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Parts Needed to Build a PC (Computer Parts List & Explanation)

CG Director Author Alex Glawion  by Alex Glawion   ⋮   ⋮   292 comments
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Parts Needed to Build a PC (Computer Parts List & Explanation)

What Computer Parts do you need to build a PC, you ask? Does this mean you want to build your own PC? That is absolutely splendid! 🙂

Building your own Computer from individual PC Components has so many benefits compared to just going out and buying a pre-built PC:

It’s a lot of Fun! The anticipation of the individual Parts being delivered to your House, the shiny Boxes with all the different components in them, not to mention researching what parts you actually need, which you are doing right now!

Best Computer for Animation - Corsair Case

Image-Source: Corsair

By building your own Computer you gain a lot of knowledge into the inner workings of Hardware Components, how everything fits together and you will be able to troubleshoot if any Problems occur later on much easier, than when you have no Idea what is actually going on inside a PC Case.

Knowing the ins and outs of assembling a Computer and what Parts a Computer needs will also let you upgrade your Computer in the future, and buy components that you can actually upgrade easily.

Another very important factor is optimization. Knowing how a Computer works also enables you to optimize it as much as possible.

Optimize by overclocking, by getting the right Parts for your specific purposes, be it Gaming, 3D Rendering, Modeling, Graphic Design, Video Editing or so many other purposes you can use a Computer for.

Building your own Computer is a lot cheaper than getting a pre-built PC. You can usually save around 30% in Cost when researching and buying the PC Components individually yourself.

And the best of it all, building a Computer is so easy, it’s kind of interesting that not more people are doing it!

Anyway, we now definitely know that we are on the right track in looking into building our own Computer, that’s probably why you came here for in the first place.

If you already have a grasp on what general type of Computer you need, what specific Parts do we need to build a PC?

Let’s see:

Computer Parts List (PC Components)

Here is the Computer Parts List with all the basic Hardware Parts that you will need for a functioning PC:

Let’s take a closer look at them:

Case

The Computer case is nothing more than a fancy looking box that holds all of the PC’s components. It can be opened and closed and usually has pre-defined areas with screws and holes where all the other Components are supposed to be placed and attached to.

PC Cases come in different colors, sizes, with or without fans, some have LED lights some don’t, some have glass side panels, some others look absolutely crazy.

Parts needed to build a PC - PC Case

Image-Source: Corsair

Usually, you can think of a PC Case as a black (or white) Box with some buttons on top. This is where all of your components will fit into, when you are done with building your PC.

You don’t actually need a case, you could also just lay all of your components on the floor or mount them on the wall, some people do, but being able to just pick up the entire Computer by picking up the Case comes in handy at times.

Some Cases that are extremely popular and often recommended are the NZXT H700i – ATX Mid-Tower or the Phanteks Enthoo Pro.

Motherboard

Next up is a very important part, the Motherboard. The Motherboard is a Printed Circuit Board that every other Computer Hardware Component will be attached to. It is like a central Hub that manages all the other Parts.

Parts needed to build a PC - Mainboard

Image-Source: tweakpc.de

The Motherboard has connectors for cables like power cables and data cables, slots for cards like GPUs & sockets for CPUs.

There are also lots of little building blocks like transistors, capacitors, jumpers and lots of other tiny parts, that all go towards making your different hardware components work well together.

Check out the best Motherboards for the popular AMD Ryzen CPUs here.

Processor (CPU)

Now, into the Motherboard Socket, the CPU is plugged in. Every CPU type has a specific Socket, that is named like 2066, 1151, AM4, TR4 and so on, and the Motherboard will need the exact same socket to be compatible with the CPU.

This is usually the first step in picking new parts for your own pc build. Pick a CPU, check what socket it has, and then pick a compatible Motherboard. Continue on from there.

Parts needed to build a PC - CPU

Image-Source: AMD / Intel

A CPU is the Central Processing Unit of a Computer, and without it, nothing really works.

Almost everything you do on a Computer will have to be calculated by the CPU in some way, so having a fast CPU (high clocks and high core count) will make your PC faster.

Head on over to the Custom PC-Builder Tool, to find the right CPU and Computer Parts for the type of Computer that you are looking at assembling.

Also be sure to drop by our Forum full of PC Enthusiasts and Experts if you should have any questions!

CPU Cooler

Anything that draws power also produces heat and the CPU produces lots of heat.

