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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Nov 2013

    Default Re: I want to build a computer, but I have no idea what I'm doing

    About the only ways to fail destructively (unless the parts themselves are already defect I suppose) are either static electricity (low chance but you can get an Anti-Static Wrist Strap if you want) or trying to cram parts in really violently. (Violence is the answer in many situation but not PC building.) Well don't forget thermal paste between cpu and cooler either, but I think that is often pre applied to the cooler now.

  2. - Top - End - #62
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Oct 2016

    Default Re: I want to build a computer, but I have no idea what I'm doing

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    If you have any advice to avoid common missteps, it's always welcome.
    Most parts are on the mainboard, so read the manual of that thing. Don't skip on it in favor of some generic instructions from the internet..

    Take your time to look at things. Check if the slot has "tiny levers". Also most components have a notch or other form factors. (Example: See the Front USB 3.0 port? If your case has an USB 3.0 there is a cable from there that connector that fits here. See the notch on top? The missing pin in the lower left? This is how it works. For all components there is exactly one very obvious way to install them.

    The fact that it seems easy and obvious does not free you from reading the motherboards manual.

    The worst parts of assembling PCs is that there is no force required, except when some force is required to push in PCIe and RAM or fasten the CPU coolers heatsink to the mainboard. You never need so much force that something might break, but you might need a tiny bit more than you are comfortable with after everyone told you no force is required. PCIe and RAM don't slide down into their slots just by setting them on top of it. Give them a push.

    Installing the CPU: if you don't lift the lever, or the CPU is rotated, it will not sink down into the socket (this one needs no force!) but instead sit on top of it. The heatsink (cooler) will then not fit nicely. Never use violence to clamp the heatsink to the motherboard with an improper set CPU, because that would bend or brake the pins on the bottom of the CPU. How to do it right is explained in detail in the motherboards manual with many pictures, so probably read that one. (This is mostly AMD, Intel is more obvious to install) I am not telling this because it can happen in theory. I've seen things ...

    There is a switch on your PSU to cut power. Don't be afraid to use it. Vice versa: if your PC just refuses to start, there is that switch on the PSU ...

    Cut power before you install or remove parts and if you start the PC and notice the CPU fan is not spinning, just kill the power. Nothing bad will happen unless you have a system installed and documents with unsaved changes open. The hardware can deal with sudden power loss. To the best of my knowledge even the most fancy shmanzy board spins all fans at boot to max. They settle to temperature based speeds when the chips that read and evaluate temperature sensors have booted up.

    A good computer sounds like "vroommmmmmmmmmm" a bad computer sounds like "beepbeepbeep" or "krk-krk-krk-krk".

    If the board beeps there is some problem (no RAM found, no GPU found, hardware defect detected, etc). Beep-Codes do not follow a common standard, your motherboards manual has the only list you should trust. I had a board that did an "everything is good beep" when starting. Most annoying thing ever.

    Thermal paste is NOT optional and can not be replaced with american yellow cheese, no matter how good its thermal conductivity is. You don't need a thick layer of it, just enough to fill microscopic imperfections in the cpu heatspreader and coolers heatsink, so you don't have air pockets between those two. Draw an X on the CPU then fasten the heatsink. (Edit: like Ibrinar said: paste might be already on the cooler)

    There is a primary M.2 slot directly wired to the CPU and one or more secondary M.2 slots. If you use an NVMe harddisk, install it in the primary slot. The motherboards manual can tell you more.

    Don't snuggle with cats while working on electronics - ground yourself so you do not unload static electricity into hardware and keep the board and fans hair-free

    One exception to the "no force rule": some cases have covers at the back where the cards go. A good case has blends you can unscrew and keep. Some cheap cases have blends you break out and throw away. A friend brought me a PC with a dead graphics card he got from who knows where. Whole thing was dirty, had thick sleaze of dust in all heatsinks, smelled like an ashtray in a rundown smokers bar, but the worst thing was: that card was two slots wide, one for the ports, the other for the cooler. Like all modern graphic cards it should blow hot air out the back of the case. Should. The previous owner had not removed that breakout bracket. "Bad airflow" does not even start to describe that. The card was a goner, but the rest worked flawlessly after a good cleaning.

    Btw use hard drive encryption and read the boards manual.
    Last edited by Lo'Tek; 2020-09-28 at 03:22 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #63
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Brother Oni's Avatar

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    Default Re: I want to build a computer, but I have no idea what I'm doing

    Quote Originally Posted by Lo'Tek View Post
    If the board beeps there is some problem (no RAM found, no GPU found, hardware defect detected, etc). Beep-Codes do not follow a common standard, your motherboards manual has the only list you should trust. I had a board that did an "everything is good beep" when starting. Most annoying thing ever.
    Some motherboards also use LED colours to indicate their failure mode (my new one does), so I recommend keeping the manual handy, or download it to a second device (my smartphone was used a lot when I was troubleshooting my computer).

    When you're attaching all the cables for the front panel, black is usually negative, so if a button or external LED doesn't work, try flipping the cable 180 degrees on the pins.

    Speaking of attaching cables, make sure you attach the additional power cables to your motherboard/GPU - things have gone a long way from when the PCI slot along or the single motherboard cable was sufficient.

