For questions regarding the assembly of computers from individual components and problems you might face.

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Case fan connectors

I've built around 5 systems in my entire life. I've attached every chassis fan (case fan) on the 4-pin MOLEX connector ever since. I've noticed that there is a 3-pin connector there, but assumed that ...
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2answers
2k views

Thermal Paste - does it cool the heatsink more with time?

It is said that it takes 200 hours for thermal paste to actually apply itself and truly do the job... If this is the case, does it mean that my machine will gradually get cooler and cooler, the ...
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3answers
773 views

What type are the screw needed to fix PCI boards?

I miss screws to fix a PCI board in my PC, however I can't find out what type of screw it is. Any hints? Charles
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3answers
1k views

Should I use plastic/insulating washers when attaching a motherboard to the case? [duplicate]

I'm screwing in a motherboard, around the screw holes in the motherboard there is a white painted circle and inside that circle are what look like eight pieces of solder. Do I need to put ...
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3answers
1k views

Steps when installing a new processor

I have a substantial amount of experience in IT as a software developer. I'm used to getting my hands dirty with the internals of PCs and have replaced almost every component therein. However, I ...
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3answers
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Getting new computer case. How to remove COA label

I am getting a new Case for my custom build but I already put the COA sticker on the side of my old case. Does anyone have any recommendations how to remove it without destroying it? I thought about ...
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2answers
3k views

How do I know which hardware components are compatible when building a computer?

I am trying to setup my own new computer. I haven't done this before and hence needed guidance from all here. I can google out the results for steps to follow for setting up my machine, but I do not ...
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3answers
205 views

Returning a laptop with a SSD, what measures should I take to clean the drive?

I read this lifehacker article with regards to easily recoverable data on SSD post-formatting. What do you guys recommend? Edit: Returning for a sale return. Sorry should of included that ...
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4answers
2k views

Picking a linux compatible motherboard

Last time I bought a new computer (I build them myself) I got a motherboard that had really poor linux support for a long time. Specifically the audio. I had to wait months before the kernel supported ...
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3answers
4k views

What could cause slow SSD performance?

I recently upgraded my Windows XP (!) computer to a single Crucial M4 SSD. The system is running very fast and without problem, but running HD Tune Pro (and CrystalDisk) revealed that sequential read ...
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3answers
119 views

New computer crashing

I've just built a new computer and it crashes occasionally - it just switches off and then restarts and I'm not sure about the best way to diagnose the problem. All the components are seated nicely ...
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1answer
426 views

Preferred bearing type for a CPU fan

I've been doing some research into my first computer build and have come to a cross-roads when choosing my CPU fan. I have been told of various bearing types such as ball, sleeve, rifle, magnetic and ...
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5answers
362 views

What is this cord called and how can I extend it?

I built a server recently, and the only hitch was that one of the cords running from my case to the motherboard was only just long enough. It is under strain, pulling at the connection point and ...
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6answers
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New computer build won't POST

I'm in the process of building my first PC and I've run into a situation where the computer won't post. I've spent about a week trying to diagnose the failing hardware component and I'm about to throw ...
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1answer
1k views

Crackling sound when closing 1155 socket

I am fairly new to assembling PCs but this time I decided to assemble it all by myself. I'm trying to install my CPU in socket 1155 on my Asus motherboard and while I'm closing the socket, there is a ...
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4answers
3k views

How to build my own single-board computer?

For fun, I would like to build my own single-board computer which I can later program. I know there are already many development kits out there, sold by companies such as Altera and Xilinx, but I want ...
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1answer
591 views

How much power supply does a typical PC build need?

I am building a system for a friend. The potential specs are like this so far: ASUS A8N-VM motherboard AMD Athlon 64 3200+ @ 2.0 GHz Any 7200RPM SATA HDD Palit GeForce 8800GT 512MB GDDR3 PCIe One ...
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1answer
400 views

Does it matter where I plug my power buttons and LED's into my motherboard?

