Tech

How to Build a PC: Hardware Tips, Instructions, and More

First, prepare a clean workspace. This can be a dining room table, a free-standing desk — just any surface large enough for your case to stand flat on its side, with a large room around it for the rest of your components. You will also need a Phillips screwdriver that fits the screws on your case. When you put these parts together, make sure you discharge any static accumulation and work on a non-metallic surface such as a wooden board. Or you can just assemble the motherboard on top of the next cardboard box.

Most of the purchased components will come with instruction manuals; keep them in use. We will start with the motherboard, then open the instruction manual on the installation page. It can be pretty intimidating – there’s a lot to watch out for – but think of it all as a great Lego set. Each piece is put into the other piece. For the motherboard, your first job will be to set up your CPU.

Install your CPU

Depending on what type of CPU you purchased (Intel or AMD), the chip will have either small dots on one side (don’t touch them) or a few gold contacts on one side (don’t touch them). Seriously, don’t touch that side of your chip. Oils from the tip of your fingers can damage the contacts, or you can bend a pin. Do one or the other and your processor becomes nothing more than an expensive piece of silicon.

Securing your processor is fairly easy. First, double check the instructions of your database and make sure you have unlocked the processor socket. It will be a large square with a bunch of small holes (or contacts), with a lever or button next to it. The instructions in your database will tell you explicitly how to unlock the socket so you can plug in your processor without any problems.

Once you’ve confirmed that it’s unlocked and ready, just find that corner of your processor has a small golden triangle and align it with the same symbol on your processor’s socket. Slowly lower the processor into the socket, then slowly turn the lock or lock mechanism. You don’t have to fight it. If you have to press really hard, also make sure that the processor is socketed correctly.

Next, you need your own thermal paste. That little silver goo plastic syringe is very important for this next step. Now that your processor is set, take a look at the shiny square of silicon in the center of it. This is where your heat sink will sit. Your processor comes with a heat sink, and on one side of it, you’ll see a copper circle. You can put the heat sink directly on top of the processor after applying the thermal paste, with the silicone square and the copper circle perfectly aligned.

Stir and carefully squeeze a small sphere (no larger than a pea) of thermal paste onto the silicon square of your processor. You want it as close to the center as you can get.

Now align your heat sink with the screws surrounding your processor, and gently lower it into place. You can squish the thermal paste, and the goal here is to create a thin layer that covers the back of your processor. It’s fine if it transpires a bit, but if it protrudes out and over the processor board, you’re using it too much. Use isopropyl alcohol, wipe it off with a lint-free towel, and dry the processor and heat sink. Wait until they are well dried and try again.

If all goes well, screw the heat sink in place. Return to your base’s instruction book and find the location right next to the processor outlet to insert the cooling fan into your heat sink. It should be very close to your processor socket. Once found, plug it in-congratulations, you just installed a CPU. That was the hardest part, and it is no longer, good job.

Set up your Storage and Memory

Memory is perhaps the easiest thing to install. Do you see those small vertical sockets next to the CPU? Align your RAM sticks and insert them in, starting from the left slot. They will lock in place once you have placed them securely. If you have two RAM sticks, be sure to jump a slot between them. Your motherboard manual should tell you which slot to use.


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