Tips for builders

By StormBringer
Jul 11, 2002
  1. I've noticed that quite a few people are planning to build new systems. I would imagine that some of them may be doing it for the first time so I thought a thread with tips might be appropriate. If this topic has been discussed before, I'm sorry but I couldn't find it.

    There are several small things that should be mentioned like, be careful of static and either keep touching the case at regular intervals or use a grounding strap, Screws should only be tightened snug enough that they don't come out, don't torque them down to 150ftlbs. You may have to remove them later for whatever reason. This goes for printer and monitor cables as well as the screws in your case. You might want to tighten drives a little tighter than the cables though due to vibration.
    One of the best time savers is to go to the manufacturers sites of all your hardware and download any newer drivers from the ones that came on discs. This will cut out a step and may save a headache if the other driver was full of bugs.

    That's just a start I'm sure with the compiled experience of everyone here we may be able to save a few headaches and halp to avoid some common problems.
  2. uncleel

    uncleel TS Rookie Posts: 980

    The cheapest investment you can make! Static kills :dead: @ levels far lower than where a visible spark is seen.
  3. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    take your time.

    if something doesn't seem to be fitting properly, happening properly or working, take a break and come back to it later.

    be firm, but also gentle. even the best of us have broken the odd thing before, and some of the designs of these things are not perfect.
  4. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,606   +287

    Try and work on a desk in a well lit area.

    If something doesn't work, check everything is properly plugged in, connected to IDE, Power etc.

    Trouble shooting hardware problems is usually best done with a bare bones system. Start with a basic setup of CPU, motherboard, memory, hard disk, video. Once you have this working smoothly add the next component and verify that it is working with its complete functionality. Then add the next component...
  5. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    the red sided band on an IDE cable should match up with the red side of the power cable on an IDE device.

    SIMMs go in at a 45 degree angle and snap up, DIMMS drop in vertically and make a clip when they are fitted.

    you should only have about 2 power splitters on one PSU.
  6. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,606   +287

    Try to remember where any external connections have to reach to when you PC desktop/tower is in its final position. Position PCI cards so that speakers, network cables, Game controllers etc can be connected without putting strain on the connecting cables. Also if you have cards which have the PCB the otherway round from normal i.e. where "_" is the plate that has any connections mounted on it, try to mount the cards in this configuration |_ _| to allow space for airflow around them, and if there is another card above and you have PCI slots to spare, try and leave one free between them.
  7. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    buy a big case, and look at the case an an assembled machine in your mind before you build it

    when the case is empty, COMPLETELY take it apart, and look at it from every angle...

    leave scope for expansion...

    believe me, you can cram SCSI, IDE and RAID in there before you are finished... just take a good look....

    buying the same case multiple times is good because you know what it can hold....
  8. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    not all lengths of cable work with every controller....

    evaluate each new case by the number of drives it can hold and also of what configuration...... hold cables inside and see if they could stretch,......
  9. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    the case is the axiom...

    strip it down...

    encircle it.....

    imagine it full of components.....

    do they seem to fit???

    see it as a finished machine.

    imagine its purpose....

    does it fit???
  10. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    if so....

    slowly assemble the motherboard, chip and memory elsewhere.... like on top of a hard back book.....

    click them ALL together.....

    now.... mount them in the case.... with the backing plate in place..... (jumpers if necc all set...)

    screw the modo with components all in place... make sure holes are alighned.... use plastic blocks but screws are better..... tighten them up.....
  11. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    ensure that the mobo WANTS to be placed in this case before screwing in.....

    which it should DO TIGHTLY....
  12. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    slowly assert PCI components into their places... connect power cables....
  13. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    slide drives into their bays..... might have to tighten one end before the other to get them looking TOTALLY straight.....

    plug together....

    power on...

    switch on....

    its as easy as that!
  14. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    above all, take your time (unless you have build identical kit 100 times...) and turn every screw with care.... then you have a machine that will POST every time...or if not... you will have a fair idea why....
  15. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    i've done it 200 times.. each time is as easy as the 9th time...
  16. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,606   +287

    And remember boost your post count ;) :haha:

    No matter how many times people say "its safe to work on the components when there is power going into the PC", always switch off the power and unplug the mains supply from the PSU.
  17. Elros

    Elros TS Rookie Posts: 31

    I always think that it is better to keep the plug in the wall, but switch off the socket and the power supply. This way it remains earthed while you work on it. Wouldn't want your nice hair-do to get a bit spikey now would we Arris? :D

    I meant to say, leave the lead in the PSU and wall, but switch off the socket and PSU. :eek:
  18. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 2,244

    I wouldn't recommend leaving them plugged in anymore. PCI 2.1 BUS standard has 5 volts supplied to the PCI slots even when the Computer is powered off. It is possible to trigger a power-on sequence in the PCI bus if there is a difference of potential between you and the PSU.

    I think you are saying to kill the power to the outlet at the breaker box which is fine but that is a bit too much trouble when a grounding strap will be sufficient protection. The best place to connect it is to the case of the PSU so it equalizes any difference to prevent any discharge to sensitive components.
  19. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 2,244

    When installing the fans in your case, remember that hot air rises. Keep a natural flow, try to install them so that the air enters the bottom front and exits the top rear. You may need to reverse the fan in the PSU so it blows out, some of them pull air in.

    That is really more of a cooling tip but if you do this to begin with, you are less likely to run in to problems with "dead air" later.
  20. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

  21. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    hehehe your sarcasm is legendary.....

    like chandler from friends.... ( )


    just don't let it destroy you..... :) :evil:
  22. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Not if the PSU has a power switch too (not talking about motherboard). Not all of them have one, though.
  23. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    hey stormbridger,

    does this thread include tips about purchasing new pc parts?
  24. uncleel

    uncleel TS Rookie Posts: 980

    Do Not Stick * Mr.FORK -into- Mr.WALLSOCKET


    * from Children's Book: "Why Can't Mr.. Fork and Mr. Wall-Socket Be Friends?" ( not a very good seller)
  25. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 2,244

    This is true, that would serve the same purpose while leaving the earth ground.
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