My 18 year old grandson is building one of your $625 Gaming systems. My question is, since he is not actually familiar with the intricacies of the PC, wil he be successful in his effort to get a stable working gaming platform with your system inventory in a plug and play world? What areas should he be careful of, and what are the typical mistakes amatures make when assembling one of these hybrid's?
It is pretty straight forward. With a little bit of research on each component he should do ok. It is like legos. If he wants to overclock like they do in the article then things can get hairy.
For me I hate installing the CPU heatsink. If they have the cheap plastic pushpin design they can break pretty quickly if you aren't careful. Even if you have to take it out a few times they start to get flimsy. I installed my CPU heatsink a total of 3 times now and they are getting pretty close to their end.
I guess the other stuff is what isn't listed in their list. For example he will need thermal paste to apply to the CPU before installing a heatsink. If he tries to install the CPU without it, the temps could get out of hand and damage the CPU....especially if he plans on overclocking. In addition, the amount of thermal paste is voodoo science. Too much or too little will change how the CPU is cooled.
If he is getting just one hard drive I would recommend partitioning a 20-30GB section off so that he can install the OS on it. That way files like pictures, music, movies, documents...ect...ect... will be on a separate partition and won't be affected if he ever has to reinstall is OS.
When putting the motherboard in the case he has to make sure that the risers are installed in the case, if not, the board will short out and won't turn on.
Tell him to register on these forums if he isn't already. If anything goes wrong he can get a lot of help instead of trying to wait on hold for technical support that ends up not being helpful at all. He can also search through them and find a lot of how to guides as well.
Check out youtube and other sites for videos of people putting together systems, this will help get you acquainted with the process. Also follow the instructions for your motherboard as they will outline most of the steps for installing cables, the cpu and add-in cards. Most heatsinks come with pre-applied thermal paste and it is adequate for stock speeds and slight overclocks. If you do not intend on overclocking, take the money they allocated for an aftermarket cpu cooler and put it towards a faster processor. Last and most importantly, always ground yourself before touching any components and do not work on carpet.
Dont get the thermal paste on the pins, spread it on the processor properly, if your not grounded hold the steel case while you put parts in. dont get frustrated it can be a long 6 hour process at first.
Would be best to get a Retail Mobo over a OEM. Few quid difference in price, but the Retail version comes with a lovely handbook that shows you where to plug all the components into. Along with Drivers and Leads and such.
Conversely get an OEM Operating System. Few quid less but equal to Retail versions. Only difference is that it is binded to your motherboard so you may have probs from Microsoft should you look to cha nge the Motherboard. I dont really see this as a problem as Windows 7 is released in the next 12 months, a nd you can usually talk past the reps anyway.
If it takes him 6 hours then thats fine. Dont rush is the top tip really.
Yeah thats true, the motherboard manual is a good thing to read through so he knows all of the functions. There are also installation instructions scattered about each hardware manual that he will get. Good to read through them all actually.
Motherboard manual is always good for a first build, but don't forget to read the case manual too, it will tell you which screws fit in where and will help to avoid crossthreading, or even stripping screws.
Don't forget, Google is your friend, and can often come up with the help you need in under a minute.
Lastly, I'd say my most important piece of advice, is to not be afraid to ask questions at any point in the build! There are a great bunch of people on here, some people can get arsey and everyone has a bad day, but ion general you can get some great advice. This place has helped me out many a time with problems, hence giving back to the community.
What you might want to look at is a partial home build. As your budget isn't massive, the performance snobs on here will laugh, but for my cheaper PCs, I buy Asus barebones machines, a better power supply & graphics card, hard drive & DVD.
The case already has the motherboard installed, they are neat and practical and on a budget they are great little machines. My youngest kids PC is one of these and has stood her in great stead over the last year, having been upgraded from stock to a 4850 powered, 1680x1050 CnC3-playing great little rig.
If your graphics choice isn't too ambitious, you could even run it on the existing, pre-installed power supply, which I did (a 7600) for a while without issue, though I wouldn't recommend it long term.
"My system absolutely has to have a x4 Phenom sitting in it, i know this is thelatest processor and i want my system to be good for a few years. "
If only i knew.......!
HAHA I love it. I am laughing with you, don't worry.
Nothing is as bad as me buying a biostar mobo with a VIA chipset for like $40. That is when I was trying to upgrade my PCI graphics card to an AGP card...needless to say when PCIe was just coming out. I was lost.