Core P5

We take a look at some of the problems that can arise when building your next PC. Don't be that person who breaks something because the utmost care was not taken.

Update 13 April 2017: Don't screw it up — we've added a few more helpful tips for building your first PC.

Make sure it will work

One of the bonuses of building your own PC is the excitement of taking delivery of all the parts required. That is until you work out that you've mistakenly ordered the wrong part or a specific component like RAM isn't compatible with the motherboard. Research should always be thoroughly carried out prior to filling up an online (or physical) cart and parting with hard-earned cash.

There are websites that can even do the hard work for you. While they're handy to utilize, we still recommend you double-check everything before ordering.

Make sure all your PC parts are compatible

Don't buy cheap power

The Power Supply Unit is the most important component of any PC simply because it's tasked with supplying reliable power to everything it's connected to. You could pick up a cheap PSU from a relatively unknown brand, but you run the risk of one-day experiencing a shutdown because it has blown or worse fired a some of your expensive components.

Don't cheap out on your PSU! We strongly recommend you fork out some money here for a solid, recommended unit.

Best Power Supplies for your PC

Not enough cables

GPU Cables

A PC requires a number of cables to hook every component up and ensure it all works flawlessly. Some cables like specific power (e.g. PCI) and data (e.g. SATA) are included with a Power Supply Unit and motherboard, but should you be adding numerous hard drives and possibly multiple GPUs in SLI/CrossFire configuration it won't hurt to order a few extra cables. Just in case.

Pesky headers

There are a number of annoying headers that need to be plugged into the motherboard. These provide power to a power button, reset button, hard drive activity light, and power indicator. The pins themselves are usually labelled in the motherboard manual and sometimes on the board itself, so pay close attention to the positive and negative corresponding pins.

Size matters

You've got everything installed in that awesome, compact chassis you found on sale. It's a mid-tower and is perfect for securing all your components within. The last task is to insert the GPU into the corresponding PCI slot. There's only one problem: it won't fit. Do your homework with the chosen case (or one you already own). Fetch a measuring tape and check that the larger components will fit inside.

For example, the GTX 1070 AMP! Extreme Edition by Zotac is a superb GPU, but it measures in at a whopping 325mm!

Best GPUs for your PC

Ground yourself

Anti-static Wristband

A preventative measure you should always employ is to discharge any static electricity your body may have conducted. This can be caused by rubbing against carpet, wearing wool clothing, etc. While incredibly rare, you could inadvertently cause damage to components by short-circuiting them. Luckily, it's super easy to avoid this.

How to prevent frying your PC with static electricity

Storing Screws

As you remove screws from various components and sections of the case, it's worth having a bowl or container nearby for easy storage of all the screws. The last thing you need to happen is to get to a point where you're unable to continue with the build because a screw or two are missing. Keep them safe!

Airflow is important

Fans, fans, fans. You need them to help keep components adequately cooled. Before even powering up your newly assembled system, it's worth checking each fan to make sure you've positioned them correctly, they're facing the right direction, and they're plugged into the motherboard (or PSU if you have a lack of headers). The last thing you need is to have heat issues down the line, especially if overclocking is on the cards.

Best CPU air coolers