Frequently asked questions – Build Video
This page aims to answer any of the questions that were frequently asked on the video. Just remember that most things: power connectors, data connectors, hard drives etc can only plug in in one spot and in one way.
Reading your motherboard manual should explain many other questions such as where your graphics card plugs in, the best configuration for your RAM and how to install your CPU heatsink if you want to understand in further detail additional steps than that have been shown in the video.
The method used in the video is the most full proof method of protection your computer components against static. Several questions have come up regarding not having an anti-static strap or building on carpet etc.
Generally, carpet is a non ideal surface to build on due to the static that you can build up when moving across the surface (especially if you drag your feet). In this case I would recommend an anti-static wrist strap, or at a minimum to employ the methods we used in the video, and ensuring you touch your case before and during removing your components from their anti-static bags.
The easiest method to build a computer (where you have majority carpeted surfaces and no-anti static wrist strap) would likely be your kitchen benches where you can touch a conductive sink and tap also. This is recommended as most kitchen surfaces (tiled, wooden surfaces) and the kitchen benchtops are environments that are not conductive to static electricity.
Secondly, for electrical safety in your home (later ones anyhow) all copper pipes must be tied to earth ground for your safety. So where you have a metal sink or tap available to touch periodically, you will be connecting yourself to earth ground, discharging any potential static build up in your body before touching your new computer parts!
With static, it’s not necessarily about breaking the computer WHEN you build it, it is about possibly damaging a component that little bit that makes it fail sooner in its life, or perform less reliably than it otherwise would have. If you are performing the build in a low static environment and taking the usual precautions explained then generally you should be ok.
We recommend the following anti-static products when building your computer:
Anti-static wrist band
The use of risers/standoffs
There have been several questions posed regarding the use of risers. In any application I see them as a necessity. Their main use is to ensure that the conductive solders on the back of the motherboard are isolated from any potential shorting to any surface or each other. A second reason for the risers is to mechanically protect these solders also. Mounting a motherboard direct to a surface (even if it is a non conductive plastic) will damage these solders and is not recommended.
So would I recommend risers? Always!
Do the screws come with the case/motherboard?
The majority of the screws that you will use in your build (to secure your motherboard, graphics card(s), hard drive, power supplies and other components will come with your computer case. You do not usually get a selection of screws with your motherboard. I would refer to what your case contents includes to check, but where you buy a new case, the required screws for all applications should be sent with the case.
Do you need a CPU cooler or CPU thermal paste?
Yes and Yes.
A CPU cooler is a requirement to ensure the cores of your computer processor can dissipate the heat that they create in executing the computer instructions.
CPU thermal paste is a requirement between the CPU surface and your heatsink surface. This is due to the two surfaces not being completely flat, so there are a series of peaks and troughs on both of the surfaces, where without thermal paste, air would be in these areas. Air is not the best conductor for heat transfer, so this is why the thermal paste is used. It ensures that both surfaces are mated effectively to ensure the heat transfers as efficient as possible from your CPU, keeping your CPU temperatures stable and stopping your computer from thermal throttling its execution instructions.
We recommend the following thermal paste for your computer:
Arctic Silver thermal paste
Any stock CPU cooler should come with thermal paste pre-applied, however where you purchase an aftermarket CPU cooler, you will likely need to apply this thermal paste yourself. It is worth checking when you order these that the CPU thermal paste comes included, and if not, ordering this yourself.
We recommend the following CPU coolers (if you want to use an aftermarket cooler!):
Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO
(More expensive but very efficient and quiet)
Why did you not spread the thermal paste?
The intent of not spreading the thermal paste by hand or using a card, is namely to ensure a consistent surface coverage. Where you allow the two surfaces spread the thermal paste (as shown in the video) the throughs in the two surfaces are filled by the available paste, not by a surface already laid down that does not account for the surface inconsistencies in the CPU cooler surface.
I am sure the differences between the two methods are minor, however this is the method that I prefer for the above reasons. The main thing to remember is to not use excessive thermal paste. In this application, less is more. You only want enough thermal paste to fill the throughs in the two surfaces finish, not to have such an excessive amount that the surfaces are separated by the thermal paste itself. Half a pea size on the centre of the CPU, and ensure that the CPU cooler is placed down flat and level to ensure even distribution across the surfaces.
Prior to the CPU cooler being installed
CPU cooler removed (very consistent surface cover – perhaps a little too much thermal paste)
Why did you put the RAM in the coloured slots?
Your motherboard manual will recommend the optimal configuration for the installation of your RAM. Most motherboards vary in their colour, so I’d suggest having a read of the motherboard manual regarding RAM installation for your particular model. This is to ensure the correct operation of ‘Dual Channel’ RAM operation so to ensure your computer runs as fast as possible!
Do I need a HDD and a SSD?
In the more expensive builds, we recommend the use of an SSD (Solid State Drive) and a HDD (Hard Disk Drive) for the following reasons:
An SSD’s read and write speed is significantly faster than a HDD, so by installing your operating system and most used programs or games to this drive, you will speed up the performance of your computer significantly. This will be especially noticed during loading times of your computer and in gaming. The only issue with this however is that the SSD’s price per MB (Megabyte) for storage is significantly higher than a HDD, so most people opt for say a 256GB hard drive, which is capable of storing many of your frequently used files, however if you store many movies, or music you will soon find yourself out of space.
We recommend the following SSD’s for your build:
Samsung 850 EVO SSD 256GB
We recommend a HDD so as you can store your infrequently used files, or files which do not require a quick load time to a drive that is much more suited to mass storage in place of fast loading times. This role is great for a traditional hard drive as the storage per MB is very reasonable, and where you purchase a 1TB or 2TB drive, you will be able to store 4x to 8x the files that you would on your SSD, for a much lower price.
The combination of the two (SSD for your frequently used programs, your operating system and games) and your HDD for movies and music ensures that your computer will load all your frequent tasks as fast as possible and still giving you plenty of storage space for your other less frequently used files.
We recommend the following HDD’s for your build:
Can you check my build?
This is in-part where the build guides on the website originated from. We can appreciate that there are thousands of combinations of parts and manufacturers that can be used to form a PC (some combinations that will work and others that won’t) and from the many requests we received we sought to make guides that provided the best quality, cost and performance for those wishing to build their own computer.
Reviewing proposed builds in detail is a somewhat time consuming task, so we set to create the best computer builds each month to inform people of what the best combination of parts are to build with. You can tweak these how you like and they are a brilliant baseline to start with.
Note: Where you can’t afford the 1% of your computer build price to purchase a guide from the site, each month we give 20 free guides to the people that request these (namely the people that aren’t yet ready to build, but want to learn from the detailed guide). Feel free to send us an email if you are in this situation and we’d be happy to help out.
Otherwise, Download a build guide at the link below!