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Learn How to Build a Computer

Learn which parts you need, the features to look for, where to buy them, and the step-by-step process of building it.
4.5 (81 ratings)
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567 students enrolled
Created by Ty Price
Last updated 7/2013
$10 $25 60% off
21 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 5 hours on-demand video
  • 8 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What Will I Learn?
Determine which parts you need to buy
Compare features and benefits of different makes and models of parts
Buy your computer parts from the most reliable sources
Put together all of the parts that make up your PC
Install a Windows operating system
Install anti-virus software
Test your built computer is running at optimal temperatures
Troubleshoot your build in case something didn't go right on the first try
View Curriculum
  • None
  • No previous computer building/repair experience

Building a computer is fun, affordable, and empowering. It's fun being able to choose all of the parts that will go into your machine, it's cheaper than buying a PC from a manufacturer like Dell or HP, and it's just so darn cool to DIY!

This course is for anyone that has ever wanted to build their own computer.

For this course, I purchased all the parts I needed for a new computer. I show you each part, tell you about the features I thought were important, describe other features you may want to look for, demonstrate how to build the entire computer, and then install the necessary operating system and software.

You will go from having no idea what's inside a computer to having a full working computer after this course.

You will be able to do the following:
  • Figure out your computer's main purpose
  • Determine which parts you need to buy
  • Compare features and benefits of different makes and models of parts
  • Buy your computer parts from the most reliable sources
  • Put together all of the parts that make up your PC
  • Install a Windows operating system
  • Install anti-virus software
  • Test your built computer is running at optimal temperatures
  • Troubleshoot your build in case something didn't go right on the first try

What operating system do you demonstrate how to install?
Windows 7. I am adding a video on how to install Windows 8 and Linux as well.

How much do the parts cost?
It depends on what you want to do with your new PC. You can spend anywhere from $300 to $3000 on your build. The first thing to do is to identify the purpose of your computer. Are you going to use it for gaming or video editing, or just basic website browsing and media playback? The more performance your machine is, the more it will cost. We've listed out the following sample configurations in the course:

  • Basic PC ($300)
  • Basic PC ($400)
  • Gaming PC ($464)
  • Gaming PC ($800)
  • Gaming PC ($1500
  • Video Editing PC ($1500)
  • Home Theater PC ($500)

How long will I have access to the videos?
Forever :) Your access won't expire</strong>

Do you offer a money-back guarantee?
Yes, we have a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you're unhappy for any reason we'll refund 100% of your investment. Of course, if there is anything we can do to help you, we'd love the opportunity to do so first.</strong>

Can I install Mac OS on a computer I build?
Yes, the method of actually putting together the computer hardware is independent of which operating system you're installing. However, Mac OS will only work with a very limited set of hardware, so building a "Hackintosh" is outside the scope of this course.

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone who wants to build a computer
  • Anyone who wants to save money on the cost of a new computer
  • Anyone who wants to develop a new skill
  • No previous experience, knowledge, or training needed
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 53 Lectures Collapse All 53 Lectures 05:47:46
Getting Started
10 Lectures 01:04:40
Follow along step-by-step as I build a brand new computer in this course. I'll show you the parts you'll need, tell you which features to look for, and demonstrate how to put the PC together and install OS and software.
Preview 01:03

Computer hardware ranges in features, performance, and price. This video introduces you to the notion that you can spend anywhere from $300 to $3000 on a computer. The price of your build will depend on what you plan on doing with your PC and which performance features are important for you.
Preview 05:12

Most people build computers for the following types of uses:

  • Basic: Email, Facebook, Music, Photos, Video
  • Gaming: Playing games like Battlefield 3, Crysis 3, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, etc.
  • Video Editing: Editing video projects and movies
  • Home Theater: Using a PC to stream, download, and playback media to a TV or projector

Preview 07:51

In this lecture we'll go over all of the necessary components needed to build a computer. We'll also talk about parts you can add for improved performance, but aren't required for the PC to operate.
Preview 13:29

Similar to buying tires for your car, there are certain aspects of the PC part picking process that you have to get right, and others that will just depend on your personal preference.
Similar to Buying Tires for Your Car

In this lecture we'll discuss a computer that can be built for just $300. It would be perfect for anyone that plans on mainly doing email, Facebook, Microsoft Office, listening to music, watching movies, and other basic tasks.

Most of these parts could be swapped out with a similar model from another manufacturer and still be a good computer. This is an example of what you can put together for very little money.
Sample Basic PC Configuration

Sample Gaming PC Configurations

Sample Home Theater PC Configuration

Best Places to Buy Parts

What Will You Use Your PC For?
Choosing Parts
19 Lectures 01:46:09

Here is an overview of the parts you'll need to buy to build a complete computer. I briefly explain a little about each of the parts I've purchased for my new computer build and why.

