In this guide, I will take you through step by step on how to build a gaming PC and which parts needed to build a PC. Although it might seem a bit daunting at first, building your own pc isn’t hard and anyone can do it with a little patience and careful planning. I have been building my own custom PCs for many years now and have learned a thing or two about the process that can really help save time and money as well as making it easier (if not almost impossible to mess up). As such this article should be viewed as more of an outline than a rigid set of rules; feel free to deviate from parts lists but make sure you keep those parts compatible with each other, though!
List of Parts Needed To Build a PC
1) Choosing parts
This is probably one of the most important parts of the process. If you choose parts that don’t work well together your entire computer WILL be slow and if parts aren’t compatible enough they can even damage each other, so here are some common pitfalls to avoid:
- Don’t buy parts from different websites. Some parts may look like compatible upgrades but are actually much cheaper on another site. Example: RAM is very sensitive to timing no matter how small the difference is so buying it from a different website could have a negative impact on performance or even render it incompatible with other parts.
- Don’t mix brands unless you read up on the compatibilities first! Sometimes different companies make parts which are based off similar technologies but use slightly different manufacturing methods which means they will not work together. For parts involving transferring data or power this can often be very bad and parts may not even work at all if they are too dissimilar.
- Don’t get parts with such high performance that you won’t be able to reach them! You want parts that offer a great value for their price without skimping on things like aesthetics and cooling (which we will cover later). Not only does this mean you’ll end up spending more money getting parts that let you reach their full potential but it makes the system much harder to cool and degrades its performance in other areas. I’m assuming you don’t want your pc running at 100% load 24/7, so don’t expect parts which need constant 100% usage to last long either.
2) Pick parts that are compatible with each other
This is easier if you have a parts list, but it also involves looking up parts to find out what exact version they are. For example GDDR3 is not the same as GDDR4 so parts which use one will not work with parts using the other. Often using higher versions of parts can increase performance or compatibility but comes at a greater cost so finding parts which offer good value for their price is important. SOCIALIZE WITH OTHER GAMERS! Open up chat and join any gaming communities you like (or make your own). This isn’t necessary for building a PC (in fact it can actually be more distracting than helpful), but since online multiplayer games revolve around having powerful PCs even gamers who mostly play on console often like to know what parts are compatible with each other.
3) Get parts which offer more than enough performance for your needs
If you get parts which don’t offer the level of performance you need then you will end up upgrading later or wasting money buying parts that aren’t powerful enough, so I recommend getting parts that offer a great deal over what your gaming needs are (not just incremental upgrades while spending as much as possible). For example if you only plan to play some less demanding titles (I’m thinking PS4/Xbox One games) then there’s no point in getting i5s and GTX 970s because both provide significantly more power than is needed.
You should have an idea of how much parts and shipping will cost you (use parts lists to help with this). If parts are significantly cheaper in the US than where you live then make sure shipping prices aren’t going to be greater than parts costs before buying them, because it’s usually best to buy parts locally after all. Finally make sure you have a budget for tools (they can be quite cheap) and miscellaneous items like thermal paste.
5) Don’t stress about minor factors
There are many things that matter when building PCs such as frame rate differences between monitors/graphics cards but some factors simply don’t matter enough do worry about, such as RAM speed. It varies from game to game so while a fast clock speeds may affect performance in some games it will probably be negligable in most. At the same time I’d avoid parts with slower clock speeds unless getting parts with fast clock speeds was prohibitively expensive (in which case don’t worry about it). Another example is motherboard size: Some people like having bigger boards for more features or to support larger graphics cards but these aren’t necessary so you should get a mATX board if that’s all you need and save a few bucks while doing so.
- Learn more about each part of your PC so you have an idea of what parts do and how they affect performance, but don’t sweat small details that won’t really matter.
