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Build your own PC


Step-1 is to obtain the case from a computer parts warehouse of your choice. I recommend Tiger Direct. Make sure you have planned ahead for your hardware i.e. video cards, memory, memory speed, bus speed, processor, all associated fans for cooling, modem if so desired, hard drives and the chosen size, whether you desire SCSI, SATA, IDE etc. Your DVD/RW, USB devices, Card Readers, what ever hardware you choose make sure that your case is of a good quality and that the power supply is of enough wattage to support all your hardware installed with enough left over as not to tax and overheat the power supply itself. I would recommend at least an overage of 50-100 watts above my hardware requirements.

Step 2. After you have done some research on your hardware and then made your choices and have obtained your case with the appropriate wattage capacity, you are ready to start your build.

Step 3. Inspect your case for defects, sharp edges, free access capability, verify cable routing and how you want to place such, once the hardware is installed. If all the checks of your case pan out to your satisfaction, then you are ready to proceed with your computer project.

Step 4. Prepare your needed tools for the project, zip ties, adhesive squares, spiral cable wrap, non-magnetic screwdrivers and tips, side cutters for trimming the zip ties once in place.

Step 5. VERY IMPORTANT!!! MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A PROPER WAY TO GROUND YOURSELF “PRIOR” to touching any electronic device, system board, memory, hard drives, etc. ANY COMPONENT that is internal inside the case ‘DO NOT TOUCH IT WITHOUT BEING PROPERLY GROUNDED, “PERIOD. The RULE is IF IN DOUBT “DON’T.”

STEP 6. Find a clean dry place and gather all your hardware and tools together, make sure you do not have any liquids in hand that can be spilled while this process is in operation.

Step 7. GROUND YOURSELF! If you do not have a proper wrist ground strap, careful attention MUST be displayed at the touch of each component. I recommend that you go to a computer vendor and purchase a wrist ground strap, or build your own. I built my own using a simple 2k Ohm resistor in line with just a simple 18g flexible wire with an alligator clip on each end. Since I wear a watch with a medal band, I simply clip one end to my watch band and the other end with the resistor to the computer case itself. MAKE SURE THE RESISTOR IS IN THE CORRECT ORIENTATION. After you have obtained a proper grounding tool, BEFORE YOU TOUCH ANYTHING GROUND-GROUND-GROUND yourself FIRST. This is the MOST IMPORTANT step as it takes only 500 of 1 amp to wipe out any SMT chip, you can generate that kind of static electricity walking across a throw rug in your house.

Step 8. After grounding yourself, now your ready to inspect your system board hardware, specifically the stand off that will support your board within the case. YOU must be grounded before you touch anything, that has to do with your computer build. Once you have determined the stand-offs needed and their orientation within the case, that matches your system boards mounting holes, Inspect the threads inside the standoffs for damage, then place the stand-offs accordingly within the case.

Step 9. Depending on the cards you are placing within your system, and their architecture remove at this time all necessary card blanks located at the rear of the case, in conjunction to the board slots you will be using.

Step 10.Next [make sure you are grounded first] carefully remove your new system board, and inspect it for damage, size up the board with the stand-offs previously placed within the case. Make sure they match. Return the board to the box it came in.

Step 11. Next go to the back of the case and there you will find access holes that match your ports on the back of the system board. This is a removable plate in a quality case. If your system board does not match up with these access holes, you can change the plate with the one usually shipped with all new system boards. Just simply press the plate out from either inside or outside the case, depending on the case manufacturer, and replace the plate with the one shipped with your system board.

Step 12. Next find your processor and processor cooling fan. GROUNDING cannot be expressed enough here, make sure you are grounded before you open the box, actually you should already have the grounding strap previously mentioned attached to the case as stated above. Remove the cooling fan and attach to the heat sink if not already attached. Remove the processor being sure NOT to touch the gold contacts with your hands. Hold it carefully by the edges. DO NOT DROP IT!

Step 13. Carefully place the processor on the system board in the ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) socket and lock it into place, being careful NOT to bend any of the gold post on the processor.

Step 14. With cooling fan and heat sink joined as one unit, place the heat dissipation paste from the small tube that should have come with your processor. Apply a small amount to the top of the actual processor PRIOR to placing the heat/sink cooling fan assembly atop of the processor. DO NOT put too much of this paste, just enough that it will NOT ooze out the sides once the cooling fan/heat sink assy. is in place.

