How to Build a Gaming PC | Step by step guide (2022 Update)

It will take decent technical knowledge to build a PC. But building a gaming PC requires the next level of enthusiasm.

Gamers or PC enthusiasts want something that is more than ordinary.

So, in addition to a standard build, they want everyone to see their rig to get an idea of their love for computers. To meet that, they install a variety of parts to make their rig glamorous and glazing that is not usually found in any ordinary build. So, the cost here is also higher than the simple PC build.

To build a gaming PC, you need to know how to install the fundamental parts such as CPU, RAM, motherboard, power supply, and etc. If you haven’t read our article on building a PC, we urge you to read it because it will guide you step by step. So, if you start reading this article earlier without reading that article, it won’t be beneficial.

After that, you will need to know how to install the additional components that will not only make your rig look awesome but also improve overall performance. Since we have already discussed the process of installing the fundamental parts of a PC in our previous article, we will only discuss how to install the additional components or accessories in this article.

However, if you already know how to build a PC and you just want to get an idea of ​​how to install the additional components, then reading only this article will be enough.

Table of Content – 

The components you need to install for a gaming PC:

Most people don’t know how to build a gaming PC, as an ordinary PC is enough for their work.

We often see that gamers or high-end PC builders tend to use M.2 SSD cards, aftermarket CPU or AIO coolers, and LED strips or controllable RGB lighting in their rigs. So we are going to discuss how to install these parts in this article.

Installing an M.2 SSD card:

First, we are going to start by installing an M.2 SSD. An M.2 SSD is much faster than a normal SSD card. So, installing this is kind of essential for the high-end PC builders as they want their PCs to perform faster than a regular PC.

When you are going to install an M.2 SSD, we assume you will buy or have already bought a high-end motherboard. Depending on the motherboard, you should get 2 or at least one M.2 slot.

Just follow the steps below one by one and you will be good to go –

    • First, you need to loosen the M.2 screw. You will need a screwdriver for that.
    • Placing the screwable side at the screw hole, insert the M.2 SSD into the slot. It is recommended you slide the SSD into the slot at a 30° angle.
    • Now, push the screwable side attaching to the screw hole and tighten the screw.

Don’t use your hand to tighten the screw or push the SSD too hard into the slot. This video is from the official MSI website. Hope this visual presentation will help you with better instruction –

Installing an aftermarket CPU cooler:

Mostly, two types of CPU coolers are seen to be used. They are PWM fan type air coolers and AIO water coolers.

Some gamers or PC lovers also use direct liquid cooling who don’t have a problem with spending extra bucks. But in general, it is very expensive and very difficult to maintain.

Also, direct liquid cooling sometimes requires some additional equipment which is very rare to find. Therefore, we will discuss how to install the widely used PWM fan type air cooler and AIO water cooler in this article.

Installing a PWM fan type CPU cooler:

A PWM fan type CPU cooler is easier to install than an AIO water cooler or a direct liquid cooling system. They are also cheaper compared to the other two types.

For those who are not satisfied with the stock CPU cooler and are on a little budget, this type of cooler would be the solid option to go for. Here’s what a PWM fan type CPU cooler looks like –

Cooler Master Hyper T200 Air CPU Cooler

When you open the box of an aftermarket PWM fan type CPU cooler, you will see a lot of screws and parts that can make you confused about installing it.

But don’t worry, just follow the simple steps and you will be able to install a PWM fan type CPU cooler in no time –

1. First, remove or uninstall the stock cooler if you have any. Just unplug the four clips that attach the stock cooler. If you haven’t installed the stock cooler then, get rid of the screws and retention modules on the motherboard by unscrewing them.

Removing the screws from motherboard

2. Clean off the thermal paste on the CPU if you have removed the stock cooler.

3. Secure the standoff plugs around the CPU zone on the motherboard. Or depending on the CPU socket (Intel or AMD), these types of coolers come with 2 types of brackets. So, choose the one that goes with your motherboard’s architecture. Turn the motherboard around and attach the bracket at the back. The standoffs will pop up through the holes.

Securing the standoffs on the motherboard

4. Place the X shape bracket between the heatsink and copper base. Locating the positions of the screws, unfold the bracket to I configuration if you are using an AMD socket. Remember, this step is not applicable if your CPU cooler comes with a back motherboard bracket.

Placing brackets between base and heatsink

5. Now, remove the plastic protection, which is under the heat pipes, and place a tiny bit of thermal paste onto the CPU.

