1st build

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1st build

Postby Southwind25 » Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:27 pm

What is the very first thing to do when your components arrive for your first build?
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Postby evasive » Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:52 pm

Check if everything is there in an undamaged condition.

Case
Power supply
Motherboard
CPU
Memory
Harddisk
CD/DVD drive

cables

maybe a video card if not onboard video
floppy drive
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Postby DAVE1 » Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:55 pm

also clear the cmos of the motherboard and read the manuals
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Postby Tulatin » Wed Jan 18, 2006 1:27 pm

Usually it's advisable to take everything and set up in a "dry dock" manner, that is, with the motherboard on it's anti-static foam on the box, with cards and drives hooked up, so that troubleshooting any faulty components can be done now rather than later. Install windows on this caseless machine, and provided it all works, transplant into your enclosure of choice :D
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Postby scottla » Wed Jan 18, 2006 2:51 pm

Get some beer.
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Postby EmilyB » Wed Jan 18, 2006 2:59 pm

Preparing to build your PC
Before starting to build your new PC, there are a number of things you need to do, such that work can proceed smoothly without too much interruption.

Work Area
Find a large, clean, well-lit work surface which has two or more mains power outlets nearby (RCD protected, if possible.) You will need space for your monitor, keyboard and mouse and to lay your case on its side, such that you can fit the components etc.

Tools
Collect together the necessary tools nearby, such that they are close to hand. It is advisable at this stage to set up your anti-static precautions.

Equipment
Make a collection of all your new components (still in their packaging) and place them nearby, ready for use.

Set Up
Unwrap and carefully place your monitor (on its stand) on the work surface, such that you can clearly view the screen. Be careful when lifting monitors as they can be extremely heavy. Ask someone for help if necessary.

Retrieve the power and signal (if supplied loosely) cables from the packaging and fit them to the monitor as instructed by its manual. Do the same with the keyboard, mouse and speakers (if you have them) such that they are ready to be used later on.

Do not connect any devices to the mains power outlet yet.

Preparing the PC Case
Unpack the PC case and place it right way up on the work surface (if it does not have a PSU already fitted, unpack your separate PSU and place it carefully on the work surface.) Find the mains cable for the PSU, but do not plug it in just yet.

Opening the Case
Check your case instructions to determine how to remove the outer casing (or in some styles, side cover panel). This should give you clear access to the inside such that you can fit all your new equipment. Once this is done, carefully lay the case on its side, so that the opening faces up.

Fitting the PSU (if necessary)
You will notice at the rear of the case there will be a large hole (at the top in most cases). You will need to install the PSU, such that the fan outlet and power socket on the PSU will face outward and the power connectors all hang loosely inside the case.
It is also important to make sure that any 'ventilation openings' on the PSU case itself, face toward the inside of the PC case. The PSU has a secondary function: to draw hot air out of the PC case and blow it out of the back.

Fitting Kit screws
The fittings kit that should be supplied with the case, will have a number of items in it (most of which will be explained by the case instructions) but it is important to be aware of two types of screws that are used in PC building:
Coarse-Threaded Screw
Count the 'ridges' down the stem of the screw, coarse-threaded screws will have around four or five turns
Fine-Threaded Screw
Tricky to count, but will have around ten or eleven turns and is slightly smaller.
It is important to familiarise yourself with this difference, as equipment can be damaged if the incorrect type of screw is used. If it does not screw in easily, it may be the wrong kind.

PC Case Fitting Kit
Other parts in the fitting kit supplied with the PC Case may include the following:
Spacers/Standoffs
These will prevent the back of the motherboard coming into contact with the metal mounting plate inside the PC Case.
Configuration Jumpers
Small plastic caps that can be placed across two pins to set hardware options.
Fan Screws
Larger in diameter and having a more coarse thread than the standard screws, these are used to attach fans to the PC Case.

Fitting the Motherboard
With the PC Case ready, collect together the 'fixings' kit and follow these steps.

Unpack the Motherboard. You will notice that it is packaged in a special bag (usually black or silver in colour.) This is a special anti-static bag. Try to keep the motherboard inside this bag until it is needed.

A good quality motherboard will be supplied with a User Manual, driver disk/CD and all the cables you will need to configure your PC, including a Floppy Drive cable, one or more IDE cables and where supported, one or more Serial-ATA cables. In addition, you should also receive an IO Shield which can be fitted into the PC Case to match the connectors on the motherboard.

You will notice, in various places on the motherboard, there are small holes with bare metal 'rings' around them. These can be used to fix the motherboard to the inside of the PC Case.

