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Tips on Assembling Built Computers

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January 8, 2013 10:22:45 PM

Hi,

I have received all but 1 (PSU)of my components before I am ready to build. Before I do it, me being relatively inexperienced with this, would like to ask for some hints/tips for this process. Obviously, Manuals & Guides will all be utilised whilst assembling, but I'd like some things to make it a tad smoother. I hear rub your CPU top with isoproyl alcohol to clean it?

Kind regards, Paul
January 8, 2013 10:53:30 PM

1) Take your time. There's no speed records (that I know of) for building a computer. Relax, take your time, and consult your manuals often. My first build, I probably had to read the front power connections section four times before feeling confident I had it all plugged in correctly.

2) Until the system is completely put together, you probably won't know the best order of placing components into the case. Don't worry if you have to remove already placed components (like the power supply or hard drive) in order to insert or connect other components. Again, take your time. Some people might recommend not tightening all the screws for ease of removal in cases such as these. I disagree as it's too easy to leave them loose once the system is built.

3) If you're purchasing a new CPU, then it likely comes with thermal paste already applied. Some people remove this in favor of their own purchased thermal paste as a matter of course. Other will only do this if they intend to overclock their computers. People, such as myself, who do not overclock, are fine using the pre-applied thermal paste. If you do decide to clean off the pre-applied thermal paste in favor on your own, then yes, you would want to use isopropyl alcohol to remove it.

-Wolf sends
January 8, 2013 11:04:57 PM

Agree with Wolf's comments above. #1 it totally true, I always used to mess up the front connectors for power switch, power led, hdd led, reset button,etc... haha I had a turbo button back then (old school).

Other adds:
- Best advise I can give is to read your motherboard manual. If there is any manual you read it is this one. I still consult them as every board is a little different even from the same manufacture. It's good to know the default settings and any special port configurations. For example which PCI-E slot to install your video card in, and what memory slots to use first. Also some have quirky SATA connector settings like use the purple ones for HDD and black for optical first and red ones use a marvell controller, blah blah. This manual is the bible for your PC now as the motherboard is what interconnect everything.
- I typically install items in this order, but you will find what works best for you.
1) Set the motherboard on the box it came in. Install CPU and CPU cooler, then install RAM. Doing the CPU outside of the case is so much easier. The OEM coolers have annoying push claps, and aftermarket is usually large and has a back plate. Either way it's a pain.
2) Install any standoffs in the case for the motherboard if needed. (consult case manual, some don't come with one so check the website)
3) Install the motherboard with CPU and RAM already on it.
4) plug in any case connectors, fan connectors, etc to the motherboard (check motherboard manual for details)
5) install Disk drives and connect to mother board
6) install power supply and neatly run power to all components. If you have a video card, make sure to leave the proper connectors dangling for that install.
7) install video card and connect power
8) zip tie all loose wires nicely to keep then secure and not obstruct airflow ( not saying they will unless you have a rat nest of cables in front of a fan or opening)
9) boot it up and check out the bios to make sure there are no POST errors, beeps, etc. See motherboard manual for any issues there.
10) install OS and enjoy.
Related resources
January 9, 2013 12:00:33 AM

Wolfshadw said:
1) Take your time. There's no speed records (that I know of) for building a computer. Relax, take your time, and consult your manuals often. My first build, I probably had to read the front power connections section four times before feeling confident I had it all plugged in correctly.

2) Until the system is completely put together, you probably won't know the best order of placing components into the case. Don't worry if you have to remove already placed components (like the power supply or hard drive) in order to insert or connect other components. Again, take your time. Some people might recommend not tightening all the screws for ease of removal in cases such as these. I disagree as it's too easy to leave them loose once the system is built.

3) If you're purchasing a new CPU, then it likely comes with thermal paste already applied. Some people remove this in favor of their own purchased thermal paste as a matter of course. Other will only do this if they intend to overclock their computers. People, such as myself, who do not overclock, are fine using the pre-applied thermal paste. If you do decide to clean off the pre-applied thermal paste in favor on your own, then yes, you would want to use isopropyl alcohol to remove it.

-Wolf sends


jay2tall said:
Agree with Wolf's comments above. #1 it totally true, I always used to mess up the front connectors for power switch, power led, hdd led, reset button,etc... haha I had a turbo button back then (old school).

