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tinakarori
02-11-2011, 01:05 PM
Can anyone suggest a practical recent step-by-step magazine article or online guide to assembling one's own desktop PC? I want a reasonably powerful PC for home business work, heavy-duty Excel use, and business startup-related web research.

One or two recent posts on Press F1 have covered this topic to some extent, and pointed out that the required parts and assemblies can be purchased at a very reasonable total cost. It seems that the total parts cost, even for quality, quite powerful spec items, is significantly less than the asking price for similar-spec complete PCs from such as PB Technologies, etc.

l0gic
02-11-2011, 01:22 PM
Check out: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/How_To_Assemble_A_Desktop_PC

It's honestly not that hard to do these days. Aslong as you have a phillips-head screwdriver and a nice table to work on. Just avoid static (building it on the living room floor wearing your favourite woolen socks) and don't force anything.

Most components you buy will come with 'quick install' guides and documentation.

I usually get the case ready, remove the sides.

Install: Power supply, Optical drive, Hard drive(s)

Then: Motherboard, CPU, CPU Heatsink, RAM

Plug SATA(or IDE) cables, front panel (power/reset/etc) usually well named and motherboard manual shows where to plug them in, plug in power.

Test, if it boots to "..insert system disk.." you're pretty much good to go. Tidy up the cables, install OS, done.

A lot of cases now are tool-less, only thing you need to do is screw the motherboard down.

Snorkbox
02-11-2011, 01:25 PM
Install the RAM, CPU and heatsink into the Motherboard before inserting into case too.

1101
02-11-2011, 01:41 PM
Get all the major parts from the one supplier.
It makes things alot simpler if things dont work as they should. You take the whole lot back for them to sort out what part is failing.

psycik
02-11-2011, 02:07 PM
And normally the motherboard manual will include all the steps/instructions for installing the memory and cpu and cables.


Its just a matter of mounting the motherboard to the case then following the instructions.

dugimodo
02-11-2011, 02:21 PM
And be patient, no rushing it.

Can probably find video guides on youtube, bear in mind anyone can post and dont trust the first one you see :)
As for static, earth yourself frequently or preferably use an antistatic wrist strap (cheap and worth having) attached to an earth connection (the metal body of a PSU plugged in but turned off works in a pinch).

The actual order isn't critical but what I do is;

Install MB standoffs in case and make sure they line up with holes in MB
Install CPU, heatsink, and RAM onto MB - be sure you apply heatsink paste if not factory applied (small dot in centre of PSU do not touch CPU or Heatsink surfaces with your fingers)
Install MB back plate into case
Install MB taking care the backplate and mounting holes line up, put screws in loosely at first until they are all started then tighten but not overtight
connect front panel cables to MB and USB / Audio
Install PSU, I like to leave it to this point so it's not in the way
Install Hard drive(s) and optical drive
connect PSU to 24pin and 4/6 pin MB connectors and all drives
Connect sata cables, if you have spares consider installing them in any hard to get to MB ports to make life easier in future
Install Graphics cards, connect to PSU if required

Boot it up and marvel at yourself

it's that easy

Zippity
02-11-2011, 02:59 PM
The .pdf file in the link provided by lOgic makes great reading - thanks :)

wainuitech
02-11-2011, 04:26 PM
Building a PC is not to hard, depending on what components are going in as well.

Meaning if a basic PC, no problems, but start throwing in all sorts of large hardware and things can get a little crowded inside a case.

Building is easy, its when you hit the power button and they don't start up, or there are faults -- thats when a lot of people come unstuck.

By rights the shop you purchase parts from can charge you to test and fault find components, they only have to replace if a part is faulty.



It seems that the total parts cost, even for quality, quite powerful spec items, is significantly less than the asking price for similar-spec complete PCs from such as PB Technologies, etc.
Thats usually because they have already built the PC, and tested hardware to make sure its OK before shipping to the end user. Even if it comes with No OS, the hardware should have been tested and then sent out in a working condition before wiping the temp install they have on it.

icow
02-11-2011, 05:00 PM
And be patient, no rushing it.

Can probably find video guides on youtube, bear in mind anyone can post and dont trust the first one you see :)
As for static, earth yourself frequently or preferably use an antistatic wrist strap (cheap and worth having) attached to an earth connection (the metal body of a PSU plugged in but turned off works in a pinch).

