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Computer Assembly
by roehrt7279 on May 4, 2010

Table of Contents

Computer Assembly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Intro: Computer Assembly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Step 1: Step 1: Remove side panels on case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Step 2: Step 2: Insert motherboard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Step 3: Step 3: Check clearances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Step 4: Step 4: Front panel connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Step 5: Step 5: Install power supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Step 6: Step 6: Power motherboard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Step 7: Step 7: Installing optical drive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Step 8: Step 8: Installing the hard drives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Step 9: Step 9: Connect cables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Step 10: Step 10: Install RAM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Step 11: Step 11: Install graphics card and expansion cards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Step 12: Step 12: Cable management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Step 13: Final product . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

http://www.instructables.com/id/Computer-Assembly/
Intro: Computer Assembly
This instructable will cover the assembly of a personal computer. I will leave out what parts to pick because that is all dependent on the purpose for your specific
computer. The computer I am assembling is one that I have been upgrading for the past two years. I needed to install it into a new case and decided to document the
process to help others.

The order I used to assemble in can be changed depending on the circumstance of your build, ie. case, CPU cooler, special components, dimension restrictions, newer
technology.

This specific computer was designed around Folding@Home and gaming as well as just having a powerful system for new software and things to come.

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Hole for standoff 1. CPU cooler
2. Motherboard

http://www.instructables.com/id/Computer-Assembly/
Image Notes Image Notes
1. Just enough clearance 1. Audio ports

Image Notes Image Notes


1. USB connections 1. Power supply
2. Speaker for boot notifications
3. Power switch, reset switch, hard drive activity light, power-on light

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Modular cables 1. I/O shield mentioned in step 2.
2. Power supply with screws installed.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Computer-Assembly/
Image Notes Image Notes
1. Motherboard power cable 1. Main cable connected
2. Auxiliary cable for CPU

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Optical drive 1. Tool-less feature
2. Front panel from step 4

Image Notes
http://www.instructables.com/id/Computer-Assembly/
1. Hard drive bays
2. Optical drive

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Tool-less hardware 1. Hard drive installed

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Power location for SATA 1. Connections made
2. signal location for SATA
3. Intake fan through front bezel

http://www.instructables.com/id/Computer-Assembly/
Image Notes Image Notes
1. SATA connections 1. CPU
2. IDE connection 2. RAM stick
3. Locking tab
4. Expansion slot

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Graphics card 1. Graphics card
2. Extra power required for high performance card 2. Dual-port network card
3. PCI audio card.

Image Notes
1. Cabling from out of the box.
2. Fan power connectors
3. Hole in panel for access to the CPU cooler mounting mentioned in step 2

http://www.instructables.com/id/Computer-Assembly/
Step 1: Step 1: Remove side panels on case
After removing the case from the box, the panels are removed from this case with thumb screws. Your specific model's manual will have more information if you are
unsure for your case.

Included were standoffs for mounting the motherboard, following the included template, thread into the corresponding holes in the case.

Image Notes
1. Hole for standoff

http://www.instructables.com/id/Computer-Assembly/
Step 2: Step 2: Insert motherboard
In my assembly process, as I was just transferring the parts from one case to another, leaving the CPU cooler installed was the easiest option. Depending on the
motherboard, case, CPU and CPU fan, this might need to be done before installing or once in place.

Before setting the board in, the I/O panel faceplate needs to be snapped into the location in the back of the case. Be sure to orient it to the board.

Once the board is resting in the case, line up the first hole, I suggest a corner. Do not tighten all the way down until all screws are started so that the others will line up.

After all are in and tightened, there should be little or no deflection of the board if you gently press on it. It is advisable that any place there is a mounting location for the
board, that it is screwed into a standoff. This will provide support while installing the components into the motherboard.

This case has a cutout for access to the back of the motherboard for the massive CPU coolers that have brackets that attach to the back of the board.

Image Notes
1. CPU cooler
2. Motherboard

Step 3: Step 3: Check clearances


Being that this computer includes high performance components, some of them are large enough that clearance can become an issue. For this reason once the board
was installed I fitted the graphics card so there would not be more surprises later in the process.

Image Notes
1. Just enough clearance

http://www.instructables.com/id/Computer-Assembly/
Step 4: Step 4: Front panel connections
Once the graphics card was removed again, it is time to attach the connections for the buttons, lights, USB ports and audio connections. As every case and motherboard
differ slightly, it is best to refer to the manual for the placement and orientation of connections. Some of these connections are made to only work in one direction so be
careful when using force, it might be in an incorrect orientation.

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Audio ports 1. USB connections
2. Speaker for boot notifications
3. Power switch, reset switch, hard drive activity light, power-on light

Step 5: Step 5: Install power supply


The power supply from the previous case was modular so only the cables that are needed are plugged into the unit. As well this makes cable management cleaner in the
end. Normally the supply is screwed into the back panel by 4 screws, though some cases include a clamp to hold it down that way.

