Gen­eral build tips

Brush­ing up on the ba­sics is a smart move from time to time: things change, meth­ods adapt and stan­dards morph.

APC Australia - - The Lab -

TIP 1 AMD CPU in­stal­la­tion

Out­side of Thread­rip­per, AMD has stayed with the PGA (or pin-grid ar­ray) setup — the in­ter­con­nect pins be­tween the moth­er­board and CPU lie on the pro­ces­sor, as op­posed to the moth­e­board’s socket, mean­ing fewer bro­ken boards. To in­stall your AM4 pro­ces­sor, match the golden cor­ner on the chip with the cor­ner on the socket. Lift the re­ten­tion arm on the socket, care­fully slot the pro­ces­sor into place, push it down firmly in the middle un­til it’s se­cure, then bring down the re­ten­tion arm to lock it into place.

TIP 2 Ther­mal paste ap­pli­ca­tion

If you’re build­ing a Ryzen or Cof­fee Lake sys­tem (or any main­stream CPU build), a small pea-sized dot of paste in the cen­tre of your CPU is all you need. If it’s a larger pro­ces­sor, one of In­tel’s Ex­treme Edi­tions, for in­stance, use two pea-sized dots, and three for Thread­rip­per, down the cen­tre. This should be enough to en­sure that any CPU heatsink, fan tower, all-in-one, or water block has suf­fi­cient ther­mal in­ter­face ma­te­rial to trans­fer heat away from the CPU die, across to the outer ex­trem­i­ties of the heatsinks.

TIP 3 PCIe in­stal­la­tion

When it comes to in­stalling graph­ics cards and other add-in PCIe cards, first re­move the rear PCIe cov­ers from your case. Then, care­fully line your card up with the PCIe slot on your moth­er­board and gen­tly push it into place un­til it clicks down. Make sure you in­stall your GPU into the top­most PCIe slot for the best per­for­mance. There are dif­fer­ent lengths of slot suit­able for dif­fer­ent pur­poses. PCIe x16 are the long­est slots, de­signed for GPUs. You may find that some slots that look like PCIe x16 slots are ac­tu­ally x8 in­stead. You can de­ci­pher this by iden­ti­fy­ing whether the pins in­side the slot go half­way or all the way to the end.

TIP 4 In­tel CPU in­stal­la­tion

To in­stall any LGA pro­ces­sor, lift the re­ten­tion arm out and up, then lift up the bracket, leav­ing the pro­tec­tive plas­tic cov­er­ing in­side. Line up the pro­ces­sor’s golden tri­an­gle with the etched tri­an­gle on the socket, gen­tly drop it into place, then give it a tiny wig­gle to make sure it’s se­cure. Bring the socket bracket back down, se­cur­ing it un­der the Torx screw, then bring the re­ten­tion arm down, and lock it in place. The plas­tic cover pops off on any LGA 115X plat­form, but you need to give it a bit of a tug on the 2011 sock­ets.

TIP 5 Mem­ory in­stal­la­tion

In­stalling mem­ory cor­rectly is fairly straight­for­ward. Find the notch on the bot­tom of each stick of mem­ory, line that up with the notch in the mem­ory slot on the moth­er­board, and care­fully push it into place, mak­ing sure the clips on ei­ther edge of the mem­ory slot are stick­ing up—these click into place once each stick is se­cure. Be sure to pop­u­late the color-co­or­di­nated mem­ory slots, to en­sure dual-chan­nel or quad-chan­nel sup­port is op­er­at­ing cor­rectly. If un­cer­tain, re­fer to your mobo man­ual.

TIP 6 M.2 In­stal­la­tion

In­stalling the world’s lat­est and great­est M.2 PCIe SSDs varies de­pend­ing on which moth­er­board you’re in­stalling them on to. Some come with heatsinks, some don’t. But the ba­sic the­ory is pretty sim­ple: Use a small screw­driver to un­screw the tiny Phillips screw that holds the M.2 down, line up the M.2 con­nec­tor with the slot and push it into place un­til it clicks in. Then line the end up with the mount­ing point at the other end and se­cure back down with the tiny screw. You may have to move that mount­ing point de­pend­ing on the length of your PCIe SSD, and there may be an ad­di­tional heatsink you need to add be­fore rese­cur­ing it (re­mem­ber to re­move the ther­mal pad’s sticker first), but that’s all there is to it.

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