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How to Build a Computer- Tutorial [UPDATES!]

Posted: Thu, 30th Jul 2009, 12:36am

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DVStudio

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Hey guys

Wasn't sure exactly where to put this one. Whether in the General Chat or in the Tutorial Section (but since it wasn't about film making or the software, I thought it was most appropriate here)

Anyways, I decided to put this tutorial together because we certainly get a lot of questions around here about computer specs for editing and then we usually suggest to try to build your own computer. This is for the people who don't know ho to do that, or need a refresher. I tried to make it as thourough as possible. Enjoy.

Also, it is intentionally divided between three posts because of the lenght and because they then correspond to the videos.
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How to Build a PC

Building a Computer Guide Part I: The Basics

Okay, so you’ve decided to brave it and build your own computer. Great! You’ve probably already heard of all of the advantages of building one yourself, but let’s hear some of them again.


  • You can choose exactly what parts, brands, and specifications you want your system to have rather than being limited by what is offered by the manufactures.
  • You can save quite a bit of money because you’re not making a profit off of the computer.
  • And, you get full access to all of the individual warranties of the parts rather than being stuck with a one year warranty for the computer company.


Oh, so you knew all that already. Well, let’s see how much you really know! Onwards to part 2.

Part II: The acronyms explained

There are, as you have probably already discovered, many computer related acronyms and abbreviations. If you aren’t up on the latest tech trends, or haven’t heard these words used before, you could be a little bit confused. No problem. We’ll explain the common ones here!

CPU- this simply means Central processing Unit or processor. This is the brains of the computer and along with the RAM, determine the mulit-tasking capability and speed of your computer. Which leads us to the next abbreviation!
RAM- Random Access Memory. Or just memory.
HDD- Hard Disk Drive. Or hard drive.
SSD- Solid State Drive. A faster, more secure, and more reliable drive. But beware of the high price tag and the low amount of storage space.
GFX- just graphics
Optical Drive- the DVD or CD drive. Used to install programs, games, and the operating system.
OS- the operating system. Examples of current ones are: Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Past operating systems included Windows 2000, Windows 98, Windows ME, and others.
PSU- the power supply unit. Provides power to your system.
Mobo- the motherboard. Basically controls and connects everything within the system.
GHz- gigahertz. Used to measure processor speed such as Quad Core 3.4 GHz which would mean one physicall processor running 4 cores 9the equivalent of 4 single-core processors all running at 3.4 GHz). The more GHz, the better!
MHz- megahertz. Used to measure RAM speed, but more gigabytes of RAM at lower speeds is better than less RAM at higher speeds
GB- gigabytes. A unit used to measure hard drive space and the amount of system RAM.
TB- also used to measure hard drive space. 1TB= 1,024 GB
MB- megabytes. Oh gosh! I remember when RAM and hard drivers were measured in that! Yeah, don’t look for any drives with that little storage. Won’t be able to install the latest Call of Duty or Age of Empires on that! You’d need 3-4 GB for that!!
AGP- Acelerated Graphics port
RPM- ah, a familiar one! Rotations Per Minute, applies to hard drives in this case

Well, there you have it! Some of the most common computer acronyms that you’ll come across while building your computer!

Part III: Choosing the components

This is one of the most fun parts. You get to pick out which parts you’ll put into your system. But before we do that, we need to determine what you plan to do with your computer, what programs you’ll run, and what components you have to have.

The two most powerful computer related tasks are gaming and video editing. Both of these tasks require a lot of computer power, especially if you’re playing the latest games or editing in high definition. So, let’s check out my recommendations!

Basic Users

The users that would be in this class would be a basic, home user or student running office and email and internet. Maybe some basic games like chess or similar light graphics and system straining games.

What to look for

Case: basic, ATX minitower or desktop chassis, 1 fan
CPU: Single Core (2 GHz or higher) or Pentium Dual Core (about 2.0-2.2 Ghz)
RAM- about 1 GB for Windows XP or 2 GB for Windows Vista
OS: Vista Basic or Windows XP Home
Hard drive- 80- 160 GB, preferably 7200 RPM
Floppy drive- optional, not really needed too much, except for some backups
Optical drive- DVD ROM/ CD burner
Video Card/Graphics- Integrated is usually fine, or a 256 MB low end card will do
Monitor- 17-19 inch will be adequate
Ports- USB, maybe a firewire/ IEEE1394 port (external drives, camcorders, etc) parallel port possibly (printers), ethernet, mouse/keyboard if not USB, onboard sound card, be sure to have at least 3 SATA ports (1 for optical drive, 2 available for hard drives and all)
Optional: injek printer, upgrade to DVD burner

Mulit-media users

These users would play a lot of DVDs, maybe a burn a few, edit a few basic videos from a consumer camcorder using a program like Windows Movie Maker. These users also use the computer for basic word processing, itunes or Zune, and web surfing.

Case: ATX minitower, 1-2 fans (watch for noise if it will be part of an entertainment center) or Micro ATX for entertainment center computer
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo model (2.4- 2.83 GHz)
RAM: 2-4 GB
OS- Vista Premium (native HD) or Windows XP Media Center Edition
Hard drive- 250 GB or greater (at least 7200 RPM)
Floppy drive-could be handy for backups, but not used too often
Optical drive- DVD burner, about 18X, maybe dual layer
Video card- 512 MB or so, Nvidia Geforce 7200 or greater, no integrated video
Monitor- 20 inch or so, your preference
Ports- firewire, USB, parallel, eSATA (maybe), possibly HDMI, usually standard sound card, Ethernet, 3+ SATA ports
Optional: wireless G or N adapter or PCI card, laser printer, scanner, TV Tuner (works with Media Center in Vista Premium and XP Media Center)

Business User

These users would be using this computer for work related activities and as a workstation. You’ll want to run the latest office software and be able to make PDFs and scan and attach to networks easily. You’ll want business tools and backup ability. You won’t want downtime, but may be on a budget, especially if outfitting many users with new computers. **See note 2**

Case: ATX minitower, desktop model, about 2 fans
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2- 2.4ish GHz
RAM: 2-3 GB **See note 1**
OS- Vista Business or XP Pro
Hard drive- 250-320 GB 7200 RPM (assuming there is a server for network files)
Floppy drive-could be handy for backups once again
Optical drive- DVD-ROM/ CD burner
Video card- integrated or 256MB should be more than enough unless running very intensive engineering programs (then the above would need changing too)
Monitor- 19-20”
Ports- several USB, parallel, eSATA (maybe), standard sound card, Ethernet, 2-3 SATA ports
Optional: laser printer (wireless?), scanner, fax, copy machine, webcam (video conferencing)

Video Editing Powerhouse

Yes, the part you’ve been waiting for! The film making machine. These users need ;lost of RAM, hard drive space, and fast processors for fast rendering times and storage (especially with HD footage). Though the graphics you’ll require won’t be as intense as the next type of user, you’ll still need a powerful computer! We’ll help you choose and you’ve come to the right place!

