How did I build SharePoint Home Lab Server: Part II – Assembling PC & Installing OS

Second part of this series is continuation of what I had started with first part to discuss end to end process of building SharePoint 2013 home lab. At the end of the first part, we were at the stage where all the parts were arrived from and ready to be assembled.


Although first part of this article was detailed & very descriptive of different decision making process, this part is more of step by step guide of assembling picture guide.

Allocate Specific Time and Space

First thing first, unpacking PC parts and assembling them together can take 2-4 hours depending on your experience. If you have never done it, plan to allocate whole day (I am not kidding) because every step will take to you through unknown land and it can be overwhelming at times. Please plan to view newegg’s computer building process along with this article to get familiar with process as much as possible.

Whenever you are ready, plan to move all the parts to space where you want to build the computer. Plan to have flat surface near power supply where you can assemble and test the computer box as you build it. Once you move to the space where you would PC, unpack all the boxes of computer parts as you walk through in next steps discussed in this article. Don’t unpack all the boxes at the same time. Carefully open all the boxes with warranty papers and instructions along with stickers you can have it on your computer case to show off. 🙂

1_Ready to be Assemble

Step 1 => Unpack Motherboard and Install CPU on Motherboard

Unpack Motherboard – ASUS Sabertooth X79 LGA 2011 and put Motherboard on the box on the flat surface. Please be very careful where you put the Motherboard. Don’t put it directly on the table or flat surface. Plan to put it on the box itself to avoid any scratches. Very tiny little damage will make whole PC building experience worthless.

Next step is to unpack CPU – Intel Core i7-3930K and carefully install CPU on the Motherboard. If you are unsure, how to install your version of CPU on your version of Motherboard, there would be 100s of free videos on Youtube available. Please ensure you ground yourself before moving to installation steps. Here is the excellent video of how to install LGA2011 Intel Core i7 CPU Installation on the motherboard. I have followed this video to ensure I was careful enough to proceed with CPU installation on the motherboard –

2_CPU Installed

3_CPU Installed 2

Step 2=> Install Heat Sink and Fan on the Motherboard

After CPU is successfully mounted, next step is Install and configure Heat Sink and Fan on the motherboard – COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO and Arctic Silver AS5-3.5G. Before you mount the fan, there are couple of ways to apply thermal compound paste. You can use either one-dot approach or . Even though this video installs water cooler heat sink, I have used same approach for Air Heat Sink as well with fan. Here is the another video on how to install Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo Review & Installation on LGA 2011 Socket Motherboard-

4_CPU Fan & Heat Sink Installed

5_CPU Fan & Heat Sink Installed 2

Step 3 => Install RAM

Next step is to unpack DIMMs – CORSAIR Vengeance 64GB (8 x 8GB) and install RAM carefully on the motherboard. Ensure they are snapped correctly on the Motherboard.

6_RAM Installed

7_RAM Installed 2

Step 4 => Install GPU

Next step is to unpack GPU – MSI N640GT-MD1GD3 GeForce GT 640. Connect fan and snap it on the motherboard on PCI Express slot. Plan to watch MSI GT 640 V3 – Unboxing Video –

Additionally, ASUS Sabertooth X79 comes with 40mm fan. After watching Installation of the 40mm Fan on the ASUS Sabertooth X79 Motherboard LGA2011 video –, I was ready to jump on the next fun steps.

8_GPU Installed

Step 5 => Test the External Build – Connect Power Supply & Monitor

At this stage, core components of the Motherboard is installed and it’s ready to be transferred to the Computer Case for final packaging. It is one of the best practice to go through dry run and test the external build. One of the major benefits of this process is you can test the computer system and connections before going through final installation and packaging process. Unpack the Monitor and connect to the Motherboard. Unpack the power supply – Rosewill BRONZE Series RBR1000 and connect major components to the Motherboard. Some of the major connections are – 24-pin & 8-pin Main and CPU Supplemental Power Supply to Motherboard, Connect GPU PCI Power if needed, and connect Power Supply to main power extension.

