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How to Build Your Own Pentium II Computer
Setup the Motherboard
Last updated: 4/12/99

  Observe antistatic procedures.

Many people don't realize that computer components can be damaged by static electricity and a problem may not appear for months later when a power surge completes the damage.  With the non-parity memory used in most recent computers, a damaged transistor in a memory chip can start corrupting files and you will not be alerted by an error message and not know about it until you see widespread damage much later.

Ideally, you should wear a grounded anti-static wrist strap when working on computer equipment, especially when handling memory and CPUs.  Also, the use of grounded anti-static mats on the floor and on the workbench is a good practice.  However, these items can be too expensive if you are building just one computer.  As a minimum, my advise is to make sure your body is touching the metal on the computer case when handling the CPU and the memory anytime between the time they are in their anti-static bag or container and installed on the motherboard, and any time when directly touching them.  It would also be a good idea to work with bare feet during this critical time.  Try to avoid touching drives, boards, memory, etc. with your clothes.  Clothing can quite often be charged with static electricity, especially during cold-dry, Winter days.

  Remove the motherboard from its box and take it out of the padded antistatic bag.  Place the antistatic bag on the workbench and set the motherboard on top of it.

  Remove the cardboard packing from the CPU box, set it aside, and put the power cord and the HX45 Assembly Instructions in the box.

  Identify and unpack the SECC CPU retention mechanism.

This motherboard came with two CPU retention mechanism: 

  1. Single Edge Contact Cartridge (SECC), the plastic bag with five parts.
  2. Single Edge Contact Cartridge 2 (SECC2), the plastic bag with two mounts and four screws.

The CPU used in this computer had an SECC form factor.

You can learn more about retention mechinisms at Intel's Web site.

The BH6 User Manual which came with this particular motherboard does a pretty good job of explaining and illustrating how to mount the CPU and it should be read before proceeding.  I recall I had some difficulty understanding it the first time I did this, quite some time ago, and have, therefore, attempted to reduce the confusion factor with some pictures and words of my own.  Also, and I'll mention it here, Pentium retention mechanisms and heat sink fans vary in design and geometry and may change with different lots of motherboards, etc.  But, once you have done this chore once of twice you'll get the hang of it and should be able to adapt.

Take the first two parts for the SECC retention mechanism, shown to the right, tilt the motherboard upward from the rear and position them as shown, but under the motherboard, so they straddle the CPU slot and the studs pass through the holes at the ends of the slot.  Hold them in place while lowering the motherboard back onto the static bag.

  Position the third part of the retention mechanism, shown to the right, so the key at the bottom is to the left to match the CPU slot and lower it onto the brass studs.  Evenly tighten the four fasteners with a philip's-head screwdriver.  Do not over-tighten.

  Two plastic pegs are used to fasten the heat sink support.  they mount in the two holes which are 1 1/2" in front and to either side of the CPU slot.  The hole to the left is larger than the one to the right.  They match corresponding pegs.  Firmly push the pegs into their respective holes until you hear/feel them click into place.

  Slide a black plastic heat sink support onto each end of the heat sink, with the holes toward the outside of the support, until they engage the groves at the bottom of the heat sink.

  Make sure the clips on the heat sink supports are to the rear to expose the mounting holes.

  Push the latches on sides of the top of the processor towards the center of the processor until they click into place..

  Slide the processor into the retention mechanism and press it evenly and firmly into its slot on the motherboard.

  Push the latches on top of the processor outward until they click into place.

  Slide the latches on the heat sink supports forward to lock them to the mounting pegs.

  The memory module has two notches on the bottom, one in the middle and another one near it's sides.  Orient the module so the notch on the side is to the left.  Hold the memory module with both hands and evenly and firmly insert it into the DIMM socket labeled "DIMM1," the one furthest back, and make sure it is fully seated.  The  leavers at the ends of the socket  will come up when the module is inserted.  Push inward on them to be sure they are fully in place.

  Feed the CPU fan wire through the hole in left heat sink support and plug it into the motherboard connector labeled "FAN1" to the rear of the right side of the CPU.

The CPU fan has three wires.  Two are for power and third one is used by the motherboard to sense fan speed and may be used by system monitoring software to sound an alarm if the fan fails.  That is why you should use a 3-wire fan that connects to the motherboard instead of a fan which connects to one of the power-supply connectors.

  Neatly coil-up the excess CPU fan wire and zip-tie it to keep the wire out of the CPU fan.  It is easier to do this now while the motherboard is out of the case.

If you have a motherboard with jumpers, now is the time to set them and double check them.

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