Tips for builders

By StormBringer ยท 90 replies
Jul 11, 2002
  1. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 2,244

    While on the subject of PSUs, remember to switch the PSU on (if it has a switch) Also make certain you have the voltage selector in the correct position for your outlet voltage.

    BTW, someone asked about buying parts, sure, I'd consider that part of building the system. It is part of the process.
  2. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    It was me.

    Here are a few tips...

    1) Set up a budget
    2) Make sure that you know what you're your homework(read lots of reviews)so never rush
    3) Ask for user reviews, most of them are better than those done in pc labs.
    4) Some pc parts like speaker system requires self testing and sure that the sales guy allows you to do so
  3. JAV

    JAV TS Rookie Posts: 210

    Wall outlets & breaker boxes? Who plugs directly into a wall outlet? Not I!

    "Surge Protectors", gentlemen. Use 'em. Place them so that the power switch (which kills the power out of them) is easily accessible at all times. Plug your comp, monitor & auxillary fans into a 'SP' & eliminate the need to unplug & the possiblility of damage from surges, spikes & low-voltage too. :grinthumb

    Cheap insurance & the 1st 'add-on' I buy. Don't leave the store w/o one. :cool:



    The 'Your Reply' box *will* auto-scroll: you're not running out of room. There's also the 'edit' button: if ya think of something else > you CAN add it to an existing post. Really. :rolleyes:

  4. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 2,244

    I almost forgot about the surge protectors, mine are all wall mounted and hard wired so they are my "wall outlets" I tend to forget that others may not use a surge protector.

    Adding upon that tip, I'd also recommend running your modem through it too, so get one with the right connections for your modem.

    Most people don't think about their modem but lightening is the number one killer of helpless modems.
  5. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    How about the UPS(uninterrupted power supply) thingy? It is fit to be discussed in this thread?
  6. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    I made this post "sticky" since this is a very good topic that should have plenty of value for awhile.
  7. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Just a random suggestion, but if you have problems getting your system working properly, using the process of elimination works wonders.

    To find problems, eliminate what doesn't have them:
    In order to figure out what is wrong, you need to find what the root of your problems are. Removing system components and software out of the equation can help you identify what is the cause of your troubles.

    Don't flash you BIOS unless you have to
    Try not to update your BIOS like you might update your video drivers.. It's a bad idea. While flashing your BIOS can be very helpful, it can also bite you in the butt - Creating new problems and even trashing your system totally. Only flash your BIOS as a last resort or if you know the problem is specifically your BIOS.

    Don't cut too many corners
    A bargain PC is great, but make sure you know what you are doing. If you can't do it right, then you probably shouldn't be doing it all... Many people are on a tight budget and it should be a battle to get the most out of your money instead of spending as little money as possible. Otherwise you may end up with a real lemon of a PC.

    Online retailers have awesome prices
    Places like have great prices and online prices are almost always cheaper than stores since they don't always have the overhead of running a store. Sometimes you can even get free shipping and shopping online is a great way to save some cash.

    Think ahead
    Plan what you are going to buy, and make sure what you are getting won't be outdated a month later. Manufacturers change sockets, memory types and other standards somewhat frequently and it is a good idea to buy components that can meet future requirements and standards... A good examples of this was the transition from 423 pin sockets to 478 pins. The 423 was just a temporary socket until the Northwood came out... Now 423 owners have to buy a new motherboard to upgrade their P4 in the future.
  8. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    Oooh another smart alec! Wow!

    Yes, I know that.

    However, I believe that if you have several important and seperate points to make, its far easier if they are in seperate posts. How many times have you seen a really long post and not bothered to read it, purely because of its length?? Maybe that post had important information that you might have missed....

    In any case, I really think its up to me to post in any way that I like.
  9. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    It's always meant in a friendly banter manner. Sometimes this doesn't come across well on posts. I'm not worried about it destroying me. More worried about reaching 3k posts and the highlander post count system of chopping off heads coming into effect *gulp* ;)
  10. Elcarion

    Elcarion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 169

    1) That's my first suggestion.
    2) If it won't power on, check to see that the 220/110 switch is in the correct position before you assume the power supply is bad.
    3) Buy the best components from the best manufacturers that you can afford. This is especially true for the motherboard and memory.
    4) When working on a computer always touch a metal ground(to discharge static electricity) then unplug the power supply. Don't just switch it off, unplug it.
  11. FiremanDan

    FiremanDan TS Rookie

    I wish when I built my pc that I would have used Arctic Silver. It is much easier to use at first before that crap that comes on the bottom of your processor melts and turns to glue. Buy some Arctic silver before you put it together not after. Like it has been said before, take your time. Put in one component at a time. Luckily my brother has built many pcs, so I had him to call for help. But once you do it, it gets easier every time. :) :)

