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How to Build a Gaming PC: The Interactive Guide (+ Videos)

Last updated May 16, 2020
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Interactive Image

PC Build Guide
Installing the MotherboardConnecting & Routing CablesInstalling the CPU & CoolerInstalling RAMInstalling Storage DrivesInstalling PC FansInstalling a Liquid Cooler (Optional)Installing the Graphics Card (GPU)Installing the Power Supply (PSU)

Installing the Motherboard

A feature-rich hub for all your other PC hardware to interact and exchange data.

How to install a PC motherboard in a case.

Some Tips Before You Get Started

  • It makes the motherboard heavier to handle but it can be helpful install some components on the board before moving it into your case. Your processor, memory, M.2 drive, and your CPU heatsink can typically be mounted on the motherboard while it's on a work. Likewise, installing your power supply and other storage drives is easier without having your motherboard installed.
  • It should be safe to sit your motherboard on a wood table or any similar non-conductive surface. Anti-static mats aren't necessary. Our preferred method is to simply work with the motherboard on top of the box and anti-static bag that the board comes in. This is softer than a table and provides an elevated surface that can be moved.

Tools to Find System Info & More: Msinfo32 | Speccy | HWiNFO | HWMonitor | AIDA64 | Intel Tools | AMD Tools

  • Still not sure if all the parts in your new build will work together? PCPartPicker lets you check components for compatibility.

Get Your Case Ready for the Install

  1. You need to screw some standoffs into your case before your motherboard can be installed.
    • These keep the board raised away from the case's motherboard tray so it doesn't make contact and short circuit components.
  2. You'll want to get this part right – install a standoff in your case for all the screw holes you have on your motherboard.
    • The motherboard tray in your case should have markings that indicate the correct spots to install standoffs for different form factors (ATX, mATX and so on). You don't want an extra standoff touching the wrong spot underneath your motherboard.
  3. Also, don't forget to install the rear I/O bracket in your case before moving your motherboard into its new home.
    • The I/O plate can require more force than expected to seat and it only fits one way so be aware of that.

Let's Finally Put This Thing in Its Place

  1. Seat the board in your case, lining the its screw holes up with the standoffs you installed.
    • Getting the board lined up with everything can be awkward but it should seat into place with minimal effort.
  2. Start screwing with diagonally opposite screws (top left and bottom right of the board for instance). That should help line up all the other mounting holes.
    • Double check all the screws once more after screwing them in once to make sure everything is tight, but not too tight or you could crack the board.
  3. And of course, don't forget to plug the main 24-pin power cable in along with the power for your CPU, GPU etc.

Tools to Stress Test Your System: BurnInTest | Heavy Load | Prime95 | powerMax | FurMark | Unigine | OCCT

Connecting & Routing Cables

Wires bring power and data to and from all the components in your machine.

How to route and connect PC cables.

Some Tips Before You Get Started

  • Most PC cases have cable management systems that let you feed power connectors, headers and other wires through holes in the motherboard tray and elsewhere. Stash all the cables you can behind your motherboard tray and route the ones you need back through these holes.

So Many Wires. Where To Begin?

  • Trick question. There really isn't a right place to begin and it can be easy to overlook a cable somewhere.
  • On the bright side, connectors only fit where they belong so there's not much risk of you getting anything wrong. If something doesn't power on, make sure it's plugged in and that should be the worst of things.
  • Navigating through most of the connectors should be straightforward but you may have to consult your motherboard manual a few times.

A Quick Checklist for Common Cables

  • Make sure the front panel header cables from your case are attached to your motherboard – the ones for your power button, USB ports, 3.5mm audio jacks etc. (match the labels on those connectors with the headers on your motherboard).
  • Make sure you connect the 24-pin, 4-pin and PCIe power connectors for your motherboard, CPU, and GPU.
  • Make sure all 2.5 and 3.5-inch drives are connected to both your motherboard and PSU.
  • Make sure you connect any fans or coolers. These typically have a three or four-pin connector that can attach to your motherboard or a fan controller so you can see their performance and change their speed.
  • Make sure that any other expansion components have their wires connected. For instance, a dedicated sound card might require its own wire(s) to be run for power or data.

