This subject has been covered hundreds of times before by other sites but we figured that we would do our own version as well. Do you need or want a new computer? Want something else than the standard computers you can buy in any tech store? Why not build one you self? Yes it does take a little more time and effort but take it from us, its well worth it.
First things first. There is allot to think about when starting your build, but first of you need to figure out what the primary use of this new computer will be as this will have some affect on the hardware you choose to put into it. So when you have this figured out we can move along choosing components: When choosing hardware for your computer there is thousands of choices ranging from the most expensive to dirt cheap, so taking time while choosing is a must.
Start of by choosing cpu. This choice has two possibilities, AMD or Intel. Read tests related to what you would like to use your computer for and make a decision based on what gets the better results. A little tip from us is to buy a aftermarket cooler for the cpu, these usually cools it better but they are also allot quieter we have tested the Corsair H70 and it truly is great. This is a plug and play water-cooling kit, but don’t let the water part scare you. Corsair has done all the work with putting the kit together and filling it with water so all you have to do is follow some simple mounting instructions to mount the radiator and 2 fans and your done.
Then you need to pick a Motherboard that fits your CPU and your wallet, just keep in mind that you might not need the most expensive one but you should not go for the cheapest one either as there is a reason they are dirt cheap. Usually this has to do with quality. We have tried a few but seem to be most happy with Asus cards.
Now for memory or RAM (Random Access Memory) as we like to call it. All computers need and depend on it to work, this is also a component worth spending a few extra bucks on as memory issues are hard to figure out and one of the most enjoying problems you can have with a computer. Since you’re building a brand new computer we advise you to go for 64 bit operating systems as these are both faster and more reliable, and also support more than 3 Gb RAM. To figure out what RAM suits your needs, download your Motherboard’s Qualified Vendors List or QVL for short… In here you will find lists of RAM setups that the Motherboard manufacturer have tested to work with the specific Motherboard, but keep in mind that other setups might also work even tough they are not on the list. Another great source to finding the right RAM is to sign up at Corsair’s forum and asking the guys on there. They know RAM inside and out and has helped us out from time to time.
Graphics: Your Motherboard of choice might have an onboard graphic card, and if you’re going to use your computer just for reading newspapers online you can skip the rest of this section, for the rest of us, we need a standalone graphics card. Now there are loads and loads of different graphics card suppliers but they all originate from 2 manufacturers ATI (AMD) or Nvidia. To help you choose a card we refer you once again to tests based on the kind of use you have in mind, and also what fits your wallet.
You will also need a hard drive. Without at least one, your computer is just an expensive garden ornament. There are a couple of manufacturers here as well but first lets discuss hard drives a little, there are two types of drives that are relevant today; SSD and regular Disk based drives or HDD ‘s for short. The SSD‘s loads quicker but is way smaller than the Disk based ones. They are also a fair bit more expensive as well, therefore we advise you to buy a SSD for the operating system and a HDD for storage. An 80-120 GB SSD should do it, and the job is to find one that fits your wallet. Remember to read some tests (again) to check that the one you have chosen is worth spending money on. The Corsair SSD Force GT 120 GB is a quick and affordable drive . For the storage disk we recommend a minimum of 1 TB. YES we know the average user don’t necessarily need that much space but let’s face it, it’s better to have 1 TB and use 500 GB than to have 500 GB and need more. We have tested a few types of drives throughout our time and really like Western Digital, they’re disk are both quick and reliable. You can choose between Green Power or Black Power, the Black power series are a bit more expensive but do perform better, we have both and feel that the performance part is marginal so choose what you can afford really.
Find a DVD drive or DVD-RW drive if you would like that option. Get one you like and can afford, there are so many and usually they are all good but for safety check the beloved tests first to review the drive you choose.
You will need power to get this beast up and running. It’s time for PSU (Power Supply Unit). At Corsairs website there is a nice PSU calculator which gives you the preferred amount of watt’s you will need for this new computer. So calculate that and look for something within your watt range, and find the tests again… We strongly recommend the Mist 1000W PSU yes 1000!!… It’s a lot but the PSU is brilliant and ranges in the top of the class throughout the tests. It’s fully modular, that means you can unplug all the cables you don’t use from the housing so it doesn’t clutter up your case.
To house all these components you need to find a case you like, there are so many different one that if you can’t find one you like you must be doing it wrong. We haven’t tested it yet but from the looks of other tests, the Corsair Obsidian 800D seems to be the better one of the bunch. We will test this case in the future but for now we too will have to rely on the tests we have seen.
Operating System: There are a few choices here, Windows or Linux is the most common when it comes to home built computers. As Mac OS tend to demand certain hardware to work, we highly recommend Windows or Linux. But we this is something we which to leave up to you. This depends on the use of the computer, we have both and enjoy both. Linux is free and can be downloaded around the world with just a google search to find one you like. Windows on the other hand is quite expensive but then again Windows 7 is well worth the money. If you go for Windows 7 there are six versions depending on what you use your computer for, pick the one you need.
