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Take apart rig to ship? or ship it like it is?

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May 16, 2012 1:36:31 PM

Ok, So i'm going to be moving across country to go to college and im going to be flying so im gonna ship my rig out there via ups. Should I take it apart and ship like my gfx, psu, cpu fan etc all in there original boxes in like a separate box or do you think id be ok if i left it together and just shipped the whole thing in the box the case came in. I still have all the foam and everything.

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May 16, 2012 2:06:45 PM

I've never done this, so take my advice with a grain of salt, but...

I would recommend pulling the GPU, PSU, and HDD out of the case at a minimum, and the CPU cooler if it is large/tall/heavy
The PSU just makes sense because it is quite heavy, and in some cases, only held in place by the four screws in the back. IF your PSU has a lot of support that keeps it from torquing the back panel, you may be ok leaving it in place.

The GPU, because it's expensive, but also because the shape of it, and the way it's secured, it is easily torqued back and forth inside the PCIE slot by it's own momentum if shaken. (The same goes for any other PCI cards)

The CPU cooler, because a tall CPU cooler would be similar to the GPU, it's momentum when shaken back and forth would cause it to strain the mobo/mounts. If you've got a short CPU cooler (like the stock intels) you may not have to worry so much. If you remove it, be sure to keep thermal paste on hand to stick it back on.

The HDD simply because you don't want to lose your data if the UPS guy attempts a barrel roll. I would go as far as putting it in a static-bag and putting it in my carry on (if you've got important data, though I'm not sure how airport security works, have never actually flown)

I would leave the mobo/ram/cpu in place, they are pretty secure where they are, and seem more likely to be damaged if you took them out. You may want to reseat the ram when you get there.
Optical drives are cheap enough, it doesn't really matter :) 
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May 16, 2012 3:27:26 PM

I would ship it as it is... why make more work for yourself.
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May 16, 2012 3:31:49 PM

Yea I think your spot on... I still have all my static bags left over from building it, ill just pull the psu and cpu fan and tuck them in my checked luggage. They should be fine in their original packaging. As for gpu and hdd Ill just put em in static bags and keep em in my carry on. Should lower the weight a bit too and make it cheaper to ship, thanks for the response!
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May 16, 2012 3:34:28 PM

anonymous1 said:
I would ship it as it is... why make more work for yourself.

Well the only reason I posted because I was thinking to myself, If you buy a computer online whether it be from dell or an alienware the hardware is still going to be relatively the same so why is it ok for them to ship it but not me. But its alot of money to risk soo I'll probably just pull those few things, anything to make it lighter will probably make it worth it when it comes to shipping anyway.
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May 16, 2012 3:51:36 PM

DeNi3DxFATE said:
Well the only reason I posted because I was thinking to myself, If you buy a computer online whether it be from dell or an alienware the hardware is still going to be relatively the same so why is it ok for them to ship it but not me. But its alot of money to risk soo I'll probably just pull those few things, anything to make it lighter will probably make it worth it when it comes to shipping anyway.


My assumption is that manufacturers like Dell do a lot of ship testing, they likely have a bunch of engineers whose only job is to make sure that the components ship reliably in the built system, and take measures to reduce failure rates (stronger back plates for PCI cards, vibration dampers for HDDs, internal mounting brackets to cradle the PSU, etc). They likely build a whole batch of systems, throw them on random UPS trucks, and send them to hell and back; and check for problems.

Homebuilt PC's simply don't use, nor do they need, components tested for these sorts of conditions, you have a piecewise system where each piece is made sturdy enough to ship, but the system as a whole is not engineered to handle the stress (it doesn't mean that it won't, but like you said, why tempt fate).


Either way though, it's an interesting and valid question :)  I hope everything holds up.
Also, be mindful of what these PC components are going to look like to non-technical security personnel, because seeing a PSU go through an X-ray machine could be alarming. Not really sure what the procedure is for that kind of stuff.
Also you may want to make sure that any scanners your luggage has to go through will not be destructive to the data on your HDD (probably not, lotsa people travel with laptops, but better safe than sorry).
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