Find the corresponding points inside the case and fit the spacers/standoffs from the fitting kit as appropriate to allow you to screw the motherboard into place. The standoffs should raise the motherboard around half an inch off the metal mounting plate, preventing a short-circuit.

Look closely at the Motherboard. You will notice a collection of coloured 'blocks' along the top right edge. These are the connectors for the Keyboard, Mouse, USB etc. The Motherboard should always be fitted such that these are accessible to the rear of the case.

Fitting PCI/AGP/PCI-Express Adapter Cards
Now that the Motherboard is fitted, we can proceed to install the adapter cards. Note: If your motherboard has video and/or sound adapters built in, you may skip this step as necessary.

You will notice at the back of the PC Case, there are a number of thin strips of metal held in by a screw. These are Blanking Plates. In order to fit adapter cards (video / sound cards etc.) it is necessary to remove these plates as necessary. At this stage, it is wise to remove all of them, and store them nearby.

On the Motherboard itself you will see a number of plastic 'slots' with very small metal pins inside.

Unpack your adapter card taking extra care to handle it by the edges and not touching any of the components. You will notice that it has a plate at one end very similar to the blanking plates as discussed earlier.

It should be possible to gently push the card into the matching slot, such that the plate on the card fits into one of the blanking plate holes at the back of the PC Case. You can then use the original screw that held in the blanking plate to secure the card to the case.

Repeat this procedure as necessary with any other adapter cards you may have, and complete the task by refitting blanking plates in any holes that are unoccupied by cards.

Fitting the CPU
By now you will have successfully fitted your motherboard and installed your Adapter Cards. The Processor and Memory can now be installed as follows.

Unpack the CPU (Central Processing Unit). Make sure at this stage that you have your anti-static measures in place and even briefly make contact with both hands on the metal of the case to make sure. Try not to touch any exposed metal pins or components.

'Socket' type CPU and connector
Note the darker, 'core' area on the CPU, where the heat is generated.

If you take a look at both the CPU pins and the holes in the socket you will see that in one or more corner there are some missing pins. This is the 'keying' method for this type of CPU.

Gently lift the free end of the 'arm' on the edge on the socket until it stands upright. Align the 'missing CPU pins' with the 'missing socket holes' and carefully drop the CPU into the socket.

Be very careful not to bend any of the CPU pins. They are extremely delicate, and should one be moved out of alignment, it will not be possible to fit the CPU.

Check that the CPU sits perfectly flat onto the socket and is not raised at any corner. Lower the arm again to return it to its original position. The socket will grip the CPU pins and lock it in place.

Fitting the RAM
Unpack the RAM (Random Access Memory). Make sure at this stage that you have your anti-static measures in place and even briefly make contact with both hands on the metal of the case to make sure.
A DIMM module and slots
As with the CPUs and Adapter cards, DIMMs have a 'keying' system. Check with the Motherboard manual to find the first slot (usually slot 0) and fill the slots in numerical order as appropriate.

DIMM insertion is a simple case of pushing the small white retaining clips slightly outwards, then inserting the DIMM (with aligned key positions) into the slot. You will know when it is fully inserted as the retaining clips will automatically move into position and secure the DIMM.

Fitting the Floppy Disk Drive
The next step is to install your data storage devices.

Unpack the FDD (Floppy Disk Drive). Make sure at this stage that you have your anti-static measures in place and even briefly make contact with both hands on the metal of the case to make sure.

You will notice, on the front panel of your PC case, there is an opening the same size as the floppy drives front panel (if there is a plastic cover plate fitted, just gently push it out from behind.) Slide the floppy drive into the opening backwards such that its front panel becomes flush with the front of the PC case. Clear any obstructions to this insertion from inside the case if necessary.

Once fully inserted, there should be some fixing holes inside the case such that you can secure the floppy drive to the case. Use the fine threaded screws for this.

Fitting the Hard Disk Drive
Unpack the HDD. Make sure at this stage that you have your anti-static measures in place, and even briefly make contact with both hands on the metal of the case to make sure.
IDE Hard Drives
Locate the IDE Configuration Pins on the HDD. These can usually be found next to the power and data connections, and will be a group of six or eight small pins with a small plastic 'jumper' attached between two of the pins. If this is to be the only HDD in your PC, then set this to Master. Alternatively, if this is to be an additional HDD then it must be set to Slave.
S-ATA Hard Drives
If you have a S-ATA (Serial-ATA) drive then no configuration should be necessary, as only one S-ATA drive can be connected to each S-ATA connector on the motherboard.

The Hard Drive differs from the Floppy Drive in that it is usually inserted from within the PC case. On one end of the Hard Drive will be the sockets for connecting the cables. This end must point into the case such that the cables can be connected later on.

