So, all your parts have arrived: motherboard, graphic card, hard drive(s), computer memory, processor, fan(s) and the case. You are now ready to join the Glorious PC Master Race. But where do you start? What are the tips and tricks that will make building your first computer easier? There are a few things that can be taken into consideration before your new machine is ready to use. All of these have been learned the hard way and, if followed, should minimise the hassle of your first build.
- Get rid of static electricity. Before you start handling any electronics ground yourself by touching something made of metal, it can be a door handle, stove/fridge or any other large piece of unpainted metal. If you don’t, the static electricity can damage sensitive parts, like the computer memory (RAM). It’s also a good idea to do this throughout the assembly process, just to make sure. Avoid thick carpets as any movement may build up a charge. If you want to go that route, there are also static-preventing wristbands available.
- Make sure you have all parts readily available, including the tools needed (screwdrivers and pliers for example). Organise the parts so that you quickly can get the next item needed. Make sure you have the right amount (and size!) of screws for each piece of hardware.
- Make a plan for the computer cabinet. Where will the cables go? Are there parts that will block other parts? If so, which order should you put in the components? Will the airflow be correct? Check the arrows on the fans so that they are put in the correct direction. A little visualisation can go a long way to a smooth assembly.
- Assemble parts outside of the case first. This is so that you can make a quick test before everything is ready. It’s rare, but sometimes parts are faulty from the factory and it will save you a lot of time and frustration to find this out before everything is put in the case. Put memory (RAM), graphic card (if applicable), and CPU on the motherboard. Then attach the CPU cooler and power supply. Finally, plug in a monitor and turn the computer on. If you get as far as the BIOS it’s usually safe to say that everything is working as it should be. Quick tip: The box for the motherboard is usually a good workbench for this.
- Save all boxes and bags. This may sound unnecessary, but it’s good practice to save all the boxes and bags for the future – for warranty purposes (if you need to send a part back due to it not working correctly), or if you upgrade later on and want to save the old components as spare parts (it’s always good to have a few extra cables for example). Plus, the motherboard and graphic card box are convenient ways to store leftover parts and cables.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it may help save you a headache while building your first computer. Feel free to leave your own tips and trick in the comments below!