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The Process for Assembling and Testing a New Build

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January 28, 2008 1:21:03 PM

Note: I've looked and searched for something along these lines here. I didn't see anything. I would think a step-by-step checklist of the best way to assemble that new rig you just spent 2 months preping for would be a hot topic... but it appears not. If it is around somewhere, please point me in the right direction. There is an incomplete list in the WIKI, but its pretty bare. I've spent a ton of time doing the research on what to buy, and I want to make sure I get the best out of my rig.

This is the process as far as I can tell. But I'm sure I'm missing things. PLEASE HELP by filling in the blanks and offering suggestions. I AM NOT PROCLAIMING THIS TO BE GOSPEL. I am just trying to do the best job I can, this is what I've found. No doubt I am wrong in places and also no doubt I am missing things. I will update/change this list as comments are made. Thanks in advance.

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1) Prepare Heatsink. Ensure the heatsink surface is properly flat by following the process here:
http://forums.vr-zone.com/showthread.php?t=105586

2) Other Prep - Is there any other prep that needs to be done?

3) Attach the PSU - After the PSU is attached, make sure the power is off, and then plug it into the wall. Your case will now be grounded, and by touching an exposed, unpainted screw you can effectively disperse any static build up.

4) Insert the CPU - Place the Motherboard on top of its Anti-Static Bag and insert CPU

5) Apply Thermal Paste and Attach Heatsink. Spread Paste until very thin by using a razor blade on the CPU heatsink

6) Attach RAM - If using 2+ GB and VISTA, only install 2 now. After VISTA is successfully installed, install remaining RAM

7) Place the Motherboard into the Case

8) Insert the Graphics Card into the proper slot

9) Attach all Internal Drives

10) Power On for POST - Adjust Bios settings, especially boot order, memory voltage and speed, make sure hardware is recognized, review other all other items.

11) Format Drives - Drives come pre-formatted now a days, correct? So does it need to be formatted? If partitioning... do you do it now or later? Is there any other prep that needs to be done with the drive before OS installation? Great info here on partitioning... just not sure when to do it.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/244654-32-hard-drive-size-limitation#t1737770

12) Install & Boot OS

13) Install any other additional PCI cards. - Also clean case by zip-tying any loose wires

14) Test/Burn in System - WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TEST THE SYSTEM? USING WHAT PROGRAMS? HOW LONG? I read it is best to power off computer every night to give paste differing temperatures to 'cure' with. Is this correct? Record temperatures and benchmarks as a system baseline.

16) OC System - Once you are completely sure everything is rock stable
January 28, 2008 1:52:52 PM

My parts will get here tomorrow and I will also be doing my first build. I guess the most important thing is to take a deep breath and take your time. Also, when the system first posts, go into your bios and check all the temperature. Make sure all your drives are being detected. Make sure your processor is being read correctly and the system is showing the correct clock frequency.
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January 28, 2008 3:00:31 PM

Prior to the OS install, I would run memtest86 from a floppy. If the RAM is flaky, the software install will be garbage.

Update BIOS as early in the process as possible. D/L on another computer, put on floppy (or USB drive if your mobo supports it).

I would also run a stress test with Prime95 after the OS install, and this should be on the core hardware only. After the CPU & memory are Prime95 stable for 24 hours, then go ahead and hook up the rest of the H/W.
January 28, 2008 3:15:42 PM

10) add: adjust Bios settings, especially boot order, memory voltage and speed, make sure hardware is recognized, review other all other items.
January 28, 2008 3:23:32 PM


5) Apply Thermal Paste and Attach Heatsink. Spread Paste until very thin by using a razor blade on the CPU heatsink

Follow manufacturers instructions. For example, reports at http://www.***.com/forums/ indicate that following the manufacturers instructions for AS5 yields better results then the spread method.

January 28, 2008 4:05:32 PM

I usually install the drives (optical, HDD, and even floppy, if used) before putting anything else in the case. This is to avoid the possibility of knocking a drive against the mobo or its heatsinks while installing, and may also be easier without PSU cables in the way.
February 1, 2008 12:35:28 PM

Thanks for the replies. I'll be doing this today. (Snow! No work!) Any other advice? Let me know soon!
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