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How to Build a Computer with an
AMD Socket A Athlon or Duron Processor
Part 1 - Gather the Stuff
Last updated: 10/31/2001

Comments on Alternative Components.

Case and Power Supply.  AMD recommends not using a desktop case, but if you leave the top off a desktop case, as I do, and use a quality CPU fan, the Athlon or Duron will be quite happy.  It would be prudent to use a quality 300 Watt supply, as we did.  A larger power supply may be warranted for fully loaded computers with more drives, etc.

Optional Chassis Fans.  One chassis fan was sufficient.  If you use the Antec case, I would suggest installing it on the inside of the back of the computer.  For fully loaded computers, two chassis fans are recommended.

Motherboard.   Abit KT7A-RAID, KT7A, and KT7E motherboards are now available.  The procedures for a computer built with those boards are almost identical to those used for this example computer.  There other very good Socket A Athlon/Duron motherboards made by other manufacturer's.  And newer chipsets and motherboards should be entering the market in a few months.  DDR memory and motherboards are starting to become available.  Again, installation is similar.

Heatsink-Fan.  Your best bet is to purchase a heatsink-fan (cooler) recommended by AMD.  For an average Athlon computer, used in an office or home environment, I like the one to the right.  It has a large spring which hooks to all six lugs on the Socket A, can be attached without tools, is easily removed, and is less likely come loose during shipment than those that attach to just two lugs.  This one has IBIS on it and comes from a vendor I have doing business with for many years.  Tai Sol Electronics, Aavid (Part # 11-K754-01; .pdf spec), and Tiger Electronics also make them.  Get a heatsink-fan with a quality ball bearing fan (not a sleeve bearing), one that plugs into the motherboard (3-pin fan), and has a tachometer function for RPM monitoring by the motherboard.

Windows.  The Windows Me Upgrade was installed on the example computer.  There should be no reason why any version of Windows 9X would not work.  Newer versions of Windows 95 should work as well.  Because of the size of the hard disk, you would want to use Windows 95 version OSR2 or later with large disk support (FAT32).   If you have an older version of Windows 95 or even Windows 3.X or Windows for Workgroups, you should be able to install the Windows 98, 98 SE, and Me upgrades.  Windows NT and 2000 are other options which will work.

Find the tools.


  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Socket driver
  • Knife
  • Diagonal cutters


  • Anti-static wrist strap
  • Needle/long nose pliers
  • Forceps (handy for moving jumpers; picking-up screws dropped in a case)
  • Anti-static mats
  • Workbench

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Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.