Build Your Own PC: The Ultimate Yantraas Guide
Wanna know what irony is?
The first time I set out to build a PC for myself, with such a big whooping internet around me.
The one thing I struggled with was finding a simple definitive guide that tells me how to build my own computer.
Now don’t get me wrong here. I am not saying there are no guides.
There are some really beautiful people and communities out there.
Who after slapping you with some good-hearted and humorously degrading pc master race humor, will actually provide you with the necessary info to build your own PC.
The problem with a beginner is just this.
He doesn’t know what any of those terms dictated and discussed in those helpful forums, videos and blogs mean.
Especially if you are building a pc on your own for the first time.
Even with helpful and ALMOST definitive sites like PC Part Picker, there’s always this room of doubt that creeps in your mind.
Will the parts be compatible ?.
Are these the best possible parts I can choose ?.
Am I getting the best parts ?.
Will there be any clearance issues ?.
Will overclocking be an issue? etc. etc.
You get the idea right?
Now one of these two things will happen.
Either he continues to endlessly browse through the discussions and videos in a haphazard manner, eating chunks of information he doesn’t need. (This may or may not convert you into pc building God depending on your involvement)
Or he just picks up a build that’s approved by the elite members of the club and goes home with a nice custom built pc.
Is there something wrong with this approach.
There’s nothing wrong with anything.
It’s just that,
You are missing the whole point of,
Building Your Own PC
So I decided to create this one-stop ultimate guide that will teach you or give you the basics of how to build your own PC.
Let me be very clear what this guide is going to be about. I am not going to teach you how to “build a computer”.
I am going to give you the necessary basis to “build the computer”.
From there you can build your own pc on the basis or your need, budget and other factors.
Once you have read this guide completely, your questions like :
How and why to build a pc ?.
What parts to use ?.
How and on what basis to choose them ?.
Will the parts be compatible ?.
What to do after completing a build? etc. will be taken care of.
We will touch the basic science behind pc parts compatibility and what are the things you need to take care of.
Once you have read this guide, you can jump into any kind of PC building discussions and form your own opinions around PC builds.
You can then help, your fellow members of the PC master race and help them achieve the sweet satisfaction of creating a pixel pumping beast.
In a way, I will be the Yoda to you, young Padawan before you face the empire. You better not choose the dark side. (ahem console gaming :P)
I am very consciously and cautiously creating this guide in such a fashion that whether you are reading this guide in 2017, 2018, 2025 or in 1960. It stills holds good around the basics that make up the pc building process.
I will be putting my heart, soul and countless hours of research into building this guide.
So you better share this everywhere, with everyone and their moms to make me feel sane.
One thing you need to do before you learn how to build your own pc is to actually understand that a building a computer is not a fragmentary task.
You just can’t anything anywhere as you “think” will be right.
You also need to understand and have the necessary knowledge base before hunting for pc parts.
Its very important.
And just for that I have already created posts where you can learn how and which parts for your new build will be more suitable for you, depending on your need.
So go through these first.
- How to know what CPU I need ?.
- How to choose a motherboard for my pc build ?.
- On what basis should I choose a graphics card from the sea of cards available all over the place ?.
- How to choose the perfect monitor for your build ?.
- Best budget monitor for my pc build ?.
So why the heck should you build your own PC?
Why so much hoopla around this point?
Why is this a thing?
I mean it’s just some parts plugged together to throw some pixels on the screen which aren’t even real.
Yup, I said it :P.
All across the internet, you will find statements like :
- The satisfaction that you feel when you build your own PC is unparalleled.
- You are not a gamer if you play games on consoles and not on a gaming computer.
- If you are gaming on a console, you are a peasant. (This one is just so hurtful at so many levels)
- Be a member of PC master race.
- The customization options when you build your own PC are just too fancy.
The fights that go on in these forums are just not for the faint-hearted.
Moms, dads, mom’s dad, and his aunts are mentioned in a way that blurs the definition of decency.
And almost, all of the time the fight is for just a few fps here and there that your eyes won’t even notice.
All of these opinions from the internet are pointing towards one main essence.
The way it is being expressed is sometimes a bit extreme and well, a little cultish.
But the basis of these expressions is actually quite beautiful. It’s the good kind of cultish.
The basis or essence as to why there is so much stress on building your own PC is,
A Sense Of DIY Of Creating Something That Works And You are Responsible For.
I am not trying to get deep here or anything. But this is what the basis is.
Everyone one wants to create something.
Everyone wants to give an expression to the seed of creation that is ingrained in all of us.
Some do that by dancing. Some sing for it. There are a few who write blog posts like these.
Others like to sketch or paint.
And some, do that by building pc’s.
That is where the satisfaction comes from. You always find the greatest satisfaction when you create something. Isn’t it?
Doesn’t matter how big or small.
I know some guys, who are not interested in gaming or anything like that. But are interested in making gaming computers.
And they create some really great custom designs that you will ever see. Hail the selfless deeds.
Ain’t nothin like that !!.
So if someone is calling you a peasant if you game on a console, you don’t need to feel bad about it.
They are pushing you to create something of your own. It’s just that they are not finding better words to express it.
So they are just throwing whatever is on top of their heads.
And cuss words are always on top of everyone’s heads.
The Tangible Benefits When You Build Your Own PC
Aside from the fact that the activity tingles your insides. Let’s talk about the real benefits that you reap while creating a custom PC.
You will be the father and the doctor to the PC,
As I already said, the experience that one goes through while creating and learning something is just absolutely fantastic. Moreover, since everything will be put together by you, you will know what to do if something goes wrong at a later stage.
Something that is customized to meet your needs,
I mean, no one in the world will happen 100 % your way. I think we can all agree to that.
(And for those you who don’t agree. Just wait.)
Hell, even my dog doesn’t happen 100% my way. Nowadays, he does his own thing.
So, it’s very important that at least I happen my way.
And thank Jesus and the computer Gods (you can find them here in India, we have all types).
Now we can make our computers happen the way we want.
I am a happy man. Don’t need anything else.
That’s without any doubt the best part. When you build your own PC, you build it as per your needs.
Whether you want a simple web browsing machine, a pixel pumping beast or a hulk that will chew through everything.
You are covered, baby.
Nasty Bloatware Suckers,
For the uninitiated ;
Bloatware is an unwanted piece of script/code/software that some PC manufacturers choose to install on a newly built PC that actively, continuously and not to mention hilariously drain your resources.
