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How to Build Your Own Pentium III Computer
Setup the Motherboard
Last updated: 4/14/99

  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.

  Attach the SECC2 mounts at each end of the CPU slot with the screws provided.

This motherboard came with a universal CPU retention mechanism.  The CPU comes in two flavors: Single Edge Contact Cartridge (SECC) and Single Edge Contact Cartridge 2 (SECC2).  Our CPU had an SECC2 form factor.  We found that the Universal retention device, which came with the motherboard, would not adequately support the CPU, but were "saved" by an SECC2 retention mechanism we had on hand from a previous version of the motherboard.  You can learn more about retention mechanisms at Intel's Web site.

SECC2 retention mechanisms vary.  Some attach with screws, such as this one, and others attach with plastic fasteners.

Refer to my article on "How to Build Your Own Pentium II Computer" for details on installing SECC form factor CPU's.

  Orient the CPU fan so it's power cable is on the bottom.  There are four pins protruding from the heat sink.  Carefully insert these pins into the corresponding holes on the CPU.

  Install the metal clip that came with the CPU fan.  Slide the slots on one side of the clip onto the pins sticking out of the back of CPU until the holes on the other side of the clip are aligned with the two pins on the CPU.  Push down on side of the clip with the holes and slide outward to the side to lock the clip in place and secure the heat sink to the CPU.

  Slide the processor into the retention mechanism and press it evenly and firmly into it's slot on the motherboard until it clicks in place on both sides of the retention mechanism.

One thing is for sure: UPS isn't going to jar this CPU loose during shipment... without destroying the computer...

  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 along the bottom of the heat sink 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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