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.

See the Dr. Dobb’s Journal review here

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About this Book

  • 119 pages
  • Published:
  • Release: P1.0 (2014-05-28)
  • ISBN: 978-1-94122-217-1

Build your own high-end personal computer capable of running the latest cutting-edge software. Easy-to-follow instructions and plenty of photos show you how to assemble your computer from start to finish, carefully pointing out areas of interest and best practices for each major component used.

All PC parts from power supplies, graphics cards, RAM, CPUs, cooling fans, and cases are covered, along with a number of PC peripherals. The book will give you the confidence and freedom to build your PC just the way you want it. Each chapter focuses on a major PC function, shows you the best parts to buy, and illustrates how they fit within the build. Start with a well ventilated case and energy efficient power supply. Then install a state-of-the-art motherboard and blazingly fast CPU. Add ultra-fast memory along with solid state and traditional disk-based storage. Connect the power and data cables to this cutting-edge collection of hardware. Finish up with a multi-functional keyboard, mouse, and other high-end peripherals.

With each step, you’ll discover how the computer technologies recommended in the book work together to deliver the ultimate PC hardware experience. And once you’re finished building your new PC, you’ll learn additional techniques that will future-proof it for years to come.

What You Need

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

Parts List

Contents and 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

About the Author

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

Comments and 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 Generalist
  • 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 manual.

    —John Cairns Senior engineer Chicago Trading Company

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