They can be anything that the PC makers need them to be :
Ranging from simple adverts to keeping your system vulnerable and open for full blow security attacks.
Read PCworld’s complete bloatware report here.
Quality Assurance & Warranty,
What you want for your neighbor may be debatable.
But you want the best for yourselves.
And you know what.
Building a custom pc almost everytime assures that. No manufacturer can just put anything and extract that hard-earned bucks of yours.
If you can’t assure that for yourselves.
Post your parts list at r/buildapc/
You will not find people in there. You will find a family :). Trust me.
Not to mention. The case that you will be choosing to hold all your components will always be better than what you will receive in a pre-built PC.
Some people have this doubt that since a pre-built PC comes with a complete system warranty.
They are safe.
How about we burst that bubble.
If you buy individual components from the right manufacturers, you are looking at a minimum 3+ years warranty for almost all important parts.
And in some cases lifetime warranties.
There’s this term which is used a lot in pc building lingo.
Frankly speaking, I have never understood it. And I don’t wish to understand it.
Articulating it is simple. It means, build your pc in such a way that it incorporates future hardware upgrades with ease.
I have seen many pc builders so hung up on this that they even go out of their primary basis of budget to “future proof” their build.
And then, COFFEE LAKE happens.
I am not saying it should not be taken into consideration. It definitely should be. That’s why you build a custom pc.
But, priority wise it should take a low spot. Building the best that you can as per your needs and budget right now must be the primary target.
And then the “unpredictable future proofing” must be addressed.
Think little bit but not too much or you will end up not enjoying what you just built.
And here’s some future proofing wisdom for you. Anything that you build right now is going to be old news in less than or equal to 2 years.
So now that we have established the WHAT !! and the WHY !!. It’s time to establish the HOW !!.
See I want your experience of building a PC to be a joyful one.
And in order to do that, your experience of reading this post has to be a joyful one. Because let’s be honest the size of this post is gonna be huge.
And if I don’t make the experience of reading this baby worthwhile.
You are just going to slap that back button of your browser on my face before I can say, FPS.
And that ain’t gonna be good. Neither for me nor the SEO.
So before I go ahead and teach you the simple and subtle art of building your own PC. Let me first tell you what is going to be the
Structuring Of This Post,
We are gonna keep things simple.
And I mean really simple.
Concepts are best explained with the help of examples.
So what I am going to do is pick up a use case scenario for a PC build.
It’s not going to be a use case scenario at all.
I actually, really, desperately need a pc for myself.
So the build example I am going to show here is actually going to be a PC, that I am going to build for myself.
So whatever you are going to see here is a real-world personal case.
We will start off by deciding what my needs are, and step by step we are going to pick up every single part for the build.
Whenever you decide to build your own PC. I suggest you do the same.
Having a very clear objective in such a subjective matter really helps when you build your own PC.
Because the sheer number of variables can take you off the track from what you want to what you can get.
Flexibility in the build is a Yes, Yes. Obsessive drooling over newer and younger parts is a No. No. Balance is the key.
Therefore, we are going to pick the parts one by one.
We are going to look at the specs of these parts. First in a general sense and then from the point of view of our build.
Note that we are not going to go into the details of each and every part in this post.
For example, we will look at :
- What CPU is?
- How to choose it?
- Important specs to consider when buying it?
- Terms of its compatibility?
What we will not look into is :
- CPU naming conventions
- History of CPU’s
- CPU architecture etc
All the details that I am not going to cover here in this post.
I have already covered them in a separate detailed post.
- How to know what CPU I need ?.
- How to choose a motherboard for my pc build ?.
- On what basis should I choose a graphics card from the sea of cards available all over the place ?.
- How to choose the perfect monitor for your build ?.
- Best budget monitor for my pc build ?.
So any questions about that specific part will be taken care of in that separate post; links to which will be provided at appropriate places in this post.
In a way, you will get everything here and more to build your own pc.
- In essence, the explanation flow would be: Important specs to consider, How to choose, What am I choosing.
With that said, hold on to your hats, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
Where to start?
If you have made it till here. Undoubtedly you have a hot burning passion to build your own PC.
But where the heck should one start.
No. It doesn’t start with the CPU.
I have already mentioned this earlier that you create a custom PC as per your needs.
This implies you invariably need to know what you want. This doesn’t mean you should know all the details carved in stone.
But having a fair idea is important.
So that’s where you start.
Hmm. Let’s see what I want. (For the build I am going to create for myself)
I like gaming. A lot.
And I mean we are talking pulling all-nighters just to shoot my friends in the face in CS GO.
However, that’s not all I want from my PC.
More than gaming, I would also like to use it for content creation. (video creating and rendering).
If I am asked to prioritize among the two, content creation takes the top spot.
Your needs may be the same and in most cases, it will differ and that’s a good thing.
What part do you think should be picked first ?.
Well, Yes and No.
You see conventional wisdom says that you must pick the CPU first.
And for all the beginners out there that is how I suggest you start your build.
But I want you to know that picking the CPU first is not the only way to start.
You see once you get a grip on what you are doing.
Which will happen once you build your first PC, you will start whatever part you find really attractive and actually build from there.
Generally, a graphics card is the most expensive part of a pc build. And once you know what other components are hot.
In no time you will be able to whip up a build from there.
But right now, we will be sticking to the CPU first method as I am designing this post with beginners in mind.
Step : 1 – The CPU.
You know how every other post on the planet on CPU starts with.
“CPU is the brain of your computer. “.
I am here to tell you, no baby it’s not.
When we say brain :
We are talking about the most complicated and sophisticated mechanism on the planet. Doesn’t matter how many transistors you stuff in sand.
It can never be “brain” of the computer.
Beside the most important entity of a brain is memory.
CPU’s don’t have memory.
Yes, there’s little bit of cache here and there; which anyway vanishes when the power is withdrawn.
I don’t know who came up with that non sense.
CPU in right terms is the administrative unit of the system.
It decides what needs to happen and when it needs to happen.
- Note that we are not going into innate details of how to choose a CPU here. I have created a separate post that tells you everything about how to choose a CPU comprehensively here.
Anyways, back to the point.
Brain or no brain. This is the most important part of the PC and thus must be picked cautiously and consciously.
Important CPU terminology,
Remember what I told you in the beginning. Be clear as to what your needs are.
