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What is the safest place and way to build a new system.

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December 21, 2012 10:48:56 PM

I put together a build that i'm very proud of, i've been collecting money for months.

(I'm a young one, only 15.) (I made this money myself by doing neighboorhood work and selling custom made toys, i'm not just some kid who is spoiled and got fed money)

I have all my parts, but the card. The card is coming the day after Christmas, (Merry Christmas!!!) and then all of the build will be at my house.

I want to know, what is the safest place to build it. I have a garage, that's highly cluttered (my brother is working on his car), a tiled kitchen, and the rest of the rooms are carpet. In the kitchen I have a wooden dining table. I have also ordered a anti-static wrist strap, I was under the intention that it would keep my parts safe. (You have to understand, I don't have a job yet, so if I mess this up, it's game over.)

If you can answer me what the safest place in my house to build it is, what surface should it be built on? I've heard cardboard, i've heard a table, i've heard a desk, i've heard an anti-static mat.

If you can answer me what the safest surface is, how can I utilize the anti-static wrist strap to protect against ESD? Do I just slap it on my wrist, and attach the alligator clip to the metal part of the case? Do I install the PSU and then plug it into the wall, and then turn off the socket and then attach the strap? I have heard so many different ways, it's ridiculous. I Just want my parts to be okay, so I can use my new pc.

And the final question, what should I wear for the build?

Thank you so much.


TL;DR How should I put together my computer to prevent against ESD.

Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2012 11:15:40 PM

Ok what I usually do is build my computers on a table I can easily walk around. Try to avoid building your computer on carpet. Carpet is the material that can transfer the most electricity. Try to build it on a hard wood floor or a stone floor

the Anti static wrist band. You wrap it around the wrist and clamp the clamp to the case.

DO NOT PLUG THE PSU INTO A WALL OUTLET. UNTIL after YOU have everything together. and ready to power it on. If you need some more help let me know

As far as clothing wear something comfortable. clothes don't make a difference in building stage
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2012 11:18:52 PM

In the kitchen on the wooden table, use the cardboard packing material to lay your parts out on(if you don't have the anti-static mat_. Keep them in the black anti-static bag till ur ready to use them.
Thats the best place on a budget lol
I usually attach my strap to something that is metal that goes into the ground. In your case, kitchen faucet will do. If you have to add more wire to it, add more wire. Wear nothing that is wool, regular shirts will do.
If you want to connect the psu go ahead, make sure switch is off on the psu first and the ground at the plug in works. Be careful on that one.

Don't worry too much about static, just don't rub your hair really really fast and touch something electronic.
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December 21, 2012 11:30:26 PM

Rockdpm said:
Ok what I usually do is build my computers on a table I can easily walk around. Try to avoid building your computer on carpet. Carpet is the material that can transfer the most electricity. Try to build it on a hard wood floor or a stone floor

the Anti static wrist band. You wrap it around the wrist and clamp the clamp to the case.

DO NOT PLUG THE PSU INTO A WALL OUTLET. UNTIL after YOU have everything together. and ready to power it on. If you need some more help let me know

As far as clothing wear something comfortable. clothes don't make a difference in building stage



Thanks rock, I like this answer a bit more, as the faucet to the table is about 12 feet.. lol..

I feel a lot better now, i'll probably build it standing up on my table with the wrist strap hooked to the case. I wear comfortable clothes everyday, so that's a plus, haha.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2012 11:32:32 PM

Any time man, I'm a professional system builder so I know my stuff
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December 21, 2012 11:32:41 PM

use a table, or even at the floor, just watch out for carpets (and other stuff that can generate static)
other than that, the rest are just the usual, just think of safety.

enjoy it, part of enjoyment is building your pc not just playing with it. Merry christmas :) 
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December 21, 2012 11:35:12 PM

Short answer: Don't wear your socks and drag your feet on carpet while building your computer and you'll be fine.

Long answer: Clip the wrist strap to something metal that provides a decent connection to the ground, such as a table leg. Wear shoes (see above). Any nice flat surface should be fine for working on, just give yourself plenty of room or you'll end up losing screws in an effort to move things around.

Since this is your first build, here are a few tips that will hopefully be helpful, but be sure to READ THE MOTHERBOARD MANUAL because they all have their quirks, and it always seems case and motherboard people seem to have different ideas about how to name things.

I like to begin by doing any prep work I need on the case, such as take out unwanted drive bays or rearranging fans, then assembling the basics that go on the motherboard. I like to use on top of the box the motherboard came in as my motherboard build area, usually some nice sturdy cardboard that won't hurt the motherboard if I have to push down with a little force to get components in place. Put in the memory, don't be afraid to push a little hard to get it to 'click in'. Set in the processor and lock it in place (should only fit one way, but make sure to read your motherboard manual for any specifics), again you might have to push a little hard to get the lever to lock it in place, depending on your motherboard.

If you have an enormous heatsink, check to see what all will be difficult to get to when you put it in, and consider attaching cables like sata or any included extension cables for power or usb, etc. If you are using a stock fan, you will usually be able to get to everything pretty easily even after it is installed.

