How to build a computer

Aron Schatz
August 23, 2001
Want to learn how to build a computer? Well just take a look at this article and find out!
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<p>This article is for the beginner in a way but even experts could find some
helpful things that are in this article. As you could probably guess, I will
try to explain how to put together a relatively simple computer with modern
parts and components. </p>
<p>There is but one tool you need and one tool that is always good to have. The
first tool, the Philips head screwdriver. I remember taking apart my Dad's old
486. It had flat head screws. That just is plain stupid, I kept slipping and
slipping and I eventually got very mad and took a hammer to it. Safe to say,
that computer is long gone now. Now cases and everything usually come with Philips
headed screws, this makes it much easier to insert and remove screws. Just make
sure you don't strip the darn things, you'll have a tuff time to get them out.
<p>The second tool that I always keep handy is my trusty needle nose pliers. It
can reach things that no ordinary human can. If you drop a screw in the case
and can't get to it with your fingers, try the needle nose. Hey, and there are
many other uses for it, but I'm not going into that today Smile.</p>
<p>It is also very useful to ground yourself, touching the metal of the inside of the case and not doing this on carpeting helps. You don't want a static charge ruining a piece of hardware.</p>
<p>Step 1: Layout all the parts...</p>

<img src="../images/firstcomputer/layoutparts.jpg">

<p>I assume that you have all the parts already... As you can see all the parts
are in antistatic bags. This is important, make sure that when they are shipped,
they have protection!! If not, make sure you test everything thoroughly, well,
you should do that anyway. I'm sure that you'll want to know what parts I used
to build the computer here so, here is the list.</p>
<li>ATX Case with 300Watt
<li>Athlon 1400 (266 FSB) (Not Shown)
<li>EPoX 8KHA (Via KT266 chipset)
<li>Crucial PC2100 256MB DDRam chip (Single chip)
<li>Geforce2 GTS 32MB DDR
<li>16x DVD
<li>20GB IBM 60GXP Hard Drive
<li>On board sound
<p>I'm sorry for not having the CPU available during the pictures, but it didn't
arrive on the day everything else came. Anyway, Once you have all the parts,
get ready to assemble the unit.</p>
<p>Step 2: Putting Motherboard in case...</p>
<p>Simple step really, just line the holes on the motherboard up with the screw
holes in the case. Usually, you'll need to put a gold riser in the screw holes
in the case and that will suspend the motherboard up. Then just place the motherboard
in and screw it down.</p>
<img src="../images/firstcomputer/screws.jpg">
<img src="../images/firstcomputer/moboincase.jpg">
<br>Notice the wires near the bottom right of the motherboard</center>
<p>Look at the back outside of the case to make sure all the ports on the side
are exposed, you may have to punch some holes out of the backplate for some
things. Sound is a good example, most cases don't have the sound punched out.
When the case is all put in, you'll need to find the wires coming from the case.
They are at the bottom right of the case. They are all marked and you'll need
to place them in this area. If they aren't marked, check your manual...</p>
<img src="../images/firstcomputer/postandcables.jpg"><br>Most motherboards won't have these two LEDs, but to the right of them is where you'll need to put all the little wires, everything is label.

<p>Step 3: Putting the drives in the case...</p>
<p>The toughest part about this step is the jumpers on the back of the drives.
You'll need 2 IDE cables. One ATA100 and one ATA33 (At Least). The DVD or CD
doesn't have to be on an ATA100 cable. Anyway, a ATA100 cable looks like this:</p>
<img src="../images/firstcomputer/idecable.jpg"><br>
Notice the colors on the cable, blue plugs into the motherboard, black is
the primary drive and gray is the secondary drive. An ATA33 cable can be plugged
in anyway you want.
<p>Set aside the cables for now as they'll be used in another step. First look
at the back of the hard drive and CD/DVD drive. You'll need to set the jumpers
to 'MA' or 'Master' on both of the drives. Check the manual of the drives or look online for help.
And here, blurry pics of the back of the DVD and HDD.</p>
<img src="../images/firstcomputer/backcdrom.jpg"><br><img src="../images/firstcomputer/backhdd.jpg">
<p>You'll want to have a good setup in the case for your drives. The DVD/CD should
be on top. Once you have all the placement of the drives, just knock out the
plates and stick in all the drives. Screw them in to hold them into place. Inside
the case will look like this:</p>
<p><img src="../images/firstcomputer/drivesinplace.jpg"><br>
A DVD/CD drive is easiest on top.</p>
Page 2

<p>Step 4: Inserting memory...</p>
<p>A very simple step. Locate this...</p>
<img src="../images/firstcomputer/dimmslots.jpg">
<p>This is called DIMM (Dual Inline Memory Module) sockets. You'll be placing
your DDR memory here, or SD if your board has it. You'll have to line the memory
up, don't worry, it can only go in one way. Then, apply a good amount of force
till you see the memory lock into place. Here is a finnished product...</p>
<img src="../images/firstcomputer/memin.jpg">
<p>Step 6: Inserting CPU and installing Heatsink and fan...</p>
<p>I'm sorry I don't have many pictures, I'm at college and can't really do much
anymore. Anyway, you'll need to line up the pins of the cpu to the usually white
socket on the motherboard. Lift up the handle on the side of the socket and
drop the chip into it. You may need to push down slightly. Then, close the handle
and the chip will be locked into place. Installing the CPU heatsink/fan combo
is just a matter of attaching the metal retention clips to the outside of the
socket. There are little things sticking outside the socket area for the retention
clips to latch onto. You may want to get a flat head screwdriver for this part
and some heatsinks are extremely hard to put on. Don't apply too much force
or you may break your cpu!</p>

<p>Step 7: Connecting Add-on cards...</p>
<p>This step will be different for everyone else, basically, follow the insrtuctions
that came with your manual. But, if you don't have one. A few simple steps to
insert a card into a slot. Make sure you know what type of card it is. It'll
be AGP, PCI, or ISA. AGP slots are usually brown and are the top slots of the
motherboard. PCI slots are usually white and usually motherboards will have
a few of these kinds of slots. ISA slots are usually black, this kind of slow
is outdated but some motherboards still include them. Once you know the type
of card you have, just insert it and apply force, then just screw it in to hold
it in place. It is that simple.</p>
<p>Step 8: Connecting loose ends...</p>
<p>This is the last step before installing the software on the machine. Just find
where all the IDE cables go and all the power connectors go. You'll want to
set up both drives on seperate IDE channels, so, don't use the same IDE cable
for both drives. The first IDE channel, the lowest number, will be for the hard
drive. The second IDE channel will be for the DVD/CD drive. The Floppy drive
will connect with the floppy socket and cable. Then just locate all the power
connectors, including the big one for the motherboard and insert them into the
proper places. Once your all setup, then your done building your first computer!!
<img src="../images/firstcomputer/cablemess.jpg"><br>All the cables look nice, don't they?
<p>Step 9 and on: Software...</p>
<p>The only thing that is left todo is to load all the software Smile. Good luck...</p>
<p>Final thoughts:</p>
<p>I hope everyone learned something from this article. And it gave me something
todo while I was sitting in my dorm room. Thanks for reading it!</p>
<img src="../images/firstcomputer/complete.jpg"><br>The finished product, minus the cpu and heatsink


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