Rish's PC assembly guide

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  1. #1
    Captain of the Universe Rishwin is offline
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    config Rish's PC assembly guide


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    Rish's guide to PC assembly & components



    Foreword :

    Made a thread up here Budget Banger about a budget build i was thinking of doing. The PC buying guide was in need of an update and i found myself increasingly suggesting the new Sandy-Bridge Pentium range for new builds on a budget so i thought i'd put my money where my mouth is and test the performance myself. Thought i'd take pics and post up a tutorial too since this section is a baron wasteland with a grand average of 1 thread every month!

    Ended up sticking with the same build as my original thread more or less, but last minute decided against the gigabyte case with generic PSU as i had 2 spare cases lying at home unused, and decided to instead get an XFX 450W PSU for the exact same price.


    Build:

    INTEL PENTIUM G630 2.70GHz 3MB RETAIL BOX ($60)
    ASUS P8H61-M LX DESKTOP MOTHERBOARD ($60)
    GEIL 8GB KIT DDR3 DRAGON C9 1333MHz ($50)
    XFX HD7750 SINGLE SLOT 800M/4500M 1GB/DVI/HDMI/VGA ($105)
    XFX CORE EDITION 450W 80PLUS PSU ($65)
    Total - $340 AUD




    Rationale :

    Before we get into the assembly, a "little" rationale explaining my choice of parts because choosing the right parts for your build is just as if not more important than putting it all together correctly. Straight off the bat, you need to establish the purpose for the machine you're building - what is it going to be for? The primary use for this build was a budget gamer; i wanted the best possible performance at the cheapest price for gaming @ high settings so the parts are far from being high-end, but i haven't skimped on quality. This is a budget build meaning I've gone for immediate performance gains right here and now, sometimes at the cost of expandability or "future-proofing".


    CPU - The Sandy-Bridge Pentium 2.7GHz dual-core chip was perfect at the $60 price point which blows the $100+ AMD 'Bulldozed' FX-4100 Quad-core out of the water as far as gaming performance is concerned. It does exactly what we need it for and is capable of playing the latest games titles at smooth frame rates. No overclocking features or unlocked multipliers means we won't be overclocking this, but that means the stock Intel cooler will do us just fine.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...n/100_9230.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...n/100_9234.jpg

    RAM - Oh come on Rish, you do NOT need 8GB of RAM for a budget gaming PC! No you do not, and i would have happily gone with my originally intended 4GB were it not for my local pricing which oddly enough has 2x4GB kits at $50 and 2x2Gb kits at $90. None the less, these Geil sticks are aesthetically pleasing with copper flames etched into the black PCB and a red LED at each end of the stick plus they run @ 8-8-8-20 timings.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...n/100_9236.jpg

    Motherboard - Simply put, i just went with the cheapest socket 1155 motherboard from a reputable brand. I wanted either Asus or gigabyte but from past experience have always found Asus to be more 'user friendly' with a slightly more simplistic BIOS. All i needed was 1333MHz DDR3, a PCI-e 16x slot, SATA2, gigabit ethernet and onboard audio. I had no need for SATA3, firewire, RAID controllers or overclocking features so they did not justify the $50 price increase over the pricier models.

    (The motherboard close-up was corrupted somehow, only realized after it was all assembled.)
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...n/100_9224.jpg
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...n/100_9244.jpg

    Graphics Card - This was probably the hardest component to finalize; on one hand it is not the most powerful desktop GPU, but on the other hand it requires no auxiliary power rails (which means it runs VERY cool at only 55W TDP) and has 28nm die which in theory should be making up for that lack of performance and only 128-bit memory bus. As far as comparisons to older generations go, we're looking at the performance of something along the lines of a 6870.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...n/100_9243.jpg

    Hard Drive - First thing you'll notice is the hard drive missing from this build list but making cameo appearances in the images - it is my old 320GB Western Dsigital Cavalier 7200RPM drive. I had the hard drive and all of the peripherals from an "old" PC (previous is such a better world than "old", it seems to imply a level of obsoletion) which is how i managed to keep costs down on this build.

