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Old 04-09-2012, 09:30 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by RisingFury View Post
 I recommend a first aid kit nearby. Often parts of the case are sharp and sometimes you need to break out a bit of metal to make room for a PCI sound, net or other cards. Minor cuts can occur.
So true. You have to watch especially in cheaper cases as they tend to have sharper edges. Also replacing parts tends to cause more injuries than assembly.

As for the grounding: I always ground myself since I fried 2 SIMM modules back in 1996. It's better be overcautious than damage perfectly good equipment.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:37 PM   #17
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Thanks for the great tutorial Gary. I think I'll try assembling my own PC if I find need/want for a desktop this fall. I'm going off to college and getting $1500 cash "for a laptop" but I already have a laptop more than capable of practical work.
Just one thing: When you get the chance, if you could fix the typos in the tutorial, I would feel much more confident in trying it out.
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:33 PM   #18

All this is very good information.

Regarding static.. it cannot be emphasized enough to take good static precautions. There was a time last year, I *think* I *might* have mis-handled some ram, and sure enough, a few months later it had random bit errors in a certain location/address. I checked my maintenance log and found the suspect module was the one noted.

The problem had presented itself in filing system operations. Large files being copied would sometimes get corrupted. And when it came time to back-up the system, the imaging program would report disk errors, but Check Disk would only sometimes correct a seemingly innocuous error in the $MFT, if that.

Extensive use of Memtest86 verified the problem. I changed the module and everything was fine. No more corrupted files. Memtest86 could now run for hours without reporting a failure. So on and so forth.

The point being is that static, like overclocking (but by different mechanisms) can cause latent damage that takes its time "eroding" the circuit pathways. The problem can show up months or years later and can be very insidious. Worse than spyware and malware. At least with nefarious viruses you kinda see something going obviously wrong and the ohh- moment is quite recognizable. You can take definitive action clearly and concisely. But with subtle static damage the problem creeps in on you slowly. You may not observe anything other then that there are unexplained CTD's happening or similar "strange" things going on at random intervals.

Last edited by Keatah; 04-09-2012 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 04-22-2012, 02:26 AM   #19
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Regarding screwdrivers - magnetic bits can be quite helpful, because holding those screws in place within the tight confines of some motherboards can become awkward... if not potentially damaging to connectors.
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Old 04-24-2012, 06:20 PM   #20

I've done a little of this myself -- built a few PCs from scratch and worked on several others. I'm far from being an expert; I'm a guy who knows a few things and who has several friends who know less than I do, so I end up being the "go to" guy. Anyway, my comments, for what they're worth:

Originally Posted by garyw View Post
 Part Two: The Power Supply & Back template
Part Three - The Motherboard
Part Four - The processor
Part Five - The Ram
I personally find it easier to take it in this order:

1) install CPU, CPU fan, and RAM into motherboard.
2) install the motherboard + those things, as one unit, into the case.
3) install the power supply into the case.

There's nothing wrong with doing it either way (it all ends up being hooked together the same way in the end), but by doing it in this order I can easily view the CPU from all sides while installing it into the motherboard (easier to see the pins that way), I don't have to hold the power supply cables out of the way while installing the motherboard into the case, etc.

Originally Posted by agentgonzo View Post
 Some people go overboard for home computers (demanding antistatic strips which is a fair point, but overkill if you're going to build just one machine).
And I'm one of those people that goes overboard on this issue, with no apologies or regrets. I've got an anti-static pad on my workbench that the PC I'm building sits on top of. But I've also took an old, blown power supply and converted it to a permanent ground bus that I can securely hook things to. And when I hook myself and a PC to ground, I use a three wire system -- wire #1 goes from the ground bus to the PC, #2 goes from the PC to me, and #3 goes from me back to the bus. That way I get one failure "for free"; if any single wire or connection is bad, everything is still grounded.
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