I'm planning on upgrading monitors (by quite a bit) in the coming months, so I wanted as much overhead as monetarily possible.
Too late anyway, I've gone and bought it all! :O
And frankly I'm a bit terrified, atm. Dropping near a grand on something is a big deal for me, when it's something I have the power to completely screw up. It's exhilarating too, though!
(Should I have bought one of those wrist strappy thingies that ground you, btw? I really don't want to fry anything!)
I went with that Asrock extreme3gen3 mobo that was recommended, as well as the CPU cooler and haf 912 case.
Last edited by thebigJ_A; 01-02-2012 at 11:04 AM.
I've never used them, just try to stay off carpets and ground yourself before touching components.
Originally Posted by thebigJ_A
When you're done you'll be surprised how easy it is, just a case of inserting stuff into slots - and fortunately the slots come in different shapes so you don't stick the wrong thing in the wrong slot!
And if you have problems post here and someone will help!
Putting it together is a lot of fun- especially if everything arrives from newegg in working order. Stay away from shoes and socks and carpets- use a hardwood floor or something. I'm a worrier, so I use a static bracelet when I'm dealing with CPUs. I have heard from multiple people that they're a waste of $10, but that doesn't seem like a lot to waste.
At least you'll have the opportunity to install that 212 CPU cooler before putting the mobo into your case. It's not absolutely necessary, but i bet it would have been easier. You may have to fiddle with the position of your RAM dimms to make room for the fan that attaches to its huge heatsink too.
I have a Dell u2412m and would recommend it to anyone (it was on sale for $299 recently, looks a bit higher now).
Lesser Hivemind Node
I've never used a static wristband, and I doubt they're really necessary as long as you are careful, but if you find you get static shocks off everyday objects as a matter of course then you might want to stump up for one.
Just remember to wash your hands first and take things nice and easy. Spend time routing your wires to get good airflow, it'll pay in the long run, and check you have plugged in everything (I remember turning a machine on, wondering why the fans turned but I got no picture, having a minor panic and then finding out I'd just forgotten to plug the power into graphics card).
Secondary Hivemind Nexus
Go slow and take your time- I'd never built one until last year, but it was a breeze with online resources.
Well, I ordered almost everything from Newegg, and it's already on the road. But, I ordered the CPU from someplace called "NCIX", because it was on sale for $50 cheaper. The down side to that is, even though I placed that order a day before the Newegg one, they've not even gotten around to taking my money yet.
I've got a sinking feeling I'll be sitting on 90% of a PC, waiting on that one essential bit to arrive for days. :/
Once I've got it put together, is there anything I should do before installing Windows with regards to BIOS settings and such? (I have to say, I'm glad mobos have graphical BIOSes these days).
I plan on downloading all the drivers to a SD card or USB memory stick with my old comp (before I cannibalize it for anything salvageable) so I can install them immediately. Is there a certain order to install them in, or does it not matter?
Oh cool, I just found out that, since I got a Z68 mobo, it comes with software (Lucid Virtu) that automatically switches from the onboard graphics to the GPU depending on what I'm doing.
I've never really been into pc hardware, but I'm starting to see the appeal. I've spent much of the past few days on places like Tom's Hardware just reading about how stuff works and all the tech involved.
Lesser Hivemind Node
With a modern motherboard you should find it auto detects everything important, so you shouldn't have to mess with anything on the BIOS except maybe the boot priority on first boot. You can always go back and play with stuff once it's up and running. Install graphics card drivers first, otherwise you're looking at a pretty poor display, and then the motherboard drivers (only really adds special features).
Then install a game, just to check that everything works properly. The real fun starts when you start moving your music and games collection across...
Crap I hadn't even thought that far ahead! What's the best way to do that? Should I just install (if it's even possible, considering it's fairly old) my (crappy, slow) old hard drive, copy things into the new one, then uninstall it? IDK, this PC's full of junk, too. Just sorting what I want to keep from what I don't is going to be a project in and of itself.
Originally Posted by Feldspar
Windows 7 will have pretty much all the drivers you need, so you shouldn't need to install any (apart from video card which are updated monthly with huge improvements). Win7 is unlike Vista/XP where you need to download a bunch of drivers every time.
Originally Posted by thebigJ_A
If your old hard drive is SATA, then just plug it in but install windows on the new one. If it's IDE your motherboard miiiight support IDE, so you should be fine. Either way there's no reason you need to "uninstall" your old one, you can just have 2 hard drives.
Sorry for the super-long post, but I thought it would be helpful to cover all of the main bases since this will be your first build. Like gimperial said, post another reply if you have any hiccups with getting everything installed, which means you don't want to make your current PC unbootable until the new one is all done.
NewEgg is great and their prices are usually hard to beat, but their sales tend to be pretty short-lived. I've heard of NCIX, but I don't think I've ordered from them, so I have no idea how long they take. You'll want to give them a call and ask why your order has been delayed so much. Some places need that kick in the trousers before they get things rolling.
The need for an anti-static wrist strap depends a lot on the environmental factors where you live. In a place like northern Texas where it's dry and there's lots of natural static electricity you'd be a fool not to use one, but in places where it's uncommon to get a shock from grabbing something metal you're probably fine skipping it. So you'll have to use your common sense here, but I definitely second the recommendation to avoid carpet at all costs.
You'll want to have a clean, flat, well-lit surface prepared to get everything assembled. You'll have lots of parts laying around at first and you don't want to have to stack them or have them fall to the ground because there's not enough room for everything. You're going to be moving the case around a lot to get everything mounted, plugged in, and routed, so the more space you set aside the better. And definitely do your best to hide the extra length of any and all cables in the cable routing openings and the space in the case behind the motherboard. Having any cables hanging around in front of the motherboard will reduce the airflow in the case and could cause temperatures to rise over time, especially with dust build up. If/when you start attempts at overclocking, this will make a BIG difference.
