I'm going to be building a computer pretty soon, but I have noticed that my case is entirely painted black (inside & out) (so is the power supply exterior), so how exactly would I be able to ground myself while putting everything together? I don't have an antistatic wriststrap, so how would I accomplish this? I would like to test the MOBO before I install it in the case, so could I just install the PSU, connect it to the wall, turn it off, and just work on it that way?
but generally, I'd say don't build on carpet, (or stand on carpet whilst building),
don't have anything electronic nearby (3ft or closer) like mobile phone/speakers etc
build on wooden desk or cardboard if you can,
You should be fine as long as you aren't rubbing your feet/socks together and intentionally building up a charge though
^all good advice.
I wouldn't connect the PSU to the wall until you have everything set up and are ready to test it out. One of those 'better safe than sorry' things.
As long as you touch metal regularly throughout the build to discharge you should be fine. The back of the case, or even something not on the case should work.
It works because if there is a difference between the charge in you and the charge in the case then charge travels into the lower of the two,
that is the basic 'static' discharge principle,
if the case was grounded then it would be preferable but the charge will still travel into the lower charged party to try getting to ground.
same thing when you hook up a flat car battery to another to boost start it, you give them a few minutes whilst connected to equalise before trying to start.
How would this work if the case is not properly grounded? Put the PSU in, switch it off, plug it in. This will ground the PSU which in turn will ground the case.
this is the better way to do it. the case really *should* be grounded. is it probably going to matter? no. but it doesn't hurt anything either. and you are building up a charge on it since its not grounded. you can always go buy a wrist strap from radio shack for a few bucks and clip it to the grounded case as well if you are paranoid. I don't usually bother, but it is winter. low humidity is verybad for ESD. and while I have never shocked a PC component to death without one, I've seen guys fry microcontrollers in lab without enough charge to even feel the shock
This is one of those things where back in the good ol' days it was a big issue... Chips back then were alot more susceptible to static(CMOS in particular). But now intel pretty much has their chips bulletproof. I've chucked a couple against a wall and picked it up and ran it just fine.
If I were you, mount the psu, and plug it in to the wall. Leave the back switch in the off position and be merry.
The advice of plugging the power supply in the wall for grounding is good as long as your home outlets are actually grounded, but that's really not necessary.
I've been building computers now for over 10 years, I don't concern myself with plugging the power supply in the wall to discharge static electricity, all you need to do is consciously keep one hand on the metal case at all times and paint will not stop a static charge from discharging.
When I setup to test outside the case I always put the M/B on the anti-static bag the M/B comes shipped in, and just keep contact with the table you're working on and you'll be just fine.
Now the exception to the rule is some people have much higher static charges than others, if you are getting shocked at everything you touch and everybody you touch then you may very well be a candidate for getting yourself a wrist strap.