How to build a computer

Date: 2006-08-22 19:00:22

So you want to build a computer?

You have spent months researching your hardware. You've been working overtime for countless weeks to pay for your new computer. You've spent the extra money on priority shipping, and have been watching the UPS tracker for the past several hours. But what happens when everything actually gets to your house? The UPS guy will come with a smile on his face, and bring in box upon box of expensive computer parts. He will leave knowing he has done his job, leaving you to your own devices. As you unpack everything, you slowly realize that you have absolutely no clue what to do.

Calm down and get organized

Before you begin, you need to clear your head and relax. If you don't, you might make some mistakes. A good list of basic tips-
  • Frustration will end up breaking parts. Be very gentle, and remember that nothing will fit that isn't supposed to. This is supposed to be fun, not torture.
  • Mind static electricity. Make sure that you at least work on a non conductive surface, such as a hardwood floor. Always remember to keep your motherboard in an anti-static bag until ready for installation into your case. If possible, aquire an anti-static armband or rug. A good article on anti-static precautions can be found here.
  • Putting too much thermal paste between chips and heatsinks will slow-roast your computer. You don't need to worry about this if you don't plan on applying your own thermal paste (your graphics card comes with cooler already installed, and your CPU has thermal paste pre-applied on the heatsink).
  • If you need help, or aren't comfortable doing something, do not hesitate to ask for help.The forums at techPowerUp! are very friendly and would love to help you do a build. If you need help installing something, see if you can find a friend who's built computers before.
  • Take your time, it will pay off.

Take everything out of its box

If you were smart and bought a ton of retail boxes, they probably came with a ton of confusing cables, cards and manuals. Do yourself a favor and lay everything in front of you, so that you can put it in when it is required. Before you even open a box, read these tips about keeping things safe until you're ready to build.
  • Do not leave your parts on carpet! Unless you like your parts extra crispy from electrostatic discharge, I suggest you keep them as far away from sources of static electricity such as carpets, long haired cats, and fur coats.
  • Do your best to keep everything in an antistatic bag, if not its retail box, until it is ready for installation.
  • Do not start building until you are sure that you are ready.
  • Make sure to have a good phillips head screwdriver before you start building.
Here's how I laid my computer parts out-

The motherboard and some cables.

The case

And my components.

 Case & Power Supply »
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