6) Shop around
Different stores offer varying prices for parts, even online ones such as Amazon offer different parts at different prices, but if you want to save money then it’s best just getting parts locally (online parts can easily cost more than parts bought near you which is why I recommend buying parts locally after all). The only real exceptions are online exclusive parts such as digital game keys or some discontinued parts (since they can’t be sold by local stores).
7) Read the comments:
This should be obvious but make sure you read the critically acclaimed comments about parts that other people say. They may have found better deals, seen problems others haven’t or may even know of future parts that might come out (and their compatibility with other parts).
8) Get help from somebody who builds PCs for a living
Often computer technicians build PCs for living and they know parts better than most gamers do, so you might want to ask them for parts advice. You can use what parts they suggest in your parts list or simply ask them for suggestions on parts if you are having trouble deciding for yourself for whatever reason (maybe because you aren’t sure how much performance you need). Techs may be willing to help since many parts lists will also list the computer specs that parts are best used in depending on their price range, but it’s certainly not necessary if asking somebody else for help isn’t something you’re comfortable with.
9) Don’t buy parts in bulk unless they offer a discount
Most stores don’t offer any decent discounts when buying parts in bulk it’s usually best just getting parts as you need them unless the parts are considerably cheaper when bought in bulk, but if parts are dirt cheap then it’s not a bad idea to buy parts before you build your PC so they don’t go out of stock.
10) Use parts lists to help with part selection
If parts lists are available for parts you’re considering getting (e.g. GTX 970) then use them because they will tell you what parts offer the best performance per dollar and how much they cost. You can find parts lists pretty easily on both and official websites of game developers like Riot Games ( for League of Legends) or Gearbox Software ( for Borderlands 2). They also exist for popular games like Minecraft, but parts lists are harder to find for games that aren’t as popular. Another way parts lists can help with parts selection is by letting you know what parts will be best in the future, so if partslists exist for games that are being released later this year/next year then great parts lists can tell you which parts will offer the most performance at their respective price points.
11) Be careful about compatibility
You need to make sure PC parts are compatible with each other, otherwise they won’t work together and your expensive new parts may become useless bricks. Some parts have dedicated chips that manage how they communicate with other parts (the Northbridge chip manages communication between CPUs and GPUs while the Southbridge manages everything else). If a part isn’t compatible with other parts then it won’t work properly, but compatibility issues can be spotted long before parts are bought by reading parts lists. Other parts simply need to match each other to work together while some parts are completely incompatible for whatever reason (usually because they were built by competing companies).
12) Take time to make the parts list
This may seem tedious and time consuming at first, but making an optimized parts list is really important since you get the best performance out of parts this way. The lengthy process involves picking parts that have lots of bang for their buck (i.e. parts that offer high performance per dollar), getting better deals on parts via rebates or coupons, buying different stores’ prices online so you get the lowest price possible, getting parts that are on sale, and being patient for parts to go on sale. The process may seem bothersome at first but it becomes second nature once parts shopping is something you do often enough.
Parts lists also help with parts selection, since parts that cost the most will offer the most performance per dollar (since they’re expensive parts). It’s important to note that certain parts like monitors, mice, and keyboards usually don’t have a parts list because their performance isn’t affected very much by how much money they cost (though there are exceptions like super high end gaming monitors), however choosing good quality parts is still important in these cases.
COMPUTER PARTS LIST (PC COMPONENTS)
The motherboard is the component that ties all parts together and holds information like which parts it needs and how to operate. The motherboard contains a microprocessor and monitors the activity of devices, such as disk drives or video cards, that are installed in the case.
CPU (Central Processing Unit)
The CPU is the “engine” of the computer. It is what runs programs and does calculations. A higher-end processor will allow for more powerful processing, which means it may be better suited for heavier tasks like rendering video or playing games.
This card can be in many form factors and has a powerful dedicated graphics processor and memory. Graphics cards often have their own cooling systems in place in case they overheat. If you intend on doing some gaming, it might be a good idea to invest in a graphics card that is designed for gaming.