This means it has to be cooled to be able to operate flawlessly. What do we need for cooling a CPU? A CPU-Cooler! 🙂

Some CPUs like the AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen Series (3700X/3900X and so on) already have CPU-Coolers included in the CPU Box, but lots of others, like the popular Intel i9 9900K do not.

Make sure you have a CPU-Cooler that is compatible with your CPU and Socket. It is the same as with Motherboard Socket and CPU Socket. The Cooler has to fit the CPU and Socket.

Example: Are you planning on buying an LGA 1151 v2 CPU like the Intel i9 9900K? You need an LGA 1151 v2 Motherboard and an LGA 1151 v2 CPU-Cooler too. Easy as that!

Parts needed to build a PC - CPU Cooler

Air Cooled Tower CPU Cooler, Image-Source: bequiet

There are two mainstream CPU-Cooler types. One is the Air-Cooled Tower Cooler and the other is an AIO Closed Waterloop CPU Cooler.

The AIO Closed Waterloop Cooler cools overclocked CPUs & CPUs that run hot for long periods of time better but can be noisier (usually has more fans and the added pump noise) and needs more room in your PC-Case, as it is attached to the side walls of the case, connected to the CPU with some Water Pipes.

The air-cooled tower CPU cooler (See Image above) is great at cooling short performance bursts, is nice and quiet and needs less room in the case. It is simply placed on top of the CPU where it sits and goes about its cooling-work.

Graphics Card (GPU)

Next up is the Graphics Card. Its purpose is the calculation of anything having to do with visuals and outputs these visuals (Images, User Interface, GUI) onto the Monitor.

There are two main types of GPUs, the integrated GPU (iGPU) and a discrete GPU.

The integrated GPU is integrated into the CPU. This means, some CPUs already have a graphics chip built in and you will not need an additional GPU to attach a monitor to.

When your CPU has integrated Graphics (like the Intel i7 8700K CPU) it will output to the display Adapter on the Motherboard. The thing with integrated GPUs though is, that they are very limited.

They are usually good enough for light tasks such as Word-Processing, some minor Games and the like but as soon as you want to dive into graphic-heavy tasks such as 3D GPU Rendering, High-End Gaming, Video Editing, Graphic Design or lots of others you will have to get yourself a discrete GPU.

Parts needed to build a PC - GPU

Image-Source: Nvidia

A discrete GPU is a GPU that is not part of the CPU. It usually comes on its own little Printed Circuit Board (like the one in the Picture above), that is then plugged into a PCI Express Slot on your Motherboard.

Some modern GPUs include Nvidia’s RTX generation such as the RTX 2070, RTX 2080, RTX 2080Ti and so on. The competitor AMD also has a solid line-up with RX VEGA Series, RX 5xx Series GPUs and the NAVI Series.

The two Manufacturers, Nvidia and AMD are fighting a fierce battle in getting a lead over the other, but at the moment it seems as though NVIDIA would be the Brand to pick over AMD if you are looking for the maximum performance you can get out of a GPU.

Memory (RAM)

Random Access Memory (RAM) is the temporary thinking storage part of the Computer if you would compare it to a brain.

The RAM stores Data that is actively being worked on by the CPU. It can read and write very fast but loses everything it had stored once the power is turned off.

Parts needed to build a PC - RAM

Image-Source: gskill

RAM kits consist of RAM Modules. You can get just one Module or 2 Modules / 4 Modules or even 8 Modules for Motherboards that support this many RAM Modules.

A Motherboard has RAM slots where RAM gets plugged in to. RAM comes in different sizes starting around 4GB and going up to 32GB per Module on current systems. Having more Modules of course will multiply your RAM amount.

Find out what RAM performs the best for your future PC build.

Storage (HDD / SSD / NVME SSD)

Because RAM can’t store anything without power and we do want to be able to turn off our computer from time to time, we need a storage medium that retains its stored data, even when the power is off.

There are 3 main mass-storage types:

The HDD, the SSD and quite a new type of SSD, the NVME SSD.

All three do pretty much the same, they store data for you. The main difference between the three is the speed.

An HDD (which still has mechanically moving parts) is the slowest of the three and will usually read and save Data at about 100MByte/s.

An SSD will already read and write at around 500MByte/s and an NVME SSD currently reads and writes sequential Data with up to 3500MBytes/s.

So, yes, if you can swing it, get an NVME SSD such as the Samsung 970 Evo Plus!

Parts needed to build a PC - Samsung 970 EVO

Both HDDs and SSDs are plugged into a SATA plug onto the Motherboard via a SATA Cable. They also need Power that they get through a Power Cable from the PSU (Power Supply Unit, I’ll talk about that later!)

