First of all, let me introduce myself. I am known on here as =F|A=Smoke or as Ol' Smoke in the forums.
I used to own and operate a computer business known as R&R Computer Systems, Inc. I have personally
built over 2000 PC's but my manufacturing company built over 300 systems a month. I have designed and
manufactured many different versions of PC's including a special mid-tower case made by Inwin.
So I will take you quickly through the basics, that you will need, to build your own computer. I will not recommend
any parts to you other than I only use Intel motherboards and processors. The other parts are what you like
and what you can afford. So let's get started.
The first thing is to prepare the workplace that you are going to build this unit on. It should be a large desk with
steady legs and good lighting. There should be a protected AC supply for the power. You should be sitting on
a leather or wood chair to minimize static electrical build up. You will need one tool; a Phillips #2 screwdriver.
The case you bought should have a power supply large enough to provide the video card with ample power.
In today's systems a good 800W is plenty, even for dual video card systems. You will need a CD/DVD deck,
a good size harddrive of at least 800GB, a quality video card for gaming, and of course the motherboard and CPU.
I recommend a full ATX board because it gives each component more room on the board and it gives more room to work with
in the case. With all that said, let's get started.
Mount the power supply if it has not already been done by the manufacturer. Take the power cables and tape them
to the top of the case to keep them out of the way while you install the hardware. Lay the case on it's side.
Insert the motherboard's rear access panel plate into the case. Most motherboard's come with the plate designed for that motherboard.
Mount the CPU onto the motherboard following the instructions supplied by the CPU manufacturer. The silver gel should be smoothly
applied to the top of the cpu and to the bottom of the fan. Don't leave lumps and valleys. It doesn't need to be thick, just a thin layer.
Mount the motherboard into the case and use all the mounts available so the board is stable inside the case. Check your manuals.
Now install the RAM modules following the motherboard's instruction manual. If you are a heavy gamer I suggest RAM fans.
Connect the case wiring per instructions found in the motherboard manual. The case manual will also help to identify these cables.
Connect the HDD (Harddrive) cable to the 0 (Zero) position SD connection on the motherboard and lay it aside.
Connect the CD/DVD cable to the 3 or 4 position* of the SD connectors and lay it aside.
*They are marked either 0-1-2-3 or 1-2-3-4
Install the video card into the appropriate slot on the motherboard. You will need to remove a slot cover or two.
At this time you will need to install the HDD and the CD/DVD into the case as directed. Put the CD into the top position and place the
HDD closest to the area where the most air flow travels through the case. Usually the case is designed so that slot 1 for HDD is near
Now take the SD cables coming from the motherboard and install them into the backs of the CD and HDD. Notice that they can only
be installed one way. After that, select the longest power cable from the PS (power supply) and plug it into the HDD. The shortest
should go to the CD.
Now take the large power cable for the mother board and plug it into the motherboard. There will probably be another plug on the
motherboard (MB) that will need a power cable also. Then plug in the additional power plug into the video card. Now plug in the case
fans to their appointed places on the motherboard. Follow the MB manual for this. It should have a three or four prong connector on
the MB enough for 3 or 4 fans. The CPU, Case Fan #1, #2, etc.
At this point recheck that you have done all this properly. Okay? Here we go with the first test.
Plug in you monitor to the video card and the power. Plug in the keyboard and mouse. Plug in the power cable to the back of the power supply. Switch on the PS.
If all connections are correct, there should be a tiny red light come on, on the MB. This is the power good check light. (Some boards don't have this feature)
If it doesn't then check to make sure you have the correct connectors in the correct places.
Okay. Let's say the motherboard is okay and the system fired up with no problems. Turn the PS back off. Now smell around inside the case and see if you smell
any odors or burning smells. If not, you are good to go.
Read the MB manual and find the part about setting up the BIOS. What you want to find is the key that allows us to enter the BIOS setup program. (Usually DEL)
Whatever it is remember it for later.
Now read the MB Manual and find the part about clearing the BIOS. There should be a part about moving a connector from one place to another on the MB to clear
the BIOS coding. Find it on the MB. Move it from the 1-2 position to the 2-3 position. (Usually) This clears the system and sets it to setup. Now move the pin back to the 1-2 pins.
