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

CG Director Author Alex Glawion  by Alex Glawion   ⋮   ⋮   232 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. He who knows how a Computer works can also 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

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 🙂

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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!

232
Comments
Also check out our Forum for feedback from our Expert Community.

Alex G.

HI!

Thank you for such a helpful article!

I am planning to build a gaming pc on my own and I am kind of scared of messing stuff up, like getting wrong/incompatible parts or connecting stuff in the wrong way and burning my new build to a crisp (-_-).

So, are there any other, more in-depth articles or support communities which could provide some help for a newbie like me?

Alex G.

Just discovered your forum! I will post a thread there regarding my concern then.

Jacob

Hello! Thank you for this, I am hoping to make a gaming PC, and i wonder if this is a good build?
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor
I was poking around on the internet, and it says that it has a built in cooling system, Is it good enough to take care of it on its own? Or should I get a separate CPU cooling system?
Motherboard: Gigabyte X570 GAMING X ATX AM4
Memory: Corsair’s Vengeance LPX 16GB
Storage: Patriot Burst 960 GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive
GPU: RRTX 2080 Super 8GB GDRR6 256-Bit HDMI/DP Nvlink Torx Fan Turing Architecture Overclocked Graphics Card
Power Supply: Corsair RM (2019) 750 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX
Case: AeroCool Menace RGB Mid Tower

Meyer Shapiro

Hey want to build a pc for music production. I’m on a tight budget right now but im looking for something that will be upgradeable. Right now im on a 2018 MacBook Pro with a 6 core i7 its slow and VERY hot. Any ideas for a good configuration?

Bob

Thank you for helping me when I was just starting out to build PCs. I’ve equipped myself with knowledge and have built one with a higher budget than I told you before 😀

Ze'ev

Hi I am hoping to build a pc and i am wondering if this is a good build

Pc Parts
Case
NZXT H700 ATX Mid-Tower PC Gaming Case £75
Motherboard
Asus ROG Maximus XI Hero Wi-Fi £280
CPU
Intel Core i9-9900K £430
GPU
RTX 2080 £700
RAM
Vengeance LPX DDR4 3200 C16 2x16GB £136
SSD
970 Evo Plus NVMe PCIe M.2 1TB £170
PSU
DARK POWER PRO 11 650W £120

Jason

Would this be good as a first PC build (gaming)?

CGDirector.com Parts List: https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/?=Br1yh0y0Jmj

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 3.8GHz 6-Core Processor ($217.99)
CPU Cooler: AMD Wraith Spire Cooler (Included with CPU) (-)
Motherboard: ASRock B450 Gaming K4 ATX AM4 ($122.99)
GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660TI 6GB – EVGA XC Gaming ($289.99)
Memory: 16GB (2 x 8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 C16 ($66.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB NVME M.2 Solid State Drive ($74.99)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550M 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($99.49)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 100R Silent ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.59)
Total: $952.03
(Not including moniter/Keyboard)
(Used PC part picker Listed)

Jerry James
Jerry JamesCGDIRECTOR

Hey Jason,

The build looks pretty neat but. I’d make a few changes for gaming though –

1. Drop down to a Ryzen 3600 instead of the X. That should save around $40: https://www.amazon.com/AMD-Ryzen-3600-12-Thread-Processor/dp/B07STGGQ18/?tag=cgdirector-20

With these savings, do the following –

– Replace that B450 motherboard with a B550 motherboard – Gigabyte’s B550M Aorus Pro is good and similarly priced (+$5-7): https://www.amazon.com/GIGABYTE-B550M-AORUS-PRO-Motherboard/dp/B089FWXH3S/?tag=cgdirector-20

– Upgrade your RAM to a 3600 kit instead for a relatively small price bump (+$3): https://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance-PC4-28800-Desktop-Memory/dp/B07RM39V5F/?tag=cgdirector-20

– That should leave you enough leeway to upgrade to an RTX 2060 KO for another $20: https://www.amazon.com/EVGA-06G-P4-2066-KR-GeForce-Gaming-Backplate/dp/B083GH7LXW/?tag=cgdirector-20

Cheers!
Jerry

Daniel

Hey there! I am in the process of finding parts for a PC build and I need help, I’m looking for a good Build that can run Overwatch really well and with great quality ranging from $1000-$1500 also for school work like editing and programming. Please let me know if you have any build with the criteria 🙂

Jerry James
Jerry JamesCGDIRECTOR

Hey Daniel,

Overwatch is pretty fast-paced and I play it myself! I’d recommend going with a build that can make use of a high refresh rate monitor (144 or 165 Hz) at this price point. Do you have a monitor already or do you need one included within this budget?

