Building a new PC

I am new to this forum and plan to build a PC next month when first trimester ends. Here is some info:

Approximate Purchase Date: November 20th
Location: Baltimore, MD

I currently have a dell xps210 desktop with a core 2 duo @ 2.20 ghz(which I never use) and a Dell latitude Xt3 tablet PC which I am typing on right now with a second display. After going to robotics camp at MIT this summer, I felt excluded that I hadn't built my own PC. In addition, neither of my systems are adequate for legit gaming, so I did my research, took notes, and here is what I decided:

Cpu: Intel i7 3770k which I will overclock
Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth Z77
Memory: 16 gb 2x8 GSkill ripjaws X series DDR3 1866
Graphics/video card: 2X Gtx 660 in SLI
OS: Windows 7 64bit home premium
Sandisk 32gb ssd for windows 7 to load faster
2x Western digital WD Blue 1tb hard drives with 64mb cache for all other data in RAID 1 configuration
Asus dvd/cd drive
Antec 620 watt SLI ready semi-modular with 6 molex plugs
Antec Eleven Hundred Black Super Mid Tower Computer Case

I might possibly aquire:
XSPC RX240 water cooler so I can overclock
2 more 120mm case fans

I have checked compatibility, and everything should work properly. I will order from
My main question: Once I have put everything together and I turn the computer on for the first time, what happens? How do I set up my SSD to have only windows 7 and my HDDs to do RAID 1? How do I check for faulty components? Do any programs come with Windows 7/the motherboard? How do I initially access the internet? What if I have a faulty component? In a nutshell, what goes on in the bios, and what can I do?

Thank you for your replies.
4 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Best answer
    If you plan to overclock, buy this Hyper 212 + Cooler to keep your CPU cool. Watercooling can be hard to install and can be expensive. This CPU heatsink will get the job done, for less.

    1. You will get a splash screen and get some error from the bios, because you haven't installed Windows yet.

    2. There are certain software that you can download that tests all of your components, but they can take a long time. I'd just put together your PC and see if Windows recognizes it. If not, you can do some things to fix that problem (Like seeing if the GPU fan spins). If those don't worth then you probably have a faulty component. But those are rare anyways.

    3. Sometimes. Your motherboard may come with some bloatware you don't want, and your GPU will come with a driver disk and some overclocking software. So will your motherboard. Windows will just have your essentials that help your computer run.

    4. Simple. Just plug in your ethernet wire and access the internet. If you downloaded the drivers that came with your motherboard, and you still can't get on the net, save the latest ethernet drivers to a USB drive and save it to your computer.

    5. RMA it and be sent another one.

    6. Just your system stuff goes on in the BIOS. You can adjust things like RAM speeds and whatnot.
  2. Thank you for the detailed reply.

    After doing some more research, I decided to go with 2 WD tb black drives because of speed (the velociraptors are pricey) and go down to one graphics card because I can always upgrade a GPU later but it is much harder to upgrade a HDD once you have data on them.

    1. When do I dedicate certain hard drives to certain tasks? I want the SSD to be the master hard drive for the OS (Windows 7) and the 2 HDDs to hold all other data in a RAID 1 formation. When do I choose/set that up?

    I want to go with water cooling because it looks really cool and also I always love a challenge ;)

    2. I was thinking that I would put the system together with the stock fan from the CPU and run it for a few days. After that, I should take the GPU, RAM, HDDs, SSD, Card reader, Disc drive, etc out and then set up the water cooler? How long should I run the closed system?

    I am buying the XSPC RX240 for reference.
  3. How to have your SSD as boot drive
    Install your SSD, disconnect your hard drive, power on, make sure your BIOS is set to AHCI instead of IDE, install Windows and the newest version of Intel's RST drivers , power off and reconnect your hard drive, power on again and make sure your SSD is set as the primary boot drive in BIOS. Now you may install your other software to the SSD if you wish. That's it, you're done.

    Installing programs straight to HDD's
    1. Start Registry Editor by entering “Regedit” in the search All programs.

    2. Locate the following:


    3. Right click on the value named ProgramFilesDir & change the default value C:\Program Files to the path you want to install all your programs in.

    4. Click OK and Exit.

    And as for watercooling, I think it would be best to just install it first. Having to take all of your stuff out just to install a CPU cooler doesn't make much sense. Have any more questions?
  4. Best answer selected by ampupdaswag.
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