Choosing a CPU is the direct consequence of that.
Believe it or not, choosing other parts will be like the fragrance of jasmine on gentle summer’s breeze.
As far PC building is concerned there are only two companies whose CPU you wanna buy: Intel and AMD.
So now that you know what you want its time to dive right in.
Let’s start with the basic terminology that you absolutely would want to know to build your own pc.
Image Credits : superuser.com
These are self-contained layers of the chip that handle majority of the execution.
Cores perform independently.
And they are aided by the common caches, memory controllers that send and manage data between cores, rest of the chip and other PC components.
Must read :
Processors are made from sand. Yup !!. I know. It’s crazy.
And deep down processors jump into action because of a little quartz crystal that vibrates at a particular speed.
This speed indirectly also governs with what speed other parts will function.
Clock speed used to be an important performance measure in the single-core era.
But it’s less vital these days, thanks to the growth of multi-core chips; dual-core parts clocked higher than quad-core chips are often outpaced by the CPU with more cores
Most processors can be oomphed !! up a bit with overclocking.
Its fancy way of saying gimme some more speed baby.
When you build your own PC for the first time this may not be the most important thing to consider.
However, if you plan on keeping the build going for a longer time. Considering the overclocking capabilities is a smart move.
In simple terms, hyper-threading means each core is given two extra soldiers.
These soldiers help the general (cores) to concurrently address two tasks.
So the number of application threads a processor can handle is doubled. Cool stuff, right ?
This is the single most important factor to be considered when it comes to CPU compatibility.
CPU gets seated on the motherboard in a socket.The socket is the physical interface between the motherboard and the processor.
CPU socket type and motherboard socket need to match.
Bad things happen in the universe.
Socket type determines the range of motherboards you will be fishing for. And it differs depending on the processor series chosen.
Current processors series from AMD use AM4 (Consumer CPUs from R3 through R7) and TR4 (workstation CPUs).
Intel’s processors use LGA 1151 (Skylake and Kabylake ), and LGA 2066 (high-performance Skylake-E and Kabylake-E).
- Note: I am just touching the surface here. We are discussing only those specs which you absolutely need to know build your own PC. I am leaving individual links to each topic at appropriate places, so that you can have all the knowledge you need to become a PC ninja.
- I am serious guys. The knowledge you are going to gain from here (by reading all the posts). That plus a little more personal intelligence. And you can have a PC building and repairing business of your own in no time. I am not even kidding.
Let me know if anyone of you can pull that off in the comments section. Also, comment about the loopholes in this guide.
Choosing the CPU :
Now that we know what each term means, choosing a CPU will be breezy.
It starts with understanding what your system will be subjected to i.e., what your needs are.
In other words, what is going to be the workload on the system.
In computer lingo, there are basically two kinds of workloads.
This involves simple tasks of browsing the web, listening to music, fiddling with word processing applications.
These single-threaded workloads do better on CPUs that have a higher per-core clock speed rather than a large number of cores.
Multi-threaded workloads include execution of applications that involve video editing, photo editing, gaming (some not all) etc.
These usually benefit from processors with multiple cores.
In addition technologies like Intel’s hyperthreading support multi-threaded workloads.
It does that by allowing two threads to be interchangeably executed on a single core.
Logically it sounds beneficial to support multi-threaded work environment by throwing as many cores as you can, but unfortunately, that’s not the case in reality.
Most applications and games are not structured to work on multiple cores. So you hit a point of diminishing returns.
This is one of the reasons till the advent of the ground sweeping Ryzen, most mainstream consumer grade CPU’s didn’t feature more than 4 cores.
In 2017, that dynamic has shifted though. Applications and games now demand more than 4 cores.
And with AMD’s Ryzen and Intel’s Coffee lake launch. 4 cores are a thing of the past.
As briefly explained earlier, overclocking refers to the process of amp-ing up the performance of a CPU by increasing the core clock speeds.
Note that not all CPU are capable of doing that.
For Intel processors, if you want overclocking capabilities, you will need to buy one of the more expensive K-series CPUs.
Moreover, you will need the support of a motherboard with a Z-series chipset (more on that later) for effective overclocking.
AMD processors are naughty in this regard. They are all unlocked for overclocking. More expensive ones overclock better.
Basically, if you have a good overclocking motherboard you are good to go.
Considering Power Consumption,
This isn’t one of the primary concerns that need to be taken care of when you build your own PC, especially if you don’t plan to overclock.
But if overclocking is in your mind. This becomes an important factor.
That’s because if you want your CPU to do some extra sets of push-ups.
You need to consider what you feed it and you need to keep it cool.
So the power supply wattage, CPU’s TDP and CPU cooling solutions are to be considered.
If you didn’t understand any of that. Don’t worry. Read on.
You will know it by the end of this post.
Choosing a CPU for our build,
Now I am going to take up each point, that I just explained and select a CPU for myself.
I am very clear that I need a CPU that can handle decent gaming needs and more importantly,
Is able to handle multi-threaded workloads like video encoding and photo-editing with ease.
Now, pay attention kids.
If it was only gaming and other basic applications execution, I would be very satisfied with either
A quad-core processor such as Intel’s 7600K, if I am interested in overclocking and if budget permits.
Core i5 – 7600, if I am not interested in overclocking at all.
The incredibly affordable dual-core hyperthreaded budget beast Intel Pentium G4560.
EDIT 2019: The scenarios in 2019 have completely changed and for the better as far as mainstream CPUs have concerned. There is almost an exodus from Intel mainstream CPU lineups to Ryzen’s incredible products right from the arrival of Ryzen in 2017.
And things have gotten way more interesting with launches 3rd gen processors in computex 2019.
However, the logic used in this post to pick a CPU for your needs still remain the same.
To go in-depth into what are the scenarios in the CPU world, check out this post to be in tune with whatever is happening right now.
Since, I am most definitely going to overclock.
I would have almost pulled the trigger on one of these CPUs.
However, the computer Gods in 2017 blessed the minds at AMD, with intelligence to produce what was called Intel’s mid-range lineup killer.
Ladies and Gents.
Hold on to your pants for,
I don’t want to go off-topic but I want you to understand the immensity of this launch.
But for the first time in decades did AMD introduce something that was able to give some groundbreaking competition to Intel.
Why was this a good thing?
