When to Bench Test a System:
Whenever I build a new computer system I utilize the "Bench Test" process of assembling the computer. By using the "Bench Test" method of system building I am able to test each component (for the most part) one step at a time. Once I have verified that a component is functioning as expected I can then move to the next step of adding the next component. By using this logical step-by-step process I am able to save many hours of trouble-shooting a defective component vs. installing all of the components in a computer case/chassis with no idea if the part or worst yet parts are defective in some manner. Simply put this is the best way in my opinion to build a system.
How to Bench Test a System:
The steps listed below is the process that I utilize when completing a system build. With that said some of you may contemplating skipping or combining steps; do that or less voids the whole "Bench Test" approach to system building.
*** Always have the motherboard manual close at hand to verify information listed below ***
1) Start off by observing ESD Precautions (see links in this blog about ESD)
2) Only remove components from the ESD packaging when needed
3) Place the PSU (Power Supply Unit) on the ESD Pad; verify that the PSU is "off"
3) Place the motherboard on the ESD Pad
4) Place a single memory module in the correct memory slot (see manual)5) Place the CPU in the socket; be sure to align the CPU in the correct position (see manual)6) Place the heatsink grease on the CPU; add the CPU heatsink and fan; plug the fan into the correct CPU Fan Header (see manual for correct connector)
6) Connect all power connectors (on Crosshair V Formula-Z connect the 8-Pin CPU & Main ATX)
7) Install a single Graphic Card in the appropriate expansion slot (if not using built-in video)
8) If needed connect the appropriate power connectors for the Graphic Card if needed
9) Connect the monitor's video cable the the video connector; turn the monitor "on"
10) Connect the keyboard and mouse to USB 2.0 ports
11) Plug in the AC Power Cable to the PSU; turn the PSU "on"
12) Press the power button on the motherboard (found on most motherboard these days)
You should see the motherboard begin to "POST"; press the DEL key to access the BIOS Setup Utility. Access the hardware monitoring function to monitor CPU temps; leave for at least 5 minutes to verify that the CPU is running at expected temps (less than 115 degrees F).
Next add parts one at a time..more memory...add hard disk (or SSD)...add optical drive...etc
Once you have verified that all of the parts work "outside" the case it is time to move everything into the case/chassis. Hope this helps some of you out there build a more reliable system.