    (After booting the system up i realized this was the wrong drive, it has been since replaced with the correct WD Cavalier 7200RPM)
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...n/100_9246.jpg

    Power Supply - My last minute alteration (as last minute as you can get, i changed my mind when i saw it on the shelf behind the Sales clerk processing my order), and I'm glad i made it. The power supply regulates the flow of electricity to all of your components so you should always make sure you invest in a decent brand (XFX/Corsair/Thermaltake/CoolerMaster to name a few) and find the wattage you need (for this system 400W was more than overkill since the 7750 is fully sufficient from the PCI-e slot) and make sure it has the right cables which you would need. It is also worth mentioning that some generic bundled PSU's just use passive cooling without having a dedicated fan on it which can significantly decrease reliability and lifespan.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...n/100_9239.jpg

    Case - Nothing fancy, just used an old Thermaltake V3 Black case i had lying around unused. It's nothing special, it originally came bundled with a generic PSU which has since died (also hence my last minute PSU change) but it has plenty of airflow holes and it's very light weight. You just need to make sure your Motherboard & graphics card will fit in the case, everything else will fit no problems. This is the most "personal" part of the build and is usually just decided from personal taste, some people are happy with $50 cases while others want to spend $400 on one which just looks kickass (i'm guilty of both), but it all depends on what percentage of your total budget you're willing to dedicate to it.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...n/100_9250.jpg

    Before we begin :

    Just a few tips & general things to keep in mind :

    - I have never bothered with "anti static" wristbands, and have never suffered any ill-effects from doing so. All they do is ground you to prevent damage from static electricity, but you achieve the same result by simply touching ANY part of the PC case at all times while handling components and don't work on fluffy carpets with socks on or anything like that.

    - Just a general rule, it's common sense to some but for others - Do not touch the raw circuitry or the metal "slot fins" or pins on the underside of the CPU or RAM or Motherboard or GPU. Only touch & handle the components by their PCB board or plastics or heatsinks. Doing so CAN cause permanent irreversible damage. Every component comes in an anti-static bag, make good use of them and use them as mats and don't throw them away!

    - Everything has its place, every motherboard has a specific place for a specific component, it's almost impossible to put something in the wrong slot or plug it into the wrong place. So if this is your first build - Have CONFIDENCE in yourself and as long as you follow basic common sense you can't go wrong. If something doesn't look like it fits then don't force it because it probably doesn't belong there.

    - When in doubt CONSULT YOUR USER MANUALS/GUIDES. Every component comes with them for a reason, from Motherboard BIOS & jumper pin configurations to troubleshooting steps and list of compatible components, user manuals are a wealth of knowledge often overlooked.

    Assembly part 1 - Motherboard & core system

    I have split the assembly portion into part 1; The motherboard and all components required for a working core computer (ie. everything it needs to boot), and part 2; all additional components non-essential for the actual boot sequence (ie. GPU, HDD, peripherals, ect). Do note though that although the core system alone can boot into the BIOS, it still requires a keyboard and obviously a display if you want to be able to see anything.


    ^That 'Do not disturb' door tag (made of a soft-touch thin plastic btw, not paper) came with the GPU - pretty neat! Too bad i bought it a week early and missed their game code giveaway :/

    Once you have all your parts out and an area cleared & ready to build, the first thing we do is put the motherboard into the case. All motherboards & cases go by an "ATX" sizing standard, with ranges going from micro to mini to normal and even extended ATX for the bigger boards. Just make sure the peripheral ports are sticking out the access panel, and line one row of mounting holes up and the rest should fall in place. The board i'm using is a micro-ATX and as you can see from the images it doesn't even fully extend out to the outer mounts of the motherboard tray, so i've had to use a "spacer" which comes included with most cases and simply provides a when-you-need-it motherboard mount out of a pre-drilled hole. The central hole has an anchor point on it to position the motherboard correctly and hold it in place while you screw the motherboard into the mounts.



    The spacer i've left out (which will go under that motherboard hole directly above it), and the upside-down mounting screw with its "ridges" on the underside right beside it - they are used specifically for those "perforated" motherboard holes and provide a kind of stepping system preventing the screws from loosening over time from the general vibrations of the PC (also known as "chip creep"), as well as preventing them from being tightened too far which can cause cracks in the motherboard.

    Once secured we move onto the CPU which is fastened by this ZIF (zero insertion force) bracket, you simply "place" the CPU into the socket (holding onto it only by the edges of the board) and then just clamp down with the metal lever, you should not be exerting any force inserting the CPU into the socket - it just sits there until you clamp it down. There should be a latch which will hook onto some sort of anchor point on the motherboard as you clamp down, and once you reach the board just hook the lever around its securing point.