RAM (Random Access Memory)
RAM is where information is stored while the computer is running and allows the parts of the computer to interact with one another. Basically, more memory means faster and lag-free performance. A lot of parts will work fine with 4GB of RAM, but if you want to future-proof your system as much as possible, start off with 8GB . 2x 2GB sticks of DDR3 RAM would be perfect for new builds.
Solid State Drive:
The SSD was first introduced as technology that holds files such as apps or games that were used often so they could be accessed faster.
Now, SSDs can also be used as the primary storage device for a computer and the hard drive serves as secondary storage. The solid state drive is more commonly used because it has no moving parts, so there are less parts to break down over time.
A traditional/mechanical HDD holds large amounts of data due to its spinning disks inside. Unlike an SSD, the HDD uses mechanical parts that spin around really fast to access information on a connected platter. This makes it slower than an SSD but offers much more storage space at a lower price point .
Power Supply Unit (PSU):
The power supply unit provides power for all components inside the case by converting alternating current from your wall to the direct current that parts need. A higher-wattage PSU will be able to power parts with higher power requirements, so if you have high-end parts, it might be a good idea to invest in a power supply unit designed for high wattage.
The case provides protection to all parts needed to build a PC. There are many different designs and types of cases available, but what really makes them different is how much room there is inside to work with; some cases may require more space than others. This can often be lessened by using parts that are smaller physically (like M-ITX parts) . It’s also important to note that larger parts like graphics cards should not touch other components because they will heat up parts around them when in use, which is bad for your parts.
The CPU cooler is usually a large heat sink that attaches to the CPU and uses a fan to dissipate heat away from parts. Some CPU coolers come with their own fans, but others do not and rely on airflow from other parts like case fans or graphics cards for cooling .
A monitor displays information from your computer. This is what you can see when you are using parts of your computer, so it’s important among all parts needed to build a PC to get one that fits the size of parts inside your case and does not have bad input lag .
An operating system is what runs your programs. Microsoft Windows is the most popular OS, but there are many alternatives available like Linux or SteamOS .
Cooling (CPU, Chassis):
A fan that controls airflow in your case to direct parts of the computer away from parts that get too hot. This is usually a smaller fan near parts of the motherboard and graphics cards.
Mouse, keyboard, monitors, speakers, headphones – anything you can plug into your computer will be considered peripherals and these are very important parts needed to build a PC .
TOOLS NEEDED TO ASSEMBLE A PC
If you have a good amount of parts, it would be a great idea to order a tool kit. You can see all the tools you need in this list:
Phillips Head Screwdriver – Yes, they make screws with different heads!
Standard and Flathead Screwdrivers – These are for releasing parts from an enclosure or opening up your case.
Needle Nose Pliers – Sometimes cables get messy and too bent out of shape to fit properly. Your fingers hurt trying to bend them back together, so use these instead.
Wire Cutters/Strippers – Sure wire cutters do both jobs, but wire strippers just strip insulation off wires without cutting through other parts.
GAMING PC PARTS LIST:
“A computer can be classified as a gaming PC if it is built with parts that are more powerful than standard parts.”
What parts should you choose, and what parts will just cause your build to fail? First of all, you need to know what specific parts go into a gaming PC. The list of parts below basically tells you everything that goes into a good gaming PC. If some parts aren’t included in the list, they aren’t needed for a good gaming experience:
Windows 7 64 Bit or higher (Or any other operating system)
Intel Core i5 2500K 3.3 GHz or AMD Phenom II X4 955
Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 1GB or AMD Radeon HD 7850 1GB
8 GB DDR3
640 GB 7200 RPM SATA II 3.0Gb/s (Or higher port speed)
DVD-RW (Or Blu-ray if you like)
660 watts (Or more, but don’t go lower than 600 or you will endanger parts…)
Two 120mm Fans is fine; they should be intake fans. As for the CPU fan and case fan, install them as exhaust fans. The important thing with CPU and case fans is to not install too many as it can blow away cool air that needs to stay in the case. It’s good that there are parts that monitor your PC’s parts’ temperatures, otherwise you would need parts that control the speed of your fans.
