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Tips for building my first PC

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March 3, 2009 1:27:10 PM

Hi All,

Attached are the specs for my new PC I will be attempting to build this weekend.

https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.as...

I was coming to you guys for any tips + pointers you can give me starting from square one.

I have never ever ever ever built a PC before and I'm scared that I will miss a wire or two while connecting everything to my motherboard...

Some generals questions would be case specific, in my case the antec 1200.

Which direction should I face my heatsink, do I only apply arctic 5 on the actual chip portion on the MOBO and not the heat sink (some directions I had read on the arctic silver 5 site said only to put a grain of rice size on the mobo piece, and to put my heatsink on top of that and rotate it a lilttle)

Any general pointers would be much appreciated.

The last piece of the puzzle, my video card, will arrive on wed... so I will be eagerly checking this site for updates throughout the week.

Thanks in advance!


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March 3, 2009 1:29:45 PM

Oh i forgot to add... I have not picked out a new moniter yet but I was aiming for a BenQ 24'... I've read that those monitors are awesome for gaming! Just looking to find a nice deal before i pull the trigger ;) 
March 3, 2009 4:01:09 PM

I would start off by reading through this checklist:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-build-post-...

The checklist says it's for troubleshooting posting problems, but it's also good to read through it so you can avoid the problems before they happen. The #1 noob mistake is forgetting to plug in the 4/8-pin CPU power connector. Be sure to take your time and READ THE MANUAL. :) 
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March 3, 2009 4:11:35 PM

Yeah, i've been searching through the forums for guides on installing everything... they are pretty helpful =D
March 3, 2009 4:25:35 PM

Your components look good, although I can't comment on the case, motherboard and RAM as I have never owned those models. There's no reason to think what you've selected will not work.

You should face the CPU heatsink with the long sides pointing up and down, so that the fan blows through the metal heatsink and the air is directed out the back of your case. This is a standard configuration and actually recommended, you don't want hot air blown on your graphics card or up to your PSU. Also be careful handling your CPU heatsink, the fins may bend easily, best to handle it carefully.

The Artic Silver 5 should only be applied to the top of the Core i7 chip and not the heatsink itself. What I do is get a small cardboard box, put the chip on that, apply the thermal compound, place the chip into the motherboard, then apply the heatsink using the instructions provided with the heatsink. For the technique of applying thermal compound, in this case, Artic Silver 5, it varies. Artic Silver says to apply a rice grain size then effectively squash it by installing the heatsink on top. I personally spread the compound with the edge of a clean, dust free credit card (what else would I do with a credit card these days?!), then when installing the heatsink twist it very slightly in both directions to remove any air bubbles that may have been created.

Basically to install the system, I install the power supply first, then install the metal hex standoffs into the case, then install the motherboard (with CPU, heatsink and RAM already installed), then DVD burners, hard-drives, graphics card, sound card and finally the cables.

Just make sure when you apply the thermal compound, you do not make it too thick, 'Wafer thin' are the words you should keep in mind when installing it, that is if you spread it yourself. Even if you don't, you put too large a blob on there.

In general when you are working with your CPU, motherboard and RAM, work with it on cardboard or wood if possible, avoid bed linens, carpet, plastic, etc. You don't want a small surge of static going through it and having to RMA it in the end. I usually work with the motherboard on top of the motherboard box.

I'm editing my post to add one more item, consider ordering your parts from out of state to avoid tax, if you live in CA then Newegg will be charging you tax. I sometimes use Amazon.com, no tax, sometimes free shipping, no charge for shipping returns back and their customer service is quite good.
March 3, 2009 4:40:08 PM

Thx Aln for the insight. I've been reading a lot of diff posters who agree with you in installing the ram, CPU, heatsink before screwing the actual mother board in place.

I think that as long as I get the risers in the right spots, I can fit the mobo into the case without a problem. I've handled RAM, and installed 1 heatsink before heh, so I hope i'll be good in that respect.