Well, my friend, I am going to give you a couple of reasons to take home.
- Competition in consumer grade products always means good things at low prices for consumers. I can’t make it easier than that.
- Sure, Intel has come up with Coffee Lake now but AMD with Ryzen has forced some fire under Intel’s behinds which burns like a mother and says; “produce awesome stuff coz no more monopoly for you bro.”
You can expect some serious heaven in 2018 and beyond if you wish to build your own pc.
EDIT 2019 : Can confirm, serious heaven has continued. 😀
Now you would have understood which processor I am gonna go with.
The one that threw Intel’s flagship consumer-grade chip Core i7-7700K out of the park by offering, 6-hyperthreaded core count clocked at 3.2 GHz base clock and 3.6 GHz boost clock, at less than half the price;
I sound like a 6-year-old fangirl for AMD.
Believe me. No one can fan me up. I am built like that.
I am just way to happy that PC builders are going to have some really fascinating and not to mention affordable products in their hands.
Pretty soon I am going to upgrade to 3rd gen Ryzen Chip.
Follow me on my social media profile to be updated as that happens.
Ryzen 5 1600
-This puppy with its 6 core mania will chew through multithreaded workloads. In my case video encoding and rendering.
-1080p, 60+ fps gaming is guaranteed. Will even go up to 1440p 60+ fps gaming if I pair it up with a great graphic card and an appropriate monitor.
-Comes unlocked out of the box. So Yayy !! overclocking. Has decent reviews for the stock cooler even at overclocking. So Yayy !! cooling.
I hope you understood how to pick up a CPU.
Note that I encourage you to not just pick what I picked.
Although I am going to build my PC with the same parts that I am going to list here; which may or may not fit into your needs.
Look what fits your needs and let me know in the comment section what you picked.
Let’s move on to our next part.
Step : 2 – The Motherboard,
Now you will see how easy things are going to get.
You would be surprised how easy things are, and how excessive information can make the simplest things unnecessarily complicated.
Let’s start with the important
Fortunately, this is the one component that provides the most, as per need flexibility in the market.
Unfortunately, there are way too many options out there. And it can leave humble consumers like us, bamboozled.
I am gonna cut down on the jargon and give you only that information that you absolutely need to build your own PC.
No more, No less.
- For those who are just not satisfied with limited information: Read my complete guide to Motherboards.
Fancy way of saying what size motherboard you want.
It comes in following patterns, in decreasing order of size:
- EATX – Extended ATX
A couple of things to remember when choosing the size for motherboards.
- Size doesn’t matter. 😉 .
Small form factor doesn’t necessarily mean less capabilities. Yes, there will be less components or slots if you will; when compared with motherboards with larger form factors. But in terms of speed and performance it doesn’t matter.
- A case that supports one kind of form factor will also support all other form factors smaller than what you have chosen.
As discussed already this is the seat on which our CPU rests.
We need to make sure the socket type for both motherboard and CPU match.
This is the single most important compatibility factor you need to look at.
This is where things get a little interesting and CONFUSING.
Let’s simplify it shall we.
Chip-set is just a set of chips on the motherboard that handle various transaction between all the components on the motherboard.
Earlier chip-sets included a set of two chips called the North-Bridge and the South-Bridge.
North-bridge included the interface for fast devices such as the PCI-E and RAM.
On the other hand South-Bridge handled interface for relatively slower peripherals such as USB and SATA (for storage).
With the advancement of mother technology;
the North-Bridge was infused in the dye for CPU itself.
Now, its simple logic that the capabilities of a motherboard will obviously be dictated by the chipset it has .
Because chipset is the traffic controller in the mix.
If the chipset says you can overclock you can overclock.
If it says only one graphic card. One graphic card it is.
Doesn’t matter who your father is.
Chipset is the only authority here son.
In simple terms chipsets dictate the features that will come with the motherboard you have selected.
PCI-E Express Slots,
The first thing that comes into mind when someone says, PCI-E express slot is obviously graphic card.
While that’s true that’a not the only truth. Huh !! How about that !.
PCI-E represents an interface on motherboard that provides the highest bandwidth.
What that means is;
This is the interface that will give you the highest data transfer rates. It comes in varying bandwidth options called lanes, commonly described as 1x/2x/4x/8x/16x lanes.
16x slot is the one, you will be typically putting your graphics card into.
Have you ever heard about Crossfire/SLI ?
Good. The less corrupted you are with information,the better.
When you stuff more than one NVIDIA card into a motherboard; its termed SLI. Similarly, when the do the same with AMD cards its termed CROSSFIRE.
It beefs up the graphical performance.
Slots in which you plug peripherals into..
1.Internal ports – the ones you don’t see from outside the case. Example : SATA, fan headers
2.External ports – the ones into which you plug external peripherals. Example : mouse, USB’s, display outputs etc.
So which one should you choose ?.
When you build your own PC, especially for the first time.
You need to understand that while other parts depict the performance of the computer.
Motherboard answers the fundamental question what variety you can execute on your PC build.
You can design your system such that you can upgrade performance parts later on. But once you realize your motherboard needs an upgrade.
Know that what you are really saying is you want to build a new PC.
That’s why choosing the right motherboard is of utmost importance and choosing one is very easy.
Let me make a comprehensive list of the factors (arranged in order of decreasing priority) you need to look at when choosing one.
- Form Factor
- PCI-E slots
- No. of graphic cards you wanna use.
- No. of non-graphic cards you wanna use. They plug into PCI-E slots as well.
- Internal and external ports (primarily SATA, M.2 (optional), NVMe(optional), Display outputs, Audio outputs)
So which one did I choose for my build ?
As you know I picked up Ryzen 5 1600 for the build.
The socket type for the motherboard obviously need to be AM4.
Now what do I want in terms of fundamental performance from my PC.
- I plan on building a standard size PC. So ATX form factor is the one I am gonna go with.
- I definitely plan to overclock.
- I am not intending to crossfire or SLI out of my system. So, No, on multiple GPUs.
- I am pretty flexible on the number of PCI-E slots I want, as long as they aren’t too less.
- Same goes with internal and external ports. Anything above standard is just fine by me.
You see how easy that was.
Only 40% clarity will give you what you need.
You don’t need to know the whole jargon.
With just these 5 vague requirements.
It became so apparent to me that I want a B450 motherboard for me.
