Parts Needed to Build a PC – A List Of Everything You’ll Need

A complete list of computer parts needed to build your pc computer

Building your own PC can be very rewarding, if you have landed directly on this page and want to learn how to build your own computer from scratch I highly recommend going back to the home page as this will help you setup and think about the final computer rig you’ll build.Below is a list of all the base parts needed to build a PC, further are also listed some optional components you may want to consider.

Also, on the next page you can see a list of recommended parts on the type of PC you want, if its a base computer, a middle-of-the-road or a high performance gaming machine, click here to go there now.

Before jumping straight into how to build a computer, we have to talk about what parts you’re going to need and what computer parts are optional, and first things first, the essential tools needed to make sure you project goes smoothly.

The right tools for the job

Belkin offers a great 36-piece kit with all the tools needed to build and maintain your computer. Each tool is demagnetised to ensure your hard drive will not accidentally become damaged. This 36-piece kit includes everything from Phillips and flat head screwdrivers to tweezers for collected those lost, dropped screws as well as a easy to handle carrying case.  Click here to purchase the Belkin 36-piece computer tool kit on Amazon

If this Belkin kit doesn’t interest you, you can find a few other recommended tools below to get you started on your computer build project.

The Base Parts That Make Up a Computer (and What They Do)

Every complete PC is made of the same basic hardware you’ll need to build your first computer.  Each item has a brief explanation, we’re still just going through the hardware basics right now, further on there are some recommendations for a complete entry level computer, but on the next page we have recommendations for 3 base type of PC’s to get you the final result you’re after.

The Processor/CPU

The Processor or CPU is the “brain” of your computer, the thing that performs the tasks requested by the operating system and the software – ultimately what you tell it to do. Better processors can perform more tasks at once and run them faster.  One thing to note though is that most people will not use the full speed of a high performance CPU, even if your a hardcore gamer the GPU (Video Processor/Graphics card) is the far more important component to get the frame-rate and performance you want.

A faster CPU is important for intensive tasks such as AutoCAD (for building your house or office), 3D modeling, video editing, video format conversion, compiling code if you are developing applications and to some extend gaming.

Unless you are doing the above, the a cheaper less powerful CPU will probably be fine, so don’t waste your cash thinking “Yeah but I might want do these things a later stage”, get the CPU for the tasks you need today and don’t forget as you building your own PC, not buying an off-the-shelf one – you can always upgrade components later.


The Motherboard

The motherboard, or some call it the mainboard is the base of you’re entire PC, it is the base connects all the components together.  It has all the core items needed to run the computer, such as the number of USB ports, expansion slots (for video, sound, Wi-Fi).  They do come in different sizes (more precisely called “form factor”) so in part it determines the size of you computer/computer case.  Things to think about when selecting the motherboard are; How big do you want your computer to be, the expansion components and ultimately the performance you want.

All modern motherboards will have USB, Network port (UTP), and most have onboard video and sound.  If you want higher performing video and sound keep in mind how many and type of expansion slots you need.

The Computer Case


Corsair-Graphite-Series-760T-Full-Tower-Windowed-Case-White-CC-9011074-WW-0The case holds all of your parts together and inside a neat box.  Generally its’ features are less about performance and more about the location in your home or office – that is where does it need to fit and most importantly its dust protection and noise.  What generates the most noise are the fans which keep the computer cool and to a lesser extent the hard drives, if noise is an important factor – and to be honest it should be.  A noisy computer humming away can slowly drive people mad  – then select a computer case which highlights “quiet” as a feature.

Additionally if you are adding extra fans ensure that they have noise dampening as a feature and also consider buying SSD hard drives over traditional SATA as they perform much faster and have no moving parts and hence no noise, more details on this further on.


RAM / Memory

Corsiare RAM memory moduleRAM or more commonly known as “Memory” stands for Random Access Memory, its kind of like your short term memory.  It stores temporary information your computer needs to make programs run faster and stores data such as open documents etc whilst you have them open.  If you need to run alot of programs at once or have high storage needs for large data files (documents, spreadsheets, presentations etc) then the more memory you have the faster everything runs.

The size of RAM required is a moving target, however it is the cheapest and fastest way to upgrade your computer if you find it running slowly.  This is a sliding scale however there will come a point where more memory will not necessarily mean better performance.  If you run virtual machines for developing, testing or just playing with other operating systems such as linux then you will need more RAM to accommodate this.  As a very base requirement 8GB of RAM is required to run Windows 10 along with your normal applications, remember this is a moving target and your mileage may differ.

