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Zingles pc building guide
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Old 28-02-2007, 13:07   #1
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Zingles pc building guide

Thought I would post a simple guide to building a pc and installation of windows operating systems (obviously other OS can be installed)

Pre installation

Most importantly of all read and digest all manuals that come with your equipment and know exactly what you have bought ie ram speeds etc. Second thing to remember is to take your time and take due care to what you are doing.
Check and make sure you have bought everything you need a simple check list follows
1:- CPU (whether AMD or INTEL)
2:- Motherboard (ensure its compatible with your cpu)
3:- RAM (again ensure its compatible with the motherboard )
4:- Graphics card (of course ignore this if your just building with onboard)
5:-Hard disk drive (whether SATA or IDE ensure its compatible. If your motherboard is of the newer type often it will only have 1 ide controller if this is the case buy a Sata hard drive)
6:-Optical drive (id recommend a DVD rewriter)
7:-Case (make sure its suitable there are many types shapes and sizes)
8:-PSU (always better to buy a good one instead of cheap in case nasties. Make sure you buy one suitable for your motherboard either atx 1 or atx2.2 with 12 volt 4 pin or 12 volt 8 pin and most likely if buying a good graphics card a 6 pin PCI connector(or 2) If you need to buy adapters have these before the build)
9:- Any add on card you require
10:- Any custom fans or cooling
11:- Tools for the job (cross head magnetic screw driver, Flat head screw driver if needed for certain coolers, Pliers and anti static wrist strap)

Area Preparation

Be sure to allow plenty of space and be sure your near enough to electricity sockets etc.If you do not own a proper anti static mat then the bag the motherboard comes it will do. Make sure you have all the tools you need. Plug in your anti static wrist strap (do this it could extend the life of your parts) and put around wrist.

First steps outside of case.

Ok ensure you have followed above steps and most importantly read the manual. Remove motherboard from the box along with cables and driver cd etc. Remove Motherboard from anti static bag ,there should be a sponge mat to the rear,Lay this mat down with the anti static mat over the top. Place the motherboard on top . Whether using Intel LGA or AMD style sockets they all have a retention are at the side of the socket carefully lift this. Check motherboard manual for orientation of cpu and be sure your confident you know which way. Carefully and I mean carefully remove cpu from packaging and fit into socket. Please be careful here I cant say enough how important it is not to either bend pins on cpu or inside the LGA socket. Apply a very small amount of force to the centre of the cpu and close the retention arm.
Most cpu coolers nowadays are very simple to fit .If your using an Intel cpu and LGA skt 775 motherboard its simply 4 pegs .If your using an AMD cpu of the newer type with heat spreader its simply a metal arm that attaches both sides of the cooler mount and a simple cam system that imposes force to get a good true contact. Again read the manual and fit the cooler carefully ensuring its fitted true . If your not using a stock cooler or you wish to use a better quality thermal compound now is the time to do this as once the cooler is used for a while removable can cause problems.Make sure your cooler is correctly powered by the motherboard.(3 or 4 pin white connector coming of the fan)
Now its time to install Ram . If your board is capable of running dual channel memory I would avise you buy a kit of good quality branded memory from the likes of Corsair Kingston or many others but its best to buy good quality lifetime memory.
Ok I will take it for granted you have bought dual channel and the motherboard is capable of this. Check the manual for how the slots are set up channel 1 and channel 2. Open the 2 clips for each primary slot check orientation ,carefully piece the first stick of ram in channel 1 or A and press downwards using even force across the top of the stick (you may be surprised how much force is needed) repeat this for the second stick.
Carefully move assembled components out of the way leaving your workspace clear
This completes the steps outside the case. I personally will fit a graphics card and attach a power supply unit and boot the setup on top of the box jumpering the power on off switch with a screw driver but I will not advise this in this text