Case: Really, it’s up to you. Whatever gives you enough room for upgrades and all should be fine. My suggestion would be ATX tower or mini tower
CPU: Quad Core. Definitely as most video editors and NLEs can utilize 4 cores. Look for Core 2 Quad, Phenom II X4 (don’t go for the triple core) or Intel Core i7
RAM: 4GB or more (go for as much as you can afford especially with 3D rendering and HD) **See note 4**
OS: Vista Premium or Ultimate
Hard drive: 500GB- 1.5 TB or more (especially if using HD cameras)- external storage would be good too **See note 3** 7200- 10K RPM
Floppy drive: not really
Optical drive: Dual layer DVD burner, light scribe, Blu-ray burner/reader
Video card: about 512 MB should be enough- look for GeForce 8800 or higher
Monitor: about 22-24 inch
Ports: several USB and firewire, eSATA, upgraded sound card (sound blaster) TV Tuner, [url= http://www.logickeyboard.com/shop/shuttle-pro-v2-1509p.html]Shuttle V2 Pro[/url]
Optional: good printer (for graphics art) scanner, good speakers, microphones, multi-media keyboard (you can get keyboard sticker sets for filmmaking shortcuts at www.editorskeys.com )

Gamer’s Companion

The title says it all. This is the gamers rig. For all the latest games, best graphics, and ability to play lots of graphics intense games. If that describes you, this is the right section!

Case: ATX Tower or Full Desktop Chasis
CPU: Fast Intel Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad or Phenom ii X4 (look for lots of Cache) **See note 5** Or Intel Core i7 if your budget allows it!
RAM: Get at least 4 gigs **See note 4**
OS: Vista Ultimate
Hard drive: about 750GB- 1TB or get a lower storage drive with 10K RPM
Floppy: Nah.
Optical drive: at least a CD/DVD reader and burner
Video Card: GeForce 8800 or higher, SLI and CrossFire support are possibilities, maybe several graphics cards?
Monitor: your preference. 22” or more is my recommendation
Ports: microphones, good sound card, lost of PCI slots, firewire maybe
Optional: joystick (maybe), comfortable gamer keyboard and mouse, webcam, Xbox 360 controllwer for computer

Okay, once you figure out what type of user you are, you can begin choosing your components. Good places to shop for components are at www.amazon.com and www.newegg.com for discounted parts and the latest technologies. At Newegg, you can sign up for sale emails with shell shocker deals which can be great!

As far as the motherboard goes, this is the part where you need to make sure everything matches up. The important things to look for are the processor socket, whether it supports AMD or Intel, the number of SATA ports, RAM slots, RAM speeds, maximum amount of RAM, processor support, etc. See figure 1 for an example of a motherboard and processor that work together. Also, be sure to match the motherboard form factor with that of your case (ie. MicroATX case= Micro ATX motherboard)

For the processor, look for the correct number of cores for your particular type of usage, then look at the processor socket type foe motherboard compatibility. Again, see figure 1 if confused. Look for the most amount of gigahertz and higher cache sizes to determine multi-tasking capability. For instance, I’m running a Phenom II X4 at 3.2 GHz and with over 8 MB of L3 chache. And it’s fast.


For RAM, don’t worry so much about the speed (except for compatibility with the motherboard) as much as the amount you put into the system. Get more GB of RAM rather than faster RAM. Just don’t get less than 667-800 MHz. Unless you're a video editor or gamer, this is mostly unimportant.

For the OS, an important consideration is of course, XP or Vista/Win 7. For a new build, just go with Vista. The compatibility issues for the most part aren’t major and are generally with the old hardware. You’ll be fine. Just get 64-bit if using more than 4 GB of RAM. If you’re really stuck on XP, that’s fine too, but keep in mind that Microsoft will stop supporting it soon- probably about late 2010-2011. And see my recommendations above for the version of Vista to get. Also, let me fill you in on a little secret- you can get the system builder versions of XP and Vista much, much cheaper than the normal consumer versions. Check it out here
Hard drives. How much movies, music, videos, TV shows, documents, and applications will you put on the computer? That tells you how much drive space to get. Remember, 1TB= 1,000 GB.

Power supply. That’s a good question. Well, first, are you getting a good graphics card? If so, you’ll need at least 300-350W. At least. For CrossFire and SLI set ups, you’ll want in upwards of 500W. Next, suing Intel Core i7? Make sure you get a Core i7 compliant PSU. Now, you ca head over to a site like this or a simpler one like this one Also, look for the amount of SATA power adapters included as you may need to get some adapters if there aren’t enough. As far as power supplies go, the 12V rails become important with very fast systems and multiple video cards.

One, actually two more things! Then you’re done. Get yourself an antistatic wrist band/strap so you dopn’t fry the sensitive components with static electricity. And get some thermal grease for the processor to apply between the heat sink and the exposed top of the processor.

Okay. Now you’re ready to order your parts! Isn’t that exciting!

Notes:
1.Dual channel memory only works when you have 2 identical modules- for 2 GB you’d want 2X1GB, for 4GB, 2X2GB, and for 3GB maybe 2X1GB and 2X512MB. Triple channel would obviously mean 3 identical modules.

2.The business class computer would be used for the majority of employees as a workstation. This would be for average tasks, like spread sheeting, word processing, PDFs, etc and internet usage and email. This would not be a great combination of parts for 3D apps or engineering purposes.

3.External storage is a good alternative as you can add lots of drives with more storage and are convenient on the go and for backup and storage purposes. Look for firewire or eSATA for faster transfers.

4.Be sure when selecting more than 4 GB of RAM to get a 64-bit version of Vista or XP operating system to recognize more than 4 GB.

5.As far as AMD goes, it has played catch up with Intel for a while, but many of its Phenom II X4 Black edition processors are just as good as the Intel Core 2 Quads out there. I have used and have both, and they are pretty evenly matched.

Video Install Guide Part 1 corresponds with Parts 4-5 below!

Part 4: Unpacking

So, you’re parts arrived today did they? Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s get them unpacked! Just be very careful when taking them out of the box not to drop the parts and to not put them on the static rug. It’s often best to leave them in the anti-static bags they came inside of until we’re ready to assemble them.

You’re also going to want to set up an area that won’t be disturbed to set up your computer. Usually a large corner of your office will be fine. If you have pets and won’t be finishing the build in one sitting, you’ll want to have it on a table. Just don’t build it on the rug!!!!!! Static, remember?

Finally, gather the tools you’ll need for the installation. These include: scissors, pliers, and a flat bladed and criss-cross screwdriver.

