View Full Version : System Build Advice

08-24-06, 08:09 PM
So, In the next week or so, I'll be putting together my brand new Core 2 build (yay), but, I have the dubious priviledge of never actually having put together a PC from scratch (Heresy in this board, I know!), so this'll be my first! Basically, I wanted any advice that you experienced system builders can give me. In particular:

1. What order do you generally do things in? Do you bother seating anything in the MoBo before bolting it into the case? (Obviously, I'll fit the heatsink backplate before putting the MoBo in)
2. Roughly how much thermal grease should I be using on the CPU, and does anyone actually have a visual version of their advice? Also, do you spread the thermal grease, or allow the heatsink pressure to do that (I'll be putting on a CNPS 9500).
3. Are there any common traps that I should be aware of?


08-24-06, 10:11 PM
1. Remove the motherboard from the anti-static bag and put the foam inside of it for a nice anti static matt. Then put the motherboard on top of it.

2. Install the processor and memory.

3. Only put the smallest dot of thermal compound as possible in the center, the size of a grain of rice. Then get a plastic bag, cut out a smooth piece of it with no edges/joints. Wrap it around your finger tightly, then use your finger to smooth the thermal compound on the processor as thing and smooth as possible. Letting the heatsink spread the thermal compound is also a good way, also it note than if the thermal compound doesn't cover the entire processor as the part that needs cooling is under the surface and isn't even a quater the size of the surface you're applying the thermal compound on.

I recommend Arctic Silver 5 or Zalman ZM-STG1 for thermal compound.

4. Create a sanding block, then sand your heatsink with 100, 200, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 2000 gritt sand paper in that order for the smoothest mirror finish possible for maximum cooling, this is only optional though if you plan on doing some overclocking or just want the best temperatures possible. Mount your heatsink and move the motherboard into your case.

5. Do the best wire management possible for maximum airflow, this is critical. Try to run as many wires as possible behind the motherboard, motherboard tray and on the back panel of the case. Use plenty zip ties :D
Also instead of using silly rounded IDE cables, use flat IDE cables and fold them nicely so they're flush on the case not blocking airflow, assuming you're using IDE cables.

6. Make sure that all the fans in the front, side and bottom of your case are intake and all fans on the top and back of your case are exhaust. Try to have more intake than exhaust to keep a positive airflow and decrease the ammount of dust bunnies you get. The side of the fan where there's the cross is the way the air is being pushed.

7. If you're using nice regular circular fan grills, remove the fan grills built into the case, as they block incredible ammounts of airflow. This is also optional though if you plan on doing some overclocking or just want the best temperatures possible.

8. Try to keep air circulation around your optical drives, hard drives and below your graphics card good as these are common hot spots.

PS: Steps #3 & #4 also apply to your chipset and graphics card. A condom should work great for Step #3, lol :D