Costs, components and what you actually need everything for a PC? These are questions you have to ask yourself if you want to assemble a PC yourself. But there are some things that no manuals can tell you. We’ll tell you some important tips for 2020.
Actually, a PC assembly is not that complicated at all. You need the right parts, a nice case and at the end of the day you have a selfmade computer under your desk. In theory this may be true, but in practice a lot of things can go wrong, as I have experienced myself.
Here everything still looks harmless: All parts for the PC construction are ready. But this is the beginning of a long story about building a PC by myself with many new experiences.
Where do the experiences come from? The presented tips are my own experiences from PC self-construction. If you’ve ever screwed together a PC before, you’re sure to be familiar with one or two of these experiences.
In the following I would like to share with you a few things that I came across while assembling my PC. Have you had the same or even completely different experiences, feel free to write them to us in the comments.
Beware of Amazon warehouse deals
With the Amazon warehouse deals you can usually save good money – but in the worst case you have some problems more.
What are Amazon warehouse deals? As so-called warehouse deals Amazon sells goods that already once had a buyer. However, the buyer sends the goods back to Amazon. Amazon then puts these returned goods cheaper than the original. At Amazon these goods are then marked with the green "Warehouse" sign.
How good are warehouse deals? You don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, as you know. But sometimes there are problems: Missing parts, screws broken off during assembly, no assembly material. The package alone seldom reveals anything about the contents – the stupid one is then the buyer in the end.
Therefore, a certain caution is required with such "bargains. Amazon warehouse deals can actually be real bargains, but you can also get nasty on the nose. And most of the time you don’t notice it until the processor or the memory is already used up. Then it gets really annoying.
Tip: If you still reach for a warehouse deal, you should pay attention to the following:
- Especially with processors and graphics cards, pay attention to whether the manufacturer’s seals are already damaged. This can be an indication of damage. If the seal is damaged, it is better to return the product.
- Paying attention to whether the accessories are there. It’s seldom possible to simply order missing accessories when it comes to manufacturer-specific components.
- If the guarantee certificate is available? Every hardware manufacturer offers a multi-year warranty, but offers it only with the appearance. Because here is the serial number of your product noted.
Why you shouldn’t save on the power supply
A conventional power supply for a PC. If you save money here, you may end up damaging other parts if you are unlucky enough to get damaged. Manufacturers like Corsair, Seasonic, Coolermaster or be quiet! offer experience good power supplies with high safety standards.
If you build it yourself, it should be as cheap and simple as possible. But you should not save everywhere and rather invest a few euros more.
Why should I reach for more expensive power supplies? Expensive power supplies offer a high standard in safety and quality. Modern power supplies are often equipped with protective mechanisms. The three most important fuses are:
- Short-circuit protection (SCP): to prevent the power supply or other components from being damaged in the event of a short circuit
- Over power protection (OPP): If the power supply is heavily loaded, this should cause the power supply to switch itself off.
- Over current protection (OCP for short): This is to protect the power supply and the components from a too strong voltage drop.
What is the disadvantage of cheap power supplies? Even cheap power supplies for around 20 Euros like to promise 600 watts, the promised performance is rarely kept:
The promised maximum performance is in fact not a continuous performance, but a possible maximum performance, which is however rarely reached. If you buy a cheap power supply with a maximum output of 650 watts, you have to reckon with a continuous output of 450 watts.
With a cheap no-name power supply, there is also a risk that the protection mechanisms are only laxly implemented. Mostly in the cheap sector protective circuits are saved and only an internal fuse, for example a fusible link, is installed.
If you break the power supply, other components might be damaged as well. With a modern network part there should be no more the case today.
Especially when it comes to the power supply, you should therefore go to well-known manufacturers such as Corsair, Seasonic, Coolermaster or be quiet! grab.
PC does not start, what to do? Speaker and zero method
This is what a speaker looks like. The rectangular piece (left) is plugged onto the mainboard, the round side (right) finally "makes" the sound. Speakers cost only a few Euros and are really worth their money.
