You’ve finally decided to build a PC. You are clear about the parts you are going to use, and you are eager to get down to work so that you can start enjoying it as soon as possible. If you are careful and approach the assembly calmly, and knowing at all times the steps to follow, you should have no problem, but you should be able to do it as soon as possible. there is always a certain risk that, for one reason or another, you’ll end up doing something wrong, and the consequences of those mistakes could end up being. very serious.
I know of cases of experienced users who, either because of haste or overconfidence, got carried away and went into an automated mode that led them to make mistakes that in some cases ended up costing them dearly. So that you don’t have to go through this situation, today I want to share with you five things that, even though they are very basic, we can do wrong when assembling a PCand that can end up giving us a bad time.
In this guide I will focus on only on errors that occur during the assembly process.that is, in the things that we can do wrong while we are assembling the PC, and not in the previous stage of component selection, nor in the later part of installation of the operating system, drivers and final configuration of the system.
In those it is also possible to make serious mistakes, such as. the purchase of parts that are not compatible with each other or that do not fit, and also the installation of unsuitable drivers, so be careful with those steps as well, because they are very important. Having said that, I invite you to make yourselves comfortable, let’s get started.
1.-Place the processor in the wrong orientation.
This is an assembly mistake that, fortunately, is becoming increasingly difficult to make, and one that, as long as we are careful, is very easy to avoid. Both Intel and AMD market their processors with an indicator in the shape of a triangle that points to the orientation that the processor should have so that we insert it correctly in the socket. In fact, if we have placed it correctly, we will notice that it fits perfectly under its own weight, and we will not have to exert any force.
There are cases in which it is physically impossible to place the processor wrong because it simply does not fit if we do not place it in the correct position, so in the end. it’s harder to place it right than it is to place it wrong. However, I can confirm to you that I have seen cases of people who have done it wrong thinking that they thought it was normal to have to do some force to insert the pins, which in the end end up bent, so we should always be careful with this point.
Before inserting the processor, take a good look at the orientation triangle that is drawn on one corner of the processor as well as on the motherboard socket, as this will tell you the position where it should be placed. Once you have it clear you only have to drop it and ready, it will enter directly by its own weight without having to make force. If you notice that it does not enter by its own weight never use forceremove it and make sure that you are installing it correctly.
Forcing the processor and installing it wrong can end up causing irreversible damage that will eventually render it totally unusable. Something as simple as bending or breaking one or more of the pins can turn a processor into a paperweight, and we can also end up bending or breaking the pins of the motherboard socket if we are not careful, and this will render the motherboard unusable, as it will not be able to run any processor. In some cases it is possible to repair this damage, but the cost is usually very high.
2.-Install the RAM memory in “single channel” mode.
Undoubtedly one of the most common mistakes, although fortunately it is also one of the most innocuous ones we can make, as it does not produce any kind of damage to our PC and we will have nothing to worry about if we make it.since we will be able to correct it at any time and without any effort.
Installing the RAM in “single channel” mode means that we have placed two modules in succession, and that therefore only will use a 64-bit bus instead of a 128-bit bus.. This will reduce the bandwidth, and make the CPU’s communications and data transfers with the memory much slower. It can also negatively affect the performance of an integrated GPU, since it uses RAM as graphics memory, and depends on the bandwidth it provides to achieve a higher level of performance.
You can visually identify whether you have set the RAM right or wrong in a very simple way, and this will save you from having to turn on the PC to find out for sure. If you have installed the modules in slots 1 and 2, from left to right, or 3 and 4, also from left to rightI am sorry to say that you have made this mistake, and that they will work in single channel.
Fortunately this error is very easy to correct, as I told you at the beginning of this section. You just have to remove one of the two modules and change it to another slot. The correct order to activate the dual channel mode would be, from left to right, slots 1 and 3 or slots 2 and 4, always following an alternate placement. If you are afraid of misaligning the RAM memory, don’t worry, it has a pattern that makes it not fit directly, and you only have to look in the slot to get it right.
3.-Putting an M.2 SSD in the wrong slot.
This is a less common mistake, but it can have quite serious consequences. On many motherboards that offer multiple M.2 NVMe PCIe slots it is normal to encounter differences in the level of support for different standards, and also with a certain number of PCIe lanes. For example, Intel’s Z590 motherboards usually have an M.2 slot supporting PCIe Gen4 x4while the rest of your M.2 slots are normally limited to PCIe Gen3 x4 or x2.