My friend built my old PC, and there just seem to be wires EVERYWHERE. No matter where i look, there are wires dangling all over the place. What do you think is the best thing I should use to tie of the dangling wires? It always just seems that the wire i need, has to go to the opposite side of the case criss crossing everyting in the case and making a mess!
March 3, 2009 4:56:02 PM

wessunman said:
Thx Aln for the insight. I've been reading a lot of diff posters who agree with you in installing the ram, CPU, heatsink before screwing the actual mother board in place.

I think that as long as I get the risers in the right spots, I can fit the mobo into the case without a problem. I've handled RAM, and installed 1 heatsink before heh, so I hope i'll be good in that respect.

My friend built my old PC, and there just seem to be wires EVERYWHERE. No matter where i look, there are wires dangling all over the place. What do you think is the best thing I should use to tie of the dangling wires? It always just seems that the wire i need, has to go to the opposite side of the case criss crossing everyting in the case and making a mess!


Risers, hex standoffs, whatever name is used, just make sure you install the correct amount of them in the correct location per your board. The motherboard I have is the Asus P6T Deluxe V2, you may want to check that out before making your purchase, I can recommend it. The V1 model is identical except for the Serial Attached SCSI chip, the V2 model doesn't have that chip. I also think the V2 model allows 24GB of RAM, versus the V1 model's 12GB.

Of course, get the CPU, heatsink and RAM installed first, then install that as a unit into the case, very carefully, making sure the ports at the back of the motherboard fit through the I/O shield. Talking of I/O shield, make sure you install that before you install the motherboard! That comes with the motherboard and should be in the box.

That's the problem, there are wires everywhere. You may want to consider a 'modular' power supply, where you only plug in the wires you need, versus every single wire possible on your Corsair TX750. Corsair makes modular power supplies, or you can look at Seasonic, who actually makes the power supplies that Corsair uses. I use a Seasonic M12D 750 modular, makes life easier having less cables.

To tie the cables, I normally use two sizes of black cable ties, similar to these:



I use a larger size for large cables such as power supply cables, then a smaller size for smaller cables such as the front panel wires on the case (Power switch, Reset, etc.). I use these along with a good pair of cable snips. I don't tie them too tight as I don't want to crush the wires, just stop them moving around.

For dangling wires you could use something such as this:



...if you have a few cables. You can get smaller ones, with come with a self-adhesive backing on them.

What I would do is, install the board, hard-drives and DVD burners, then sit and visualize each wire, where it starts and where it ends, then try to find wires that are going in a common direction and tie them together. If your case has holes in it, possibly use that to store or route a wire.
March 3, 2009 5:10:21 PM

Crap.. i wish someone had mentioned to me about a modular PSU before... those items in the cart above... i actually bought all of them already, crap! Looks like im going to be stuck with a boat load of wires yet again.

It's probably easier to install the i/o shield around the same time i put the mobo in to figure out where my risers are going im guessing?
March 3, 2009 9:18:02 PM

wessunman said:
Crap.. i wish someone had mentioned to me about a modular PSU before... those items in the cart above... i actually bought all of them already, crap! Looks like im going to be stuck with a boat load of wires yet again.

It's probably easier to install the i/o shield around the same time i put the mobo in to figure out where my risers are going im guessing?


Yes modular PSUs are quite good, you only install the wires you need. It does come with some wires which are fixed, such as the CPU 8-pin plug, 24-pin plug, etc., but most are up to you whether you connect them.

The I/O shield doesn't have any connection to the risers, the risers are simply to lift the motherboard off the tray. The I/O shield simply provides interference protection to the board, as well as providing a template hole for the ports to be exposed to the back. But yes, risers and shield can be installed at the same time.
March 3, 2009 10:06:55 PM

One thing to watch out for when using Arctic Silver is to not get any on the MB since it can conduct electricity. Just a heads up.
March 3, 2009 10:09:18 PM

Yes, do be careful with electronic components, lol

Cable management isn't a total pain without a modular design. Some of us aren't cool enough for the modular expense
March 3, 2009 10:56:38 PM

heh thats me!
!