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How safe is building a computer yourself?

How safe is building a computer yourself?

I'm interested in getting a new desktop computer soon, and I'm wondering whether I should build it or buy it. I'm very good with software, but I don't have much experience with hardware (recently, I successfully tore apart my Toshiba laptop to replace the fan and add new thermal grease, so I at least do have some experience).

Asked by: Guest | Views: 68
Total answers/comments: 5
Guest [Entry]

"As long as you take proper ESD precautions and research your parts compatability properly it's safer than it's ever been.

Motherboard choice will be dependent on CPU choice.

RAM is easy - DDR3 is pretty much the only standard in use ATM (mid 2012), DDR2 is considered legacy and DDR4 isn't ready yet - higher numbers are compatible with lower requirements. High end systems (Sandy Bridge-E at this point in time) use a Quad Channel RAM configuration which means you need multiples of 4 sticks of Matched RAM. Mid to High end (most of what an enthusiast would WANT to build) uses DUAL Channel, i.e. multiples of 2 sticks of matched RAM. And low end setups still use single channel, so you you can mix and match brands and capacities across the board.

Pretty much all Graphics cards are PCI express now however just make sure you have adequate PSU power. Here spending more really does make a difference. A name brand 400W such as Corsair is miles better than a no-name brand ""800W"" (hint the 800W isn't).

Beyond that just be patient, research component compatibility (if in doubt ask) and you should be fine."
Guest [Entry]

"I like the suggestions in other answers.
Have one small idea to add.

Look for friends who have built one for themselves.
Friendly experienced people would be a great advantage to have around.
And, if they have built their machines, they would probably like discuss details too."
Guest [Entry]

"Some basic non-technical tips:

Make sure your room-mate, significant other, children are not at home when you are doing your assembly (and take your phone off the hook).

You are going to be with your hands on small, fragile, expensive parts. You simply can't be interrupted and count on not dropping something, or putting a charge on your body to 'zap' your components with. I'm serious. Murphy's Law states that the time your wife will scream ""aaaghh, cockroach!... HEEELLLP"" will be the time that you are attaching a CPU to your motherboard with heat grease everywhere.

Use the brightest room, with the largest work surface.

You'll need this space to arrange your tools, screws, stand-offs, etc. and clearly see the location of each pin on the header blocks. Plus, have you ever tried to put a jumper on in a dim room? Don't even try it.

Read the manual(s)

Enough said."
"Some basic non-technical tips:

Make sure your room-mate, significant other, children are not at home when you are doing your assembly (and take your phone off the hook).

You are going to be with your hands on small, fragile, expensive parts. You simply can't be interrupted and count on not dropping something, or putting a charge on your body to 'zap' your components with. I'm serious. Murphy's Law states that the time your wife will scream ""aaaghh, cockroach!... HEEELLLP"" will be the time that you are attaching a CPU to your motherboard with heat grease everywhere.

Use the brightest room, with the largest work surface.

You'll need this space to arrange your tools, screws, stand-offs, etc. and clearly see the location of each pin on the header blocks. Plus, have you ever tried to put a jumper on in a dim room? Don't even try it.

Read the manual(s)

Enough said."
Guest [Entry]

"One easy way to get experience is taking apart an older computer, you already started with a laptop, but a computer should be much easier. Just take it apart completely and then try to get everything back in the right spot (perhaps consider taking notes). Most of the hardware is very robust, so you don't have to worry breaking things by just holding them.

If it still works you already set the first step.

I think that current motherboards are protected again short-circuiting, so it will probably just stop if something is plugged in the wrong way. Plus if you start with the most basic hardware first: CPU, Power Supply and RAM you can at least check if it boots. From there you can start adding other hardware, but really there shouldn't be too much to it ;-)

It does help if you have an experienced person to show you how to do it or at least guide your way!"
Guest [Entry]

"The biggest problem in building a new system is figuring out what parts to buy. Actual assembly isn't that big of a deal, as long as you are smart about static precautions (touch the PSU, keep everything bagged until the last second, etc, etc). The only physically 'difficult' bit is the CPU heat sink, and that's not so much hard as it is scary (I have to screw this big monstrosity to that little CPU board????).

For my most recent system, I started with the Ars System Guide (the Budget Box) and modified from there. It gives you a good, consistent set of parts to think about, and then you can decide which parts you actually want to use (Do I want more or less memory? CPU? Cores? Etc).

Their suggestions won't exactly meet your needs, but as I said, they are a good starting point."