EDIT 2019: I initially set my eyes upon a MSI B350 motherboard for my build. But around that time B450 motherboards were announced so I decided to wait a bit. Because the new motherboards incorporated updates to bugs that were encountered in the initial launch.
MSI B450 Tomahawk is one of the best pick that you can have right now.
It’s VRM heatsink design is one of the best that you can have at the price it is available for.
Get your MSI B450 Tomahawk here.
- Ryzen, at time of writing this post supports 3 chipsets. X370, B350, A320.
This is not to say that you can’t pick the previous generation motherboards. You most definitely can because of the backwards compatibility thanks to the AM4 socket.
Will depend on various factors, budget included.
In short, A320 is the entry level basic chipset that will just get the job done smoothly.
B350 (Now B450), is the mainstream chipset offering many awesome capabilities.
X370 (Now X470), is the top of the line chipset motherboard segment that offers multi-gpu support and few more connectors.
Now once you know what chipset you want.
You will be smacked on your face with a plethora of manufacturers wanting you to buy their model.
But don’t do that.
Browse your product. Read the product reviews very briefly.
Then do a quick google search for the reviews of products you just selected. See reviews of trustee sites like yantraas.
And a few YouTube videos about the product goes a long way too.
Now this is important because yes I am giving you the product that you can have straight away.
But I don’t want your knowledge and experience of picking a costly product fragmentary.
Doing a good amount of “right research” is paramount for anything.
I will list the trustee sites whose opinions you can definitely take to make the right purchase decisions. Couple that with some “right research”, in a way as I am guiding you here and you will have an incredible product with you.
I went through the same procedure and selected.
MSI B450 Tomahawk. If your needs are same as mine, you can go ahead with this board as well.
Step : 3 – Memory
There are various types of memories that are deployed in the system.
Primarily they can be divided into two types.
One that gets knocked off the ground once power is withdrawn. They live in the moment. Also, known as RAM. These are faster.
The other one that’s a bit overly attached to what it collects. These babies are termed storage memories. Since these hold on to the past. They are slower.
In the PC fraternity, the term memory is equivocally used to refer RAMs.
One thing that you need to know about memory is.
If you have less, you suffer. If you have more than what you need your economics suffer.
What I mean by this is people think that having the maximum possible memory is the right approach.
With respect to the time in which you have decided to build your own pc.
You will find that there is a sweet spot on what amount of memory works best at that particular time.
For example, right now in late 2017. You will observe that most tasks can be executed smoothly on 8 GB memory, but there is a gradual shift that is coming, wherein upcoming apps and games are demanding 16 GB memory.
EDIT 2019 : Oh yeah, 16 GB is what you need to hit. Especially if you are building a workstation, it is a must. For gaming too. 16 GB is almost in the recommendation of just about everyone. Although if somehow, if you are low on budget, getting an 8 GB stick now and pairing it with the same model later can be a wise move.
So that’s the sweet spot as far as present time is concerned.
Get a minimum of 8 gigs if on a budget. See if you can get 16 gigs. Anything more than that the benefits won’t be that profound. Unless you actually need those extra gigs for doing some heavy-lifting.
The current memory standard for desktop memory is, DDR4 DIMM-288 pin. (DIMM represents desktop memory SO-DIMM represents laptop memory).
Remember this weird wave you studied in high school.
Frequency means the number of these waves passing through any point in one second.
And since speed is frequency times wavelength; for a fixed wavelength frequency is a measure of speed.
Though devices these days are all operated at digital levels so this doesn’t exactly apply to RAMs as such but the idea is same.
So higher the frequency faster the RAM would be.
As you might have guessed faster the RAM, higher the cost.
There are a few things that you need to keep in mind.
- Although, RAM standard (DDR-X) is the sole compatibility factor here. You also need to pay attention to the memory speeds supported by the motherboard. Every motherboard manufacturer provides a list of RAMs that the board supports.
- You don’t need to worry too much about what company’s RAM to choose. All of them are good. Make sure you choose ones with a minimum speed of 2400 mHz atleast.
So some people requested me to create posts on my recommended picks for different pc products. I am en-route to creating those posts. Just be subscribed to this blog and its social media profiles for every update.
In a perfect world, no one would be lazy like me. Everyone would get up at 4 o’clock in the morning and go about their business.
But it doesn’t happen like that. When the alarm hits.
Now, some snooze the alarm for 2 minutes. Some 5, some 10 or in some cases hours :P.
This snooze time in memory terms is what is referred to as latency.
How fast will the RAM respond once an information signal hits it for some action.
Obviously, you want fast response and therefore less latency.
The most important latency factor is what is referred to as CAS latency. (latency is depicted by a set of four digits like 16-13-18-18. The first digit represents the CAS latency.)
You want the first digit to be as small as possible.
Number of modules,
When shopping for RAM you will invariably hear this term; Dual-Channel Memory.
As a general rule, you would want to pick up RAM in numbers that take advantage of that.
In simple words, deploying RAM in dual or quad channel (depending on what mobo supports) doubles or quadruple the rate at which data is fed to the memory controller (indirectly CPU). Thus, increasing the bandwidth or size of the pipe that feeds data to the CPU.
Thereby, making execution process faster.
So do that.
Choosing RAM for my build,
Now we know the parameters. Let’s choose this baby.
By browsing through various articles on the web. I found that Ryzen loves faster RAMs.
But never make conclusions with what you have read on the internet right away, doesn’t matter who says it.
Research some more.
So what I have really found is;
Yes, faster RAM’s are great for Ryzen. But you don’t need to put your pants on fire if you don’t get the fastest of them all.
After a sweet spot of speed, primarily around 2400 mHz, the increase in performance is there but not as profound compared to the price you will be paying.
In nerdy terms. it means the performance to price ratio is very low at higher speeds.
- So what I am looking for is a fast memory that takes advantage of the dual channel mode and also looks cool.
So after thorough research into what RAM provide the best speeds at best budget.
Although the parts number of these modules are not listed in MSI B450 Tomahawk QVL. But I after consulting with a few people who vowed that it works at rated speed out of the box with XMP profiles bought them.
And yes, I can confirm that these sticks work well with MSI B450 Tomahawk and I hope MSI will incorporate them in its QVL.
Get them here.
Step: 4 – Storage
Oh, how the storage solutions have changed over the years.
I remember my first computer had 512 MB of RAM and 90 GB of storage.
