Questions for those who build PCs

20
Found 31st Dec 2017
I've been building PCs for over two decades, but only one every 2-5 years on average, although recently it's been more like one every year or two. I'm about finished with a new build right now, but I've run into a little dilemma.

Usually there are a bunch of I/O cables/connectors (those fiddly little things) that run from the case to the MB, and I'm used to seeing a bunch of them, but this time there are only 6 pins in total to connect. I see no "power reset" but there is "power SW" and power LED/HDD LED and a couple of others. I guess newer cases no longer bother with "power reset"??

My other question is, how long does it take you to assemble a PC?

Despite having built multiple PCs I always forget the finer points, and have to ask or look at a guide to remind myself. I've been following this one, and it says that about 2hrs is the time it should take:
howtogeek.com/how…er/

I can't see how that is possible for most people who don't do it for a living. I do like to take my time and make sure I get it right so it's taken me about 8/9hrs to get to this stage (last few connections to make). I guess I could get it down to about 4 hrs if I really rushed through it, but every build is unique, so different solutions are required which may need a little fiddling/experimentation, and that takes time.

Getting the cables right often means trying one way and if it doesn't work very well (or is messy) then that usually means disconnecting most (if not all) cables and starting all over. I guess if you are not that bothered with less than ideal airflow due to messy cables then it would go a lot faster!

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New cases have minimalistic designs mostly and they do, yes have less connectors. Also it takes me around 2 hours to cable manage and build a new pc.

Eight to Nine Hours is slightly excessive for an experienced system builder to assemble a PC from scratch, but then again that depends on whether this includes re-installation of windows, ghosting / imaging or transfer of a hard drive to SSD, and/or debugging software. In the old days Windows 95/98 or ME having to configure and install software for each component especially the Sound Card did take an age. Fortunately it's a much easier process today and takes a few hours including cleaning the case.

When working in the industry, it was expected to build a bare-bones system in a couple of minutes and with no faults. Quality control was paramount with all cables tidied, and fixed to avoid mess and even sweat marks and finger prints removed from a case. It was totally different with my own or friends build as many of the components were top of the range, expensive, and required careful thought to ensure no errors, as a mistake could be catastrophic so I took my time to install each component.

In over a thousand installations, upgrades, builds, and system cleans I've only made a single mistake, and that was failing to examine carefully the back of a Mainboard PCB, as one of the VRM - Voltage Regulator Module was faulty and blew the whole motherboard. It took over a month of wrangling, and a threatening e-mail to get a well-known retailer to return the board to the manufacturer, and admit liability.

One thing I don't miss is the old razor sharp cases, these were lethal and detrimental to your hands!

It takes as long as it takes, it's more a creative process with new cases as you have so many different options with cooling and cable routing. Plus during that time you're thinking about any modifications or upgrades you might want to introduce later.

I've built mine nearly a year and I still have to make up some aluminum panels and install a 7" display in the lower part of the case. Don't rush it and enjoy the experience as if it's not right it's just going to bug you to redo it anyway.

I think the main problem with modern systems is optical drives as they always get in the way

Only six pin front panel connection I've heard of is on Dells, sounds like a strange setup.
pinoutguide.com/Mot…tml

Original Poster

Thanks for the replies guys.

8-9 hrs may be a bit of an over exaggeration, as I'm including breaks, but that is/was purely the physical build of the PC, up to the point of 1st power up. I guess some of us just need to take our time a little bit more. Quite a bit of that time was taken up by not having everything I need to hand (having to search for it, eg MX2 paste, and 2 extra SATA 3.0 cables which were not provided - only two were!), double or even triple checking that everything is well seated and in the right place.

@Aaron_Harrison-1110900949 thanks for the input!

@nemesiz 2 mins per build is crazy!

@kester76 the case I have is this one: gamemax.uk/pro…tml

So I guess the Power SW polarity shouldn't matter too much? It's a 2 pin connector with "Power SW" and underneath that "CH", printed in positions that suggest each applies to it's own pin. When I try to match that up with what's on the MB - the pdf manual says "PWRBTN#" (just "PWR" in my printed version of the manual) and "GND", so I've matched up "Power SW" with "PWRBTN#" (top row, 3rd pin along) and "GND" with "CH"(top row, 4th pin along).

dlcdnet.asus.com/pub…pdf

I think that makes sense?!

