Just in response to Rixter's comment on disconnecting the power supply, I've been doing it for years with it connected, because I was told (this might be wrong), that it 'grounds' any static discharge you may have, as long as your touching the case. If you disconnect the power supply, it's no longer 'grounding' you. So there would supposedly be more chance of zapping one of the chips and rendering it useless when powersupply isn't connected.
Well, so far, me, nor any of my friends have been zapped, perhaps that's just luck?
I had someone that had put computers together before help me with my first one, And I have been building ever since. So Far (KNOCK ON WOOD!) I have not ed a component. I switch stuff out all the time. While components ARE fragile, there not half as fragile as you might think. There is great frustration in the problems you encounter and oh-so-much more satisfaction in the solutions that are hard won. Get good information, get some assistance, and Go For It!!! We will be here to help.
(btw I now have a mb, a case, and a mouse towards my next system )
[This message has been edited by Payne (edited 02-17-99).]
AMD 4400+ X2 @2.4 (240x10) w/stock cooling Abit KN8 SLi 2GBGeil pc 4000 DDR RAM 3-4-4-7 2x200GB raid0 IDE + 250GB IDE + 160 GB Sata 16xToshiba DVD 16xNEC DVD RW+/-R
PNY GF7800GT 256 Rosewill 500WattPS
WinXP Pro NZXT Lexa Case
1) leave the computer plugged into the wall because it will then be earthed. As far as I am aware, the switch at the wall plate only cuts off the active (and maybe neutral) wires, but the earth wire should ALWAYS be connected. So leave the computer plugged into the wall, but flick the switch off if it'll make you feel safer. If the wall switch is still on, make sure you don't do anything stupid like poking wires into the vents on the power supply. I've always tinkered w/ the computer with the wall switch still on, and I'm still here aren't I?
2) Just ground yourself by grabbing hold of the case for a second before touching components. Don't shuffle around on carpet while you're poking around inside the computer. Ground yourself on the case every so often as well and you'll be fine.
3) Don't be afraid to try. The first thing I ever installed was a Sound Blaster Classic and I was paranoid about breaking it by pushing it too hard. Let me tell you that today I use a good deal more force than I did on that day!! components generally aren't THAT delicate since they have to be able to stand being bumped around a bit while being transported from the factory to you. Just don't go tapping your PCI cards in with a hammer or ramming things home.
Building computers is a rewarding experience when you finally fire it up and it works. The only downside is that it usually costs more to DIY and the warranty is probably less on some of the components if you do it yourself (ie you might get a 1 year warranty on a hard disk, as opposed to if you bought a whole system you might get a 3 year parts and 5 year labour warranty on the WHOLE thing).
Personally i've put them together before, so I just went to a shop that did custom computers and ordered mine to the spec I wanted. He would have actually charged me $100 less if I put it together myself but I couldn't be bothered. Been there done that. Plenty of time for tinkering inside once I've got it (in fact I am kinda wondering why i bother putting the case screws on because you can count on wanting to go under the bonnet again pretty soon).
hehe, I had a friend that actually had a SB16 card go out on him. After tossing it into the wall, he pulled a brainfart and put it back in and it worked. I'm pretty sure it was properly seated the first time too..hehe. He must have knocked something back into alignment. One special note to Bink..Make sure you don't have keyboard power up on when you leave your PS plugged in. I almost picked up my keyboard by the spacebar one time while fiddling with the insides..hehe, Original or extra crispy?
Go for it. If I, a polisci major can do, so can you. I currently have the guts of one of my old 486's laying all over the coffee table. One of these days I'm going to have to do something with all these parts, but until then...
My current machines are totally functional and give me no problems. I really have fun doing this. Give it a try!
