You can build your own Computer This is Part 2/2 Building IT!!!
Building The System
The following steps are for building the system using the components outlined above. There may be some minor differences for other components, but generally these steps are what you'll go through for your own system.
A NOTE ON ESD or ELETROSTATIC DISCHARGE: ALWAYS WEAR A GROUND STRAP BEFORE YOU INSTALL OR REMOVE A COMPONENT!
Want a £100 Pound paperweight? Ignore this small piece of advice.
Setup the case in preparation for the motherboard and components. All cases are oriented from the motherboard side. Open the side door and remove - this exposes the motherboard area (bottom left). The card slots are low and left; they lineup with the long slots of the motherboard.
Above the card slots are screws that are used to hold plates to cover the open slots. These are removed to expose the slots for expansion cards. Towards the middle rear is the I/O plate. This is where you expose the rear of the motherboard to the back of the system to plug in keyboard, mouse, printer, etc.
To the right side are wires labeled: Power LED, Reset, HDD LED and Power. From the bottom up right side are drive cages. These hold your hard drives, up to 3 per cage, and floppy drives. One is internal and two are external. Above that are 4 drive bays for 5.25" components, such as CDRW and DVD drives (note: your case may hold more or less drives).
In the upper left corner is the power supply.
The rails to hold the 5.25" drives in place are mounted to the bottom of the case - remove 4 of these (note: not all cases use drive rails).
Take out the bag of screws and the power cable.
There are brass standoffs in the bag of screws - remove 9 of these. They have threads on bottom and holes in the top for a screw. These are inserted into the motherboard plate in the case. This is the big open area. There are lots of holes here you don't need to fill them all - just the ones for the motherboard. This holds the motherboard off the plate and serves to ground the motherboard.
The easiest way to determine the screw location is to place the motherboard in the case and, with a marking pen, place dot through each hole. Make sure you are grounded or you're going to be buying a new motherboard. Now insert the brass standoffs. Take the motherboard again and see if the standoff lineup with the motherboard.
There are other cases where you have predetermined bump or plastic standoffs - follow those instructions to install the motherboard. Do not install the motherboard at this time.
Prepare the motherboard for installation. READ THE MANUAL. If you read the manual, you will know where things are and how to install parts. Read the manual, as there may be jumpers that need to be moved and it's so much easier now rather than after you have installed the motherboard into the case. A jumper is a very small plastic block with a wire in it that connects 2 pins together.
For instance, you want the motherboard to power on if you press on the keyboard. By default, pins 1 and 2 are jumpered - this does not allow you to power the system on from the keyboard. Moving the jumper to Pins 2 and 3 will allow this. Read the manual thoroughly. Prepare it now as it may be difficult once the computer is up and running
In some instances, the motherboard tray removes from the case. This makes it easier to install some items, such as the CPU and memory.
Lay the motherboard flat on the package it came in. locate the CPU socket - in this case it will read Socket 939 but you should not have any issues with any new motherboard. There is only one open area above all the slots with lots of little holes.
Locate the lever that is on the side of the socket and pull out slightly and lift up. It should now be 90 degrees to the motherboard. On the processor is a small gold arrow - this is the corner that is different from the rest of the processor - this will be reflected in the holes in the socket.
Line it up and it will slide into the holes. DO NOT FORCE IT! If it does not go, look closer - it should just slip into the socket. Once you have inserted the processor into place, push gently on all four corners to be sure you have seated it all the way. Lower the lever and be sure it locks under the small tab.
You will need your thermal compound, or if you are using a thermal pad, apply that to the heatsink if not already there. Place a rice grain sized drop of thermal compound on the CPU and use a straight edge, such as a razor blade, to spread it over the processor in a thin layer. Do not touch either the processor or the heatsink on the contact area - the oils from your hands will slow the heat flow away from the processor.