Well I've got it all together now... should I try for first power up @ the stroke of midnight?

Happy New Year everyone


PS. How do the optical drives get in the way? I've never thought they did. Certainly no problems on this build. And yes, glad to see the back of razor-sharp-edged cases too!
Edited by: "traylee" 31st Dec 2017

traylee45 m ago

Thanks for the replies guys.8-9 hrs may be a bit of an over exaggeration, …Thanks for the replies guys.8-9 hrs may be a bit of an over exaggeration, as I'm including breaks, but that is/was purely the physical build of the PC, up to the point of 1st power up. I guess some of us just need to take our time a little bit more. Quite a bit of that time was taken up by not having everything I need to hand (having to search for it, eg MX2 paste, and 2 extra SATA 3.0 cables which were not provided - only two were!), double or even triple checking that everything is well seated and in the right place.@Aaron_Harrison-1110900949 thanks for the input!@nemesiz 2 mins per build is crazy!@kester76 the case I have is this one: http://www.gamemax.uk/products_168_108.htmlSo I guess the Power SW polarity shouldn't matter too much? It's a 2 pin connector with "Power SW" and underneath that "CH", printed in positions that suggest each applies to it's own pin. When I try to match that up with what's on the MB - the pdf manual says "PWRBTN#" (just "PWR" in my printed version of the manual) and "GND", so I've matched up "Power SW" with "PWRBTN#" (top row, 3rd pin along) and "GND" with "CH"(top row, 4th pin along).http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/LGA1151/PRIME_Z270M-PLUS/E11993_PRIME_Z270M-PLUS_UM_WEB_only.pdfI think that makes sense?!Well I've got it all together now... should I try for first power up @ the stroke of midnight? Happy New Year everyone PS. How do the optical drives get in the way? I've never thought they did. Certainly no problems on this build. And yes, glad to see the back of razor-sharp-edged cases too!


Happy New year mate, hope you got it sorted ok. Not sure about CH as that normally implies CHASIS entry. The case switch isn't a combined switch is it ?

I've got a Thermal Take Core X9 case which is huge and easily takes 2x 200mm fans but the top half is where the drives sit so I'm yanking them out and mounting them external.

Original Poster

kester7617 m ago

Not sure about CH as that normally implies CHASIS entry. The case switch …Not sure about CH as that normally implies CHASIS entry. The case switch isn't a combined switch is it ?


I also thought "CHASIS", but that implies "ground", since the chasis is always grounded. Either way it's confusing! Perhaps it's because I bought the case 2-3 years ago (almost all the other components inc. MB are new), and the labeling conventions have changed?

As far as I can tell the switch only has a single function, if that's what you mean? Shouldn't be a problem as settings can be changed in BIOS, and come to think about it, I never use the "reset" button anyway.

Are you worried about the optical drives being damaged by heat then? I have to admit, I did spend a while pondering if I should have the DVD on top and the HDD caddy underneath or vice versa, but stuck with the former!

traylee38 m ago

I also thought "CHASIS", but that implies "ground", since the chasis is …I also thought "CHASIS", but that implies "ground", since the chasis is always grounded. Either way it's confusing! Perhaps it's because I bought the case 2-3 years ago (almost all the other components inc. MB are new), and the labeling conventions have changed?As far as I can tell the switch only has a single function, if that's what you mean? Shouldn't be a problem as settings can be changed in BIOS, and come to think about it, I never use the "reset" button anyway.Are you worried about the optical drives being damaged by heat then? I have to admit, I did spend a while pondering if I should have the DVD on top and the HDD caddy underneath or vice versa, but stuck with the former!


No, the drive bays prevent me from mounting the 2nd 200mm fan at the front. It's just annoying as they get little use. Hopefully will be able to mount the in another PC for ripping and writing.

Chasis intrudence used to be a function on some systems but I doubt that's it.

Original Poster

kester761 h, 27 m ago

No, the drive bays prevent me from mounting the 2nd 200mm fan at the …No, the drive bays prevent me from mounting the 2nd 200mm fan at the front. It's just annoying as they get little use. Hopefully will be able to mount the in another PC for ripping and writing.Chasis intrudence used to be a function on some systems but I doubt that's it.



