How To Build A Computer: System Assembly 101

System Building Video

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
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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