I found the System Panel Header, now I just need to plug em' in.
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1answer
1k views

If I combine a PCIe x16 graphics card and a PCIe x4 hardware RAID, does the graphics card get 16 lanes?

I'm planning to install a graphics card which can utilise 16 PCIe lanes and a RAID controller which supports PCIe x4. The Ivy Bridge CPUs are all specified as supporting either one x16 or two x8 ...
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1answer
117 views

Adding Wake on LAN (WOL) to a custom built computer

I built my computer a few years ago, before I new about WOL. I want to get that feature now, but I don't know which part I need to get that feature. What should I get to add that functionality to my ...
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1answer
1k views

How do I attain safe temperatures for my new i7-2600 non-k?

I'm apparently having some cooling problems. I recently moved from a Core 2 Quad Q6600 on a P5K with 4GB and a Asus ATI 5770 running Windows XPsp2 Pro, to an i7-2600 non-k on a P8P67 (latest BIOS) ...
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1answer
518 views

How do I make a custom Firefox build that contains customizations?

Is there any app that can do this? I would like to include in single Firefox install file addons user-styles user-scripts themes custom layout I know I could just use FEBE and restore it, but it ...
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0answers
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Is my recently acquired GPU broken?

A little more than a week ago, I acquired an ASUS Strix GTX970 4GB OC. I've been noticing alot of sporadic stuttering whilst playing games and I'm kind of puzzled to what it could be. Very ...
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0answers
363 views

ESD considerations of an open-air/wood and plexiglas case

I am going to build a computer soon, and instead of buying a pre-built case I am planning to build my own case; either closed and built with wood and plexiglas, or open and built with just wood. My ...
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2answers
833 views

How to read and understand CPU specs? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do I read Intel CPU specs? So I'm building myself a computer, and I know all the components and where they go, but I have no idea how to read and compare CPU ...
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6answers
420 views

What should I know to select a power supply?

I am planning to build a computer in the next year. What should I know about power supplies before I buy one? I'm putting together a check-list, so nothing is too simple!
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4answers
13k views

Split internal USB pinouts - is it possible?

I've currently got a situation in my PC where I have 3 devices that connect to the motherboard via the onboard USB pinouts. The problem is, I only have two sets of USB pinouts on my motherboard. ...
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5answers
3k views

AMD vs Intel. What is the real difference? [closed]

I am prepared for this question to be closed. If that happens...so be it. I am not looking to start a flame war as I have a real question that I have researched and not found any satisfactory answer ...
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5answers
14k views

Computer turns on for a split second and then shut down

I searched all over google for the answers for this and most of them read that the PSU is at fault but i did the paper clip test where you connect the green wire to one of the black wires (ref: ...
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3answers
918 views

My graphics card is running very hot; should I do anything?

My Radeon 5870 is running near 90°C while not doing anything. I have dusted it, but it made no difference. What, if anything, should I do?
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2answers
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Graphics card monitoring utility

Is there a software from XFX to monitor the graphics card temps/fan speeds/etc, like MSI's afterburner utility? Can I use another software/utility to monitor a XFX GT 240 card? I'm on Windows 7 ...
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3answers
4k views

How can I test if my hard drive is installed/working before installing an OS?

I'm have a Raptor 10K 300gb drive. I built my system, and I can't seem to hear the drive at all! I'm trying to install Windows 7, but it complains about some CD Rom driver in the beginning of the ...
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2answers
380 views

For a Custom-Build Desktop, Is It Necessary to Purchase Additional Fans?

I'm going to build a custom-desktop from the parts I am going to buy. If I remember correctly, I think that the parts itself include fans that will cool off the system. (CPU has a heatsink + fan?, ...
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5answers
471 views

Why is my computer shutting down when under pressure?

