Building your own computer can be a long and difficult process if you do not know a few basic rules. However, if you stick to the basics loyally, they will prove to make the process not only easy, but fun too.
The first rule is simple. Make sure you have a clean, open area with plenty of light to work in It is a lot harder to put a tiny screw in a slot if you can not see what you are doing.
The second rule is optional but always recommended. Purchase a static-free mat with a grounding wrist strap. Computer chips are very sensitive to power surges of any kind. Even a small charge of static electricity can cause hardware to fail. If no mat is available, you can always ground yourself by holding on to the metal of the computer case at all times. It may sound trivial, but it will be a long and aggravating task to identify this type of problem.
Now, continue to the next two rules. Buy all your hardware brand new and buy the motherboard first. If you buy used hardware you are only asking for problems Besides, the computer market prices today are reasonable enough, and they come with warranty’s and manuals that make up for the few dollars you would have saved. Before you buy anything though, spend a lot of time choosing the right motherboard. After all, it is “The mother of all boards”. In order to build a smooth running system with optimal performance, you must start with the motherboard, and this may not even be the one that costs more, but it is always the one recommended more. Read the reviews in “Micro Times” or subscribe to a computer newsgroup and read the articles and feedback that pertain to one’s that interest you. Some good things to ask about are the type and speed of the CPU it will or will not support, the type and amount of memory slots available and the maximum clock speed at which your system can run. This strategy will make it very easy to find the best motherboard for your budget. Research is its own reward. You will need to learn all you can about the motherboard you have chosen so you can proceed to install the CPU and memory that will create optimal performance in your system.
The final Rule is to check your progress frequently. After you have the CPU and memory installed, you will be securing the motherboard to the case with screws. This is where most mistakes occur because it is very easy to ground the motherboard. Check that the system is working now by adding the video card solo, plugging in the monitor to the video card, adding power to your system and monitor and turning them both on. If you can see words on the monitor at this point, give yourself a hand, and take a break, for the hard part is over and you have built the core of a system correctly and easily. If you do not see the words light up on the monitor, do not get discouraged, as you are more likely to find an error now than any other time. Besides, at this point you can still isolate the problem quickly and easily.
Most technicians use this method when they are building a computer. You will find that checking your progress after each new piece of hardware will save you a lot of time and aggravation. With practice, this experience can be fun and very rewarding.
The remaining parts of the system: the hard drive, floppy drive, and optional cd-rom are next. Remember to check the video after each new item to keep a possible problem isolated. Finally, add any other accessories in the following order: Modem, sound card and network card. If you are adding a network card though, you are on your own from here. Congratulations! You are now a pro at building your own computer.