What Is Your Best Stuff up When Building a PC?

Thought there would be some funny ones here.

One of my good ones is raging that my computer won't post and taking it to someone else for a second opinion. As I was explaining the issue I realised that I forgot the plug the third power connector that a more advanced motherboard needs instead of the usual 24pin + 8 pin.


  • +2

    Was repasting a graphics card and realized I forgot a screw after completely reassembling it… twice.

  • Another painful one was thermal paste in between the old-school CPU pins. Then to try clean it without damaging pins and spreading it more.

  • +2

    Ordered a PCI video card for an AGP motherboard. Nearly broke the thing trying to force it into the slot.

    • +1


    • Did you end up using a PCI slot in the MB or changed the GPU ?

  • +2

    Spent hours thinking my CPU was dead and even contacted Amazon support about a DoA.
    Posted a video of the build to my local PC buy/sell group and turns out I hadn't plugged in the power connector for the CPU. Booted up straight away after that mishap.

    Pulled out the wrong PCI cover slots on my case two times in a row before actually placing the GPU in the case and then removing the right slots.

    A case I purchased was some cheapie from local MSY and I didn't really put much thought into it. Motherboard fit - but it was a tight squeeze. I had to use metal cutters and pliers to get SATA cables connected to the mobo.

  • +2

    Bending the pins on a CPU on a brand new build. It was such a bad mistake, I was able to recover it but took ages.

  • +4

    My biggest error was when I was young about 13 or so and not really knowing what I was doing. Saw a switch on the back of the power supply unit that was marked 220 - had no idea what that meant so I flicked the switch which changed to 110 and caused sparks and smoke to start coming out of the computer, obviously later learning that it was to switch the voltage between AU (240v) and US (110v) power and although the PC was not turned on it was plugged in and clearly didn't have protection.

    • +2

      I did this on a school PC. Teacher was not happy. 😂

    • +1

      clearly didn't have protection.

      They didn't back then. I remember at TAFE back in the early 90s had a similar thing in the hardware lab. Back then it was AT power supplies and the main motherboard connection was split into two plugs which were side by side. Someone had managed to switch them when putting it back together but obviously hadn't turned it on to test. I came along for the next class, plugged it in and switched on the PC and nothing happened for a few seconds then BANG. PSU blew flames out the back and blacked out the building.

  • Thought I'd give my OEM Intel CPU cooler a good clean and they had these two-pronged plastic clips to lock it in place.
    When I reinstalled it, I didn't do it properly so 2 out of 4 clips flared out so the cooler had no contact with the CPU whatsoever.
    I was using my pc for a week and it was shutting down very quickly due to overheating.
    I had no idea why at the time, thought it was the graphics card because the GPU fan was running high all the time, so I forked out $400 and upgraded my HD7950 to a GTX970. Took it home, installed the new GPU, still the same problem (thought I wasted $400).
    I dismantled everything and found the broken clips. Tried to bend it back with pliers but didn't work so I bought a Hyper 212 Evo for $20 on sale. Problem solved.

  • +5

    Had a job in the early 90s with a large manufacturer on a production line building PCs. One of my first tasks after 5 minutes training was to install CPUs (286, 386 and sometimes 486 on the really high end models). We were under time pressure to build quickly and as a result when I first started I bent a lot of CPU pins and would just grab another one and hide the busted one in the trash. I am sure I cost the company a lot more than they made from my employment

    • 286, 386 and sometimes 486

      And the real high end units with the maths co-processer

      • +1

        When we added a maths coprocessor to our 386 SX 16 it was like bolting a turbo onto a barra engine block.

        • +1

          And there was a button on the case labeled “Turbo” too.

          • @Trung: 33 -> 66.

            Just like a turbo.

  • I think I screwed up the mobo, possibly with the front panel connectors, in my first build. Basically the computer doesn't turn off fully and have to hold the power button.

    Tried multiple times to correct it and my latest build is fine..

    • +1

      I hate front panel connectors so much.

      • You can buy jigs (or occasionally motherboards will include them) where you plug the cables in to the jig and then plug the jig in to the motherboard, makes it a lot easier.

  • +3

    Was stuffing around with the CPU and the cooler, didn't really know what I was doing, CPU dropped out. Managed to bend 20+ pins in the socket when trying to put it back in, spent 3hrs bending them back slowly. Actually managed to fix it, PC is still working perfectly fine to this day.

  • First time building a pc last year. My CPU cooler was such a challenge to install. Cooler was a Noctua NHU12S.

    The spring screws just wouldn't latch on to the brackets and I had to use a world of force to finally get it done after struggling for maybe an hour.

