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Part Assembly

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August 4, 2006 7:58:34 PM

Sorry for such a newbish thread, but I can't find much with the search tool in this case.

All my parts for my new build just came in but I'm unsure how to go about putting it together. I basically have a thousand dollars worth of parts sitting worthlessly on my table. Are there any good guides for putting together a computer? I got an Thermaltake Armor case with an Antec Truepower power supply and Core 2 Duo motherboard/processor.

I've heard people mention that the Armor is sort of troubling to build in, like power supplies wouldn't fit and fans didn't have room or something without taking it back apart. I was wondering what the general order is for installing the parts. Power supply first, then?

Is there anything else I need to know about?

EDIT #1: Power supply installed. The TT Armor power supply holder thing that is supposed to be screwed on can't be applied because of Antec TruePower's wire positioning. It seems snug after being screwed in so I don't think it'll be a problem.

EDIT #2: Took out old I/O plate. Replaced with I/O plate included with motherboard. It has 'clicked' into place, but it is pretty flimsy and can be popped out without much effort. I'm guessing that once the motherboard is installed it will become more firm?

EDIT #3: Installed top fan in the case with no problems.

EDIT #4: Floppy inserted fine.

EDIT #5: DVD-ROM placed in good.

EDIT #6: Placed CPU in the socket fine. Had some problems installing the CPU cooler. Not noticing that the cooler already had a circle of paste on it, I added my own Artic Silver 5 to the cpu and spread it out with my hand in a ziplock bag. I tried to spread out my thermal paste to the edges of the CPU so the CPU cooler's paste won't stack much with it. Hopefully this won't be a problem. :?

More about : part assembly

August 4, 2006 8:29:11 PM

I'd do the power supply. Then attach the CPU to the motherboard, and put the motherboard in the case. Then I'd put in the hard drives and optical drives and attach the cables to them. Stick in the RAM and any other peripherals. Attach the power cables for the motherboard and the processor.

You can find quite a bit of information in the motherboard manual. Probably a manual came with the case too to make sure you hook up the front power connectors correctly.
August 4, 2006 8:36:57 PM

Thanks. I've only opened the case so far. It explains how to do stuff but doesn't tell the order to install things.

I also bought Artic Silver 5 Thermal Compound. Should I use this stuff and is there anything I should know about that?
Related resources
August 4, 2006 8:41:01 PM

Thanks prozac, that is a really great guide.

I read a few days ago that if you spread the thermal paste evenly on the processor before applying the heatsink, it is a about 4C lower than putting a glob on and having the heatsink pressure flatten it out.
August 4, 2006 8:53:23 PM

Quote:
...
I read a few days ago that if you spread the thermal paste evenly on the processor before applying the heatsink, it is a about 4C lower than putting a glob on and having the heatsink pressure flatten it out.

Yes (well, maybe not 4C), but it is also easier to have a small unevenness in the surface of the paste that ends up as an air bubble (i.e. insulator) when you do it that way. That's why Arctic Silver recommends the "grain of rice" method.
a b B Homebuilt system
a c 124 ) Power supply
August 4, 2006 9:18:33 PM

I put the CPU and RAM on the mobo, and mount the CPU fan. I mount case fans, then install the mobo in the case and attach all the front panel and fan connectors.
VGA card comes next, and any other expansion cards.
Then I install the drives.
I put the PSU in last because otherwise its cables just get in the way.
August 4, 2006 9:24:35 PM

Disregard this post.
August 4, 2006 9:28:15 PM

Either way works, I prefer the spreading method. i put some on the processor then i spread it out with a card to get it even.
August 4, 2006 9:29:44 PM

From the Artic Silver instructions off their website: http://www.arcticsilver.com/arctic_silver_instructions....

Quote:

If you have a small core CPU like an Intel P3 or AMD, continue on to step 3.
If you have a Intel P4 or Athlon64 type CPU with a large metal heat spreader, skip steps 3 through 8 and go to step 9.