Just in case you want a monitor included, here’s a balanced build that can handle most games you can throw at it. It’ll also leave you room for a monitor purchase –

CGDirector.com Parts List

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.8GHz 6-Core Processor ($170)
CPU Cooler: AMD Wraith Spire Cooler (Included with CPU) (-)
Motherboard: MSI B550-A Pro ATX AM4 ($140)
GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660TI 6GB – Gigabyte Windforce ($258.71)
Memory: 16GB (2 x 8GB) GSkill Ripjaws DDR4-3600 C16 ($80.00)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Crucial P1 1TB, M.2 Solid State Drive ($104.99)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550M 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($99.99)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 275Q ATX Mid Tower Case ($110.76)
Total: $960~

Add some case fans and you should be good to go.

The motherboard is a bit overkill for this processor but will allow for future upgrades without much fuss. You can drop down to a Gigabyte B550M DS3H ($100~) to save some money and it’ll handle this Ryzen 5 just fine.

Also, if you want a more silent experience, you can spend another $30-40 to grab the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition CPU Cooler.

Cheers!
Jerry

Daniel

Hey Jerry! I was looking around and I was not able to find the certain parts, if it isn’t too much trouble could you possibly send me the pictures of the exact parts to my email? if you can’t it’s okay 🙂 (As well as the link you used to search the component)

Jerry James
Jerry JamesCGDIRECTOR

Hey Daniel,

Sure thing, here are the links for some parts that are available at the moment:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.8GHz 6-Core Processor ($170): https://www.amazon.com/AMD-Ryzen-3600-12-Thread-Processor/dp/B07STGGQ18/?tag=cgdirector-20

CPU Cooler: AMD Wraith Spire Cooler (Included with CPU) (-)

Motherboard: Gigabyte B550M Aorus Pro M-ATX AM4 ($130): https://www.amazon.com/GIGABYTE-B550M-AORUS-PRO-Motherboard/dp/B089FWXH3S/?tag=cgdirector-20

Any other parts you weren’t able to find? You can also take a look at my reply to Jason above for other tweaks to this build 🙂

Cheers!
Jerry

Bryce

Hey there I’m hoping that u can help me I need a pc that’s about 2000$ That’s is good for gameing that’s can run about 144fps to 220fps On fortnight that’s is good Performance and quality. Also that’s can Have great for steaming on YT and twitch. And like Watching good Performance and quality and going on discord and all of that’s things that u do?

Kevin

Hi i was wondering for my first ever pc is this good and compatible? Thanks in advance.

GPU:ASRock Radeon RX 5600 XT Phantom Gaming D2 6G OC
Case: Makki MAKKI-0638BB-U2
CPU Cooler:DeepCool CPU Cooler GAMMAXX 400 V2 BLUE
Memory:16GB DDR4 2666MHz Kingston HyperX FURY Black
Storage SSD:250GB SATA Samsung 860 EVO
Hard disk:1TB 7200 rpm Toshiba P300 BULK
Motherboard: MSI B450M-A PRO MAX
CPU:AMD Ryzen 3 3100
Power Supply:AeroCool VX PLUS 500

kad

Hey Alex ,
thank so much for this guide it ‘s very helpful especially for total beginners like me. I wanted to know which is better buying a laptop or building a desktop, considering I’m gonna be using it mostly for research, surfing the web, reading, studying, and watching youtube and I’m planning to learn some programming in the future too. I’ll also be using it for more than 8 hours a day . could you please recommend some good parts if the desktop is a better option? also I have a very low budget.

Hey kad,

Thanks for the comment and I’m happy to hear you found the guide very helpful!

Unless you’re always on the move, it’s always best to build a desktop for the extra power and the capability to upgrade parts later on. By the way, how much is your budget?

Just to give you an idea, a budget of around $700 can get you a build like the below:

CGDirector.com Parts List: https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/?=Ks1th0x0Joa

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3200G 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor ($87.99)
CPU Cooler: AMD Wraith Stealth Cooler (Included with CPU) (-)
Motherboard: ASRock B450 Gaming K4 ATX AM4 ($143.30)
GPU: Nvidia GTX 1650 Super 4GB – Gigabyte ($159.99)
Memory: 16GB (2 x 8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 C16 ($45.00)
Storage PCIe-SSD: ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 256GB NVME M.2 Solid State Drive ($49.99)
Power Supply: EVGA 650 B5, 80 Plus Bronze 650W Power Supply ($124.99)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($70.78)

This cost of this build comes up to around $682.04 but this build will perform decently for your use case. If you won’t be playing games and want to save some money, you have the option of not including the Nvidia GTX 1650 Super graphics card because the Ryzen 3 3200G already has an integrated GPU. If you go that route and don’t include the GPU, the total cost of build comes down to around $522.05. No worries though because the performance of the build won’t take that much of a hit. And since this is a Ryzen build, you have the option of upgrading the components later on if you need your build to have more power.

Cheers,
Alex