Part 5: Get the case ready for assembly!

Okay, once the case is out of the box, you’re going to want to remove the side cover and have a look inside. You’ll want to move wires out of the way so the motherboard can fit in and make sure nothing gis loose or rattling around. Now, attach the feet to the bottom of the computer case by clicking them into place.

Next, you’ll need to get your power supply and put that into the case and line it up with the large opening on the top or bottom of the case. Using the 4 or so screws that come with it, mount it to the inside of the case (often times the screw holes are on the back of the case) See figure 2


Then you’ll want to remove the IO panel shield (see figure 3) from the case. This may be possible to remove by hand by twisting the metal until it snaps off, or you can get some pliers to snip it. Then you can take the new IO shield panel that came with your motherboard and place that in the opening. There are usually little tabs that will hold it in place until you fasten the motherboard in.


Now we are going to get the motherboard unpacked from it’s box. Be careful when taking it out because the parts are fragile (wait, f-r-a-g-i-l-e, that must be Italian). It’s best to leave the motherboard in the static resistant bag until we are ready to install the components.

DV

Last edited Tue, 11th Aug 2009, 11:22pm; edited 10 times in total.

Posted: Thu, 30th Jul 2009, 12:37am

Post 2 of 37

DVStudio

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Video Guide Part 2 corresponds with Part 6 of the tutorial below

Part 6: Let’s add the fun stuff!

RAM

Okay, now that you have removed the motherboard from the bag, let’s get our RAM modules unpacked. In our example computer and the one in the video, we are using four 4GB DDR2 RAM modules for a total of 16 gigs of RAM. When unpacking and maneuvering the RAM modules, be sure to handle them only by the edges. You going to want to pop the tabs on the RAM modules open by bending the tabs on the sides of the RAM module on the motherboard outwards. **See figure 4 for details**

Now line the RAM module up so that the slit in the module which is slightly off centered lines up with the crease in the motherboard RAM slot. The RAM will only fit in one way, so if you’re experiencing difficulty or feeling resistance, make sure it is facing the right way. DO NOT try to force a RAM module in, as you’ll cause permanent damage to your motherboard.

A more in depth tutorial video on RAM installation that I put together a few months ago is available here!

CPU, heat sink, & thermal grease
Now we are going to install the processor. This could be slightly nerve racking to someone who has never done this before, but you’ll find that it really is no big deal. Just before we begin, be sure that your motherboard and CPU are compatible and see the above examples for more compatibility help.

Okay, now we will very carefully unpack your CPU and heat sink. When you take the processor out be sure to hold the processor only by the edges and not to touch the pins on the bottom of the CPU. You’ll be able to tell which is the top (the smooth part) and the bottom (the side with hundreds of pins). The most important part of the installation is to be careful inserting the processor into the processor slot because you don’t want to bend any pins. If one does get a little bent, you may be able to bend it back ever so carefully, but it is best left to a technician.

The next step is to find the processor socket on the motherboard (see figure 5) and the lever next to it. You’re going to want to lift the lever up to open the socket to allow the processor to insert easily (see figure 5b) Before putting the processor in, please see figure 6 & 7 for proper line up of the socket and motherboard. Unfortunately, the CPU isn’t one of the clever parts that fit into the motherboard only one way like your RAM modules. Once the processor is lined up and inserted in the right direction, push down gently on the processor and close the lever (see figure 5c)






Now we’ll install the heat sink and the thermal grease. You’ll want to unpack both and open the thermal grease. Start by squeezing about two rice grain-sized drops of the grease onto the smooth top of the processor where the heat sink will come in contact with the CPU. Using the finger protector that came with the processor heat sink, spread the grease around evenly and as smoothly as possible for a better transfer of heat. See figure 8 for a picture.


Now, take the heat sink and line it up in the correct direction on top of your processor. Consult the documentation that was included with your processor for the correct positioning. There is generally a colored lever on one side of the heat sink’s metal connectors which line up with the slots on the motherboard socket. When you have lined them up (see figure 9) push the lever down to lock the heat sink in place on top of the processor. You can test the installation by gently wiggling the heat sink to see if it moves or not. You’re done with the CPU!


Install the MB in the case

Now the other fun part! We’re going to put the motherboard into the computer chassis. Hopefully you have already installed the IO shield panel that came with your motherboard, or else, you’ll have to do that now so that the ports line up with the computer case’s back panel.
If you’re motherboard or computer case came with spacers, you’ll want to have a look at the positioning of the motherboard and see if you’ll need to install them to add support. They simply screw into the brackets in the case and make up for the extra gap to secure the motherboard with the screws. See figure 10 for a diagram of the spacers and screws.

Carefully lift the motherboard by the edges and lift it into the case and line it up with the screw holes, spacers, and the port holes on the back of the computer case. You may need to remove the fan(s) on the back panel of the case in order to get the motherboard to fit in properly. This is done by removing the screws on the fan (generally located on the outside of the back of the computer case)
Now that the motherboard is lined up and inside of the case, you’re going to want to take the motherboard screws and secure the motherboard. One of the things I recommend is to use a magnetic screw drive to prevent loosing or dropping screws and awkwardly trying to access them under the components.

Connect MB wires

Okay. The potentially confusing part. The tangled mess of wires inside of the computer. They all need to be connected to the motherboard! You can consult your motherboard manual for more details and a more specific diagram, or use the ones below for help.

The main wires that will be connected are the ATX 20+4 pin power cable, the SATA power cables, the hard drive LED lights, the chassis speaker, the power switch cable, the reset cable, the fan wires, the CPU heat sink power cable, and the front panel wires. See figures 11 a,b,c and 12 below for more of the motherboard wire diagrams. I apologize if the scans are difficult to read. Though the diagrams will vary depending on your board, this is a general idea.





Okay, now you’re motherboard is installed properly and you’re ready to advance to the last three parts and video of this tutorial. The hard part is behind us!

Last edited Thu, 30th Jul 2009, 12:39am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Thu, 30th Jul 2009, 12:38am

Post 3 of 37

DVStudio

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Video Guide Part 3 corresponds with parts 7-11 below

Part 7: Hard Drives

This is a fairly straight forward step. You will just need to unpack your hard drives (just the internal ones at this point) and locate the mounting screws that came with them. In our example computer we are installing three hard drives- a 250GB primary OS drive, a 320 GB drive for programs like games, 3D apps, special effects software and NLEs, and a 1 TB drive for HD videos, recorded TV Shows, music, pictures, documents, etc. We’ll show you the installation process briefly in our video for the 3 drives, but we have a more detailed video on adding drives available here!

What you’ll need to do is to locate your 3.5 inch hard drive bays, the larger of the two bay sizes and the ones that don’t offer front access. Then you’ll simply take your drives one at a time and slide them into place in your drive racks and then screw them in (2 screws per side- 4 for each drive).

