Computer Build Checklist: Essential Components for Your DIY PC

Tyler Nelson

graphical user interface, application

To build a computer from scratch, careful planning and a clear understanding of the required components are necessary. A well-prepared checklist is important to ensure that all the necessary parts are accounted for before the assembly begins. The selection of components involves compatibility checks and consideration of the budget and performance requirements.

The motherboard, CPU, and GPU are the core components of the computer, which determine its capabilities and performance. RAM is another crucial component that affects the efficiency of multitasking. The Power Supply Unit (PSU), which converts electrical power to a form that the computer can use, should not be forgotten, and the case, which houses and protects all the components, is also important.

Build Your Perfect PC: Parts You’ll Need

Assembling your own computer can be both exciting and rewarding. Let’s make it a success! Before you start picking parts, here’s a breakdown of the essential components you’ll need.

Core Components

These parts are absolutely necessary to make your PC run.

CPU (Processor)The brain of your computer. Handles most calculations and instructions.Consider your intended use (gaming, productivity, etc.) to choose the right CPU.
MotherboardThe backbone of the system. Connects all your components together.Ensure it’s compatible with your chosen CPU and has the features you need.
RAM (Memory)Provides short-term storage for active programs and data.More RAM generally means smoother multitasking. 8GB is the bare minimum, 16GB or more is recommended.
StorageWhere you store files, programs, and the operating system.Consider a mix of HDD (for bulk storage) and SSD (for speed, especially the OS drive).
Graphics Card (GPU)Handles graphics rendering, especially important for gaming and video editing.Not strictly necessary if you don’t need powerful graphics.
Power Supply Unit (PSU)Supplies power to all components.Choose the right wattage based on your other components. A little extra headroom is a good idea.
CaseHouses and protects your components.Choose a size and design based on your needs and aesthetics.

Peripherals and More

These might not be strictly essential for your PC to function, but they’ll complete the experience:

  • Monitor
  • Keyboard and Mouse
  • Operating System (Windows, Linux, etc.)
  • Cooling (CPU cooler, case fans)


  • Screwdrivers (Phillips head)
  • Cable Ties or Zip Ties (for cable management)
  • Anti-static wrist strap (optional but recommended)

Pro Tip: Use a builder site like to streamline the process of picking parts.

Key Takeaways

  • A checklist is vital for building a computer
  • Core components include the motherboard, CPU, and GPU
  • RAM and PSU are also crucial for performance and power conversion

Essential Components

Building a computer requires careful selection of components for optimal performance and compatibility. Each part plays a critical role in the system’s overall function.

Motherboard Selection

A motherboard connects all the PC parts. Choose one with the right socket for your CPU and enough slots for RAM and expansion cards. Common form factors include ATX and Micro-ATX, offering different numbers of slots and features. Check the chipset compatibility, as it determines which processors it can support.

Processor Installation

The CPU, or processor, is the brain of the PC. Match the CPU to the motherboard’s socket type—AMD processors fit AM4 sockets, while Intel CPUs use LGA 1151, among others. Apply thermal paste to the CPU before mounting the cooler to prevent overheating. The cooler’s instructions guide its installation.

Memory Considerations

RAM (memory) is vital for multitasking and speed. Most motherboards support DDR4 or DDR5, with notches preventing incorrect installation. Follow the motherboard manual to install RAM in the correct slots for best performance, often in pairs for dual-channel operation.

Storage Solutions

For storage, SSDs (Solid State Drives) offer speed, with options like M.2 and NVMe SSDs connecting directly to the motherboard for faster data transfer. Traditional HDDs (Hard Drives) provide larger storage. Use SATA connections for versatility or choose M.2 slots for a cleaner build without cables.

Graphics and Expansion

The GPU, or graphics card, boosts image processing, a must for gaming and video editing. It connects to a PCIe slot on the motherboard. Ensure the card is compatible with the slot version and has enough room in the case.

Power Supply and Cabling

Choose a PSU (Power Supply Unit) with enough wattage for all components, often above 500W for typical builds. Modular PSUs allow removal of unused power cables for better airflow. Secure cables with zip ties, keeping them organized and away from fans.

Chassis and Airflow

The case, or chassis, houses all the components. Match it with your motherboard size; larger ATX boards need bigger cases. Ample space supports better airflow, while fans or liquid cooling maintain the system’s temperature. Proper airflow prevents performance loss due to overheating.