Essential PC Building Tips

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handyman315

Is it just me, or could that USB 3.0 motherboard connector have been more poorly designed?

We builders embraced the USB 3.0 introduction only to find long pins on the motherboard connector, which seem absolutely determined to bend, ESPECIALLY when trying to connect that very bulky IDE-like cable to the now hard to reach connector!

Connect the USB 3.0 cable before installing the motherboard in the case? Yeah, good luck with that! The connector already wobbles on the motherboard.

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JimmyD1964

Good read. I appreciate the need of a good plan, but afterwards how many times have you sit looking at your computer thinking about the wiring behind the motherboard and how you KNOW you can clean up the wire management better? Then end up spending another hour re-doing it.
But that's one of the most relaxing hours I can have. Just me and my PC.
You mention who should or should not buy a Store Box. I have never found a Pre-built computer that had everything I would want. It's always something. Not that video card or not that case. The
satisfaction of picking every part and building it yourself is a big part of why we subscribe to this magazine. In the end it is a very personal and satisfying experience. You may not get the cheapest price. But you can get exactly what you want.
I admit it gets kind of funny, that we can tell you about every part in our computers from memory. Along with the spec's and price we paid.
Yes Sir, we are a unique group.

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lodavesf

On page 5 you display a collection of extension cables by Phobya.com but nowhere on the linked site nor their own vendor sites can I locate an $8 interior cable extensions set, but instead only comparatively pricey individual cables.

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andru

i noticed the ram placement was left out and for a first time builder it can be frustrating if you place your ram in the wrong slot. manufacturers usually color code them but always best to look at the mother board manual.

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elias21

THIS IS AN INFORMATIVE ARTICLE

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lordfirefox

Tips #1 and #2 are why I will never buy another Mid-tower. People complain about the size of Full-towers but I prefer a better working space and good air flow between my components. And since I still use platter drives and full-length GPU's I don't have wasted space. Plus a WC setup is easier in a full-tower.

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JimmyD1964

Strongly agree! I got a Corsair 900D and LOVE it. And if the cat is missing, I usually find him sleeping next to the PSU.

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nbrowser

Screw Recognition Guide, geez I work in the fastener industry the correct spellings are coarse for coarse threaded screws, cap screws, nuts and the like, not course.

Anyways, decent article.

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Mr_Histamine

I would also recommend http://www.frontx.com if you're needing to replace panel-mount ports, or need wiring in general. Their site's a little amateurish...but, they have a decent selection.

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Insula Gilliganis

This guide is very good.. but to really assemble a PC like a PRO, this is how it's done.. www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvNnv7nh2Es

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CDReckless

OMG! That guide link you posted is the best! When I started to watch it, I sprayed water all over my monitor. I never realized such detail could be put into a build before. And the obvious knowledge of the builder herself. The uncanny thing is the music. That the same music that I(and every builder I'm sure) listens to when building a rig. Invaluable info.

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tonychow70

Thanks MPC for the tips. I used talk to people in China who wants to build PC, that most importent is choose the right PSU. I just told them this: check the VC vendor for how much power the VC needs and plus 100-150 watts, that is what you really need, and also buy the name brand such like Antec, unfortunately, they don't trust me. Some of them said: my GTX 560 now using 350 watts PSU and it's fine! What I can say to them?

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wumpus

There is little you can say. On the other hand, if you are talking about people in China, how would you suggest buying a 750W power supply? The [diablotek] power supplies you see in Microcenter are likely all the same (wimpy) power supply with different labels (and possibly different size/weights). I doubt that buying legitimate corsair power supplies is an obvious option.

Wasn't the recent Dream box an example of why 1000W power supplies are silly (other than they are likely to blow breakers delivering 1000W)? Or maybe that was some other site (I think it was Dream/God box pulling 800W).

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noobstix

The last PC that I had pre-built was a Pentium 1 (166 mhz) that was about $1,000 at the time we got it (which was when I was a little kid back in the 90's). Ever since then, I personally have spent well under $1,000 to build my own computer since I usually reuse things like hard drives, optical drives, and other peripherals and go for the mid-range/low-end enthusiast parts. I can say that I am guilty of not putting on the I/O shield on as well as sometimes using different screws to hunker down the mobo and GPU. However, my current system is still running great to this day despite these minor mistakes.

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pastorbob

Excellent article! I loved reading it in the print version but now I get a chance to comment.

"most experienced PC builders accumulate their knowledge through horrible mistakes, case scars and flesh wounds," - how true that is, even for those of us who work(ed) as engineers/technicians.

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gogochicken

Great rundown, good tips and easy to follow. 10/10 would bang.

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Bullwinkle J Moose

A common problem in my experience has been a borderline power supply

The computer still works if you start pulling high wattage parts out but is nearly impossible to diagnose without a good backup power supply

Slow computer, lock ups, overheating ?

Sound familiar?

I usually use a power supply with "TWICE" the wattage I will ever need to prevent early death power supply problems due to overheating

Always use a quality name brand power supply

One of the most common yet hard to diagnose problems with pico power supplies or onboard power supplies that simply use a power brick jacked into the motherboard is when the power brick starts going borderline and the computer overheats, slows down, reboots or locks up

Same with laptops

I always have an extra power supply and power brick handy to quickly find if the problem is the power supply

If you constantly run a power supply at 80% of full load, it aint gonna last very long

When 4K and 8K video is the norm, you will most likely see Supercaps across the 5 and 12 Volt rails of the best next gen 1200 and 1300 Watt power supplies to bring the peak power up to 1500 watts or so

Untill then, just void the warranty as usual

LOL

K, I'm kidding!
DO NOT mod your power supply !!!!!!

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thedo114

Yeah a couple of my friends were laughing at me when i bought a corsair 850w PSU for my rig that at the time had a gtx 560 and non-overclock i-7 2600k, 1 HDD. Now im rocking a gtx 760, a 4.8ghZ 2600k, 2 HDD, 1 SSD and planning to buy a second gtx 760. Now they are all stuck with a whimpy power supply while i can enjoy upgradding and overclocking at will :P

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pastorbob

All excellent advice Bullwinkle! While most of my builds are far from top end, I still always use name brand power supplies and buy them at twice the needed power. That way there is always plenty of room for mods and upgrades later.

I learned early-on the hazards of buying no-names and skimping on the power.

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d3fcon

Thanks Guys ill hunt one down :) Kinda wish i did not build a mad HTPC now.

Just noticed can't find A yellow one ? Any ideas where to look ?

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tom_m

It's a custom paint job.

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d3fcon

Heh heh Thanks Tom i started to gather that and seen Black ones at Umart here in Aus for 300AUD but i wonder, I love the Yellow but how about a nice Cammo Paint job :). All in all still a nice case

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d3fcon

Wonderful Article, - The best i've ever seen well done :) I might make a poster up and put it in my garage.

Can you please tell me the model of that Yellow Case i think my Bro needs a case upgrade lol the insides are 2012/2013 and the case is a 2007 Thermaltake WWII Bunker

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tom_m

Thanks! The yellow case is a Cooler Master Cosmos II.

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TheMissingPiece

That yellow case is a custom painted Cooler Master Cosmos II Prototype painted by Smooth Creations.

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