Gently slide the Hard Drive into the bay that now holds the floppy drive above. Move the drive around until you find the fixing points. You may need to clear any obstructions to this insertion from inside the case if necessary.

Once inserted, use the coarse-threaded screws to secure the drive to the case.

Fitting a CD or DVD Drive
Unpack the drive. Make sure at this stage that you have your anti-static measures in place, and even briefly make contact with both hands on the metal of the case to make sure.

Using the IDE Configuration Pins set this device as a Master. In some cases, particularly with DVD or CD-Writers, it is necessary to select Slave for best performance.

As with the floppy drive, you will notice, on the front panel of your PC case, there is an opening the same dimensions as the front panel (if there is a plastic cover plate fitted, just gently push it out from behind.) Slide the drive into the opening backwards such that its front panel becomes flush with the front of the PC case.

Once fully inserted, there should be some fixing holes inside the case such that you can secure the drive to the case. Use fine-threaded screws to secure the drive to the case.

Checking your work
Most PC cases will have spare 'bays' such that you can fit further drives (such as a DVD or CD writer) at a later date. In this instance they can be seen as blank plates under the CD ROM.

If you have found that your PC case has no suitably sized fitting for the FDD or you have another device of similar dimensions) it is possible to obtain a 'Floppy Drive Fitting Kit' that will enable you to install these devices into a standard CD ROM-size bay

Connecting the PC Case Front Panel
With all the hardware installed correctly, follow these steps to connect the internal cabling.

You will have noticed during the previous work, that the PC Case itself has some cables. These are for the Front Panel Display. These are usually labelled as the following;

    SPK - Speaker - Small speaker mounted in the PC Case
    PWR SW - Power switch - System power on/off
    RST SW - Reset switch - Reset system
    PWR LED - Power LED - Light shows when system is on (usually green)
    HDD LED - HDD LED - Light shows when system is accessing HDD (usually red)
    SLP LED - Sleep LED - Light shows when system is suspended (in 'sleep' mode)

Basically, these connectors slide onto a set of grouped pins on the Motherboard. Owing to the many variations of Motherboard, it will be necessary to refer to your Motherboard manual for the connection method of these cables.

Connecting the Floppy Disk Drive
Use this cable to connect the Floppy Disk Drive to the Motherboard. There should be a 'twist' in the cable next to one of the connectors. This indicates that this connector is for the first floppy drive in the system (Drive A:) Since we only have one Floppy Drive, this is it. Also, the Pink coloured wire in the 'ribbon' indicates Pin 1.

On the back of our installed Floppy Drive (use a flashlight/torch if necessary) we can see a set of 34 pins onto which this cable will fit. However, to ensure that it is correctly fitted, we must locate pin 1 (the pink line), and fit the cable such that the pink line is on the left hand side as we look directly at the back of the floppy drive.

Once this connection is made, locate a similar socket on the motherboard (black, 34-pin socket) and connect the other end of the Floppy Drive cable to this socket. The Motherboard-end connection will be easier to make as it is usually 'keyed' to ensure correct connection.

Connecting the CD/DVD Drive
Almost exactly the same procedure is used here to connect the CD/DVD drive. Take the wider, '40way Ribbon' cable and connect one end (either will do - no twist this time) to the 40 pin connector on your CD/DVD drive. Note this time that the pink line must be next to where the drive power connector is located. The power connector on a CD/DVD drive is a deep white socket with 4 big pins inside.

Once the connection to the CD/DVD drive is made, locate the specific connector on the Motherboard for Secondary IDE. Your Motherboard manual will help you find this. In this case, the CD/DVD drive must be connected to the Secondary IDE socket. Again, the connector will be 'keyed' for correct alignment.

Finally, if you have a sound card in your system, dont forget to connect the CD-audio cable. Dont worry if you dont have one, your local PC hardware store should have plenty. Simply connect one end of the cable to the back of the CD-ROM, next to the IDE cable, then connect the other end to your soundcards 'CD-IN' connector. If your Motherboard has on-board audio, the 'CD-IN' connector will be located on the Motherboard somewhere. Check the Motherboard manual for its location.

Connecting the Hard Disk Drive
IDE Hard Disk Drives
If your Hard Drive is what is known as 'ATA33' type, then it is connected in exactly the same way as the CD-ROM.

If, however, you have an 'ATA66/100' type, then the connection procedure is still the same, but the ribbon cable must be a special '80way' kind. '80way ATA66/100' cables look similar to their 'ATA33' counterparts, but have 80 wires instead of 40. They often have colour-coded connectors as follows;

    Blue connector - to Motherboard
    Grey connector - to 'Slave' Device
    Black connector - to 'Master' Device
    Note that connector colours may vary depending on manufacturer.


