Becoming a member of the PC master race? Thinking of building a new PC? Whatever the situation may be, I can guarantee you’re not as good at building PCs as you think you are.
Today, I’m proving how true that is by explaining tips straight from a master PC builder.
It Starts with Thoughtful Planning of Each Components
Many PC builds are doomed from the moment you start building. Why? You’ve chosen components that are…
-Incompatible with each other
-Cheap and prone to breaking
-Will not fit in your case
Thankfully, even the most amateur PC builder can check compatibility information online. You can look for recommended builds for different budgets. This problem is easy to avoid.
Most Important Things to Check for Compatibility
Nevertheless, some of the things to remember include:
-Check the CPU and RAM compatibility by looking at the manual for your motherboard (which can often be found online long before you order any parts)
-Use an incredibly useful online tool like PC Part Picker, which automatically checks compatibility between your components
-Check wattage requirements (although avoid the wattage calculators used by PSU makers, as they tend to skew calculations to encourage you to buy bigger PSUs). I personally recommend using Power Supply Calculator, which is free and very easy to use. As a good rule of thumb, buy a little more power supply than you need. This will help you avoid minor miscalculations while also future proofing your system in case you want to upgrade.
Use the Right Tools
Some of the essentials for building a PC include:
-Full set of slotted screwdrivers
-Full set of Phillips head screwdrivers
-Buy name brand tools wherever possible, especially with screwdrivers, as cheaper screwdrivers will frequently slip and strip screws or damage your components (and everybody should own a good set of screwdrivers)
-Needle nose pliers (they can help you snag tiny parts without damaging your PC)
-Nut drivers (useful for grabbing screws with hexes on them, and often work better than a screwdriver; many cases use hex screws)
Avoid Static Electricity Buildup
Static electricity is one of those problems that’s overblown by rookie PC builders. Nevertheless, it’s an important problem to avoid.
Some of the things you can do to avoid static electricity buildup include:
-Avoid wearing socks when building your PC, especially on carpet
-Avoid shuffling across your carpet, or wearing thicker clothing prone to static buildup
-Wear an anti-static wrist band
-Use an anti-static floor mat
-Build your PC in your basement, or another spot where you know you’re grounded when you touch the ground
-Plug your PC into an electrical outlet (turned off), which is enough to ground it. Once your PC is plugged in to a grounded electrical outlet, you can touch your power supply or any metallic part of your PC connected to your power supply to dissipate your electricity (like your case).
Personally, I don’t use an anti-static floor mat or wristband. I avoid wearing socks and plug in my PC to dissipate static electricity, touching my case frequently during a build to make sure I’m okay.
If you want to be extra careful, a wristband or floor mat is a good idea.
Cable management is the difference between rookie PC builders and the experts.
Cable management probably isn’t as difficult as you think. You can use things like the following to easily and cheaply manage your cables:
-Pieces of Velcro
Cable management isn’t just an aesthetic thing: it’s also good for airflow.
-Use self-adhesive non-ski foam pads to quiet down buzzing hard drives, which can vibrate against your case and create noise
-Don’t cheap out on thermal paste. Good thermal paste only requires a small amount (aim for about the size of a grain of rice). Good thermal paste will cover all the microscopic gaps between the top of the CPU and the cooler, which means excellent long-term heat management in your system. Arctic Silver 5 is a popular option that isn’t too expensive, but still does an excellent job.
-Be sure to remove old thermal paste prior to applying new thermal paste. If your thermal paste is gooshing out the sides, then you applied too much.
-Make sure you read the motherboard manual in regards to installing RAM. Some motherboards require you to install RAM in the 1st and 3rd slots, for example, which others require you to go 1, 2, 3, 4. If you mess this up, then your PC won’t start.
-Remember that you need a 64 bit OS to use more than 4GB of RAM
By using the tips listed above, you can become a PC building expert in no time at all!