How to Build a VR Gaming PC – Part 2 – Assembly

IMG_20160128_201008

Now that we have our parts selected, I guess it’s time we get to it.

The approach differs a bit when upgrading, rather than starting from scratch. When starting from scratch, you get to work from a clean slate. Which is nice, but the process will take a lot longer. The better part of an afternoon, versus just a couple of hours.

Regardless of where you find yourself. It all starts with the case.

HOW TO BUILD A VR GAMING PC

  1. How to Build a VR Gaming PC – Part 1 – Components
  2. How to Build a VR Gaming PC – Part 2 – Assembly

Case Corsair 300R ATX Mid-Tower

If you’re upgrading, this is a fairly simple and straight forward process. Unplug shit, install, plug shit back in.

UPGRADE

IMG_20160128_191535

The only thing that requires any kind of effort is the removal of your current motherboard. Unplug every single cable, fan, power connector, SATA cable until there is nothing left to unplug. NOTE: This would be a very good time to label your cables, especially your SATA connections if you have not done so already. Troubleshooting can be a gigantic pain in the ass if you don’t know where each cable leads. Plus, you want to make sure you have each cable connected to it’s optimal SATA port.

Unplug every single cable, fan, power connector, SATA cable until there is nothing left to unplug. NOTE: This would be a very good time to label your cables, especially your SATA connections if you have not done so already. Troubleshooting can be a gigantic pain in the ass if you don’t know where each cable leads. Plus, you want to make sure you have each cable connected to it’s optimal SATA port.

This would also be a really good time to clean out your dirty ass PC case. I’m sure more than a few of you are guilty of neglecting your PC’s hygiene. So pick up a few cans of compressed air, or use an air compressor to blast all of that gunk & shit out of there.

IMG_20160128_192337

NEW BUILD

Take your case out of the box (obviously), remove the doors (if necessary) and any other parts shipped with the case. Any included case fans should already be pre-installed, if not, now would be a good time to install your case fans and/or any additional cooling fans you are looking to add.

There will probably be some cables coming from the front, side, or top of the case, these are probably for auxiliary USB, headset/microphone, power/reset buttons, and case LED’s. Set this tangled mess aside, we will deal with it once we get to the motherboard section of this build.

Before you install your motherboard, you will need to install motherboard standoff screws, if they were not pre-installed. Either tighten the screws by hand, use a 5mm socket wrench, or use a small adjustable wrench to finish tightening.

Power Supply CORSAIR AX850 850W 80 PLUS GOLD Modular Power Supply

UPGRADE

If you’re upgrading, and you already own an adequate PSU, there isn’t much you need to do at this stage. Make sure the inside of your PSU is nice and clean, you will probably be reusing 90% of the  power connections from your previous setup, so if you already have everything all tied down, there is really no need to move anything just yet. Just hold tight.

NEW BUILD

There are a couple of ways you can mount your PSU. Most full/mid-tower case designs allow for the PSU intake fan to be oriented towards the bottom of your case. If you go this route, make sure you place your PC on a flat surface with good air flow. Placing your PC on thick carpeting will impede fresh air-flow to your PSU. If this is the case, either raise the feet (if possible) to a higher position or place the case on a slab of wood.

You can also orient your PSU fan side up. But, unless your case is well ventilated, or doesn’t have PSU intake vents on the bottom or side, this installation method is not recommended. It’s usually not a huge problem, but it’s certainly less than ideal. Your PSU sits directly below the exhaust of one of the hottest parts of a gaming PC, the graphics card. You don’t want your PSU sucking in hot air from the graphics card.

Fasten your power supply to your case using the included screws. If your PSU is modular (highly recommended) don’t bother plugging anything in just yet. Put your PSU cables aside and save them for the motherboard installation.

Optical Drive DVD

UPGRADE

Nothing to worry about here, you can move onto the motherboard.

NEW BUILD

You will need to pop-off one of your cases 5.25″ drive bays, usually the top, but it’s up to you. These usually just clip on, so all you need to do is gently pry it off, or release the clips holding the bay in place.

Once the cover is removed, slide the optical drive into the drive bay from the front of the case. Don’t try inserting the drive from the inside of the case. The drive should easily slide into place. Once inserted and flush with the front, you will need to secure the drive. Depending upon your case, your drive will either click into place (locked by retainer clips) or you may have to secure your drive with screws. Once your drive is secure, and stationary, you are ready to move on to the next step.

Motherboard  MSI Gaming Z170A-G45

IMG_20160128_180624

UPGRADE

Remove any and all power cables, fans, CPU coolers, graphics cards, etc. currently attached to your old motherboard. Next, locate and unscrew each motherboard mounting screw (the screws that attach the board to the standoffs). Once all screws have been removed, lift up the old motherboard, and set aside.

IMG_20160128_181652

Carefully remove your new motherboard from the box and plastic bag. If you want to be super cautious, you can use rubber gloves, but if your careful, you’ll be just fine.

I guess that now is a good time to bring up static discharge. It’s good practice to ground yourself before touching most PC components. If your place of assembly is dry, or you are working on or near carpet, you should be grounding yourself constantly, especially if you are moving around a lot. You can ground yourself by touching something metal (your computer case for example), or by using an anti-static grounding strap. Static discharge shocks can deliver as much as 10,000 volts, more than enough to damage certain electrical components. But there’s no need to be scared, just be cautious, and you’ll be okay.

Remove the old I/O shield and put the new one in its place, it should just snap right out and right in.

IMG_20160128_192445

Align your motherboard with the new I/O shield and lower the board into place. The new board should align with most of your standoffs, you might need to wiggle it around a bit to get a perfect alignment with all of the standoffs. One by one, loosely tighten (not all the way) each of the motherboard mounting screws. Once all screws are in place, you can firmly tighten each screw until your board is firmly supported and cannot move.

IMG_20160128_192622

If you purchased an aftermarket cooler, and your case, for whatever reason, does not have adequate cut-outs for CPU cooler installation, you will need to install your CPU cooler before you insert your motherboard into your case. We will go ahead and assume this isn’t you, but if it is, jump to the CPU cooler install section before continuing. For everyone else, keep on moving.

You can plug everything back in at this stage. Use your motherboard manual to determine what vital power connections your motherboard requires. You can save this for later if you want, but if you have a tight fitting case, it’s best to plug in what you can when you can, while you still have some space to work with.

IMG_20160128_193731

Even though cable management doesn’t matter too much to your overall system temps, it’s still a good idea to have cables and wires that are tidy. It makes your PC look better and might save you some headache in the future. So spend some time to figure how and where to route your power cables throughout your case.

NEW BUILD

Same as the upgrade section, just skip the removal.