There are few things more exciting than buying new components and building a PC. Personally, the entire journey from researching which parts to pick to installing my favorite games after a successful build is extremely rewarding. But, the actual process of building a PC is not without its faults. There are numerous annoying things about building a PC that get to me every single time. No matter how new or experienced you are at PC building, these annoyances could trigger any PC builder.
1 Installing the CPU cooler
After getting done with the easy steps of installing your CPU, RAM, and SSDs, the CPU cooler is one of the first parts to grab your attention. If you’re working with an AIO liquid cooler, there’s a fair bit of assembly required even before you put the thing inside your case. This can quickly become overwhelming for a first-time builder. But, even for those who’ve done it countless times, it’s a time-consuming process.
Air coolers are simpler to install in comparison, but you still need to install or remove the backplate from behind the motherboard. This can be a small or huge source of frustration, depending on the socket of your board and the mounting mechanism of your cooler. Finally, before you make contact with the CPU, you need to ensure the appropriate amount and application of thermal paste. Some PC builders end up with too little or too much paste that could single-handedly give rise to inexplicably high CPU temps.
2 Running out of fan and RGB headers
This is something I still grapple with. Somehow, I always end up miscalculating the number of fan headers and ARGB headers I need on the motherboard, causing last-minute panic and bad fan hub purchases. While many modern AIOs and ARGB cable extensions ship with their own hubs or controllers, you can still end up one or two headers short, depending on the number of case fans, AIO fans, and RGB components you have.
Motherboard headers seem to be a luxury commodity even on the best gaming motherboards, always forcing PC builders to accommodate additional fan hubs to provide enough connections for everything. This isn’t too big of an issue in builds with a handful of fans, but if you’re an RGB and airflow enthusiast, you’ll need all the headers you can get your hands on. An excruciatingly low number of headers even on $200 motherboards is one of my biggest pet peeves.
3 The ugly side of case fans, literally
It’s all fun and games to install enough fans to make your PC fly, but when you end up looking at the ugly rear end of your intake fans, all the excitement comes crashing down. PC builders have long accepted the fact that you need to choose between airflow and aesthetics when installing side or bottom fans for air intake. If you’ve used the NZXT H9 Flow and the Lian Li O11 Dynamic EVO, you would have come across this problem yourself.
Some manufacturers have come up with a solution to this particularly annoying issue. Lian Li, Thermaltake, and Cooler Master, for example, sell some fan models featuring reversible fan blades, allowing you to always see the good side of your case fans, no matter the orientation. But these models almost always cost significantly more than the regular ones. Until reversible fans become more affordable and mainstream, this annoyance remains quite high on my list.
4 Front panel connectors
Ah yes, the most malevolent of the necessary evils of PC building. The front panel connectors are the most annoying things to grapple with for the majority of the builders. These are the tiniest connectors inside your case and have stayed painfully unchanged over the years, except in a few Lian Li and NZXT cases. These tiny connectors need to be individually plugged into the F_PANEL headers on your motherboard, which takes up a lot of time and effort, especially in smaller cases.
Even in 2023, there’s no standard layout for the various front panel connections. This makes it difficult for all cases to have a single, larger connector that can be easily plugged into the motherboard. You might get lucky with your particular case and motherboard model, but for the overwhelming majority of users, this remains one of the most frustrating parts of any PC build.
5 Finding the right vertical GPU mount
Vertically mounting your graphics card is one of the easiest ways to give your PC an instant makeover. It’s a relatively inexpensive method of showing off your graphics card while breathing new life into your PC aesthetics. But, it isn’t always easy to find the right vertical mount for your specific situation. Unless your case has an official compatible mount by the same manufacturer, you need to do some digging to find one that fits correctly.
Some of the best GPU mounts are compatible with almost all ATX cases, such as the one from Cooler Master, but it’s often out of stock, especially the white variant. If you’re unable to find a universal mount, you’ll have to rely on an approximate fit that might not look the best after installation. In some cases, vertically mounted graphics cards run slightly hotter compared to the regular orientation. So, you need to consider a number of things before switching to a vertically mounted GPU.
6 Cable management
No one really likes it but everyone needs to do it, at least some of it. Cable management is a necessary stage of any build, not just for keeping things neat and organized, but also for optimum performance. Perfect cable management might just net you a few degrees of thermal improvement inside your case. Besides, any experienced builder should make every effort to manage cables to the best of their ability, especially with the help provided by modern PC cases.
That said, it’s still a hassle to route every single cable correctly and tie the right cables together to ensure the best visual and functional results. No matter how optimized your case is for cable management, you still need to invest a fair bit of time into the process. I’ll be the first one to admit that occasionally, I’ve jammed the cables in any empty space I could find inside the case, just to get done with it.
7 Failing the first-ever boot
After all the time and effort sunk into a build, when you finally get to the step of turning your PC on, you’ll be greeted with something gone wrong. This doesn’t happen always but I’ve seen still seen it a lot. Either a RAM stick won’t be plugged all the way in or a crucial power cable won’t be connected at all — it can happen to the best of us. And when it does, it can be a huge downer to have to diagnose the issue before you can even see the fruits of your labor in action.
This one’s especially annoying, as sometimes the fault might not even be yours. You could have a dead component, in which case you need to get into a long RMA process and wait for days or even weeks for a replacement. To avoid detecting faulty components too late into the process, it’s advisable to check them outside the case as much as possible. You’ll be able to save time and a lot of headaches that way.
Making PC building as smooth as possible
Despite many annoying things you could encounter during a PC build, there are ways to pre-empt some of them. For instance, if you have the budget for an enthusiast gaming build, you can carefully select components in a way that you don’t even face these issues with your case, motherboard, or fans. As far as things like cable management and cooler installation are concerned, you just have to get through them.