    Once that's done the heatsink needs to be be lined up with the CPU (being careful of the exposed thermal paste on the heatsink) and place it over the CPU and push down on each of the 4 anchors in an "X" configuration (ie. top left, bottom right, top right, bottom left) rather than simply starting at one and working your way around. you should hear a distinct "click" coming from each of the anchors indicating they have successfully been pushed through to the underside of the motherboard.



    RAM is up now and this one's quite simple although it requires a little controlled force which some people will either go overboard with and snap their motherboard in half, or won't use enough in fear of breaking the board. First off, flip all of those caps on the RAM slots into the open position and then figure out which way you need to orientate the RAM (the divider in the middle is off-center, it only fits in 1 way). Now push the RAM stick into the slot firmly with both hands, one on either side evening the pressure. You'll feel the RAM go half-in and at that point it's safe to just push on one side until it clicks the cap into the closed position, and then do the other side. Push in the middle then to ensure it's firmly in the slot, then rinse and repeat for the 2nd stick.



    Once i have the core systemboard components on i like to put the PSU in and connect all of the cables including cpu&chassis fan/usb/power&reset switch/ect. I won't go into too much detail over those cables because every motherboard has a different layout (information for which will be in your motherboard's user manual) and all of the sockets are also labeled in tiny writing on the motherboard itself but it's too small for my camera to focus in on. Back to the PSU though, it's really not that hard, you have your main 24-pin power cable and 4-pin 12V rails to your motherboard, as well as SATA and molex connectors and a few others. Every case has a designated space for the PSU, just slot it in and screw it to the chassis (holes should line up just right) and start plugging things in. You will notice everything has a different shaped connector, and that makes it pretty foolproof because nothing will fit where it doesn't belong. Most of your cables will be unused, that's perfectly normal, i just tie them up with some wire and stuff them under the HDD area.





    Assembly part 2 - Non-essential components

    Now we move onto the graphics card which in this case is extremely easy as my 7750 does not require any auxiliary power. This motherboard only has one PCI-e port so there's no guesswork required in putting this in, it slots right in and clips into the little fastener at the base of the slot. Make sure it's lined up with the case's expansion bay, and then secure the card to the chassis with a screw (provided with case). If you were using a more powerful GPU which did require auxiliary power, make sure your PSU has the 6-pin 12V rail to support it.





    The hard drive is quite simple so i'll skim through it - at the front end of the case there's almost always a HDD cage or bay in which they just slot right in. Just plug in the SATA power cable (is't usually easier to this one first) then attach the SATA data cable and plug it into a SATA port on the motherboard. Again the motherboard used in this build is quite basic so all the ports are SATA3, but if yours are different color they could denote a RAID controller or SATA3 slots, so do check your manual/user guide.

    I did not put an optical drive in this build because i quite frankly don't ever use them, but if you have one then plugging it in is no different to a HDD. It has the exact same 2 SATA connections, but your case will have its own designated place usually at the top on the front of the case for the optical drive.



    The front panel switches & LED's go in now, there's usually a little cluster of pins along the bottom of the motherboard which these go to. Just check your user manual/guide to see which pins are for Power switch, Reset Switch, Power LED and HDD LED. They're a little fiddly and the pins on the motherboard are usually bare pins without a socket or port or anything, so do just be careful not to bend or snap the pins.




    Once that's all done your PC is basically ready! You just need to plug in your monitor through whatever cable & connections you have (in my case it's a VGA cable to this old CRT monitor since my LCD tragically died during the build, so +150 to the total cost for a new 24" LED), and your peripherals (keyboard, mouse & speakers) and then plug the main power into your PSU and flip it into the on position (the 'O' is off, 'I' is on) and then fire her up!

    Mine started up and booted first time after detecting a new CPU (since there was already an existing OS on this HDD), this motherboard has some weird user interface for their BIOS but here is the finished result after roughly 45 mins (add another 20 mins for a fresh Windows installation which i did via USB since i didn't install an optical drive.





    Congratulations, you've build your first PC! If you have any questions or queries, feel free to post them in this thread. also i had several other pics but the forum limited me to 20 pics, so i linked the img URL's under each component in the Rationale.




  2. #2
    ˌ Ron is offline
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    Re: Rish's PC assembly guide

    Great guide, should be great for anyone new to PC assembly.

    You missed the "dust off your case step" however. Your case is nasty! :P

    I'll order and upload my pictures in an archive to kind of supplement your guide. I never had time to write up a guide myself but I'm sure alternate pictures would help some people.
    RF-Dev Team

  3. #3
    Evil Scottish Overlord Junkers is offline
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    Re: Rish's PC assembly guide

    This guide is great and glorious. Thanks Rish <3

  4. #4
    Captain of the Universe Rishwin is offline
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    Re: Rish's PC assembly guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron View Post
    Great guide, should be great for anyone new to PC assembly.

