I don’t build computers for a living.
Recently I built a PC for my in-laws, and I made some mistakes that cost me many hours.
Don’t make the same mistakes when building your PC!
1. Don’t buy a CPU without integrated graphics
I’ve always built my own computers for gaming. This was the first time building a computer for someone else, and this PC wouldn’t need a graphics card (GPU).
A CPU with integrated graphics can produce video output via the ports on the back of the motherboard.
When you don’t have a GPU, you have to get a CPU with integrated graphics, or else the PC will have no video output.
I ordered an AMD processor without integrated graphics, so I had to return it and order another CPU that did have integrated graphics.
2. Don’t buy a motherboard without a BIOS flash button
I have never seen a motherboard without a BIOS reset button when working on some of the earlier PCs I built, but apparently they exist, and I found out the hard way. Oops!
But in my defense, the PC parts picker website I used did show the BIOS flash button in the images. But the store it redirected to didn’t, and I have never had problems with the components not matching before. Lesson learned. Always double check!
If you want to update the BIOS for your motherboard, you need a way to update it. The easiest way is to have a specific USB slot for the updated software and a BIOS reset button.
Also, don’t forget to pick “load optimized defaults” in the BIOS after updating your BIOS.
3. Make sure all the power cables are connected
This is a silly mistake, but it cost me at least half an hour.
There was a slot on my motherboard I didn’t see after installing the CPU cooler. The PC will turn on without this plugged in, and it will appear like everything is working, but without power the CPU is not capable of producing a video output signal.
Bonus tip: run Windows Defender after backing up old files
I transferred files from an old harddrive to the new SSD and was surprised by how many malware threats were found in the old files. The new PC hadn’t even connected to the internet yet but had multiple Trojan horses 😅
The final result
These are the final parts:
- AMD Ryzen 5 5600G CPU
- be quiet! Pure Base 500 Black Midi Tower case
- Corsair DDR4 Vengeance LPX 2x16GB 3600 Memory
- Gelid Solutions Tranquillo 5 - Black Edition
- Gigabyte B550M AORUS ELITE motherboard
- WD Black SN770 2TB M.2 SSD
- Arctic Silver 5 compound cooling paste
- Cooler Master MasterWatt Lite 500W (we already had this one)
The total cost was about € 600 (and my time).
I hope you learn from my mistakes, and don’t make the same ones when building a PC.