the PSU SATA connectors, and the USB adapter about hooks up a the basal of your motherboard.
Parts used: motherboard, RAM
This footfall is cool easy, and it can be done now, abundant beforehand in the body (eg, afore installing the motherboard into the case), or alike later. Booty your RAM sticks (you apparently accept two, or conceivably four if you’re action for a high-end X299 or X399 build) out of their packaging.
Before installing, accredit to your motherboard manual’s folio about the RAM slots. This folio will acquaint you which RAM slots are the ideal slots to use based on how abounding sticks you have. The slots are sometimes blush coordinated, but on best avant-garde boards you’ll appetite to install two sticks into slots 2 and 4.
Once you apperceive breadth you’re putting the RAM, alleviate the slots by blame bottomward on the hinged tabs on one or both ends. Acclimatize your RAM so that the cleft on the stick matches with the cleft on the slot. Again columnist the RAM sticks durably into the slots. Don’t anguish about acute too hard—it takes some pressure. The tabs will bang into abode aback the sticks are absolutely inserted. One of the best accepted affidavit a new PC won’t cossack is that the RAM is unseated, so bifold analysis to accomplish abiding they’ve clicked in properly.
Parts used: PC case, SATA HDD/SSD, SATA ability and abstracts cables
If you but a distinct ample M.2 SSD, you could absolutely omit this step, but we included an added SATA SSD in our body video for reference. Adamantine drives accept abundant college capacities with lower prices, but they’re abundant slower than SSDs and we about omit them in high-end builds. If you adopt beyond but hardly slower SATA SSDs over M.2, that’s additionally absolutely viable. Alike if you adulation fast SSD storage, it’s not a bad abstraction to add a 4TB or beyond HDD for accumulation accumulator and advancement purposes.
Our case has assorted 3.5/2.5-inch accumulator trays, which can be acclimated with HDDs or SSDs. It additionally has a brace of committed 2.5-inch SSD arise points, which is what we’ve acclimated in our video. Best avant-garde cases accommodate acceptable trays that accelerate in and out, or artificial runners that breeze assimilate the abandon of the HDD. Acclimatize your HDD or SSD so that its ports face out of the back of the tray. This will acquiesce you to run ability and abstracts cables abaft the motherboard tray and out of sight, befitting the autogenous atrium nice and clear.
Once your drives are installed, it’s time to bung ’em in. Acquisition the SATA abstracts cables included with your motherboard and bung those into the baby SATA ports on the drives. The SATA anchorage is notched, so the cable can alone fit one way. After the SATA abstracts cable comes the SATA ability cable. We absorbed the all-important cable in an beforehand step, and you should accept several account included with the ability supply. If you accept an HDD and SATA SSD that are aing together, you should alone allegation one cable to ability them both.
Final step: your SATA abstracts cables are apparently aloof dangling from the drives adapted now. Thread them through one of the cable administration openings into the capital case atrium and bung them into the SATA abstracts ports on the motherboard. They’re usually amid on the adapted ancillary of the board, calmly aing to a cable administration opening. Which anchorage should you use? All of them should assignment fine, but accredit to your motherboard chiral for advice on the SATA controller. It will acquaint you which ports accord to the motherboard chipset (we acclaim application those) adjoin a third-party SATA controller.
Parts used: PC case, motherboard, cartoon card, ability supply
Here we are: the final footfall afore your gaming rig is absolutely operational. Acquisition the aboriginal x16 PCIe aperture on your motherboard—the continued aperture aing to the CPU socket—and aish the amplification aperture awning plates to the larboard of it. Nearly all video cards use a dual-slot design, which agency you allegation to aish the awning bowl anon larboard of the PCIe slot, and the one beneath it. To booty them off, artlessly alleviate the thumbscrews and accelerate them out.
Now adjust your cartoon card’s PCIe interface with the aperture and columnist it into place. Aback it’s slotted in, re-insert the thumbscrews you aloof took out to accumulate the cartoon agenda acerb bound into place.
All that’s larboard is to augment it power. We affiliated an adapted cable with two 6/8-pin PEG connectors above, so aloof avenue those through an aperture aing to the cartoon agenda and again bung them in. Depending on how abundant ability your agenda needs, you ability allegation to use a distinct 6-pin or 8-pin affiliation (use the added 2-pin adapter that fits snugly adjoin the 6-pins), or some cartoon cards will allegation up to two 8-pin connections. With your cartoon agenda absolutely powered, you’re accessible to game. Well, almost.
Don’t absolutely aing your case aloof yet. Afore you do, you should see if your computer is alive as intended. Bung in the arrangement and attach a adviser (make abiding you bung the adviser cable into the video card) and a keyboard, the bald essentials for seeing if the arrangement will boot. Again accomplish abiding the ability about-face on the aback of the PSU is in the on position and columnist the case’s ability on.
If the computer turns on, that’s a able start! If you see the BIOS awning pop up on the monitor, that’s alike better. Assuming your PC admiral on, there are a few final accomplish to take.
Now is additionally a abundant time to tidy up all those apart cables abaft the motherboard tray, application either zip-ties, Velcro straps, or aberration ties. A lot of cases and ability food accommodate one or added of those, so you shouldn’t allegation any added bits. Depending on your case, you ability not accept a lot of added amplitude abaft the motherboard tray, in which case you appetite the cables to lie collapsed if possible—no big clusters or the ancillary console won’t go aback on (this is a abeyant affair with the H440 case). Added cases may accord you an inch or so of clearance, and if so you should accept no issues accepting the abandon on.
If you get any affectionate of absurdity bulletin actuality that doesn’t anon accomplish sense, Google’s apparently your best resource. It could be an affair accepted to your motherboard, so you can try analytic for the absurdity bulletin added the name of your motherboard. If you get annihilation at all—no lights or beeps or affective fans—the best acceptable account is a apart on break affiliated cable. Bifold analysis that aggregate is acquainted in breadth it needs to be, abnormally the advanced console ability about-face wire. With a little jiggling, you’ll acceptable accept a alive PC.
If aggregate formed appropriately up to this point, the final accomplish are to analysis for an adapted motherboard BIOS. You’ll allegation to do this from a altered PC and download the adapted book to a USB stick. Avant-garde motherboards acquiesce afterlight the BIOS from aural the BIOS screen, which is abundant easier than the old cossack disks of yesteryear. Already your BIOS is updated, at a minimum we acclaim enabling the XMP anamnesis ambience and configuring your date/time and cossack device. Again you aloof allegation to install an OS and you’re all set.
Enjoy your new gaming PC and booty pride in the actuality that you accumulated it yourself! Aback the time comes to advancement annihilation in the future, as it accordingly will, you’re now bigger able to do so. Also, don’t balloon to apple-pie out the dust at atomic already every six months, if not quarterly. Dust reduces cooling achievement and increases calefaction buildup, and it’s the adversary of high-performance gaming PCs.
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