If you are planning to build your own PC and have never done it before, you might think about how long it will take.
If you browse the internet, you will see people building their computers in minutes. At the same time, you can find videos of people taking their time and completing the procedure in hours. Some even manage to turn their PC building operation into a horror story if they try to rush it.
Now, you are probably wondering what the ideal time to allot for this procedure is. Then you also need to plan the setup and pick the right components to make sure it’s a hit.
Fortunately for you, we will address all those issues and some more throughout this article. Moreover, we will guide you through the entire process of planning, buying, and constructing a new PC. In the end, you will be able to easily conclude how much time you need to build the PC, based on your personal preferences and experience level.
Factors That Influence the Build-Time of a PC
Many factors can influence the build-time of your PC. Here is an overview of the three most important ones that will ultimately determine how much time to allocate to build your PC.
Research is possibly the most significant factor in determining the time you need to build your PC. At this point, you need to learn about potential compatibility problems between components, the longevity of components, hardware quality, and their cost.
This is especially important for ensuring that the desired parts are available. You don’t want to sacrifice quality or cost. Planning for alternative parts also needs to be a part of this process. Indeed, the overall cost of the parts should also not exceed your planned budget, and you need to ensure that all the different parts you have shortlisted are compatible. You can use OvrClock‘s buying guides such as this one for the Ryzen 9 5900x, to ensure that the motherboard or any other PC Part you chose is compatible with your CPU.
Computer Parts Delivery Time
Delivery time is a significant factor that can have a crucial role when building your PC. Much of it depends on where you are located and the accessibility of the desired components. For example, Amazon delivers the products the next day or even two days in the United States with Prime. However, the delivery time can vary depending on your location and the product specifications, and can severely affect the time you have to wait before you can build.
It is one thing to have built a PC on your own before, and entirely another if it is your first time. The thing is, small issues always arise when building a PC. Typically, a veteran builder can identify and fix them in a few minutes. On the other hand, a novice can drag out the issue and spend hours fixing it after endless hours of Google searching and YouTube video watching.
If you are a newbie in this line of work, the best way to compensate for your lack of experience is to reach out to more experienced friends when you come across some issue. You can also watch some PC assembly videos online or hire an IT specialist to help you with the task, or of course, reach out to the OvrClock team who is always more than happy to help.
Common PC Building Issues
A wide range of unforeseeable issues may arise when assembling PC components. Problems will occur whether you are a veteran or a newbie. The only difference is how you handle them. Some most common problems when building a PC are:
• Lack of RAM clearance from the central processor unit (CPU)
• Power cables are so short that they can’t reach some components
• CPU and BIOS incompatibility
• Hardware parts are not secured in their slots
• PSU cables are not connected as they should
• Bent CPU pins
Not all PC cases are the same. Usually, the smaller the setup, the more challenging it is to build the PC. Fitting everything in a limited space can sometimes be challenging, even for an experienced person. Any additional custom changes can only further complicate the task. If that’s the case, it’s better to have extra time to do everything properly and ensure that all your parts fit in your PC case.
One can easily achieve optimal airflow by adequately positioning the fans, and ensuring that there is ample airflow between the inside and outside of PC case. The installation of the fans is pretty straightforward and can be accomplished in a matter of minutes – especially if your CPU Cooler was bought using an OvrClock guide as compatibility is ensured this way.
It is oddly satisfying to see your cables packed together and neatly aligned. Unfortunately, most people place functionality before aesthetics. But then again, proper cable management is not time-consuming when done correctly. There are several ways to handle your cables, and none of them are challenging to master.
You read more here to learn about proper cable management from the experts over at WIRED.
One can choose between liquid cooling and airflow cooling. Note that liquid cooling is trickier, and you will need to figure out a custom loop with this. Again, meticulous planning is necessary to avoid potential leaks, which can damage the nearby hardware. We won’t dice into the details here about the intricacies of setting up air or liquid coolers but plan to cover this topic in a future article. If you have a specific question, just contact our team and we’d be happy to help you.
Typical PC build timeline
Here is a rough estimate of the time it will take to build a PC – probably what you were waiting for. The lower limit is an estimate it takes for a seasoned builder to build a PC, whereas the upper limit is an estimated time for a beginner. Where you fall within the range also depends on the complexity of your build, and size of your PC case – with smaller being harder.