I know some of you might have seen far less than this. Will love to know more about it in comments. Don’t be shy.
But now even mentioning that kind of space make you feel claustrophobic. :P.
Here we will discuss the various storage options that you have and which ones you must definitely have.
Hard Disk Drives
The next time you power up your laptop, keep your ears close to the empty space beside the mouse pad.
You will hear a very satisfying sound that goes
That’s HDD, or the hard disk drive.
These are cheapest options available that you can get your hands on.
Cons: Very slow, clunky and sometimes noisy.
Solid State Drives,
This is one other space where things get interesting and confusing very fast.
And if you have read my complete guide on storage, it would have become apparent to you what I am gonna explain here.
But for all those trolls who didn’t read the post. 😛
I am still gonna explain certain things that you absolutely need to know.
See, how devoted I am to you. You better share this post, my man.
Anyhoo, SSD stands for solid state drive.
There are NAND flash-based devices (like your USB sticks but faster).
These are of the following types:
- SATA based SSDs.
- PCI-E SSDs
- M.2 SSDs
- NVMe SSD’s
There are two things that depict how fast storage is going to be.
- the device itself.
- the device interface with the motherboard.
Now the tech trend for the storage has been a little, umm I think unbalanced is the right word.
Unbalanced in the sense that the storage devices capabilities increased rapidly from HDD to SSD.
But the interface that could take advantage and do justice to the increased speed capabilities wasn’t developed quickly enough.
So although SSD’s are fast, they couldn’t achieve their peak capabilities, in terms of transfer speeds because of the bottleneck offered by the interface.
The same interface that was used by the HDD’s called the SATA 3 was being and still is used by the SSD’s
This was a limiting factor.
In order to cope up with this factor, the intelligent people at Intel released an SSD that could use the PCI-E lanes for increased bandwidth.
And of course, it was called the PCI-E SSD’s.
But humans don’t stop there, do they?
Using PCI-E SSD’s was like using a shortcut for not being able to come up with a protocol that could do justice to the SSDs.
And so, since necessity is the mother of all invention.
These are the fastest storage devices till date.
Now the question is what kind of storage or combinations of storage you must choose to build your own PC.
The answer to the question is what can you afford:
You have the range in front of you from basic HDD’s to fast and furious NVMe SSDs.
But I do realize that you will be looking for a recommendation from my side.
And I would recommend the tried and tested combination by the PC master race.
Slap in a combo of SSD and HDD.
SSD can be used to install and store the OS and those apps and games that you require booting faster.
- Note that if you want to install OS, apps, and games all on SSD; I recommend picking one with at least 250+ gigs of storage.
- The type of SSD that you choose is the type that fits a budget.
Note: If the budget doesn’t permit you don’t need to go with the NVMe drives right now. Because the benefits though existent aren’t that profound that you loose your sleep over it.
What storage did I choose to go with?
As you guys already know, my primary needs from my system revolve around content creation.
That means I will have a butt load of files at my disposal.
That means I must have as much storage that I can possibly have.
However, I don’t wish to dump all my files on the storage of my PC.
I have a 1 TB external hard drive and I will use that for the majority of my work dump.
So I will be more than happy with a 1 TB HDD like this one.
When it comes to SSD;
I don’t feel the need to go with NVMe or M.2 form factor drives right now.
I will be more than happy with a normal SSD;
And Samsung 860 EVO is the unanimous voice in SSD’s that every pc builder is chanting like a mantra and for good resaon.
It’s the perfect SSD in every way that you can get.
There are cheaper SSD’s available but performance and robustness is in your mind and you don’t wanna compromise with that, Samsung EVO 860 SSD is the one to go with.
Step 5: Graphic Cards
Ironically, this is probably the easiest part to choose.
And there are chances that, if you would have done a little bit of research on how to build your own PC;
You would be having a couple of card choices already in your head.
The thumb rule to choosing a GPU for your build is;
- Buy the best that you can afford.
Now, this is not a statement written in stone of course.
There are certain factors to consider but they don’t generally apply to first time builders.
- Read this one stop comprehensive guide on how to pick graphics card from the sea of cards available online.
But as always;
I will cover them anyway.
- First Case: You are on a fixed budget and are pretty sure you don’t want or can’t get the best possible high-end card out there. In this case, get the best you can. Period.
- Second Case: Maybe you have the budget to get a great graphics card but not the best one right now.
What you can do is select one that is incredibly cheap and that can do the task right now.
And at a later stage get the best one.
A typical example would be maybe you can afford the 1080ti right now. But you are convinced after some time you will be able to afford a 1080ti. Then I would suggest you go with RX 580 or 1060 6 GB and buy the 1080ti later.
As far as compatibility is concerned. The only thing for your card to talk with the rest of the PC is the availability of a PCI-E slot. And of course, that won’t be a problem.
One thing that you can easily miss is the physical size of the card.
Very easily you can end up with a graphics card that doesn’t fit your case in terms of length.
So whichever case and GPU and CPU cooler you choose make sure and then doubly sure that,
Your case has sufficient space to fit the CPU cooler and the GPU without a hiccup.
Otherwise, things can get messy really fast.
Multi-GPU setups are always something that peeks everyone’s interest.
After all its stacking up of the most sausy stuff money can buy.
But is it all that important as it seems.
Well, yes but not necessarily.
You see, the largest chunk of the computer market is taken up by people like you and me. People who want computers to fulfill what they want it to fulfill.
A very small section of the market comprises of the people who build computers just to “build flashy computers”.
And companies know this. So you will very rarely see game developers and software developers creating all of that for multi-gpu systems.
So if you are building something for the first time. I would say, you may if you want to keep room for future SLI(Nvidia multi-gpu setup) or CROSS-FIRE (multi-amd gpu setup). But don’t dwell too much onto it.
Unless you are looking for extreme high-quality high resolution 4k gameplay.
Oh, and one other thing,
Once you decide to take your smiling face for graphics card shopping.
That smile can easily turn into a frown just by seeing the number of people selling it.
You will have MSI, Zotac, Aorus, EVGA, Sapphire and a whole lot of them.
So which one is the best?
All of them.
Pick the cheapest of them all, look for some reviews and after sales support and pull the trigger.
There’s always little to no difference while choosing the vendors. Some offer some of that, some me of this. All revolving around a base confirmed performance dictated by the original manufacturer, i.e., AMD or NVIDIA.
