Linus Tech Tips How to Build a PC

To build a PC, start by matching your motherboard to the CPU socket type and confirm it supports your planned hardware. Choose a case that fits your motherboard size and has good cable management. Install your power supply, aligning it for best cooling. Set your motherboard on standoffs to avoid short circuits, then secure it inside the case. Add RAM and SSDs, aiming for at least 8GB of RAM and faster NVMe drives for superior performance. Finally, configure the BIOS settings, setting your SSD as the primary boot drive for quick startups. Continuing will reveal tips on optimizing your build's performance and stability.

Choosing the Right Components

To build your ideal PC, you must first choose the right components, focusing on compatibility and performance to meet your specific needs. Begin by selecting a motherboard that matches the CPU socket type and chipset to make sure they work seamlessly together. This foundational step can't be overlooked if you're aiming for a stable and efficient system.

Next, consider the graphics card, or GPU, which is vital for your visual output, especially if you're into gaming or video editing. You'll want to choose a GPU that not only fits your budget but also supports your desired resolution and performance levels. Whether it's high-end gaming at ultra-settings or standard video rendering, the right GPU will make a significant difference.

System memory, or RAM, is another essential component. Opt for RAM that provides enough capacity and speed to handle your tasks without bottlenecks. For most users, 16GB is a good start, but if you're into more intensive applications, like 3D modeling or professional-grade video editing, you might consider 32GB or more.

Lastly, don't forget about the storage options. SSDs offer faster data access times and durability compared to HDDs, making them a preferable choice for the primary drive where your operating system and most-used applications should reside.

Assembling the PC Case

Once you've selected all your components, begin assembling your PC by first ensuring the case is compatible with the motherboard size. Whether you're working with a large ATX or a small form factor like Mini-ITX, the case must match to avoid any fitting issues. This is important as each type requires different mounting options and space considerations.

Next, turn your attention to installing the power supply. Locate the designated area, typically at the bottom or the top rear of the case. Make sure it's set to allow proper ventilation; poor placement can lead to overheating issues. Slide the power supply into place and secure it with screws. This setup is especially significant in small form factor cases, where space is at a premium and airflow is critical.

Before moving on to the motherboard installation, it's a good idea to plan your cable routing. Use the cable management features provided in your case. These might include velcro straps, tie-down points, or routing holes. Proper cable management isn't just about aesthetics; it improves airflow and cooling efficiency inside the case, ensuring your components stay cool and perform at their best.

Installing the Motherboard

Before you install the motherboard, make sure to place it on the standoffs already installed in the case, as this will prevent any electrical shorts and help align the board correctly. Once it's positioned, secure the motherboard using the screws provided, tightening them evenly to avoid any warping of the board. This step is vital as it guarantees your motherboard sits perfectly stable, ready for all other components.

Here's what you need to do next:

  • Install the CPU and Cooler: Always attach these components before mounting the motherboard. It's much easier to manipulate these delicate parts when you aren't confined by the case.
  • Connect Front Panel Connectors: Pay close attention to these small cables. They're essential for your power button, LEDs, and audio jacks. A misconnection here could mean your system won't start.
  • Route Your Cables: Tidy cable management is important. Route your cables behind the motherboard tray to boost airflow and maintain a clean aesthetic inside your case.
  • Double-check Everything: Before moving on, take a moment to make sure every cable is secure and that nothing is out of place. This can save you headaches later!

Adding Storage and RAM

Now that the motherboard is securely installed, let's focus on boosting your PC's performance by adding storage and RAM.

First, consider your storage options. If you're looking for speed, a solid-state drive (SSD) is your best bet. SSDs, especially those using NVMe technology, offer greatly faster access times and data transfer speeds than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs). They connect via SATA or M.2 interfaces, with M.2 offering the highest speeds. Think about how much capacity you'll need—maybe a smaller SSD for your operating system and frequently used programs, paired with a larger HDD for general storage.

Next, let's talk about RAM. This is essential for multitasking and smooth operation. Start with at least 8GB, but if you're into heavy gaming or video editing, consider 16GB or more. Pay attention to the speed of the RAM as well, measured in MHz; faster RAM will increase your system's responsiveness.

Configuring the BIOS Settings

After installing your storage and RAM, it's crucial to configure the BIOS settings to ensure peak performance and stability of your PC. When you power up for the first time, you'll need to enter the BIOS setup. Typically, this involves hitting a key like Del, F2, or F12 as the system starts. Don't rush; missing this step means a reboot and trying again.

Within the BIOS, you have the power to tweak several settings that directly impact your system performance. Here are some critical adjustments you should consider:

  • CPU Overclocking: Push your processor beyond its base speed, potentially enhancing performance for demanding applications.
  • RAM Frequency: Adjust the frequency to match the capabilities of your RAM, ensuring it operates at peak speed.
  • Fan Speed Controls: Manage your cooling to prevent overheating, critical for system health and longevity.
  • Boot Priority: Set your primary storage device as the first boot option to speed up system starts.


Now that you've carefully chosen your components, assembled your case, and installed the essentials like the motherboard, storage, and RAM, you're almost set.

Don't forget to power up and access the BIOS settings to confirm everything is running smoothly. It's a straightforward process, but attention to detail makes all the difference.

Enjoy building your custom PC that fits your needs perfectly. With this setup, you're ready to tackle any task from gaming to graphic design!