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When assembling your computer you must start by selecting the computer parts. This is done by following the outline in how to build a computer. It covers the computer case and everything that is included. External items are the covered in the peripheral devices section. This is the first step in how to assemble a computer.

Once the parts selection process is complete, you will begin to order these parts from your favorite online computer store. You may want to order different parts from different sources, choosing the supply houses that provide you with the best price advantage for each item. When all the parts arrive, double check to make sure you have everything. Also, make sure you have the proper computer tools, if not, order them.

Keep in mind that this computer building guide is your step by step tool for computer assembly. Now you’re ready to start assembling your computer. This begins with the computer case. Make sure it is cleaned of all packing material and ready for assembly. Use a grounding strap secured to the case and your wrist, to make sure static electric charges do not cause any damage to any of the electronic parts. Before you install the motherboard, read the manual. It covers many features unique to this board. Also, it will tell you how to set any jumpers. The motherboard’s peripheral connection template is to be mounted to the rear of the computer case; sometimes with screws, sometimes just a press fit. You may have to remove the one supplied with the computer case. The next item to add is the motherboard. Look for several standoffs to mount the board about ¼ inch above the computer case. Once in position, secure it with the screws provided. There are some electrical connections to be made to the computer case when assembling your computer. If the power supply is already mounted to the case, connect it to the motherboard. If not, add the power supply, it only requires a few screws, which should be supplied, and then make the electrical connections to the motherboard. At this point, the motherboard is securely mounted and ready for you add other components.

The CPU is the next item when assembling your computer. It is to be inserted in the appropriate socket on the motherboard. Unlock the locking lever on the CPU socket. Then make sure that pin alignment is correct. There is a missing pin on the corner of the CPU, and a missing pin socket that mates with it. This is a zero insertion force (ZIF) socket, so do not force the CPU. When the central processing unit is secure, lock it in place with the lever. Before you add the cooling fan/heatsink, ensure that mating surfaces are clean; then apply heatsink compound (thermal paste) to the top of the CPU and the bottom of the cooling fan. This compound is a grease like substance with the ability to transfer heat from the hotter CPU to the cooler heatsink. This allows for good heat dissipation and will protect the CPU from overheating. Once the cooling fan is secure, make its electrical connection to the motherboard.

You will now add the computer memory (RAM) to the motherboard. There are usually four memory sockets, two of them one color and the other two a different color. By inserting the memory in pairs in the same color sockets, you are taking advantage of the dual-channel architecture of the motherboard. This feature doubles the amount of data read and written each memory cycle. Either pair of sockets can be used. When you add additional memory just use the other pair of sockets. The memory modules are keyed and only fits in one direction. Be aware, you may have to use some force to seat these modules properly. Then use the locking levers at both ends of the memory sockets to secure the memory modules.

The hard disk drive or the solid state drive whichever you choose is the next item to install when assembling your computer. Other then for laptops, nowadays most computers use a 3 ½ inch drive. It is slid into one of the 3 ½ inch drive bays, and is secured with four screws which are provided. Now make the two electrical connections. The first is the power connection. This uses a connector from the power supply which plugs into a mating socket on the disk drive. The data connection is between the disk drive and the motherboard. Currently, most data connections are SATA, and this means that you just connect the cable. If you have a PATA or IDE connection, use the parallel ribbon cable, and set the master/slave jumper on the disk drive.

The CD drive and the DVD drive install exactly the same as the disk drive. The only exception is they are 5 ¼ inch devices, and must be installed in one of the 5 ¼ inch drive bays. The electrical connections are the same.

If you have a floppy disk drive, it is installed in a 3 ½ inch drive bay, and secured with four screws. There is a special plug on the power supply cable which connects to the floppy drive and a special data cable that connects between the floppy drive and the motherboard. Keep in mind some of the older cables are not keyed, and this requires you to make sure pin 1 aligns with socket 1 at both ends.

When assembling your computer you may have expansion cards; video cards, sound cards, network cards, modems, wireless interfaces, etc. These require removing one of the card slot blanks on the computer case and inserting the card in the correct slot on the motherboard. You may have to use some force to seat the card properly. Then secure it with the same computer assembly screw that secured the card slot blank which you removed.

At this point you have completed assembling your computer. But, before you can do anything with it, you must add the essential peripheral devices; the monitor, the Keyboard, and the mouse. The monitor requires a power connection, and a connection to the video output on the computer backplane. Both the mouse and the keyboard only need to be connected to the computer backplane.

You are now ready to begin power up testing.

If you are one of the more experienced people who have built computers in the past, here is your opportunity to share your knowledge. Their are many people who are new to computer building and would enjoy hearing about your first computer building efforts. Go to The first PC you ever built and tell your story. You will find it rewarding.

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