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Intel First Build/Mini FAQ/What I did!

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Hi Everyone,

This mini-FAQ/Build Log is provided for all the people interested in building a new PC from scratch. While different PCs are made for different reasons, the assembly itself can be done with relatively minor effort. This was my first PC build from scratch...I had installed numerous cards, drives, and monitors on other systems but never took the plunge and did this myself.

So lets get started!!!!!

1. Doing Your Research

Research is probably your biggest and most important area when building a PC. There are many things to consider such as: Primary use, gaming, video editing, networking, internet use, storage capacity, speed, cooling, space, noise, overclocking.....and the list goes on. There are too many things to list here but utilizing a good forum or two to solicit information and advice goes a long way. This website and the individuals that make it up have been INVALUABLE in the successfull completion of this PC. Google and YouTube are your friends as well!

2. Budget

As with anything in life, things come with some sort of a "cost" involved...whether it be time, money, or effort. When building the PC the monetary aspects are probably first and foremost. Since you have researched what you would like your PC to do, you will now have to figure out just how much you are willing to spend! If you are like myself, budget tends to get larger as you discover more things.....LOL! Determine if you really need the cutting edge or if "last year's" technology may suit your needs. This is not an easy decision but again, ask around to find out what you will need vs your budget. Depending upon where you live you may want to try out a Brick and Mortar store vs online. There are pros/cons of each but in my build it was easier to use online vendors. The selection was much more varied and there was no sales tax. Shipping was inevitable but by combining many items at once and looking for items with free shipping my total shipping costs were about $40.00. That is for EVERYTHING...monitor, case, CPU, everything else! I had great success with Provantage for the case, TankGuys for the CPU, and NewEgg for everything else! DON'T FORGET TO FILL OUT YOUR MAIL IN REBATES if your products have them.

3. Prepping your build

When all your goodies arrive, be sure to inspect your packaging. Have a digital camera ready to take pictures of your items in case there was damage. It may help a claim with the shipper. Better safe than sorry. Inventory everything to ensure you have what you need! Here is a brief list of what I needed:

Case
MOBO
RAM
CPU
Heatsink/fan (aftermarket for CPU)
Bracket for heatsink
HDDs
DVD
Graphics Card
Operating System
Monitor
Cable for monitor
Cooling Fans
Thermal Paste
Anti Static Wristband
Latex Gloves (for thermal paste application)
Lint Free Cloth
Qtips
Rubbing Alcohol
Screwdrivers
Flashlight
Canned Air (Dustoff)

Make sure you have a large area to work in. Not saying you couldn't build a PC in your bathroom, however, having a lot of space really helps. Try to build your PC in a well lighted area and one that has little static if possible. I wouldn't personally build my computer on a shag carpet but to each his own....LOL.

Also make sure you have the TIME to build your computer. Some folks can assemble one of these puppies in minutes whereas others take some time. I started installing my case fans the night prior and then built the PC in the afternoon/evening of the next day.

Having access to another computer that can reach out and get info from the web was a neccessity in my case. I like pictures and videos. This is where this website and YouTube came in handy. I looked up my parts and found videos of the installation of them on various builds. The Xigmatec S1283 cooler was a good example of this on YouTube. Also there are some good videos on applying thermal paste (I used Arctic Silver 5).

<<<Continued Below>>>
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
4. The Assembly Process

Like I said before, I started by laying out everything that I would need:


I then took out the case and PSU and took a peek at just how I would lay the PSU into the Case. Some cases have the PSU on the top and others, like my CM690, has them on the bottom. I chose a PSU that would have enough power to run my components and then some. You have an option of spending a few more dollars and going with a modular PSU. These enable you to use only the cables that you need. As you will see below, there are MORE than enough cables with the Corsair 750TX:

KEEP IN MIND CABLE PLACEMENT!

Next, I installed the fans for cooling at the top, bottom and sides of the case. I went with 120mm fans throughout. I also elected to go with middle speed fans (Kaze Juni Slipstreams) as they were much less noisy than the others based upon data from NewEgg and other places.


Once done I moved the case and equipment to the kitchen table. More space to work and a bit more light! You should spend some time determining where you want to place your cabling. You "could" just cram it all in the front but that would defeat the purpose of having good airflow for cooling within the case...no number of fans will correct for blocked airflow. I determined that I would run the cables through the hole on the MOBO tray and "hide" them between that and the removeable side panel. I suggest NOT disregarding planning your cable placement. It is a pain in the butt to move everything once installed.


As illlustrated below it can be a TIGHT FIT!


When all is said and done I "wiggled" the PSU into the space designed for it and screwed it in!