Turn on the PS again. Make sure the monitor is on. Push the on button on the case and watch the screen. Once it comes on and there is a picture, start pushing the DEL** key
several times. At some point the BIOS setup screen will come on. There should be a selection for choosing a basic setup for the MB. This will install the HDD and CD into the BIOS
configuration. Later, you can follow the manual and setup the BIOS for your own settings. But for now let the BIOS basic do the job. Set the clock settings to your area and time.
**If the DEL key is the one to use for your system. If not follow the steps in your MB manual.
Now go through the screens of the BIOS setup pages and make sure it found the HDD, CD, RAM, and CPU correctly. The HDD should be in slot 0 or 1 of the SD connectors and the CD
should be in the last one. There is a place in the setup that makes mention of BOOT order for HDD and CD. At this time make the CD number 1 followed by the HDD.
If all is correct, then press the F key that the screen says to use to store the settings and exit. It will usually be F10.
When that is done, the system restarts and stops at a BIOS screen. Now set the case upright, and insert your Windows installation disk into the CD.
Press CTRL+ALT+DEL and restart the system. It should find the install disk and begin the Windows installation. If you are new to this, let Windows use the entire disk as Drive C:.
When the screens come up, just put in the data it requests. Do not put in your full name. Use initials. (Just for added security use only your first two initials) Name the computer COMP 1.
Put in the security code for the Windows COA found on your disk cover. Once this is done and Windows finishes installation and restarts. Remove the CD before it restarts.
Now you should come up to a Windows desktop screen. Windows will have found many hardware things and there will be warnings come up. Cancel them all for now.
The next thing to do, is to install the drivers for your motherboard. You have a CD that came with the MB. Put it into the CD and close the door. It should start running by itself.
When it loads the program, there should be a selection to install all MB drivers. This will include the Audio, and several other drivers for parts on the MB. Let it finish completely.
It may restart several times to complete the job.
Once that is done, you need to install the video card drivers. Again, there is a CD that came with your video card. Insert it as before and let it install the driver and other tools.
Again the system will restart. Now take and replace those CD's back into their slips or cases and set them aside for now.
At some point now, you will need to update the drivers for the MB, and the video card. You will need to go to the internet for this. Your connection for the internet is now setup
and ready in Windows. So plug in the CAT5 cable to the network connector on the back of your PC. Your internet router will connect to it, if you have it plugged into the router.
Look in the manual provided by the MB and video card manufacturer and there should be a website to go to, to get the drivers. There are scripts available on the website's Download
area that will do this for you automatically. Just find the reference in the download area for your product and select the appropriate model. Somewhere in there you will find this
automatic download and install feature. You will need to do the MB bios update, and all drivers for your MB. You will need this for your video card also. (Drivers)
Once you have completed this, you should be ready to complete the build of your PC. Start by making sure that extra power cables are tied up and not interfering with anything.
Then put on the side cover and you are ready to go. Just plug in your speakers as the last thing. Windows should automatically setup your mouse and keyboard.
The next thing to do is to go to the WIndows update website and let Windows get all the updates done. Don't select any hardware updates at this time. Do just the critical and
security downloads first.
Read through all your manuals to get well acquainted with your system and all the functions in the BIOS. If there are things you don't know about the BIOS, just go online and search
for your BIOS settings in Google. Someone, somewhere has a full paper or video on how to get the most out of it. To keep the system from looking for a boot disk, reset your bios
to make the HDD the first boot drive. The CD can be second and disable any others.
Now let the system burn in for a few hours before you start hammering on it. And always let it warm up to normal temp before installing any programs. You can now register your
Windows CD online also. You are all done. Congratulations.
Here are some answers to questions I have had over the years.
Why can't I put in all my HDD's when I do this? Because Windows will set them all up in the order they appear in the BIOS. Sometimes the BIOS overrides Windows and puts the HDD's
in a screwy numbering. So that when you are done installing Windows, you find that it installed it on drive D: or E:. So do everything one step at a time.
Why can't I tweak the BIOS at this time for faster performance? When building something, make sure it can run on the basic settings before you make it a race car. It makes for a better,
cleaner install when everything runs smoothly. There is time to do the tweaking later.