Some Tips to Keep Your Build Clean

  • By the end of the build, aim to eliminate any additional cables that you can. Either stuff them out of the way, tie them back, or remove them entirely if you have a modular power supply. Clean cable management looks great, but it also improves airflow and makes it easier to work inside your PC.
  • Use hook & loop ties, zip ties, or anything else that can help you group certain cables together and keep things organized, especially if your case doesn't have much to offer for built-in cable management. Velcro straps are about as good as it gets for keeping things clean inside a desktop computer. Don't use tape unless you want grimy adhesive on your wires forever.

For External Cable Management: The 5-Step Guide to Perfect Desk Cable Management

Installing the CPU & Cooler

Crunches the binary that makes almost everything happen on your PC.

How to install a processor and heatsink on a PC motherboard.

Some Tips Before You Get Started

  • Try to handle your processor and heatsink on their edges without leaving finger oils on the pins underneath the chip or on the surfaces where there will be thermal paste. It's easier to work with the motherboard on a table at this stage if you haven't already installed it in your case. You can move the motherboard into your case with half your components already installed.

Okay, Let's Install This Thing

  1. On your motherboard, open the tension bracket of the CPU socket so it’s ready to receive the chip.
  2. Find the triangular indicator on the corner of your CPU and socket to help you orientate the chip for installation.
  3. Gently place the CPU in the slot. You shouldn't need to apply any force to seat the chip.
  4. Close the tension bracket. This will probably require more pressure than you may be comfortable with applying.

Useful Resources: Compare CPUs | CPU-Z (detailed specs) | HWMonitor (temps etc.) | Intel Tools | AMD Tools

Now Let's Keep That Thing Cool

  • With the CPU locked in place, you can install a heatsink. The specifics of this procedure will be different depending on your cooler but the basics don't vary much…
    • Stock coolers that come with a processor will often have a thermal pad already applied and generally don't require a backplate to be installed behind the motherboard's CPU socket for securing the cooler.
    • Aftermarket heatsinks and liquid coolers tend to come with a mounting bracket that attaches under your motherboard and provides additional stability. They'll also usually have screws that fasten to that backplate, whereas stock coolers usually just have plastic pins that press into the motherboard's CPU cooler holes.

Don't Forget the Thermal Paste

  • There are a lot of opinions about thermal paste, but there's rarely a big difference in temperature performance between different types of paste and applying the paste doesn't have to be any harder than placing a small pea-sized dollop on your processor before seating your cooler. It will spread under the force of your cooler being seated and you won't waste time or paste by spreading it with a plastic card.

Quick Shopping Links: Thermal Paste | Bestselling CPUs | Bestselling CPU Coolers

  • Cleaning old thermal paste doesn't have to be complicated either. There are lots of tips, tricks and products for cleaning crusty thermal paste. All you really need: some cotton swabs, paper towels, and isopropyl alcohol. Use as little alcohol as necessary to loosen the paste so you don't make a mess, and just keep wiping. You can get by without paper towels but it will probably take more cotton swabs than you think.

Some Parting Words About Power

  • Here's another quick reminder to plug the power cables in for both your processor and cooler. There should be a four-pin connector near your CPU that requires a cable from your PSU (some high-end hardware requires more than one four-pin connector). Meanwhile, your air cooler should have a fan with a small header-style connector that goes to your motherboard, or a Molex connector that goes to your PSU.

CPU Benchmark Tools: PCMark 10 | PassMark | UserBenchmark | Cinebench | SiSoftware Sandra | Prime95

Installing RAM

High-speed volatile storage to supply your CPU with data from active software.

How to install system memory on a PC motherboard.

Some Tips Before You Get Started

  • Buy RAM that matches the specifications of your motherboard. Don’t try to install DDR3 on DDR4 boards. Aim for RAM that will tap your motherboard’s fastest supported speeds. Most motherboard manufacturers provide a “Qualified Vendor List” (QVL) that lists specific RAM modules known to be compatible with that board, though you shouldn’t typically have to check this if you’re buying RAM in the right format and speed for your board.
  • A few other pointers on RAM shopping: 16GB has become the standard recommended capacity for gaming PCs and workstations, 8GB is generally seen as the minimum ideal capacity, while 32GB is overkill for most people now but is “future proof” if you plan to keep the system for a few years. If your motherboard has four RAM slots, buying a kit with two 8GB modules will put you at the 16GB sweet spot and leave two slots empty for 32GB later.
  • If you’re working with a compact build that has tight clearances, make sure the RAM won’t conflict with your GPU, CPU heatsink, or some other component. Many RAM modules have bulky heatspreaders and built-in LEDs that are more about looking good than being practical.