I can see why that would be annoying.

Well it seems to work fine. Just looking through the bios for the first time and not sure what I need to change, if anything! i7 7700K @ 4.2Ghz idling at about 43-45 C. Does that sound about right?

[quote]@nemesiz 2 mins per build is crazy![quote]

Think a conveyor belt system except the components are already unboxed, ready to be assembled and this was a bare-bones system. So installation of motherboard, CPU, Fan and Memory, connect all leads, install hard drive, and if necessary optical drive into a prepared case (with cheap PSU). Slight exaggeration would be two minutes but as stated a couple of minutes if everything was ready. If you're doing up to a hundred systems for a large contract and other team members doing other parts of the system, you switch into over-drive mode and concentrate on your part of the build. It was when a mistake occurred, and repeated over the whole build that was frustrating as It was annoying having to correct somebody else's mistake over fifty or sixty time due to carelessness especially as being a trainee at the time (even with twelve years of experience).

Strangely miss the job as the camaraderie, and respect for the other workers, especially the Quality Control and Tester who was truly a professional and perfectionist that put many in the industry to shame. Although would never return back to the industry as the pay was appalling, so whilst offered a managerial job due to background experience, left soon afterwards after countless times witnessing unacceptable, unprofessional behaviour on a monumental level!
Edited by: "nemesiz" 1st Jan

Well it seems to work fine. Just looking through the bios for the first time and not sure what I need to change, if anything! i7 7700K @ 4.2Ghz idling at about 43-45 C. Does that sound about right?

Depends on the heatsink and fan (unless it's a water system), case and materials, Ambient room temperature, internal components especially the type of graphics card, thermal compound, even the BIOS*. Try a stress test to see what the temperatures peak but anything under 70C maximum with 100% CPU load is usually acceptable especially if overclocked and includes a high-end graphics card. Otherwise mid-fifties under full stress is the norm. (Although I prefer a quiet system so running a Ryzen 1700 at stock and fans at minimal).
Edited by: "nemesiz" 1st Jan

traylee7 h, 3 m ago

I can see why that would be annoying. Well it seems to work fine. Just …I can see why that would be annoying. Well it seems to work fine. Just looking through the bios for the first time and not sure what I need to change, if anything! i7 7700K @ 4.2Ghz idling at about 43-45 C. Does that sound about right?


Depends on ambient and what cooler you are using and case airflow. I'm running an FX8350 with an Corsair h80 using mx-4. Assembled it about 5 years ago. It runs about ambient and hits about 55c tops but It's not overclocked.

R9 290 runs crazy hot so warms up room on average to about 25c. Drives run about 28-30c.

Original Poster

kester766 h, 38 m ago

Depends on ambient and what cooler you are using and case airflow. I'm …Depends on ambient and what cooler you are using and case airflow. I'm running an FX8350 with an Corsair h80 using mx-4. Assembled it about 5 years ago. It runs about ambient and hits about 55c tops but It's not overclocked.R9 290 runs crazy hot so warms up room on average to about 25c. Drives run about 28-30c.


Ambient temp currently just over 17C and CPU idling @ 25C. Mind you, the sides are still off the case since I still need to install the M.2s!

Intel i7 7700K S 1151 Kaby Lake @ 4.2Ghz
Cooler Master Hyper 212X CPU Air Cooler
2x 8GB, DDR4 DIMM,PC4-17000 2133MHZ BPSCA CT8G4DFD8213 - CS27853 By CRUCIAL MEMORY
Asus Intel PRIME H270M-PLUS LGA 1151 mATX

Asus GeForce GT 1030 2GB OC Graphics Card
Black Magic Design Intensity Pro 4K HDMI Video Editing Card

SanDisk Ultra II SSD 120 GB Sata III(System drive)
2x Samsung 250GB 960 Evo M.2 SSD (raid0 camera data drive)
Seagate 1TB Barracuda Internal Hard Drive 64 MB Cache

LiteOn iHAS124 24X Internal DVD Writer
Icy Box IB-158SK-B Trayless Aluminium mobile rack for 3.5" SATA HDD
Seasonic M12II Evo 520w BRONZE 80+ PSU
Silent Game Max PC Gaming Mid Tower Computer Case