Graphics Card

Graphics Card or GPUThe Graphics card, also known as a Video Card but more accurately the GPU is a processor which is specifically made to handle graphics.  This is what you plug your screen into and draws all the information you see on the monitor.

Many motherboards come with graphics cards built in, however are rarely suited for high performance graphics needs such as video editing and gaming.  For those purposes you will definitely need a dedicated graphics card. The prices and needs of graphics cards differ greatly but don’t spend more than for what you need right now as fast as they may be it will be outdated within months.

 The Hard Drive(s)



Example of a Solid State Drive (SSD)

Sata Hard Drive

Example of a physical SATA Hard Drive


Your hard drive, many people refer to this as memory however this is incorrect.  Where the RAM is short-term memory, the hard drives are long term memory – its for the stuff you need to keep.  It stores your music, documents, movies, downloads and of course your operating system.  Hard drives come in many different sizes and speeds, the type of hard drive will be determined by how much data you have to store and the speed.

Hard drive speed can be a factor (yes again if you are a video editor, hardcore gamer etc), this is by no means a be-all and end-all but there are basically two types, SATA which has physical platters which store the data and spin around with a needle which reads and writes the information, then there is SSD (solid state drive) these produce no noise and are significantly faster – think of these as  sticks.

The Optical Drive

The Optical Drive

The optical drive or known more widely as a CD, or DVD drive, this is what’s needed to play CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Ray.  With so much available for download and the use of USB sticks/drives not everyone needs an optical drive these days, still recommended if you are building a HTPC (Home Theater PC).  As these are typically quite cheap, about $20 depending then its not an expensive addition to your computer. You may also which to burn DVDs or Blu-Rays for data/movies or permanent backups for example – these are significantly more expensive though.


The Power Supply

The Power Supply (PSU)The power supply unit (PSU), is possibly the least exciting but most important part of your computer, it directs electricity to the components in your PC.  The considerations here are the demands and number of components in your machine – the higher performing graphics cards, number and type of hard drives and the CPU the higher wattage power supply is required.  The power supply should be the last component you shop for once you’ve chosen all the other parts.


Parts list for building a budget-friendly PC computer

You may be building a custom pc computer because you’re on a budget and cannot afford a full computer package, or you may be building a basic computer for a school project. No matter the reason here is a complete list of parts you’ll need to build a basic computer for under $400.

NB All prices are subject to change (not usually much though) please click the component link for the exact price.

Optional Computer Parts and Accessories

  • Speakers $14.90
  • Video Card (If there is no on-board video or you are building a gaming machine) $109.99
  • Sound Card (if there is no on-board sound or you want high quality surround sound) $32.62
  • Modem (Used for a dial up internet connection if you are not going with Cable or DSL) $63.99
  • Power Strip (Highly Recommended) $10.00
  • Printer $Depends
  • Scanner $119.00 (You’re much better off getting a printer with scanning function!)

Selecting the perfect case for your computer

The award winning Thermaltake Versa N21 Translucent Panel ATX Mid Tower is engineered for the extreme gamer or graphic designer. It comes a 120x120x25 mm fan and 2 optional 120mm intake fans (highly recommended) with an integrated dust filter optimize system ventilation.

The Thermaltake gaming case surpasses all our expectations with plenty of room for hardware and upgrades. It is recommended you use the Thermaltake TOUGHPOWER 750w Power Supply with this case.



Click here to buy the Thermaltake Versa N21 Translucent Panel ATX Mid Tower Case on Amazon


Here are a few other recommended cases to get you started on building your own pc computer:

Your Workspace

Selecting the proper workspace for your computer building project is very important. You need enough space to layout all of your parts, and you need good lighting to see what you are doing inside the case.

A large computer desk is a good area to work on, where you can have the parts all to one side.

Another solution is a large kitchen table with overhead lights.

You want to avoid working on the ground, and especially the carpet because of the threat of static electricity. You will need to have an ESD wrist strap handy and use it at all times when handling your PC parts and building your computer.

Once you have selected your workspace, go ahead and layout all of your tools and parts. We are ready to get started building the PC!


As we continue along, make sure to stay calm and be patient. Forcing together the computer or missing a step will only lead to frustration as you build the computer. If you are a handyman, or have a natural ability to work with your hands or electronics then this should be easy for you.

Above we have listed the basic things needed to get you started. Next we will talk about the different computer parts, how to select the right ones, and which operating system to choose.

Step 3: How To Build A Computer: Choosing Your Parts and Operating System

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