If you spent a lot of time to assemble a PC and then realize that it doesn’t start, the anger is big. Then you can disassemble everything again and look for the error: Maybe I just forgot a power cable? Or is one of the parts broken?
What is a speaker? A beeper/speaker can save time and nerves here. A beeper or officially speaker is a mini speaker that transmits sounds from the mainboard. The devices are the size of a thumb and can be attached to a speaker slot of the power supply unit.
Where does the beep come from? Every bios of a motherboard has a "beep code". A certain sequence of beeps names an error or explains what the computer is missing. A very extensive list with the Bios tones can be found for example on Wikipedia.find org. You can also find this in the mainboard’s manual.
Every time you start the computer, the BIOS asks via speaker if everything is working properly or if something is missing. When I have a part connected to my mainboard and then start the mainboard, for example, a loud sound is heard. This means in my case: "Everything is okay, I’m working fine."
This way I can check every other connected part and you can find a broken part quickly and you don’t have to take everything apart again.
The PC doesn’t boot – The zero method in detail
With the zero method, only the CPU, CPU cooler and power supply unit belong to the mainboard in the first step. If the CPU cooler does not rotate, then there is a high risk that the processor will overheat and be damaged.
How does the zero method work? The zero method is a simple method to find the problem purposefully and quickly when doing it yourself. In the following, we present you the most important steps:
- Connect the speaker to the mainboard and only connect the CPU, CPU cooler and power.
- Start mainboard, wait for beep. If there is no sound, the power supply or CPU is probably defective.
- If it beeps, turn off PC and plug in RAM, restart and wait for beep. If there is no beep the RAM is probably defective.
- If there is a sound with RAM, then turn off the PC and plug in the graphics card.
Tip: Modern motherboards also provide fixed speakers or LEDs, which indicate errors. It’s definitely worth investing a few euros more here. In return, the stress (and troubleshooting) is much less later on!
Some manufacturers are also kind enough to put a speaker in the repackaged case. Alternatively, a speaker can be ordered for two or three euros.
Be patient and take your time
It sounds very banal, but it is helpful. Never try to assemble a computer between appointments or during a hectic schedule. This can not work and something will definitely go wrong. The processor in particular is very sensitive.
Why is the processor particularly sensitive? The CPU is the central processing unit of the PC, in exaggerated terms the heart of the computer. If a single pin on the back of the processor is broken, then this can mean the death of the processor.
This is what the backside of a CPU looks like, it’s called a pin grid array. If even a single pin is damaged or broken, this can make the processor unusable.
Can you bend back damaged CPU pins? The pins, also called Pin Grid Array (PGA), are needed by the processor for data and power supply from the mainboard. Among the pins there are also some that have no function, so called "not connected" pins. If such a comparatively unimportant pin is damaged, then the processor can run quite well.
However, if pins are already damaged when opening the package, then the safest way is to send the processor back: Because with a damaged processor you can also damage other parts irreparably.
Why you should take your time? A lot can happen in a hurry. You screw the screws too tight and ruin the processor mount or you forget to discharge the static electricity beforehand. Better take a whole weekend and do it in peace, then you are on the safe side.
Tip: A tidy desk is also helpful. No liquids or magnetic objects, no crumbs or greasy food that could damage the electrical components should be nearby.
PC DIY – Have a box with enough parts at home
It is especially annoying when you think you have found a fault, but can’t test it because you don’t have a suitable spare part within reach.
Above all it is then difficult to find spontaneous spare parts. In the local electrical store of my confidence it was said friendly "we do not sell tinkering articles."And the "tinkering articles" include, for example, main memories. Then you’ll have to order a replacement online and wait for another two days.
With PC self-build no picture – graphics card or mainboard?
Tip: Processors with an integrated graphics chip are especially practical at this point. Because even if the graphics card doesn’t work, because it’s either connected incorrectly or simply doesn’t work, you’ll get a picture in any case thanks to the graphics chip.
The Ryzen 3 2200G is an example of a processor with graphics unit. Both Intel and AMD offer these combination processors. At the upper edge you can see AMD’s seal, which guarantees that the processor should be undamaged.