We can also find current motherboards today that have one M.2 slot that is PCIe Gen5 x4 compatible, and the rest limited to PCIe Gen4 x4 or x2. If we install a PCIe Gen4 or Gen5 compliant M.2 NVMe SSD in an M.2 slot that is only PCIe Gen3 compliant in the first case, or PCIe Gen4 compliant in the second case, we will be generating a bottleneck that will limit the performance of those drives.
We will not have stability problems and neither will we have to fear because some kind of damage may occur on the board or on the SSD, but the loss of performance will be considerable and we will not be truly taking advantage of the potential of our storage unit. Note that PCIe lanes can also limit performance.and that each SSD must be in a slot that offers the maximum lanes it can take advantage of. These are indicated as x4 (four lanes) or x2 (two lanes).
Last but not least, you need to be aware that when we occupy all the M.2 slots on a motherboard some SATA III ports may be disabled. This will be indicated in the motherboard manual, and you will just need to make sure that you do not have any SATA drives connected to the ports that will no longer be operational. Don’t forget that wireless network cards can also consume PCIe lines. when enabled, with all that this implies when using M.2 NVMe PCIe SSDs.
4.-Mounting the graphics card in a slow PCIe slot.
Although it may not seem like it, this is a fairly easy mistake to make, and more frequent than we think. A motherboard has different PCIe slots working at different speeds.and therefore do not offer the same bandwidth. Typically, the first PCIe slot works in x16 mode and, depending on the age of the motherboard, is compatible with the Gen3, Gen4 or Gen5 standards, the latter being the newest and the one integrated in the most current motherboards.
A higher standard means higher bandwidth per line.provided that the graphics card we install is compatible with that standard. Therefore, if we install a PCIe Gen4 x4 graphics card such as the Radeon RX 6400 in a PCIe Gen3 x4 slot we will be causing a bottleneck, because it will work under an earlier standard and will have a lower bandwidth.
On the other hand, there is also the possibility that we install the graphics card in a slot that only offers four or even one PCIe lane, which will obviously will reduce the bandwidth to a pyrrhic level, and will greatly limit performance. Fortunately this will not result in damage at the hardware level, but the performance loss can be enormous, which is why it is important to be careful and place the graphics card in the correct slot.
That’s not complicated at all because there is a general rule that is always followed, and that is that the graphics card should be mounted in the first slot PCIe expansion slot on the motherboard, as this is the one with a 16 PCIe lane configuration, and the one that supports the most advanced standard. Don’t hesitate, always go for the first slot on the motherboard. This is usually also reinforced with a metallic finish on many motherboards, which adds ideal structural reinforcement for moving heavy graphics cards and also makes it easier to differentiate them from the other slots, which are usually constructed of plastic.
5.-Place controllers in areas where they make contact.
Many chassis, fans, all-in-one liquid cooling systems and certain peripherals come with controllers that allow us to regulate certain aspects, such as spin speed or RGB LED lighting. These types of accessories can be very useful, but we must be very careful when it comes to placing them, because. not all of them adopt the same presentation nor are they properly isolated.
I have met, on more than one occasion, people who, after assembling their PC, do not understand why it does not start up. I remember a very particular case, the PC was pretending to boot, the fans were spinning, the motherboard light was on, and the PC was not booting.and it even stayed on, but the PC gave no sign of life and the fans stopped.
After giving it a lot of thought I realized where the problem was, In a fan controller in the form of a small PCB with pins that I had decided to screw directly to the chassis.and was making some kind of contact that prevented the unit from booting properly. Fortunately it seems that the motherboard and power supply protection systems prevented damage to the components, and after removing the controller and connecting the fans directly to the motherboard everything worked normally.
We should not connect any type of controller or similar peripheral in a way that makes contact with the chassis. These types of components must always be properly insulatedor placed in such a way that it does not touch the chassis, and that no contact can occur with the passage of time (e.g. by detachment due to deterioration of adhesives or fasteners).
If we ignore this we may find ourselves in very different situations, and with very different consequences. For example, the PC may not start up, or it may start up but when it starts working at a certain intensity it may suffer crashes or spontaneous blackouts caused by this contact. The consequences could be very varied, I have already told you that if we catch it in time perhaps nothing will happen, but also it could end up taking one or more components of our equipment with it.so be careful.