Preview 10:21

Even though technology rapidly advances, the main components and how you put them together hasn't really changed all that much. The process of building a PC is hardly different than it was 10 years ago, and most likely 5-10 years from today.

For instance, modern hard drives have SATA connections. Years ago they had IDE connections. Even though the modern SATA connector looks different and operates at a higher speed, the hard drive still needs to plug into the motherboard via power and data cables.

You can be confident that what you learn here today will remain very relevant in the near future.

Preview 01:33

A computer case houses all of the computer's parts. Its quality and features have a direct impact on the longevity and convenience of the PC.

A case with a good number of fans (or places to put fans) and cable management features will aid airflow and allow you to properly cool the inside of the case and its components.

Convenience features like front-panel USB or headphone ports, or a tray to set your iPod/smartphone on top of the case, make using your computer a more enjoyable experience.

Things to consider when buying a computer case:

  • Size
  • Expansion Bays
  • Ease of Installation
  • Cooling & Airflow
  • Front Panel Connections
  • Form Factor
  • Upgrade-ability
Check out the "Choosing Parts for Your Computer" PDF below for more info and tips
Popular case manufacturers:
Top Rated Cases on Amazon:
View top 100

Preview 10:02

Like the name suggests, a power supply plugs into your home's outlet and supplies the power to your motherboard, CPU, and other components.

Things to consider when buying a power supply:

  • Make sure it has enough Watts to run all of the components
  • Higher efficiency ratings mean lower energy costs
  • A modular interface allows you to only use the power cables you need
  • You can compare power supplies based on how loud their fans get
Check out the "Choosing Parts for Your Computer" PDF for more info and tips

Popular Power Supply Manufacturers:

Top Rated Power Supplies on View Top 100

Preview 08:44

The motherboard is the main circuit board in your computer. All of the other components plug into it; that is, the CPU, memory, graphics card, hard drive, optical drive, etc. It is an essential item in every computer.

The motherboard has a "socket", which is what the CPU (processor) plugs into. Your motherboard and CPU need to have the same socket type, i.e. LGA 1155, LGA 2011, LGA 1150

Things to consider when buying a motherboard:

  • Socket
  • Chipset
  • PCI Express and PCI Slots
  • Number of USB Ports and Speed
  • SATA and IDE Support
  • Onboard Audio
  • Number of memroy slots and the maximum amount of memory allowed
Check out the "Choosing Parts for Your Computer" PDF below for more info and tips

Popular Motherboard Manufacturers:

Top Rated Motherboards on View Top 100

Best Selling Motherboards on View Best Sellers

Newly Released Motherboards on View New Releases

Choosing a Motherboard

Exploring Motherboards in More Detail

The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is also known as the processor. It is the main processing chip of the computer which reads and executes program instructions.

A CPU's socket must match the motherboard's socket.

Things to consider when buying a CPU:

  • Socket
  • Clock speed
  • Number of cores
  • Cache
  • Cooling
Check out the "Choosing Parts for Your Computer" PDF below for more info and tips

Two CPU Manufacturers to Choose From:

Top Rated CPU's on Amazon: View Top 100

Newly Released CPU's on Amazon: View New Releases

Choosing a CPU

Exploring CPUs in More Detail

The system memory is often referred to as RAM, which stands for Random Access Memory. It is a temporary storage location used to store data and information.

With everything else held constant, a computer with more memory, i.e 8GB vs 4GB, tends to feel a little more responsive.

Check out the "Choosing Parts for Your Computer" PDF below for more info and tips

Popular Memory Manufacturers:

Top Rated Memory on View Top 100

Choosing RAM (Memory)

Exploring RAM (Memory) in More Detail

A hard drive is where you save all of your user data. The operating system is stored here as well as your pictures, videos, music, documents, programs, etc.

Most computers use mechanical hard drives made up of physical parts. It's becoming increasingly popular, especially in laptops and high-end PCs, to use solid state drives due to their data transfer rates, physical size, weight, and reliability.

Check out the "Choosing Parts for Your Computer" PDF below for more info and tips

Popular Mechanical Hard Drive Manufacturers:

2012 Hard Drive Performance Chart: View Chart

Popular Solid State Hard Drive Manufacturers:

2012 Solid State Drive Performance Chart: View Chart

Top Rated Mechanical Hard Drives on View Top 100 Hard Drives

Top Rated Solid State Drives on View Top 100 SSDs

Choosing a Hard Drive

Exploring Hard Drives in More Detail

The graphics card (or video card) is the component responsible for displaying what you see on your computer screen. Your computer monitor plugs into your graphics card via a DVI, VGA, HDMI, or DisplayPort connection, and then the graphics card plugs into your motherboard.