The actual order isn't critical but what I do is;

Install MB standoffs in case and make sure they line up with holes in MB
Install CPU, heatsink, and RAM onto MB - be sure you apply heatsink paste if not factory applied (small dot in centre of PSU do not touch CPU or Heatsink surfaces with your fingers)
Install MB back plate into case
Install MB taking care the backplate and mounting holes line up, put screws in loosely at first until they are all started then tighten but not overtight
connect front panel cables to MB and USB / Audio
Install PSU, I like to leave it to this point so it's not in the way
Install Hard drive(s) and optical drive
connect PSU to 24pin and 4/6 pin MB connectors and all drives
Connect sata cables, if you have spares consider installing them in any hard to get to MB ports to make life easier in future
Install Graphics cards, connect to PSU if required

Boot it up and marvel at yourself

it's that easy

+1 that's basically how i do it. gfx last. definitely.

Speedy Gonzales
02-11-2011, 05:04 PM
And if you get a mobo with firewire on it, MAKE SURE you dont connect a front USB connection to a firewire header on the mobo. Or you'll be buying another mobo

wainuitech
02-11-2011, 05:11 PM
And if you get a mobo with firewire on it, MAKE SURE you dont connect a front USB connection to a firewire header on the mobo. Or you'll be buying another mobo

:thumbs: Builder damage or lack of knowledge is not covered by any warranty. Seen it happen a few times, people build a new PC, hit the power button -- the smoke comes out -- :xmouth: Opps - dont go at all now.

tinakarori
04-11-2011, 04:30 PM
Many thanks to all of you for your helpful responses to my query, and I am encouraged by the generally positive comments.

PENTIUM
04-11-2011, 06:05 PM
Nobody has suggested you could have a look at the series of 'how to build' in recent issues of Australian P C magazines. Wellington Public Library has these.

tinakarori
07-11-2011, 08:29 PM
Thanks for the info, Pentium - will take a look at the series as ap.

fred_fish
07-11-2011, 09:28 PM
TBH any of the cheapest PC's from your office supplies places will romp through your "heavy duty" excel stuff and a bit of web surfing. You'll save yourself a lot of time (assuming your time is worth something) and possible aggravation.
You will also have a warranty to fall back on if required.

... Unless, of course, you are doing it for fun rather than profit. :)

tinakarori
10-11-2011, 04:08 PM
I sort of understand what you are saying about "any of the cheapest PC's from your office supplies places will romp through your "heavy duty" excel stuff", but in my experience a reasonable PC specification and performance is needed to run large Excel wordbooks, together with other open applications, at an acceptable speed and without something stalling. The more so because I have the common accountant's habit of having several workbooks open at once, and switching frequently between them, and other open apps such as Word, Outlook, etc etc. Given this, what would you regard as a "good" PC specification for the job?

Metla
10-11-2011, 04:11 PM
I sort of understand what you are saying about "any of the cheapest PC's from your office supplies places will romp through your "heavy duty" excel stuff", but in my experience a reasonable PC specification and performance is needed to run large Excel wordbooks, together with other open applications, at an acceptable speed and without something stalling. The more so because I have the common accountant's habit of having several workbooks open at once, and switching frequently between them, and other open apps such as Word, Outlook, etc etc. Given this, what would you regard as a "good" PC specification for the job?

Just about any old crap will run that, Its not even slightly taxing.

In my experience office PC's run like pigs because they are set up badly, and in some cases their techs are just twats and don't know how to get em to run, or its money for them to keep them crappy.

Speedy Gonzales
11-11-2011, 08:12 AM
Speaking of work PC's, I saw one in the ASB @ Otahuhu the other day. It looks like its used to get access to Fastnet, or whatever they use. A window on the screen, saying it was running out of virtual memory lol. You would think, since its in a bank, they could afford to put a computer there (with enough memory) to run it. It probably runs like a snail

Paul.Cov
12-11-2011, 08:27 PM
I agree with Fred Fish and Metla. The Office apps do not require much grunt at all. My old P3-500MHz can blaze through any Office stuff I do.

If you like to leave all your apps open then simply get loads of RAM, but you sure don't need a beefy processor. I keep this machine underclocked for all but gaming.

The most taxing of all the tasks you mentioned is internet usage, and if it wasn't for all the Java applets using resources then even that would be trivial for even an old computer.

Course with online access comes the need for security apps - firewalls and antivirus, so there's another performance hit... particularly if you use Nortons!