Then, once the drives are installed, you’ll connect the SATA power cables to the hard drive’s back. If you’re drive or motherboard came with a SATA power adapter, you can use that to connect to an empty power supply cable to connect additional drives. Now just connect your SATA cable to the motherboard. See figure 13 for a diagram!


Part 8: The optical drive

This step is a lot like the one above for hard drives, except that your installing a DVD, Blu-ray, or CD drive in the computer. For this kind of drive, you’ll want to choose a drive bay with a front access panel. You can access these panels by twisting the metal plates off so that the little tabs snap at the edges, and push the front panel cover off. There is one for each bay. Then slide the DVD drive in through the front of the case until it clicks into place. Then just attach the screws to hold it into place and you’re done.

Now you’ll do the same thing as with the hard drive to install the power cables and SATA cable(s) for the motherboard.
Repeat the steps for each DVD drive.

Part 9: The Graphics Cards/ PCI Cards

This section will cover specifically the graphics card, but will also cover PCI adapter cards such as fire wire, wireless network adapters, TV Tuners, sound cards, and more. The typical graphics card offers support for 2 monitors (one VGA and one DVI- higher quality) though they come with DVI to VGA connectors for older monitors.

As far as a graphics card goes, if you’re just installing one card and not using SLI or Crossfire to support multiple cards, you’ll need to locate your colored (in our case green) AGP slot or a PCI-E slot. This will be where your video card is inserted. If you have doubts about the correct port, consult your motherboard documentation to clarify.
Now, you’re going to have to remove the, metal PCI slot cover from the back of the case. You can do this by removing just the screw from the port you need, or the one that holds them all in place with a separate metal cover.

Once the cover slot is removed, pick your video card up 9by the edges) and note the hooked end on the back of the card. This end needs to be inserted first and then the rest of the card can be clicked down. Remember not to force the card as you may damage it. Consult our video part 3 if you are having difficulty.

For the rest of the PCI cards, you have to basically repeat the above process, except that they don’t require an AGP slot specifically, unless stated in the manuals. Most will require a PCI or PCI-E slot.

Part 10: The OS

So now your computer should be all built. Now you can plug in the computer, the keyboard, mouse, monitors, speakers, and any other peripherals. Then you can turn the computer on.
The first screen you will come to is the BIOS splash screen. Press F8 to continue. Without the OS installed you won’t get past this screen anyway. Then insert your operating system install disc (whether it is XP or Vista or Windows 7). When you get to the screen asking for a boot device, select your DVD drive with the disc inserted. The computer should then begin to read from the disc and will guide you through the set up process. If asked to choose a partition, select whether to: erase all data (fine for a new drive) or choose a partition 9okay for a previously used and partitioned drive)

An alternative way is to turn the computer on, insert the disc, and wait for the screen prompts to continue the installation. If following this version of the steps, you may need to turn the computer off and back on for it to recognize the install disc. Word of caution: when installing vista, if it asks you to insert a Vista key now, and you have it, just do it. Don’t try to get past by saying you have Vista Ultimate if you only have Basic. It won’t work!! If you have used this version of Vista before and have now upgraded and rebuilt the computer, you will need to reactivate the OS.
Once the computer boots into windows, you can change settings, install programs, and drivers, etc.

Part 11: Over-clocking-Proceed at your own risk

We won’t be putting this part in the video tutorial, as we don’t want people who have no idea what to do messing with and damaging their new CPU. Over-clocking is basically pushing your computer’s processor beyond its manufacture’s settings. Though generally there is some room to maneuver and tweak settings (say a 3.0 GHz CPU to 3.4 GHz) it is generally best left alone if you don’t know what you’re doing.
If you insist upon over-clocking, be warned. I am not at all responsible for anything that happens as a result. To over clock, you want to increase the CPU speed a little bit at a time, reboot, and see if it boots into Windows and is stable. If so, you can keep going until it just doesn’t boot. Then enter the BIOS and set it back to the last stable settings. It can be a bit tedious, but the extra speed could be worth it. As far as how far you can push the processor, that depends on the actually CPU speed, how new it is, etc and the cooling power inside your case. That is what makes the CPU unstable when temperatures run high. Keep an eye on them, and consider more fans or a better CPU heat sink. Also, water cooling kits, like this one, can be useful when over clocking.

Again: I AM NOT AT ALL RESPONISBILE FOR ANY COMPONENT FAILURE, DAMAGE TO THE COMPUTER OR ANYTHING ELSE> Over clock at your own risk!!

Part 12: The End

Well, that’s it. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and enjoy your newly built computer even more! Any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me. Enjoy. And best of luck!!
Posted: Thu, 30th Jul 2009, 7:24am

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Limey

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Damn man, that was great. This came just at the right time because I have been planning on building a computer. +1
Posted: Thu, 30th Jul 2009, 8:08am

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Simon K Jones

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Lots of words there. smile

Putting the CPU in is always my favourite bit of building a computer, because it reminds me of the scene in Terminator 2 when Arnie has his chip removed and replaced.

Last edited Thu, 30th Jul 2009, 8:33am; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Thu, 30th Jul 2009, 8:32am

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Joshua Davies

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Some useful information but I would just make the following statements.
-I wouldn’t advise using XP on any machine other than a Netbook.
-I wouldn’t use an AMD processor on quality grounds (always had trouble with them). The Phenom has caught up with the slower quad core processors in the Intel range but can’t get close to the i7.
-I don’t believe a Nvidia GeForce 7200 is an adequate GPU for an editing powerhouse, especially one with a large monitor as suggested. The GeForce 7200 is a bargain basement GPU which I wouldn’t expect to find in semi-decent system.
-The Nvidia GeForce 8600 is nowhere near adequate as a gamer GPU, especially when running a 22 inch monitor. Again, this is a bargain basement GPU which would run some modern games at under 10 frames-per-second at the resolution of a 22 inch monitor.
-The speed of your RAM is important! In gaming and editing systems it’s REALLY important. It’s a major advantage of the i7 architecture, the i7s we have murder the Core 2s when it comes to RAM.
Posted: Thu, 30th Jul 2009, 8:34am

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pdrg

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DV, That article really shows how much you've grown and matured since we first met you here, I'm sure you now shudder at your early posts (we all do when we read back) and even though you were always wanting to be helpful, this has been your masterwork to date! An excellent start! There were a few really great bits and the pictures were excellent.

I really do hope you keep refining this and keeping it up to date, add bits like choosing a heatsink, 64bit compatabilities, maybe dual-booting, and there were a couple of terms mentioned but not introduced which could do with a small note, but this is a really solid and very helpful article which I'm sure will earn itself a sticky at some point.

