How To Build A Computer: System Assembly 101 - HotHardware

How To Build A Computer: System Assembly 101

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We just recently ran a contest on HotHardware in which we planned to give away a high-end, custom-built gaming system (built by yours truly), to one lucky reader who came up with a creative name for our weekly video podcast. The parts for the system were as follows…

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 970 Black Edition
 
Cooler: Xigmatek Dark Knight
 
Motherboard: Asus CrossHair IV Formula
 
Graphics: Asus EAH6870
 
Sound: Asus Xonar D2X
 
RAM: 4GB OCZ DDR-1333
 
SSD: WD Silicon Edge Blue 64GB
 
HD: WD Caviar Black 2TB
 
PSU: OCZ 850W Z-Series
 
Optical: Asus Blu-Ray Drive
 
Case: CoolerMaster HAF 912
 
Audio: Psyko 5.1 PC Gaming Headset
 

We got a few requests to document the build process on video, so that’s exactly what we did. We didn’t go too in-depth, but did explain the approach we like to take to systems and talked about a few of the build decisions and tweaks we made along the way. Regulars around here will know that I’m a stickler for good cable management and constantly extoll the virtues of having a neat and tidy system to ensure good air-flow throughout the case, so we also talk a bit about cable management and explain what we did in this particular build.

Here are a few more shots of the contest system fully assembled. As you can see, there are minimal obstructions inside the case to hinder air circulation and despite the fact that we used a standard PSU (i.e. not-modular), all of the cables have a place and are tucked neatly out of the way.

 

 

 


The Compelted System Was  Decent Performer!

Over the years, many enthusiasts and DIY system builders develop their own techniques and favorite procedures to assembling a system and what we show here may not necessarily be what you like to do, although we all have the same ultimate goal. So, with that said, we would love to hear from all of you in the comments. With some good input, we could turn the comment thread into a nice repository for readers—old and new—looking for some tips and tricks for their next (or perhaps first!) build.

    What steps do you like to take to ensure a quality build?

    Are there any tools or accessories you consider “must haves” for system building?
 
    What helps separate one of your builds from another some hack threw together in 20 minutes?

Be sure to let us know in the comments—we really want to hear from you. Your post may just be the one that helps a new builder overcome a major hurdle and finish off their system right!
 

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Rightly said!! Now even I'm planning to open up my case for a proper cable routing. You inspire us Marco!! Yes

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LOL, compare my cabling to marcos... lol

Maybe i just have more cables lol.

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Lol; "maybe I have more cables. That may be true especially if none of them are routed. I personally need to re-seat my heatsink (Prolimatech Megashadow (Push/Pull Config) (I may change it to blow up and out the big fan as well), and of course re-apply my AS ceramique, but my cables look about the same as Marco's, although I don't use quite so many zip tie's. As far as it goes I think I may need to format, and re-organize my SSD anyway as well. So PC clean up time which I generally do yearly anyway.

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I used to just tuck wires out of the way of the airflow inside the case, but the last three builds that I did were done trying to make it pretty and functional like this one that Marco did so well. They worked out OK.

I don't usually use Zip Ties on my builds. I have a flat, waxed nylon line that we used to use tying wire bundles in aircraft. I use a knot that can be untied later on if you have to take it all apart. It's not that I dislike wire ties, but I was trained to use this cord on wire bundles years ago.

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Really tidy for a standard PSU. I admit I leave everything loose in the back and keep my neat only where the eye can see, but this kinda made me wanna civilize the situation back there.

I wonder about that sound card though, if well do I recall the Crosshair's got a really oustanding sound setup on its own, with gold lined connectors and all. Is there a significant improvement with that card?

And on another note, why do men call everything "she"? Computers, boats, buildings, anything sturdy is a lady =P

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karmafire:
why do men call everything "she"? Computers, boats, buildings, anything sturdy is a lady

Who knows why,...........................My '69 Camaro was a girl, but my Impala was "Brutus". Geeked

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They're all boys to me.

Maybe not the Beetle. =)

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Meet Nellie,.....She takes me there.

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Don't tell Nellie but uh... she looks like a Brutus.

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Marco very nice video presentation and excellant job on the build of course. I like seeing that 970 put to use because I,ve been wanting to get my hands on one of them to go with my Asus M4A79 deluxe but there was no support for it on my board untill just recently they updated the bios for it.Right now I m having to spend money on medical problems but soon I want to grab me one, think that would be a welcome addition to my system not that my BE720 doesnt do well but you know always want to upgrade and since its a nice board Im going for the 970.Out of curiousity what is the OCZ  PN nu: on the ram your using on the board I want to see how it compares to the OCZ ram Im using now!?  Your cable management is great too and that HAF looks quite roomy just all in all a great build. Great numbers  on it too every thing depends on parts and set up just like a car the parts and set up is the key if you have one bottle neck in the setup your just kicking yourself in the head so good matched parts, setup and software makes all the differance to a quality build and I got a couple in mine including the lack of a SSD which I definatly am looking forward to getting. By the way in re: to the size of your SSD drive Im sure its for the OP system and drivers how do you set up the large drive is it split into partitions or is at a single drive setup at its full volume! If I were to obtain a drive of that size of course due to cost just curious how you store any other software programs on the other drive. Great Job hope you had a great Thanksgiving!!!!

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