Building first gaming computer

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by link491, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. link491

    link491 GBAtemp Fan

    Mar 17, 2010
    Alright, so i'm at the point in my life when i feel the need to build a new gaming computer, as the laptop i have right now is bad for everything! so i have all the parts, but i just want a few tips on building the machine, so that i don't mess anything up. anybody got anything?
  2. Thanatos Telos

    Thanatos Telos random stuff

    Sep 13, 2009
    United States
    Discharge static electricity, work in a dust-free environment, and make sure everything's plugged in securely.
  3. Quincy

    Quincy Your own personal guitarist :3

    Nov 13, 2008
    Your house, robbing your stuff
    Make sure you install everything correctly.
    If you got multiple DIMMs, make sure you align them correctly, not only to shape but also for dual/triple-channel.
    Make sure you attach your MoBo with ALL the screws and holders supplied.
    Don't try to plug the power cord into your computer while it is open.
    Make sure you follow the anti-ESD rules
    When using SLI/Crossfire, keep in mind how you want to connect the whole damned setup.

    CABLES, CABLES EVERYWHERE. That is what you want to avoid. Keep your workplace ordened and use tie-straps to tie a bunch of cables in the casing together.

    That should do the trick for you :)
  4. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    So you have the parts sitting on your desk and need help in putting them together? Though I can balance things on my knee when I am upside down and fiddle from there if you can get a cleared reasonably sized table to build it on then do so. I will note corners of things and the weights involved can mark softer wood so maybe consider a cloth or soft mat if your making a mark of a nice table will get you in trouble.

    1) Take of any wool and/or nylon you might be wearing- static electricity is a bit of an overrated danger in my opinion (and modern devices are coated pretty well to avoid it) but given it is so easy to avoid you might as well do it. Similarly you will want to ground yourself permanently if you can (not that my wrist strap has appeared when fixing a computer in some time) but just touching a piece of earthed metal (the screws in the side of your plug sockets/light switches are enough) every time if you get up and move around works well enough.

    After that it is usually a matter of putting square peg in square peg hole and there are not really any that you can truly mess up nowadays- most case to motherboard connectors are reasonable foolproof if you follow the manual (POWER LED goes over the POWER LED pins and POWER SW(itch) goes over the POWER SW holes and most case/extension USB/firewire/audio connectors will have a blanked pin or connector block you can only insert the proper way) and the only other one of note is probably if your graphics card needs an additional power connector (for a while any self respecting gaming grade graphics card needed one, today not all do but many still will).
    Cases and components are finished nice enough these days and I have not sliced my hands up on a new machine in some time (old ones continue to be a different matter) but if you do start bleeding do make sure not to get it on the motherboard and components (blood conducts well enough to break things). If you want to bust out a pair of nitrile/vinyl/latex gloves (can you still get latex gloves?) and they will not leave your fingers unable to do fiddly work they will not hurt but do not go out of your way.

    Make sure the fans are pointing in the right direction and on the matter of cooling you may have to add thermal paste- make sure the surface is clean and do not cake the CPU in paste and you should be good (a toolbox style razor blade/stanley knife blade tends to do well for me). That said many coolers will come with a bit of paste that will more or less sort itself out as you attach the heatsink and fan.

    Right direction for fans- this depends upon what you have got and how you want to play it. If you need to find out what way it goes a small strip of paper or some other light thing with a bit of surface area will be sucked in or pushed away as the case may be.
    I consider there to be more or less three schools of thought-
    1) Positive pressure
    2A) Negative pressure negative pressure evacuation
    2B) Negative pressure air flow in a line

    1) You do this if your case is sealed and your air intakes are filtered (depending upon your case that might be trivial or near impossible- if your case is not built for it and you do not have the parts then do not try). The idea is you get more air into the case than out of it which forces the hot air out by any means it can. I tend to opt for one big fan pulling in lots of air and smaller ones removing it (if any are needed) but you can go the other way and have loads of small fans going in with one big exhaust as it works just as well. Bonus to this is you do not have to dust the inside of your computer as often as the other methods might require.
    2A) Kind of like positive pressure but where that strives to have a higher pressure inside the case this opts to forcibly remove hot air by any hole it can get out of. Many modern gaming cases will do this and have fans on the top, on the side, on the front and on the back which all work to do this. It is also the one that most rookie computer builders will stuff up and effectively negate their cooling (the CPU fan will spit air upwards and if you face it with a side case fan pulling air in you can then create a dead zone of air movement). Basically keep air moving at all points and try not to create pockets of dead or negative pressure.
    2B) this is the classic one and my preferred one for most occasions (granted I deal mainly in mid range stuff these days). Air comes in one side, blows across the entire case and takes the hot air out the other. Front to back or back to front I leave up to you (both have their merits).

    You can kind of combine 2A and 2B if you want (the side fans tend to help with graphics cards and power supplies where through case does RAM, CPU and hard drives) or indeed you may even have a CPU heat pipe trying to do similar (not so common for self builds but I see it on vendor machines, especially Dell machines, all the time).
    On cooling still is wires- make sure air can flow around the case and your wires are not blocking things (another relatively common mistake). Assuming you are not trying to stuff a full PSU in a small case you will probably have space for the wires to get out of the way and prevent obstacles to the air flow.

    Fan settings- in all probability you probably do not need fans on max speed and dropping them down a bit will reduce any noise quite nicely.

    Once built go into the BIOS- set the time and boot order to the one of your choice and leave everything else for the time being (there is no real point in overclocking a machine right now and the defaults should be the recommended specs for everything you have). Depending upon what you have there might be some things you can do later but that is for later. Were you upgrading from a motherboard with onboard graphics you might have to go into the BIOS to tell it to use the graphics card over the onboard but if you have a selection of proper gaming grade gear your motherboard will probably not have an onboard graphics option.

    Very short version- it is really hard to screw up building a machine to the point where it will not boot. As far as cooling goes if you go completely cowboy style you can make things run at sub optimal conditions but basic logic will get you pretty much all the way there as well.
  5. link491

    link491 GBAtemp Fan

    Mar 17, 2010
    alright, so I've finished building the computer, and it wont boot! the motherboard is giving me an error message (3 beeps, means ram error) so, is there any way for the error to be caused by the motherboard having defective ram slots? or is my ram defective? i have tried only putting one piece of ram in at a time, in different slots, and nothing works.
  6. injected11

    injected11 Crescent Freshâ„¢

    Jul 17, 2009
    United States
    Double check the motherboard's instruction manual to make sure your mobo supports the brand, size, and type of RAM you're using. Also the RAM should be put into specific RAM slots. The instruction manual will tell you which slots to use. For example, in my recent build, the motherboard had 4 RAM slots. According to the motherboard's manual, when using 2 sticks of RAM, they should be placed into the 2nd and 4th slots. Your mobo may be different.

    I'm a first-time builder myself, so you should wait for some more experienced advice, but this advice can't make things worse, and it may help you out.
  7. Fishaman P

    Fishaman P Speedrunner

    Jan 2, 2010
    United States
    Just made this mistake. Don't attach the mobo to the case with standard screws; use the standoffs to avoid a short!
  8. Sop

    Sop groovy dude lmao

    Nov 14, 2010
    Make sure you tie up the cables so it's nice and pretty.
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