THE BUILDER’S CURSE

Maximum PC - - ED­I­TO­RIAL - Tuan Nguyen

I THINK I’M CURSED. For the life of me, I can never seem to build a PC that works the first time around. You might be think­ing, “How’s that even pos­si­ble?” But the truth is, it’s hap­pened ev­ery time I’ve built a ma­chine, whether it’s for my­self or some­one else. Things al­ways go wrong. Even when I’m up­grad­ing, things go wrong. Once I bought a blaz­ingly fast 52x CD-ROM drive to up­grade my ag­ing unit. It didn’t work. I had to ex­change it for an­other. It’s so bad that my un­cle once asked me to help him build a PC, but in­structed me not to touch any­thing, only sit there and tell him where to put things. Like I said: cursed.

To make sure you won’t have the same hor­rific build­ing ex­pe­ri­ences that I’ve had, we’re go­ing to walk you through all the tips and tricks to not only build an amaz­ing rig, but to do so while avoid­ing the com­mon mis­takes and prob­lems.

There are lots of lit­tle de­tails that get over­looked, es­pe­cially as you be­come more con­fi­dent about the whole build­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. For in­stance, BIOS up­dates. Mother­boards—even a brand new one you’ve just re­ceived—tend to ship with old BIOS re­vi­sions. The first thing you should do once your PC is booted is up­date your moth­er­board’s BIOS. I al­ways pre­pare a lit­tle USB stick with the he most re­cent re­vi­sion.

An­other in­valu­able tool to have is the mag­netic screw­driver. I can’t count nt how many times I’ve dropped a case se screw down into the bow­els of my nearly rly fin­ished PC. But you know what’s the he worst part of all? When the damn screw falls down be­tween two PCIe cards. If you don’t have a mag­netic screw­driver, you can buy a mag­netic ex­tend­able wand for cheap. You’ll thank me later.

I tend to build my PCs on the floor, be­cause it gives me more room to work, but if you build your PC on a ta­ble, there will come a time when a screw will just run away from you. To pre­vent this, get your­self a mag­netic screw mat or bowl. I pre­fer a mat to a bowl be­cause I can lay out the screws in the same fash­ion as they are on the de­vice I’m tak­ing apart. Let­ting a screw fall down into your case some­where is frus­trat­ing enough; los­ing it com­pletely is even more ag­gra­vat­ing.

One last pro tip: Read the man­ual! I can’t stress this enough. Ad­mit­tedly, I’m one of those peo­ple who tend to skip the man­ual and jump right into the ac­tion. This is a mis­take. My most re­cent les­son? In­stalling an In­tel Op­tane M.2 drive into one of my mobo’s M.2 slots. I no­ticed that when I had the Op­tane in­stalled, one of my SATA hard drives would fail to be de­tected by the BIOS. Of course, I had al­ready set up ev­ery­thing and closed my case be­fore re­al­iz­ing—by read­ing the man­ual af­ter­ward—that in­stalling a drive into that par­tic­u­lar M.2 slot dis­ables one set of SATA ports, due to PCIe lanes.

No mat­ter how ex­pe­ri­enced one gets, one will al­ways make mis­takes, but we’re here to help. TuanNguye­nis Max­i­mum PC’s ed­i­tor-inchief,al­so­know­nas“the­p­ointyend­ofthe stick.”He’sbeen­writ­ing,mar­ket­ing,and rais­inghellinthetechin­dus­try­for20years.

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