A little preventative maintenance can go a long way to keeping your BLD gaming PC in great shape. Most PC builders try to clean their PCs a couple of times a year. We suggest that you follow the same 6-month schedule for routine cleaning of your PC. If you have pets or a lot of dust in your home, you might want to increase the frequency.
We recommend the following supplies:
- 2 soft, lint-free cloths
- Non-abrasive, non-ammonia-based, anti-static glass/monitor cleaning fluid
- "Canned Air" or an air compressor (You can also use a vacuum cleaner with a hose and soft brush attachment, in place of the compressed air)
Cleaning your PC should only take 10-15 minutes.
Removable Dust Filters
To help maintain airflow, you should clean the removable dust filters on your PC. Each case has filters in different locations, so you should refer to the manual for your case to find the filters. Generally, filters are located in the front and on the bottom of the case. You need to remove the filters to clean them.
You can use several different methods for cleaning your dust filters.
Many people take the filters out and use clean, running water to rinse the dust from the filter. You can also use a damp cloth (not a paper towel) to gently wipe the dust free. Once clean, you can dry the screen with a towel or let it air dry.
Some people use the soft brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust build up.
Others use "canned air" (usually used for cleaning camera lenses) or other compressed air sources to blow the dust from the filter. Do this outside!
Finally, you can just shake the filter to remove the dust. This isn't the most effective way, as some trace dust will be left, but its better than nothing.
Regardless of the cleaning method you choose, handle the dust filters carefully. It is possible to tear the screen material, making it less effective at keeping your PC clean.
The windows on most of the cases are made from a special type of acrylic plastic. The materials harder to crack/break and has good UV resistance, but can be more susceptible to scratching. To avoid scratching while cleaning acrylic windows, always use a soft, lint-free fabric cloth and an anti-static monitor cleaning solution or acrylic cleaning paste (follow the directions on the packaging).
Note: Avoid using ammonia-based windows cleaners as these have chemicals that can cause "rainbow" effects on the acrylic material.
Tempered Glass Windows
To clean tempered glass, use a mild, non-abrasive glass cleaner. Spray a little on a lint-free cloth and gently rub the glass clean. Use another clean, lint-free cloth to buff the tempered glass surface dry. You can also use a solution of lukewarm water and mild dish soap to clean the glass. Remember to rinse the soapy residue off the glass if you use dish soap.
Cleaning your fans is a little harder since they aren't easily removed. We suggest you move your PC outside or into the garage and use compressed air, either from "canned air" or an air compressor. It is also possible to use a vacuum cleaner hose and soft brush attachment to clean the fan blades.
Your PC has a lot of other vents for air to flow through. You should try to keep these areas clean as dust and other debris can reduce air flow. Use compressed air or even just a manual duster (like a Swiffer or feather duster).
There are also other places in your PC that dust can settle, specifically on your Motherboard, GPU, and CPU. We recommend that you move your PC outside or into your garage and blow these areas clean with compressed air.
Nothing can be more frustrating than a slow computer that takes ages to complete a task. The most common culprit for a loss of speed in a computer is the lack of memory in a PC. Upgrading your system's RAM (random access memory) is one of the easiest hardware upgrades you can do to make your computer faster.
- You’ll need to check first how much memory you have installed in your system and how many of your memory slots are populated.
- Windows - Press ⊞ Win+Pause to open your System Properties window. Your installed RAM will be listed in the "System" section and the amount of memory your computer can support will be under “System type”.
- Even if your computer supports up to 128 GB, there's a good chance that your motherboard doesn't support that much. You'll need to check the documentation for your motherboard or run an online system scanner like this one to see how much memory/how many sticks of RAM your motherboard supports.
- BLD currently only uses DDR4 RAM in the pre-built systems, so BLD customers must make sure to only buy DDR4 RAM in order for it to be compatible with their build.
- Scenarios on how users will upgrade memory:
- Scenario 1: User has 4 RAM slots and 2 are in use. User can easily add two more compatible RAM sticks
- Scenario 2: User has 4 RAM slots and 4 are in use. User must replace X amount of RAM sticks with a bigger capacity
Installing Desktop RAM
- Power down the computer and unplug the power cable. If you need to move the computer for easier access, remove the cables from the back. Lay the desktop on its side for easy access to the motherboard.