Now for some parts that may not go into a gaming PC if it’s on a budget:
Hard Drive Partition(s): A terabyte of storage is good, but not necessary. If your hard drive can store a lot of games without partitioning, then why bother? But if you want to install many different games and have enough space left over for other programs, make at least one partition for all games. It does no harm to divide up parts of the hard drive to save space. However, when you use more than one partition for separate parts of your computer (e.g., C:/Program Files/Steam/steamapps/common), parts of the computer may not work as well because parts will be installed in parts of the hard drive that are far apart.
Operating System Partition: Don’t bother to create a separate partition for Windows, because one already comes with every PC you buy. Instead, just save yourself some time and leave it unpartitioned.
Optical Drive: Optical drives aren’t super important parts of a gaming PC. If your parts don’t have an optical drive and you need to install games through discs, then either build another computer or use an external USB-powered DVD/CD drive. It’s better than paying $20 extra for a part that you can live without (unless your parts didn’t come with one).
Another feature that parts for a PC don’t need is Windows 8. Why buy parts and spend all that time downloading and installing parts just to have the added lag of an operating system you must use?
There are also parts that aren’t necessary but can help your gaming experience:
Solid State Drive: A solid state drive speeds up parts of your PC (e.g., booting up), but parts with this feature cost more than parts without it. Solid state drives might be worth buying if you’re on a budget, but they will not make much difference when playing games. They’re nice to have in case you want to install another OS on your computer (Windows 7 or 8, for example).
After making a list of parts needed for each part of a PC, think about parts that may be needed to assemble parts together. A toolbox with a few parts is good enough, but there are parts of a computer you can’t build without:
Motherboard: This part is the base for all other parts. If you screw everything else into place and then it doesn’t fit correctly or at all because your motherboard doesn’t have certain parts, you just wasted your time building the rest of your computer. It sounds obvious to buy a motherboard with compatible parts already built in, but if this is your first PC build read up on what parts go into each motherboard before buying one.
Also make sure that the parts required for assembling a PC match those listed in parts lists for each component (e.g., parts required to build a PC aren’t different than parts for building parts into parts of the computer that are not GPUs).
To build all parts of your new gaming PC, do the following:
- Get parts needed to assemble parts together (e.g., motherboard, CPU cooler, memory)
- Assemble parts together (CPU/GPU/RAM only if you know how; other parts should already be assembled)
- Install operating system
Building a PC can seem daunting, especially when you are not sure how to assemble the parts. But it is actually pretty easy! Follow this step-by-step guide and instructions on building your own gaming PC with our simple list of requirements for what you need to build a computer. You won’t regret starting now because we guarantee that after reading this article, you will be able to confidently put together your very first gaming pc without any hassle at all!
If you need help with anything else related to building a PC, take it up with an expert or leave a comment below. Good luck!
Frequently Asked Questions
What parts do I need to build a PC?
For parts needed to build a PC, you will need: A motherboard (with the necessary ports), processor, RAM, storage (hard drive and/or solid state drive), power supply unit, optical drive (optional), case, monitors and fans.
How do I know my pc parts will work together?
This is a question that gets asked a lot by people interested in building their own computer parts. There are many resources online to find parts based on compatibility, but no source tells you if a pare part will physically work with another part from the component manufacturer’s point of view.
Fortunately, there is a website that tests parts for compatibility and issues a Pass or Fail.
The site is called PC Part Picker. Here you pick all of the parts you want to build your computer with and it will give you compatibility details and parts lists for any possible configuration of parts you choose. It also provides suggested parts if parts within your budget don’t work together. This website is a great resource for parts compatibility and parts listed from parts manufacturers.
In most cases, parts from the same manufacturer will work together automatically. In some instances, you may have to look at certain parameters listed under “Compatibility” in order for parts manufactured by different companies to play nice with each other.