Well done, man. Nice work biggrin
Posted: Thu, 30th Jul 2009, 8:38am

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Simon K Jones

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Yeah, you'll need a much beefier graphics card if you're looking to put together a gaming machine. I've got an 8800GT in my home machine which I bought a year and a half ago, which I'd say is the absolute bare minimum you want to be getting now, unless the only games you're playing are pre-2007.
Posted: Thu, 30th Jul 2009, 11:35am

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DVStudio

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Ye, thanks for the comments guys! Really appreciate them!

Yeah, minor issue with the graphics, but fixed now. Honestly, I installed it in my rig, at least temporarily, and it is pretty good. I have a 22 inch full HD monitor and a 1080p 300" projector hooked up to it, and it runs fine. It plays games good, not great, but good, and even with the AMD processor, never had any lagging. My other desktop is the gaming one- has the GeForce 9800 GT and 4 GB RAM at 1066 MHz.

As far as the speed goes, yes, okay, while it may be important for gfamers and video editors, won't you agree that stocking your computer with more gigabytes is also important? 4GBs will be faster than 2. That's just how it is.

schwar wrote:

I wouldn’t advise using XP on any machine other than a Netbook.
Really. Though I too hate XP, many users are falling back to it in l;arge numbers. People don't like change. they heard bad things about vista. They switched to XP- at least until Windows 7...

But, yes, I think that for a new build, Vista is the choice. It has native HD support in Premium and Ultimate editions (at least) whereas XP does not. This is an important consideration for mulit-media users and for home entertainment centers. With a new computer build using new parts, it is unlikely that you'll have any compatibility issues that plagued users of old hardware that barely ran on XP. Vista seems to be the best choice here, unless you're a business user on a business network that uses XP. I know that my office paid extra to get computers with Vista Business and Windows XP professional. Even though they're only using XP. Don't know, but it seems like a bit of a waste.

schwar wrote:

I wouldn’t use an AMD processor on quality grounds (always had trouble with them). The Phenom has caught up with the slower quad core processors in the Intel range but can’t get close to the i7.
Yeah, I guess what your saying is true. The triple cores, while an interesting concept, are a joke. Most programs don't utilize 3 cores as they do two or four. The Phenom II is in league with most of the Core 2 Quads. I did a lot of research on the benchmarks before building this computer with a Phenom 2. They were mostly equal in performance, not 100% but mostly. The i7, not so much. But for a budget computer with still great performance, the AMD is great!

I had no troubles with it. Mine runs a tiny bit warm with the overclocking, but that's alright. Not too bad.

Anyways, I will continue updating it- may add more soon. Thanks again for the comments- especially PDRG. Thanks man!

DV
Posted: Thu, 30th Jul 2009, 3:31pm

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Thrawn

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Very nice DV. While I didn't read all of it (as I'm not planning on building a computer anytime soon) I did manage to read about half. You have some very helpful stuff in there. Thanks for taking the time to create it. I believe a +1 is in order.. wink
Posted: Thu, 30th Jul 2009, 3:42pm

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DVStudio

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Thrawn wrote:

Very nice DV. While I didn't read all of it (as I'm not planning on building a computer anytime soon) I did manage to read about half. You have some very helpful stuff in there. Thanks for taking the time to create it. I believe a +1 is in order.. wink
Thanks! Hope you enjoyed the part you read. Appreciate the feedback guys!! smile
Posted: Thu, 30th Jul 2009, 4:41pm

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Pooky

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I also found this video to be extremely useful to teach friends how to do it:

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/video_how_build_pc_ever_step_explained
Posted: Fri, 31st Jul 2009, 3:28am

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Bolbi

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DVStudio wrote:


TB- also used to measure hard drive space. 1TB= 1,000 GB
DV
Not to be nit-picky or anything, but it's 1,024. wink
Posted: Sat, 1st Aug 2009, 2:20pm

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DVStudio

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Bolbi wrote:

DVStudio wrote:


TB- also used to measure hard drive space. 1TB= 1,000 GB
DV
Not to be nit-picky or anything, but it's 1,024. wink
Ahh, yes. I was very tired when I wrote this and just looked at the properties of my 1TB drive and it said: Total size= 998GB Space free= 579GB. I just rounded to 1,000GB, which was a mistake as I now recall that it doesn't recognize the entire space. My 320GB drive does that too- recognizes like 297 GB. Damn false advettsing! wink My mistake.
Posted: Sat, 1st Aug 2009, 4:45pm

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TheOutlawAmbulance

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Wow! I also don't think I am going to build a computer anytime soon but there is some very nice stuff and you did a great job! +1!
Posted: Sat, 1st Aug 2009, 6:51pm

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DVStudio

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Storm Grenade wrote:

Wow! I also don't think I am going to build a computer anytime soon but there is some very nice stuff and you did a great job! +1!
Hey thanks man! Appreciate it.
Posted: Sat, 1st Aug 2009, 7:54pm

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Quvoo

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Awsome guide.
I am also looking to buy a new computer, so I can fianlly edit in HD not down-covnert to SD os my computer can handle the files.
Posted: Sat, 1st Aug 2009, 10:47pm

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JoelM

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There should almost be a tutorial on the wiring alone after everything is installed in the case. I think pulling out the power supply and seeing all the cables looking at you is like looking down a firing squad for most people their first time building.
Posted: Sat, 1st Aug 2009, 11:34pm

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DVStudio

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JoelM wrote:

There should almost be a tutorial on the wiring alone after everything is installed in the case. I think pulling out the power supply and seeing all the cables looking at you is like looking down a firing squad for most people their first time building.
Yeah, I understand. I remember my first computer build- that part was slightly overwhelming. Really, the best way is to simply plug in the stuff that you know goes in acertain place. ie. ATX power cable plugs into the 24 pin power interface on the motherboard. The CPU heatsink pluigs into the nearest 2 pin interface, the SATA power connectors are to the Hard drives and the optical drives. The Power LED, HDD LED, Power Switch, Reset button, etc all plug into the interface on the motherboard label panel 1 or front panel.

Then you go from there. Really, once you get started, it's not so bad. Looks like a bunch of spagghetti, I know, but it'll get there.

If you purchase a modualr power supply, then you can detach unused power cables and clean things up a bit. Or before installing, only oplug in one cable at a time (just the ones you know at first, then see what's left)

I'll probably post some images and diagrams soon on the power supply cables and the interfaces specifically.