The second picture shows all of the cables that my computer needs to function properly.

Not pictured, below the supply there is a hole with filter for the power supply to circulate air independent of the case fans.

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Power supply 1. Modular cables

http://www.instructables.com/id/Computer-Assembly/
Image Notes Image Notes
1. I/O shield mentioned in step 2. 1. Motherboard power cable
2. Power supply with screws installed.

Step 6: Step 6: Power motherboard


With the motherboard power being the largest cable and sometimes just long enough, I suggest running this cable first and plugging it into the board, if there is a second
cable for the CPU remember to connect it as well.

Image Notes
1. Main cable connected
2. Auxiliary cable for CPU

Step 7: Step 7: Installing optical drive


The optical drive for this computer is a DVD/CD read/write combo. Some people prefer to only connect an optical drive when installing items but one being in place at all
times comes in handy when something comes up and you do not want to open the case and connect the drive.

The second picture shows the tool-less design of the case to hold the drive in place.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Computer-Assembly/
Image Notes Image Notes
1. Optical drive 1. Tool-less feature
2. Front panel from step 4

Step 8: Step 8: Installing the hard drives


The size and number of hard drives your computer contains is completely dependent on your style of use and storage needs. This computer uses 4 drives, two in raid
and the rest for a main drive and miscellaneous storage.

Picture 2 shows the location for the drives in the case, this model has a cross mounted design, others might have them in the same direction as the optical drive installed
previously.

Picture 3 is an example of possible tool-less drive mounting hardware, this clips allow the drive to be just slid in and lock into place.

Picture 4 depicts the drives installed and spaced out for air flow. This is very important to extend the lifespan of the drive, key when you are making a long term
investment or run your computer continuously.

Picture 5 shows the back of the drives where the connections for power and signal are made.

Picture 6 shows the cables attached.

Image Notes
1. Hard drive bays
2. Optical drive

http://www.instructables.com/id/Computer-Assembly/
Image Notes Image Notes
1. Tool-less hardware 1. Hard drive installed

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Power location for SATA 1. Connections made
2. signal location for SATA
3. Intake fan through front bezel

Step 9: Step 9: Connect cables


It is time to connect the cables for the hard drives and optical drives. The cables are keyed so they will only fit in one direction into the board, don't forget the cable that is
attached to the optical drive. This computer does not use the IDE cable but if you are connecting an older optical or hard drive they might require it.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Computer-Assembly/
Image Notes
1. SATA connections
2. IDE connection

Step 10: Step 10: Install RAM


It is time for the ram to be inserted. If your computer uses more than one stick like mine, refer to the manual for which slot to install the stick. If only one stick is going to
be inserted, place it in the slot closest to the CPU.

The slots are keyed as are the RAM sticks, so make sure the notch is lined up. Even correctly lined up it will take considerable force, this is where having those standoffs
in the correct spots pays off. Having done this for several computers, I still get uneasy pushing so hard on electronics.

You will know when they are set firmly as the locking tabs will snap into place and hold the RAM firmly in the slot.

Image Notes
1. CPU
2. RAM stick
3. Locking tab
4. Expansion slot

Step 11: Step 11: Install graphics card and expansion cards
If your computer does not come with a graphics card integrated into the motherboard or you are adding an additional card, this is the time to do so.

With some high performance cards, additional power cables might need to be installed. The manual for the card should tell you how many cables are needed. In my
case it is a 6-pin and an 8-pin.

After that is in place and secured with screws in place (a time where tool-less is not enough), the network card and audio card for the computer are connected into the
slots below the graphics card.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Computer-Assembly/
Image Notes Image Notes
1. Graphics card 1. Graphics card
2. Extra power required for high performance card 2. Dual-port network card
3. PCI audio card.

Step 12: Step 12: Cable management


With all components in place, it is time to make your hard work look like a work of art. Hiding cables and organizing them will help in the future if you are looking for high
airflow through the case or to light it up.

Small steps taken through out the process of installing the components can pay of huge at this point by not needing to re-run the cables around brackets or through holes
in the frame. Some of the management was done out of the box for this model being that the front panel and fan cables were already secured ahead of time. Another
thing to think of is that the back panel does not leave a large space if you have several cables running over the top of others.

A few trial and error steps later this will look and perform with ease. Also, it is a nice point to brag once you call up your friends to show off the system you assembled
with your own hands.

This step is also when fans and lights can be connected.

Image Notes
1. Cabling from out of the box.
2. Fan power connectors
3. Hole in panel for access to the CPU cooler mounting mentioned in step 2

http://www.instructables.com/id/Computer-Assembly/
Step 13: Final product
The assembly of a brand new computer can take several hours. Just to remove and mount in a new case with no other modifications took me 3 hours, 2.5 of that just the
re-installing time.

