The First-Timer’s Guide to Building a Computer from Scratch

If you’ve never accomplished it earlier than, the idea of constructing a pc from the floor up can appear very intimidating—but it is one of the maximum fulfilling projects a tech enthusiast can tackle.


Being extra of a software program gal than a hardware geek myself, i used to be the handiest Lifehacker editor who had never built a laptop from scratch. So after I needed a new laptop late last year, I took the plunge and constructed my custom gadget. i’m so happy I did—the challenge grew to become out to be one in every of my proudest accomplishments of 2008. if you’ve cracked open your pc earlier than to install a new hard drive or tv capture card, but you’ve got never constructed an entire new device from the ground up, it’s now not as difficult as you may suppose. here are my notes for first-timers who need to construct in place of purchase their next laptop.

Why build instead of purchase

“But computer systems are so reasonably-priced in recent times,” you say. “Why waste the time and strength building your own gadget when you could get a first rate gadget fully assembled and shipped to your door?” this is a wonderful question. building your personal laptop will no longer prevent time. it would prevent cash, however that is now not even the fine cause to do it. For me, it was a notable arms-on educational enjoy. It gives me a deep sense of delight every unmarried day when I press the strength button on my tower, watch it light up, and know that I plugged within the wire that is going from that light to the motherboard. building your laptop takes the mystery out of what’s happening interior that black field you spend hours on per day.

What you are stepping into

Don’t get me incorrect, even though: building a pc (for the first time specially) takes research, time, gumption, patience, and a willingness to cope with several WTF moments. if you’ve in no way cracked a laptop’s case and mounted elements, like a brand new hard drive or a video card, start there first. if you’ve got that experience underneath your belt, you may think that building a new laptop is just a be counted of snapping collectively some components. it’s far, but building from the floor up takes plenty extra than an hour or . My construct took two full days, one on-line order, one back motherboard,  trips to Fry’s, one condescending sneer from a sales accomplice once I requested a new question, and one ride to Radio Shack. If that seems like a lot, well, it was, and there were moments in the process once I wished i might just sold a Dell. however when it eventually all came together, all the sweat makes the consequences even sweeter.
Where to start: getting to know and shopping for Your components

You scared off but? No? appropriate. let’s get down to it. There are a gadzillion articles at the internet approximately building your own computer, however many are manner out of date, or simply don’t get specific about what precisely you should purchase. once I had to start gaining knowledge of what elements to purchase, of course I turned to savvy Lifehacker readers to help me out. several readers cited Ars Technica’s terrific gadget buyer’s manual, which breaks down precisely what parts you’ll need for one in all three ranges of laptop: a “budget field,” a “hot rod,” or a “God container.” The 2008 guide posted ultimate fall; make sure you operate the most current one whilst you begin your studies. I began by using plugging elements from Ars’ “hot rod” system listing into Newegg to get a experience of rate and spot if there have been any offers, coupons or enhancements. ultimately I did not use Ars’ exact tips, but it become an first rate, up-to-date, leaping-off factor.

Get Down and dirty

Once you have got your hot little fingers on all the parts you need, the actual a laugh starts. There are  ranges in your construct: the hardware level, and the software program stage. Adam’s already blanketed the way to set up every person hardware issue right here’s the list:

  • deploy the motherboard and CPU
  • set up your RAM
  • install the video card
  • install the tough drive and DVD force

as soon as you have got the entirety plugged in and installed inside your case, depart the case aspects off and plug to your keyboard, mouse, reveal, and strength, and press the On button this is the instant of truth. The first time you spot the lighting fixtures come on and the device setup appear on-display screen, you may experience like you have simply arrived at the top of Mount Everest.

Once you’re into the system’s BIOS setup, key around and ensure the motherboard acknowledges your DVD or CD drive and your hard drive. you may need the ones running so as to install your running machine. everything there? Now set your boot collection to test your optical power first. Insert your working gadget’s disc into your CD or DVD force, and restart the system. Now your operating gadget’s setup will release on boot, and you could install away.

  • Examine the frakkin’ guide. With years of tinkering in my pc’s case beneath my belt, I went into my build keen to begin running and handiest skimmed the person publications and on-line howto’s earlier than I started out. don’t try this.
  • Provide your self masses of time. I wrongly assumed i would be able to finish my construct in an afternoon, however it took two entire days and confused me out because they had been paintings days. don’t construct a brand new pc whilst you’re on deadline or in any other case pinched for time.

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