Today, buying a PC is very simple. You just walk into a computer store or visit an online shop and purchase a complete unit that is ready for use. However, learning how to assemble a computer can be a handy skill, especially if you want to buy your computer in parts and build your own PC or have disassembled your PC for whatever reason. This article will teach you how to assemble a PC on your own.
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Understanding the Anatomy of a Computer System
Before you start your assembling project, it is important to understand the core components of a computer system so that you can acquire the necessary parts. A computer system has many components but here are the most basic parts:
- The Central Processing Unit (CPU) – Also known as the processor, the CPU is the ‘brain’ of the computer which processes instructions and data from software and other components.
Motherboard – This a complex circuit board which hosts the RAM and the CPU. Other components such as the peripherals, storage drives and networking cables plug into this board.
- RAM – The Random Access Memory is temporary storage which stores data for the tasks being processed.
- Storage – You can either use the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) or the Solid-State Drive (SSD) for long-term storage of data. The latter is pricier but a bit faster.
- Power Supply Unit (PSU) – The component that converts power from your socket to the motherboard. Without the PSU nothing of your computer system will operate.
- Case – This is the box that houses all the other components of the computer. It will also determine the final look of the PC. It is important to choose a case that can accommodate your motherboard and compatible with all other internal components.
Step 1: Getting Started
Once you have purchased the different components of your computer system, it is now time to put them together into a single working unit.
- Confirm that you have all the parts ready and are compatible with each other.
- Unpack the parts and remove all the packing materials from your working area, then arrange the components neatly on the floor or a table with a large and flat top surface.
- Caution: Avoid working on the carpet as it has static electric power, which can damage the electronic components.
- Now open the empty computer case (from the main side panel) to start the assembling project.
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Step 2: Positioning the Power Supply Unit (PSU)
It is advisable to start by fitting the PSU into its place first as other components can make it difficult to fit it.
- Identify the intended PSU bay in the case and position the unit with the fan facing the vents (for most case designing the PSU’s fan points downward).
- If you cannot identify the space set for the PSU, consult the case instruction manual for proper position of the component.
- Place the PSU into its bay, aligning the mounting holes in both the PSU and the case.
- Secure the power supply unit with screws.
Step 3: Install the Motherboard
It is important to confirm that the I/O ports on the motherboard match the number and arrangement of the holes on the case.
- Locate the motherboard rear I/O shield and slide it into the slot at the back of the case.
- Align the motherboard right-side up, ensure that the arrangement of the I/O ports matches the pattern of the holes on the I/O shield.
- Now lay down the motherboard on the large space of the case matching all the 4 edges with the standoffs.
- Secure the motherboard in place using the right screws.
Step 4: Inserting the CPU to the Motherboard
- Slide the spring-retention arm up, then lift the securing bracket, and gently place the process into the socket, matching the golden triangular mark with its twin on the bracket.
- Lock the processor in place by securing the bracket to its original place and then slide the retention back.
- Now your processor in fully installed. For some CPUs, you may need to mount a cooler.
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Step5: Install the Memory (RAM)
- Look for the RAM slot on your motherboard; push down the clips at the edge(s) of the slot to open.
- Match the RAM notch with the raised part of the slot and press it firmly in place.
- If inserted correctly, the clips should automatically move up, locking the memory in the slot.
Step 5: Mount the PC Storage
- Look for the pre-installed hard drive bay and fit the drive in the space. You can follow the manual instructions to identify and fix the disk depending on the type.
- Slide the HDD into the bay until the screw holes on the sides are aligned to the holes the chassis.
- Insert and tighten the screws to hold the drive firmly on the case.
Step 6: Plugin All Components to the Motherboard
Use the right cables and pins to plug in all the components to the motherboard. Make sure that all the wires/cables have been connected to their respective pins to allow interaction between the computer parts.
Step 7: Testing your PC
Before you close the case, it is advisable to test the PC to confirm that it is running correctly.
- Connect the PC to other I/O devices such as the keyboard, mouse and a display.
- Plug in the power cable and power on the computer.
- On the BIOs screen, you can tweak a few settings to your liking. After you confirm that everything is working correctly, you can now reattach the case panels and install the OS and other programs.
While to many people assembling a PC seems complicated, having the right components and the above skills makes it a straightforward process for anyone. With the above steps, you can build your own custom PC by purchasing your preferred parts and assembling the computer on your own.
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