Original Poster

nemesiz8 h, 50 m ago

Well it seems to work fine. Just looking through the bios for the first …Well it seems to work fine. Just looking through the bios for the first time and not sure what I need to change, if anything! i7 7700K @ 4.2Ghz idling at about 43-45 C. Does that sound about right?Depends on the heatsink and fan (unless it's a water system), case and materials, Ambient room temperature, internal components especially the type of graphics card, thermal compound, even the BIOS*. Try a stress test to see what the temperatures peak but anything under 70C maximum with 100% CPU load is usually acceptable especially if overclocked and includes a high-end graphics card. Otherwise mid-fifties under full stress is the norm. (Although I prefer a quiet system so running a Ryzen 1700 at stock and fans at minimal).



Plan to start stress testing once the M.2s are in, and drivers/bios are all updated. I think that's the logical order to do things in?! Again I'm a little unsure..

Was surprised how quiet everything was even with the case still open, but I guess that could change once I start to stress it a bit!

Any idea if I should download a recent version of Prime95, or is the one I got 2+ years back still suitable?

traylee5 m ago

Plan to start stress testing once the M.2s are in, and drivers/bios are …Plan to start stress testing once the M.2s are in, and drivers/bios are all updated. I think that's the logical order to do things in?! Again I'm a little unsure.. Was surprised how quiet everything was even with the case still open, but I guess that could change once I start to stress it a bit!Any idea if I should download a recent version of Prime95, or is the one I got 2+ years back still suitable?



It's normally blower style GPUs that produce the most noise. Most GPUs are pretty quiet now.

Original Poster

kester763 h, 17 m ago

It's normally blower style GPUs that produce the most noise. Most GPUs are …It's normally blower style GPUs that produce the most noise. Most GPUs are pretty quiet now.


It's ironic. This PC won't even be in the same room as me for most of the time, so it could make all the noise it wants and I wouldn't care.

I don't suppose you (or anyone else reading) is using Win10? I'm wondering if there are any performance testing tools included like the ones in Win7? First time using Win10 and I'm a little lost!

traylee1 h, 53 m ago

It's ironic. This PC won't even be in the same room as me for most of the …It's ironic. This PC won't even be in the same room as me for most of the time, so it could make all the noise it wants and I wouldn't care. I don't suppose you (or anyone else reading) is using Win10? I'm wondering if there are any performance testing tools included like the ones in Win7? First time using Win10 and I'm a little lost!


Yes there is in computer management in the pro versions but not sure about home etc. No idea how to use them though as I only stumbled across it whilst I was looking for something else.

Original Poster

I chose home as it didn't appear to be any more restrictive for my application (capturing 4K video) than the pro version, and will (I guess) be cheaper when it comes to paying for the key. Perhaps I should go for the pro version instead? It'd only set me back an hour or two as I'm currently stuck updating bios. For some reason it won't recognize the file I downloaded as a legitimate bios update!?! Version 0812 is the latest, and my current bios is 0809, so not even an option to try an earlier version. I guess I'll have to try updating over the net..

Original Poster

Given up on the bios. It seems that 0809 is all it wants. Got everything else installed/updated and it all seems to run fine. CPU maxing out at around 66C @ 4.4 Ghz in Prime95 (just under 20C ambient), and I'm just running memtest86 for a while to complete the testing. Now all I need is a 4k 30hz video source (still to get) and I should be good to go

The one thing that I'm not 100% satisfied with (although it's not going to affect my original plan) is that one of the two 960 M.2 Evos that make up the raid0 array is only using 2x pcie 3.0 lanes (the other is using 4 lanes) so I'm not getting quite the write speeds which I had hoped for, and means that 4K 60hz is not quite possible. Not sure if there is a way to get the second 960 to work on 4 lanes without affecting other components(?), but going to see if I can find any clues in the MB manual..

Takes me a couple of hours for a system build. Most time consuming part is connecting internal components as small cables / connectors. Installing os is now done in about 30 mins and back using chrome etc within 4 hours.

I always install a bunch of softwares before restarting and normally leave windows updates to run overnight.

Most frustrating thing for me pc / Windows wise now is the shafted full shut down. Holding shift etc.
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