Installation into case

Ok first of all open the case. Inside you should find a fitting kit this will include brass stand offs if needed (this keeps the motherboard clear of the back plate) screws ,paper washers, an IO plate ,occasionally plastic stand offs and a power lead.
First thing to do is find which screws fit the stand offs this will make the job of fitting the motherboard into the case easier . Then its time to prepare the case. Remove the cheap nasty psu if your changing it and fit the new one this is simply 4 screws at the rear (do this first as sometimes if left till after fitting the motherboard you will be out of space) then decide where your optical drive will be placed and remove cover from front of case . Often you will find a metal plate still in place why case manufacturers leave these is beyond me because they have caused many a cut finger . Remove this carefully and install optical drive into case. This device should be set to master by the jumpers and should ideally be on an IDE channel on its own or with another optical drive. If it has to be in place with a hard drive and there isnt a second channel then set it to slave (not advised).If you are installing a floppy drive prepare the case in the same way to accept this.

Now also would be a good time to check to see where the graphics card and any other add on cards will sit as often the slots in the case for these are still in place and you often have to bend them to snap them out of place. Doing this with the board in situ could cause problems so do this first. Also remove and IO plate thats fitted to the case and install the one that came with your board.
Now its time to install your motherboard. Carefully check where all the mounting holes are in the board and the relative holes in the case.If required screw a standoff into each of the case mounting holes that correspond to the motherboard. Tighten these with your pliers not to tight but tight.
Now move the motherboard into the case carefully guiding the IO ports into the IO plate and rest the board carefully onto the standoffs . Use the screws with the paper washers and lightly tighten all four corners and any other until the board is down. Then gently tighten them down. DO NOT USE TO MUCH FORCE.
I personally would now find the front connector details in the motherboard and wire up the switches , hard drive activity light power light and speaker also if the case comes with it any front usb connector , firewire and audio.
Im going to take for granted you have a Serial ATA hard drive so fit this to the 3.5 inch space in proximity to the sata connectors on the motherboard. Carefully fit either a sata power connector from the power supply unit to the power in of the drive if the psu does not have this your motherboard should come with an adapter (if the drive has 4 pin molex and you are going to use this fit this after the data cable )Then fit one end of the sata cable to the primary sata port (normally called sata 0) if your fitting molex do that now. Make sure these cables are left neat and out of the way you can secure with cable ties if needed.
Now fit the IDE cable to the rear of the optical drive . There will be 3 connectors on the cable 2 closer together and 1 further apart normally blue. The cable should come with a step so you can only fit it one way. If it does not then there is 2 little grooves use these as the side with a step. Fit the drive to the end of the cable which has the second connector closest to it this is master. Then fit the other end to the primary IDE connector on the board. This can all be modified to suit but do not run a hard drive on the same controller as an optical unless you have no choice.If your board has 2 controllers and you are using IDE hard drive fit this to master and optical to secondary. Fit a four pin molex power connector from the psu to the power in of the drive. If you intend to use the drives headphone socket (a lot of newer optical drives do not have these) then you will have to fit a digital cable to the the drive and the motherboard please see manual for relative information. Again tidy the cables out of the way and secure.
If you are fitting a floppy disk drive now is the time to do this install into case and use the smaller cable to attach the device to the floppy controller on the board and use the smaller 4 pin power in from the psu.
Now to attach the power supply to the motherboard. Depending on which type you have bought the board will have either a 24 pin or 20 pin power in plus a 4 pin or 8 pin 12 volt in. Check the manual again and connect these cables to the board carefully route them as to not be in the way and tie back if needed leaving any cable required for graphics.
Now its time to install the graphics card. There will normally be a retention clip at the rear of the slot either AGP or PCI-E open this ready. Now carefully line up your chosen card and carefully push into its slot . The retention clip should close , Now either screw the front of the card to the case or use any thumb clip thats provided . Fit power if needed to the card and your nearly there
Fit any other add on cards required carefully and fit to case.