All of them are aftermarket caretakers of Nvidia and AMD.
The Graphic Card for our build
Since we are not onboard the “go get the best out there ship”.
Let’s put some thought into it.
Right now there are three cards that we can look forward to.
and they are:
- RX 570
- GTX 1060 or RX 580
- or GTX 1660 TI
EDIT 2019 : When I first wrote the post some unwarranted stuations showed up.
Graphics card prices shot up owing to crypto-mining and was accompanied by rise in RAM prices as well. For different reasons.
At the time of writing the post my options were 1050TI, 1060 6 GB, RX 580, or GTX 1070 at this budget. And if budget was not a concern for you.
I recommended 1080 or 1080 TI.
Scenarios have changed of-course and read this post to be in absolute tune with how graphics card situation has changed.
Here are my recommendations in various segments.
Best Budget Pick : AMD RX 570
1080p FHD Pick : RX 580
Great VR Experience Card : RTX 2070
Best 4K gaming Experience : RTX 2080 TI
Since, I was clear in my understanding that I want a pc that plays incredibly well at 1080p and helps me edit videos with ease.
Plus I already had an LG-22MP68VQ.
I pulled the trigger on Sapphire RX580. Incredible card by an incredible AIB and at incredible price.
Step 6: Power Supply Units: PSUs or SMPS
Answer me this.
Do you care about your life?
or if you are like me,
Do you care more about your computer’s life?
then write this on stone somewhere.
PSU is the most important part of the build.
And I mean,
Never ever cheap out on this baby.
There’s a great chance you will burn down your house. I am not even kidding.
How to choose a PSU?
- First is overall wattage – there are a number of calculators online. (including one on pcpartpicker). I will list a couple of them in the resources section below.
- Second is rail specific power draw. Or how much power individual component is likely to draw.
First time builders or the ones who are going to use just a single graphics card. You don’t need to consider the second point.
People who plan on cross-firing or SLIing the crap out of their PC. They must definitely consider the power requirements of the GPUs in action.
I am saying graphic cards because this the one component that is going to draw the maximum juice out of your PSU.
One other thing that you must keep in your head while shopping for a PSU.
- Always aim for the sufficient and overshoot. What I mean by this is, its always better to have excess power source in your hands then having just enough or God forbid less than what you think you will need.
- Have a look at the recommended (frequently and aptly updated) list of power supplies that are deemed to work best.
What PSU did I choose for my build?
As far as current build is concerned. Anything above 500 Watts would be more than sufficient for my needs.
So I decided to go with this one from Corsair.
Step 7 : Just In Case,
So once you have collected all the family members it’s time to pick up a home.
When you build your own pc this is one of the key decisions when it comes to the PC aesthetics.
And a lot of people invest a good amount of time to pick up the right one.
All in good measure actually.
There’s more to a PC then looks.
- This is one of the parts I suggest you to cheap out on if you want to, in order to get beefier parts. But not to an extent you choose a potato to hold all your parts.
Points to keep in your head to make a good case,
- Case supports a form factor of boards lesser than or equal to what it is made for. Not the other way round.
- If you have chosen to go with a bulky graphic card; make sure that its hulking frame fits. Nothing breaks that heart more than finding out you invested in a card of your dreams that won’t even want to come in. It’s a whole other level of sadness. Trust me.
- Make sure the case that you choose supports sufficient 2.5” and 3.5” cases for SSDs and HDDs respectively. A couple of more bays than what you need won’t hurt.
- If an unfitting card breaks your heart, a chunky and heighted CPU cooler will break everything else that’s left. You don’t want that bad-ass rubbing-off of the side panel.
- Last but not the least, the crafty science of cable management. Do make sure the case you decide to go with provides ample space for managing cables. Not only does well managed cables improve the aesthetics but also have a big impact on how cool your overall system is going to be. Look for a case that has removable front,top and side panels, cable routing grommets and a mobo tray.
The case in point for our build,
If you have taken the above points that I just mentioned under consideration.
You won’t go wrong with case.
So taking all those points into consideration myself I went for the,
Its tried tested, fits everything that we have selected nicely. And looks like a hunky little beast.
Everything I wanted.
Fell in love with this baby. The moment I saw it. It’s not “the best” out there, but it does the job pretty well and saved me some bucks to invest in other parts.
Remember what I told you. This is one part you can cheap out on provided its not a potato.
Step 8 : Monitors
Ho Ho Ho..
This without any doubt is the single most confusing and controversial topics that you will encounter while you set out to build your own PC.
While I do have an in-depth article on monitors that will tell you everything you would ever want to know.
We will still discuss some very important and absolutely essential points that you need to buy a monitor right away.
And don’t worry we are gonna keep things as easy as if you are a 6 year old. Well, make it 56.
It’s a measure of how stuffed with pixels a screen is.
More pixel stuffing = sharper the image = smoother the viewing experience.
The most common resolutions as of date are
- 1920 x 1080 p or 1080p resolution
- 2560 x 1440 p or 1440p resolution
- 3840 x 2160 p or 4k
As you might have worked out:
Higher resolution demands beefier graphics card.
The most common resolution in effect right now is the 1080p.
For our build also we will be looking at a 1080p 60 Hz monitor for best results.
You know what monitor really is.
Its just a window that produces photos at a very fast rates. So it seems to you as if the whole damn thing is moving.
Truthfully you are just played by your limited senses.
So refresh rate is nothing but the number of times a screen refreshes in a second.
the number of times a monitor is capable of displaying continuous static frames in a second.
the number of times a monitor is capable of producing images on the screen in a second.
And whenever you hear the phrase “in a second” in your life, know that the unit Hertz is just around the corner. Refresh rate is measured in Hz.
What refresh rate you should choose,
Things get a little tricky here.
It depends on what you want.
Whenever you are looking at tasks that you want to happen at a rapid rate. You maybe wanting a higher refresh rate monitor.
Best example is:
If you build your own PC with playing competitive games in mind, such as the evergreen Counter strike or call of duty. You maybe wanting to have a look at 144 Hz monitors.
If you are into those story driven massive pieces of art such as the Witcher 3.
A 60 Hz monitor would be sufficient for you.
Response Time & Input Lag,
Response time is the time taken by the pixels to change from one color to another.
Input lag is the time taken by a monitor to display an action once the signal is received.
