Picking up the pieces

I discussed most of the components of the computer.

Now for the very essence of this all. Allow me to tell you something about putting everything together. Most people order a computer in a computershop or with producer of a familiar brand.

But I assure you, assembling a computer ain’t all that hard.

I’ll show you step by step what to do.. You’ll be amazed how easy it is.

Step 1. Attaching the motherboard to the case. First of all, if you open up the box of your motherboard you’ll notice a small bag with screws, plastic things and a thin metallic plate which fits exactly on the back of your motherboard.
You’ll find a similar plate on the back of your computer case. You’ll have to remove it and replace it with the plate that came with your motherboard.
(by the way I use pictures that I found on the internet… but I’ll try to make it look as consistent as possible)

The red frame I marked is the metallic plate I mentioned. Just gently push it out and replace it by the plate that came with the motherboard.
Now look inside the case. You’ll notice holes in the back of the case, if you are lucky they are already screwholes, else you have to still plug them in. If you have to plug them in, carefully pick up the motherboard and match it with the holes in the case. Now you can see where you need to place the plugs.

This is the screw I mention.

And here are the screwholes. You’ll most likely find more info in the manual of the motherboard.

Once this is done, all you have to do is gently (!) put the motherboard in place (click the back of the motherboard into the metallic plate you just replaced) and tighten it with the screws into the screwholes you just attached. Just to make sure use following picture as a guideline.

Only put screws and plugs in the holes I marked in RED. The ones I marked in YELLOW are used for something else. I’ll show you later in this guide. Make sure you use every available screwhole (veeeeerrry funny you perv ;-))…

Step 2. Attaching the PSU (power supply unit)
If you bought a case which already has a PSU installed you can skip this step.
If you don’t followin carefully. At the back of your computercase you’ll find a hole (which is quite big), you’ll notice that it has the same (du’h) form as the back of your PSU.
Push the PSU in place, from the INSIDE, pushing it from the outside won’t work.
Attach with the 4 screws which are available for this purpose.

The hole

Installed PSU. Shouldn’t be too hard.

Step 3.
Installing the hard drive(s). And this step is a bit hard to explain since attaching the HDD depends from case to case. In most cases you will have to attach the HDD with screws. But some also have some sort of a ‘slider’ system. You will have to attach rails to your hard drive and slide it in your case. Other cases will have some sort of a lock available, you will have to push the HDD into place and then set the lock to… Lock ;-)…
Check the manual of your case to see how you should attach yours.
In the end it should look like this (or about like this)… You’re not an idiot, you get the picture.

Step 4. Installing floppy drive and CD/DVD/BLU-ray drive
This one is easy. Do the exact same thing as you did with the hard drive(s)! There is only 1 place where they will fit, just shove them in and that is that :).
Step 5. Installing the CPU
This step is a bit tricky. You should handle your cpu with care. Don’t drop it, heat it, wet it, scribble on it, sit on it, drive over it, puke on it… Just.. be careful.
Most likely your cpu was delivered with a cooler. that is something for later.
First of all, hug your radiator for a moment. When you walk, move, take of your sweater, etc you will be statically charged. If you touch the little contact pins of one of the components it MAY BE possible that you discharge yourself on this component.
This will not hurt you, but it could be that you damage the component.
So just discharge yourself by touching something big and metallic (the case of your computer will do just as well)
Now open the cpu cloth on the motherboard. It’s the metal square with the small handle next to it in the middle of the motherboard.
Push the handle a bit down, move it a little aside and lift it up. You can now OPEN the square. Remove the little plastic thingy that sits in the slot (the one with the yellow sticker in my picture).
You’ll notice, in one of the corners of the opened square, a small golden dot or arrow. You’ll also find one on your CPU. Match both signs and gently put the CPU in place. Make sure that the arrow and/or dot is on the same side on the slot as on the CPU. Normally it only fits in one way but still. I cannot stress this enough!
When done, close the lid again.

