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NavySnipers

Navy's list of things to think about for new PC builders.

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I am a first time PC builder, and when I built my system I made several oversights that I thought I'd share here. Everything works great, but I'm making this list so other first time builders can be mindful of it.

 

 

 

1. Go with a modular PSU especially if your case has a window. My case does not have a window, but it was still a hassle to deal with all the cables at once. With a modular PSU you have the luxury of routing one cable at a time without having to move all the others out of the way. In addition, there's two cables I'm not using at all (peripheral power and a SATA strand) that were a bit of a hassle to tuck away.

 

2. Make sure you install your motherboard into your I/O shield properly. I thought I did because it just went in, but once I installed all the hardware, booted up, and installed windows, I discovered that I inadvertently failed to make sure that my mobo was seated in the I/O shield properly and my LAN port was blocked by it. We got the pliers to bend it out and everything worked, but it was still a nuisance.

 

3. If you're using an SSD (or a 2.5" HDD), it's not a bad idea to make sure that you have a (good) place to put it in your case. For some reason kingstons 2.5" to 3.5" adapter tray was too small to mount to my 3.5" hard drive bays, so I had to install it to the external 3.5" bay where it did fit. It wasn't a problem, but the SATA power cable was difficult to cram in.

 

4. This is something I haven't done yet but will most likely be a problem for me in the future. Go with low profile RAM or just two sticks if you're going to be mounting a large heatsink for OC'ing. I have 4 G.Skill Ripjaws modules that I'm fairly certain will inhibit me from mounting a fan on the left side of my CPU.

 

5. Make sure you press the front panel power button before freaking out that nothing booted when you flipped the PSU switch. hnngg

 

6. UEFI bios best bios. I didn't really even need to do anything except make sure the boot priority was correct.

 

 

Feel free to add your tips below.

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5. Make sure you press the front panel power button before freaking out that nothing booted when you flipped the PSU switch. hnngg

 

in addition to this, make sure the PSU switch is in the "on" position if you press the power button and it doesn't boot.

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Yeah I went modular, glad I did! I have a small case, and being able to only use what I needed was a huge help. Also, make sure you don't accidently unplug any case fans and then freak out about why everything is running hot >.>

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1. Install a SD card reader.  It's like the ZIP drive 10 years ago, except useful.

2. Put case fans in the bottom, pointing in.  Heat gets pushed out the top, and overpressure means less dust buildup.

3. Get a case with audio ports on the front.  Because fuck wireless.  Also, USB 3.0 and eSATA may be a good idea.

 

Edit:

4. If you are applying heat sink compound, don't overdo it.  You want a very thin coat.  This site has example photos.

 

Edit 2:

5. Don't accidently power up the motherboard when the CPU is installed and the CPU cooler isn't.  You'll let the magic smoke out and rage like you have never raged before...

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Been building for awhile but I can add a few:

 

  • If your power supply has a small switch on the back to select voltage be sure it's correctly set for what your country uses before plugging it in and turning things on.
  • It's usually easier to install your CPU and memory before installing the motherboard in the case.  In some cases you may want to install the CPU cooler here as well, just be sure to support it when installing the mobo if you do (don't let it put unnecessary stress on the mobo).
  • When installing the CPU be extra careful not to bend any pins, if everything is lined up right it should slide into the socket pretty easily.  If it's not going in take another look and make sure you have it oriented the right way.
  • Don't cheap out on the power supply, get a good quality PSU that's actually capable of supplying the power it claims it does.
  • You don't need as much thermal paste as you probably think you do, slathering it on like cream cheese on a bagel will not give the best results.
  • A dollar or two worth of velcro cable ties will make tidying up the cables much easier.

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If you just want to use it for gaming or work or "whatever", buy an NVIDIA card. They are more power for the money than Radeon cards.

Radeon cards are more expensive because they are being used to mine cryptocurrencies. They are 5 to 10x faster at mining than NVIDIA cards. Because of this there is a shortage of Radeon cards available. They literally can't keep them on the shelf at my local Fryes. (and thus the price has been going up up up.)

 

 

If you do want to mine with an NVIDIA card you can. Just download cudaminer. It gets better hash rates from NVIDIA. They are still stupid slow though. But you can mine Dogecoins at least. (Threw that it to make Navy happy.)