Next step for me was to prep the MOBO. Ensure you are grounded while touching sensitive components. I have heard too many times about people frying their equipment by static discharge! I used an anti-static wristband which is a $3.00 investment well spent IMO. I also made sure that the MOBO was on the antistatic bag and the foam provided in the box.


CPU cooling!!!! I elected to go with the Xigmatek S1283 120mm Fan CPU cooler. It is BIG so before you purchase make sure it will go in your case! (Fits just fine in my CM690 but I could not put one side fan in due to clearance). I also elected to go with the bottom bracket as I am not a big fan of "push pins". You can see the cooler below:


I then mounted the bracket to the bottom of the MOBO, taking care to align the holes properly.


The next step was to remove the protective CPU cover on the MOBO. Pull up on the little lever and take the cap off. SAVE THIS FOR RMA! I save everything just in case! You dont want to have those tiny pins bend on you! Also inspect to see that they are all intact and not bent.

Unbox your CPU and inspect it as well. You will have to remove the plastic cover on that too. I suggest handling it by the corners so that you don't get oils on the surface. Note the little alignment cutouts AND the triangle that designates how you should drop the CPU into the MOBO slot. It should fit right in....nice and flat and that the cutouts on the chip fit in the alignment tabs.


Once the chip is in just put the metal cover back on...its hinged...and replace the lever to the closed position. It will take just a little bit of pressure to do this. DO NOT OVERLY FORCE IT! If you require too much pressure it is likely that you put the chip in wrong...not sure how you could do that but it might happen.


At this point, you will need to apply thermal paste to your CPU top. There are some good videos on YouTube on how to apply. I used a latex glove to keep the paste off my fingers (Arctic Silver 5). Just put a little drop the size of a grain of rice and spread it evenly (paper thin) on the CPU. I am sure there are other methods of doing this but I elected to go this route. If you get a little on the metal mobo cover you can remove it with a Qtip but be careful not to leave any "hairs" in your CPU....LOL!


Once you have applied the thermal paste, you will need to attach your cooler. I elected to go with a bigger cooler for Overclocking. There are videos out there for this as well! Gotta love YouTube! I cleaned the bottom of the cooler with Isopropyl Alcohol and a lint free cloth. Then carefully align the screws with the holes in the MOBO. I tightened it down a few turns on each screw using a criss-cross pattern so that one side would not be overly tightened. Continue until it is tight...you don't want this puppy loose! Also don't forget to plug in your CPU fan connector.


I then installed the RAM. Pretty simple. Just read the MOBO manual and insert your sticks. I did all of this with the MOBO outside of the case for ease of access.

<<<Continued>>>
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Installing the MOBO to the case. My case came with offsets to keep the MOBO off of the MOBO tray. Just install them into the case and then carefully place your MOBO on top of them....all the while making sure that the offsets align with the holes on the MOBO. Then just install the screws! REMEMBER THE STATIC BAND! NOTE: Some people will power their board up outside of the case to make sure it is working. To be honest, I skipped this step but in retrospect I probably should have done this to make sure it was all working. MOBO installed:


At this point I installed the DVD and HDD, taking note of where the cables would go from my pre-planning. My setup was exclusively SATA so the cabling was a snap!

Now if you took the time to do some pre-planning on cable management your cables should be placed nearby the areas on the MOBO that require power. It was a tight fit for my CPU power cable but the pre-planning paid off! I connected power to the HDD and DVD now as well.



Now that all of my cabling has been hooked up, I placed in my Graphics Card. I saved this step for last because the Sapphire HD4850X2 is a beast at almost a FOOT long! Others may suggest putting this in earlier but it was easier for me to do it this way. It took a 6-pin and 8-pin connector and since I had already run my power cabling they were readily accessible.

OK.....so everything is done! Well not quite....I made sure that there were no wires that could hit a fan or any screws (junk) in the case. I then moved the PC to its home on my desk and hooked up the DVI cable to my monitor. Then the moment of truth.....pushing the power button! (Don't forget to plug in your keyboard/mouse/power cable as I did...LOL). And Voila! The result:


Working great! At this point the computer showed the startup screen and I entered into the BIOS. After I set the time, I started the Vista Ultimate 64bit CD and was off to the races!


I certainly hope this helps a few folks out. It was my first computer build and enjoyed this 100%. The folks here at Overclock.net were wonderful! I can't say enough about everyone that has helped out from the initial planning stages to the tweaking of settings getting ready for overclocking! Make sure you do the research prior to purchasing and assembling your computer and READ the instructions provided with your parts....especially your MOBO manual! NOTE: I am sure that there are others who would do things differently than I have. This is how "I" elected to go through my build and has served me well......

