12 PC Building Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

If you’re like us, building a new PC can be an exciting, challenging and sometimes daunting task! Lots of things to consider; budgeting and purchasing the correct components, build prep and then the actual building of your next, awesome gaming beast. So what should you try to avoid when you do take the plunge? Well, we’re glad you asked. 😉

Our co-founder's rig. A beast, until the next upgrade ;)

Our co-founder’s rig. A beast, until the next upgrade 😉

Building a PC can be a daunting task, particularly for beginners. Many are bound to make mistakes. Ending up with an incomplete or unstable system is always a risk. This means a compromise on the performance, which is the last thing any budding PC gamer wants. Well, you can build a cheap gaming PC with ease, if only you can understand some of the mistakes to avoid. Are you setting out to build a gaming PC? Then read on to find the 12 common PC building mistakes and tips that you might find useful.

The Mainboard Standoff Screws

These are essential for keeping the motherboard secured to the case as well as holding the entire machine together. However, you can easily forget screwing them in. The last thing you want to deal with is having to mess about with these screws once you have put everything together. The best thing to do is ensure you have inserted and secured them (not too) tightly before proceeding.

Cheap Components aren’t Always the Best

Going cheap isn’t always the best decision. Particularly if you’re building a gaming PC. For example, the Power Supply Unit (PSU) is one of the most important components. The problem with cheap PSUs is that they are unreliable and worse yet, they could jeopardise the whole system. So why go down that way while you can spend a little more and get a half decent one? Always consider going for recognised brands like EVGA, SeaSonic, Corsair and such. They cannot only save you a lot of hassle; they could also save your entire system.

Incorrect RAM Installation

Installing the memory (RAM) is a relatively easy task. Nevertheless, some people do get it wrong. If you have an even number of modules, the first thing to consider is spacing them apart with one slot. Check the manual to discern the slots to insert your RAM. And when inserting it, push it to fit properly. This helps to ensure you have the clips come down on each side. Remember, the notches are there for a reason.

Our co-founder's rig.
Improper fan Installation

The fans included in the case are well positioned for pushing the air in the direction it should. But adding others could be tricky. So ensure you position them in a way that enables pushing the air in the right direction. In essence, check to be sure that the fan is pushing the air into the back or towards the top of the case. Airflow is essential for cooling those all important components.

That Important Motherboard I/O Shield

Another thing most PC builders usually leave behind is the I/O shield, which is usually included in the package. You should definitely install this into the case, especially before you mount the motherboard. Once you have it in place, mounting the shield can be very fiddly and won’t do your stress levels any good. In some cases, it is an insurmountable task, and it can sometimes result in a tear-down of your mainboard from the case. It looks neater and also massively reduces the intake of nasty dust and other unpleasant things.

Turning on the PC without Plugging Everything in

For most PC builders, the thrill of powering up the system often overrides the need for caution. Power connectors are obviously essential, so you need to double check to ensure everything is in place. All cables should be safely and securely plugged with the right connections, with no obstructions or snagging with fans.

Neat and tidy PC build with added RGB

Incompatibility in Parts

Starting to build a PC with incompatible parts can be a nightmare. Yet this is something most beginners often gloss over. You can always stay safe by using a PC Part Picker or similar tool to check how compatible your parts are.

Cables and their Correct Ports

This mistake is common among most first-timers. Be smart enough to beat it by ensuring you plug the HDMI, DVI or other cables in the graphics card. Do not plug those in the motherboards video ports, which is wrong.

Building Using the Wrong Surface

While building, using a conductive surface can result in damaged components. It is wise to use a non-conductive surface, like a wood platform. Better yet, get an anti-static strap; it might cost you a few quid, but it helps reduce the chances of damaged parts.

Peripherals to match a great gaming PC

Applying Thermal Paste

Most OEM coolers come with a pre-applied amount of thermal paste. However, when using your own, custom part, you can easily be tempted to scrimp. When applying the paste, ensure you only use small amounts; most manuals recommend a pea-sized blob. Distribute the cooler by placing it evenly to the CPU and mainboard and ensure all sides are evenly screwed down.

Failure to Read the Manual (RTFM)

This mistake can be more about excitement and the need to rush than about lack of know-how. The manual is there to help you through every step as you build your PC. Failure to follow the manual usually leads to most of the mistakes that first-timers make along the way.

Install Antivirus and Update your Drivers

Most beginners hardly ever consider updating the drivers or installing Antivirus once they are done with the building. Keep in mind that updating the drivers and installing Antivirus software can be essential, if not inevitable.

These updates can help to fix a multitude of issues and sometimes give your system a nice boost. The motherboard BIOS updates, for example could increase stability and even add support for new CPUs and tweaks. The graphics card drivers could add brand new, performance boosting features. Downloading the drivers from the manufacturer’s website is a good way to keep your hardware updated.

Ensure your drivers are up to date

These are the 12 common PC building mistakes and tips that you need to consider. They will definitely be helpful in making things easier and enable your PC to run without issues. They can also save your system from unforeseen issues. Never take anything for granted when building your PC, it’s the slightest of mistakes that have the worst outcomes. Now you can build your system with confidence. RTFM is there for a reason. Use it. 😉


Big thanks to Matt Cupper for the above article. You can check out Matt’s blog here

One comment

  1. Oh look……’s my beautiful rig. 😉

    Nice article Matt Cuppa. 🙂

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