    I used so much force that the black paint from the screws started peeling off! I was so sure that I had damaged my CPU but luckily the computer runs fine to this day.

    I am not sure whether I would buy another Noctua cooler again though. Might try an AIO next time.


    • +1

      Get this for your next build then.

      • Haha is this a joke or would this legitimately help :O

        • Well it won't help unless you have a battery but yes it is a joke.

      • what happened to your ms paint profile pic?

  • When building the rig I put in the screws to hold the MB so tight, that the MB bent, and some path inside must have broken.
    Took all my stuff which I bought from several places to the MB retailer, he replaced MB in warranty, charged me $200 for assembling all components.
    Computer worked a treat. Happy End.

  • +3

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned forgetting the I/O shield yet.

  • M.2 screw got lost. Had to go back to the store a few days later to pick up some screws.

    • That M.2 slot really screwed you over

    • For some reason I could never find those stupid screws for my first few motherboards with M.2 (or are they meant to be with the SSD?) so I never used the scews to secure the drive in the m.2 slot.

      Everything is fine I think.

      They have a name and it's cheapest to buy them from eBay by searching names rather than "m.2 slot screw" from what I recall.

  • +1

    Overtightening a custom phase cooler bracket I had built for my computer causing the MB to short out on the case. Many magical pixies were freed from their capacitors that day (it smoked up the room). Ooo and condensation from subambient cooling causing strange memory issues because water had gathered in the CPU socket when the airtight seal had broken from moving the machine… Much was learnt in those days.

    Another one was building a twin radiator NCASE M1, annnnnnnnnnnnnnd forgetting about the fill port I had forgotten to close. Many wet components and having to pull everything out of that tiny case to check that nothing was busted made me very sad. Lucky it didn't kill anything.

    They are probably my biggest screwups, best "dumb" computer thing was total pc teardown trying to troubleshoot why it wasn't booting only to find that the monitor for whatever reason was no longer set to display port… felt very very stupid that day.

  • +4

    I'm always left with more or less screws than I started with.

  • +2

    Tried to assure my friend that I actually do know what I’m doing and that it was just because I was distracted talking to him that I kept pressing any key to start from cd and kept formatting and reinstalling Windows.

    Come to think of it, he’s never asked me about anything computer related since.

  • On my SECOND build I was a bit cocky and tried to do things without carefully referring to the instructions.

    Kept tightening the mobo to the chassis, wondering why this one was designed so badly that the mobo had to bend to fit the case.

    Eventually after using the computer a while, I realised I was mean to use spacers haha. I never did get around to redoing it, the computer lasted many years before some caps died.

  • +1

    Once I had a PC that was crashing randomly every few hours. Drove me insane.

    I literally replaced the entire PC, including case, everything - except the GPU.

    I was about to replace the GPU when I figured out that it was the POWERBOARD that it was plugged in to.

    This took about 9 months where I basically built a PC one component at a time to figure out …


  • +1

    I bought a amazing PC from OCAU about 10 years ago, everything was assembled but he took the thermal paste off.
    Took 2 days to realise why it would turn off after 5mins.

    • hahahahahahahaha, did he say he took the paste off and that you had to repaste it or neglected to mention that as the sell ad pretty much said it was ready to go without doing anything extra?

  • Buying AMD over Intel.

    1. Dropped screw on motherboard while powered on. There was sparks and smoke but but could not find anything not working.

    2. Not exactly a build, but I did the same thing 20 years later, dropping screw on laptop motherboard while powered.

    3. Last big screwup was spending about $500 and many weeks trying to replace motherboard from #2 but failed because nasty Thinkpad BIOS said "we don't sell this motherboard with this CPU, even though it's compatible, so (profanity) you power off".

    • Dropped screw on

      Have had that happen on a HPE server in a data centre… can't remember which part if fell on, but it shorted and we needed to express the replacement part from across town. Luckily it was under warranty but did have to stay till about 9pm when the job should've finished at lunch.

      • Ouch, at least you didn't lose your job over it!

        • Technically I didn't drop it… I think that's also why we always get the HPE guys to come out to d it, even if it's something we can do in our sleep :)

  • The only recent ones are destroying the pins on the motherboard's front panel usb header and cutting myself when pushing out those metal PCIE cover things on a cheapo case. I also cut myself with an IO shield a few years back when trying to unbend those little metal things outside of the port cutouts.
    Also have bricked some used parts I bought from Gumtree but considering how old they were and how cheap I bought them for they were probably close to dying already.

    • Got an old motherboard with a dying battery which I didn't expect. Booted up and everything went well for a couple of days before it couldn't boot past the "beep".