In both cases, it is important to note that the Hard Drive IDE cable should be connected to the Primary IDE connector on the Motherboard if it is to be the main/only HDD in the PC.
S-ATA Hard Disk Drives
Alternatively, if your Hard Drive is a S-ATA type, then the connections will be quite different. S-ATA uses a much thinner ribbon cable. New S-ATA compatible motherboards will usually have some S-ATA ribbon cables supplied in the box, ready for use. Use one of these to connect each S-ATA Hard Drive to the motherboard connector as instructed by the motherboard manual.

Connecting the Device Power cables
6 pages These will supply each device in the PC with its power requirements.

Ensure that your PSUs connection to the mains socket is switched off at the wall, and gather up the collection of power cables from the PSU. Each device will have its own power connector which will receive a cable from the PSU. The HDD and CD-ROM will generally use a large connector each and the FDD will usually use a small connector. Note that some high performance video cards may need a large power connector also.

If you have any other devices which require power, remember to connect these also.
S-ATA Hard Drives
If you have any S-ATA Hard Drives in your PC, the youll need to connect power to these also. The S-ATA standard uses a special power connector. Newer PSUs may already have the special S-ATA power connectors, but older units will not.

Some S-ATA Hard drives allow you to use either a standard large PC connector or special S-ATA connector (but not both at the same time.) If your S-ATA Hard Drive only accepts the special power connector and your PSU doesnt have one, then you can use a S-ATA power adapter.

Connecting the Main Power cable
Once everything else is connected up, we can go ahead and make the final connection - providing power directly to the Motherboard itself.

Ensure that your PSU is disconnected from the mains wall socket, and locate the main power connector cable from the PSU.
[i[AT Power connectors[/i]
The older of the two, this two-part connector is found on AT-type power supplies

In the case of the AT-type connector, make sure that the four black wires go side-by-side in the centre of the two connectors as they are fitted side-by-side onto to the socket pins.
ATX Power connectors
This newer type of power connector found on ATX power supplies can be either a 20-pin or most recently, 24-pin type.

As CPUs became more power hungry, they required their own direct connection to the PSU, which took the form of a 4-pin connector. Over time, this was combined with the standard 20-pin connector to form the 24-pin version.

The ATX-style connector is 'keyed' and should 'clip' into place when correctly seated.

Congratulations!
If you have successfully completed the steps so far, you have built your own PC! All that remains is to connect it up and test it...

Connecting the Monitor and Speakers
Having completed your new PC, take some time to go back over your work in the previous steps, and check that all your connections are correctly aligned and secure, and that your CPU, RAM and cards are all secure in their fixings. A thorough check here can save a lot of frustration later on.

Proceed now by connecting the remaining devices, such that you can power up and test the new machine. Position the PC case such that you have clear access the sockets/connectors at the back.
Monitor signal cable
Take the Monitor display cable, and connect it to the suitable connector on the Video Card backplate. Use the cable screws if necessary to fully secure the cable. Do not worry about other connectors on the Video card at this stage.
Speakers (if you have them)
Connect this to the 'SPK' socket. It can be found either on your sound card, or if your Motherboard has a sound card built-in, refer to its manual for the correct method of connection.

Connecting the Keyboard and Mouse
Keyboard
Determine the type of keyboard you have and its associated socket. Your Motherboard manual will instruct you on its proper connection. As previously encountered with PC connections, these are 'keyed'. Do not force the connector or the pins may break.
Mouse
Determine the type of mouse you have and its associated socket. Your Motherboard manual will instruct you on its proper connection. Again, these are 'keyed'. Some care in connection is required.

First PC Power Up
Its time to see if all the hard work paid off. If you didnt check over your work at the beginning of the last section, now is definitely the time.

Carefully move your PC case around so that you can clearly see the front panel again. At this point, take some time to clear to one side all your tools, loose parts and packaging, so that you have room to move the keyboard and mouse into the main area of the work surface.

Check the mains power cables to your monitor, PC Case (and speakers if necessary) are plugged in and ready and switch them on at the wall. The PC case should not power on at this point, if it does, simply press (and if necessary, hold for a few seconds) the POWER button on the front panel until it switches off.