Henry701 wrote:

Awsome guide.
I am also looking to buy a new computer, so I can fianlly edit in HD not down-covnert to SD os my computer can handle the files.
yeah, its always nice to be able to actually edit the HD files. If you look in the first post of the tutorial, there is some video editing computer information that explains more about choosing a computer for HD. Or, I posted a bit here:

http://fxhome.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=40370
http://fxhome.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=40285
http://fxhome.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=39864
Posted: Tue, 4th Aug 2009, 6:07pm

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AwesomeFist

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DVStudio wrote:


Video Editing Powerhouse

Yes, the part you’ve been waiting for! The film making machine. These users need ;lost of RAM, hard drive space, and fast processors for fast rendering times and storage (especially with HD footage). Though the graphics you’ll require won’t be as intense as the next type of user, you’ll still need a powerful computer! We’ll help you choose and you’ve come to the right place!

Case: Really, it’s up to you. Whatever gives you enough room for upgrades and all should be fine. My suggestion would be ATX tower or mini tower
CPU: Quad Core. Definitely as most video editors and NLEs can utilize 4 cores. Look for Core 2 Quad, Phenom II X4 (don’t go for the triple core) or Intel Core i7
RAM: 4GB or more (go for as much as you can afford especially with 3D rendering and HD) **See note 4**
OS: Vista Premium or Ultimate
Hard drive: 500GB- 1.5 TB or more (especially if using HD cameras)- external storage would be good too **See note 3** 7200- 10K RPM
Floppy drive: not really
Optical drive: Dual layer DVD burner, light scribe, Blu-ray burner/reader
Video card: about 512 MB should be enough- look for GeForce 8800 or higher
Monitor: about 22-24 inch
Ports: several USB and firewire, eSATA, upgraded sound card (sound blaster) TV Tuner, [url= http://www.logickeyboard.com/shop/shuttle-pro-v2-1509p.html]Shuttle V2 Pro[/url]
Optional: good printer (for graphics art) scanner, good speakers, microphones, multi-media keyboard (you can get keyboard sticker sets for filmmaking shortcuts at www.editorskeys.com )
No, i think that is just overkill i have a really nice comp that is below that but it can handle hd pretty easy, i work with hd and render hd, and one time i had to use 2k. i scaled it down for my footage which was 720p
,but because i need these specs i qeuss my computer can't do any of that.
Posted: Tue, 4th Aug 2009, 8:00pm

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DVStudio

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awesome fist productions wrote:


No, i think that is just overkill i have a really nice comp that is below that but it can handle hd pretty easy, i work with hd and render hd, and one time i had to use 2k. i scaled it down for my footage which was 720p
,but because i need these specs i qeuss my computer can't do any of that.
Sorry? What are you talking about? I guess you're saying that you think you can edit on a computer with lower specs? Well, yeah, you could. But first you need to understand that editing 720p is much, much different than 1080p. Most people editing HD and using lots of effects, graphics intensive programs, etc are using really good systems.

Though you may be able to get away with a cheaper computer, especially if you use proxies to down convert to SD,m edit in HD, and then render back out in HD. Those above specs were my recomedations, and I stand by them. A really fast dual core with lots of cache is an alternative to a quad core, but the quads are generally better as most video editing NLEs recognize and utilize four cores. Though you could get away with 2 or 3 GB of RAM, it is better to have four especially if you plan to have dual channel memory or if you're running lots of programs, rendering a lot, or running vista (a RAM hog). Also, for the hard drive, at least 500 gigs for HD is my absolute lowest recomendation, but I really, really stress a 750 GB or 1 TB drive. My last large project used about 300 GB before the final render. In 1080p. 667+ files. Yeah, that's a lot, but large scale projects will take even more.
Posted: Mon, 10th Aug 2009, 12:28am

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DVStudio

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Rating: +2

Computer Cooling

Hey there! Here’s another addition to my building a computer tutorial!

In this segment:
•Learn about cooling your CPU
•Choosing a Heat Sink
•Feeling brave? > Water Cooling!
•Celsius? Are you kidding?
•What is an acceptable processor temperature?

Okay, lets get started!

The Basics

You may have already found that your computer’s motherboard has a spot under the hardware monitor tab that tells you some basic system information, such as fan speeds, CPU temperature, motherboard temperature, and your processor and RAM information. Not all mother boards will have the temperature features, most notably if you have an OEM motherboard or if you are upgrading a computer that you bought in the past. In this case, you may look into an aftermarket or 3rd party software utility that may give you some temperature monitoring l if you are using a new processor.


Cooling is important. If you computer runs too hot, your components will either fry or their life span will be significantly shortened. This is most certainly bad news if you plan to keep your system for a long time. If you are over clocking, pushing your processors speed beyond what it was sold at, cooling will make or break your over clocked system.

The basic parts that you will find for cooling are the heat sink, the fans, LED fans, and chassis fans.

Choosing a Heat Sink

This is an important consideration when you are building your computer. Are you going to keep the cheap, limiting, basic CPU fan/heatsink that came with you’re processor, or are you going to spring for an upgraded one? Please be warned, switching heat sinks may void your CPU warranty, but if that doesn’t matter to you, or if your CPU’s warranty is already over, then go ahead!

Some important things to look for when you are thinking of buying a new heatsink:

•Cost- make sure it fits your budget. You can find heat sinks and fans to fit all sorts of budgets, but generally, you get what you pay for. That $10 heat sink ids nothing compared to the fifty or eighty dollar one. If you’re over clocking, it’s better to not go cheap.
•Compatibility. This one kind of speaks for itself. Make sure that when it lists compatible CPUs that yours is listed, or that your CPU’s socket type is listed, or there could be trouble. Better safe than sorry- or something like that.
•Get the right fan size. Common sizes are 120mm, 92mm, 90mm, 80mm, 70mm, 45mm, etc and depending on the type of case, you may be able to go for the largest ones, or if space is an issue, the smaller ones will be your option- especially with micro cases and slim/mini towers.
•LED or not? This is important, as I’ll mention later, because if you leave your computer on at night, it may keep you awake or be distracting to you. But they look cool!
•Package deal? Some heat sinks like this one include the heat sink, the fan, and the thermal grease, all for 50 bucks. Not a bad deal!
•2 fans?! Yes, some CPU coolers like this one have 2 fans attached! Double cooling power, but make sure there is enough room for it in your case, especially if you have coolers on your RAM modules, as they sometimes stick up too far.
•Oh, so now you want to know about memory coolers? Okay, okay. They basically sit on top of the RAM modules and act like heatsinks for keeping the RAM cool. An example of one is shown below, and here is one for about $25.


Water cooling!

Over clockers and computer enthusiasts take note! Water cooling can drastically reduce the heat in your system and can make your components run faster, better, and more stability. If you’re a heavy gamer, over clocker, etc, water cooling may be for you.

