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How to assemble a PC as fast as possible

asidu asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-02-26
I would like to get suggestion and ideas on how to assemble a desktop computer fast as possible.

Two questions one on hardware and the second on software

Any pointer on how the PC assembly  could be done in the shortest and efficient approach.
Any precautions that must be observed by the installer.

I have the following components to assemble.

2 SATA Hard DISk ( care need for bending angle)
Card reader with FDD
SATA cales
IDE cables
1 Mother Board
1 CPU and heat sink
LAN card
Fan for case
Graphics card

How  to install WinXP particularly on SATA 1

All answer will be appreciated.

Thank you
Watch Question

I'm not sure what you are looking for but there is no shortcut. It takes x amount of time to put the pieces together and there is no magic to make it go faster. Obviously you need to be aware of static discharge and keep fingers off of componant connections. If you are in a production environment you could use imaging software to load WinXp, it would only take about 10 to 15 min to copy the os over but if you are not doing this over and over it may not be worth the effort to set this all up.


Thanks tickz_2 for the quick response.
I agree with you.

I reckon there should be systematic  way how to do the process of assembly with the mentioned components.
I am looking for the most effienct steps which will enusre least time is used.

Top Expert 2009
If this is the first time you assemble a PC, I wouldn't put the stress on speed, but rather on carefulness and correctness.

One very important thing is to earth yourself when working with the components - you don't want any static electricity nearby (so don't do it on a rug, or with a woolen sweater or ... :) )

>> I have the following components to assemble.

Start by putting the CPU and heatsink on the motherboard. Be very careful to do this correctly - follow the instructions to the letter. Then the RAM also (make sure to place it in the correct slots - consult the motherboard manual for that).

Place the CD drive(s), hard disk drive(s), and other drives in the case, and properly fix them using screws (or however it's done for your case). If you have enough room, it's preferred to place the different drives as far from each other as possible - especially the hard drive, because those tend to get very hot, and you want as much cool air around them as possible.

Then put the motherboard in the case. For ATX motherboards you can usually fixate it at 6 different locations. Use the plastic pins and screws that came with your case and/or motherboard.
You might have to prepare the back of the case before putting in the motherboard (to make room for all the connectors etc.). Also, make sure that after placing the motherboard in the case, you still have convenient access to all its connectors etc. If that's not the case, then you might need to attach some cables before placing the motherboard in the case.

Then put the expansion cards (network card, graphics card, etc.) in. You don't have to put them in all at once, because you might want to test if all runs fine first. The only card that you need is the graphics card (if your motherboard doesn't have on-board graphics).

Next, connect all the cables. Consult the manuals to know which cables go where. Also, connect the power, reset and other buttons as well as the pc speaker to the motherboard (your motherboard manual contains information on how to do that). Don't forget to connect the PSU to the motherboard and the disk drives (and anything else that needs a separate power connector). The same thing is again valid : you don't have to plug everything in at once, because you might want to test with a minimal setup first.

Now it's time to connect all the peripherals (keyboard, mouse, monitor), and try to boot. If all goes well, and the PC boots without error messages (except that there's no operating system found which is normal), then go into the BIOS, and configure it for your hardware. Consult the motherboard manual to do that. Be very sure about the changes you do before you do them, because this is the heart of your PC, and if you mess something up there, it can have very bad consequences.

Then, set the boot order to CDROM first, and boot from the Windows XP CD. Follow the instructions on the screen, and let it install Windows.

This is a very short overview of what you'll have to do ... I repeat that you shouldn't try to go fast if this is your first time - try to do everything carefully and correctly instead. You will almost certainly make mistakes (like everybody), so it's key to go slow to notice the mistakes and correct them.

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Top Expert 2009

A good tip also is to first visualize what you are going to do, to make sure you understand what has to happen, and to spot possible problems before they occur.

I've assembled several PC's myself, and I can tell you that it's a very interesting experience, but the first time will take some time to get it right.


Thanks Infintiy08.

Interesting  answer. Noted the points on assembly.
Many points are valid and refresh my memory.
I have assembled PC sometime back using IDE HDD.

This time around I need to use SATA HDD.
In my setup procedure there is mention of heat dissipation for SATA
which need to be addressed. What would be the recommended distance
which I should use for the HDD.

Next about loading the OS on the SATA 1, any points to take care off.
I read that the dirvers for RAID 1 are read via the FDD.

Would appreciate if you could follow up on the above.

Top Expert 2007
In a standard ATX case, Install the power supply first, then the case fans as this may require removal of the front face plate if its a intake fan placed in the lower front of the case. A rear fan(exhaust) may be placed after the motherboard is in place.
Then HD's and cd drives in the case without cables.
While motherboard is outside the case,On a solid -->FLAT<--non conductive surface,(wood, cardboard) Install CPU,Heatsink paste, and heatsink on mother board and install ram modules as well.
At this point you can also install the cables for the drives onto the motherboard.
Now Install the motherboard in the case.( If this is a mini atx or flex case you may need to install the drives after the motherboard due to space constraints)
Next connect the drive cables and power connectors to the drives and then the front panel connectors(power switch ,reset, leds, usb and audio.)
Install the graphics card and network card.
Then the power connectors for the motherboard.

To install XP on an SATA drive, You need to ensure the SATA controller is enabled and the SATA hard drive is set to boot from in the BIOS.
You may aslo  need a floppy disk containing the specific SATA or SATA RAID driver for your
motherboard which will be needed when prompted during setup. Usually its when asked to press F6. The making of this disk will be dependant on which motherboard you are installing on, as it will usually be on the CD that came with the motherboard and will have to be made. Another method is to slipstream the appropriate driver onto the XP install cd which allows it to bypass the need for the floppy. Also there are some motherboard SATA drivers that are included in the XP cd. This would be apparent when in setup if the SATA drive is seen by the install without using the F6 method.

Top Expert 2009

>> What would be the recommended distance which I should use for the HDD.

As far apart as possible - your case will have slots for hard disks, so you will probably not have much choice, but prefer not to put two hard disks next to each other.

>> Next about loading the OS on the SATA 1, any points to take care off.

If you have a recent motherboard, all you have to do is properly configure the BIOS - refer to the motherboard manual for that. It will probably auto-detect your drives anyway.


Thank you guys for the detailed answers.
Decided to split the points.
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