    You missed the "dust off your case step" however. Your case is nasty! :P

    I'll order and upload my pictures in an archive to kind of supplement your guide. I never had time to write up a guide myself but I'm sure alternate pictures would help some people.
    Haha i did say it was an old case, failed to mention it's sat empty in a corner for the past 6 months :P I got "most" of it out, as well as off the old HDD lol.

    Yea that would be neat, i had hoped to get more pics in but my dodgy camera wouldn't focus if it was any closer than 2 meters, so was unable to get close-ups of the board and USB/Audio ports on the mobo for the front panel.

    @ Junk hah np. Gotta say i told ya this section would be dead though :P If you don't mind i'll post up some other mini-guides, for simple things like system maintenance (temp clearing, defragging ect) and managing home networks and probably some easy laptop upgrades. I think it would make the help section alot easier, instead of always having to repeat ourselves we can just refer them to a guide.



  5. #5
    Gamma Justice For All is offline
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    Re: Rish's PC assembly guide

    Damn really nice and informative. Great tut. man you can tell a lot of time and effort was put into it!

  6. #6
    The one and only! Hejula is offline
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    Re: Rish's PC assembly guide

    That Pentium processor seems great for the price, might use this setup for my own build :)

  7. #7
    Captain of the Universe Rishwin is offline
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    Re: Rish's PC assembly guide

    As per the original point of this build which was to test the new Pentium's performance with a mid-range GPU, i'll post benchmarks up withint he next few days when i get them done, but so far gaming (only have Diablo 3 installed atm) is very smooth.



  8. #8
    Yeah nah, nah yeah Liam is offline
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    Re: Rish's PC assembly guide

    This is a great guide! I was thinking of building my own computer, but I always think to myself, c'mon I must be a bloody idiot, what if something goes wrong.. I dont' know if it'll be better to; 1) Fix up my current computer , 2) Make a computer? , 3) Buy a new computer

  9. #9
    Evil Scottish Overlord Junkers is offline
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    Re: Rish's PC assembly guide

    Straight away I can tell you a self-build can save anything from £100 upwards on a store bought PC. I estimate I saved about £150-£200 self-building my PC. It would depend entirely on what hardware you already have but whether you're upgrading or doing a new build, consult this guide.

  10. #10
    Ass > Tits Lapje is offline
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    Re: Rish's PC assembly guide

    Now that I'm finally back home and have a working laptop I can finally thank you for this great guide. It's very descriptive and it sure helps people out who consider trying a first build. Thank you for that.

    Oh, I noticed the protective film was still attached to your GPU after assembling it onto the motherboard. Did you take it off already or is there a specific reason you left it on?


    This really shouldn't be a place to put a request and it's not pointed only towards you, but I myself would appreciate a system optimization guide. Like point out which features of windows can be disabled for better performance and what else you can do to get a performance boost. There's a lot of that all over the internet but it's hard to tell what's true and what's a myth. The request is pointed towards anyone who has knowledge about this and would like to share it to the community. Ofcourse, it's not a must ;].

    Again, thanks for the great guide =].

  11. #11
    Captain of the Universe Rishwin is offline
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    Re: Rish's PC assembly guide

    Haha i'm a sucker for keeping my things in as pristine condition as possible, i usually keep the protective films on until they get dirty/ dusty or starts getting in the way... My 42" Panasonic plasma is still in the protective film after more than 6 months haha.

    Optimization guide is actually on my to-do list, it's definitely something which i always configure on each and every system that i setup, and after every single format. Working full time so time is very tight, but i'll start compiling a guide to post up hopefully within the next week or so.



  12. #12
    Ass > Tits Lapje is offline
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    Re: Rish's PC assembly guide

    Haha I see xD.

    Alright, sounds awesome. Looking forward to that, but take your time. Work is more important =3.

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  14. #14
    Captain of the Universe Rishwin is offline
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    Re: Rish's PC assembly guide

    Yea that would all go together fine, i would just be weary of the cheap PSU which comes with that case. Other than that it's all good and definitely the best performance you're gonna get for $320.



  15. #15
    Member kuniiyo is offline
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    Re: Rish's PC assembly guide

    Do you think it could play this well?

    SM Pvp Session - YouTube





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