Many motherboards comes with small speaker which you can use to ensure system is configured successfully while turning on the power. Install the speaker and start the power supply. Depending on the motherboard, you may have On/Off switch or two pins which required to short by Philips minus Screw Driver. If successful, system will boot up and all the fan will be running upon turning on the motherboard switch. If speaker is connected, it will beep upon the system boot up. Computer monitor will display Intel Processor and Installed RAM information. If speaker turned on with multiple bips and computer display CPU fan error, please ignore this message at this time. You can resolve this issue by changing the bios setting afterwards.

9_External Build Test

Step 6 => Internal Build – Moving Motherboard into Case & Final Installation of Motherboard, Power Supply, and HDD, SDD, and DVD Optical Drive

If everything is successful, it is time to disconnect Power Supply and Monitor from previous steps and Motherboard would be ready to be transferred to the Computer Case. Unpack Computer Case – Rosewill BLACKHAWK Gaming ATX Mid Tower.

Open the case and remove the side panel from where you have full opening to transfer all the computer components into the case. Here are the major steps I have followed:

  • First step is install the Power Supply with Fan facing bottom or outside of Computer Case. Mount the PSU with the screw comes from the PSU manufacturer.
  • Next major step would be installing Optical Drive (DVD Player). Open the front panel and align optical hard drive with case. I was fortunate enough to have snap slots. I had to just slip in the Optical Drive in the slot and it would snap & lock without screw.
  • Next steps are mounting HDD and SSD. Depending on the case, you may need SSD Mounting kit or if you are lucky enough like me, you can easily slip in both HDD and SDD to slots with screw less design. My case had mounting slots available for both 3.5” HDD and 2.5” SSD.
  • It’s time to transfer Motherboard to the Case. Unmount the GPU (which may affect your ability to install all the screws in the motherboard) from the Motherboard and transfer Motherboard carefully to the Case. Align your motherboard on the case and half-tighten screws from opposite end until all screws of Motherboard are on the case before fully tightening up.

Step 7 => Cable Management & Connecting all components

One of the most challenging and creative part of computer building process is how to connect all the components with power supply and motherboard and how to still keep it beautiful without messing up all the wires look like Jungle. Plan to have Motherboard, PSU, and Case Guides handy if you need and how to move/tighten wires as needed.

For my configuration, here is high level steps I had followed.

  • From Front Panel, Connected 2 USBs, 1 Audio (Mic/HeadPhone – HD AC 97 cable), Power Switch, USB 3.0, and SATA Interface
  • Power Cables – SATA Cables to HDD, SSD, and Optical Drive, 24-Pin main power supply connector to Mother board, 8-Pin CPU Connector to motherboard
  • Data Cables from Motherboard – SATA  6.0 to HDD, SATA 3.0 to SSD, and SATA 6.0 to Optical Drive
  • Connect Motherboard Fan with 3-Pin connector on motherboard
  • Connect 4 Case Fans with Power Supply with Molex Cables (I was lucky enough to shipped with Power Supply, Please plan to buy extra if your Power Supply Manufacturer doesn’t provide them)
  • Once all the cables are connected, final step is carefully reinstall the GPU on the motherboard

14_Cable Mgmt 1

14_Cable Mgmt 2

14_Cable Mgmt 3

And, here is complete system!!!

10_Tranfer into Case

Step 8 => Test the Internal Build – Connect Power Supply & Monitor

It’s time to test the Internal Build. Connect the PC with Monitor and Turn on the Power Supply to ensure system boots up and display same message as External Build.

11_Internal Build Test

Step 9 => Complete the Installation – Cover up the Case

This is it. It’s done. Final step is put the panels of computer case back and connect all the peripherals like keyboard, mouse, monitor and it’s ready for OS Installation.