The NVME SSD though is just plugged into the Motherboard directly, it is very small and needs no extra cables.

Your Motherboard, of course, has to support NVME SSDs and have an M.2 Slot available. But almost all modern Motherboards nowadays have at least one of these. Highly recommended!

More Cooling

We talked about CPU Cooling a bit already. The CPU is not the only PC Component that needs cooling in a Computer.

The GPU of course also needs cooling, but every discrete GPU that you can buy already comes with an attached Cooler on top of it, so we don’t have to worry about extra cooling for the GPU.

Now, as the PC Case is usually closed and the PC Components inside the Case need preferably cool(ish) Air to be able to be cooled, there should be a way to blow (usually) colder air from outside of the PC’s case into the Case.

This is done by attaching Case Fans to the inside of the case. These then pull in cool air at the front of your PC and blow out the hot Air at the back of the PC.

This way the inside of the PC-Case and all of your PC Components ideally stay nice and cool.

Parts needed to build a PC - Case Fans

So do you need to get extra Case Fans?

Usually not, as the Cases are shipped with extra fans that will do just fine for this purpose.

If you are thinking about building a really quiet/silent PC though you might want to get higher quality Case Fans than are shipped with a standard case.

Power Supply Unit (PSU)

We have got ourselves a bunch of nice PC Components already, but nothing much usually happens without a power supply to supply power.

There are so many PSU brands with different wattage or efficiencies out there, that it can be quite difficult to decide which one to buy.

The important thing is to know how much Wattage your current PC Build will need to run stable and maybe how much you will need in the future if you are planning on adding more components, like extra GPUs or Drives.

You should then of course (now already) buy a stronger power supply, that will later also be able to handle the extra components.

Parts needed to build a PC - PSU

Image-Source: Corsair

If you are unsure of how much Wattage your current or future PC Build actually needs head on over to the Wattage Calculator here that tells you exactly how much you need.

Some great Power Supplies that I can recommend without hesitation, are the CORSAIR RMX Series (2018), RM650x and the Seasonic FOCUS Plus 650 Gold PSUs. Another great PSU Brand is bequiet, but of course there are others that you might prefer.

That’s about it for our Computer Case. Everything that goes into the Case we have already discussed. We can close our case now and see what else we need to finish our PC Build.

Monitor

You will, of course, need some kind of display device such as a monitor to be able to see what’s going on. Monitors come in all kinds of sizes, color, resolutions, aspect ratios and so on.

A popular modern Display usually is a 24” Full HD Monitor from Brands such as Asus, Dell, LG, and many others.

If you are looking for a Gaming monitor you might not need the IPS type Panels that have better color display and contrast.

Check this in-depth article on what is important in a great Monitor.

Parts needed to build a PC - Monitor

Image-Source: Asus

If you are into Graphic Design and Professional Color grading or Video Editing you should probably invest more into a good Monitor.

The Monitor is attached to either the discrete GPU or the Motherboard, depending on what type of GPU you have.

Operating System

Windows 10 is the currently leading Operating System that will operate your PC-System. Lots of online Stores offer Volume License Keys that usually don’t cost you more than 15$ per license.

Win 10 Logo

Image-Source: Microsoft

Of course, you will need to install the OS onto your Computer.

There are several ways to do this. You can use a Win10 DVD if you have one and your PC has a DVD Player.

Nowadays though, as optical Drives are becoming a thing of the past, the Operating System is usually either downloaded directly from the Internet (for you to create your own boot medium on DVD or thumb drive) or you can buy it on a USB Drive that you can install Win10 from.

Input Devices

Don’t forget a Mouse and Keyboard! 🙂 There are lots of other Input devices such as Graphic Tablets or Pens that you can also use, of course.

Keyboard and Mouse

Image-Source: Logitech

Tools needed to assemble a PC

That’s pretty much it for PC-Components & Input Devices. You now have all the parts needed to build a functioning PC.

To actually assemble a PC you will need:

  • Phillips head screwdriver (a magnetic one for finding those dropped screws)
  • Anti Static Wrist Strap (So you don’t damage any PC-Parts with static electricity)

Check our PC-Assembly Guide to learn how to build a PC.

Custom PC-Builder

Ready to pick some concrete PC-Parts? Head on over to the Custom PC-Builder Tool for some great suggestions.

Select the main purpose that you’ll use the computer for and adjust your budget to create the perfect PC with part recommendations that will fit within your budget.

