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Building a computer? Here are some tips.

Tips for building a computer

5 Tips for first-time computer builders

People build their machines all the time for all sorts of purposes. From pure gaming to servers and just browsing, computers are a very fundamental part of most technologically advances places. If you've never built a computer before it may seem dauntingly intimidating. But fear not! As long as you follow these really basic tips that a lot of people forget you'll be golden.

#5 Make sure all parts are compatible.

This one is a killer. So you're buying your parts online, and you're set on what you want. Yeah, sweet, awesome. Five years later when they parts arrive because you decided you didn't want to pay 10 dollars for better shipping, you open the box to all your parts. You've taken the case out, put the motherboard in, everything is fine, sweet-- oh wait what's this? Oh crap you have an Intel processor and an AMD motherboard, or you have incompatible RAM, or your case is too small/big/crazy. 

It's this simple, it really is.

If you want an i3,i5,i7 series processor generation 2 or above you better make damn sure the corresponding phrase shows up on your motherboard box: LGA 1155, LGA 2011, LGA 1150. If you're going the AMD route you would want AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+. You'd actually be surprised how many people run into compatibility issues in hardware due to rushing. I get it, you're excited, but taking close looks at multi hundred dollar or even multi thousand dollar purchases should probably be high on your priority list.

If you're new to this, you're already probably going to be intimidated. Learning something new is scary sometimes and should be taken slow, this is no exception. Know what you want, do research, and make sure the hardware is compatible. Nothing is a ball-buster quite like returning a part because it was the wrong type.

#4 Motherboard mounting screws, use them.

We'll get into static electricity later, but for now all I'm going to tell you is that motherboard mounting screws better be on that case before you put the motherboard down or you're in for a potentially horrifying experience.

Let elaborate with a story. One of my friends had a friend that wanted to build a new computer, for anonymity sake we'll call my friend Billy and his friend Tommy. So Tommy was in the market for a brand-spanking new computing machine, problem was he had no idea how to build one so he felt so inclined to employ both myself and Billy to do his dirty work. Billy isn't as technologically inclined as I am so his help would be limited to assembly, if we asked him what the difference was between a AM2 socket and an LGA socket he wouldn't know. I took Tommy around Fry's Electronics and Microcenter and put together a pretty solid build. This thing had the works, an i7, a high-end graphics card, he even got a blu ray disc reader for giggles. 

This was pretty much Tommy the whole time
So all this money is going into his machine, we got the parts, he paid the money, time to build the ever-lovin' crap out of this machine and see what we can do. Billy and I put the whole thing together while our girlfriends watch, we got the right processor socket, HDD, Motherboard and even a decent Case. Imagine our shock when we finish building, fire this thing up and here it just cycle through power phases (Turn on and off). We spent a solid hour trouble shooting what it could be, taking parts in and out-- it was a grueling process that left me tired and unwilling to continue. Eventually we said "screw it we'll diagnose it tomorrow" (it was around 12 at the time). One day passes, one week passes, and after one week we're still not able to diagnose this thing. A day later I'm driving to lunch with my girlfriend and I get a call from Billy saying we forgot the motherboard mounting screws.

This doesn't sound like a big deal but let me tell you what happens in a motherboard and elaborate from there. The motherboard probably has the most electricity passing through it simply because it houses most of the components that goes into a computer. Electricity really likes the company of metal (This should be clicking right about now).

The only difference between a motherboard receiving power and a case receiving power.
Needless to say when we were turning on Tommy's computer all the electricity would flow to the motherboard and then straight into the case. Moral of the story is to be sure to use the motherboard standoffs that are given to you..

#3 Buy a good power supply.

It's absolutely mind blowing to me when someone who spends a massive amount of cash for every component of the computer except the power supply asks me why their computer failed.

"So you've spend over $3,000 on parts.. and then $70 for the item that powers all these parts?"
"Yeah I wanted to save money."
"...You're not worthy."

So here's how you want it to go down. Satisfy your wattage needs and then your amp needs. For example, if you have an i5-2500k and a GTX 580 then you will need something around 45 amps on the 12v rail in order to have great function. You can check out the wattage needs on a watt calculator online, but for amps you'll need to do some research on the parts. 

Get a quality one... or prepare for some sadness.


No matter what you always want 80 plus certified at the minimum. There are five 80 plus certified ranks you should be looking at.
  1. 80 Plus Certified
  2. 80 Plus Bronze
  3. 80 Plus Silver
  4. 80 Plus Gold
  5. 80 Plus Platinum
These essentially measure efficiency of the PSU. There's an article on this website for more informations on PSUs you should check it out! 

#2 Zero Insertion Force.

When you pet a dog, you don't pet the thing so hard that it dislikes you and decides to bite the life out of you right? I would like you to apply the same logic here. If you're putting 400 lbs of force on a plug just so it will go in  you're doing something very wrong.

Hey lady! Zero insertion FORCE, ALRIGHT?
When you're inserting a processor in a socket, (Especially AMDs processors as they have pins instead of a landing grid array) you want to be so delicate that a butterfly wouldn't feel it. You want to be as gentle as the first time you kissed a girl. If you're not getting the picture, then have your friend put in your processor for you. These computer parts were built to go together. I have no idea why people insist on shoving every piece together like they want to make a collage of smashed computer parts.

Wait.... I think I may have missed something here. Oh yeah the super Glue
The only reason I can imagine you'd actually have to use some force in computers would be the 8-pin and 6-pin power connections, those things can be a real pain in the rear side. If it doesn't fit, look at the connection, look at the port, adjust any discrepancies and then try again. For the love of all that is holy do not try to shove the cable into the port, you could end up essentially having to scrap the motherboard and no one wants that. 

#1 Research and use websites to help your build!

I can list you a multitude of websites besides this one that will help you with your build. There's one on this very website that will hold your hand through the entire building process! However, there are also others that will help you out very much.

Power Supply Calculators
Charts for Comparing parts

Not only can these help you with precision and accuracy of a build, but they can also save you a whole lot of money. Unless you're the heir to some fortune 500 company, you absolutely should be looking for deals. Any money saved can be used towards an upgrade.

Eventual upgrade from all the savings.
You can feel free to e-mail us anytime if you have trouble with a build or even need help diagnosing a problem with your current build! We're nice people we'll help you.

You never know what kind of deals you'll find on the net, so it's important to take advantage of them while you can. Mail-in-rebates are a bit shady though so I recommend staying away from those unless you're dead set on absolutely completing those.
(Those things are such traps it makes me cry at night)

But in all serousness, do some research. You may run into a problem you've already researched about and be able to fix it right on the spot! (This is a good trick to impress friends/girls that are nerdy) Besides life is short so we need to save our time for the pleasures, not the troubles.