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How-to: Build A PC

Building a PC can be a daunting task. It takes research and patience. Rushing through a build can create immediate or intermittent issues. In this tutorial, I'll walk you through the process of of installing the PC components and provide some handy tips along the way. This tutorial uses parts for an Intel based system. The parts for an AMD based system are similar; the only difference is the motherboard and processor. I'll toss in a brief segway into AMD processor installations for those of you going with the underdog. Let's get started!


Gather the components. The components I use in this build are listed in parenthesis.
The bare minimum components you need are

  • power supply (Antec Earthwatts 380 Watt)
  • motherboard (ECS G31T-M)
  • processor (CPU) and heatsink (Intel E5200 2.5GHz)
  • memory (2x1GB DDR2 Crucial Ballistix)
  • video card (EVGA 8800GTS 320MB)
The other components in a standard computer are
  • optical drive (none, I use an external USB DVDRW)
  • hard drive (SATA: Maxtor 160GB, IDE: Samsung 80GB)
  • case (Cooler Master Centurion 5)


magnetic screwdriver

gloves (latex will do, but antistatic gloves are better)
cable ties
cable mounts
thumb screws
thermal compound
cleaning rag
rubbing alcohol


First things first, read the motherboard and case manuals! It will have important information that you will need for the install process. Have them within arms reach during the build. Clear a large work area. This makes it much easier to find small things you may drop. Gather all the tools and components needed for your build. Inspect all the components to ensure it hasn't been damaged during shipping.
A magnetic screwdriver makes it easier to guide the screw into it's hole. A flat head screwdriver makes turning the Intel heatsink pin easier if you need to remove it.
Gloves serve two purposes: they protect your hands from nicks and scratches and the prevent the oil on your hands from contacting the components. Cable ties and mounts organize the plethora of cables inside the case. It will help with airflow and prevent wires from hitting fans. Thumb screws ease the removal of the side panel. Thermal compound, a cleaning rag, and rubbing alcohol are needed if you want to replace the existing compound with something that transfers heat better.

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