Quick Shopping Links: 8GB RAM | 16GB RAM | 32GB RAM | RAM with RGB Lighting

Okay Let's Install This Thing

  1. If you’re only installing two modules out of four, consult your motherboard’s manual or check for markings on the board to determine which slots are paired for running memory in dual-channel mode.
  2. Line the RAM sticks up, making sure it's oriented in the right direction. The notch on the RAM contacts isn’t centered and the module isn’t symmetrical, so it only fits in one way.
  3. Carefully push the RAM modules into the slot. This might require more force than you'd expect.
    • Be mindful of your motherboard flexing too much and pressure being placed on the underside of the board depending on the surface you’re working on.
  4. Close the slot latches to lock your modules in place if they didn't close already.

Checking Performance After Installation

  • It's not essential, but it may be worth checking your BIOS to make sure that your RAM is running at its rated frequency and timings. Sometimes a lesser profile is selected by default, while other times you'll have to overclock a bit to reach the maximum supported speeds of your memory and motherboard.

Test For Memory Errors: Memtest 86+ (bootable tool) | Memtest 64 (runs in Windows)

Installing Storage Drives

Slower non-volatile storage for housing your operating system and other data.

How to install storage drives in a PC case.

Some Tips Before You Get Started

  • Removing the drive cages from your case might be more work and unnecessary to install new drives but it does make the process easier, especially if it's a compact case with other components and wires already in the way. If nothing else, you may want to remove the front panel from your case so you can slide 3.5" drives into their bays without wrestling the wires in your case.

Quick Shopping Links:  M.2 Drives | 2.5” Drives | 3.5” Drives | 2.5" to 3.5" adapters | Long SATA Cables

Getting All Those Gigabytes Installed

  • M.2 Drives – As the quickest option available today, you’ll probably want to invest an M.2 drive for your primary storage where Windows will be installed.
    • M.2 drives have super fast flash storage chips on a small card that plugs into a dedicated slot on your motherboard. The M.2 slot transports data on PCIe lanes, which affords significantly more bandwidth than the fastest SATA ports.
    • Motherboards often position this dedicated M.2 slot so the M.2 drive lays flat under an overhanging GPU, and some M.2 drives have a heatsink that may not fit properly in your build, so be aware of that.
    • Keep track of the M.2 screw that comes with your drive or motherboard. It's much smaller than other screws in a desktop PC and it's not easy to replace without buying another one.
    • Installing an M.2 drive is as simple as plugging it into the slot, pressing the drive flat and screwing it into your motherboard.
  • 3.5" Drives – There are lots of drive mounting systems – some considerably easier to work with than others. For example, Cooler Master cases are known for having a tool-less design where you snap brackets into the screw holes on the sides of your drives and then slip that assembly into the drive bay. Other systems aren't so painless but should still be straightforward to work with: find the bay where your drive belongs and screw it into place.
  • 2.5" Drives – Cases tend to have dedicated mounting locations for 2.5-inch drives these days. However, if your case doesn't have a spot to mount 2.5-inch drives, you might have to splurge on an adapter that lets you install 2.5-inch drives in 3.5-inch bay. Since SSDs are light and have no moving parts, creative DIY solutions such as using double-sided Velcro can be used to mount drives, but we aren't exactly recommending that.

Useful Drive Tools: Diskmgmt.msc | MiniTool Partition | See Where All Your Storage Went | Free Up Drive Space

Post-Installation Tips & Keeping Tabs on Performance

  • Remember to plug the data and power cables in on 2.5 and 3.5-inch drives. You may want to load into your BIOS and make sure all the drives you attached are recognized and that they're arranged in the desired boot priority. From Windows, you can identify and manage the drives with Disk Management (search Start for diskmgt.msc).
  • If you have a lot of drives, you may want to check your motherboard manual to see if any SATA ports are throttled or disabled when other ports are being used. Sometimes boards can't support all drive ports being used at once.
  • Likewise, installing an M.2 drive might disable other data lanes, especially if you have multiple M.2 slots. One of them will sometimes come with compromises such as losing one of your SATA ports. Check your manual.
  • If your motherboard doesn't have an M.2 slot, there are PCIe x4 adapter cards that will let you install an M.2 drive. However, note that your motherboard will have to support the ability to boot from PCIe to use an M.2 drive as your primary Windows drive in this scenario.

