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Beginners Guides: Assembling Your Own PC

Beginners Guides: Assembling Your Own PC - PCSTATS
Abstract: Assembling your own PC is not hard. Modern computer systems are designed to be easy to fit together, and they are.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Jul 28 2007   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Where to begin, and ESD worries

If you are a beginner at computers, begin at your local small computer store. For the purposes of buying parts you are much better off dealing with a small store than a large chain or electronic warehouse, provided you get a good feeling about the place when you walk in of course.

Small stores are used to dealing with computers in terms of individual components, so they are better equipped to help you out. Tell them you are planning to build your own PC. They will be able to make sure that the parts you get are compatible, at least. You will have an idea of what you want the computer to do once it's built, so go with that. Once you have all the parts on the list, it's time to start building your computer.

Now, if it seems we've already skipped too many steps for you, I suggest you have a peek at the PCSTATS ShoppingList - this is a list of gear the staff here draw up each month for a few different price ranges. The ShoppingList consists of computer components we'd actually buy ourselves, and of course you're always encouraged to substitute your own choices for what we've listed. At the very least you can use it as a shopping list so you don't begin your project missing that one vital component.

First though, a brief rant about static electricity. This is where things may get a little argumentative. First things first, there is no doubt that Electro-static discharge can destroy computer components. Static Electricity is also known as ESD, or that shock you get when you touch the doorknob after walking across the office carpeting.

The question is, how careful do you have to be? Is it necessary to properly ground yourself with an electrostatic wrist strap before touching computer components, or do you just exercise a few simple precautions?

I have to admit I fall on the latter side, but I'm not the only one. Walk into any of those small computer stores you see by the hundred in any city, and go to the back. I'll bet you the guy up to his elbows in computer parts there is not wearing a wrist-strap, most likely because he is also the guy who is going to come out to the front and try to sell you something too. Yet this store will turn out computers as reliable on average as any other computer store you could walk into.

Sure you could say "what about the big manufacturers? What about Dell? Don't their techs wear wrist straps?" I'm sure they do. The thing is, I don't believe that Dell (as one example) has a parts failure rate that is significantly lower than that of any other major or minor manufacturer, and if there is a minor difference, it is going to be because major manufacturers have a standardized quality control system in place that your local AlphaBetaGamma computer store is not going to be able to emulate. With a few simple precautions, I don't think we need to worry much about ESD.

Simple precautions: Build your computer on a hard surface, away from carpets if possible. Wear shoes and a short-sleeved cotton shirt. Synthetic materials like polar fleece are excellent static generators, so it's best to wear natural fibers which don't create little lightning clouds everytime you shift your feet.

Use the anti-static bags that come with most computer components as mats to rest the components on your workspace. If you often get static shocks in your home, it may be a good idea to plug the power cord into your powersupply and turn the switch at the back to the OFF position. You can then touch the metal case of the power supply (or the unpainted metal area of the computer case if the PSU is already mounted) to ground yourself while you work.

Be sure to unplug the power cord from the power supply before connecting any of the power cables to the components, however.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Assembling Your Own PC
 Pg 2.  — Where to begin, and ESD worries
 Pg 3.  Handling Components Correctly
 Pg 4.  Building the computer, first steps
 Pg 5.  Installing the Motherboard, CPU
 Pg 6.  Attaching the Heatsink
 Pg 7.  Installing RAM Memory
 Pg 8.  Mounting the Motherboard
 Pg 9.  Installing a Floppy Drive
 Pg 10.  Adding a Hard Drive
 Pg 11.  Hard Drives and Cables
 Pg 12.  Adding a CDROM
 Pg 13.  Getting Sound from a CDROM
 Pg 14.  Adding an Expansion Card
 Pg 15.  Troubleshooting

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