1. Gathering the Materials (5 to 20 minutes)
Unboxing the parts and assembling all the tools you might want for the PC building operation is essential. Ideally, you need tools such as an anti-static strap, anti-static mat, thermal paste, screwdriver, cable ties, and pliers. Of course, all those tools are not necessary, but they sure can make the process both safer and faster at the same time.
Another important step is to unpack all your parts, and carefully place them on any clean and flat surface — your table should do just fine here.
2. Motherboard Installation (8-40 minutes)
The first step is installing the following parts on the motherboard:
- Storage Drive
- CPU Cooler
The installation of these components is pretty straightforward as they all come with mechanical connections, and essentially just are required to be “plugged into” the motherboard.
3. Setting up the motherboard (10 – 70 minutes)
Once all components are installed, placing the motherboard in the case is the next logical step. However, before that, you need to ensure all cables are correctly routed.
Here are the concrete steps:
- Prepare the PC case
- Cable management
- Install I/O shield
- Add the motherboard to the PC case
- Plug case cables in the motherboard
Once these are done — you should be able to move on to the power supply. Ensure that your wires are neat and not overstretched — while ensuring no dust gets into the build.
4. Power Supply Installation (9 – 45 minutes)
It is always ideal to plug all the cables prior to mounting the power supply unit. If all cables are properly routed, installing the power supply unit before plugging the cables will also be possible. But, once that’s done, you’ll need to connect the motherboard to a power supply source to ensure you PC is powered and able to turn on.
5. Installing the Graphic Processor Unit (5 – 50 minutes)
Installing the Graphic Processor Unit (GPU) is also quite simple. It is not recommended to install the component sooner because it can be a hurdle when handling the smaller cables, and needs to be handled with extreme care. After all, the GPU is a pretty robust component and fairly important and there are no qualms with wiring it up last.
6. Close up the Case. (3 – 5 minutes)
Lastly, you need to just ensure all wires and parts are in the case and you can screw it shut. Make sure no wires or parts are hanging out to really get a tight fit without breaking any wires or parts which would be a disaster. The handier you are with a screwdriver, the faster you can close the case
7. Connect Power Cable, Peripherals, and Monitor
After you connect all that, you can connect your monitor and launch the BIOS. If any problem occurs, it may take half an hour to several hours to solve it so try to really read through the instructions slowly and get it right the first time. We have definitely been on the receiving end of frustrating BIOS reboots and updates which can last hours on end.
Troubleshooting common issues
If a problem occurs, you can try to figure it out with the help of the motherboard’s EZ debug LEDs. However, your motherboard must come with such LEDs.
Otherwise, you can always manually check individual components to figure out the issue and solve it. Here are some of the most common troubleshooting issues:
• Reinstall all RAM modules. When you do so, you need to hear a click. The click confirms you have done it well and the grooves are aligned correctly.
• Double-check all peripheral and power connectors to ensure the PC is receiving power.
• Double-check display outposts.
So how long will it take to build a PC?
The truth is there is no simple answer. If we account for research, delivery, assembly, we are looking between a few days and a few weeks. A big part of that will depend on how fast you can obtain the desired PC parts. As mentioned earlier, Amazon can’t offer the same delivery time everywhere.
As far as the actual assembly of the PC, a seasoned PC builder will probably be able to get the job done in forty minutes to an hour. That’s for a regular build, nothing out of the ordinary.
The process can stretch out to three or more hours for an inexperienced, first-time PC builder. Of course, that’s under the assumption that you have followed all steps as explained, and there are no issues. But if problems occur, going through them and eventually solving them might add hours to the build time.
We believe that the key to successfully building a PC is patience and focus. Impatience is the wrong approach that can later come back and bite you in the backside with unwanted issues. Due to impatience, you may even end up dissembling specific components and then installing them back for no reason.
Giving yourself some leeway when calculating the time for the process is super-important, especially if it is your first time. Then, after you gather some experience, building a PC will become a mere routine for you. Consequently, your PC building time will only decrease with experience and PC builds.
So, take your time, be mindful through the entire process, be accurate, and become familiar with building the PC.
Welcome to the world of PC builds!
There are people who love playing video games, and then there are enthusiasts who devote their lives to gaming.
Corey has been playing games since The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy III were still young.
Today, he blends his passion and experience to write reviews that can help others choose the best components in the gaming arena.