Your custom computer rig will have a significantly extended life span if you know how to maintain and care for it properly. People spend a lot of time and money building their custom rigs, but many of them make mistakes that can lead to premature failure or degraded performance. Below are four of the most common mistakes made when building and maintaining a custom rig.
Not Cooling it Properly
One of the major issues people make with their rig is not giving it enough air. You can install the best parts on the market, but if your system is not adequately cooled, it will not perform as well, and its life span will be shortened. “Most printers, computers, routers and other electronic devices have vents located on the back or on the side. This configuration allows cool air to be pulled in to the device from the front or from the sides and for the hot air to be forced out through the back or to the sides. If the equipment is stored in an enclosed area, hot air tends to cycle through it making it hotter and hotter the longer it is running.” Heat is the number one enemy to your rig. Installing fans is not enough if the enclosure isn’t sufficiently ventilated to allow for proper airflow. (source)
Not Cleaning It
Cleaning the inside and outside of your rig is very important for preserving the life of your machine. Dust buildup is a prevalent problem with computers. Most people don’t clean their rigs on a regular basis, and when they do, the inside is usually ignored. Dust buildup can prevent air from flowing in and out of your rig. “It is important to always consult with your manual for tips, and be sure to power electronics down before cleaning them. Usually, a damp microfiber cloth, a dry microfiber cloth, and some canned air can work wonders on almost any electronic device.” (source)
Not Using Thermal Paste Correctly
The proper amount of thermal paste to use on the computer processor has been an ongoing issue for rig builders of all experience levels for many years. “There are technically many ways to apply thermal paste, but most of these techniques usually involve applying too much. This causes an overly thick layer of paste, which will not only transfer heat inefficiently, but may also spill over to the circuit board. Even if the paste is non-conductive, you don’t want excess to spill over and potentially damage any parts.” Not using any thermal paste is a big mistake, as it can prevent proper cooling. You really don’t have much leeway when installing thermal paste. Too little will create air pockets, and too much will negatively affect thermal conductivity. Try using a pea-sized amount first and see if you need more or not. (source)
Not Installing Motherboard Standoffs
Your rig’s chassis will come with all the necessary hardware to properly mount the motherboard. The standoffs are critical because they will prevent the board from contacting the metal of the chassis and potentially short-circuiting. Typically, new builders are not sure what this hardware is for or simply neglect it because they are in a rush to complete their new rig.
You invest plenty of time and money building your rig. To maintain peak performance, you need to maintain it properly. Keep it clean to prevent the dust buildup that prevents airflow and reduces the longevity of your rig.