My First PC Build - Going from Zero to Gaming in 3 Steps
Part 1 - Picking the Parts
I'm guilty. I am one of those PC enthusiasts that thinks everyone knows how to build a PC. Everyone has done it before, and all you need from the tech community is the recommendation for parts, right? Turns out that isn't the case at all, and as more and more gamers and users come into our community, they are overwhelmed and often under served. It's time to fix that.
This cropped up for me personally when my nephew asked me about getting him a computer. At just 14 years old, he had never built a PC, watched a PC be constructed - nothing of that sort. Even though his uncle had built computers nearly every week for 15 years or more, he had little to no background on what the process was like. I decided that this was perfect opportunity to teach him and create a useful resource for the community at large to help empower another generation to adopt the DIY mindset.
I decided to start with three specific directions:
- Part 1 - Introduce the array of PC components, what the function of each is and why we picked the specific hardware we did.
- Part 2 - Show him the process of actual construction from CPU install to cable routing
- Part 3 - Walk through the installation of Windows and get him setup with Steam and the idea of modern PC gaming.
Each of the above sections was broken up into a separate video during our day at the office, and will be presented here and on our YouTube channel.
I would like to thank Gigabyte for sponsoring this project with us, providing the motherboard, graphics card and helping work with the other vendors to get us a great combination of hardware. Visit them at Gigabyte.com for the full lineup of motherboard, graphics cards and more!!
Part 1 - Picking the Parts
Selecting the parts to build a PC can be a daunting task for a first timer. What exactly is a motherboard and do you need one? Should you get 2 or 4 or more memory modules? SSD vs HDD? Let's lay it all out there for you.
The specific configuration used in Austin's PC build is pretty impressive!
|Austin's First PC Build|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-6600K - $249|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 5 - $189|
|Memory||Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4-3200 - $192|
|Graphics Card||Gigabyte GTX 970 Gaming Xtreme - $374|
|Storage||Corsair Neutron XT 480GB - $184
Western Digital 3TB Red - $109
|Case||Corsair Obsidian 450D - $119|
|Power Supply||Corsair RM550x - $117|
|Keyboard||Logitech G910 Orion Spark - $159|
|Mouse||Logitech G602 - $51|
|Headset||Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum - $192|
|Monitor||Acer XB280HK - $699|
|OS||Windows 10 Home - $119|
|Total Price||$2054 (not including the monitor) - Amazon.com Cart|
Clearly the boy is spoiled. But if your uncle owns a hardware review website, that seems like a likely outcome. A couple of comments worth noting though.
- I would probably have recommended moving to a 2x8GB configuration for system memory. It tends to be a little bit cheaper and gives you the option to upgrade down the road should you need it.
- Adding in a second Western Digital 3TB drive would give peace of mind if you configure them in a RAID-1 array for data redundancy. But this is a complication I didn't want to introduce quite yet.
- The Corsair RM550x power supply doesn't have additional power cables for a second GPU that requires two connections. Upgrading to a 650-750 watt power supply should allow you to upgrade to multiple GPUs in the future if you want.
- The Acer XB280HK monitor is a 4K G-Sync display and likely overkill for the GTX 970 graphics card we chose for his build. As it stands, for modern games, we'll likely have to configure the rendering output at 1920x1080 and allow it to scale up to 4K. That's a totally workable solution, but a 2560x1440 monitor might have been a better selection to pair with the GPU.
- A $2,000 PC build might seem extravagant, but if you remove the keyboard/mouse/headset combination that totals over $400, a system price of around $1,600 is more in-line with expectations.
Part 2 - Building the Computer
Now that we have the components laid out, let's dive into the construction process.
Obviously if you select different hardware the process will be changed to some small degree, but in general, this is the order that makes the most sense to us. If you go with an AMD platform, or want to delve into the world of small form factors, hit up the PC Perspective Forums to find some like minded people to help you out!
Part 3 - Install the OS and Getting to the Gaming
After getting the hardware setup complete, it's time to power on the system. The first steps usually start in the BIOS or UEFI, the motherboard's software layer that sets up hardware and prompts the operating system to do its own thing. After setting a couple of specific things in there we dive into installing Windows 10 and then Valve's Steam software, the most common PC gaming market and management suite.
That's pretty much it! There is an entire world of exploring to do with your new PC on the gaming front and much more. Install some good anti-virus software (NOD32 is pretty good these days) and get to it!
I hope you found this article and set of videos helpful for your first steps into the world of enthusiast and DIY PC building. Let me know in the comments below if you have questions or would like to see anything added or followed up on. Thanks for reading and welcome to the community!