Nordic-vikings.net recommends that you use an anti static wrist band, you can buy these at almost any hardware store, if you choose not to use it than at least ground your self by touching the metal part of your case before handling any hardware.If not you risk frying your hardware with a static shock.
The shopping is now over as long as you don’t break something you can now put your credit card away. Let’s start putting the pieces together.
First off we need to put the spacing pins for the motherboard into the holes in your case, the easiest way to figure out where you need them is to put the motherboard in place and mark through the holes in the motherboard with a permanent marker, then remove the motherboard and put the spacers in there, don’t over tighten them when they stop flush to the case tighten them half a turn more.
Then put the back panel that came with the motherboard into the slot in the back of the case, these usually slot in from the outside and in with a little push. Align the motherboard with the spacer pins and start to put screws in, as with the spacers do not over tighten them, at first just tighten all of them flush to the motherboard and then start tightening them from the center of the motherboard then work your way out, this is done to prevent the card from bulging in the center, this doesn’t happen often but better safe than sorry.
Read the manual for your motherboard and find out where to connect the power and reset swich cables, usually at the same place you can also connect hdd led, power led and speaker if you choose to these are optional so we’ll leave it up to you. The connector on the motherboard usually looks like this
Now it is time to get the PSU in there, this usually slots in from the inside and bolts through the back, then pull the power cables to the motherboard, newer model motherboards usually have three connections. One near the CPU slot and then there are usually one long connector along the right side of the board, in here the two other cables go. Push the connector in until you can see or hear the locking clip engage.
CPU installing is a little tricky, unhinge the locking arm on the motherboard CPU slot and swing it up till it stops, then look for a little arrow on one of the corners of the slot, find the same arrow on your CPU and put the CPU carefully into the slot with the arrows aligning. Push the lock arm gently back down until it locks.
CPU coolers need a thin layer of cooling paste to work properly, usually this is provided on the coolers when they are new so all you need to do is wipe the CPU face off with a DRY cloth and center the cooler over it in the air before setting it straight down on the CPU, if you have chosen the Corsair H70 as we recommended you also need to fit the fans and radiator, this is easy just make sure the arrows on the two fans go the same way, which way is the best have been widely discussed but we feel that sucking hot air into the cooler is not a good solutions so we recommend inwards arrows like this
Time for RAM, the DDR ram chips have a split or notch in the connector side, make sure this lines up with the notch in the connector on the motherboard or you may cause damage to your RAM, and we don’t want that, slot them into the RAM slots usually located on the right side of the CPU connector and push until both locking lips on the sides go click. You might have to help the locking lips in a little as brand new RAM chips might be a bit harder to fit. always check your motherboard manual to see which slots to use in accordance with your chosen RAM setup, if you use the wrong slots your computer might end up very unstable.
Graphic Card; Find the PCI-E slot on your motherbord and hold your card over it, you will now see that you have to undo one or two of the covers on the back of the case, these are usually fixed with screws, remove the amount you need and slot the card into the PCI-E slot on you motherboard, again push until you can see that the locking lip are fully engaged or until you hear them go click. Connect power cords to the connectors on your graphics card, fill all connectors if there are more than one.
Open one of the 5.25″ slots in the front of your case, usually the blanking plates just needs a little push from inside and just pops out. Put the DVD drive in there, how to mount them varies from case to case so if it is not self explaining check the manual for your case. Connect a SATA cable or a ATA cable if your drive has this old standard, then hock up a power cord to the drive. The SATA/ATA cable goes into Secondary Master slot on your motherboard.
Hard Drive installing is almost the same as the DVD drive, piece of cake. the hard drives go in the 3.5″ bays inside your case, start off with the SSD if you followed our advice, check that it’sjumper settings is set to Master, then pull a SATA cable from your Motherboards Primary Master slot and to the SSD’s SATA connector.
Then for the storage drive, install it under the SSD, with one free slot in between them to give them air so they don’t overheat. Check it’s jumper, make sure it says Primary Slave, then hook up a cable from the motherboards primary slave and to it then plug a power cord into it and you are done. Stand back and enjoy the view, your first home built computer.
Go over all cable connections to make sure they are good, check that the coolers cables are connected as show in it’s manual then plug a power cord into the PSU’s back and press Power. If you have done everything right then it should power up and halt when it does not find any Operating system (OS), time to pull out the CD/DVD with the OS you choose and insert it to the DVD drive, restart your computer and it should start the installer, if it doesn’t check the motherboard manual and look for boot settings, follow the instructions for changing boot settings and set them to CD/DVD Drive as first boot device then the SSD as second, save settings and exit now your computer should start the installer. Follow installation instructions and there you go, you have a new computer!
Do you have any problems following this guide or think we forgot something? either Contact Us or leave a comment below and we’ll have a look at it.