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How to Build a Computer with an
AMD Socket A Athlon or Duron Processor
Part 3 - Setup the Motherboard
Last updated: 4/13/2001

Install the ProcessorInstructions for installing the CPU and heatsink-fan are presented in more detail in our article on How to Install an AMD Socket A Athlon or Duron Processor.  If you have never done it before, that article and AMD's Socket A AMD Processor and Heatsink Installation Guide should be reviewed before proceeding.  Many AMD Socket A Athlon and Duron processors are damaged during installation.  Reading those articles could save your CPU.

20. Inspect the heat sensor (3) to be sure it hasn't been pushed into the socket.  If needed, bend it gently upward so it will make contact with the bottom of the CPU.

21. Inspect the CPU for bent pins

22. Unlatch and raise the socket lever (2), orient the knocked-off corner of the CPU as shown to the right, and carefully and gently insert it into the socket.  Never force a CPU into its socket.

23. Inspect the sides of the socket to be sure the CPU is properly seated and latch the leaver.

24. You may want to reposition the fan on top of the heatsink for better routing of the fan wires to the connector on the motherboard.  Many CPU fans can be reoriented by unscrewing the four mounting screws rotating the fan assembly to the desired orientation and screwing the fan back down.  Evenly tighten and do not over-torque the screws. Take care not scratch the bottom of the heatsink.

25. If the heatsink already has a thermo pad attached, follow the manufacture's and AMD instructions for preparing it.  Usually, it has a protective film that is easily pealed off.

You must employ a quality thermal compound, whether it is already affixed to the heatsink or not.

26. If the heat sink does not have the thermo compound already attached, clean the raised part of the bottom of the heat-sink fan with a quality degreaser and wash and a lint-free cloth (or lens cleaner).  Rubbing alcohol, and, if you are careful not to shred it, a good quality Kleenex will work.

27. A good, lint-less way to clean the CPU die is to put on a clean, disposable vinyl glove, wet the end of your index finger with degreaser-wash or rubbing alcohol, and gently apply it to the surface of the die. This is one time you absolutely want to be sure you take take those anti-static precautions.

28. Look at both heat sink and CPU at an angle with good lighting to be sure no lint or dirt is left behind.  A bench mounted,  magnifying glass with a light is a good way of doing this.

29. If you are using thermal grease, don one disposable vinyl glove on the hand you most favor and dab a little (very little) on the end of your index finger.

This works much better than putting the compound on the CPU die and then trying to smear it over the surface. It's better to have too little compound on your finger than too much.  You can always add more.

30. Carefully dab the compound on the surface of the CPU die and no where else.  Cover the entire surface with a thin, even, nearly semi-transparent coat of compound.   No bare spots.

Do not apply heatsink compound to the bottom of the heatsink-fan.

31. Verify that all four rubber standoffs are still on the CPU!  The CPU cannot be operated without them to keep the heatsink flat on, and in full contact with the die and to maintain an air gap between the heatsink and the CPU components outside of the die.

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