There are different types of water cooling set ups and you can purchase all of the parts together in a kit like this or separately. The basic parts and supplies you would need are listed below.
-Pump/resevoir. Though this is an expensive one, it gives an example of a reservoir, pump, and radiator combination. Basically the pump is what, well, pushes the water through the system from the reservoir.
-CPU cooler block, this is what attaches to your CPU to allow for the water colling system to do its job to cool down the processor.
-Fan speed controller, yeah well, it controls the fan speed. Pretty simple.
-Thermal grease. Yeah, just because you a re using water cooling doesn’t mean that you get away with no thermal compound! The thermal compound is what transfers the heart from the CPU to the heat sink.
-RAM heat sinks- optional really, but good for DDR3 RAM setups!
-Hoses/claps/clips. The hoses connect the fans, reservoir, the CPU cooler, the RAM cooler, etc together and transfer the water. The clamps allow you to connect the hoses to the different parts of the set up. The clips let you clip the hoses back and attach them to the case.
-Radiator keeps the water cool and allows for a certain number of fans to be added to the system.
-Coolant. This is what keeps the system cool and what travels through the hoses.

Please use caution if you plan to use water cooling, follow all instructions, don’t try to modify anything unless you know what you’re doing, etc so you don’t cause damage to your system. See the image below for a preview of the easy overlcoking tools built into some new motherboards (like our new one) Good luck!




Celsius?!?

Yes, some motherboards with built in temperature/hardware monitoring systems display all temperatures in degrees Celsius. Some of the higher end ones will show it in Fahrenheit and Celsius. Yay! But, what are you supposed to do to see what the temperatuere is if you don;’t klnow the conversion to Fahrenheit? No problems! Check out this converter or this one. Or you could try to use this formual, but don’t ask me for any help wink -Tc = (5/9)*(Tf-32); Tc = temperature in degrees Celsius, Tf = temperature in degrees Fahrenheit
Here is our motherboard’s hardware monitor on 100% usage in the BIOS

So now that you have your temperature converted, it’s time to see what that means!

So, what’s an acceptable temperature?

Okay, so now you ask! Well, to be open the safe side, you’re going to want to check your CPU manufacturer’s website to see what they recommend. Pretty much anything less than 140 degrees F or 60 degrees C should be okay for newer CPUs. But it varies as different processors give off more heat than others. For instance, an old CPU may give off more heat than a newer one, an AMD CPU may be slightly cooler than an Intel one, and a quad core will give off more than most dual core CPUs. Here is one page from AMD that shows you an acceptable CPU temperature for an AMD Phenom II X4 955 CPU which was used in our computer system. It shows a recommended temperature reading to be under 143 degrees F and under 62 degrees Celsius. And ours was 120 degrees F or about 49 degrees Celsius. After our changes we made to it in the next part, we brought that temperature down to about 84 degrees F or about 29 degrees Celsius to allow for over-clocking ability without worry.


DV
Posted: Mon, 10th Aug 2009, 4:53pm

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DVStudio

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Rating: +1

Lowering the temperature

1.Add fans. This is a good way to lower temperature rather quickly and rather cheaply. Just purchase some extra fans to mount on the sides, back, or inside the top of your computer case. Take a look at the images below to show you different fan positions from some of our editing computers. By adding one extra 7,500 RPM 80mm fan to the side of our computer case, we brought the temperature down about 30 degrees (F). That’s a lot. Unfortunately, we had to retro fit the computer case with extra bolts, screws, washers, etc because all I could find lying around was the OEM 80 MM fan which had a bottom mount and no side screws, so I had to build some l shaped metal brackets to hold it to the side. When buying fans, there are some important things to look for: the fan size (usually measured in mm), the fan speed (RPM) and whether it is LED fan or just a simple fan. The reason I mention the LED option is because if you use the computer for a media center or leave it on at night, the lights may be rather annoying or distracting. Just keep it in mind. But they look very cool! The size is important because if you case has extra fan holes, you’re going to want to get a fan that actually fits the case. That would be helpful.

Fan placement (limited to the placement of fans on our editing computers)





Note: my editing desktop has a 120MM fan in the back, but I didn’t feel like yanking the wires out to get to the back to snap a pic, so I took a screen shot from our video




Our fan rigged up:


2.Add thermal grease. This is very important when building the computer. The thermal grease goes on top of the processor on the smooth metal part that would come in contact with the heat sink. This allows for smoother and better transfer of heat to your CPU fans and helps keep the temperature cool. AMD processors and most if not all Intel ions require the thermal grease. If unsure, you can consult our Video Guide Part II for a video on adding the thermal grease to your CPU. And see the image below for more info.

3.Get a case with good air flow. This is also very important. Make sure your computer case has extra fan spots, lots of air vents, etc to be sure that your case will conduct good air flow. Otherwise, overlooking may not be a good idea and the temperature inside that case ma e very hot. Or resemble your oven when you open it. Ouch.

4.If possible, leave the side off. If your house or office isn’t plagued by a lot of dust and you don’t have pets or kids running around, you may consider leaving one of the side panels off your case. Pease don’t do this unless you are sure no one will bother it and that nothing will be spilled or get inside the computer.

5.Consider a heat sink upgrade. This is something that can also drastically reduce the high temperature of your processor. Sometimes, actually, make that all the time, the stock heat sinks aren’t very good quality. But that doesn’t mean that you need an upgrade. If you aren’t over clocking or loading your computer with a bunch of hard drives [whistle] then you should be just fine with the stock CPU heat sink. But, if you are over-clocking, you may consider an upgrade. You can see above where I talk about choosing a heat sink for more help!

6.Water cooling. This is a great option for heavy over-clockers, but make sure you know what you’re doing first. You can buy water cooling kits, like this one or this one, but personally, I would recommend getting each hose, valve, pump, well, etc separately because often times they are of higher quality than the packaged kits.

7.Placement of the case. This is important. If you are putting your computer in cabinet or a drawer or something, you are going to want to make sure that you leave room on the back and sides of your computer case for the fans and vents to work. I recommend leaving at least 2-3 inches of space on each side of the case for the best airflow. Or if you are placing it in a cabinet, perhaps consider leaving the door open while using the computer. You can see the image below of my computer in a cabinet. You can see that I obviously didn’t follow my own advice and leave 2 inches on the right side of the computer. But don’t worry. That is because there wasn’t any air ducts or fans on that side.

What happens if my system is too hot?

Ah, a common question. Well, my answer would be several things:
•System may slow down from the strain ion the components. Never a good thing on a new system.
•Your computer may become unreliable and may freeze, lock up, or shut itself down unexpectantly.
•Long term component damage may result from the heavy strain, thigh heat, and extra work that will be put on the system if it becomes too hot.
As you can imagine, none of the above scenarios are very favorable. Best to keep an eye on the temperature, and make sure you have the cooling components installed correctly!

Okay, so that’s about it for the cooling segment. I hope that helps you all out a bit and makes you r computer components a little cooler. Have fun!

