So, I'm in the process of building my first computer - I'm ordering the parts this afternoon (~1000$ gaming rig based around an i5-2500k and GTX 560 Ti, I've been convinced that it's better to spend 200ish more and build this instead of going for an i5-2400 and HD 6870 build) and I've read through some of the building guides, and I have a few questions for you experienced builders:
What is the time frame for doing a build like (because you need to do it all at once, right?) What about how long it is going to take to do all of the installation of OS/software afterwards? Should I plan on starting, say, Sunday morning and it taking all day?
Are there any really common critical mishaps that I should know of so that I can avoid making them? Any other misc tips?
Anti-static wrist strap isn't needed, but it is best practice. If you are careful to ground yourself while handling components, then you will be fine. For what it is worth I have never had a static problem and I am not careful at all...
Skip the tool kit. You probably already have a screwdriver..
OS / softare install isn't bad, but the testing (prime95, memtest, HDTune, etc..) will take a long time. Check the guides for the overclocking and testing procedure and don't cut corners to speed things up. If all goes well then you can wrap up build, install and test in a day. There will be downtime in there as tests run...
although usefull and anti-static wristband and clip is totally unnecessary. before touching a component touch the metal of your pc case and continue to touch it every once in awhile to make sure you dont build up a charge. avoid wearing wool, fleece or anything that causes static buildup. you will be fine if you do this.
you do not need a toolkit specifically for computers. you can make do with a #2 phillips and #2 flat screwdriver most of the time. occasionally you will need a #1 phillips but this is rare. sometimes you may want a small pair of needle nose pliers for some connections but this is optional.
assembly of the parts shouldnt take any more than an hour. this includes doing some cable organization and double checking your work.
os installation on a new system shouldnt take any more than a half hour. mine was done in 10 minutes. installing drivers and other required hardware shouldnt take any longer than a half hour as you have the disks.
personally i do not run memtest, hdtune or prime95. i consider them unneccessary unless you are having issues. some people use them as a double check on your components. its not a bad choice to use them.
what will take the longest is installing all of your other software and personalizing your pc to act how you want it to. this could happen over a matter of weeks as you continually tweak your system.
if you start at a decent time in the morning you should be up and running by lunchtime.
-ground yourself before touching parts.
-sit components on the esd bags or foam pad they came in, not on a towel.
-assemble on a desk away from dust, animals, liquid or children.
-if you are unsure check the motherboard diagram or included manuals.
-remember some video cards and most modern motherboards take additional 4pin power connectors. do not forget them.
-the cpu heatsink can require some force when assembling. be careful but you shouldnt have any issues.
-use artic silver thermal paste on the cpu instead of what comes on the heatsink. you can remove the old paste with a qtip and rubbing alcohol.
-purchase cable clamps, wire loom and wire ties for cable management.
-purchase fan filters from xoxide.com, frozencpu.com or your favorite vendor.