Top 5 Build Mistakes

  1. Thermally Constrained Case
    • If it looks thermally constrained, it is and should be avoided.
    • Many cases on the market are subpar, subjecting your components to excessive heat and potentially shortening their lifespan or even causing system crashes.
    • Avoid cases lacking an open mesh front panel to ensure adequate airflow. The prevalence of early component failures in gaming desktops often stems from inadequate ventilation due to closed-off or glass front panels.
  2. Inadequate CPU Cooler
    • If the CPU is locked (AMD non-X or Intel non-K) then low end air cooling is all that is required. The stock cooler is sufficient.
      • For quieter operation, recommend upgrading the cooler.
    • If the CPU is unlocked (AMD X or Intel K) then water cooling is recommended, and your highest attainable clocks will be limited by the cooler chosen.
      • High-end air cooling also works well, however it lowers the gap required for age induced performance degradation, which is an inevitable development.
      • If budget constrained, choose a less critical important component to reduce budget on or get a locked processor.
      • Unlocking CPUs demands more than just paying their premium price; it necessitates additional investment in adequate cooling, airflow, and power.
        • Unless gamers are ready to allocate resources for these essentials, opting for locked CPUs is often a more practical choice.
        • Doing so also frees up your parts budget for more impactful choices like a better GPU or larger SSD.
    • Having an over-spec CPU cooler means you can run the fans on a much quieter fan curve, and allows for a full fan stop at idle to minimize dust collection, which is not possible with air cooling.
    • The trusted brands are Arctic and Corsair
      • Except NZXT M22 or any pump-in-rad designs.
      • Most inexpensive AIO brands have reliability issues, slow (1-2 month) warranty service time, and should be avoided.
      • Water cooling also has the advantage of significantly higher thermal mass as well as dispersion of heat away the other hot neighboring components.
      • Budget $100-$200 for a good 280/360/420 AIO.
  3. Inadequate Case Fan Quantity and/or Orientation
  4. Improperly Wired GPU
    • Your power supply includes at least two PCIE power cables.
    • Use one entire cable for each power connector on your GPU.
    • Do not use the pigtail connector on each PCIE power cable.
      • See photo below for example.

  5. Improperly Installed M.2 SSD
    • Your motherboard includes the standoffs and screws needed to fasten your M.2 style SSD(s) to the board in the original box. The standoffs and/or screws usually do not come affixed to the board.
    • Don’t remove the SSD stand-off and use it as a way to fasten it to the board. This is a very common mistake and can cause the board, SSD, or both to short out including loss of data.

      ⚠️Never install a SSD like this.

    • The SSD must also have a heatsink attached. If your board didn’t include one then buy one or your drive with throttle, have a decreased lifespan, or short out against the motherboard.

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