    PS: I have only built 2, but it was alot easier the second time :)
  12. Nick

    Nick TS Rookie Posts: 185

    Another tip is to never buy a pc from a store or online... Like a dell or hp or alienware or falcon nw... These companys are just plain out rip offs. If you can't build your own pc try a site like You can configure your own pc for VERY cheap and you have the FREE option for them to put it together for you...
  13. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    Hold on, shouldn't this go in Cooling and Modding? It says "and PC building discussion" in the summary. Just a thought, I always nitpick...
  14. spun_1

    spun_1 TS Rookie Posts: 41

    ALL very good building basics.(that some of us have learned the hard way). My only 2 cents that wasnt mentioned would be,Make sure your power supply is capable of running EVERYTHING!!More is More.
  15. I know it may seem a little off topic but...
    What is the actual point of Arctic Silver anyways?
  16. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Compensates for the minor imperfections on the part of the heatsink that touches the processor, allowing for better heat transfer if used sparingly.
  17. cason

    cason TS Rookie

    Pull power plug from the back of the PSU before you start inserting\removing stuff.
  18. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    ALWAYS read all the documentation and manuals that come with your components BEFORE you start - Especially true if it is your first time building a PC.

    If you are confused by anything, then go online and find the answer, or ask someone that knows.

    Double check everything you've done - BEFORE you apply any electrical power to your PC.

    NEVER double post unless your name is phantasm.
  19. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    Never buy online? You would have to be about crazy to not buy online. You can find lots of better deals at places in your area but most parts are better off bought online. For instance, you won't find an Enermax PSU in your area, nor a quality PSU at all. At least, not in most areas, unless of course you live near one of these online stores such as FrozenCPU.

    Things like CDR's (drives AND disks), keyboard, mouse, speakers, and other items like this I prefer to always buy from places such as OfficeMax. OfficeMax has great rebates (just make sure you fill out the form correctly) that will save you lots of money. In most cases I have dealt with OfficeMax buying these types of things, the prices they had after rebate (sometimes even before) were the same or less than the prices online that were already very cheap. A good example of this is a Network Interface Card I bought not long ago. It was about $9 and was also $9 online for the exact same NIC, but online you must figure in shipping so OfficeMax is the better route.

    If your able to buy online then do it. Just use common sense about where to buy, do lots of research, and what do buy online and what not to buy online.

    If your not in the market for exceptional quality speakers then OfficeMax has speakers for about $35 with subwoofers, such as Altec Lansing. These specific speakers that I bought are very very loud and powerful, and for $35 that is a good deal, but I wasnt in the market (at the time) for 5.1 speakers or anything like that so it was the best choice for me.

    If you want to sample some very good PC speakers then I suggest visiting Best Buy. They have a large selection and some VERY nice speakers, that not only look great but sound very good.
    If you dont find what you want there then online will be the place to go (unless you know of somewhere else to look in your area).

    As ALWAYS research IS your FRIEND. I research for 4 months usually before I even begin buying the parts for a new PC. After those 4 months I have looked at over 1000 different websites reading up on technical aspects of computer components, reviewing prices, making comparisons, checking out those websites on, speaking to fellow techies about my choice for parts and getting opinions. After those 4 months, I have a PC that just can't be beat for the price that I spend for it (at the time -- I'm sure 2 months later you could have a nicer PC, at the rate that prices flucuate these days and technology changes).
  20. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    Don't you mean don't quadrupal post? No.. more like wait... 10 posts in a row?

    Oh boy I'm turning into Phant, I just posted two in a row!

    Hehehehe J/K Phant :D

  21. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15

    One that I didnt realize untill a year later...

    If you mother board and hard drive both support (say) ATA100, make sure the ribbon cable connecting the 2 supports ATA100.

    If it only supports up to ATA33 (like mine did), your hard drive is only going to run at ATA33 :dead:
  22. PakAsad

    PakAsad TS Rookie

    How can I check what ATA my Hd's are running at?
  23. Hitman`

    Hitman` TS Rookie Posts: 41

    You can do this one of muliple ways. First, you can reference your motherboard manual to see which ATA standard your chipset supports. Then, if you know the manufacturer for your hard drive, the model number of it, (can be found in the BIOS) or the manual, you can either reference the manual that came with your disk to see what the highest ATA mode it will run at, or you can goto the website of the maufacturer and do the same thing. No matter the device, the computer will use the lower ATA value if the standards arent the same. (eg. if you have a ATA33 motherboard, and a ATA100 hard disk, the drive will run at ATA33 speeds)
    This is the universal way to check, but some BIOS screens have a short system summary of the basic devices in the system during the boot process. It lasts only a few seconds, if at all on some systems, so I dont recommend you depend on this to determine the ATA standard you are using, use the mentioned method above.
  24. Moimit

    Moimit TS Rookie Posts: 76

    to fry your cpu thats what....

    to build your perfect pc you must live and breathe technology, you must not stop researching keep up to date and Never get anything generic NEVER

  25. werty316

    werty316 TS Rookie Posts: 185

    AMD and ATI are a good combo. Intel is expensive; well AMD top stuff is expensive; any top stuff cost $. but best bang would be a AMD, lets say 2500+ or an INTEL 4C 2.4GHz. Thats just what I think anyways.
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