Install the heatsink/fan on the processor. Be very careful not to move the heatsink too much, as it will wipe thermal compound off the processor. Most heatsinks use the tab or tabs on the side of the socket for attachment. Clip the side away from the hinge of the socket, the lever part, then clip the side with the hinge.
You may need a screwdriver; be very careful, as you could gouge the motherboard. If you need a screwdriver, make sure it fits the clip so you don't slip. Be sure to plug in the power for the fan on the CPU to the correct 3 pin header on the motherboard.
On the motherboard are usually three or four slots for memory. You will need to move the lever on the slots out away from the slots before installing the memory. RAM is installed only one-way - if it doesn't go in, turn it around. There is a small keyway in the slot - line it up with the memory. If the memory is inserted correctly, the tabs on the memory slot will come up to lock the memory in place.
In this case, you need to push out the standard I/O back plate and replace it with the new plate (usually comes with the motherboard). Push from the outside and the plate should come free. Insert the plate that comes with the motherboard into the opening. The two round holes, for keyboard and mouse go towards the power supply.
The motherboard is quite heavy - do not grab it by the heatsink - and place it into the motherboard area. The CPU should be close to the power supply. Tip the motherboard down into the rear of the case as the backplate has a few clips that go on top of the little metal boxes on the rear of the motherboard. Line up the holes and insert one screw.
I like to install the video card at this time, just to line up the motherboard and case. Once everything is lined up, place a few more screws and remove the video card. Tighten it down, but do not over tighten - it's not going to come loose in normal operation and you do not want to damage the motherboard.
There are some connections from the case to the motherboard, such as a power switch, reset button, power and hard drive LEDs. Look in the manual to determine the location of this block and make these connections. Generally, the wires are in the lower right side of the case and the block is on the lower right of the motherboard. Be sure to plug in the power for the fan on the CPU to the correct 3-pin header on the motherboard.
Install the drives into the drive cages. In this case, remove the drive cages if you can - it makes it so much easier.
The bottom cage will hold 3 hard drives. Remove the hard drive from the package and make sure the jumper for Master/Slave or Single is in the correct position. Doing so now will save a few headaches in the future. Line up the hard drive with the screw holes and gently tighten the screws - you should use 4. On some cases you have to remove the other side of the case to expose the holes in order to install the drives in "no removable" cages.
Install the floppy drive in the middle part of the upper cage and make sure you have its front sticking out so it will be flush with the case when exposed.
To install CD drives in this case and some other cases, you will need to install drive rails. The rails attach to either side with screws. If you have a hard time, install one rail only and insert the drive into the chassis to be sure it is lined up properly. If it lines up, simply install the other rail and insert the drive from the front into the case.
On some cases, a metal plate blocks the opening and you will need to remove a metal plate in the bay before installing the CD-ROM or DVD drive. Wire cutters or twisting should remove the plate; however, be very careful as the metal edges are sharp!
If you use a single CD or DVD drive, make sure you have the drive set to master. If you are using two drives, make sure the DVDRW drive is master and the DVD is slave. This arrangement usually works best. I suggest you leave the hard drive on a cable by itself or you may have a small performance degradation.
Be sure to plug in the power for the fan on the CPU to the correct 3-pin header on the motherboard. Plug in the main power wire from the power supply to the motherboard; this is a 20 or 24 pin connection and fits only one way - look for the "key". There may also be secondary power connections - be sure you plug them all in.
Plug in the floppy cable to the motherboard and run it to the floppy drive. On most motherboards and cables, there is a keyway this makes it easier to plug in, although some drives do not have this keyway. There is also a darker edge (usually red) on most cables - this goes to pin 1 on the drive; on hard drives and CD/DVD drives, the red stripe is positioned next to the drive's power plug. SATA cables can only plug in one way, so this is the easiest.
Repeat for the hard drive, making sure you use the blue end on the motherboard. If it does not have a blue end, it may not be an 80-wire ATA 66/100/133 cable. If you are using a SATA drive, there are usually 4 places to plug into. They are small and usually the same color - refer to the owner's manual for location. Plug in the DVDRW and DVD cables also. The slave drive is usually plugged into the middle of the cable.