Other adds:
- Best advise I can give is to read your motherboard manual. If there is any manual you read it is this one. I still consult them as every board is a little different even from the same manufacture. It's good to know the default settings and any special port configurations. For example which PCI-E slot to install your video card in, and what memory slots to use first. Also some have quirky SATA connector settings like use the purple ones for HDD and black for optical first and red ones use a marvell controller, blah blah. This manual is the bible for your PC now as the motherboard is what interconnect everything.
- I typically install items in this order, but you will find what works best for you.
1) Set the motherboard on the box it came in. Install CPU and CPU cooler, then install RAM. Doing the CPU outside of the case is so much easier. The OEM coolers have annoying push claps, and aftermarket is usually large and has a back plate. Either way it's a pain.
2) Install any standoffs in the case for the motherboard if needed. (consult case manual, some don't come with one so check the website)
3) Install the motherboard with CPU and RAM already on it.
4) plug in any case connectors, fan connectors, etc to the motherboard (check motherboard manual for details)
5) install Disk drives and connect to mother board
6) install power supply and neatly run power to all components. If you have a video card, make sure to leave the proper connectors dangling for that install.
7) install video card and connect power
8) zip tie all loose wires nicely to keep then secure and not obstruct airflow ( not saying they will unless you have a rat nest of cables in front of a fan or opening)
9) boot it up and check out the bios to make sure there are no POST errors, beeps, etc. See motherboard manual for any issues there.
10) install OS and enjoy.


Thank you to both of your help, just what I needed pre-build. Much obliged.
January 9, 2013 1:02:27 AM

FrankJaeger said:
Hi,

I have received all but 1 (PSU)of my components before I am ready to build. Before I do it, me being relatively inexperienced with this, would like to ask for some hints/tips for this process. Obviously, Manuals & Guides will all be utilised whilst assembling, but I'd like some things to make it a tad smoother. I hear rub your CPU top with isoproyl alcohol to clean it?

Kind regards, Paul



Take time and watch some videos on Youtube on How to build a desktop PC. May I suggest you to watch Carey Holzman Channel in Youtube its vet informative, detailed and comprehensive. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKnbazLsM7g
January 9, 2013 2:10:35 AM

Some good advice above.^^^

Let me add:

1. Read the case manual too.

2. I do a post test while the motherboard is still outside of the case. You need cpu, cooler, ram, video card, monitor, PSU and keyboard/mouse connected.
If you see the bios, you know you are good so far.
If your motherboard does not have a power button, use a flat blade screwdriver to momentarily touch the two pwr pins.

3. I find a #2 magnetic tip phillips screwdriver to be invaluable in holding screws. The magnetism is very weak, so don't be concerned, just keep the tip away from things as best you can.

4. Front panel headers are easy to get wrong. The PWR and reset pins are not polarity sensitive; you can connect them either way.
The LED leads are polarity sensitive, and there seems to be no standard to identify + or -. Take a guess that colored is + and plain is -.
If the led does not light, no harm is done, just reverse them.

5. Do not worry about static and wrist straps unless you are in a high static environment. Just touch your hand to the case before working on it.

6. If you are using the Intel pushpin mount cooler, take the time to verify that all 4 pins are completely through the motherboard and locked. The trick to getting this right is to push down on diagonal pairs at the same time.

7. The intel stock cooler will come with pre applied material. It looks like three grey stripes. It works ok, don't bother to remove it.
If you are applying your own paste, do not overdo it, or it will act as an insulator. A small drop will spread under pressure and heat. The job of the material is to fill in microscopic air pits in the mating surfaces.


8. All the parts are standard and keyed. If something does not seem to fit, do not force it.

9. Once you see the bios, leave everything on auto; that is most likely to be correct and work.
Do take the time to scroll through all the options for familiarity, but do not change anything initially unless you know that the change is needed.
January 10, 2013 9:30:43 PM

geofelt said:
Some good advice above.^^^

Let me add:

1. Read the case manual too.

2. I do a post test while the motherboard is still outside of the case. You need cpu, cooler, ram, video card, monitor, PSU and keyboard/mouse connected.
If you see the bios, you know you are good so far.
If your motherboard does not have a power button, use a flat blade screwdriver to momentarily touch the two pwr pins.

3. I find a #2 magnetic tip phillips screwdriver to be invaluable in holding screws. The magnetism is very weak, so don't be concerned, just keep the tip away from things as best you can.

4. Front panel headers are easy to get wrong. The PWR and reset pins are not polarity sensitive; you can connect them either way.
The LED leads are polarity sensitive, and there seems to be no standard to identify + or -. Take a guess that colored is + and plain is -.
If the led does not light, no harm is done, just reverse them.

5. Do not worry about static and wrist straps unless you are in a high static environment. Just touch your hand to the case before working on it.

6. If you are using the Intel pushpin mount cooler, take the time to verify that all 4 pins are completely through the motherboard and locked. The trick to getting this right is to push down on diagonal pairs at the same time.

7. The intel stock cooler will come with pre applied material. It looks like three grey stripes. It works ok, don't bother to remove it.
If you are applying your own paste, do not overdo it, or it will act as an insulator. A small drop will spread under pressure and heat. The job of the material is to fill in microscopic air pits in the mating surfaces.

8. All the parts are standard and keyed. If something does not seem to fit, do not force it.

9. Once you see the bios, leave everything on auto; that is most likely to be correct and work.
Do take the time to scroll through all the options for familiarity, but do not change anything initially unless you know that the change is needed.


Very insightful, I will keep these in mind. Thank you for your time
!