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Custom mITX Server Build - Part 2

Martin's motto is plan, plan, plan and then plan your build some more!

In this blog I will be going into the planning of the build. I see this as one of the most important parts of building any computer but even more so if you are completing a mITX build as you have limited space (and I have a short fuse when it comes to fiddly components sometimes) so understanding and planning your build is essential and I promise pretty pictures in my next blog post, honestly!

I always ensure that I have everything that I need to hand so that I do not have to start running around like a mad man trying to find things within my workshop. So these are the items that I ensure that I have to hand before I start the build:

1. Screw driver set – I think one of the most obvious of items that any self-respecting system builder will ensure to have at hand when building a computers.
2. Leatherman Multi-Tool – It is something that you really do not need but it is an item that has helped me out a lot in the past. A pair of pliers will suffice instead.
3. Cable ties – Great for hiding and grouping together cables to make your build as neat as possible and help air flow through the case. I will show you later how these can be used and I would not be without them.
4. Bin liners – If you have not built a computer yet make sure that you have one of these to hand. I normally have two, one for cardboard and one for plastics, you wouldn’t believe how much packaging you can amass even when building the smallest of computers!
5. Thermal Paste (TIM) – This stuff is needed if you are reusing your processor, in fact, I always remove the standard paste from the heat sink (Intel standard) and replace it with a better TIM as I find that it helps with temperatures.
6. Compressed Air – If reusing parts it is always good to give those parts a good clean. In my case I’m reusing the heat sink from my older build and getting rid of all that dust will help lower temps.

As you can see there are quite a few, what I class, as essential items that you need for building a computer. There are lots more parts you might need when you start looking at more elaborate builds like water cooling your PC (one of the most important being kitchen paper) but as I’m not doing that with my build the above is all that I need to hand.

Always un-package your items and put them on non-conductive surface, it makes it a lot easier to grab components when you are actually putting the system together. Also get yourself a cup or plastic tray (like the ones that you get from a takeaway) they are great for keeping small screws in, you wouldn’t believe the amount of times I have been crawling around on my hands and knees trying to find a screw that has rolled off my work bench *sigh*.

Most importantly take the time to have a look around your case, make sure that you identify any issues that you might happen and try and plan your way around it. One example for me is that looking at the front of the Prodigy I don’t think that the fan provided is going to be able to provide enough airflow to help cool all of my components inside the case, although I’m going to chance it for now and see what the temps are like after I have finished the build.

As you can see there is a lot to consider when planning what you need to do when building a PC and this phase can be the difference of your build taking a couple of hours and not planning and you build taking four hours!

Plan your build, it is worth it!

If you haven't read my first blog you can find it here.