Not every computer requires a dedicated graphics card. Some CPU's and motherboards have built in graphics. If you're building a PC for every day use like email, Facebook, YouTube, and Microsoft Office then you'll do just fine with the integrated graphics found in a CPU and/or motherboard.

If you plan on doing gaming, video editing, CAD work, or anything else that is graphics-intensive, then a separate, dedicated video card is recommended.

While AMD and NVIDIA are really the only companies that make the chipsets for consumer video cards, many other companies use their technology and sell cards.
Check out the "Choose Parts for Your Computer" PDF below for more tips and information

Two Main Video Card Chipset Manufacturers:
Popular AMD Video Card Makers:
Popular NVIDIA Video Card Makers: 
Top Rated Video Cards on View Top 100

Choosing a Graphics Card

Exploring Graphics Cards in More Detail

The name optical drive refers to CD, DVD, and Blu-ray drives. They can read and/or write data. 

Optical drives are less important these days due to software, movies, and music all being available for download or streaming online, but most people will use a disc drive from time to time.

If you ever plan on playing a CD, watching a DVD/Blu-ray, installing software from a CD/DVD, want to create audio or video discs, then you'll want some kind of optical drive.

Check out the "Choosing Parts for Your Computer" PDF below for more tips and information

Popular Blu-ray / DVD / CD Drive Manufacturers are:
Top Rated Blu-Ray Drives on View Blu-ray Drives 

Top Rated DVD Drives on View DVD Drives
Choosing an Optical Drive

Exploring Optical Drives in More Detail

After you put your computer together you'll need to install an operating system such as Windows 7 or Windows 8. If you're installing Windows, you have the option to buy a retail installation disc that allows you to install and uninstall the OS. Some retail packaging comes with 3 licenses so you can install the software on multiple computers.

I would recommend staying away from the traditional consumer Windows software discs that you normally see in stores and purchase a "System Builder" version. The System Builder is made for people that are building a computer. The great thing is it is a lot cheaper. The caveats are it can only be installed once and can never be uninstalled and placed on another computer, and you have to choose the correct version for your system: 32-bit or 64-bit.

Windows System Builder Discs on View System Builders
Choosing an Operating System Installation Disc

Test your knowledge of computer components and their features in this short quiz. While it is optional, these questions touch on important items you should know when finding and comparing parts for your new computer. These questions are based on the videos and written lectures in the Choosing Parts section.

Understanding the Parts of a Computer
17 questions
Installing Parts
8 Lectures 57:41
Installing the CPU

Installing the CPU Cooler (Heatsink)

Installing the RAM (Memory)

Installing the Power Supply

Installing the Motherboard in the Case

Installing the Graphics Card

Installing the Hard Drive(s)

Installing the Optical Drive
Connecting Power & Data Cables
8 Lectures 50:58
Connecting Power Cables to the Motherboard and CPU

Power Cables That You'll Need to Connect to Power Supply

Connecting the Front Panel

Connecting Additional Power Cable to Graphics Card

Connecting Power Cables to Hard Drive(s) and Optical Drive

Connecting Data Cables to Hard Drive(s) and Optical Drive

Reviewing Connections

Storing Unused Parts
Turning Computer On and Installing Windows & Drivers
8 Lectures 58:04
Turning the Computer On

Installing Windows 7

Installing Drivers

Updating Windows and Installing Anti-Virus Software

Checking Your CPU's Temperature

Graphics Card Driver


Formatting a Second Hard Drive
About the Instructor
4.5 Average rating
80 Reviews
567 Students
1 Course
Internet Entrepreneur, Tech Enthusiast

Ty Price has a passion for online business, internet marketing, and technology. He's been eagerly learning and putting his skills to practice since 2005. Since then he's held the roles of a Webmaster, E-Commerce Director, SEO Director, Business Development Manager, and President for some online businesses and a marketing agency.

Ty's a natural entrepreneur, always thinking of a new idea to bring to the market or a way to innovate something existing.

In 2011, his hard work outside of his day job job finally paid dividends and him and his wife were able to quit their jobs and become self-employed on a full-time basis. He enjoys getting his hands dirty with pretty much every aspect of on online business, whether it's product development, strategy, user experience, web development, site speed, conversion optimization, analytics, buyer psychology, or projections. He attributes his success to at least moderately understanding all pieces of the puzzle and how they have an impact on the big picture.

One of Ty's larger successes was running a website that received over 5 million unique visits in a single month, with 1 million of those visitors attributed to a single day.

He is the owner of, a company whose goal is to teach people how to repair computers. They have a number of courses available on their website and plenty of free information throughout the site.

He also has a number of web projects under construction in deal, tech, and social categories.

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