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in addition to this, make sure the PSU switch is in the "on" position if you press the power button and it doesn't boot.

 

 

This. I've done that every time I get a new psu/rebuild 

 

This. Again. Many a mini-heart attack has been had after opening up for an upgrade/cleaning.

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Been building for awhile but I can add a few:

 

  • When installing the CPU be extra careful not to bend any pins, if everything is lined up right it should slide into the socket pretty easily.  If it's not going in take another look and make sure you have it oriented the right way.

 

 

 

This. Try to keep it as level as possible when installing. It slipped out of my fingers and one corner fell in first and got stuck between the pins and the wall of the socket. Miraculously nothing was bent and everything works perfectly.

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Make sure you have plenty of cooling so you can overclock it to be able to run Tanks at 20 FPS.

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Buy the case for the computer you plan to have, meaning leave room for the second gpu, water cooling reservoir, whatever.  I have a stack of empty cases in my basement, each a little bit bigger than the previous, and a HAFX at my desk.

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The joys of installing my cooler only to find it blocked both my GPU and RAM. Figure this stuff out before. 

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If you just want to use it for gaming or work or "whatever", buy an NVIDIA card. They are more power for the money than Radeon cards.

Radeon cards are more expensive because they are being used to mine cryptocurrencies. They are 5 to 10x faster at mining than NVIDIA cards. Because of this there is a shortage of Radeon cards available. They literally can't keep them on the shelf at my local Fryes. (and thus the price has been going up up up.)

 

 

If you do want to mine with an NVIDIA card you can. Just download cudaminer. It gets better hash rates from NVIDIA. They are still stupid slow though. But you can mine Dogecoins at least. (Threw that it to make Navy happy.)

 

Prices constantly change and it depends on your region (I can buy R9 290s for less then a GTX 780). A lot of the Radeons offer good value.

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Here's my advice concerning thermal paste application, which goes against the link Getsome posted:

 

Don't spread it. Let the weight and pressure of the heatsink spread it, as it will spread it very evenly and will prevent air bubbles from forming and getting trapped between the chip and the heatsink.

 

Also, when screwing in the heatsink / water block, do it in a cross pattern to ensure that the paste gets spread evenly. Also, don't wrench it on one side, then go to the others. Apply a little pressure to one side, go to the one diagonal to it, apply a little pressure, go to the next... and so on. Repeat until all the screws are tight.

 

---

 

Can't stress this enough: For all that is good and holy, get rid of any static buildup in your body before manhandling sensitive electronics. If you don't have an anti-static wristband, just touch the metal on your case and it will discharge any static to it.

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I have been working on computers for more than 20 years.  I have never worn a wrist strap.  I have never, to the best of my knowledge, fried anything.  Touch the side of the case.

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Get a good case? It doesn't have to have windows and all that fancy shit, it just needs to be well built, well ventilated and easy to open/close.


I have been working on computers for more than 20 years.  I have never worn a wrist strap.  I have never, to the best of my knowledge, fried anything.  Touch the side of the case.

 

And avoid carpeting?

 

 

On the subject of bent pins, I once managed to break a pin back when I was building my university PC. The funny thing was, I had no idea I'd done it because the computer started and seemed to work okay crashed part-way through the Windows XP install (This was in 2002). After much back and forth with the computer shop the bent pin was eventually discovered. What a headache...

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Prices constantly change and it depends on your region (I can buy R9 290s for less then a GTX 780). A lot of the Radeons offer good value.

 

 

I got a pretty sweet deal on m GPU. Radeon HD7870 OC edition normally $280 on amazon for $200 (discounted $80 off). 

 

I also had $100 in gift cards so I only really payed $100 for a $280 card. Runs tanks between 70-140 fps non-vsynced on a 1280x1024 monitor.

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I've not built my computer yet but...

 

1.  Ram comes in 1300-1600-1866-2200-2400-3000 whatevs...but to go past 1600 or 1866 you have to mess with the bios to benefit from the extra money you spent to use the faster stuff.  So I have read.

 

2.  Intel>AMD, amd may be able to make decent stuff, but all they really do is copy whatever Intel does...and my brother works for Intel soo.

 

3.  Forget abut watercooling, air cooled systems are just as good from what I have read and are much less likely to pee on your electronics. (unless your using liquid nitrogen/helium for OC'ing who cares)

 

4.  Read read read read...read reviews, do your own research...I have a bunch of posts on here asking questions, but I have read a TON all over the web to draw my own final conclusions.