Is the Core 2 Duo in the second group?
August 4, 2006 9:35:18 PM

Quote:
From the Artic Silver instructions off their website: http://www.arcticsilver.com/arctic_silver_instructions....


If you have a small core CPU like an Intel P3 or AMD, continue on to step 3.
If you have a Intel P4 or Athlon64 type CPU with a large metal heat spreader, skip steps 3 through 8 and go to step 9.


Is the Core 2 Duo in the second group?
Yes
August 4, 2006 9:40:19 PM

If you have as little experience in building comps as your post implies I would recommend taking all your bits to your local computer shop and ask them to build for you.

Or if you have any scrap parts to do a practice build. If you are dead set on building it yourself heres a useful site www.pcmech.com

Good luck.
August 4, 2006 9:45:15 PM

Quote:
Disregard this post.


I think I will reguard your post. ... mwahaaa.haha

And yes grain of rice method is much beter. When you glob it on you not only waste what was in the tube, but its harder to judge how thick the layer realy is, and air bubbles will not help either.
August 4, 2006 10:16:43 PM

Quote:
Sorry for such a newbish thread, but I can't find much with the search tool in this case.

All my parts for my new build just came in but I'm unsure how to go about putting it together. I basically have a thousand dollars worth of parts sitting worthlessly on my table. Are there any good guides for putting together a computer? I got an Thermaltake Armor case with an Antec Truepower power supply and Core 2 Duo motherboard/processor.

I've heard people mention that the Armor is sort of troubling to build in, like power supplies wouldn't fit and fans didn't have room or something without taking it back apart. I was wondering what the general order is for installing the parts. Power supply first, then?

Is there anything else I need to know about?


I'd arrange things in the best posible logical order out on the table and wait for the escort service to knock on the door. See ya.
August 4, 2006 10:19:23 PM

In general, there is no set order for assembly, although most would agree on installing cards near the end! It may help to think about what could go wrong, and arrange your setup to avoid that.