Test & Benchmark Your Drives: SSD Health | SeaTools | CrystalDiskMark | UserBenchmark | PassMark | Atto

Installing PC Fans

Pull heat away from components and cycle hot air with fresh air from outside.

How to install fans in a PC case.

Some Tips Before You Get Started

  • Case manufacturers have gotten better about equipping enclosures with enough ventilation out of the box, but it's still pretty common to see less expensive models with only one or maybe two fans if you're lucky. Try to have at least one front intake fan and rear exhaust fan, though your system may require more airflow than this.

Quick Shopping Links: PC Fans Under $10 | Fans Under $25 | Fans with RGB Lighting | Fan Controllers

A Few Words About Installing Fans

  • Some fans will mount directly to your case, others will require a mounting bracket, so that's worth paying attention to. Otherwise, installing new fans isn't much of a mystery: Buy a fan that fits an empty mounting location in your case, screw it in, plug it in, and watch your case temps plummet.

More on Fan Tech & Cooling Concepts

  • You can delve a lot deeper into the subject of fans and airflow concepts, of course. Here's a quick overview...
    • Sleeve bearing fans are most common and cheapest, but they tend to fail sooner, especially if mounted horizontally instead of vertically, and they get whinier sounding at higher speeds.
    • Ball bearing fans are more expensive, but they are higher quality in all the ways that sleeve bearing fans aren't, and they last longer regardless of how you position them in your machine.
    • Fluid bearing fans are pricier still but offer extra quiet performance and an even longer lifespan (100,000 to 300,000 hours versus around 70,000 for consumer-grade ball bearing fans).
  • As a general rule of thumb, larger fans can move more air at lower speeds. So it makes sense to buy the largest fans your case can support. Beyond that, seek models that offer the highest airflow rate (CFM) for the lowest noise output (db) at the lowest price, and take bearing quality into less consideration.

Monitor & Control Your Fans: SpeedFan | HWiNFO | HWMonitor | AIDA64 Extreme | Argus Monitor

  • There's also the subject of configuring the direction of your fans to create positive versus negative air pressure in your case...
    • Positive air pressure occurs when more air is being brought into the case than is leaving.
    • Negative air pressure occurs more air is being pushed out of the case than is being brought in.
    • While both have their benefits, the vacuum created by negative pressure can cause dust, hair and other debris to build in your system depending on your environment. Do what makes the most sense in your situation without giving this too much concern. A balanced split between intake and exhaust is also fine.

Some Parting Words About Power

  • Your fans probably support more than one power source. PC fans typically have a Molex connector that goes straight to your power supply and then another power cable with a small three or four-pin connector that can be attached to your motherboard or a fan controller. This is useful if you want detailed reporting about that fan, greater control over fan speeds etc.
  • Be careful to route fan wires somewhere safe so they aren't pulled into a fan when you power your system on for the first time. This likely wouldn't damage anything but it's an obnoxious sound and an annoying reason to take the side panel off your computer again.

Installing a Liquid Cooler (Optional)

Boost thermal performance and reduce noise by replacing air coolers with liquid.

How to install a closed-loop liquid cooler in a PC case.

Some Tips Before You Get Started

  • There's a lot to know about the lost art of liquid cooling – far more than we could convey here. If you're building a custom loop, then you're probably not here looking for guidance. This guide from Overclockers.com is probably more what you're looking for.

Installing a Closed-Loop Cooler

  • And of course, the specifics of installing self-contained liquid coolers will be different for every model. Here's the gist of installing most mass-market liquid cooling systems:
    1. Attach the cooler's backplate to the bottom of your motherboard and mount the CPU cooling block (with thermal paste of course).
    2. Mount the radiator and fan somewhere in your system – the front panel in our case. Yours might go on top, bottom, or even outside.
    3. Plug all the power cables in and clean up any loose wires.

Quick Shopping Links:  Liquid Coolers Under $100 | Bestselling Liquid Coolers

 

Installing the Graphics Card (GPU)

 An expansion card with a processor and memory dedicated to rendering graphics.

How to install a graphics card on a PC motherboard.

Some Tips Before You Get Started

  • Before installing a new graphics card, make sure... 1) That your power supply meets the minimum wattage requirement 2) Your PSU delivers enough amps on the +12v rail, and 3) Your PSU has the PCIe power connectors you'll need to feed your new GPU.
  • You can find this information through manufacturer specification pages for a given power supply or graphics card. The power supply should also have a sticker on the side showing the wattage and +12v amperage, and the easiest way to see what connectors you have is to check. Note that there are adapters that will let you use other power connectors as a PCIe connector.

