What Tools Do You Need to Build a PC?
Did you know that you can build a PC using inexpensive electronic tools? Yes, all the tools you need are available in online store or a computer shop near you. Besides, if you have a crushed PC, then you can salvage some of the parts and use them to assemble a new one? But, what are the must-have tools needed to build a PC? Here is a quick guide: –
First Things First: Understand the PC Anatomy
Now, the tools needed vary depending on the PC component you want to assemble. That’s why, you must first understand how the PC interior looks like. If you are a first time PC builder, know that six major components make up a functional PC as follows:
- The processor (also referred to as “CPU”)
- The graphics card (also referred to as “GPU”)
- The motherboard
- The RAM (also referred to as “memory”)
- The power supply (also referred to as “PSU”)
- The storage (either a regular HDD or SSD)
- The case
- The fans
For each of the components, you need the appropriate tools to get the job done.
The tools are in two categories. That is, the must-haves, and the optional ones. You must have screwdrivers, anti-static equipment, a light source, twist ties or a zip and pliers. Optional tools include screws and parts, thermal paste, and rubbing alcohol.
The Must-Have Tools
Must-have tools are tools we recommend for any PC-build, modification, and anything related to taking components apart and/or put them back together.
Most PC parts join using screws and nuts. These screws are either small or medium-sized Phillips-heads. Hence, you need a Phillips-head precision and flat screwdriver. Plus, pick a quarter inch nut driver. Note, a Phillips precision head screwdriver has a big bit and a long shaft. Hence, it will not strip the heads. At the same time, its handle will not inhibit you as you work on cramped spaces.
Next, as you pry the components apart, opt for flat bladed screwdrivers. These screwdrivers come in handy as you disassemble your old PC. Also, they help in removing the housing and retrieving the parts for your new one. When you are working on a hexagonal motherboard, pick a hex driver for the job. This driver works well on the CPU cooler screws and the standoff screws. Do you prefer gaming-grade cases? These are easier to fix since they retail in a pre-installed form.
You may find a decent screwdriver among your essential household tools, but a special precision screwdriver is recommended.
When building your PC, you have to find ways to deal with the Electro-static discharge (ESD). For, this discharge can damage or destroy your PC parts before you finish with the build. It can also make you experience a grounding effect. For, most of the time, ESD occurs as an electric shock when working on the interior of a PC.
Are you planning on working on the inside of the PC more than once? Then, use an appropriate anti-static equipment to prevent ESD. These include an anti-static rubberized mat, wrist strap, or a grounding bench. The mat and wrist strap attaches to the PC or a grounded object. This way, it creates a safe grounding channel. Also, it protects your components from damage. The mat also keeps your tabletop free of scratches.
Most anti-static kits retail at a premium. Hence, if you are a hobbyist builder, its best to go for a simple ESD wrist strap. These go for about $5. For best results, avoid building your PC on the carpet. Instead use a cardboard or assemble the parts on hardwood floors. Insulated floors will only store the static charge in your body, then end up destroying your PC.
A Good Light Source
Whether you are working during the day or at night, you need to have a source of adequate light. This light will help you locate your screws when they slip in the dark corners and crevices. A typical light source includes a desk lamp, or a direct headlamp. Opt for lights with adjustable necks. A flashlight is good, but not as effective as they head lamps. For, you’ll need to hold the flashlights, making is cumbersome to multitask.
Another crucial step in building your PC revolves around cable management. Indeed, you ought to have a neat bundle of cables to discourage dirt or inadequate airflow. More so, you want to have your cables and wires far from the fans.
Cable ties and zip ties are an easy way to keep your cabling neat. Zip ties are for single-use. In contrast, you can remove and reuse your cable ties in the future when building another PC. For a pleasant finish, you may opt for black twist ties that are secure, easy to remove, yet look invisible.
Needle-Nosed Pliers, Tweezers or Forceps
Does your PC have premium standard screws? If not, be ready when the standard ones get stripped. For, you’ll need a pair of needle-nosed pliers, tweezers, or forceps to fix them. Besides, you can use them to cut off any excess cabling. Or, have them insert or remove jumper off your hard drive or motherboard. Whichever the case, these small gadgets are must-have tools when building your PC.
The Optional Tools
Optional tools are great to keep handy “just in case”, but they aren’t necessarily must-haves. These things are usually forgotten or down-prioritized by most people, so we thought it would be a good idea to keep them on our optional-list so you can at least consider whether you need them or not.
A Heat Sink Compound/Thermal Paste
Does your processor have a built-in heat sink compound? If not, you’ll need to buy one to improve your PC’s thermal efficiency. Apply the mixture to the area where the processor comes into contact with the heat sink.
Rubbing alcohol helps to wipe off any excess heat sink compound. Plus, it comes in handy when cleaning the various components of the PC. This vigorous solvent removes grime with ease. Plus, it evaporates in seconds. In turn, you’ll not have any residue that can erode the metal parts. Ensure you give the parts time to dry before applying any thermal paste.
A reliable air duster helps you blow out any dust on the crevices. For, it is not advisable to blow your PC by mouth. The human breath contains lots of moisture that will leave the parts damp. And, a home vacuum cleaner may be efficient but will create a static field in the PC components.
Note, today’s PC models are more geared to a tool-less assembly. In turn, all you may need is a set of screwdrivers or nothing at all. Still, it is prudent to have your full set of essential and some optional tools ready. Finally, ensure you have a safe workplace to build your PC.