How to Build Your Own
(Slot A Processor)
Part 4 - Install and Boot the Motherboard
Last updated: 12/13/99
Also see How to Build a Computer
with a Socket A Athlon or Duron Processor
Part 4 of this article we describe how to install the motherboard and display
adapter (less driver), and bringing the computer to the point that it will
boot-up the BIOS.
32. There are nine mounting holes on the motherboard: two
at the very front, which are not used with this case, three in a row 1 1/2" from
the front, and four along the back. Set the motherboard with
the anti-static bag on top of the side of the case. Use it as visual
guide to screw seven standoffs to the case. Screw-in the standoffs
by hand and then use a socket driver to tighten them (you could use an adjustable
wrench or pliers if you are careful).
Do not over-tighten. What remains can be very
difficult to remove when they break. Count them to verify there
33. Gently place the motherboard in the case so the
mounting holes are centered over their respective stand-offs.
Don't force the motherboard into the case--wiggle
it into place if you have to. If you see a mounting hole without
a stand-off, you didn't install seven of them or, worse, one of them
is in the wrong hole and under the motherboard where it will short-it-out. I've
done it more than once. It is a very common mistake.
34. Inspect the back of the computer to see if the
I/O connectors are aligned with their respective cutouts.
35. Attach the motherboard to the standoffs
with seven M3*5L screws. The correct screws look like chassis screws
except they are smaller and have a finer thread. I call them "Packard-Bell
Other cases use larger screws. I usually check
alignment and screw-in one screw at the center of the rear of the board,
check alignment again, and screw-in another at the front, followed by
the remainder. Do not over-tighten these screws. You could damage
36. Double-check that you have secured the motherboard
with seven screws and that all of them properly seated (not cross-threaded).
Besides securing the motherboard to the case, most
or all--I can't see all four layers of the board--of these screws electrically
ground the board to the case.
37. Remove the rubber band from the front panel cables.
the front panel cable labeled "POWER SW" to connector labeled "POWER
SW" on the motherboard (front of the motherboard, right row, pair of
pins furthest to the rear).
39. Connect the front panel connector labeled "SPEAKER" to
the motherboard connector labeled "SPEAKER."
It is important to connect the speaker now so you
can hear any BIOS error beeps when you first power-up the computer. I
do not install the rest of the front panel connectors until I'm sure
I do not have to remove the motherboard.
the rubber band from the power supply connectors, untangle them and connect
the ATX motherboard power plug to the socket on the motherboard just
in front CPU with clip facing towards the front of the case. Firmly
push it down until it snaps into place. It will only connect one-way.
that the display adapter is jumpered for AGP 2X (J4 is in the A-B position
= up and J3 open) and Insert it into the AGP slot (the brown one), fasten
the back of the card to the case with chassis screw, and push firmly and
evenly down on the card to be sure it properly seated.
Sometimes an expansion board will pop-up a little
at the front when it is screwed down.
42. Unbox your monitor in a way similar to
that used to unboxed the computer case . Be careful not to break the
styrofoam. Attach the monitor base according to the monitor instructions
and make sure it is locked into place and won't come off. Set the monitor
on the workbench. Plug the power cord into the monitor and into an
active outlet (or into a surge protector and turn it on). Attach the
monitor's video cable to the back of the AGP display adapter. Turn
the monitor on and let it warm-up.
I use a known-good shop monitor.
43. Unwrap the computer's power cord, plug it into
the computer and into active outlet.
I leave it wrapped and use a shop cable.
44. Hold your breath and push-in the power switch
on the front of the case. The computer should boot.
You should hear one short beep and see something on
the monitor. Here we gleefully say, "we have a Computer," when
that happens. I have a computer. How about you? If you don't see
anything on the display, immediately turn-off the computer and unplug
the power cord from the back of the power supply and check-over everything
and verify that your monitor works. If you hear one long beep,
followed two short ones (it might be three like other motherboards--fast
CPU and video--I heard two), the display adapter is not properly seated
or is defective (the first one I tried was defective). Make sure
the power cord is not connected to the computer before attempting to
reseat the board (or installing or removing any boards). If you
hear a series of long beeps, the memory is not seated properly or is
defective. Many motherboards won't do anything at all if the memory
is not seated properly. See our FAQs on trouble-shooting a dead
45. Feel (don't touch) with your hand to make sure
the CPU fan is spinning. Turn off the computer if isn't; so your CPU
doesn't become a crispy fry.
46. Feel the outside the back of the case, behind
the power supply, to make sure the power supply fan is pushing-out air (quietly).
This particular power supply adjusts the airflow automatically
to the temperature inside the case. It probably won't be blowing
much with the case open and not everything in it yet.
47. Turn-off the computer and unplug the power cord.
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