Before you place your order it’s always a good idea to double-check on the compatibility of the parts you ordered and make sure you have any extras you may need. You’ll also want to make sure that all your parts are available immediately to prevent any delays in shipment.
Join DIY All Day as we make sure everything is in order before you place your order.
[This guide is periodically updated to reflect then newest parts and technology. View the full tutorial on How to Build a Computer.]
Here are the primary things you can double-check on your parts to ensure everything is compatible and in line with the most current technological standards.
- Your motherboard socket must be compatible with your processor. Usually this means they have to match like Intel’s LGA 1155, but some sockets are backward compatible like AMD’s AM3+ which can accept AM3 processors.
- Your RAM speed should match the highest non-overclocked speed of motherboard’s RAM bus, usually 1333 or 1600 mHz.
- Make sure your hard drive and optical drive are SATA. You’ll want to avoid the obsolete IDE standard, and also avoid SCSI and SAS drives which are generally only used for servers.
- Make sure your video card is PCIe 16x, not older standards like PCI or AGP. If your video card has power requirements make sure your power supply has the needed plugs for it. The needed power plugs often don’t appear in the video card’s listing, but you can usually see them in them pictures. If not, try the manufacturer’s website or do a google image search for your card’s model number.
- Make sure your power supply has enough wattage for your system. If you have not done so already use a power supply calculator.
- Make sure you have a connector on your PSU for your CPU power, typically an 8-Pin EPS connector, although on some low-end boards a 4-pin +12-volt connector is used.
- If using a hard drive to install your OS on, get 7200 RPMs. Avoid lower speed drives like 5400 unless the drive is only being used for file storage.
In addition to making sure you have all the right components for your tower, you’ll also want to make sure you have any external components you need. Generally this is a monitor, mouse, keyboard and speakers. Some users may also want a headset, microphone, webcam, printer or other specialized component.
I also recommend everyone building a computer purchase some thermal compound. Thermal compound is applied to the processor to aid in heat transfer to your heatsink. Without it your system will overheat in a matter of minutes. There is a stock application on the bundled heatsinks that come with a retail processor. This can only be used one time. You don’t want to find yourself unable to use your computer if you ever remove your heatsink and don’t have some on hand.
Ensure Prompt Shipping
Not every item for sale on Tiger Direct is necessarily “in stock,” this goes for any online retailer. Shipping times appear on “results” pages and individual item listings. I prefer to just take a glance over my list for shipping time while looking at my cart. Some items take 7 – 21 days to ship, this can really slow down your build.
Unless it’s an item that you just have to have it’s usually wise to sub out any items that have long ship times with comparable items that are in stock or ship within 24 hours. If you’ve been working on your list for several days this is especially important to review in the cart because stock of items can change daily.
So if your cart has all your selections hover your mouse over the “place order” link and pause for a moment to reflect on the gravity of what you are about to do. By dropping your finger down that half-inch or so you are crossing a threshold. No more paying more money to computer companies for lesser computers. No more nonstandard parts to force you to drop loads of cash on a whole new computer every few years.
Clicking the mouse is freedom. Click it. Click it now. Don’t you feel good about yourself?
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