Switch on the Monitor (check the manual for help with this if necessary.) The Monitor should show some indication of being 'on' by displaying a small green/amber light on the front panel.
Press the 'POWER' button on the PC case
If there are any loud or disturbing noises at this point disconnect the power at the wall socket immediately and refer to the Troubleshooting section.
What should happen
Check that the CPU fan is spinning to prevent heat damage to the CPU. You should be able to hear the faint 'rushing' noise of some fans and the noise of the HDD spinning up.

The 'power' light on the PC case should illuminate and the HDD light may flicker a little.

After a few seconds, the Monitor will begin to display various texts and eventually stop at a message similar to - Unable to load Operating system - or similar.

This is an excellent response and demonstrates that the system is ready to have the Operating System installed.
If things went wrong
Disconnect the PC completely from the mains supply and refer to the Troubleshooting section.

An overview of common PC Operating Systems
OK. Youve built your PC and youve thoroughly tested it to make sure its all good. But the funs not over yet... To be able to play games, write letters and send emails etc. You need to install a piece of software called the Operating System onto the hard disk.

Its a fair assumption that you are probably a home user, that is, youre not working on large servers and networks, and have a PC at home for playing games, surfing the Internet and writing the odd letter or report. Over the past few years, one of the most popular suppliers of Operating Systems, Microsoft have produced a number for the home user:
Windows 95
The first of the significant releases was Windows 95. This gave us a host of features, including basic multimedia functions (realistic sound and video playback) and Plug'n'Play, which increased the ease with which new hardware could be added/installed to a PC.
This was subject to a few small version updates before...
Windows 98
A much enhanced version of Windows 95, Windows 98 added compatibility with new emerging technologies such as AGP video and USB, plus a vastly increased database of standard drivers for new hardware.
Shortly after this came Windows 98 Second Edition which included further updates and some minor bug fixes.
Windows Me
The next version of the popular operating system series, Windows Millenium Edition, featured even better usability, improved visuals and further support for new hardware and emerging technologies in PC hardware and software.
Windows XP
Microsofts latest release, Windows XP. Improvements across the board here, from supporting the latest emerging technologies like CD-Burning, Firewire and USB v2.0, to a user-friendlier, highly colourful interface.

More assistance can be found in our troubleshooting guide
EmilyB
 

Postby scottla » Wed Jan 18, 2006 3:05 pm

See why you need beer? :wink:
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Postby Doc Overclock » Wed Jan 18, 2006 6:05 pm

Good Post Emily Excellent Work!!!
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Postby redeye53 » Sat Jan 21, 2006 6:35 pm

One of my tricks is to install the cpu, HSF, and ram on the motherboard before I install it in the case.
I put the motherboard on a piece of cardboard on that nice flat well lit work area that EmilyB has already covered. If the cpu doesn't drop right in like it belongs there STOP. Somethings wrong. If you apply ANY force here there is no waranty and you'll spend hours straightening pins on your brand new cpu.
Using a lint free cloth(I use "lenswipes")clean both the top of the cpu die and the bottom of the heatsink(HSF) with isopropanol(rubbing alchol).
Spread your thermal paste on the cpu die(That little square piece in the center) and mount the HSF. Now tou have alot of room to install the HSF without the screwdriver slipping and the motherboard is fully supported to keep from flexing because some HSF's require considerable force to install.
Seeing it's right out there in the open I put the ram in also. Going back to that nice flat surface and room to work etc. I almost never have to reseat the ram to get my first boot.
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Postby ajrox » Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:13 am

redeye53 wrote:One of my tricks is to install the cpu, HSF, and ram on the motherboard before I install it in the case.
I put the motherboard on a piece of cardboard on that nice flat well lit work area that EmilyB has already covered. If the cpu doesn't drop right in like it belongs there STOP. Somethings wrong. If you apply ANY force here there is no waranty and you'll spend hours straightening pins on your brand new cpu.
Using a lint free cloth(I use "lenswipes")clean both the top of the cpu die and the bottom of the heatsink(HSF) with isopropanol(rubbing alchol).
Spread your thermal paste on the cpu die(That little square piece in the center) and mount the HSF. Now tou have alot of room to install the HSF without the screwdriver slipping and the motherboard is fully supported to keep from flexing because some HSF's require considerable force to install.
Seeing it's right out there in the open I put the ram in also. Going back to that nice flat surface and room to work etc. I almost never have to reseat the ram to get my first boot.

PDT_Armataz_01_37

so easy its ingeniuos. which has nothing to do with the fact that i do it like that to :lol:
good tip.
AJ
coming soon to an over clockers dream near you:
EVGA 790i tri SLI
intel core2 quad 9550
6gb G.SKILL DDR3 16000
3X EVGA 8800gts video cards
water cooled fo sho
the rest when i get paid
PS... im gonna break 4ghz easily....
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