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Building a Gaming Computer

With our self-build guide you can easily assemble your gaming PC yourself, no matter if with Intel Core i CPU and socket 1151 or AMD Ryzen and socket AM4.

Assembling your own PC isn’t difficult if you prepare something and pay attention to a few important details. As soon as it’s clear how the individual components of a computer interlock, it’s often relatively easy to fix any problems that may arise later.

Before you dive into the Gaming PC manual and get started, you should first do some important preliminary work. These don’t take long, but save a lot of time and trouble for beginners in the end.

For those who are still looking for the right hardware, our purchase advice on the best self-built PCs in five price classes may help.

The preparations

A sufficiently large and bright workplace is particularly important. In addition, have a few boxes or boxes ready so that screws can be placed properly – they like to roll into inaccessible corners and then have to be searched for again in a nerve-racking way.

Under no circumstances should you screw on the carpet. Many textile fibres are electrostatically charged, PC components can be damaged by corresponding discharges. In order to get rid of any electrostatic charges before screwing, it can help to ground a heater, but this only works on unpainted radiators (which are rather rare) or if they have unpainted leads.

The safest option: A static protection wristband that is permanently connected to the earth – in factories that manufacture PC components, this is mandatory equipment. Although we have never caused damage due to a lack of grounding despite numerous PCs being assembled, a certain residual risk remains without them.

It is best to read our instructions step by step before starting. This will give you a better idea of why, for example, we first build the processor with cooler and RAM on the motherboard and not screw the bare motherboard directly into the case.

In the order in which we describe the installation, we also proceed ourselves. This also includes not simply placing the motherboard with the sensitive contacts on the underside on the desk, but using a slightly yielding base. Of course, it is made of a material that is immune to electrostatic charging.

The foam pad supplied with the motherboard is suitable for this purpose, for example. Alternatively, conventional print magazines – such as a GameStar edition – can also be used.

One manual for everything?

Since most PC components and their dimensions and mounting mechanisms are standardized, our instructions can also be transferred to other cases, mainboards or graphics cards.

However, there is no guarantee that a certain processor cooler will fit on every motherboard with the corresponding CPU slot – although it is approved for the corresponding CPU socket.

Because many manufacturers push the standards to their limits, two extremes come up against each other every now and then, each of which moves within the limits of what is allowed, but does not work together – some tower coolers, for example, are too high for some cases, whose side walls can no longer be closed. In order to avoid such individual cases, only reading tests, forum posts or compatibility lists from the manufacturers can help.

But even if you know that your components harmonize with each other, you should not blindly follow our instructions. Sometimes the manufacturer has positioned certain connections differently or the assembly of the housing follows a different scheme.

As unpopular as it is: Take your time and compare the manual of the respective component with ours. Again, it’s worth investing a little more time at the beginning – when you really start screwing, most of the inconsistencies are resolved, saving you unnecessary stress.

If the PC doesn’t start after assembly, that’s no reason to panic – usually the problem is harmless and can be solved quickly. In our experience, only in rare cases is a component directly defective.

The PC does not start anymore – First aid for startup problems

What to do if the PC no longer boots? We’ll give you some basic tips to find the error and get your computer back up and running.

If you are working with PCs for a while, you will probably run into problems sooner or later. One of the most unpleasant of them: The PC won’t start anymore – or it will start, but you won’t get a picture. Especially after the fresh assembly of a new computer something like this can be very annoying and disturbing.

But don’t panic: As a rule, the source of the error can be reliably identified with a little patience, and even small things that are easy to fix can cause the problem. We’ll show you how to best troubleshoot and what the most common causes for startup problems are.

First steps for startup problems

If, contrary to expectations, your new PC does not start after assembly, this is not necessarily a cause for concern. Probably you just forgot to connect a power cable, flip the power switch on the power supply or the graphics card is not properly seated in its slot.

Check all plug connections and connection cables again. Especially the cables for the power supply of the mainboard (usually a 24-pin plug), the CPU (usually two 4-pin plugs) and the graphics card (one or two 6-pin/8-pin plugs) are important (see also the pictures below).

If the computer doesn’t start despite a perfect assembly and a perfect wiring, you have to look for the source of the error. The procedure described in the following also applies if it is a PC that has been in use for some time and was running perfectly before.

Troubleshooting

In order to find the error on a computer that does not start (anymore), it is best to first disconnect all components from the mainboard that are not absolutely necessary for a system start when the PC is switched off. This includes hard disks, SSDs, sound cards and other expansion cards (except the graphics card), all except a memory latch and any USB devices.

To be on the safe side, you should also disconnect the mouse and keyboard from the PC. It’s very unlikely that they will prevent the PC from starting, but we’ve actually seen computers where this was the case.

When the PC restarts after removing the components, you now connect them one by one to the computer (or mainboard) and check whether it starts perfectly. So it should be possible to clearly determine which component is causing the problem.

If the computer still doesn’t start, you should check whether the graphics card is causing the problem. On many PCs with Intel CPUs you can remove the dedicated GPU and connect the screen to the graphics unit integrated in the processor instead. The corresponding connectors can be found on the back of the mainboard (see also the picture below).

If your CPU has no integrated graphics unit, you can plug the graphics card into another PCI Express slot. If you still have an older model at hand that you know works, a counter-test of it is also very helpful.

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