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7 things I learned once I built my first PC

Ben Patterson | July 7, 2016
Let my minor traumas be your teachable moments.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

There I was, a first-time PC builder sitting in my office with all the components I’d ordered: a CPU here, a PSU there, plus my trusty anti-static wristband and a screwdriver. I had everything I needed to build my first PC. But I was afraid to open that first box.

Why was I paralyzed? Lots of reasons. With no single manual to cover all my PC parts, where was I supposed to begin? What if I couldn’t cram all those cables into my PC case? Had I already blown it by not getting an optical drive? Worst of all, what if I put everything together and my PC refuses to turn on? PCWorld's comprehensive build guide covers all the steps, but in the heat of the moment, details specific to my situation and other random concerns kept popping up. 

In retrospect, I wish I’d worried a little less about my first build and enjoyed it a bit more. After all (and as I ruefully discovered later) there’s only one first time when it comes to putting together your own computer.

Let my minor traumas be your teachable moments. Read on for seven things I wished I'd known before building my first PC, starting with...

1. You can transfer your ChooseMyPC build to PCPartPicker with one click

This first tip is more about the planning stage rather than the build itself, but it’s still something I wish I’d known before wasting a precious hour or two.

You can transfer your ChooseMyPC build to PCPartPicker with one click
Ben Patterson

I wish I’d seen this button before I spent hours transfering my ChooseMyPC build to PCPartPicker by hand.

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, ChooseMyPC.net is a great first stop for building your PC. Just pick a price point by adjusting a slider, make a few quick choices (such as whether you’re planning on “overclocking” your PC and whether you need a copy of Windows), and ChooseMyPC will generate a parts list for you.

Of course, the parts list that ChooseMyPC creates will by no means be definitive—part of the fun of building your own PC is picking and choosing your own components. That said, an initial, auto-generated ChooseMyPC build makes for a helpful starting point.

Once you’re ready to customize, you’ll want to move your parts list over to PCPartPicker.com, an invaluable site for organizing and tinkering with your PC part lists (and believe me, you’re going to end up with multiple lists for your first build).

 

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