Plug in the power for the drives. The power cable is "D" shaped and only goes one way. The power connector for the floppy is unique and is smaller. SATA drives either use a SATA power connector or the older connector or even an adapter. Refer to the instructions that came with the hard drive.
If the operating system is Windows 9x, you will need to plug in a molex connector from the CD drive to the sound card to listen to CDs on your system. This cable is still included with most CD-ROM drives. Do yourself a big favor use Windows XP.
Install your video card. The slot closet to the CPU is usually the video card slot. Be sure you see no gold contact above the slot and you push the card firmly into the slot. For some video cards, you will need to insert a power connector - this is the time to do it. Be sure you install a hold down screw to secure the card to the case.
On some SLI motherboards there is a card to switch the system from a single card to a dual card setup. If you do not set the card correctly, you will see no video. Also be sure the card is in the correct slot, as there are two and if in the wrong slot, there will be no video.
Install your sound card. Remove the slot cover and retain the screw. The lowest slot is usually a good sound card slot. Be sure you see no gold contact above the slot and you push the card firmly into the slot. If you have a CD-ROM molex connection, please plug it into the "CD IN" location. Be sure you install a hold down screw to secure the card.
Install your modem card. Remove the slot cover and retain the screw. The middle slot is usually a good modem card slot. Be sure you see no gold contact above the slot and you push the card firmly into the slot. Be sure you install a hold down screw to secure the card.
Install a network card. Remove the slot cover and retain the screw. The middle slot is usually a good network card slot. Be sure you see no gold contact above the slot and you push the card firmly into the slot. Be sure you install a hold down screw to secure the card. In this case, there are two networks cards onboard.
The box is now completed!
Plug in you monitor, speakers, keyboard and mouse. Note the orientation and don't force anything. Speakers should be setup according to the directions.
Take a deep breath, as the system may not boot. However, I have yet to have a system not post or make a beep and I have built a lot of systems.
Push the power button.
Step 20 - If Nothing Happens:
Things to Check and Do:
Did you plug in the power cable to the power supply? Wall? You do have power at that outlet?
Did you set the switch on the power supply to 240 volt if in the Uk.
Did the power supply have a switch for power? Did you flip it to on?
Did you in fact plug the power button cable to the correct pins on the motherboard?
Did you plug the power supply cable into the motherboard?
Start to remove components from the motherboard, testing each time for a post.
Start by taking one card out at a time to see if the system posts. Test after you remove the card. Leave the card out.
Leave the video card, do not remove yet.
Remove the Floppy cable, test.
Remove the CD-ROM cable from motherboard end, test.
Remove the hard drive cable, test.
Push the memory into the slots, test.
Remove the memory one piece at a time, or if one stick, remove it, test.
Reset the CMOS, Follow the directions on the manual!!! Test.
Remove the Video card, test.
At this point, you have a short on the motherboard, possibly due to having a metal stand off in the wrong place or a bad CPU/Motherboard.
Step 20 - If it posts
Congratulations! It posts and says "No Operating System found".
In the BIOS, you will want to setup some of the parameters for your system. Look in the motherboard manual to set this up.
You will be setting time/date, size of hard drive, usually auto detected, size of floppy, CPU speed. Almost everything else, leave alone unless you need to change it.
If you are running Windows XP, insert the CD-ROM into the Master CD drive and boot the system from that drive. You may need to enter the BIOS to set the CD-ROM as the first boot device. It will lead you all the way through the install no matter how little you know. Believe me - you can do this if you have actually constructed your system.
Important things to do after installing any operating system:
Install the motherboard drivers. This allows Windows to interact properly with your motherboard.
Install the video card divers.
Install sound card drivers.
Install modem drivers.
Install all other required drivers for your equipment.
Install all updates to the operating system and drivers