Only put the motherboard into the case after the heatsink is on, so you don't have to struggle with it. Then you can hook up your power connections, USB connections, any audio connections, etc. If you are using a cpu with onboard video, such as intels HD4000, don't put in your discrete GPU yet (assuming you bought one). After you install windows you'll be able to make sure everything is up and working, download the latest drivers, and then only install it after you know the rest of the system works fine. One less thing to troubleshoot if you have a problem. Same thing with any other expansion cards, or any hard drives other than the one you plan to use as your primary.

And a few last tips: If you are using an SSD, its best if you can have it set to AHCI in your BIOS or UEFI from the very beginning, but if you have trouble installing windows you might need to disable it and re-enable it later, but find a guide online with the specifics about enabling it after windows is installed or it will give you many headaches. Microsoft has a free utility that lets you install windows from a USB drive which is really nice and quick (Guide Here) but make sure you are plugged into a usb 2.0 port, not a 3.0 port or it could give you some strange errors.

That's everything off the top of my head. I've only built a dozen or so systems, but most of the ones I have are still alive and kicking today, even at 10+ years old. Every build is an adventure, here's to hoping yours is a good one!

Edit: Wow, beat by 5 replies while I was typing that.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 21, 2012 11:42:17 PM

lordravage said:
Short answer: Don't wear your socks and drag your feet on carpet while building your computer and you'll be fine.

Long answer: Clip the wrist strap to something metal that provides a decent connection to the ground, such as a table leg. Wear shoes (see above). Any nice flat surface should be fine for working on, just give yourself plenty of room or you'll end up losing screws in an effort to move things around.

Since this is your first build, here are a few tips that will hopefully be helpful, but be sure to READ THE MOTHERBOARD MANUAL because they all have their quirks, and it always seems case and motherboard people seem to have different ideas about how to name things.

I like to begin by doing any prep work I need on the case, such as take out unwanted drive bays or rearranging fans, then assembling the basics that go on the motherboard. I like to use on top of the box the motherboard came in as my motherboard build area, usually some nice sturdy cardboard that won't hurt the motherboard if I have to push down with a little force to get components in place. Put in the memory, don't be afraid to push a little hard to get it to 'click in'. Set in the processor and lock it in place (should only fit one way, but make sure to read your motherboard manual for any specifics), again you might have to push a little hard to get the lever to lock it in place, depending on your motherboard.

If you have an enormous heatsink, check to see what all will be difficult to get to when you put it in, and consider attaching cables like sata or any included extension cables for power or usb, etc. If you are using a stock fan, you will usually be able to get to everything pretty easily even after it is installed.

Only put the motherboard into the case after the heatsink is on, so you don't have to struggle with it. Then you can hook up your power connections, USB connections, any audio connections, etc. If you are using a cpu with onboard video, such as intels HD4000, don't put in your discrete GPU yet (assuming you bought one). After you install windows you'll be able to make sure everything is up and working, download the latest drivers, and then only install it after you know the rest of the system works fine. One less thing to troubleshoot if you have a problem. Same thing with any other expansion cards, or any hard drives other than the one you plan to use as your primary.

And a few last tips: If you are using an SSD, its best if you can have it set to AHCI in your BIOS or UEFI from the very beginning, but if you have trouble installing windows you might need to disable it and re-enable it later, but find a guide online with the specifics about enabling it after windows is installed or it will give you many headaches. Microsoft has a free utility that lets you install windows from a USB drive which is really nice and quick (Guide Here) but make sure you are plugged into a usb 2.0 port, not a 3.0 port or it could give you some strange errors.

That's everything off the top of my head. I've only built a dozen or so systems, but most of the ones I have are still alive and kicking today, even at 10+ years old. Every build is an adventure, here's to hoping yours is a good one!

Edit: Wow, beat by 5 replies while I was typing that.

You know your stuff too man. I'll give ya that
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December 22, 2012 12:09:07 AM

Some great tips there.

I would add that I recommend you get a ground tester such as the one here: (http://www.amazon.com/GE-50957-Installation-Operation-1...)
I've seen them as cheap as 5 bucks at places like Walmart. They will make sure the wiring in your house is all good. If your outlets happen to not have a properly-wired ground, that's just asking for problems.

Also, another great investment is a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply), especially if your area is prone to power outtages. I used to not use one until a power outtage and surge came one day, and even through a power surge protector, damaged some or all of my parts. After extensive testing trying to find which part was causing the problem, I had to give up and buy an entirely new machine. I've been using UPS's since then and no problems. We only get outtages maybe a couple times a year but it's well worth the investment for an expensive build, in my opinion.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2012 12:39:16 AM

Now, a UPS is a fine investment I agree. But them ground testers and all those fancy gadgets... I don't see the need in it
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2012 1:00:21 AM

Rockdpm said:
DO NOT PLUG THE PSU INTO A WALL OUTLET. UNTIL after YOU have everything together. and ready to power it on. If you need some more help let me know


Erm... Huh. First time I've seen that before.

I usually do my builds the opposite of this - the first thing I do is install my power supply and ground it to the wall - then I ground myself on it every minute or so.
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a c 106 B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2012 1:04:02 AM

^ Same, that's what I have been doing and I have had no issues.

