Building My First Computer

     I'm hoping that this blog post will be useful to some people, who such as myself are taking the plunge and building their own computer, well I've already built my own computer, and am now sharing some of the things I learned.
  1. Don't plug anything in until you have everything put together, you don't need the system live when you build it, you're only asking for trouble.
  2. Instructions are useless. You heard me, USELESS, not because you don't need them, but because they are so poorly made. I'm not suggesting you don't look at them, or read them, no, not at all, please do, read through them all before you start, but realize that they probably will leave a lot of steps for you to wonder about. Two examples: The motherboard didn't really fit in the case as well as I thought it should, the I/O ports on the back were too low to fit into the space provided for them, a quick youtube video explained that you are suppose to use "standoffs" little brass spacers, nowhere in the manual were those mentioned, of course that manual did say to use nine screws, but there were clearly only six screw holes. Second example, the graphics card, it had two power plugs on it, and in the packaging had one converter plug so one might think that it only needed power in one spot, but then why would they put two such connectors on the unit??? Well again, Google to the rescue, and yes, both connectors needed power, WHY DID THE MANUAL NOT SAY THIS?
  3. Fans are measured from side to side, and measured from the outside, not the screw holes, there is a chart that gives standards for what size fan you need for spacing between screw holes. This was actually very helpful in figuring out what size fans I needed for my case and saved me from not having the right size fans when I built my rig.
  4. If you buy a CPU that is a retail unit, it will come with the fan, and thermal paste already on the fan, though they won't be connected, you get to do that yourself, and no it's not hard. But you don't have to buy thermal paste in addition to the CPU, save yourself a few dollars, learn from my mistake, it's already included.
  5. Don't force things, if something doesn't seem to fit, take it out and look at it, check if you are putting it in backwards, or upside down. Most parts should fit pretty easily, and just snap in. NOTE: the CPU will require some force, but double check that you have it oriented correctly before you lock it in place, or you could damage it.
  6. Buy with upgrades in mind, even if you don't plan on upgrading. For all of seven dollars more I got a power supply that had an extra one-hundred watts. I'm certainly not thinking about upgrading any time soon, but when that time comes, I know I'll be able to use my power supply again, because it has enough power.
  7. Give yourself plenty of time. Don't think you're going to build your first computer in just a couple hours, something is sure to come up, which is going to hamper things, and slow you down. Don't get discouraged though, it really is pretty easy, and you can't screw up too much.
  8. Do yourself a favor and read some reviews before you buy anything. Some products just aren't worth what they cost, spend a little more money, if necessary and get something that is going to last a long time.
    Well there you go, eight things to help you out with building your first computer. I've probably forgotten somethings, but what was Google invented for?
    The big things are this. If you are having problems somebody else probably has had them before you, do a Google search, see if you can't find a youtube video. If something doesn't look right, or seem to fit right, double check and do a Google search, if necessary, nothing worse than ruining a brand new component because you tried to put it in wrong.
    When the big step comes, and you are ready to plug your shiny new computer in, do a quick check and make sure everything is connected in the case that should be, and that you don't have anything in the case that shouldn't be, your tools, glasses, false teeth, etc. Your first boot on the new system will probably be like nothing you've ever experienced before, just like building your first system. Your computer won't have an OS and you're going to have to install that, and all the drivers. I chose to install Linux Mint 15 and I really didn't have to install any drivers other than the Nvidia Graphics, if you are installing windows you'll probably have to install sound drivers, graphics drivers, and potentially a networking driver, depending if you put in a wireless card. Don't expect everything to just work out of the box, because it's almost certain that it won't, and if you aren't expecting it to all just work, you won't be disappointed when it doesn't.

     I write this as a nice person, but I can't be held liable if you blow something up, and no, I don't know how you could building a computer. You build your computer at your own risk, if you really feel like you shouldn't be building your own computer, get a geeky friend to do it for you, buy him/her some chips and a few sodas, we geeks like to do geeky stuff, and would be more than happy to help a non-geek friend out with something geeky.