Useful Resources: Compare GPUs | Nvidia Drivers | AMD Drivers | Monitor GPU Specs & Temps | Can You Run It?

  • Of course, you'll also want to make sure that your motherboard has an available expansion slot. PCIe standards are backward compatible, so PCIe 2.0 GPUs will work in PCIe 3.0 slots etc.
  • Be sure the card will physically fit in the space where you intend to install it. Higher-end cards often have a large circuit board and cooling assembly that occupies multiple expansion slots and can be long enough to butt up against your hard drives or other components along the way. Do some quick measurements before buying a card if you aren't sure.

Okay, Let's Install The Card

  1. Remove any expansion slot covers that might be in the way and clear any wires from the installation path. Line the pins up on the bottom of your card and insert it into the slot.
    • Be mindful of the PCIe slot lock, which can sometimes prevent the card from seating cleanly without being adjusted and "locked" into place.
    • Also be mindful of the rear bracket on the graphics card itself as you guide it behind your motherboard.
  2. Screw the GPU's rear bracket in place so it's secured to your case.
  3. Attach the PCIe power cables. Afterward, you may have to reattach a few expansion slot covers to your case if you removed a few too many. It happens to the best of us.

Troubleshooting & Benchmarking

  • If you're working with a machine that has integrated graphics, with any luck your BIOS will automatically detect that a dedicated GPU has been installed and start using that as your preferred display output. But you may have to attach a monitor to your integrated graphics output on the motherboard and toggle a BIOS setting that tells your system which graphics adapter to use.
  • If your system detects the new card when booting up, Windows should provide generic display drivers that will let you see what you're doing to install the driver package from AMD or Nvidia. It's worth downloading those drivers in advance if possible and having them ready on your desktop or a USB drive, but the generic drivers should suffice for basic navigation.

Tools to Test Your GPU: 3D Mark | PCMark10 | PassMark | UserBenchmarks | Furmark | Unigine | MSI Kombustor

Installing the Power Supply (PSU)

Converts AC power to DC power in the right voltages for different components.

How to install a power supply in a PC case.

Some Tips Before You Get Started

  • Power supply specifications can get pretty arcane but you should only have to concern yourself with three things:
  1. The total wattage output being sufficient to power everything in your system (plus a little bit to be safe).
  2. There being enough amps +12v rail to power your graphics card.
  3. Having all the connectors required for every component in your system.

Still not sure if all the parts in your new build will work together? PCPartPicker lets you check all your components for compatibility and that includes an estimation for the amount of power required to run the machine.

Quick Shopping Links: Modular PSUs | PSUs Under $100 | 500-699W PSUs | High Wattage PSUs | PSU Testers

Okay, Let's Install This Thing

  1. Find the mounting location for your power supply and screw it into place. This is usually in the top rear or bottom rear of your case.
    • Until you get around to working with all the cables, this is among the most straightforward components to install – you screw a small metal box into a larger metal box.
  2. Make sure you aren't blocking any fans on the power supply when you install it in your case. Different PSUs and cases have different mounting locations and orientations.
  3. If possible, route all of the power supply's cables behind your motherboard tray and feed the ones you need back through the routing holes in your case.
    • Modular power supplies are great for eliminating excess cable clutter.
  4. Double check all the screws to make sure they're fully tight, and make sure the physical power switch on your PSU is flipped on when you go to start your PC.

More About Mounting Locations

  • Bottom-mounted power supplies come with a few benefits. Mainly that they can draw cool air straight into the PSU from a vent below your PC, but they are also positioned better for thermal performance in relation to other components in the system, and they make cable management a little easier since you aren't left with wires hanging down in the middle of your build.
  • If you have a bottom-mounted power supply with an intake fan drawing air from under your PC, be careful not to block this by putting the system on carpet for instance. You may also want to invest in a filter for this fan to minimize the amount of debris that gets pulled up from your floor if that's where your PC is.
    • In the rare situation that your setup has a power supply that exhausts hot air into your case, you might want to make extra considerations for that when installing your other components and fans.

System Stress Tests: PassMark BurnInTest | OCCT | Heavy Load | Prime95 | powerMax | FurMark | Unigine

Learning how to build a gaming PC can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never built or upgraded one before. Fortunately, it’s much easier than you might think.

