How to Build Your Own
(Slot A Processor)
Part 3 - Setup the Motherboard
Last updated: 5/10/00
Also see How to Build a Computer
with a Socket A Athlon or Duron Processor
Part 3 we describe how to install the heat sink-fan on the CPU and other
steps for setting-up the motherboard.
19. 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
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.
the Thermal Grease to the Heat Sink and CPU. The HTS421B-SB heat-sink
fan includes a 4" X 2" X 1.5" heat sink, a high speed fan,
fan shroud, attachment clips and Shin-Etsu G749 thermal grease for maximum
cooling efficiency. The
diagram to the right came from the AMD
Athlon Processor Thermal Solution document. It is
a bird's eye view of an Athlon mated with a heat sink. I added the
red to show where the heat sink comes into contact with the CPU and where
the thermal grease goes. This stuff comes in a small plastic bag
and has the viscosity of old chewing gum. The idea is to smear a
very thin layer of the grease on the mating surfaces to fill microscopic
scratches. Be careful, the heat sink fins bend very easily and the
grease likes to stay on skin and smear on everything but the intended surfaces. I
applied the grease by dabbing a little here and there on both surfaces
and gently slicking it to a thin sheen with a disposable dishcloth. Again,
be careful. The surfaces are easily scratched and you do not want
to introduce any foreign materials (lint, dirt, or dog hairs).
Attach the Heat-Sink to the CPU. The CPU looks like a P3 Single Edge
Contact Cartridge (SECC ) and retention mechanism looks very similar (they
may be identical). The heat sink is married to the back of the CPU (side
towards the front of the computer) with two metal attachment clips. The
clips straddle the heat sink and go into the four holes shown in red to
the right. Slip the clips into the bottom holes first and then
spring them firmly into the top holes.
It takes some fidgeting; so be patient.
This heat sink does not use a heat sink
support like most others and it practically rests on the AMD North Bridge
chip when installed on an MSI MS6167 motherboard. Although it is
physically large, I do not believe the unit has enough mass to be endanger
of popping loose during shipping like some of the real large Socket 7
You may need to install the heat-sink supports, which
came with the motherboard, for heat sinks other than the one used for
22. Gently snap the fan shroud with the fan onto
the heat sink.
the motherboard from its box and take it and the black foam pad out
of the antistatic bag. Place the antistatic bag on the workbench, set
the foam pad on top of it, and set the motherboard on top of the pad.
24. Remove the cardboard packing from the CPU box,
put the power cord in the box with the items that came with the motherboard,
and set the box aside.
25. Fold the two legs of the CPU retention mechanism
26. Orient the CPU so the heat-sink fan is facing
forward and evenly and firmly seat the CPU into its socket using both hands. Pull
the two CPU locking levers on the top of the CPU outward to lock. Pull
both locking levers on the retention mechanism upward to the locked position
as indicated on the sides of the retention mechanism legs.
27. Plug the CPU fan cable into the connector on
the motherboard to the left of the CPU.
28. 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
29. The memory module has two notches on the bottom:
one in the middle and another one near one of it's sides. Orient the
module so the notch on the side is to the right (the diagram in the motherboard
book is wrong). Hold the memory module with both hands and evenly and
firmly insert it into the DIMM socket labeled "DIMM3," the one
closest to the CPU, 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.
The memory in DIMM socket marked DIMM3 actually constitutes
the first two memory banks, Bank 0 and Bank 1. Furthermore, this
board supports Table Free memory. PC-100 modules can be plugged
into any of the three DIMM sockets in any order. Other motherboards
may require that the memory be plugged into a specific socket.
30. Push firmly down on the Award BIOS chip at the
lower left corner of the motherboard to be sure it is fully seated.
31. Verify that the Clear CMOS jumper, located just
above the Award BIOS chip, is in the Keep Data position. The diagram
in the motherboard book is confusing. The jumper should be on the two
pins closest to the front of the motherboard. Do not change this jumper
when power is on. It could damage the motherboard.
If you have a motherboard with jumpers, now is the
time to set and double-check them.
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