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Things to do when building your own computer

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March 31, 2012 11:28:14 PM

Hi guys,
I'm trying to build my com up from scratch. Need some tips!

The system comprises of..

Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB WD2002FAEX x2
OCZ Vertex 3 240GB SSD
Intel Core i7 3930K
Seasonic X-1250 80Plus Gold 1250W
ASUS Rampage IV Extreme with Battlefield 3
Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 LGA2011 CPU Cooler
Corsair Dominator GT CMT16GX3M4X2133C9 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3
CoolerMaster Cosmos II Ultra Tower
Samsung SH-222BB SATA DVDRW Drive OEM
TP-Link TL-WDN4800 450Mbps Wireless N PCIe Adaptor
MSI Radeon HD7970 Lightning 3GB

Need to know if there are enough fans for this setup and maybe some tips as to assembly for this case and in general?

Appreciate all comments. Thank you!
March 31, 2012 11:34:25 PM

touch the case before you touch a component. do it repeatedly. this will discharge any static electricity in your body, and save you from zapping your own equipment

make sure all bios are up to date, especially that vertex 3. early bios on the vertex 3 caused bluescreens in windows

a little thermal paste goes a long way, be sure not to use too much as it will have the opposite affect than intended

if possible, use a wired connection... especially for gaming

that is WAY more psu than that computer is going to need, unless you are running 3 or 4 7970, thats just far too much power. the bigger the psu the less efficiently it powers systems that need less power.

be sure the ssd is set as your boot drive, and is running in ahci mode BEFORE you install windows. you might have to not connect the hdd before installing, only to plug it in after windows has been installed. sometimes systems MAKE the hdd the boot drive over the ssd, even if the ssd is set as primary and you selected it for windows install.

nice build, im jelly
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March 31, 2012 11:40:32 PM

Would wearing a anti static wrist band help?

Oh and for the vertex 3.. Would i have to flash the motherboard then? How about the firmware for the ssd?

I'm not sure how to apply thermal paste.. Any tips?

Oh and.. I have no idea which wires go where on the motherboard.. I know where the things like ram, fan processor and gpu goes.. but i'm not quite sure about the cabling? Is there a manual that comes with the psu and mb that explains these things?

Haha sorry.. I'm really green when it comes to building..

Thanks for the reply! Appreciated.
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March 31, 2012 11:42:48 PM

oh okay! How much power should i be getting then?

Thanks for the tip on settings for ssd in bios and as advised, i will not plug in the hdd's until i've installed windows!
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March 31, 2012 11:43:29 PM

put a small dab of paste, a droplet on the middle of the cpu die. spread around using a business card. make sure it covers it all, but is as thin as possible.

yes, update the mobo firmware and the ssd firmware

anti static wrist bands never hurt, tho ive never used one

consult your mobo manual about where to plug everything in. its really rather simple. square plug goes in the square hole etc etc. things dont tend to fit where they shouldnt. the one caveat i can point out is that you will probably have a couple hdd controllers on your mobo. one will probably be better than the other. figure out which one is the better one and use that

well, if u want a bit of room to grow. ie, be able to put a 2nd video card in at some point, a 800 watt (high quality, corsair or something) psu will do the job great. seasonic is top of the line imo. a very good choice.
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March 31, 2012 11:44:25 PM

and as for the case itself.. Would i need to add fans?
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March 31, 2012 11:46:00 PM

Also, try not to move much. Especially if building on carpet. You can easily build up static if you are shuffling around. Also, DO NOT touch components by the pins. Particularly CPU and ram. Hold them by the edges. A drop of thermal paste is more than sufficient. I like Artic Silver myself, and just a single drop in the middle of the chip, use your finger is my preference, spread the paste out so you have a light coating on top of the metallic top part of the chip, and put the cooler on top. Let it break in a few hours before overclocking though.
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March 31, 2012 11:46:38 PM

its a pretty cool running system, case fans never hurt. more IS better, you can always turn them down to decrease noise. more fans are actually more quiet, as you can set them at a speed that produces less noise.

i dont know anything about the case really

edit: dont build on carpet
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March 31, 2012 11:47:21 PM

Also make sure you dont plug a PCI-E 4pin/8pin into the motherboard, the cable that goes into the mobo will usually be called ATX12 something something something

I forgot what its called exactly but just make sure its not the PCI-E cable :) 

Edit: don't use the finger spread method, if you have to to get it right its ok I guess but that creates air bubbles. Not the end of the world but its not transferring heat as effectively as if you would have just let the heatsink spread the paste under its own weight.
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March 31, 2012 11:47:32 PM

hmm i've read that updating the firmware for the ssd is pretty difficult if your os is installed on it? Like its not allowed. Should i install windows on another hdd and update the firmware of the ssd first?
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March 31, 2012 11:49:51 PM

@mouse24
Alright got it. No PCI-E into the mobo! Thanks!
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March 31, 2012 11:50:12 PM

lacerated said:
hmm i've read that updating the firmware for the ssd is pretty difficult if your os is installed on it? Like its not allowed. Should i install windows on another hdd and update the firmware of the ssd first?