Once you have your components, it’s simply a matter of plugging things in where they fit. We’ll walk you through the assembly process part-by-part with the interactive image above.

Getting Started

If you haven’t already, click on any PC part in the image above to begin. You’ll find a short video demonstration, installation instructions, and links to helpful resources. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong order for building a gaming PC, but you can follow the order that the components are numbered in if you’re not sure.

We suggest installing your CPU, cooler, RAM, and M.2 drive onto your motherboard before moving that into your case. Installing bulkier items like your hard drives and power supply can also be easier before moving your motherboard in.

You can follow nearly any order of assembly you like as long as you don’t block yourself from installing something. If you need tools to get started, a basic screwdriver kit should get the job done. The kit we just linked comes with a small grabber tool like this that makes it easy to fetch loose screws from dark case corners.

Not sure if all the parts in your new build will work together? PCPartPicker lets you check the compatibility of all your components.

Phew, Now Let’s Install Windows

After assembling and powering on your system, installing Windows is all that’s left.

Download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool on another system and grab a USB drive that is 8GB or larger. The tool itself is only 18MB but it will download a copy of Windows 10 (around 4GB) and walk you through the process of creating an installation media.

Here’s how that process goes:

  1. Launch the tool with your USB drive attached and choose “Create installation media…”
  2. Choose your installation preferences and your USB drive from the list that appears.
  3. Wait for the creation tool to download Windows 10 and configure your USB drive.
  4. Remove the drive when complete and boot off it from your new PC to install Windows.
  5. Follow the Windows 10 installation prompts. They’re self-explanatory preferences.
By the way…

You can also make a USB installation media manually by downloading a standalone Windows 10 ISO, creating an active (bootable) FAT32 partition on your USB drive with Disk Management (search for diskmgmt.msc from Start), and then copying the contents of the ISO straight to that new partition using Windows Explorer. The USB drive should boot off those files. Tools like Rufus can also create a Windows installation media from an ISO without having to manually apply the active partition or copy the files yourself.

Loading off the USB drive might require you to configure boot priority settings in your BIOS or to open a boot selection menu from your BIOS splash screen. Tapping the F2 or Delete key will often open your BIOS settings, while F11 commonly opens the one-time boot selection menu, but you may have to watch for the specific keys that are displayed when you power on your PC.

What About Activating Windows?

If you upgraded from Windows 7 or Windows 8...

You might run into obstacles getting your key to work on a new machine. The Windows 10 license you received by performing the in-place upgrade is not the same as a standard retail license of Windows 10. And of course, OEM copies of Windows that came pre-installed on branded computers are bound to those systems.

If you have a standard retail copy of Windows 10...

You shouldn’t have problems getting it to run on new machines. And if the license is already tied to an online Microsoft account, you can log in to the new installation and your user profile preferences should be loaded if they were previously synced from another Windows installation.

If you need a key, there are discounted options available all over the Internet. Windows 10 Pro keys are readily available for as little as $5 or $10 on eBay and we’ve never been burned on buying one of them. The key usually arrives in less than an hour via eBay message or email.

If you feel safer paying full price for a Windows 10 license: Windows 10 Home | Windows 10 Pro

If you don't have a Windows 10 license and can't afford one...

You can technically use the operating system forever without activating it. This comes with limitations like not being able to change your color preferences and having a watermark displayed on your desktop after a month or so. But all the other applications on your PC – games, browsers etc. – should still work like they normally would.

If you want to install an old drive with an existing copy of Windows 10...

Give it a shot. Sysprep can help prepare Windows for the transition and Windows has gotten better about detecting hardware and providing drivers on bootup. Worst case scenario, Windows won’t load or other software won’t work and you’ll have to run repair options or reinstall anyway. Make a backup of everything before you start.

Note: After Windows is installed, Ninite.com lets you download and install a bunch of your favorite programs as a single installer instead of handling them all separately yourself.

Congrats on Your New Gaming PC

Hopefully everything went together smoothly, but sometimes things don’t work as expected. If you need help troubleshooting a problem with your new build, these diagnostic flowcharts should help you get to the bottom of things.

Did we miss something? We’d love to hear your feedback on how this guide could be improved to make it even easier for new system builders to get started. If nothing else, perhaps we’ll see you again when it comes time to upgrade some of the components in your new machine.

Looking for some inspiration to complete your build? Explore some of the internet’s coolest PC gaming setups in our interactive gallery.

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