BTW- if anyone wants a printable PDF of the tutorial with the images and all, it is available upon request. Just don't copy or distribute it please. Let me know by PM if you are interested!

Cheers
DV
Posted: Sat, 1st May 2010, 12:00am

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DVStudio

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Hey there,

Excuse the double post (with about 8 months in between posts though) I just wanted to post these links to some additional tutorial videos I posted on YouTube. Thought they might be helpful too.

Installing a Laptop Hard Drive
Installign Additional Hard Drives (desktop)
Installing Laptop RAM
Installing a Firewire Card

And brand new today:

Installing a GFX Card Video
And the download link for the text tutorial. (PDF Based, 181KB)

I've had this footage sitting around for a while and had free time today, so I edited and posted it this afternoon.

They're all rather short in length, but have some good info in it I think. Enjoy! I will be adding some new ones soon and redoing the commentary. Any suggestions for computer tutorial videos?

Cheers
DV
Posted: Sat, 1st May 2010, 1:13am

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Fxhome Dude

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+1. Great stuff man. Very helpful to as I'm getting ahold of a computer soon my self.
Posted: Sat, 1st May 2010, 3:29pm

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pdrg

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Good stuff DV, glad to see you're getting back into making tuts for PC upgrades smile
Posted: Mon, 21st Jun 2010, 2:54am

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DVStudio

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What's up guys?

I've got some new tutorial videos here for you.

Installing Windows XP
Overclocking a CPU

And a playlist of all of my computer tutorials so far is here.

Coming soon are vidoes on isntalling Vista, Windows 7 and a new set of computer building guides featring my latest i5 CPU. As always, any suggestions for future topics, just post 'em here.

Thanks
DV
Posted: Mon, 21st Jun 2010, 4:55am

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nitrox

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It's nice to find that in a film makers community you can find experts in other fields, this thread is a perfect example of that. Props to you my man!
Posted: Sat, 10th Jul 2010, 8:17pm

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DVStudio

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Hey guys...

Got another tutorial up on my Youtube channel for the computer series. This one focuses mostly on using the Disk Management tool in Windows to format drives, but it also mentions one particualr issue that I had had with swapping between PC and Mac drives back a little while ago. Hopefully someone can also find it useful.

Unfortunately, seeing as how I have fixed that issue with the Mac drive, I couldn't show exactly what I had done, but perhaps one day I'll make a video dedicated to that topic. We'll see.

Disk Management Tutorial

Plus...

Formatting a Drive Using Windows Setup

Installing Windows Vista

Installing Windows 7

Oh, and a certain helpful FXhome member and another YouTube subscriber gets a shoutout in this video too. wink

I'm thinking of designing a new website and posting all of my videos there, along with downloadable text tutorials as well, just need to find some time to work on it all. I'll continue to post new video links and all here for now, and if support for this continues, we'll have that website up soon.
Posted: Mon, 19th Jul 2010, 7:35pm

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DVStudio

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Here's another tutorial video for you guys:

This one is to help Storm Grenade with his graphics issue on his computer- let's hope it helps him out! If anyone else is having trouble with Graphics drivers or needs help updating them, this is the video for you.

Graphics Card Issues

Also, SG: here is the download link for your graphics card.

Please do be careful and only screw with the graphics drivers though. And back up any important files to a DVD, Flash Drive, external Hard Drive, or email so you don't lose anything. There are about 5 different tasks to try, but they are in order from most to least likely to work.

Hope it helps!
DV

Edit-Also just added:

MSE Install and Review
Unboxing and Review of Inspiron 580s
Posted: Wed, 21st Jul 2010, 1:07am

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TheOutlawAmbulance

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Thanks dude, this works great! +1!
Posted: Sun, 8th Aug 2010, 2:19am

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DVStudio

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Rating: +1

Hey FXHome,

I just wanted to let you all know that we've got some new videos out and a new series on building/upgrading an AMD desktop to an Intel Core i5 system.

Building a Core i5 CPU (1080p, 2 parts)

Part I
Part II

Other

XPS One RAM Installation

Hope you enjoyed the videos, thanks a bunch. Any feedback or suggestions for another tutorial would be great.

Cheers
DV
Posted: Tue, 10th Aug 2010, 1:17am

Post 33 of 37

TheOutlawAmbulance

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Is building one cheaper than buying one?
Posted: Tue, 10th Aug 2010, 10:24am

Post 34 of 37

DVStudio

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Storm Grenade wrote:

Is building one cheaper than buying one?
In many cases, it will be cheaper, but it depends on the components and brands you use. The best part though is that you are able to choose exactly which brands you want in the case and combine all different parts to your liking.

Example:
Self Built i5 PC (like the one I built)- $830 with,
-Windows 7 Home 64bit
-i5 750
-8 GB DDR3 RAM 1600MHz-Cooler Master case
-2 DVD Burners (1 with lightscribe)
-Firewire/HDMI/Memory Card reader
-9800GT GFX
-4.75 TB HDD

Dell XPS with same except hard drives and RAM speeed (both lower)- $1008.99

Not a bad improvment in price. Neither includes monitors btw.

Last edited Mon, 27th Dec 2010, 2:48pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Tue, 10th Aug 2010, 12:19pm

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Joshua Davies

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I'm not against building machines, in fact we used to build all our PCs here at FXhome, but its something we don't do any more. The failure rate of consumer components, even from major suppliers, seems pretty high these days (hard drives and PSUs especially) and we've had a much better experience buying Dell.

For a little additional expense you tend to get a fairly flawless machine with a great warranty (something I recommend upgrading in most cases). We've had far less trouble with these machines, and even when we do we're covered.

Just the flip side of the coin.
Posted: Tue, 10th Aug 2010, 8:37pm

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DVStudio

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schwar wrote:

For a little additional expense you tend to get a fairly flawless machine with a great warranty (something I recommend upgrading in most cases).
All valid points, and I agree that Dell is the best if you aren't building it yourself; however, let's not forget that you do receive the full warranty (often 3 years or more) from the individual manufacturers of the CPU, Motherboard, etc when you build it yourself. And you don't have to spend the extra on the extended warranties.

Just another flip side. Either way, you get a great PC, and building one is a great experience when you've never done it before. Which is where our tutorials come in handy. wink
Posted: Mon, 27th Dec 2010, 2:46pm

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DVStudio

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Alright, it's been a while since we've updated this tutorial, but I thought that I'd at least try to keep this up to date.

I just finished editing this Hard Drive Installation tutorial which I shot back at the beginning of December, and in light of the hard drive issues some users have been experiencing, I thought this would be a good oppurtunity to post this.

If anyone else has some more computer or filmmaking tutorial ideas, please do let us know! We're in between projects right now, so we could use an idea or two. Oh, and don't worry, more Lightworks tutorials are coming quite soon. wink

Cheers,
DV