Written by TSTonyVMany of you out there have come to us asking about building your PC. From my experience, I can tell you it's one of the most fun and satisfying things I've learned. If you're interested in building a computer, first check our guide on How to Choose Parts for Your Custom Computer Build. Once you have your parts together, today's guide will help you through the assembly.Getting startedBuilding a PC may seem daunting at first, but it is not as difficult as you might think. I like to call it electronic Legos: as long as you can follow instructions (and have a Phillips head screwdriver), you shouldn't run into any problems. There are a few things I want to make sure I go over before you start assembling it:Build on a flat surface, ideally with a lot of space to make it easy to keep track of everything. Ensure you're building on a non-conductive surface like a wood tabletop to avoid static discharge and possibly shorting something. Ensure you don't have any static buildup by either wearing an anti-static bracelet or touching your hand to some other metal object. Be careful! PC components can be delicate, and if you drop something or force something the wrong way, you can damage them and make them unusable. Preparing the motherboardThe first thing to do is prep your motherboard for installation before you put it inside your case. It is challenging to work inside the case, so we advise installing as much as we can onto the board beforehand as it makes everything easier. Install the CPULift up the retention lever/bracketLine up the arrow on the socket with the CPU to ensure it is oriented correctly. Drop the CPU into the socket. Don't force it; it should drop in with no resistance. If using an AMD processor, make sure there are no bent pins before installing it. Intel CPUs do not have pins, but the same principle applies. It should just drop into the socket with no resistance. Lower the retention lever/bracket to secure the CPU in place.Install the RAMUndo the clip on the RAM sockets.Check your motherboard manual for the correct slots to install your RAM (typically slots 2 and 4). Installing RAM in the wrong slots can sometimes result in performance issues. Check that the notch in the RAM module is lined up with the slot. Press down evenly and firmly on both sides until you hear the modules fully click into the socket. Install CPU cooler/backplate Unless the CPU cooler gets in the way of plugging in any other cables, I would recommend installing this out of the box as well. CPU coolers will come with backplates to install depending on the CPU socket on your motherboard. Check the installation guide to see which backplate to use and how to install it. Make sure your CPU cooler comes with thermal paste. Most have some pre-applied, but some may require you to buy thermal paste separately and apply. If applying your thermal paste, a pea-sized drop is typically sufficient. Too much thermal paste will cause it to leak out the sides and, in worst-case scenarios, damage something or hinder thermal performance. If you use too little, you won’t have sufficient coverage and will hinder thermal performance. The cooler’s mounting pressure should be sufficient to spread the thermal paste; you can also spread the paste using a tool like the Thermal Grizzly Spatula or something like an old credit card. Make sure it’s spread thin and consistent across the whole CPU.Out-of-box POST testAn out-of-box POST test (also called “breadboarding”) means testing your components to make sure your system boots before you assemble it in your case. This step isn’t required, but we always recommend it because it allows you to make sure your components are all working without dealing with the hassle of disassembling your whole PC should something go wrong. To do this, make sure at least your RAM, CPU, CPU cooler and PSU are hooked up. If your processor does not have integrated graphics, your GPU is also required. Plug in a monitor to your GPU or motherboard as usual. Reminder: make sure you are doing this on a non-conductive surface. If you boot the system and it’s on a conductive surface, you can short your components and damage them. Do NOT put it on top of the anti-static bag that the motherboard and components are often stored. A wooden tabletop or a flat piece of cardboard are both appropriate. Once the 24-pin motherboard power, 8-pin CPU power, and 6/6+2-pin PCIe connectors for your GPU are connected, you need to jump the power switch pins on the motherboard’s front-panel header. To do this, take your screwdriver and gently touch the metal end to both power switch pins on the front-panel header. Check your motherboard manual if you're not sure which pins to use; there will be a section with a diagram showing the pin layout. Make sure your PSU is on by setting the switch on the back to the "I" position. Once you jump the board, if the parts are assembled correctly, and none of them are defective, the fans and lights should come on, and you should get something displaying on your monitor. Either the BIOS or perhaps an error message like “no boot device detected.”Final AssemblyOnce you’ve established that your components work in the out-of-box POST test, it’s time to put it together! I always recommend doing a little planning before actually assembling the system. Look at your case and try to get an idea of how you want to route the cables. Figure out which components should go in first and which should go in last. For example, the GPU is usually the last component you should install because it can block other ports on your board and takes up a lot of space, making it hard to workaround.Keep the system lying down to make it easier to plug in things.Install the PSUThis is always my first step since the PSU is separate from the other components and shouldn't get in the way.If you have a modular PSU, figure out which power cables you will need and put them in first before installing it (CPU, motherboard, GPU power cables, etc.) Make sure PSU is oriented in the right direction so the screws on the back line up correctly. The fan will usually be on the bottom. Route the cables to where you think they'll work best so you can just plug them in and not worry about having to navigate them around other parts.Installing the motherboardMake sure you install the motherboard standoffs in your case. Some cases have standoffs pre-installed; some require you to put them in yourself. There should be an I/O shield that fits into the back of your case to help cover your motherboard’s rear ports; install this before installing the motherboard. Some motherboards do have a built-in I/O shield. If you've already installed your CPU cooler, you may want to take the fans off while leaving the heatsink itself installed, so you have a little more room to work.When installing your motherboard, install the screws one at a time in a diagonal/star pattern: each corner first, next any in between, and do not fully tighten them down until they’re all in place. It will help you avoid any screws not lining up correctly. Plug in other components The next step is plugging in any other components that you need, mainly your drives.M.2 SSDs are installed directly onto the motherboard. HDDs/SSDs will have individual bays for installation. If using a SATA HDD/SSD or other SATA device, make sure both the power and data cables are plugged in. If you are using an AIO liquid cooler, this would be the time to install it. Plug-in fans/cablesYour CPU fan will typically plug in on the top-right corner of your motherboard. Case fan headers can be located in various spots on your motherboard; check your motherboard manual if you’re having trouble finding them. They should all be labelled. Front-panel cables and front-panel USB cables will also need to be plugged in. Check your motherboard manual for the front-panel header layout to make sure you plug each cable onto the right pins. Plug in your CPU/motherboard power cables.Installing the GPUThe GPU is pretty easy to install. Just slot it into the motherboard, then screw the bracket in on the back.We recommend installing the GPU in the top slot, so it’s operating in PCIe x16 mode; this helps avoid any potential slight performance loss. Some motherboards will allow other GPU slots to work in PCIe x16 mode if used, but that’s not always the case. Plug in the 6 and 6+2 PCIe power cables as your GPU needs.ConclusionAfter you have plugged in your GPU and components, plug in your power supply, flip that switch to I, plug in your monitor and try turning your system on! If you did everything correctly and your components are all in good working order, your system should display the BIOS or a similar message on your monitor. Once your build has passed its POST, you'll want to install an operating system! We've created a helpful guide on How to Perform a Clean Install of Windows just for you!