You can probably do it from a linux live CD (you can burn these yourself and there quite handy to have around, free to)
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March 31, 2012 11:50:36 PM

Oh and i will be working on a wooden surface. So I hope that's gonna be alright!
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March 31, 2012 11:51:51 PM

lacerated said:
hmm i've read that updating the firmware for the ssd is pretty difficult if your os is installed on it? Like its not allowed. Should i install windows on another hdd and update the firmware of the ssd first?


ah right i almost forgot, you have to be running windows off of another hdd in order to update the firmware of the ssd. right right. yes, install windows on a hdd and update the firmware before you install windows on the ssd. good catch
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March 31, 2012 11:52:43 PM

hmm.. what's this linux live CD thing? How would i be using it in this context? -_-' sorry about that
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March 31, 2012 11:53:44 PM

neon neophyte said:
ah right i almost forgot, you have to be running windows off of another hdd in order to update the firmware of the ssd. right right. yes, install windows on a hdd and update the firmware before you install windows on the ssd. good catch


haha yea thanks! Unless @mouse24's method is do-able!
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March 31, 2012 11:54:40 PM

it would replace installing windows on another hdd in order to update the firmware of your ssd. though it could be more complicated, or just not work. i cant remember if u need windows or not to update the bios. windows works though, and u know about windows. could just do the windows update method
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April 1, 2012 12:14:46 AM

neon neophyte said:
put a small dab of paste, a droplet on the middle of the cpu die. spread around using a business card. make sure it covers it all, but is as thin as possible.


No. Only a small dab/droplet in the middle and let the heatsink spread it. You are adding airpockets. A human can't spread it thin enough and letting the heatsink do it with its weight is the best method as it will spread evenly and fill in the holes when needed. DO NOT lift the heatsink after seating it if at all possible.

Watch this video to illustrate my point and show what happens to the paste when a force is applied on top of it. (Heatsink in our case but plexiglass in this case.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyXLu1Ms-q4

MORE TIPS:

Before making the system have a copy of Memtest86 on a CD/DVD (memtest.org or memtest86.com either works great)

When first running the system only have the CPU, Memory, PSU, Front Power/Reset/LED light connectors, and GPU connected to the board when you first start the system. This way if something is wrong you don't have so many variables.

After this connect the Optical drive and insert the memtest86 disk into the drive and test your new memory through at least one pass. There is no point in installing Windows on a system with bad memory.

If you have a working system with SATA install WDC datalife tools on that system and test both of your HardDrives through a Short and Long pass on their testing tools Checking for S.M.A.R.T failures and Bad sectors on your new drives. This way you don't run into any strange errors that bad HD's can give you. Make sure to run these tests on your HD's before you set them up into a RAID array if you plan on running them in RAID.
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April 1, 2012 12:26:59 AM

but it spreads the paste evenly in a circle... cpu dies arent designed in a circle at the center.
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April 1, 2012 12:38:05 AM

neon neophyte said:
but it spreads the paste evenly in a circle... cpu dies arent designed in a circle at the center.



Depends on the architecture but for the most part adding air bubbles is still worse then missing 10% of the cpu in terms of heat

I have a hyper 212 evo on an athlon 2 x3 the hottest it gets is +10c over ambient in prime95 and the mounting holes weren't aligned perfectly so I only covered about 80% of the cpu.
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April 1, 2012 12:47:15 AM

neon neophyte said:
but it spreads the paste evenly in a circle... cpu dies arent designed in a circle at the center.


Here is a video of an i7 having its heatspreader removed (shows the die near the end) I don't know which one but as you can see the cpu die is aligned around the center of the heatspreader. And trust me hotairpockets are worse than not covering all of the heatspreader it is more important to quickly move the heat from the hottest spots to the heatsink than anything else. And the spots not covered are mostly in the corners of the heatspreader where the CPU die is not at.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pJ-oXJqJNE
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April 1, 2012 12:50:19 AM

Quote:
touch the case before you touch a component. do it repeatedly. this will discharge any static electricity in your body, and save you from zapping your own equipment

make sure all bios are up to date, especially that vertex 3. early bios on the vertex 3 caused bluescreens in windows


Funny - I've never had to do that. The key in my experience has always been to work on a clean surface and don't wear anything that could conduct static electricity (wool, etc) - if you've got that you're fine.