Most cases will not leave you a lot of room for your hands/screwdriver/etc, so some things are better installed before the MB is installed in the case.
1) The I/O shield. Since different MBs vary in their number/pattern of connectors attached to the back of the MB, the MB will come with a metal rectangle about 2x6 inches in size that has holes matching the MBs connector pattern. This replaces the case's default I/O shield. Often, you need to use a tool to bend/snap out the default shield, but in higher-end cases, it may just pop out. Install the new shield by positioning it into the hole from the inside of the case and pressing it into place. It should "snap-in" around the edges.
2) The CPU in a socket 775. Read your MB manual, and be VERY careful. Don't forget to remove the plastic cover that protects the very delicate spring connectors in the socket. Try not to touch the top of the CPU so you don't get your skin oils on it, which may reduce thermal transfer.
2.5) Clean top of CPU. I remove the bulk of any old thermal compound with the edges of a 3x5 index card, then *very carefullly* use a paper towel or napkin with anhydrous isopropyl alcohol (from the supermarket/pharmacy) to finish cleaning. Make sure there are NO threads, lint or other materials left on top of the CPU.
2.6) If hsf has original, unused thermal compound installed, continue to step (3). Otherwise, clean hsf surface as you did the CPU top.
2.7) Apply a grain-of-rice-sized dab of thermal compound to the middle of the CPU top. Do not attempt to spread it -- the hsf will do that as it is installed, with less chance of trapping air bubbles between the CPU and hsf.
3) Socket 775 CPU cooler. This is a real pain, because it is easy to install it only *partially* without that being obvious to the eye. First, read the manual that comes with the cooler (either aftermarket or Intel), then read it again. Examine the cooler attachment pins and figure out how they work. Download and watch the Intel video on how to install the cooler.
Note: the arrows on top of the pins are for *removing* the hsf. Make sure each top is turned as far as it will go in the direction *opposite* the arrow.
When you install the hsf, remember that the white pin tips need to go through the holes a fair way, so it is better to set the board on a soft surface like your lap or some foam. Support the bottom of the board around the hole as you push the pin through. Take a look to make sure the white pin is all the way through before pushing down on the black part to lock the pin in place. Try to fasten in a "cross" pattern (1 pin, then the pin oppposite) to even out the stresses.
You really don't want to install this with the MB already in the case!
Don't forget to plug the hsf power connector into the *correct* fan header (usually "CPU1" or something like that).
4) RAM. It is usually easier to install the RAM before mounting the MB. Make sure you get good "clicks" as the retaining arms snap fully into place. Double-check (in the MB manual) that you have used the correct DIMM slots (e.g. for dual-channel or single-stick operation).
5) MB-specific jumpers/connectors. Some MBs have physical jumpers or other physical devices to setup. For example, some SLI board have a small card that needs to be mounted in a "normal" or "SLI" position.
6) Benchtest. It is often very helpful to benchtest the MB outside the case to make sure everything is HD (hunky-dory) before you spend the time and effort of mounting the MB in the case. Add on a video card (unless the MB has built-in video), connect the MB power connectors, plug in keyboard & video monitor. To boot up, *carefully* use a screwdriver to briefly connect the 2 power switch pins on the MB's front panel header.
This is a good opportunity to make sure nothing is seriously wrong with the MB/RAM/video combo. Don't leave it turned on too long, as passively cooled components may get pretty hot w/o airflow. Double-check the BIOS date/version and update if necessary (a USB floppy drive can be very handy for this).
7) Install in case any needed standoffs for motherboard mounting. Take a look at the MB mount area of the case, and compare with your MB. Most or all of the mounting holes on your MB should match up with holes in the mount area. Most cases will require you to install short standoffs in these holes, and then the MB will attach to the standoffs.
Note: there are two main types of standoffs. First, there are small brass cylinders that screw into the case holes, and themselves have threaded holes to accept screws which affix the MB. Second, there are plastic standoffs with snap-fit attachments that just snap into the case holes, and snap through the MB holes.
You can tell which to use by examining your MB. MB holes with 2-3mm wide silvery rings around them are for the brass standoffs and metal screws. The silvery ring provides room for the screw head. MB holes w/o wide silvery rings are for plastic standoffs (or no standoff/fastener, if your case/MB didn't come with any plastic ones).
Cases will often have extra holes for standoffs that you don't use, in order to accomodate different MB designs.
8 ) Drives. I often find it easier to pre-install hard and optical drives in the case before installing the MB, just to have more room to work in.
9) Finally, MB installation.
First, set aside enough screws for all the metal standoffs. Test each one to make sure it has the correct thread by hand-screwing it into a standoff (often the case comes with lots of little screws that are hard to tell apart).
Be very careful not to scratch the surface of the MB on metal protrusions as you install it. It is often helpful to put in the back edge (with I/O connectors) first, to make sure the connectors fit into the holes in the case I/O shield properly. Be careful not to scratch the underside of the MB on the metal standoffs.
A long, thin screwdriver with a magnetic tip to hold (and retrieve!) the screw is handy for the install. I usually start with an attachment hole near the middle of the board and work my way outward in a spiral pattern in order to minimize stresses on the MB.
August 4, 2006 11:59:16 PM

Thanks for taking the time for that really indepth response Mondoman. I just assembled everything and I have multiple guides + TT Armor reviews loaded on my computer. Hopefully things will go well.
August 5, 2006 1:11:04 AM

Power supply is installed. The "PSU supporter" piece didn't fit due to Antec TruePower's wire placement. I'm not sure if this really matters though as the power supply seems pretty snug and firm.