Step 15. Place the cooling fan/heat sink atop the processor and lock it into place.

Step 16. Remove the memory from its package and place it in place. Each end of the memory slots have a latch. Open the latch on each end and make sure the memory is in the right orientation as to match the notch on the memory card with the receiving dimple within the slot itself. Usually one end of the memory will be longer than the other from this notch, align them so as to match. Depending on the board manufacturer the silkscreen will be labeled either DIMM 1-2-3-4 etc. or DIMM 0-1-2-3.  Fill the FIRST AND THIRD slots and snap into place gently and lock both ends of the DIMM latches.

Step 17. Placing the system board into the case. Gently place the system board into the case aligning the ports on the back of the board with the rear plate in the case, make sure you do NOT force at any time. Everything should fit properly with a small amount of spring tension approx 1/16″ . Gently press to the rear and align the mounting holes on the system board, and place your first mounting screw, being careful not to over tighten, just snug it into place. Finish placing the mounting screws in all stand-offs being careful not to over tighten any of the screws, this will avoid damage to the system board.

Step 18. INSPECTION TIME! Now that you have the board in the case, inspect the ports on the rear of the case, make sure there is no binding with the ports coming through the plate when you mounted the system board.

Step 19. Next find your main power supply plug, the widest one on the power supply should be around 24 pins, on the ATX board, and has a specific orientation as well. NOTE it and plug the power supply onto the board connector.

Step 20.  Next we will turn to the ADD in cards that you chose depending on the card architecture, whether PCI, AGP, PCIx16 etc. Align the cards and place them appropriately in the correct slots and make sure they are seated firmly but do not over apply pressure as this could damage the slot.

Step 21. Now you have the system board, the processor, the heat/sink cooling fan, the memory, the add in cards in place.

Step 22. Now we turn to the front panel connections. Depending on the board configuration you will have a listing as follows. HDLED, POWER ON LED, SOUND, FRONT USB connections. Turn to your system board manual and find these connections and place them accordingly.

Step 23. Now you are ready to place your HARD DRIVE, CARD READER, DVD/CD/RW within the case and finish up with your connections to these peripherals.

Step 24. Take your hard drive and make sure it is set to MASTER, by placing the small jumper accordingly to the configuration matte on the hard drive. You will see something like the following CS (Cable Select), PRIMARY MASTER (MA), SL (SECONDARY SLAVE).

Step 25. With the hard drive set, place it within the case taking NOTE to its location that all cables will reach and yet be stress free. Connect the cable either a 40 pin flat, or SATA to either the SATA1 or the primary IDE depending on your hard drive architecture. Connect the power from the power supply.

Step 26. Remove from the box your DVD/RW, CD/RW which ever you choose, and set the jumper to SECONDARY (SLAVE), if IDE, if SATA connect to SATA2. Mount it in place and connect the power from the power supply.

Step 27. INSPECTION 2: At this point inspect all connections for proper orientation, meaning that all cables are plugged in appropriately. DVD/RW, HARD DRIVE, both power and data cables. ALL cards are placed and secured with their appropriate screws, or case latch. MAIN power supply is attached, memory is seated properly, processor is securely in place, all system board screws are snug.

Step 28. DO NOT yet place the cover on the case until you are sure all is well. It is easy to get the front panel connections wrong. You may have to make minor changes here. Adjust the peripherals i.e. CD, DVD, CD/RW, CARD READER, appropriately with the front bezel of the computer, ATTACH from bezel.

Step 29. PLUG IN the main power cord that supplies the power from the wall receptacle to the power supply, make sure that the switch on the power supply is OFF. If you did a good job then TURN ON the switch, and you should have a computer built from scratch. Now comes the hard part, the software.

Step 30. Turn on the front panel switch and the computer should start up, turn off and now it’s time to load the software. but before we do we need to check the BIOS to ensure that the computer sees the hard drive correctly. Windows will not see more than 137 gigs on a hard drive, depending on the size of the hard drive you chose we may have to have special software in order to see the entire drive.

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3 thoughts on “30 Steps to Building Your Own PC the Right Way”

  1. used cisco equipment says:

    interesting post you got there. my criteria in building a computer is budget and where will i use my computer. If it's just for goggling and word document type. I'll just build an ordinary computer.

  2. Snooperz2002 says:

    14th Step, Cross your fingers, and watch for smoke!

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