Applying thermal paste

6. Place the cooler onto the standoff plugs and start screwing them.

Installing the cooler onto the standoffs

7. Finally, attach the cooling fan to any side of the cooler. If your cooler comes with 2 fans, attach them on both sides.
Congratulations, you have successfully installed your aftermarket PWM fan type CPU cooler.

Attaching the cooling fan on the cooler


Various types of PWM fan type CPU coolers are almost similar but there can be a few different steps sometimes. Before you are going to install a PWM fan type air cooler, read the installation manual very carefully.

Installing an AIO water cooler:

Depending on the radiator size and number of fans, AIO water coolers can be categorized into 3 types. Let’s take a look at this table below to find about the types of AIO water cooler –

Radiator Size

Number of Fans


120 mm

NZXT Kraken M22
240 mm


NZXT Kraken X53

280 mm

NZXT Kraken X63

360 mm

NZXT Kraken X73

After unboxing the cooler from the box, you will find a lot of hardware such as – long fan screws, LGA standoffs, thumb screws, radiator screws, PWM fans, Intel/AMD mounting bracket, Intel/AMD backplate, and etc.

Parts that come with an AIO water cooler

The installation process can be difficult compared to a PWM fan type air cooler.

If you happen to have a stock cooler installed, get rid of it first. Now, you need to follow these simple steps one by one –

Step-1: Installing the backplate
Slide the backplate pins inside if you are using LGA 115X and slide the pins outside if you are using LGA 1366 (follow figure 1). Then attach the assembled backplate (J) at the back of the motherboard (follow figure 2) –

Installing the Backplate

Step-2: Securing the standoff screws
Depending on the chipset (Intel or AMD), attach the provided standoff screws. Tighten all 4 screws until they are completely secured. You either use screws (B) for LGA 115X/1366 or use screws (C) for LGA 2011/2011-3/2066. See the image below –

Securing the standoff screws

Step-3: Installing the fans and radiator
It’s time to attach the radiator and the PWM fans that came with the cooler. For absolute performance, we recommend attaching the regulator on top of the casing and mounting the fans as an air intake.

For securing the radiator, place the washers (I) on top of the casing first and then, mount the radiator screws (F). For securing the radiator PWM fans (H), place them below the radiator and tighten them with the long fan screws (A). Follow the image below –

Installing the Fans and Radiator

Step-4: Installing the pump unit
Place the pump over the CPU aligning the bracket (K) with the standoff screws. Then, tighten all 4 thumb screws (E) until all the corners are firmly secured. Before you do that, you need to remove the plastic protector below the pump unit and apply a drop of thermal paste on top of the CPU. Follow the image for better instruction –

Installing the Pump Unit

Step-5: Connecting the power cables for the fans and pump
First, connect the cables to an available SATA plug to power the pump unit and connect the pump tach cable to your motherboard’s CPU-FAN header (figure 1). For powering the fans, connect every cable to the shrouded 4 pin connectors (figure 2).

Connect Power to the Fans and Pump

Step-6: Power up the pump unit
An iCUE USB cable (G) will come with your AIO cooler. In order to power up the pump unit, you need to connect the USB head to the pump unit and connect the other head of the cable to a SATA port on your motherboard. Follow the image below –

Powering the pump unit


The above steps were collected inspired by the process of installation of the Corsair Hydro H115i PRO AIO cooler.

Pretty much all the AIO coolers have the same installation process. However, some of the steps can be a little bit different depending on the model and brand of the AIO cooler. But the overall process is almost the same. That is why we recommend you to read the installation manual very carefully before installing.

Installing RGB LED strips and RGB fan controller:

There are plenty of RGB LED strip lights available in the market. You can either install a regular LED strip light that can be used anywhere for decoration or you can use high-tech branded LED strips that are more convenient for decorating PC cases.

For building a gaming PC, installing good LED strips from renowned brands indicates professionalism, they are more suitable for PC cases, and there are various lighting effects that can be controlled by dedicated software.

As we are talking about building a gaming PC, we assume that your motherboard is capable of connecting directly to such LED strip lights without any external power connection.

Anyways, if you are really low on the money and if you just want to get the job done, then you can install a regular RGB LED strip light. But you will need to connect the LED strip lights with an external power source, which will be outside of the case. Some users find this very awkward.

We believe presenting a video on how to install a regular RGB LED strip will be better than discussing the whole process –

There are various types of branded high-tech LED strip lights available in the market with various types of installation processes.