Out of the two;
Input lag is the dominant one and you want it to be as small as possible.
Simple is the way baby.
- TN panels: fast response and cheaper. Ideal for gaming but quality poorer than IPS panels. Tint introduced when viewed from an angle.
- IPS panels: excellent color reproduction and wider viewing angles. But are expensive and have slower response times(~5 ms)
It’s the capability of a graphics card to control the refresh rates of the monitor. It enriches the viewing experience.
There are two types of adaptive sync : G-sync from NVIDIA and Freesync from AMD.
But as far as knowing what to pick is considered, if you have decided to go with an AMD card like me go pick a Free-Sync monitor like this one.
And if you have picked one from Nvidia.
When you decide on a monitor make sure it has G-sync compatibility within it.
How to choose the damn thing,
This is something I see people struggling with the most.
And for good reasons. There are just way too many options out there. Not to mention a thousand and a half companies wanting to stuff their product down your throat.
But I am going to offer you the most easiest way to select a monitor.
And the method is obviously Jesus approved.
So it works.
Know that this isn’t a universal method, its a method that works for me and will hopefully work for you too.
If you have a better method.
Don’t be shy to share it down below in the comments section.
And the method is just this:
Research what is the best resolutions and performance that your graphic card that you chose can offer.
See if you can afford a monitor that expresses that performance..
If you can, buy it without thinking twice.
Monitor is actually one part that you can happily future proof.
If you can’t tone down one of the parameter based on what your needs are going to be.
If you are into gaming especially first person shooters, you don’t want to reduce the refresh rates.
Instead you can look for a monitor with a TN panel. Or you could reduce the resolution from 1440p to 1080p etc.
If you are into productivity like photo editing or video editing, refresh rates won’t matter that much and you can focus on having an ultrawide monitor (21:9 2650 X 1080 p) at a decent refresh rate.
That will give you more real estate work with.
In any case, remember that monitor is not a part to cheap out on, choose the best you can.
Since I have chosen to go with the Sapphire RX 580.
After reading a couple of reviews,
I have come to an understanding that the card will give me decent performance output for the a monitor that rocks these parameters:
- 1080p 60 Hz
- 1440p 60 Hz
- 1080p 144 Hz
- UW 2560 x 1080p
This isn’t an exclusive list. There can definitely be other combos where the card will work.
But the recommended combo for the card is 1080p @ 60Hz.
And the output that the card offers and what I want from my PC are well served with LG-22MP68VQ.
So that is what I am going to go with.
It checks all the boxes that we just discussed. I have created an in-depth review for the monitor here.
Step 9 : Other Miscellaneous Parts
Look at you.
All fine, shining and dandy ready to build your own pc.
You are almost ready and well acquainted to build your own PC. However;
There are just a few more things for you to consider.
So why did you take up the mantle to build your own PC?
You want the puppy to fulfill your needs, don’t you?
And we don’t want to leave any room for you to fumble at the end for things you wanted but don’t have.
Here are the peripherals you may want to look at to put those finishing touches to the build of yours.
I want you to know these are handpicked by myself and you won’t have any complaints using these.
Step 10 : Making Sure It all fits
See I can still make a huge paragraph to make sure all the parts that you have picked are compatible and fit physically with each other.
As far as compatibility is concerned if you have gone through this post attentively and followed my guidance.
You won’t be having any problem.
And as for making sure that all your parts fit snuggly with each other and doesn’t intersect.
All you need to do is pay a little more attention to these aspects.
- Is the form factor that you have decided to go with for your motherboard si supported by the case that you are having your eye at.
- Check whether the height of your CPU cooler smaller than the thickness of your case. Does your case have perforated space for mounting radiators.
- Is the length of your graphic card within the limits of what your case supports.
- Is there a chance that your graphic card intersecting with other components including drive cages.
- Confirm if the RAM slots on your motherboard are not immediately close to the CPU socket. Because sometimes when you choose a big CPU cooler the clearance between RAMs and the cooler itself becomes a problem for proper air flow.
Use these bullet points as your final checklist before going ahead and purchasing various parts.
Step 12: Putting It All Together
Once I have gotten all the parts.
I will make sure to create a video about to for you to see how does one go about assembling all of them together.
Earlier I put a step-by-step snapshot of the assembly here but people indicated that it wasn’t as clear as they would want it to be.
So I have a video into the making and will soon put it up here as well.
Follow yantraas and all my social profiles to be aware of everything that goes on in here.
Step 13: What to do now?
Party is over kid. I helped you build your own pc.
Now go home.
I am just kidding boi.
In the beginning when I wished to build my own pc for the first time, and I watched some videos about it.
I always had this weird feeling about those guys.
You tell me how to build my own pc. That’s great.
What the hell do I do next.
I mean yeah, I am a nerd so I can figure it out. But what about other people who don’t know how to do that.
And if I don’t know what to do next. I am just left with with an overpriced tin can thinking to myself what the devil did I just do.
But don’t worry kids.
I ain’t gonna do that.
Step 14 : Steps to follow after you have build your own PC.
- Create a bootable windows installer USB.
- Install windows using the bootable windows USB you just created.
- Tweak some windows 10 settings for optimum performance yield.
- Update motherboard bios for the latest and greatest drivers.
- For this you will need to visit the motherboard manufacturer’s website for complete instructions for your specific board. Most companies now include the one-click driver install package to make your life easier.
5. Update your graphics card driver from the manufacturers website.
- Nvidia graphic cards can be updated from here.
- AMD cards can be updated from here.
6. Secure your PC.
7. Run a complete diagnostics test.
Step 15: Do you realize what you just did.- Gift
If you have read this post till here.
I want you to know the feat that you just achieved.
It’s a freakin 10,700 words blog post.
I am not kidding. There are a very few rare individuals on the planet left who have the attention span that you have.
And if you are one of those, please comment below I need people like you in my life :).
Because doesn’t matter how enriching or funny I make the blog post.
It is ultimately people like you who it comes down to. Thank you so much for the patience you have shown.
Again you are amazing.
I wish with all my heart that you found this post informative, educational and fun to read.
If by ignorance or unintended mistake I put something up there that isn’t what it is supposed to be.
I urge and encourage you to please point it out in the comments section.
And even if you have nothing to point out.
It would mean the world to me you you could say Hi !!.
In any case, I know I will see you again here.
Till next time.
Namaskaram _/\_ 🙂