Assembling your Homebuilt PC: Getting Ready
Place something over your table to avoid damaging the surface. An anti static mat is best because it will not only protect your table from scratches (that's especially important if you're a kid -- you don't want to get mom angry at you), but it also will protect your computer's components from static damage.
Building You Own Computer: Safety & Anti-Static Precautions
If you haven't already read the page about safety and anti-static precautions, read it now. You can find it here.
Go ahead. I'll wait for you.
Did you read it? Good. Now you know that a static shock that is much too small for a human to to feel can still be enough to fry sensitive computer components. So if you don't have an anti-static wrist strap, stop right now and go buy one.
The anti-static kit pictured on the right is a professional model that comes with an anti static mat (the red thing in the picture). There's also a strap that attaches the anti-static mat to your wrist, as well as to the computer's chassis. Less expensive anti-static kits (and even disposable ones) are also available.
The wrist strap attaches to the computer's chassis by means of a high-tech device that we call an alligator clip. Connect the alligator clip to an unpainted, metal part of the computer chassis, and check it frequently to make sure it hasn't fallen off.
The wrist strap may be placed on either wrist, as long as it fits snugly. Most people place it on their non-dominant wrist (for example, your left wrist if you're right-handed) so it's less in the way while they are working.
Anti-static kits are sometimes called "ESD" kits. ESD stands for "Electro Static Discharge." It means exactly the same thing. It's just that we geeks love our three-letter acronyms.
Planning your Homebuilt Computer's Assembly Sequence
Take a few minutes to look at your computer case, motherboard, and other parts. Try to think ahead through the assembly process to determine what is the best order in which to build the machine. This is a very important step any time you are going to assemble a computer.
The think that you're trying to avoid by thinking the process through is installing a component that gets in the way of installing another component later on. A few minutes of planning at this point can help prevent annoyance later. If you're unsure about anything, please feel free to post a question on the Computer Assembly page of our Home-built Computer Forum.
In most cases, however, the first part you will install in your homebuilt computer is the motherboard; so if you're ready, let's move on to the next page: Installing the Motherboard.
- Assembling your New Computer