There’s never been a better time to be a PC gamer. Games that push the envelope of graphical fidelity look best on the PC, and it’s the first stop for independent developers making creative and surprising new games. Nearly every new genre, like battle royale, got its start on the PC. And the best part is that building a great gaming PC doesn’t need to cost a ton of money, with capable budget rigs starting at under $750. If there’s one potential cause for concern, it’s that those new to the process may find themselves wondering how to build a gaming PC. But we’re here to help.
For this build, we’re using the components shown in the list and gallery above. Your build will likely differ slightly, but most of the steps below are universal and will look and function very similarly.
Install the CPU
PC Gamer is going back to the basics with a series of guides, how-tos, and deep dives into PC gaming’s core concepts that we’re calling The Complete Guide to PC Gaming. There’s much more to come, and it’s all being made possible by Razer, which stepped up to support this months-long project. Thanks, Razer!
Remove your motherboard from its anti-static sleeve and place it on a clean, flat surface. Remove the protective plastic covering over the CPU socket on the motherboard by pushing the lever arm down and to the side, then pulling the covering up. Now you’re ready to install the processor.
Install any M.2 SSDs
If you’re using an M.2 SSD, which we like to do both to remove a couple of cables from our completed build as well as for performance reasons, now is also a good time to take care of that. You can do it later, but with the board out in the open it makes dealing with the small, sometimes fiddly screws much easier. Many motherboards include an M.2 slot cooler, though they’re not really required. Use the first M.2 slot if there are multiple options for you OS drive. We have a second, larger M.2 drive for mass storage, which is admittedly overkill for most builds.