12_Final Packaged Product

13_Ready to be OS Installed

Step 10 => Configure and Optimize BIOS

Before you install Operating System, you must ensure BIOS is configured properly and uses all the resources efficiently. Please refer to motherboard guide for relevant information. Some of the major areas I had considered are follows:

  • System Date and Time
  • CPU Configuration – HT Support Enabled, Virtualization Enabled, 64-bit Supported
  • Booting Device – DVD Drive
  • Change AI RAM Settings to ensure RAM speed is properly configured as per installed RAM specs – XMP for RAM-1866 Mhz Speed
  • Link to Fix Fan Error – Set CPU Fan Profile to Manual and Increase Minimum to 50%. This should run fan atleast 1000 RPM to ensure BIOS doesn’t complain –

Step 11 => Installing Operating System – Windows 8 64-bit Edition

Here are the high level steps I had followed to install Windows 8 Operating system. Alternatively, you can watch newegg’s computer building process on YouTube. Last step of this process is no-brainer but I wanted to document here for completeness of the article. Just install the operating system and get ready for Hyper-V installation as discussed here and you are on your way to create and host SharePoint Hyper-V VMs.

  • First step of the process is Installing Operating System. Download Windows 8 ISO file and make a bootable DVD for Windows 8. Here are the steps I had followed to create Windows 8 Bootable DVD in 5 Minutes using Imgburn Software – In my case, I wanted to ensure I install OS in 2 TB HDD. First steps I performed was to unplug SSD and partitioned HDD (C drive with 500 GB and D drive with 1.5 TB) during the Windows 8 Installation by booting up install disc from DVD drive to avoid accidental installation on SSD. This installs Windows 8 with default drivers comes with operating system on HDD.
  • Next step is to plug the SSD back and initialize the hard disk from computer management -> storage -> disk management screen. Format the SSD and configure drive volume for SSD. In my case, drive volume name was “VMs”.
  • Next major step the process is to install all the latest drivers required by the PC. Keep in mind that Computer Case, PSU, CPU, RAM, Storage/SSD/HDD, and optical drive doesn’t require any drivers. Most of the drivers are required for Motherboard (Chipset, Network/LAN, USB, and Audio) and Video Card drivers. My next step was to download latest drivers from Motherboard manufacturer (ASUS with Motherboard Model Number) and Video card manufacturer (Nvidio or MSI) for Windows 8, 64-bit operating system. There are couple of options to accomplish this task.
    • First option is download drivers from computer with internet connection by visiting manufacturer site (preferred approach because of latest drivers for specific OS) and copy to the thumb drive or optical drive and install on the PC.
    • Second option is use manufacturer provided CDs from Motherboard or GPU Vendor. In this case, install LAN driver from Motherboard CD, Connect NIC to the internet Modem, download latest drivers & install directly from the computer.
    • I had followed first option and installed drivers in following order – Chipset, LAN, USB, Audio, Video, and SATA.
  • One important step I normally follow at this stage is backup all the downloaded drivers along with Windows 8 bootable disk to avoid these steps again in future in case of reinstalling the Windows 8 operating system on the PC.
  • Next major step is Activate Windows 8 and perform Windows Update. Go to the Control Panel and run & rerun Windows Update until there are no more updates. Additionally, check the Device Manager to ensure all the drivers are installed.
  • Plan to install Anti-Virus at this stage of the installation. Microsoft has multiple free version of bare-minimum Anti-Virus software for different client OS – Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows 7 and Windows Defender in Windows 8. Alternatively, plan to have more robust Anti-Virus subscribed software.
  • Plan to install any software requires like Microsoft Office
  • Test and validate all the major vital programs on the PC including Internet connection, Audio, Video, and other settings.
  • It is important to backup image of final state of the PC before using it for SharePoint labs. This would allow you to restore the image without re-performing all the steps discussed prior to this step. Use Windows 7 File Recovering option from Control Panel to backup & restore the image. Plan to save backed up image on different drive than default C drive.


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