Final check before first boot

Check now to make sure everything is fitted correctly and all the cables are as neat as possible. Make sure all drives are secured in place this may mean removing the other side of the case and fitting a couple of screws to each. Now would be a very good time to go have a cup of coffee and a ciggy if needed and relax for a bit

First boot

Ok as long as your happy with what you have done its time to plug in your monitor keyboard mouse and sound. Then of course plug the mains into your power supply.
This for me is always a nervous time as its time to press that switch your hoping here the screen comes to life and the cpu fan spins, and you hear 1 beep oh what a beautiful sound that 1 beep is as this means your machine has passed its Power On Self Test. Now press whatever key gets you into your bios screen (either Del or F2) Once you can see bios check you manual and ensure
A) CPU is set at correct speed
B) Ram is correct frequency
C) Temperatures are correct
D) Sata controllers are enabled if using sata hard drive
As this is a new machine you will not need to set cd as first boot device you may need to turn off boot up floppy seek if your not using one (this also may have errored at post but it would not have caused a system stop)
Put operating system cd into drive and press F10 to save and exit hit return and the system will restart.

Installing Operating system

Im going to take it for granted you have opted for Windows xp as this is the most prevalent most installs especially windows are similar anyway.
The system will automatically boot from cd as the hard drive has no information on it so you will see it go through a few stages just leave them for now . You will be shown an EULA click F8 to continue , now if your motherboard needs a sata driver then it will tell you now it has not found any hard drives .What you will need to do is using a different pc put the motherboard driver disc into its rom and find the create sata driver floppy creator (or similar) allow this to create a floppy disc . Reboot your new system and watch at the bottom of the screen for install drivers etc (not sure of the wording but its obvious) press F6 and allow it to install the driver from the floppy.This is rare nowadays so you should not need to do this.
Ok you have either gone straight into install or added the driver either way you will be greeted with a screen showing your hard drive. If you are only using 1 and its a fair size I would create a partition about 60 gig for your operating system so press c then change the size down to 62000 leaving the other to act as a second storage drive.Create a partition in the remaining space to take up the rest.(If your using 2 drives I would advise the primary be around 80 to 160 and the slave as big as you wish.)Highlight the first partition and click enter then format the drive to NTFS (I normally just use the quick as its a new drive) Windows install will not copy files to pc reboot and start installing . After a few minutes you will have to set up country ,keyboard text option etc and it will ask for your cd key. Then it will install windows possibly stopping to ask for network options leave these default as they can be changed later. Once install is complete the machine will boot up again and you will be asked to add a few personal details before windows starts.
Now if all has gone well you will be greeted with a nice green hill and a recycle bin.First thing I do is right click on desktop background select properties then desktop and customise desktop and add the 4 things on offer or any mix but add my computer.
Install motherboard drivers graphics drivers and any other application you need. Remember you will need to format either a second drive or partition. Right click my computer click manage and disk management and this will allow you to partition and format and secondary partition/drive installed.
Please note Windows Vista is very similar to this but you will have to follow on screen instructions as its not entirely the same

As usual im bound to have missed something and its not my fault if anyone makes a cock up as ive done the best I can J
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Old 06-03-2007, 23:55   #2
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Re: Zingles pc building guide

Additions -

1) Water Cooling

Water cooling is an alternative method of keeping your essential components cool, GPU, CPU, Chipset, Ram, Beers etc, dry assemble it in the case then remove it, sit it on white paper towels, fill it, then run it for 24 hours to make sure any leaks that may be present only dump coolant onto the paper towels and not onto your computer...

2) Air flow and cable routing
Make sure no cables come into contact with fan blades, it's noisy and it can damage the cables, if a cable isn't long enough, use one that is.

3) Cooling
there is no such thing as overcooling your system, but keep in mind the more fans you have, the louder it will be, also bear in mind that as you suck air out of the case, it needs to get into the case, so some fans should be oriented to draw cool air in. This is a good time to think about air flow direction - if you are putting the computer's rear near a radiator, then don't use the rear for air intake.

Thermal pads are nowhere near as efficient as thermal paste, use the latter sensibly, you don't want your computer's processor to look like it just lost an argument with the dulux dog, but you do want to make sure there is sufficient paste to transfer heat away.
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