Take it from someone who does PC's for a living (A+ certified, CNE, MCSE): it's not a risk, but some simple precautions are in order:
Watch static - always ground yourself. Yes, most parts are tough, but I have seen many parts wrecked by not taking proper precautions. (A static shock you can't feel can destroy that brand new $400 CPU)
To disagree on the plug/unplug issue: most modern PC's use an ATX power supply (ask if you don't know what it is). These power supplies create a constant power stream to the motherboard. Simply plugging and unplugging parts (CPU's, memory chips, cards) while the system is physically plugged into a live electrical socket is a _bad_ idea; I have personally seen several blown PII motherboards because of this. If the PC is plugged in, off or not, there is a power stream on the motherboard that can and will damage components. Unplug the PC and use a static wrist strap (or some other constant grounding method).
(BTW, this isn't a problem on the older power supplies, since the 120V line is connected through the power switch, and no power is supplied to the internal components unless the machine is ON. Hence the advise; it was common practice to leave the PC plugged in as a method to ground it several years ago. But the march of technology goes on... )
Oh, yes: don't build your machine on a carpeted floor - do it on a table or something. I have had _several_ customers do this, and had to listen to their complaints about destroyed components. (carpet = static).
DO IT DO IT DO IT....
It's fun it's easy and you'll
know all the settings and
YOU'LL HAVE THEM ALL WRITTEN DOWN
And it's good exercise to never
touch a card or chip without an
arm in contact with the case (don't
worry cause the POWER SUPPLY IS UN-
PLUGGED) even as you take all the
components out of their anti-static
bags. It may be a good idea to
remember to put in that standoff
in the center of the MoBo (You know
the one I'm talking about) and to
check that the slot 1 cpu's (Some
Celerons need to be screwed into the
socket from behind the MoBo) is
installed right. You can build most
of your computer with name brand
parts( Almost all of it can say
Intel, Creative Labs, Micron,
Logitech, and Toshiba ) and have
a FAST, warranted ( 1 year up to
life time ) computer that would
make your mom proud. MwaaHahahaha!
Hey! Is that an old 5.25 I see
under the desk? I think I got an
old case in the .............
I've been building PC's for several years and currently run a help desk supporting 1100+ users. In my own home, I have NEVER purchased a complete 'off-the-shelf' computer. While store bought computers are convenient for support and software bundles, they rarely offer upgrade paths that are convenient. In two years when you go to upgrade the machine, you are forced to purchase an entirely new machine (in most cases). I've had the same computer on my desk since 1991, I think the only *original* component is the floppy drive belt and maybe the power cable. My standard policy is to buy the best components available and support becomes a non-issue. If you've got good parts, you don't NEED support other than a driver or two!
As far as grounding goes.. I've never fried a component, just use common sense when handling the parts. Keep in mind that you can almost never purchase a high quality computer from electronics superstores (best buy, circus city, etc). If you don't want to assemble it yourself, I would suggest finding a small computer store in your area and have them assemble it for you. They often use the same parts as the rest of us. As soon as they use the word 'Generic' when listing components, just leave. Every component should be from a well known and highly respected manufacturer. Currently, my machine consists of:
ABIT BH6 Motherboard w/128megs of CAS2 Micron PC100 SDRAM
Intel Celeron 300A (overclocked to 464mhz)
Creative Labs AWE64
IBM Deskstar 5 6.4G Hard Drive
ACER 40x CD-ROM Drive (fast,quiet,and only $50)
Symbios SCSI Controller
Toshiba 32x SCSI (6201TA)
Ricoh 6201 SCSI CDR (2mb buffer)
Supermicro 750 ATX Case (huge)
US Robotics (external so i can see the lights) 56k Modem
Iiyama Visionmaster Pro 17" Monitor
Diamond Viper V550 Video Card
Creative Labs Voodoo II 12mb 3d card
Intel Etherexpress Pro 100B Network Card
Iomega Zip Plus (external for portability)
These parts work well together using Windows 95, 98, NT, and Linux.
If you compare the costs of those parts against 'the big boys' you will find that they are considerably lower in price and higher in performance. That celeron is a very good deal and smokes the fastest P2-400's at less than 1/3 of the cost for the processor. Email me if you need any more advice. Good Luck!