Step 6. The cooler
Remember the 4 holes I marked in yellow? That is where the cooler goes. The cooler normally has 4 plastic pins which you can push in the wholes. So, put the cooler in place, push the pins in (you’ll need to put some force on it, but do be careful, the line between force and forced is very thin).
Basically the cooler goes ON TOP of the cpu… Since it is meant to cool the cpu ;-).
One this is done you should connect the little wire that is attached to the cooler to a small connector with 3 pins on the motherboard. Location varies from mobo to mobo.

Your cooler will most likely look a little different but you get the basic idea. The cable normally fits in only 1 direction.

Whew… so far to good. You may want to take a break, specially when this is your first time…

Step 7. Installing the RAM memory.
Before you take the RAM out of the package, remember what I said about static charge? Same rules here. Specially for RAM memory. Do not touch the contacts at the bottom of the bar of RAM.
This is how the RAM slots look like. Before pushing the RAM in there, open the little white lids on the side. Just gently push them back. As shown in the picture.
If you have 1 bar of RAM and 4 slots, well.. it generally doesn’t matter where you put them. Then again, sometimes it may ;-).. Look closely next to the RAM slot. You’ll see an number which indicates which slot is which. It says something like DIMM1, DIMM2… Just plug them in place in the correct order.
RAM memory only fits one way, as you push it in, the lids on the side close. If you feel that you have to put TOO much pressure on it (you’ll notice, really).
Stop pushing, it generally means you are trying to push it in the wrong way ;-).
There is a small gap between the contact on the bar of RAM. Match it with the gap on the motherboard.
It’s easier than it sounds…

See the gap? Alright then… Off to the next step.

Step 8. Placing the GPU.
Placing the graphics card is an easy one as well. The only thing you need to do is push a little metallic slot out of the case. So the connectors on your videocard come on the outside of your case (else you cannot connect your computer screen, ofcourse :’)).
The GPU goes in either an AGP slot or a PCI-x slot. Most likely PCI-x. Push it in until you hear a ‘click’.

That’s it! All components are in your case. Congratz! Only a few things left now. Connecting the power supply to the devices and connecting your ‘on’ button, some LEDs and ofcourse connecting your harddrive and dvd drive ;-).

Step 9. Connecting the power supply.
Connect a power supply cable to the HDD, DVD/CD/BLU-ray drive, floppy drive, and 2 power cables on your motherboard.
For your HDD and DVD drive you can have 2 different types of power connections.
Either this:

Or this:

Pick whichever you need and shove it in.

For the motherboard you need to connect 2 power cables.
This one

and this one

Could be that yours has 2 pins less. But that’s normal
They both fit only in 1 hole on your motherboard and only in 1 direction. So.. Go nuts!

Step 10. Connecting the devices.
If you are using SATA drives you will need to connect a sata cable (o rly?). Which looks like this:

And it fits in this on your motherboard

Same rule as with RAM. You’ll notice small labels liks SATA1, SATA2.. You know the drill.

If you use IDE (ata). You will be using this kind of cable

Fits into

Should you use a floppy drive. It’s the same cable only a bit smaller.
It only fits in one 1 hole..

IDE1, IDE2, follow the lead.

Good now for the very last step.
In your case you’ll notice a few very thin colourful wires. There are for the HDD activity led, POWER led, Power button (!), speaker, etc.
They look like this.

Each cable says what it is for. Plug it in to your motherboard. Normally the connectors should be in the lower right region. The connectors have labels but… also colours :).. So just match the colours and plug the small cables in with THE LABEL DOWN.

If you connect all your peripherals and you power cable and hit the power button. The computer will boot.

The assembly is now completed… That wasn’t so hard was it?

Set the BIOS correct and install an OS. Off you go, a brand new computer by your own hand!




One thought on “Picking up the pieces

  1. Pingback: The Partition Party « Tech-o-rama

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