CGDirector PC-Builder Tool

PC-Builder Facebook Title Image

 

What Computer are you building? Need Help? We reply to every comment 🙂

Find a new friend on the CGDirector Forum! Expert Advice & PC-Build Planning with a warm and friendly Community! :)

Alex Glawion - post author

Hi, I’m Alex, a Freelance 3D Generalist, Motion Designer and Compositor.

I’ve built a multitude of Computers, Workstations and Renderfarms and love to optimize them as much as possible.

Feel free to comment and ask for suggestions on your PC-Build or 3D-related Problem, I’ll do my best to help out!

292
Comments
Also check out our Forum for feedback from our Expert Community.

Ultra

About a month ago i made a comment saying what i think my pc should be i haven’t gotten the pc yet and i have made a few changes then my first design witch is made for gaming and streaming/recording.
————————————————————————————————————————————————–
The OG Design:
————————————————————————————————————————————————–
CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3300X 3.8 GHz Quad-Core Processor

GPU: Zotac GeForce GTX 1650 4 GB GAMING OC Video Card

MOTHERBOARD: Gigabyte B550M DS3H Micro ATX AM4

STORAGE (SSD): Team GX2 1 TB 2.5″ Solid State Drive

RAM: Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3600 CL18 Memory

PSU: Thermaltake Smart RGB 500 W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply

CASE FANS: Corsair iCUE SP140 RGB Pro 62 CFM 140 mm Fan (2 of them)

CASE: Aerocool Bolt ATX Mid Tower Case
————————————————————————————————————————————————–
The new design:
————————————————————————————————————————————————–
CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3300X 3.8 GHz Quad-Core Processor

GPU: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER 4 GB WINDFORCE OC Video Card

MOTHERBOARD: Gigabyte B550M DS3H Micro ATX AM4

STORAGE (SSD): Western Digital Blue SN550 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME

RAM: Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3600 CL18 Memory

PSU: Thermaltake Smart RGB 500 W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply

CASE FANS: upHere T7SYC7 120 mm Fans 3-Pack

CASE: Aerocool Bolt ATX Mid Tower Case
————————————————————————————————————————————————–
I went with 3 fans for better cooling with the case I had and for better pricing and at 30$ with RGB it’s a pretty good deal. I went with a 1650 Super because the pricing isn’t that different and Gigabyte made it at 170$ OC and Windforce fans so its quieter and has faster speeds for only 20$ more. And finally the ssd. I changed from a SATA ssd to a NVMe sdd at 7mb/s at 1tb for 100$ at Microcenter.

Jim Scott

Hi, I’m kinda building a pc for a $1000, and I’m stuck on several parts. I’m not planing on overclocking. I want to work with Premiere, Photoshop, AfterEffects and play some games. Could you please tell me your opinion on this build and help me with some parts.
1. ATX Midi Tower Case Deepcool Kendomen TI w/USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 5x Fans (Case)
2. CPU AMD Ryzen 7 3700X Eight-Core 3.6GHz AM4 36MB BOX w/Wraith Prism with RGB LED Cooler
3. MB MSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX RYZEN DDR4-4133MHz USB3.1 DVI/VGA/HDMI RGB Mystic Light
4. (Kit of 2) DIMM 8GB DDR4 3200Mhz Kingston CL16 HyperX Fury Black HX432C16FB3K4/32
5. Should I get MSI GeForce RTX 2060 VENTUS XS 6GB OC GDDR6 HDMI/3xDP DX12 TORX F or Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2060 OC 6GB GDDR6 HDMI/3xDP DX12 WINDFORCE 2X
6. HDD 3.5″ 1TB Toshiba P300 SATA3 7200rpm 64MB
7. I don’t know if I should go with SSD M.2 Kingston NVMe A2000 500GB PCIe 3.0×4 256bit enc. or SSD M.2 Kingston UV500 480GB SATA3 256bit enc. they are basically the same price
8. I’m hoping you can give me advice with a PSU, I have no idea what to get.

Josh Halp

Hi, I want to get a ryzen 7 3700x with a MSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX RYZEN DDR4-4133MHz motherboard, but I read that people say that this is a bad idea (I don’t get why please help ). Also since I’m not going to overclock shoud I get an aftermarket cooler or should i stick with the stock cooler from the ryzen 7 3700x, or maybe with the stock cooler from ryzen 5 3600 (if I buy that cpu instead)

logan bell

i’m interested in building a pc for gaming, and i think I’ve figured out what I need. can you please tell me if these would work together, or if I need more parts?

