Do It Yourself Computer - Assemble PC - A Guide for the Do-It-Yourself PC Builder

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Building a PC

Step 1:
Getting Organized

Step 2:
Configure Your Case

Step 3:
Installing Your CPU

Step 4:
Install Memory (RAM)

Step 5:
Install Motherboard

Step 6:
Install Hard Drive & CD/DVD

Step 7:
Install Video Card

Step 8:
Install Accessories

Step 9:
Initial Power-up

Step 10:
BIOS Settings

Step 11:
Install Operating System

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Step 5: Installing the Motherboard

<< Step 4: Install Memory (RAM)
>> Step 6: Install Hard Drive & CD/DVD

Before continuing with your motherboard install, be sure you've installed the standoffs on the motherboard tray of your case. Refer to Step 2: Configure Computer Case for detailed information.

OK, before you get started with your motherboard installation, read the manual! You should soak up as much information about your motherboard as possible before you start changing settings, configuring jumpers, and connecting cables. Trust me, taking a few extra minutes to carefully read the manual could likely prevent you from inadvertently frying your mainboard.

Once you have the standoffs properly installed in your case, gently lay your motherboard into your case. Line up the mounting holes with your standoffs, and also ensure that the external connectors (the ones accessible via the rear of the case) are properly aligned. Screw the board onto the standoffs using the appropriate hardware. Make sure you don't overtighten the screws and crack your board. Don't use an electric screwdriver, and use just enough torque to secure the screws in place.

Once the motherboard is secure, go ahead and attach your power supply connectors. With most ATX boards, there are two connectors that you'll need to attach, a 20-pin connector and a 4-pin connector.

If you haven't connected your CPU fan to its power source, do this now. If the fan uses a small 3-pin connector, find its corresponding connector on the motherboard and attach it (if you haven't already). If the CPU fan uses a standard power supply connector, then use one of the connectors that extends from your power supply.

Refer back to your motherboard and computer case manuals. Match up the motherboard connectors with their corresponding case connectors. You'll need to attach wires for various functions. This will vary from computer-to-computer as not all motherboard/case combinations will have the same features. Common connections will include the power switch, hard disk activity LED, reset button, front panel USB connections, pc speaker, etc.

Sample Motherboard Layouts and Connector Locations

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