We will be focusing on installing the “Thermaltake Pacific Lumi Plus” as a reference to installing RGB LED strips and “NZXT Hue+” as a reference to installing an RGB fan controller. We think these 2 are the best considering the installation process, the flexibility of installation, and the look.

Installing Thermaltake Pacific Lumi Plus:

The Thermaltake Pacific Lumi Plus is a great LED stirp light offering 16.8M colors and a magnetic installation solution. The magnetic installation ability makes it very flexible to install and reusable.

It also has the synchronization ability with Razer Chroma and the lighting effects can be controlled by Amazon Alexa. So, this LED strip does offer some futuristic features.

Here is the list of parts that will get with Thermaltake Pacific Lumi Plus

Thermaltake Pacific Lumi Plus-list of parts

Once you have found the parts, now it’s time to install the light itself.

Follow the steps accordingly to properly install this LED strip light –

1. First, connect all the LED strips (E) with LED cable (F) headers. If you wish to connect multiple strip lights, just connect the ends of the LED strips one after another and connect only one opening end to the LED cable header. This will have the same effect.

Thermaltake Pacific Lumi Plus-connecting led strips and cables

2. After that, connect the other ends of the LED cables to the controller box (A).

Thermaltake Pacific Lumi Plus-connecting led cables to controller

3. In order to assign the number of controllers, you will need to set the DIP switches; which are at the backside of the controller box.

Thermaltake Pacific Lumi Plus-setting the DIP switches

4. Make sure your motherboard has a USB 2.0 9 pin header. Connect the appropriate end of the controller cable (B) onto the motherboard (using USB 2.0 9 pin header). And connect the other end of the cable to the controller box (A).

Thermaltake Pacific Lumi Plus-connection with motherboard

5. In order to power up the LED strip with the PSU, you have to connect the controller cable to a 4pin Molex connector (D), while the other end of the controller cable remains connected with the controller box.

You will need to follow step 5 instead of step 4 when your motherboard doesn’t have a USB 2.0 9 pin header.

Thermaltake Pacific Lumi Plus-connecting the Molex connector

6. If you wish to connect 2 controller boxes, you will need to use the bridge cable (C). Just connect one end of the bridge cable to one controller box and connect the other end to another controller box.

Thermaltake Pacific Lumi Plus-connecting 2 controller boxes

However, the Thermaltake Pacific Lumi Plus does have some limitations.

It is not compatible with all the current generation motherboards. In order to sync with your motherboard’s lighting effect, your motherboard must contain –

    • Aura addressable header for ASUS
    • Digital pin header for GIGABYTE
    • JRAINBOW 1 header for MSI

Here is a list of motherboards that supports the Thermaltake Pacific Lumi Plus LED strip light –





X299 AORUS Gaming (rev. 1.0)



X299 AORUS Ultra Gaming (rev. 1.0)



X299 UD4 (rev. 1.0)


X399 AORUS Gaming 7 (rev. 1.0)


Z370 AORUS Gaming K3 (rev. 1.0)


Z370 AORUS Gaming 3 (rev. 1.0)


Z370 AORUS Gaming 5 (rev. 1.0)


Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 (rev. 1.0)


Z370 AORUS Gaming WIFI (rev. 1.0)


Z370 AORUS Ultra Gaming (rev. 1.0)


Z370N WIFI (rev. 1.0)



Installing NZXT Hue+:

The NZXT Hue+ is an advanced RGB fan controlling device for those who want to decorate their rigs to the next level. There are RGB fans that will work seamlessly and you can control the lighting effect with the popular Hue+ controller.

One thing we need to mention is that –

 You can either buy the NZXT Hue+ controller and the compatible fans separately, or you can buy the complete package that includes the controller itself and the RGB fans. 


The NZXT Hue+ is a dual-channel device. So, you can either connect 2 RGB fans or connect 2 LED strips with it. Because of its design, it will look gorgeous inside any rig.

The installation process of the NZXT Hue+ can be a bit complicated and you may not fully understand if we describe the installation steps. Instead, we have found a preferable video that can make understanding the installation a lot easier.

Make sure you follow the steps that are shown in this video accordingly. Once you have completed all the steps, the NZXT Hue+ advanced RGB fan controller will be successfully installed in your casing.

Hi! I am Tanzil, I would like to think of myself as a Tech Nerd. The interest in computers, related parts, accessories, and new technologies have been growing constantly in me. Eventually, the interest became a passion and the passion became a habit. I like to express this habitual knowledge through writing. Therefore, I spend my leisure time writing on computers and technology.

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