Corsair RMX Series (2018), RM650x, 650 Watt, 80+ Gold Certified, Fully Modular Power Supply

Razer Huntsman Gaming Keyboard: Fastest Keyboard Switches Ever – Clicky Optical Switches – Customizable Chroma RGB Lighting – Programmable Macro Functionality – Classic Black

Philips 276E8VJSB 27″ Monitor, 4K UHD IPS, 1 Billion+ Colors, Ultranarrow Borders, Lowblue, Multiview, 4Yr Advance Replacement Warranty

Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD 500GB – M.2 NVMe Interface Internal Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology (MZ-V7S500B/AM)

Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower Chassis with Window Cases PH-ES614P_BK,Black
Brand: Phanteks

can you please tell me if I need to get any more parts? thanks

Leo Boersma

Hi i am looking to maybe get a PC and i was just wondering how do you tell what the quality of a component is?

Paul Harper

Hi this all new to me, I am interested in building a PC but not for Gaming or any heavy duty graphic stuff. This more for working from home. I have put this list together thanks to your build tool but I think it might be over the top?

I live in South Africa and these are the parts I can source here.

Your comments/suggestions would be highly valued.

Regards

CPU AMD Ryzen 3 3100 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor
Mother Board MSI B450 Tomahawk MAX ATX AM4
Graphics Card Geforce GT 710 1GB DDR3, D-Sub,DVI,HDMI
Memory PusKill 8GB DD4 2400MHz
Storage ADATA XPG SX8200 NVME M.2 Solid State Drive (512GB)
Power Supply Corsair CV450 – 450W 80 Plus Bronze Certified Power Supply
Case Corsair carbide series 200R Compact
Screen x 2 ASUS VP247HAE 23.6″ FHD Eye Care Monitor
Keyboard and mouse
Wifi Card TP-LINK TL-WN881ND 300Mbps PCI Express Adapter N PCI Express Adapter
Windows 10

shawn lee

Hello this is my first time building my own PC and i was wondering if all of the parts i found are good/compatible?

MSI – B450 TOMAHAWK MAX (Socket AM4) USB-C Gen2 AMD Motherboard

AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core, 12-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler

Gigabyte Gv-N1660OC-6GD GeForce GTX 1660 OC 6G Graphics Card, 2X Windforce Fans, 6GB 192-Bit GDDR5, Video Card

Antec NeoECO Gold Zen Series NE500G Zen 500W ATX12V 2.4 80 Plus Gold Certified Non-Modular Active PFC Power Supply

G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 3600 (PC4 28800) Intel XMP 2.0 Desktop Memory Model F4-3600C16D-16GVKC

Fractal Design Meshify C Black ATX High-Airflow Compact Light Tint Tempered Glass Mid Tower Computer Case, FD-CA-MESH-C-BKO-TGL
Also what cpu do you recommend with these parts?

Radha

Hi Alex! 🙂

How would I know if the Case I want would fit my components?

Here’s the Rig components the I’m planning to buy…
AMD Ryzen 9 3900x
Asus X570 TUF Gaming WIFI
Asus ROG Strix (RTX 2070) Gaming O8G
Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB 3200CL16 32GB
Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1TB
Seagate Barracuda 1TB
Corsair RM650 Gold
Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 4

And this is the case / chassis I want… would this fit the components stated above?
Phanteks Eclipse series P600S TG Black

aman the great

is it necessary to connect your laptop with you pc build?

and check if my list is right (I beg you)

1.Artis 500 Watt Super Silent Gaming PC SMPS/Power Supply Unit

2.Western Digital WD Blue 1 TB M.2 2280 SATA Internal Solid State Drive (WDS100T2B0B)

3.Asus GeForce GT 710 2GB GDDR5 HDMI VGA DVI Graphics Card Graphic Cards GT710-SL-2GD5-CSM

4.Acer 27-inch Full HD Curved LED Monitor with VA Panel, 250 Nits, 75 Hz, HDMI, VGA Ports, 3W x 2 Stereo Speakers – ED273 (White)

5.Intel® Core™ i5-9400F Processor (9M Cache, up to 4.10 GHz)

6.MSI B365M PRO-VDH Intel LGA-1151 Micro-ATX Motherboard with DDR4 2666MHz, Core Boost, DDR4 Boost, Audio Boost and EZ Debug LED

7.HyperX Fury 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 CL16 DIMM 1Rx8 Black XMP Desktop Memory (HX426C16FB3/8)

8.CHIPTRONEX MX3 RGB Mid Tower Cabinet USB 3.0 Tempered Glass RGB Strip Rear 120mm Fan

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