Heard that whether this is a problem or not comes down to how your country's wall sockets are configured electrically. All good here in Australia it seems.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2012 1:10:33 AM

DarkSable said:
Erm... Huh. First time I've seen that before.

I usually do my builds the opposite of this - the first thing I do is install my power supply and ground it to the wall - then I ground myself on it every minute or so.

The your doing it un safe. Its ok to install your power supply into the case first. Just don't plug it into the Wall Outlet.. When things begin to have direct current ... It gets dangerous. AND don't tell me current doesn't kill cause i'm not stupid I have can name a recent event of a kid who opened his Power Supply up thinking just cause it was unplugged from the wall outlet meant it didn't have current. Computer now have strong capacitors that can hold power for months..

and sure people do their builds differently. I just know the way i do mine. Is safe (Obviously because if it wasn't I wouldn't be here typing) and 2nd they obviously work 1st time because they are in windows the next hour bragging about the PC
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a c 106 B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2012 1:21:52 AM

Direct Current is safer than Alternating Current actually. That was the main argument against AC back in the days of Edison and Tesla.

Opening a PSU is always dangerous, nor did Darksable recommend doing it.
Thought the phrase was "Voltage doesnt kill".
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2012 1:33:19 AM

Right. Its Current that kills. and Capacitors still hold loads of power. Plenty enough to kill a man. And If it will kill a man... ha then no 13 year old kid is gonna survive... I'm done with this thread. I don't have time for people that wants to try to make me look like I'm the idiot. If the guy buys a bunch of useless un-needed crap just to build a computer. Don't say i didn't warn you not to fall for it
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a c 106 B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2012 1:39:25 AM

Im not contesting that the capacitors in a PSU can kill you, I am fully aware of how they can retain power even after extended time of not being plugged in.

Nor did I recommend buying anything. The only Anti-ESD equipment I use is the wristband and a wooden bench, no reason for anything more (unless you legitimately do need a UPS).
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2012 1:56:32 AM

Right And I wasn't refering to you being the one recommending all those tools.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2012 2:23:16 AM

I think the reason some users say to PLUG the power supply in is for the ground to earth(give that static a place to go), BUT leave the damn switch(it switches the live or hot) off :) 

Onto the point of capacitors. Not once have I ever been afraid to open a computer power supply(because of the caps). plug it into the board and drain the caps by hitting the power button with the power supply unplugged. I almost guess most power supplies will discharge rather fast anyway seeing as phantom power will take anything in the caps when the AC is removed or switched off. Other then that any thing connected will drain the caps too.

Got a laptop power supply? plug it in and notice the small spark? caps charging. unplug it with no laptop and notice the led stays lit for a while and slowly dims to nothing, that is the caps feeding the last of the power they have into it, by that point, chances are it is safe to work with. If the laptop is still plugged in that led turns off almost as soon as you unplug it.

I built a little active combiner(mixer)(12 channel in 6 out, 12 op amps). It has 4700uf(2) caps(and 100 uf for each op amps -9 - 0volt and 0 to +9volts in) on the inputs and can only keep the thing running for a few seconds on power loss.

Old TV's with a physical switch actually locked the power in the caps(as the actual load was cut off) and they could hold it long term.

Either way, just don't mess with power if you are unsure about how to do it.

As long as you pick a good place to build, the chances of static are very low.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2012 3:30:11 AM

Omg the guy only asked some tips for building his computer. He didn't ask for a Science lesson. We have told him all he really needed to know is there anymore that needs to be said really?
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2012 3:36:37 AM

I just do not want users afraid of computer power supplies :)  Sorry if it was too much.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2012 5:16:56 AM

There is no reason to be afraid of a psu... or have special safety precautions for it either... I mean... it's in a box... and if there were special safety issues involved then there would be warning labels all over it and stuff to prevent it from running outside a computer case and everything >_>
If you tear the box apart and fool around in there while it's plugged in, then yea, bad plan...
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2012 5:17:53 AM

Ok just wanted to get that point across
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December 22, 2012 12:22:31 PM

Lol, i'm fully aware opening a PSU without proper know-how is stupid. :sarcastic: 

If my computer is losing power it's pretty easy to concur it is the power supply. 40 dollars and I have a new one risk free. By the time the one I have fails, i'll have plenty of money for working.


Thanks for the tips everyone, I'm just going to stick to my Dad's opinion though, it's quite similar to the first answer by rock. He literally can fix/build anything... Trust me, if you'd get to know him you'd know why everyone calls on him to do their work.. lol..
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2012 3:22:31 PM

Father knows best!.

If you are done, Please select a best answer. If you need any help again please let us know
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December 22, 2012 6:24:01 PM

Haha alright, thanks again guys. Hope all goes well next week... Merry Christmas!
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December 22, 2012 6:24:28 PM

Best answer selected by benitopsp.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 22, 2012 8:09:23 PM

Merry Christmas to you to!. If you ever need help again let us know!
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December 22, 2012 9:53:01 PM

You bet! I always get all the info I need here, xD.
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!