[14] – First Time PC Build

The pandemic continues to wage forward and we have no end in sight it seems. In an effort to stay sane, I decided to take on a project I’ve been wanting to get done for quite some time. For years I’ve wanted to transition from using a gaming console (Playstation 4) and a computer, to having one monster machine that I can use for both. This way I can take up less space and also make quick transitions between programs and gaming. I’ve been working with my Mid-2011 iMac for almost 10 years and while it has been a wonderful machine, its time to move on to bigger and better.

For a few weeks I did research on what parts to buy and what parts will let me do the most within my budget. I wanted to build a computer that not only let me play the games I enjoy the most, like Call Of Duty and Fifa, but also let me run my design programs without any sign of sluggishness. I relied heavily on the reddit r/buildapc/ community for questions and often created different builds using the wonderful website pcpartspicker. All in all I think I created about 8 different combination of parts to build what would be the pc I needed that was still within my budget and with pcpartspicker you can add parts and even sort by reviews and prices. Below is the final list I went with:

PCPartPicker Part List

CPUAMD Ryzen 5 3600XT 3.8 GHz 6-Core Processor$332.95 @ Amazon
MotherboardAsus TUF GAMING X570-PLUS (WI-FI) ATX AM4 Motherboard$189.00 @ Amazon
MemoryG.Skill Ripjaws V 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3600 CL16 Memory$76.99 @ Amazon
StorageInland Premium 512 GB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive$62.99 @ Amazon
StorageWestern Digital Blue 1 TB 2.5″ Solid State Drive$95.99 @ Amazon
Video CardSapphire Radeon RX 5700 XT 8 GB PULSE Video Card$699.99 @ Amazon
CaseLian Li Lancool II Mesh ATX Mid Tower Case$129.00 @ Amazon
Power SupplyPowerSpec 650 W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply$67.99 @ Microcenter
Case FanCorsair AF120 (2018) 52 CFM 120 mm Fans 3-Pack$44.99 @ Amazon
List based on current prices, may vary from when things were bought.

After purchasing all the parts. It was finally time to do the physical work of putting it together. Below are some images during the process and a short walkthrough.

Step 1: The Lian Li Lancool II Mesh Performance case is awesome and has 3 built in fans that are strong enough, pretty quiet, and already came built on to the case. I first opened up the Asus x570 motherboard and installed the Ryzen 5 3600xt CPU in its specific spot on the board. Ensuring the CPU pins all went in during this process made me a little nervous but just working slowly and carefully helped this go smoothly.

Step 2. Installed the motherboard into the case. This was a simple step, just making sure I aligned all the screw slots and everything secured easily.

Step 3: While I know this was out of order, I then installed the CPU cooler. I carefully put a couple drops of K4-Pro thermal paste on top of the CPU plate and put the Wraith Spire fan cooler that came with the CPU right on top.

Step 4: Installed the Inland 512 GB NVME SSD, the 16 GB of RAM, and finally the bulky Sapphire Radeon 5700xt video card. Everything seemed to connect well so at this point I was ready to move on to the power.

Step 5. This was the toughest part for me because I was super nervous that I wouldn’t power something correctly and the computer would start smoking once I turned it on. I followed the instructions and plugged all the ports that required power on the motherboard and the video card. I turned it on after everything was properly connected and success!

Step 6: Once the pc was on and everything seemed to be powered on correctly I ran a diagnostic test from the bios to make sure everything was good and then I went forward with installing Windows 10 from a USB I had. The speed at which I got that done was incredible, the benefits of SSD!

I went ahead and started installing all my programs and games once I was ready to rock and before I knew it, I was ready to play some games in celebration of the success!

All in all, it was a great process and much easier than I thought it would be. I have some previous knowledge of computer hardware from old jobs so that helped, but I believe someone with no experience CAN do this. Also, while I had my own certain budget for this project, PCs that are capable of playing games or other tasks can be built for much less so do NOT be discouraged. If you have any questions about the build or about your own build, feel free to let me know and I will help anyone that I can or direct you to the proper resources.

UPDATE: After some time working and playing with the pc I have added a few extras that weren’t required but definitely help. I installed an additional 1TB SSD (Western Digital) as well as 3 Corsair 120mm fans to create a more positive air flow to my PC. The PC is slightly louder when playing some games but it runs smoothly with no lags or issues. For aesthetics I added a couple RGB light strips that I have setup up to switch colors when the computer runs hotter. I have updated the parts list above to include the additional purchases.