As the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, & holiday sales continue, we thought it may be helpful to put together some essentials for PC building. We’ve included everything from tool kits to thermal paste and many other various items we’ve found useful. The idea is to compile a list of must-have PC-building tools, including PC technician tool kits, thermal compound, power meters, parts trays, and more.
iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit - iFixit makes some of the best tool kits in the industry, which is why we routinely work with the company to run sponsorships and ads on the channel. We use the products every day and feel confident in recommending them. The iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit has been featured on the channel previously and includes all the tools one would need when building or maintaining a PC, including most the tools required to disassemble video cards, coolers, and laptops. The kit includes a 64-bit driver kit, anti-static wrist strap, a small suction cup, opening tools, opening picks, multiple tweezers, two spudgers, magnetic pad, jimmy, and tool roll. At $60 on Amazon (list price), this should serve as a good tool kit for tech enthusiasts as well as general use around the house.
Rosewill 45 Piece Computer Toolkit - As a less expensive alternative, Rosewill has a 45-piece toolkit that has the essentials for PC building and various other tech repair and maintenance. The kit includes a ratchet driver with 21 bits and socket set, 6” #1 Phillips screwdriver, spare parts box, reversible 1/8” #0 mini screwdriver, 9 hex key set, long nose pliers, 5” wire cutter/stripper, anti-static wrist strap, three prong holder, and tweezers.
Arctic Thermal Pads - Thermal Pads have been shown on our channel in many of the GPU hybrid builds, and are particularly helpful when repairing laptops or GPUs (we fixed Zotac’s poor cooler design with them). The ones linked come in 50x50mm at 0.5mm thick and can be cut to size for more versatility. A single 50x50m, thickness at 0.5mm thermal pad sheet can be had for $7 on Amazon (list price). Thickness of the pads will affect price: a 1.0mm thick sheet list at $7.95 and a 1.5mm thick sheet will run $9.89.
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut Thermal Paste - While on the topic of thermals, stock thermal paste at some point will need to be serviced or upgraded. Kryonaut by Thermal Grizzly is a good option. The 1.0 gram tube with applicator costs $12 at the time of writing, while the 11.1 gram tube runs $25 (at the time of writing).
ArctiClean 60ml Kit - The ArctiClean 60ml kit is used for cleaning and prepping an IHS and or GPU for thermal paste application. This kit comes with two bottles: one for removing thermal paste and one for purifying the surface before applying a new coat of thermal paste. Alternatively, 99% rubbing alcohol can be used to clean thermal paste effectively, and will last longer than the 60ml kit.
P3 International Kill A Watt Usage Monitor - If you ever want to monitor system power draw at the wall, we recommend using something similar to this usage monitor. A Kill-A-Watt plugload meter can be useful for monitoring system power consumption for regular PC usage, for determining the ideal PSU wattage, determining if undervolting worked, and can be very useful in cryptocurrency mining systems.
HDE Power Supply Tester - Since we are on the topic of electricity, a PSU tester can be helpful for testing the voltages on the 24-pin, 8-pin, 6-pin, and EPS12V cables. This can be helpful when double-checking and validating that a power supply works.
Anti-Static Wrist Strap - When building a PC, many are concerned about ESD (electrostatic discharge) causing damage to components. This is particularly problematic in cold and dry environments. An anti-static wrist strap can combat that when working with the sensitive components of a PC build. Amazon has a large selection of various wrist straps that all serve the same basic function.
Magnetic Parts Tray - At GamersNexus, we tear down a lot of things -- more than we put back together: this year, we have torn down the Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch, and various graphics cards, and figuring out where to put all the screws from these devices is always a concern. There are not as many screws involved when building a PC, but a magnetic parts tray similar to the one linked can be a helpful tool (listed at $5.64). Parts trays like this can help to ensure you don’t lose important screws during the build process. A two pack of the similarly sized ones can be had for a couple bucks more, if more than one can be of use.
Rockit Cool Delid Kit - The Rockit Cool Delid Kit 88 is what we used for delidding our Intel i7-8700K, and can also be used for Kaby Lake (7700K) CPUs. If you can find one in stock, they're an easy, relatively safe option for delidding.
These are some things we find useful for PC and tech repair and maintenance. Stay tuned throughout the weekend for more content.
Editorial: Ryan Greenberg