Build Your Own PC Chapter Two: Putting it Together Chapter 1 So once you have gathered up all the parts you desire to put in your custom PC, your gonna have to put it all together. Tools: lets talk tools. Some things you should have on hand are a phillips head screw driver, tape, scissor, and a grounding strap. A grounding strap can be found at a radio shack or any similar electronics store. This will prevent you from shocking your parts with a static discharge. Static Electricity is extremely dangerous to your parts. I recommend working away from any rugs. Work on rubber or wood floor, even cement. I have a foam rubber yoga mat that I lay down to stand on whenever I do this kind of work. Section 1: The Case and Cooling Ill start by saying that what a case looks like will in no way effect the power of your computer. While there are many nice looking or modded cases out there, they sometimes make it less efficient. There are several types of cases. We call them form factors. There are desktop, mini/full tower, micro, pico, Extended. These are just references to their size. When looking for a case you want to keep several things in mind. -Motherboard Tray: Some cases still have an actual tray for the mother board, while others just mount it to the back panel. Make sure that the case you buy is set up to hold your board. -PSU: Some cases may not hold all power supplies. Back in chapter 1 I may have mentioned it was a good idea to do some research on the size and shape of the PSU. Doing this will make sure your case is spacious enough for your PSU. -Drive Bays: If you plan on having many hard drives or many optical devices or card readers, make sure the case has the appropriate number of bays. Most optical drives (cd,dvd,blue ray) fit the 5.25" bay. While old school floppy drives, as well as card readers and some other drives will fit the 3.5" bay. Hard drives will also fit into one of the 3.5" bays but the hard drive bays are often situated in a different direction then your input drives. Several companies also make adapters that let you put a 3.5" drive in a 5.25" bay, just in case the case you want has no 3.5" front open bays. -Fan Mounts: For cooling purposes you want to make sure you have the most options possible. I will talk about propper air flow later. For now howeer you should make sure that your case has at least two places to mount a fan at the back of the case and 1 toward the front. Also with a high end video hard, make sure there is a side panel mount.(If any side has a mount for a larger fan aka 120mm in size, 1 is sufficient) -Side Panel: If you plan on buying a good graphics card, make sure you purchase a case with an opening and mount for a fan on its side panel. This will help with cooling the graphics card. -Other: If you are interested in water cooling make sure you choose a case with this in mind. A good water cooling system will have specific places to put all the apparatuses involved in the cooling system. But water cooling is an option i will cover in a later chapter. Section 2: Fans Fans are what keep your rig within optimal operating temperature. The best way to keep it cool is to have good air flow. If the fan on the front of your computer is directed as in intake the one or two on the back side should be directed out. This will pull cool air through the case. The fan that comes on your processor is meant to blow cool air through the heatsink that it sits on. This indirectly cools the processor. So you want to make sure that wherever you processor is, it gets the coolest air. Your processor will most often be near the upper back area of your case. So a good configuration often has your rear fans as intake while the one on the front pulls the hot air out of the case. Fans often come in 80mm or 120mm. The size you need is dictated by the mount size on your case. Things to look for are: -CFM: Cubic feet per minute. This is how much air it pulls in over time. -db/dba: This represents the amount of sound it makes. A higher number means it is louder. (more later) Section 3: Getting Started Once you have all your parts the best thing to do is open them up and lay them out in front of their boxes. Survey what you have. Make sure you have everything the box says you should. Check you case for "standoffs" these are little screws that will go into the holes on your mother board tray. They sometimes will be there already. if not make sure you have them. They look like a screw with the thread on one end and on the upper end they have a hex shaped bolt with threading for another screw inside. This are what hold the motherboard off the tray and let you secure it in place. Next remove the right side panel of your case. This should let you see the inside. If you remove the right side and see another panel in your way you either dont know right from left or you have some backwards ass case no one has ever seen before. Section 4: MOBO/CPU I highly recommend putting these two pieces together before placing them in the case. Your CPU should come with a heatsink and fan. These two parts are often already together. Your motherboard has a place for the CPU. While carefully handling the processor place it in the slot in the right orientation. Most motherboard have a lid and lever system that holds it in place. After placing it in you will have to fold the lid down over it then use the lever to lock it into place. You may have to use a little force to do this. Once the processor is snug in its place you will need to place the heatsink/fan over it. Between the processor and the heatsink you need a layer of thermal compound. While most stock sets will have a thermal gel already on the heatsink you can buy your own. A better grade thermal grease will bring your core temp down by about 5 degrees sometimes. But the one it comes with is also fine. **READ YOUR MANUAL** I can stress this enough familiarize yourself with the way you heatsink/fan locks itself into the motherboard. With the thermal compound in place you will only have one shot(unless you dont disturb the compound). Some of intel's stock fans sets are trick to get on. You may want to have a second person help you with this. Make sure you get it centered over the processor and get it locked into place. Once thats done you are ready to start putting it all into the case. Also please note that there are many "jumpers" on your board. For a newer user i recommend not playing with them. Your motherboards instruction manual should tell you what they all mean. In some cases you may have to move them. But please read about what you are doing before you do so.