- Open the case. Make sure to remove the panel that allows access to the motherboard. The RAM slots are usually to the right of the processor. You will see the memory slots next to it. Important, before touching any components in your BLD PC, please make sure you ground yourself. You can do this by either touching the metal frame of your case or by touching something that is conductive that would disperse any possible static. Anti-Static wrist bands are a plus.
- Remove old RAM (if necessary). Start by pushing the retention clips at either end of the memory slots so you can pull out the old RAM.
- Install your RAM. On the bottom of the RAM stick, there are two sides that the user will have to match with the motherboard. Using the grooves located on the memory module, position the memory into the proper orientation and gently press it into the slot. The clips should automatically lock the memory into place once enough pressure is applied.
There are many types of PC users out there. Some are content with the storage space that they are initially given, and others find themselves running out of storage space, which will lead them to eventually adding more storage space into their build.
How do I know which type of storage device is best for my PC?
- There are three types of sizes for your PC: 3.5 inches(usually HDD), 2.5 inches(usually SSD), and M.2
- The choice of best storage device for your PC is determined by what you are planning to use the extra drive for; e.g.
- HDDs are good for overall general storage of files such as documents, pics, media files, etc.
- SSDs are a sound investment for gamers as it allows users to access games and programs faster as it does not require the PC to boot from a mechanical drive
- M.2s are even faster and smaller than SSDs. M.2s are usually housed on the motherboard without the need for any cables. M.2s will facilitate the transfer of large files and are even quicker than the processes of SSDs.
How do I know how much extra space I can add to my PC?
- PC users must determine how many extra SATA ports they have on the motherboard. The amount of extra SATA ports determine how many drives they can add into their PC
- For the SSD and HDD, the user must check their case to see how many extra slots they have for additional drives. For M.2, the user must check how many M.2 ports are free on their motherboard. M.2 SSDs also have varying sizes and not all motherboards have space for all types of M.2 SSDs
- PC users must also check to see if the PSU in their build have additional SATA power connectors (ex. Only one spare SATA connector will mean only one 3.5HDD or 2.5 SSD can be added)This does not apply to the M.2.
- Make sure to buy more SATA data cables as most drives do not come with SATA cables
How do I install the drives into my PC?
- Install storage drive into the appropriate location (3.5-inch drive bays for HDDs, 2.5-inch bays for SSDs) M.2 Slot is on the motherboard
- Make sure SATA power is connected to PSU, and SATA data cables are connected to the motherboard
Step One: Remove the 3.5” hard drive tray from the side of the case and attach the hard drive disk (HDD) to the tray. Re-attach the tray to the case.
Step Two: Remove the SSD tray from the case. Secure the SSD to the tray using the four screw holes located on the backside. Return the tray back to the case and screw into place.
Step Three: Connect the SATA data and power cables
How do I make sure the drive is detected in Windows?
- First, go to the start menu and in the search bar type “Create and format hard disk partitions” and click on it.
- Right click on the drive you want to add and click on “Change drive letter and paths”
- Click “Add” then click “Assign the following drive letter” to whichever drive letter you want
- Press Ok and the new drive should show up in MyPC/My Computer
It is a good idea to keep your graphics card drivers up-to-date. Driver updates generally include bug fixes, performance enhancements, and even new features. By using the latest drivers you will experience fewer issues with games, especially newer games that take advantage of key features of the NVIDIA's drivers and GPU.
NVIDIA makes this easy by providing a tool called "GeForce Experience". You can find this application at the NVIDIA GeForce website. Just click on the Download button and follow the instructions to install the software.
If you do not want to install and use the GeForce Experience software, you can also use this same site to manually download and install the drivers for your GPU. If you are unsure about which NVIDIA GPU you have or are uncomfortable with manually installing drivers, we recommend that you use the GeForce Experience application instead.
NVIDIA's GeForce website (as of June 2017)
The Windows 10 operating system on your BLD gaming PC will automatically download and install the latest updates from Microsoft. This helps keep your system safe and secure, as well as up-to-date with the latest improvements and bug fixes. You cannot disable the Windows Update feature in Windows 10.
Downloading of updates occurs in the background and the installation occurs outside of the Active Hours for your system. Microsoft has a helpful Knowledge Base article here that gives you directions on setting/changing your PC's Active Hours.
If you would like additional information, ZDNet provides a more detailed look at the Windows 10 automatic upgrade feature here.