Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I said a awhile ago I was working on an essay.

Building my computer I encouted problems along the way, I hope that this will help others who may be having the same problems, or just if you are at all interested in building your on computer. One of my biggest problems, was when I went to install windows 7, Microsoft does not let people know about the size of ram needed because the market for home building computers is so small and people who buy them srieght from the shops wont come across the problem, if anyone else is having problems with installing windows 7 please note the part on installing windows near the bottom of this post.


● Hard Disk Drives.(Hard Drive)
Hard Disk Drives or HDD are one of the main parts of your computer they store the information being programs, documents, settings and must be accessible to the rest of the computer for it to work properly. You may have more then one hard drive in the same computer so long as one of them is your main HDD.
The advantages of more than one is that you can backup or store the information within the one computer on separate Hard drives, you have more overall space or if another computer dies you can put their HDD's in a replacement computer and still get the data off (providing that it was not the HDD that caused the problem).

● Mother board
The mother board is the main part to your computer every thing is connected to the mother board which has the CPU chip located in it, which allows it to process every thing and most mother boards will have built in USB ports and LAN and graphics ports. The motherboard forms the backbone for all the other parts of the computer to slot into/ be connected to.

● CPU Processor (chip) or Computer processing unit
The CPU Chip is located on your motherboard and processes all the information from the hard drive and the rest of your computer. They are Expensive and generate a lot of heat forcing them to have their own fan mounted on them with a special cooling paste located in between the chip and the fan.

● Graphics Card
The graphics card is located on your motherboard and is an add on with the aim to give your computer higher quality graphics and processes the graphics information that is required to run the program you are using. They can be quite expansive ranging from fifty dollars to in the hundreds for the really good ones, graphic cards require different software based on their quality and brands to operate properly.

● Ram (Random Access Memory)
The ram is helper to the CPU chip and allows your computer to run faster by storing short term memory on it for the processor to process quicker. (without adequate RAM the data for processing has to be recorded to and from the hard drive which slows it down)

● Networking Card
A Networking card allows your computer too communicate with other computers and the internet. Our computers are linked by cable, but can be wireless setups.

● USB ports allow keyboards and mice to be plugged in as well as other extras

● Power Supply
The power supply gives electricity to the whole computer converting it to different voltage for different parts of the motherboard and peripherals so its not to high, usually 12 volts or less.

● Computer Case
the computer case is just a protective skin that covers all the electronics in side and holds them in the right position, it also protects from dust and little fingers.

● DVD Drive/CD ROM
The DVD/CD ROM reads information that’s recorded on to CDs and DVDs giving the information to the CPU chip.

Different connections and brands

● Hard Drives
Hard drives come in a mixture of brands but the two most common are Seagate, and Western Digital. Hard drives come with connections of IDE, Sata, Sata2, and Sata3 (oldest to newest). They come in the sizes of 20gb, 30gb, 40gb, 60gb, 80gb, 100gb, 120, 250gb 500gb, 1000gb(1TB), and 2000gb(2TB). I prefer Seagate, but there are some who would say differently.

CPU chips
● The CPU chip comes in many brands for example Intel and AMD. And have different connections that need to match your motherboard's CPU slot eg. Intel 775 pin 1155 pin, 1156 pin, 1366 pin AMD comes in AMD3 and a 754 socket.

● Graphics card
Graphics cards come with the connections of PCI AGP and PCI Express they come in a lot of different brands the most common being Nvidia Gigabyte and Asus. They come with their own on board memory and processing unit, the faster graphic cards are also demanding enough to have their own fans and power cords attached directly to them.

RAM comes in a lot of brands but the two most common are Kingston and corsair the connections range from PCI 100, PCI, DDR, DDR2,and DDR3 (oldest to newest),there are others but these are the most common, the motherboard dictates which ones you have to get to be compatible with the system.

● Motherboards
Motherboards come in three main brands ASUS Gigabyte and Intel. Some of more common connections you can get are Intel 775pin 1155pin, 1156, 1366, AMD, AMD2 and AMD3.
The choice of motherboard is based on what add-ons you want to have access for.

How we tested computers that weren't working:

To test a computer you need to go through the process of elimination. Eliminating the possible problems and isolating them.

The first step is to clean the computer up with a air compressor, vacuum cleaner, or a light brush, an air compressor is preferable.

The second step is to strip the computer down to bare minumin allow just the parts that the computer needs to function, one motherboard, one stick of RAM, a graphics card if the motherboard doesn’t have one built in, a CPU chip with fan in place, and a power supply, you don't need the hard drive to be plugged in until your actually sure the computer works.

Third step is swapping out parts ... if the computer doesn’t work first time swap the RAM preferable with one you know works, if it still doesn’t work then swap graphics card, if still not working swap the CPU chip if it's still not working after swapping power supply then it’s going to be the motherboard. Hopefully you've been able to work out which part caused the problem. (Or else it is more than one item or the motherboard or BIOS)

Four step: Now that you’ve isolated the problem then you can go about finding out which parts work with it from before you stripped it down.

Fifth step: after doing that you can plug in you hard drive and give it a full boot up. If your computer doesn’t recognise your hard drive make sure it is in the first port and it is all plugged in correctly. It will tell you which is the first port next to the port on the motherboard (in very small writing). After doing this if it still doesn’t work go into the BIOS by pressing the appropriate key when your computer starts to boot up. In the BIOS you will be in main menu you need to see if the computer recognises the hard drive in there. If it doesn't find it, go into the boot devices menu item and see if you can get it to recognise it in there, if not change the cable connection and check that there is nothing on the motherboard that shouldn’t be there (eg. We had loose screws near the cable socket that stopped our computer for months) after these steps if the hard drive isn't damaged it should work.

Installing windows

To install windows you will need to have a CD ROM or DVD drive plugged in and your windows CD in the drive after this it is a simply job of following the instrucions ... but if it has errors or doesnt recognise the CD or DVD drive here's what you do: * make sure the cd drive is plugged in properly
* make sure it is set to Master by moving the jumper which is a little plastic piece next to power to the right one (it will have which one written on the drive or if its on cable choice make sure you have it plugged in to the primary plug).
* if you have two cd drives (which isnt recomened for installing windows) make sure ones on master and ones on slave,
* when installing windows you will need to make sure you have 2GB of Ram or LESS if you have any more than 2GB of RAM you will probably experience errors when trying to install windows.
With these potential problems out of the way, the windows installation should work.

What you need to build a computer from scratch

You will need a computer case, power supply, motherboard, ram, graphics card, cpu chip, cpu cooling fan, one or more fans for your case, a hard drive and windows installer CD, you will also need a CDROM Drive. The hard thing is probably making sure it is all compatible.

You screw the motherboard into the correct position, with the ports facing out of the case, then screw the power supply in. After that screw the hard drive in, making sure it's on master, the CD-ROM follows this.

After following these steps, slot in your graphics card and ram. Now that your components are all pluged in you have to plug them in to power, if you don't know what your doing or your motherboard is a different design to what your use to, you may need to find your motherboards manual on the computer by typing in it's code which should be located on it as a sticker.

The hard drive may need a sata power converter cord if it's a newer model and the mother board may need a 20 pin power converter if it's a 24 pin.

After this it's just a matter of knowing what goes where or if you don't know, take a look at another computer the same design, or the manul.

After this, you are ready to install windows.


CB, Tigger and Will Treaty said...

Good detailed review.
Now there was a couple of things I never knew about, but now I do.



Legolas said...



I hope it will help you to build your PC.