With the job complete it is time to fire it up and enjoy your creation. From here you can add your operating system and software as you see fit.

Hope this helps you. Leave a comment if there are questions you still have that were not covered.

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Comments
25 comments Add Comment

laef92 says: Jul 27, 2010. 9:20 PM REPLY


What's the model name of that case you're using? I've been shopping around for a good tooless case to switch too, and that one looks really good.

roehrt7279 says: Jul 28, 2010. 5:29 PM REPLY


Cooler Master storm scout

zodono says: May 4, 2010. 10:06 PM REPLY


what case is this?

roehrt7279 says: May 5, 2010. 4:47 AM REPLY


Coolermaster Storm Scout

JakeTobak says: May 5, 2010. 7:24 AM REPLY


What are the other specs?

roehrt7279 says: May 5, 2010. 7:45 AM REPLY


CPU: Q6600 2.4 GHz with Thermaltake SpinQ cooler
MOBO: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3L LGA 775
Case: Coolermaster Strom Scout
Graphics: EVGA GeForce GTX 280
Ram: 4 GB Corsair Dominator DDR2 1066
HHD: 1x1.5 TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 7200 RPM (Main), 1x1.5 TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 7200 RPM (Storage), 2x1.5 TB Seagate
Barracuda 7200.11 7200 RPM (Raid 0)
Optical: Samsung 22X DVD Burner
Audio: SIIG 7.1 PCI Card
Power: Ultra X3 850W modular power supply

TheChemiker says: Jun 29, 2010. 9:15 AM REPLY


Nice, but don't you want more ram than that for all of those other parts? That is a nice graphics card, by the way. I have built a computed and
heavily upgraded one, it is alot of fun.

knexfan9182 says: May 5, 2010. 2:05 PM REPLY


Do you run a website off of that computer?

I couldn't understand why else someone would need that much hdd space.

georion says: Jan 31, 2011. 7:09 PM REPLY


Think .....Closet space............Cabinet space........Attic space............Storage SPACE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
More is Always BEST !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

roehrt7279 says: Jan 31, 2011. 7:11 PM REPLY


There is a new computer on its way, and I will prolly document for a new ible.

roehrt7279 says: May 5, 2010. 2:16 PM REPLY


I am a fan of keeping a digital copy of my movie collection.

92033 says: Jun 27, 2010. 4:54 PM REPLY


Now...iffen I only knew HOW to change/upgrade my 40gb hard drive to a 120gb or 160 gb in this IBM TinkPad laptop I just got four months ago (refurbished).
Model number 23738TU. I emailed Tiger Direct and got no response.

acepilot32 says: Jun 3, 2010. 8:51 AM REPLY


One thing you forgot to mention was the actual insertion of the cpu into its socket. though pretty simple its pretty crucial to make it lined up with the
orientation arrow and now to force it down

http://www.instructables.com/id/Computer-Assembly/
craig3 says: May 6, 2010. 4:57 PM REPLY
awww man, why couldn't you put this u last weekend? i just built as new computer with the same case haha. I assume you put the front panel Esata cord
into the rest of the other sata ports with the hardirves and optical drive?

roehrt7279 says: May 6, 2010. 6:05 PM REPLY


The work was done on Friday but I pondered writing one for a few days. No, I left that cable disconnected. Even though I had space on the board for
the connection, I have no drives that utilize it so there was no need.

craig3 says: May 7, 2010. 1:13 AM REPLY


aaah, alright, so did i so cool then haha

iamtoats says: May 5, 2010. 7:07 PM REPLY


Nice instructable!
I have the same MoBo.

sageserver says: May 5, 2010. 4:07 PM REPLY


nice rig... Is the MB full atx? or is the case just big?

roehrt7279 says: May 5, 2010. 4:19 PM REPLY


Just called ATX form factor on Newegg.com

walshr says: May 5, 2010. 10:40 AM REPLY


Im gonna have to say, nice job, love that you used a LOAD of pictures, but the cable management is horrid. If you ever want to upgrade from aircooling,
good luck, those power cables left out like that tend to get a bit stiff, and hard to manuever around.

roehrt7279 says: May 5, 2010. 11:05 AM REPLY


The previous case supported water cooling but was too large and loud for convenient transportation for LAN parties and such. Better cable
management can be done with more time done on it.

roehrt7279 says: May 4, 2010. 8:48 PM REPLY


This is my first i'ble so any suggestions are welcome. Thank you.

mrownsalot says: May 5, 2010. 6:03 AM REPLY


Good instructable, Not too complicated, but still very explaining. Keep up the good work.

JavaNut13 says: May 4, 2010. 11:28 PM REPLY


When I put my PC together, I had to just follow my nose...

This is very useful! :)

Will

radiorahim says: May 4, 2010. 9:58 PM REPLY


Congratulations. It's good.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Computer-Assembly/