1. Identify what you need it for: Gaming, Office, Media or content creation etc.
  2. For each specific requirement there will be parts that are critical and those which are optional. eg: Gaming - Graphics Processor mainly, Content Creation - Processor, GPU and RAM.
  3. Identify what level of performance you need and your budget. Eg. for gaming do you want full hd, 2K or 4K and how fast it should render 60Hz, 120Hz or even 240Hz or maybe even VR. For Media what kind of movies do you watch. eg: FullHD DVD or heavily encoded 4K media which needs a beefier processor to play smoothly.
  4. For your budget find the critical parts which you can spend close to 50-75% of your budget on. eg., If for gaming; get the best graphic card you can buy, the other components will be just blending in and helping but not providing any significant price to performance addition.
  5. If looking to overclock, get a good aftermarket cooler which has some decent heatpipes which will provide better thermals and better lifetime. eg. Coolermaster Hyper Series (Very cheap and very good performance.)
  6. GET an SSD. Makes a world of difference for most uses of a computer except for a media PC or a home file storage system.
  7. Read a lot of reviews for the parts you are interested in and always compare prices between different stores.
  8. Be careful when assembling or get someone proficient in it else you may end up with a dead PC.
  9. Enjoy your new PC and remember to occasionally check the fans and intakes for dust
Buy a case, power supply, motherboard, CPU (plus sachet of thermal paste), RAM, video and sound cards if not integrated onto mother board, hard disk, keyboard, mouse, operating system, and lob them all together! Oh, and buy a copy of Windows or get a Linux distribution.
First though, you should spend a few days googling around to check the CPU will work with the motherboard, the motherboard fits the case, the power supply is compatible, and that the RAM is compatible.
Last time I cheated somewhat by buying a “bare bones” system with case, PSU, motherboard and RAM on board. Added a SSD, hard disk, video card, operating system and all was sorted.
It’s a lot more complicated than this but get a desktop case; a power supply that fits into the case and has enough watts to properly power this beast - assuming one doesn’t come with the case OR the one that comes with the case isn’t powerful enough; a motherboard that fits into the case; a CPU with a heat sink, and RAM that are compatible with the motherboard; a hard drive controller card (if one isn’t already on the motherboard) that fits somewhere on the motherboard; a storage device that works with said controller card; a network interface card (NIC), WiFi card, or both- assuming that the motherboard doesn’t have them - that also fit on the motherboard; a Bluetooth card if you want it, or it isn’t on the motherboard or WiFi card; an audio card that fits, if there isn’t one on the motherboard; a video controller card if there isn’t one on the motherboard or you want two monitors; a card with those new USB 3 ports on them unless, of course the motherboard has them already; a keyboard and mouse; and one or two monitors depending on how many HDMI ports and cables you have. Plus, of course, any other accessories that you want.
The hard part is picking all this stuff out - knowing exactly what to get. Personally, I start with the CPU that I want and then look for motherboards that support said CPU. Most motherboards have a hardware compatibility list and I use that for just about everything else.
Putting it all together isn’t that bad because each big piece fits in a place that is designed such that only proper pieces can fit there. Not only that but there is only one way the piece fits in its proper place. Having said that, you will have to read the motherboard manual to figure out certain things like jumpers and the like.
You might have to mess with the BIOS. You’ll definitely have to install the operating system (OS). Then installing all of the device drivers which is especially fun if the graphics card and/or NIC/WiFi doesn’t work properly after the install of the OS.
And heaven forbid if you accidentally buy something but the motherboard DOES have it or it doesn’t fit on the motherboard (i.e. you bought the wrong type) and you have to pay the restocking fee for the return or exchange.
If you’re really going to do this, a good how to video starring your motherboard is in order too.

and then start to build

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