  4. - Top - End - #64
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: I want to build a computer, but I have no idea what I'm doing

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    When you're attaching all the cables for the front panel, black is usually negative, so if a button or external LED doesn't work, try flipping the cable 180 degrees on the pins.
    Note that attaching an LED backwards isn't going to cause any damage, so don't get worried about that--the worst that will happen is that it doesn't function as it should. Front panel buttons will usually work either way round so there's even less to worry about with those.

  5. - Top - End - #65
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Sep 2017

    Default Re: I want to build a computer, but I have no idea what I'm doing

    Greetings, forum-goers! I am typing to you through a brand spankin' shiny new multi-core personal computer!

    ...is what I would be saying had I remembered to buy a wireless chip. So this is coming off of my laptop instead. Guess there's a Staples run in my near future. \_(ツ)_/
    But on the bright side, everything else works, though I'm still waiting on the GPU. And the motherboard has some very pretty LEDs that didn't appear in the picture, so that was an unexpected bonus.

  6. - Top - End - #66
    Troll in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: I want to build a computer, but I have no idea what I'm doing

    Big congratulations!

  7. - Top - End - #67
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Silfir's Avatar

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    Default Re: I want to build a computer, but I have no idea what I'm doing

    There is one other way to fail pretty destructively, but luckily it shouldn't affect first time builders: reusing modular PSU cables. They are not standardized, and using modular cables from another model is a great way to kill your brand spanking new PSU and multiple other parts besides.
    This signature is boring. The stuff I write might not be. Warning: Ponies.

  8. - Top - End - #68
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Deepbluediver's Avatar

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    Default Re: I want to build a computer, but I have no idea what I'm doing

    Well, with the arrival of the motherboard I believe I've got everything now, so the only thing left to do is put it all together, right?

    https://i.imgur.com/lHbF1LJ.jpg

    CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 X, plus cooling fan (which is good because I didn't think to order a separate cooler for the CPU and I was briefly worried about that)
    GPU: AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT [THICC 3] (it has 3 fans instead of just 2 so that means it's better!)
    Motherboard:* AMD X570 UD [Socket AM4]
    RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws V - 16 GB (8x2)
    Hard drive 1: 1 TB SSD (from intel)
    Hard drive 2: 4 TB Mechanical (from WD Blue (also this is probably way more space than I need but it was only a slight increase in price from the 2 TB and now I won't need to worry about messing around with external storage, ever))
    Cooling system: Dark Rock 4 (200W TDP)
    Power Supply: EVGA 750watt Gold (I would have just bought the 650watt version but it was backordered)
    Case: Lancool II (the case is a lot heavier than I was imagining, so was the power-supply actually; after so many years of using laptops I'm not used to computer parts having weight and heft to them)

    *for a bunch of this stuff I don't know which words on the box actually identify the part and which are just tech-specs

    Not shown: a flash-drive with Windows 10 downloaded onto it so I can set up an OS

    Quote Originally Posted by Lo'Tek View Post
    The worst parts of assembling PCs is that there is no force required, except when some force is required to push in PCIe and RAM or fasten the CPU coolers heatsink to the mainboard. You never need so much force that something might break, but you might need a tiny bit more than you are comfortable with after everyone told you no force is required.
    https://media.tenor.com/images/b7f86...b553/tenor.gif
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
    Homebrew Extended Signature!

  9. - Top - End - #69
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ElfPirate

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: I want to build a computer, but I have no idea what I'm doing

    Quote Originally Posted by Silfir View Post
    There is one other way to fail pretty destructively, but luckily it shouldn't affect first time builders: reusing modular PSU cables. They are not standardized, and using modular cables from another model is a great way to kill your brand spanking new PSU and multiple other parts besides.
    I read a thread on a forum where someone's PSU started burning while they were away. Seemed like it was concentrated to the cables. Though I think it was all new stuff. Pretty narly as the PSU itslef should have failsafes for exaclty this type of situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Well, with the arrival of the motherboard I believe I've got everything now, so the only thing left to do is put it all together, right?
    Sure, the only thing...

    Read the manuals and instructions carefully and make sure you do have all needed stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lo'Tek View Post

    The worst parts of assembling PCs is that there is no force required, except when some force is required to push in PCIe and RAM or fasten the CPU coolers heatsink to the mainboard. You never need so much force that something might break, but you might need a tiny bit more than you are comfortable with after everyone told you no force is required. PCIe and RAM don't slide down into their slots just by setting them on top of it. Give them a push.
    Don't I know it. With an old AMD (IIRC) cpu you had to press hard with a screwdriver to tensions metalclasp that connected cpu to motherboard. I slipped with the screwdriver. I didn't own the gfx card yet as it was on backorder and couldn't test the system if I brokesoemthing. Since then I pay for assembly or have friends who knwo their business and loves it doing it for me.

    And I'll echo the RAM... once I inserted the modules and didn't get it to "click" properly. Turns out I had them the wrong way in. This was revealed by the smoke coming out of the case. Luckily only burnt some unimportant parts of silicon on the RAM connectors and one of the pins, but I never noticed any issues.
    Last edited by snowblizz; 2020-10-06 at 03:22 AM.

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