I took out the default I/O plate and replaced it with the one packaged with my motherboard. Although it did 'click' into place (sort of), it is just a thin piece of metal and it is really flimsy. Will it become firm once the motherboard is installed?
August 5, 2006 2:17:21 AM

That is actually a very very well thought out order. I built my first pc a couple years ago and followed basically the same procedure. It is usually easiest to install everything on the mobo other than pic or pcie cards before placing in the case. When I did it I installed the cdrom and hdds last after everything else was installed. Just make sure when installing pci pcie cards to press down pretty hard with even pressure across the top edge of the card and be carefully not to flex the card when pressing down. And check and re check the manual on the mobo for proper installation of the front case lights for power and hdd activity, when i did mine i couldnt get the hdd one to function but everything worked fine.
August 5, 2006 2:20:08 AM

Quote:
...Will it become firm once the motherboard is installed?

That'll help a little bit, because the connectors will be pressing out against the spring-like grounding tabs on the I/O shield while the perimeter of the shield is held in by the case. They are pretty flimsy, though.
August 5, 2006 7:39:22 PM

Placed CPU in the socket fine. Had some problems installing the CPU cooler. Not noticing that the cooler already had a circle of paste on it, I added my own Artic Silver 5 to the cpu and spread it out with my hand in a ziplock bag. I tried to spread out my thermal paste to the edges of the CPU so the CPU cooler's paste won't stack much with it. Hopefully this won't be a problem. :?
August 5, 2006 7:50:45 PM

Quote:
Placed CPU in the socket fine. Had some problems installing the CPU cooler. Not noticing that the cooler already had a circle of paste on it, I added my own Artic Silver 5 to the cpu and spread it out with my hand in a ziplock bag. I tried to spread out my thermal paste to the edges of the CPU so the CPU cooler's paste won't stack much with it. Hopefully this won't be a problem. :?


CPU heatsinks are almost always a pain in the a$$ to get installed that was what I had the most problem with when I built my first rig.
August 5, 2006 7:55:50 PM

You don't want thermal paste getting onto the circuitry. It may flow/drip a bit when heated up, so I'd remove the CPU chip, wipe off any paste from the hinged retaining square, and wipe off any paste from your CPU. A 3x5 index card can be useful to "scrape" off paste.
If you've already installed the hsf, take it off, remove the CPU, clean the hinged retainer, clean off the CPU top using "anhydrous" isopropyl alcohol (from pharmacy), and clean off the hsf base with the same stuff.
Start over with your AS5, and you'll have better-than-original heat transfer.
August 5, 2006 7:57:55 PM

Yep, but for me the hassle didn't end with my first rig... :evil: 
August 5, 2006 8:04:35 PM

Well I have only built 2 rigs total ever so.... My rig im on right now and one I built for my aunt with a barebones kit from Tigerdirect. Although sometime towards the end of the year I will hopefully be building a Conroe rig to replace the one I have now.
August 6, 2006 12:54:38 AM

I inserted the CPU and installed the HSF. I installed the memory. Then I mounted the motherboard in the case. I'm having a lot of cable problems. Some things like the front audio have 8+ seperate cords that each go on a seperate insert and I can't tell what to do. The manuals each give info but they don't seem to use the same names for things so I can't tell which correspond.

Another problem is the motherboards fan control slot. I have 2 fans + the power supply fan to plug into the motherboard control, but my Gigabyte DS3 seems to only have 1 slot. I'm really stumped and I don't know what to do.
August 6, 2006 2:24:46 AM

Is there some kind of fan controller motherboard fork type thing I have to buy to hook up multiple fans or am I missing something here?
August 6, 2006 9:49:53 AM

The main thing on the front panel wires is to get the power switch and reset switch hooked up correctly to the MB header. Don't worry about the other stuff right now.
It would help a lot if you could post at least brand/model of MB, specific model of case, specific model of PS. That way, we cyberpeople can find pictures/manuals and get a better idea of what is going on.
August 6, 2006 5:24:15 PM

Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 Socket T (LGA 775) Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard
Thermaltake Armor Series VA8000BWS Black Aluminum/Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Antec TRUEPOWERII TPII-550 ATX12V 550W Power Supply 115/230 V UL, TUV, CB, FCC CLASS B, CUL

The motherboard has been nothing but problems. The layout is really bad for me. It has only one fan controller slot and I have 3 fans to plug in. What will happen if I don't plug in the fans to the motherboard?