Follow the instructions that come with the CPU cooler to the letter to make sure that it's seated properly against the CPU. If it's installed in any way that leaves is less than 100% flush with the CPU, your CPU could overheat pretty quickly.
Pay close attention to the correct pair of slots to install your RAM into. Since all four RAM slots are black on the mobo you bought, you'll want to read the manual to make sure that you install the RAM into a dual-channel pair for the best performance. It's not going to hurt anything if they're not in a correct dual-channel pair, but there will be reduced performance if you have them in separate pairs, which will set them for single-channel.
I don't think it's imperative to install the graphics card into the first full PCIe slot, but it's usually recommended. I believe that air flow is better when the GPU's fan isn't facing the power supply. But you'll want to make sure that you don't install any other cards right next to the GPU fan if you have any other cards to install, like a wireless network card for instance.
Plug the new hard drive into the first available SATA slot. It should be labeled something like SATA 1 on the motherboard itself, but it can be hard to read the lettering so have the manual ready. If you have it in the first SATA port, there won't be any problems with setting it as the primary drive in BIOS for when you plug in the second drive. However, some motherboards give IDE ports higher priority than SATA ports, so if your old drive is IDE, you'll want to double-check that it isn't set as the primary drive when you plug it in.
Don't install the second hard drive until you've got Win7 installed on the new one. Sometimes there's an odd connection that seems to be made with extra hard drives and Win7 goes a little wonky if you remove it later. I haven't seen this happen too often (and it shouldn't be happening at all, but there you go), but it's easier to do it that way and know you won't have a problem than to find out you do have a problem after the fact. The only way to clear that connection seems to be re-installing Win7 with just the one drive plugged in.
Once you've got Win7 drivered and all that, turn off your PC and plug in the second hard drive and when you get back into Win7 it should detect it and assign it a drive letter. Once that's done, you can take your time moving data around and getting rid of the old stuff.
Simply a brilliant signature, so I'm stealing it like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Yoink!
Originally Posted by vecordae
Thanks for all of the advice, you guys are great.
Apparently when I payed NCIX it went through Paypal (I could have sworn I used my debit card, but w/e). It's going through as an "eCheck", which takes a few days to clear.
Meanwhile everything else is sitting on my table, mocking me. Newegg was fast. Everything was at my house in less than two days. I'm using them from now on, I think, even when it's more money. I wanna play with my new toys now! ;)
What about the OS that's on the old drive (vista 32-bit)? Will that be an issue?
Once you have windows 7 on the new drive, it won't be an issue.
Originally Posted by thebigJ_A
Also make sure you install Windows 7 64 bit.
Lesser Hivemind Node
You might want to do a quick cable count, buying OEM components sometimes means you don't get the cables included, but then most motherboards seem to come with extra. If you haven't built a PC before it is unlikely that you've got a longer SATA lead stashed away somewhere (or indeed a shorter one), so don't get annoyed, exasperated or dismayed if you have to take a trip or two to a local electronic store.
That's a good point, your mobo should come with 2 SATA connectors from googling around, but if they don't reach/you need more, just buy some at a local store, especially if you have 2 SATA hard drives and a SATA DVD-Rom.
OEM? I'm not sure what that means. The mobo came with two SATA3 cords, an SLI bridge, and a few other things.
So, I've gotten the processor (cancelled my order and drove to a store, even got it cheaper there) and I think I'm ready to go. First I'm going to put the basics together outside the case, make sure I get a POST beep, then I'll build it. I wish I'd gotten a modular PSU. IDK how I'm going to deal with all these cables.
I also grabbed another 120mm fan, but I'm not sure where I should mount it. Is it better to have more intakes or outtakes? I could put it as a second intake the front, or as an intake on the side, or I could make it a second outtake on the top. It's got an LED on it, but I don't really care if it lights up in an odd spot, I just want the best cooling I can get.
Oh, and I'm seeing like a half-dozen different ways to spread the thermal paste, and everyone swears by their method. What do you guys say?
The two i've heard is to make a rice-sized drop, and let itself spread out when you push the processor down.
I don't like to take chances and use a business card of some sort to spread it out evenly. Just be sure not to over do it with the thermal paste, you shouldn't need much at all.
As for your fan, I'd probably put it on the side (blowing on the GPU+CPU? not sure how your case is laid out wrt to the fan). There's a lot of debate on whether you should have positive or negative pressure (http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/23...ative-pressure), but position is pretty important too. Positive pressure tends to help keep dust out.
You could always experiment after you've put everything together (just leave the fan till last), especially if you'll be overclocking and running prime95 or w/e, just see what the temp is after 5 minutes with the fan in different places. I doubt you will see a huge difference though, maybe a few C. And maybe wait see if anyone else has any input!
Last edited by gimperial; 03-02-2012 at 06:28 PM.
Cool. I've got the CPU cooler in place. Is the fan really supposed to block the 1st DIMM slot like that? I mean, it doesn't matter right now, I can just put the RAM in slots 2 & 4, but if I want to upgrade later, I'd need a new cooler! Putting it on the other side makes no sense, as that would have it right next to the back case fan. They'd be pulling air in opposite directions. And orienting the cooler so it blows up/down would block two slots.
Can I just say, putting in a cpu is terrifying! It took more pressure on the lever than I thought, and the slight creak noise damn near stopped my heart.