How to make a PC: Hardware Tips, Instructions, and More

If you are beating yourself up about nothing being productive while there is no end to pandemia, stop. Sometimes there’s really nothing exactly what you need. At other times, it’s nice to do anything with your own hands. That’s part of this tutorial: how to make a PC from scratch.

It can be scary for many reasons – it’s expensive, it’s complicated, can be confusing. But I want to be clear: If you can make an Ikea desk, book lump, bed, or anything that comes in more than one of those tricky heavy flat packages, you can have a PC. The hard part? I won’t tell you how to build your PC. Not really. Not unless I know exactly what hardware you are using. I can, however, explain what each ingredient does and what my recommendations are for each category.

Once you’ve built your shiny new PC, it may be time to check out a few more things to make your new crime partner more useful. Be sure to have a look at our instructions for best gaming keyboards, best mice to play with, best gaming headsets, ug best game managers.

Updated October 2021: We added new hardware to the motherboard, storage, case, and coolers categories, and updated the buying advice.

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What do you need?

No matter what your level of experience, you have to use it PCPartPicker. It not only has everything you need to buy, it also allows you to build your PC piece right on the website, making sure all your hardware players are the same. It even has some build examples that you can tweak to your liking.

It doesn’t matter what kind of PC you build (home office or play), the ingredients you need are the same. You will need a motherboard, a central processing unit (CPU), storage, memory, a power supply, a case, and a monitor. The only thing you probably don’t need if you mostly use this PC for home-office tasks is a GPU (graphic processing unit), but it is necessary for photo or video editing and gaming. That’s a lot of stuff, so the following is a little breakdown of what each component does, along with some hardware recommendations.

Before diving in, you need to know that there is a whole world lack of PC components today, especially graphic cards, and prices in general continue to rise. Without the features, the best advice we can give is to wait. Things will later return to normal.


Every other component plugs into this circuit board. This is the path they use to communicate and collaborate. They vary in size and configuration, and each is as slightly different, but they all fill the same functionality. One thing to look for: Make sure you know what processor you want to go for before you buy a motherboard.

Motherboards come in a couple flavors, but the more important thing is to know how different this socket is. There are usually two: LGA and AM. You will often find them listed with a number next to them, such as “LGA1150” or “AM3.” The exact numbers after the LGA and AM parts of these socket names will be changed over time, to show which generation of Intel or AMD chips they support, but current standards are until 2021 (which will work with the latest chips from any manufacturer) LGA1200 for Intel and AM4 for AMD.

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