Building a computer can be quite complicated especially if you’re only starting to learn. Mistakes can happen any time and it’s quite normal. Even seasoned computer hardware enthusiasts can commit errors at some point. Let me share some of the more common mistakes that can happen when assembling a computer. I’ve experienced all of them so I hope I could help prevent them from happening to you.
Probably the most destructive mistake someone can make is the simplest one. Whenever you assemble a computer, you’ll be touching the sensitive components of your computer which usually has a PCB or printed circuit board. This includes the motherboard, video card and PCI or PCI-e cards. If you have stored static electricity and accidentally touched these circuit boards, it could damage the boards permanently and the only thing you could do is to replace them. Usually, this isn’t covered by warranty so make sure you discharge your static electricity before touching any of the internal parts of the computer. You don’t have to look anywhere to do that. All you have to do is touch a metallic part of your computer case and you’ll be fine unless your case is made of pure plastic which I haven’t heard of yet.
Next would be buying incompatible components. Before buying your computer parts, make sure they are compatible with each other. Make sure that the CPU/processor, memory and video card are all supported by your motherboard. The CPU usually won’t fit the processor slot on your motherboard if it isn’t compatible. The same thing goes for the video card and memory. AGP video cards won’t fit into PCI Express video card slots and vice versa. The memory notches won’t fit into the memory slots of the board as well if it isn’t supported. Sometimes, the parts can fit but may not be supported depending on the board. This usually happens on low-end/basic motherboards.
Installing the processor is one of the most sensitive processes as you’re practically installing the brain of your computer. It is quite common that someone will try to force the processor into the motherboard. This is dangerous as the processor pins are delicate and can easily bend or snap. If that happens, then most likely you’ll have to replace your processor. Always remember that when installing the processor, make sure that the chipped corner matches the ones on the board. The processor should place itself into the slot with ease if it is aligned correctly. If it doesn’t fit, do not force it. I once had a processor that has bent pins. I managed to install and use it but I replaced it just to be sure.
Memory module problems are also quite common. When placing a memory module into the memory slot, the 2 clips at the end must clip and hold the memory in place. Make sure the memory module is firmly and completely pushed into the slot. There may be times that when you’re in a hurry, your PC won’t boot up because your memory module isn’t placed correctly. The same concept can be said about mistakes and careless installation of video cards and PCI/PCI-e cards. Make sure they are installed firmly.
There are quite a number of power cords inside the computer and we all make mistakes and can actually forget plugging them in. Make sure that the following power cords are plugged into their respective sockets before powering up the computer. The ATX power cord (the big one with 20/24 pins depending on your tower case), the CPU fan, system fan, the hard drives and optical drives (IDE/SATA), and your video card. Missing one of them can result in a boot failure or possibly damage your hardware.
Incorrect placement of the case jumpers can lead to simple problems like the power and reset switch not working or the LEDs not lighting up on your PC tower. Read your motherboard’s manual in setting up the computer case interface jumpers.
These are just some of the mistakes that you may commit while you are assembling a computer. So make sure that you have the essentials accounted for. Make a checklist to help you out. List all the parts and the procedures so you won’t miss on something. The assembly process can differ depending from one computer to another so make sure that you utilize your manuals well. That’s what they are there for. If you make mistakes, don’t worry. It happens to the best of us.