If there’s no picture here either, then in the most pleasant case it’s only due to a broken HDMI or DisplayPort cable.
Look for a big tower – What do I have to look for in the case??
Power supply, mainboard and especially graphics card need space. If your case is too small, then you will have a lot of joy at the latest when you not only have to install all parts into the case, but also have to wire them up. If you don’t want to have any difficulties with the installation later, you should pay attention to the following:
- The case offers cable management. This way, cables can be hidden and installation is also easier. In addition, cables can not get into the processor or the graphics card during operation
- Modular cases or towers are helpful here, as they can be accessed at any point. This makes the installation of very large components, like the mainboard, much easier.
- Integrated fans: They ensure a constant airflow, i.e. draught in the case, so that hot air is quickly transported outdoors.
Tip: The air circulation in your PC is important for a constant performance. Graphics card and processor need air to cool down. The hot air has to be expelled afterwards, otherwise a heat accumulation is formed, which decreases the performance.
Graphics cards and processors throttle as soon as they get too hot. If enough fresh air gets to the components, then the performance stays at the same level instead.
Build or buy your own PC?
The view into the finished computer: Finally everything works, power supply (bottom), mainboard with processor and cooling (middle) and graphics card (top right) are connected. Due to the too small case there is a cable tangle on the left edge.
Do you know the feeling of having done something?? And the feeling is indescribable when the PC finally starts and you see the BIOS light up on the screen.
I was very relieved when the PC finally started. A great feeling, when finally after days everything works as it should.
Of course it’s also great to play on your own PC later and think "I built it myself in the last days and not just bought it like many others" and that’s also worth every effort and work.
What does the self-assembly of a PC offer me? If you take the time and effort to put together a PC yourself, there are a few benefits to doing so:
- If you assemble a PC yourself, then you save money that you can spend for example on higher quality components
- The good feeling of having assembled a PC yourself and being able to gamble on it. This is of course very subjective and everyone will see it differently. But probably everyone will be proud.
- The learning effect to have dealt with hardware and every single part once.
- Awareness that the next time you assemble it, everything will be much faster and you can help friends too.
What experiences did you have while assembling a PC?? Did everything run without problems or did you have difficulties until everything worked?? Maybe you had the same experience – feel free to write us in the comments.
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To build your own PC is always something special and my most important tip would be to inform yourself comprehensively. If not properly informed, then it can happen that even a wrong CPU for the intended motherboard is bought, or later someone wonders why he can not do this and that (keyword Intel and overclocking, K and non K).
To this topic there are many forums in the net and there you can also inquire and (hopefully) get expert opinions.
The reason why I write that is because of the configuration of you. Roughly from the parts on the picture, I would guess a budget of around 500€. And there are a few not quite optimal decisions made (important: from my point of view, anyone is welcome to argue against that).
First of all nobody will recommend a b320 board, most of the time these are the boards for complete PC stores and make some compromises, in this case for example the biggest shortcoming are the missing heatsinks for the voltage converters. Also, a320 boards will no longer support Ryzen 4000s, which already limits upgrade options now. The fact that it has only 2 RAM banks is not to get over, since Ryzen has partly problems with Quad-Channel.
It’s also difficult with the CPU, on the one hand your argument that an image always comes through the integrated graphics unit is good, but such an iGPU is always weaker than any graphics card and costs even more than comparable processors. In this case, for 10€ more, you would get a Ryzen 1600, which offers 2 cores more and supports Hyper-Threading as well, making it much more future proof.
And last but not least a hint at the M.2 SSD, the one used here is actually a SATA SSD in the M.2 design, so it brings also only the normal speed. Here could also be taken a normal SSD or then just an M.2 with much higher speed. Only for shoring this is probably an advantage, because no more cables are needed.
And last but not least a hint when shopping, Amazon is usually one of the worst places to go when it comes to this kind of hardware. There are rather stores like Mindfactory or Alternate which have cheaper prices.
But in itself a nice article with many important and good tips. Only with your configuration I see potential for improvement, but in itself I always welcome it when someone builds his own computer, besides, it’s also just fun.