I recently built a computer with the following relevant specs: EVGA 123-YW-E175-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 750i SLI FTW ATX Intel Motherboard Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA ...
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2answers
4k views

My Motherboard has 3 display outputs. Can I use 3 Screens?

I am just building my first computer (going to instal linux, probably Ubuntu). I have been a Mac boy for the last four years so I am feeling somewhat confused. I am thinking about getting this ...
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3answers
210 views

Setting up PC for illiterate business person

I have been tasked with constructing a business PC for an individual who is not just computer illiterate, but unable to read and write very well in his native language. What he currently has is a ...
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3answers
155 views

What is a good surface material for testbenching a computer?

It appears it will be a while before the case for my new PC will be available, but I will have all the other parts. Therefore, I will likely run it without a case for a while (hopefully not long). ...
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2answers
8k views

Where can I connect this USB 3.0 cord?

My motherboard has 2 USB 3.o slots in the back, where the usual slots go, but the tower also supports 1 or 2 USB 3.0 ports in the front, above the DVD drive. So, there is a cord coming out of those ...
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1answer
19k views

Can I use a 3 Gbit/s SATA hard drive with a 6 Gbit/s SATA port?

As you may have heard, Intel identified an issue with the P67 chipset in a recent press release which caused a loss of data over time with the 3 Gbit/s SATA ports. I recently built a Sandy Bridge ...
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1answer
225 views

Is there a significant disadvantage in allowing a computer with a solid-state boot drive to use the pagefile?

I have been working on putting together a build for my next computer, one one of the items I would like to include is an OCZ Vertex Series 30GB SSD. My build will be using DDR2 RAM, but while ...
3
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1answer
345 views

Do high-end video cards consume more power during regular PC usage?

For things like coding and web browsing, does a high-end GPU (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti) consume more power than a low/mid-range GPU (NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT)? The reason I ask is because the 9800 ...
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1answer
654 views

Do I need liquid cooling?

I'm building a computer mainly for gaming and developing games. It's going to be a three screen system with two GeForce GTX 460's and a quad-core i7. The newegg wattage calculator says I need around ...
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2answers
78 views

Laptop solid state hdd in deskop possible

I've got an extra 2.5 inch 16GB SSD hard-drive. Not very big but I thought it would be perfect for my dad's PC. He's always complaining about it being slow. The processor is already a fast AMD CPU ...
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2answers
83 views

Why Have The System Builder Market Not Migrated to the BTX Form Factor from ATX yet?

I'm starting to build my first computer from the parts that I have purchased and a question that had been nagging me for the past few weeks was why the ATX form factor is still currently used when ...
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3answers
565 views

Building My First Computer And Suprise It Isn't Working

I've had many years of experience working on and around computers, but this was my first foray into building one completely from scratch. So far that foray has been a disaster. My rig is completely ...
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1answer
2k views

downsides to running RAID on unmatched drives?

I've got some generic RAID controller built into my motherboard and I want to build either a RAID 5 or RAID 0+1 array. What are the disadvantages of running unmatched drives? Like 4 different brand ...
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1answer
9k views

How does a USB external graphics card work?

I am interested in extending my multi-monitor setup, but I was wondering if anyone could shed a light on how external USB graphics cards work? I have extensively searched but have not found an ...
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2answers
977 views

What features should I look for when building a Virtual Machine Host? [closed]

I'm planning on building a new PC and as I will be using it mainly for Virtual Machines. I would like information on what components should be focused on the most. I know RAM will need to be higher ...
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1answer
2k views

Can I daisy chain two chassis fans together?

I have two 120mm fans in the front of my machine and I'd like to connect them as chassis fans, but I'd like them to share the same 4 pin connector on my motherboard so that they both scale up and down ...
3
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1answer
766 views

Is an integrated graphics core needed? [closed]

I am building my first desktop and before I order the parts I need to know if an integrated graphics core is needed in a CPU if I am going to use a high end graphics card attached through an expansion ...