Regards,

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks to everyone that helped me...for those interested on some of the research I did you can see that in this link.....HERE!

Thanks for taking a peak FreeBeer!
 

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This was a great FAQ. It would definitely help out any new system builder. You seemed to have planned it out very well, and executed it just as well.

I think my only problem is... I get too excited and forget to take pictures
 

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Quote:


Originally Posted by Bonzâ„¢
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This was a great FAQ. It would definitely help out any new system builder. You seemed to have planned it out very well, and executed it just as well.

I think my only problem is... I get too excited and forget to take pictures



LOL....I took a long time deciding on the cable management and making sure it was planned out properly so that I didn't get into a bind.

I got excited a bit as well and forgot to take some pics of the mobo spacer step and the HDD/DVD step but those are pretty easy things.

Thank God for Photobucket and Youtube....and of course here!!!!
 

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I'm pretty sure the fan sucks in rather than blowing out.

I don't think it matters, more of personal preference. I think if it was switched he'd have more trouble running the cables behind and to the right lengths.

Not to mention there is a slight gap underneath.
 

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That's amazing - especially considering you just did your first build (clumsy sentence :s)
+ rep to you, sir!
I enjoyed just looking at the pictures....I love seeing stuff come together so nicely


~Error
 

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Quote:


Originally Posted by freebeer
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Yea, I do understand it's good for the cables. I just don't know whether that fan is sucking, or blowing.

Fans in that style of PSU pull to exhaust out the back of the case, and theres a fan hole (Mesh) right under it, so the PSU pulls from outside the case essentially.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks Folks....

Free Beer, the fan sucks in from the vent holes at the bottom of the case and blows it out the back. Nice setup as cool air comes in the bottom and then blows the heated air from the PSU out to the free world!

Glad that this thread is helping some folks out! Sometimes pictures really convey the point across whereas words sometimes have trouble.

 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Guttboy View Post
Thanks Folks....

Free Beer, the fan sucks in from the vent holes at the bottom of the case and blows it out the back. Nice setup as cool air comes in the bottom and then blows the heated air from the PSU out to the free world!

Glad that this thread is helping some folks out! Sometimes pictures really convey the point across whereas words sometimes have trouble.


Oh, I see. Thanks again for the help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi Everyone,

Well the Sapphire 4850X2 2Gb bit the dust a couple of days ago and just got the replacement in today. I elected to NOT go with another one. I was not very impressed with the build quality (card drooped) and I had artifacting and some BSOD issues with it. After going through numerous driver changes and cleanings....not to mention a fresh Vista install, I ruled out everything except for the card itself.

No worries though, NewEgg came through in a pinch and I did an RMA for a refund. They waived the restocking fee and I had them overnight an EVGA GTX260 to me! That arrived today and is running like a champ! I am very happy at how easily NewEgg was to deal with throughout the process...since it was my first build, this was my first ever RMA.

The new EVGA GTX260 is a very nice card with much higher quality in the build department. It just felt very solid and put together well as opposed to the 4850X2. Not disappointed with my new choice whatsoever.

Once I got the rig running initially I got into the Folding At Home arena. Its for a worthy cause and if you can spare a few dollars for an increase in your power bill then I feel it is worth it. Anyhow, the new GTX260 is folding much better than my RMA'd card and I really like the Precision tuner that comes with the card.

So whats next????? Well....tomorrow I will start overclocking the CPU. After I get used to it and more intimate with the settings in the BIOS, I will do a bit of tweaking with the GPU. Should be fun!

Take care!

 

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just as a heads up, HDT coolers like your S1283 will benefit with better temps if you put a thin line down each of the heatpipes, instead of spreading the paste on the CPU.

the way HDT coolers are designed, any excess TIM will go into the cracks between the heatpipes and the aluminium base. this ensures that only the necessary amount of TIM is used on the pipes, therefore getting better temps (remember less is more in most cases with TIM!)

hope i enlightened you some
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks Muncha,

So far so good on my temps right now. If it gets to be a problem I will do just as you suggested! Thanks for the insight!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
UPDATE:

I added an extra 120mm fan to the front of the case. Since I only have one optical drive there was ample space to put one where the other optical drives would go. I removed all the metal cutouts except for the one directly below my DVD burner. I then screwed one of the fan screws through the exisiting cut out to hold the fan in place. This works quite well and provides a straight shot from the front---->through the empty optical bays----->to the Xigmatek cooler----->to the rear case exhaust fan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
She finally bit the dust!

Just an update from the past........too many moves and technology going WAY faster than I could keep up with.......

NEXT STEP.......a new build coming in the next few weeks.......

smile.gif
 
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