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How to assemble a Computer (PC).

So without further ado, let's begin!

Before beginning, I should probably state that ChooseMyPC takes no liability from damage caused by following this guide. Now that's out of the way...
First we will be assembling the main components of the PC outside of the case for convenience

Installing the CPU

Take the motherboard out of its protective bag and place it on top of its box (a perfect non-conductive workspace which is the right size to fit the motherboard on). Do not place the motherboard on the anti-static bag it was in - although most commonly used designs for bags are not conductive this is not a good work surface and you are better off just using the box as the bag only offers protection when parts are inside of it.

Lift the CPU retention bracket lever from underneath its latch by pushing down and out away from the cpu socket. Bear in mind that depending on the socket of your motherboard, this may vary slightly and referring to the manual that came with the motherboard is advisable.

Unbox your CPU at this stage and remove it from the protective moulded plastic, holding it carefully by the edges

Now proceeds the most nerve racking part of the build. Lift the CPU retention bracket lever to reveal the socket and its pins. These are incredibly delicate and easy to bend (which motherboard manufacturers will not accept an RMA for), so be very careful when working around the socket.

Gently lower the bracket over the CPU, sliding it onto the raised pillar on the motherboard.

Push down the retention bracket arm and hook it back under the latch where it was originally. This may take some force, and may even cause some rather worrying noises, however if you have placed the CPU in the correct position in the socket no harm will be done and this process ensures that the CPU is in proper contact with the socket. This is an area where more detailed video guides can be watched for reassurance that you are doing the right thing and applying a normal amount of force if you are particularly worried about this step

The protective cover will pop off as you lower the lever. Be sure to keep this in a safe place, as you will need this if you have to send your motherboard back to the manufacturer to protect the socket during shipping. Your CPU is now installed into the motherboard.

CPU Cooler Installation

If you are using an Intel stock cooler (one which is bundled in the box with the CPU) remove it from the packaging and place the pins in the corners through the holes surrounding the CPU socket (ensuring that the pins at the corners are rotated to an unlocked position by rotating the top of them in the direction of the arrows). After this, turn the top of the pins in the opposite direction to that shown by the arrows to lock it in place. You can check that it is seated correctly by attempting to gently twist it - there should not be any significant movement. Be sure to arrange the fan cable so it doesn’t interfere with the spinning of the fan.

Plug the 4pin PWM fan connector on the end of the wire coming from your CPU fan into the CPU_FAN header on your motherboard at this stage if you wish (we actually forgot about this until the build was already in the case). Watch that the cable isn’t in the way of the fan blade!

RAM Installation

As the final part of this sub-assembly we will be installing the RAM into the motherboard. Read the motherboard manual to find out which slots you should be using for the number of sticks of RAM you have (they are usually color coded and so can be easily referenced). We will be populating all the slots in our build. First, pull back the clips on either side of the RAM slots you are going to use

Notice the clear off-centre notch at a point both on the slot and the RAM stick to indicate which way round the sticks should be placed and ensure they can only be placed one way

At this point in the build, if you have integrated graphics you can attempt to power on the build outside of the case by connecting the power supply 20/20/24 pin ATX and 4/8pin EPS connectors and shorting out the PW_SWITCH pins on the front panel headers by touching a conductive screwdriver or paperclip to them for a split second or connecting the actual case switch to power the build on.

Installing the Motherboard in the Case

We can now move this sub-assembly into the case

Best part about having a side panel window is peeling this off

You may need your screwdriver to loosen the thumb screws securing the side panels first of all - they are often very tight from the factory

Take off the case side panels

Find the box containing your screws and other accessories which are bundled with the case (it is usually located in a 3.5" drive bay) and find the standoffs for your case. These sit between your motherboard and the screw in order to stop the motherboard touching and shorting out on the case and are vitally important. In our case, the standoffs were pre-installed for an ATX motherboard. It is a relatively painless process, if they are not, to go through screwing the standoffs into the case in the locations where your motherboard has a matching hole for a screw.

Next we need to install the motherboard I/O shield. This is a metal panel which covers the gaps between your motherboard I/O connectors in the cutout at the back of the case. Ensure this is the correct way round (engraved labels facing to the outside of the case and the right way up to match the connectors on the motherboard). This is a time when a lot of builders make their blood sacrifice to their machine on sharp edges, so take care! Place the metal panel into the gap at the back of the case and push firmly around the corners and outside edges until it clicks to secure it.

Now with standoffs in position and I/O panel placed we can take our motherboard and place it in the case. It is best to lie the case on its side as you do this.
Lower the motherboard into place. Line up the connectors with the gaps in the I/O panel and push the connectors into the panel before lowering it all the way onto the standoffs. You may need to apply some pressure in the direction of the back of the case to line up the screw holes with the standoffs - this is normal and is the I/O panel resisting the connectors. However be sure that none of the metal tabs from the panel are making contact with the inside of the connectors after the process.


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