 

5.  There's no such thing as future proofing...no matter how much money you spend you are already 6 months behind tech development      

the day it drops.

 

6.  When building your system try to touch as few areas as possible, your hands have oils on them that are bad for electronics.

 

7.  Youtube is your friend, when building your system make sure you have a pc connected to the internet near where you are building.  If you get stuck there WILL BE a video on it trust me lol...

 

So I am going to follow all my own advice when I get the money to order my components. 

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3.  Forget abut watercooling, air cooled systems are just as good from what I have read and are much less likely to pee on your electronics. (unless your using liquid nitrogen/helium for OC'ing who cares)

 

Water cooling has a much better performance than air cooling, and if you know what you're doing, the chance of leaks is null. Every good water cooling system will use compression fittings, and have a 48-hour leak test with the system turned off. Both ensure there will be no chance of leaks.

 

Air cooling is good, but water cooling has better performance, and can be expanded to your graphics cards, and if you wanna throw money away for looks, you can expand your loop with RAM and HDD water blocks.

 

Now, if you just wanna build a computer to play your games and stuff, there's really no reason to go all in and invest in a water cooling system. However if you're serious about performance and you wanna overclock the shit out of everything you own, then water cooling is the way to go. Also, water cooling looks sexy as hell.

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3.  Forget abut watercooling, air cooled systems are just as good from what I have read and are much less likely to pee on your electronics. (unless your using liquid nitrogen/helium for OC'ing who cares)

 

This is really only true when referring to the self contained liquid coolers (like the Corsair Hydro series) which (at the higher end) often perform fairly close to the high end air coolers (the advantage to them in this case is that the high end air coolers are often huge and interfere with RAM slots on many motherboards).  A well planned custom loop like Neverwish is referring to will be capable of much more.  Reputable sites should be making that qualification before saying something like that but not all do.

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Water cooling has a much better performance than air cooling, and if you know what you're doing, the chance of leaks is null. Every good water cooling system will use compression fittings, and have a 48-hour leak test with the system turned off. Both ensure there will be no chance of leaks.

 

Air cooling is good, but water cooling has better performance, and can be expanded to your graphics cards, and if you wanna throw money away for looks, you can expand your loop with RAM and HDD water blocks.

 

Now, if you just wanna build a computer to play your games and stuff, there's really no reason to go all in and invest in a water cooling system. However if you're serious about performance and you wanna overclock the shit out of everything you own, then water cooling is the way to go. Also, water cooling looks sexy as hell.

 

I wouldnt say the chance is "null". Sure its very low, but there is always a chance. And while it certainly performs and looks good the price is simply too much when you consider CPU/GPUs have been getting more and more economical (I mean a real water cooling loop and not those Corsair,Antec etc. ones).

 

It really is for extreme systems where the budged is set pretty high.

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Get a good case? It doesn't have to have windows and all that fancy shit, it just needs to be well built, well ventilated and easy to open/close.

 

 

Back when I was the "computer guy" (CNC programmer I guess was the same thing to the people I worked with) I had at least three "new computer won't run" that were basically shake-n-bake builds with shitty cases.  The mounting plates for the motherboards were "oil canning"/bending under the miniscule mounting screw tension and shorting the motherboard.

 

The fix was "buy a better case or I charge $60.00+labor to fit a sheet of Kapton to the mounting tray".

 

I also got cut more dealing with shitty cases than I did dealing with the mills, lathes bandsaws, etc in my "normal" job.

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Here's my advice concerning thermal paste application, which goes against the link Getsome posted:

 

....ok. 

 

Unicum strats for thermal paste found here: http://www.arcticsilver.com/methods.html

 

My point was not to use the entire tube of lube in one go.  You'll never get off that way.  Also, don't eat it.

 

Best computer building beer: Newcastle Brown Ale

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....ok. 

 

Unicum strats for thermal paste found here: http://www.arcticsilver.com/methods.html

 

My point was not to use the entire tube of lube in one go.  You'll never get off that way.  Also, don't eat it.

 

Best computer building beer: Newcastle Brown Ale

 

Of course, my only point was against spreading the thermal paste. According to the link, it's ony a suggested technique for laptop CPU's, for everything else they recommend the vertical line method (best method).

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