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Build an Awesome PC, 2014 Edition: Easy Steps to Construct the Machine You Need


Cover image for Build an Awesome PC, 2014 Edition

Build an Awesome PC, 2014 Edition

Easy Steps to Construct the Machine You Need


Custom-build your own dream PC, have fun doing it, and save yourself a lot of money in the process. This book will give you the confidence to buy the best-of-class components and assemble them with clear, step-by-step instructions. You’ll build your own PC capable of effortlessly running the most graphic and CPU-intensive games, graphics software, and programming compilers available today. And because it’s a PC that you built yourself, you’ll be able to keep it up to date with the latest hardware innovations.

Printed in full color.

See the Dr. Dobb’s Journal review here

Check out this youtube video.

Customer Reviews

I only wish I’d had a guide like this when I got into PC building.

- Henry Thomas

Former console peasant

Full of pictures and meticulous attention to detail, this book spells out how you
can build your dream computer with top-of-the-line components but within a
sane budget. Highly recommended!

- Glenn Ferrell, PMP

President, gfWEBsoft, LLC

This is a really great “construction manual” for an awesome PC that anyone can
build. For over 40 years people have been building their own computers. Mike’s
book makes it so easy! You’ll be proud of the computer you create.

- Mike Bengtson


Straightforward, informative, and awesome!

- Corey Butler

Founder, Ecor Ventures

It has been years since I built my own PC. After reading Mike’s book, I now want
to build an awesome PC with my kids!

- Sven Davies

IT director, Connect Hearing

An informative, solid, no-nonsense DIY guide to building your own PC, with lots
of neat unexpected tips. I got a really good handle on the basics of hardware. I
feel confident and enticed now to build my own PC, as the author has made it
sound so easy and exciting, with lots of room for technical growth!

- Cristina Zamora

Software developer

To someone who has built custom computers for over 30 years, this book stands
out at a must-have reference for newbies and experienced builders alike. No detail
is left out, and you are sure to have a guided and fun experience on your next
custom build.

- John Kurz

President, Dycet Research Group

It will be helpful to the first-time builder and even the every-now-and-then builder
who needs a “checklist.”

- Jeff Horn

President, Aged Woods, Inc.

This book invokes the “maker spirit” and made me excited to build my own awesome
PC. With its step-by-step instructions and illustrations, I felt like the author
was there with me as I started my awesome PC endeavor!

- Eric Bruno

President, Allure Technology, Inc.

This is a wonderful and enjoyable guide to PC assembly; it’s clear and gets straight
to the point. I definitely recommend this surprisingly light read to anyone building
their first high-end gaming machine.

- Ankoor Shah

Computer-science major

Mike Riley distills the complex topic of PC building into a concise and easy instruction

- John Cairns

Senior engineer, Chicago Trading Company

See All Reviews

What You Need

A variety of PC parts and operating system software (Windows or Linux).

Parts List


Contents & Extracts

  • Acknowledgments
  • Preface
    • The Rise, Fall, and Rise of the Personal Computer
    • About This Book
    • Online Resources
    • Safety First
  • Introduction
    • The Joys of Building Your Own PC
    • The Joys of Using Your Own PC
    • Choices, Choices, Choices
    • Establishing the Ground Rules
    • What We Will Build
    • The Caution Indicator
    • Prepare Your Build Area
    • Get Ready, Get Set…
  • Case and Power Supply
    • Selecting a Case That Suits You
    • Selecting a Power Supply That Suits Your Hardware
    • Installing the PSU
    • Wrap-Up
  • CPU and Motherboard
    • A CPU for Today and Tomorrow
    • A MOBO to House the CPU
    • Seating the Motherboard
    • Installing the CPU-Cooling Unit
    • Connecting the Cables
    • Powering the Motherboard
    • Wrap-Up
  • Memory and Storage
    • RAM Speed and Performance
    • SSDs, HDDs, and DVDs
    • Wrap-Up
  • Sound and Video
    • Awesome Audio
    • Pushing Pixels excerpt
    • Wrap-Up
  • Keyboard, Mouse, and Other Peripherals
    • Keyboard
    • Mouse
    • The Moment of Truth
    • The Fun Stuff
    • Wrap-Up
  • Operating Systems
    • Microsoft Windows
    • Ubuntu Linux
    • SteamOS
    • That’s a Wrap!
  • Beyond Awesome
    • Cable Management
    • Overclocking
    • RAID
    • Water Cooling
    • Bling
  • The Complete Parts List
  • Additional Resources


Mike Riley has been a technology enthusiast, developer, and writer for more than 25 years. He has written for DevPro Connections, Dr. Dobb’s, and Make magazines and is the author of Programming Your Home and Developing Android on Android. He’s built his own cutting-edge PCs for more than 20 years and is an expert mentor on the subject. Visit his website at