At this point, I’m assuming that you’ve got your plan all worked out for the desktop PC you’re going to build (if not, go read my last post). I spent about 2 days in the planning stage; it isn’t hard; it’s just a matter of getting all the research done. After all is settled, it’s time to get to the fun part… buying components and building! I’m not going to talk much about the buying step since that should be fairly self explanatory (and fun! boxes in the mail! it’s like Christmas!). Today’s entry will cover some tips and tricks about the actual assembly of your computer.
First and foremost, be careful! Most of the components you’ve purchased are A) expensive and B) not friendly to man-handling. In case you didn’t know, static electricity (ya know, the stuff that happens when you wander around in socks on a carpet, touch a door knob, and get zapped) will utterly kill a brand new $300 Intel CPU. If you’re a total newb, wear a static bracelet. Yes, they are a bit dorky, but you’re building a computer. I never bracelet, but then again I know what I’m doing. I also make sure to ground myself (repeatedly) before I get into the components.
At this point, for the newbies, I’d strongly advise you watch the Newegg video tutorial on How To Build a PC. Even if you don’t buy your parts from them, it’s a really good video. For fun I had this on while I was building my machine and I did learn a few new things. For example the suggestion of building your computer outside of the case is really smart. Since my part picking skills were rusty, I wanted to know that I had gotten it all right before I got it in the case.
When you are ready to get started with the build, make sure you set aside a few hours of uninterrupted time. There is nothing worse than trying to cleanup a half built computer. You’ll lose wires, screws or other bobbles. Unless there is no other option, try to get it all done in one sitting. My build took about 2 hours (and I was sick); yours might take longer, but I doubt it will take much more than that unless you are working on a very tricky case. The large cases are really easy, though the small cases are a real PITA getting everything to fit.
While you build, collect all the manuals and for the love of god RTFM. I’ve seen more than a few computers release the magical blue smoke because someone simply didn’t read the instructions as to which bit plugs into which socket. Many plugs on the inside of your new computer are “keyed” but not every single one is. Plug a LED into the PWR port and see what happens (Editor’s Note: Don’t actually do that.”).
Lastly, don’t be scared. Building a new computer can be a bit nerve wracking for people because electronics are so “temperamental”, but think back to what you’ve seen people do to their home computers. You have to be doing something really dumb before you get a PC to really kick the bucket. Even things like installing CPUs has been made “idiot friendly” in the last few years. Sure, you can still botch the CPU doing something really dumb, but if you just remember to ground yourself beforehand and pay attention to what you are doing… you’ll probably be safe.
Congratulations on your new Desktop PC!