Quote:
but it spreads the paste evenly in a circle... cpu dies arent designed in a circle at the center.


Yes - use a dab or two and then move the rest of the paste around with your thumb or a lint-free cloth. I made the mistake of using too much one time and cleaning that was *NOT* fun - believe me. :lol: 

Quote:
Before making the system have a copy of Memtest86 on a CD/DVD (memtest.org or memtest86.com either works great)

When first running the system only have the CPU, Memory, PSU, Front Power/Reset/LED light connectors, and GPU connected to the board when you first start the system. This way if something is wrong you don't have so many variables.


I've never had to run memtest when setting up a system - either the RAM works or it doesn't.
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April 1, 2012 1:07:05 AM

g-unit1111 said:

Quote:
Before making the system have a copy of Memtest86 on a CD/DVD (memtest.org or memtest86.com either works great)

When first running the system only have the CPU, Memory, PSU, Front Power/Reset/LED light connectors, and GPU connected to the board when you first start the system. This way if something is wrong you don't have so many variables.




I've never had to run memtest when setting up a system - either the RAM works or it doesn't.


I've run into multiple cases where that just isn't true and many where the user wouldn't even notice unless they used up most of their memory. There are many ways for memory to be bad. The common ones that people catch is one where the memory is so damaged that the system won't boot because of it and where the Windows install disk will fail with a blue screen of death. But if certain sectors of the memory are bad and especially on high density memory where it is highly likely that you won't use that sector of memory often not checking your memory could cause you to install windows with that bad memory and leave you with a corrupt windows installation later on. To me better safe then sorry the best time to catch a possible problem with your hardware is before you have something to lose.
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April 1, 2012 1:29:49 AM

About the paste, just do the best of both worlds, put a bit on the cpu then when attaching the heatsink give it a small wiggle and there you go :) 

and ive had memory that was very temperamental on me before, mainly because I never really use all of my ram (this was back when 4g was the 8-16g of today lol.)

replaced the bad stick and the seemingly random BSODs were gone (I got like one every 2 or so weeks)
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April 1, 2012 1:50:32 AM

Another idea you can look into when spreading paste is use glad rap on your finger. Will be more consistent and give a smoother finish.
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April 1, 2012 2:42:19 AM

also when you order your parts order some tywraps or velcro strips for wire management. I also for first build is pick up 10.00 case screw kit. it have extra stand off and screws. most bare drives wont have cables or screws. you need a small felt tip marker to color the screw wholes on the case that you need to put stand off on. (dry fit the mb first time with nothing on it.).
depending on the mb and the case you might need to use a rubber glue on spacer if the mb is longer then the last standoff by a lot.you dont want the mb to ground out to the bottom of the mb tray. most new mb now have the sata ports bent at 90 deg. to keep people from snapping them. it best to use a cable with a 9o bend it keep the cable going like this ------ so that you can bend it over the mb and plug it into the hard drive. sata power and data are very easy to snap...there also keyed the cables can only go on one way. all mb now have good silk screening that tells you what goes where and most ps plugs are keyed they can only clip in one way. hard part is connecting the case power/hard drive and reset to the mb header as most the cables and headers are just a block of pins that takes good eye sight and a good flashlight to read when the mb is installed.
some errors new builders make is the hight of these new cpu coolers. read the hight of the cooler in mm (ie 160mm) make sure the case your buying says can take cpu coolers in hight that greater then the one your buying. also look at the gpu card lenth your buying and the max lenth the case can take. on some cases with the hd drive tray that faces the back of the case one or two slots may be slot to them lining up with the pci slots for the video card.
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April 1, 2012 4:28:09 AM

For the thermal compound, would the Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Compound be appropriate?
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April 1, 2012 4:37:10 AM

lacerated said:
For the thermal compound, would the Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Compound be appropriate?


It says its non conductive so it should work great (conductive stuff you have to be very careful with)
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April 1, 2012 4:55:50 AM

Thanks for the advice guys! Makes me feel way more confident going ahead with it! I'll post up pictures after setup! And if i run into any problems, I'll come back to this post and hopefully you guys could give me some advice! Thanks again guys.
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!