Not only that, but there is only one IDE slot. I wish I would've noticed that. Now I have to waste another 100 bucks on a new hard drive. This is driving me crazy.
August 6, 2006 6:10:10 PM

I've got my x1900xt graphics card in now. The only problem I know of now is the fan control. I tested ou t my computer with a Live OS CD and it looks like the BIOS and everything are working fine.

I still don't know if not plugging my fans into the 'fan control' slot of my motherboard is a problem. They seem to be going faster and slower on their own somehow. Anyone know what's going on?
August 6, 2006 7:26:09 PM

Can someone explain what normal temperatures are for "System Temperature" and "CPU Temperature".

My System Temperature is idling at 44C in the bios and my CPU Temperature is at 49C idle. The CPU Fan Speed is 1200 RPM. At what point is the temperature dangerous. I have the 'CPU Warning Temperature' to alarm at 60C, but idling 50C seems really high.
August 6, 2006 7:45:21 PM

Thanks for listing the info -- I'm surprised there are only 2 fan power headers on the MB (mine has 5)! The newegg reviews aren't that great, so it sounds like your troubles are pretty avearage.
Fans can certainly be powered off the PS from a 4-pin Molex connector (many come with a Molex->3-pin adapter). Usually, that just means they always run at max speed, unless they have a built-in thermosensor control. The stock Intel CPU hsf does have such a control, but the special 4-pin header for the CPU fan also allows BIOS speed control based on CPU temp as detected by the MB. Some MBs/BIOSes allow control of other (3-pin header) fans by varying the voltage output on the header according to a user-selected reference temp (e.g. SYS or PWM) and a user-set fan voltage response based on that temp. I'm not sure what your MB allows, but since there are only 2 fan headers, I wouldn't expect much.
Regarding your temps, an "ideal" SYS temp is probably about 35C or so, but you've got a hot video card in there, so you are not totally out of line. Your CPU warning temp is probably better of at something like 70C, with a shutoff of at least 80C (since modern Intel CPUs automatically slow themselves down at elevated temps to avoid damage).
August 7, 2006 1:56:20 AM

Ok, well, I've got the computer fully assembled and working besides the fact that I have no hard drive. I've booted OSes from CDs with no problems besides the LAN not working. I'm not sure if this a hardware problem though.

I plugged the CPU fan to the motherboard and left all the case fans not plugged into the motherboard. I guess like you said they all run max so it's not a problem. It isn't loud or anything. Through the BIOS I set the CPU fan to run max as well since my 'Computer Temperature' is 45C and 'CPU Temperature' is near 50C. =(

All I have left to do is order a SATA hard drive and organize the wires so they don't hinder air flow.

Thanks for the help.

EDIT: That page you linked to has this page for maximum CPU temperatures: http://www.heatsink-guide.com/content.php?content=case....

Any idea if 50C is reasonable for e6300?
August 7, 2006 3:32:40 AM

I think you're basically fine. Reward yourself with an adult beverage (after placing your drive order, of course!) and savor the success of your first build!
August 7, 2006 5:26:16 PM

I'm trying to get my IDE drive to work but it won't boot. It sees it as the "IDE Channel 4 Master". What should it be reconized as? When I goto the boot menu and choose the hard drive it just shows a blank cursor. I ran the Windows XP SP2 formatter/file setup thing already but after it copies over the files and reboots I can't get it to load the second part of the installation. Any ideas?
August 7, 2006 5:31:30 PM

IDE Channel master is literally the port it is talking about. Does it boot to Win.? I'd double check cables, but if it gets into the BIOS....

~Ibrahim~
!