    • Installed the whole PC and forgot the IO shield.

    • Re-used an old CPU on a new motherboard but the CPU didn't quite fit into the socket. Instead of checking for bent pins I forced it by tightening up the cooler more. Lucky enough the whole PC still worked with half a dozen bent pins. The only thing I found not working so far is it won't run on dual channel.

    • Tried to re-used an old PSU on the latest GPU and almost forced the CPU 4 pin cable x 2 into the GPU 6+2 pin socket. This one freaked me out after I realised what I tried to do. Not sure what would happen though.

  • +2

    Thought modular PSU cables were interchangeable between brands.

    Spent days trying to diagnose why 3 of the 9 brand new enterprise grade HDDs just wouldn't work, no matter what.

    Turns out I'd fried them.

    • +1

      This hits hard. Did exactly the same thing and burnt out my hard drive. Pics of my animals. Old photos. Stuff from my school years. Crypto wallets. All fried because I wanted to save a few seconds not changing some cables :(

    • +1

      I didn't know this, you may have just saved me some grief down the track! I've been throwing out what I have been thinking are spare sets.

  • Unplugging an IDE cable for a HDD, before it had fully powered down. This was the server at work and it killed it (data, not the drive). This turned into a full server rebuild which started at 7pm and finished at 10am.

    Also, a mate gaming with a desktop case. No lid on it because it was always being screwed with. Had an ash tray sitting on the CD-ROM drive, bumped it off onto the motherboard while running, filling the CPU fan with ash and butts. Turned it off, shook it outside, booted fine.

  • I always dreaded fiddly operations on expensive parts - like locking the heatsink down on a cpu.
    I don't have any horror stories, though I always wondered "did I use enough paste" … "am I going to cook my cpu".

    But I got a shiver reading this thread - I don't think I'm ever going to open a pc again after reading this.

  • Forgot to route the CPU power cables behind the motherboard and realised just as I finished assembling it.

    Ended up having to pretty much take the whole thing apart again to route it through.
    (Case had no room to get it through with the MB installed, and there was no way I was having that ugly cable visible from the windowed side)

  • Two:

    • Was cleaning out a PC and went to repaste the CPU. The paste had essentially become a glue between the heatsink block and the CPU and I must not have been gentle enough trying to get the cooler off. Ended up tearing the CPU out of the socket.

    • Accidentally bent some CPU pins trying to socket it. This was ages ago so I'm not sure if I was inebriated or just being unco. Managed to straighten the pins and it still worked, though!

    • +1

      I recently did the same thing as your #1, but with a new 5950X cpu on an Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Darkhero motherboard. I needed to relocate the AIO radiator and that required removing the water pump from the cpu. The water pump wasn't able to be rotated to break the thermal paste seal so I just had to pull it up, then BANG, the pump and CPU detached from the motherboard. I almost crapped my pants, but luckily nothing broken or bent, it just pulled straight out of the socket. Could have been very expensive.

      My only regret with my current build is with my AIO/Case. I need the AIO radiator to be at the front and not top of the case, for cooling. However the AIO pipes aren't quite long enough to fit the radiator with radiator tubes at the bottom so instead they are at the top. This causes a small rattling noise from the pump due to air. Grrr.

      • Oof, that sounds terrifying. In my case it was an ancient CPU that I had reused on many builds (was in the HTPC at the time). It was utterly broken what with a bunch of pins being broken but it wasn't a big deal because I just had to buy one of the cheap AMD Vega APUs which was more than enough for the purpose.

  • +1

    Going back a fair while…..

    Brand new PC build complete and put 2 new drives into the machine…. All the cables were connected right, I know I checked a few times before closing up the case. Fans spin, lights come on, Mobo posts and then Nada. Completely baffled, so pull the pc apart again, check power cables, CPU, RAM… all are seated fine…. Took 4 hours, 6 re-builds, bleeding knuckles and a metric crap tonne of swear words later… Both IDE HDD jumpers were set to slave…..

  • Not quite fitting the criteria but back when power supplies used to have a female IEC connector to plug the monitor into, a customer wanted to know why their new computer wouldn't turn on.

    Turned out they used the male to female power cable from the input to the output of the computer power supply.

  • Forgetting to remove the plastic that covered the thermal paste on copper heat pipes in Clevo barebone notebooks (VBI) I used to build.

    The thing would start for about 10 seconds then shut down. Rang Intel for warranty support. Got RMA and everything then a lightbulb moment happened and I checked it removed the plastic and off it went.

    I can't even remember the excuse I made with Intel to cancel the RMA but it wasn't "sorry guys I'm a moron".

Login or Join to leave a comment