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This instructable will show you how to build a computer from scratch. Building your own computer is important because the components you need will vary depending on what type of computer you are making and selecting the components yourself can save money. For instance, if you want a computer for gaming, you will want powerful components that can handle the stress that you will put on it. Another type of computer you could make is a business computer, which requires a powerful processor, high end video card, and good RAM. It is a handy skill to be able to build your own computer because if you know what each component does, you can replace the component rather than replace the entire computer, which will save you time and money. This guide will work for most if not all computer builds.

The list of components/parts needed are as followed:

1. Case

2. Power supply

3. CPU and its heatsink

4. Motherboard

5. RAM

6. Graphics Card

7. Hard Drive/Optical Drive

Step 1: Gather and Set Out All Components

Gather all the components of the computer you are going to build and set them out. Make sure nothing is visibly damaged and you have everything you need.

Step 2: Place the Processor in the Motherboard

To place the processor in the motherboard, lift the arm that is on the big square with a lot of holes in the middle of the motherboard. If there are triangles on the processor and the socket for the processor, line those up and it should fit right in. If there are no triangles like there are in the pictures, look at the pins of the processor and line up the spots with no pins on the processor with the spots with no pins on the socket. Once the processor is in the socket, lower the arm to secure the processor.

Step 3: Place the Heatsink on the Processor

Before you place the heatsink (or fan) on the processor, you need to check to see if any thermal paste is needed. If the processor or heatsink looks used like in the pictures above, place a small amount of thermal paste on the processor. Once the paste is on the processor, you can place your heatsink.

To place the heatsink, line up the latches with the small arms on the edges of the processor socket. Latch the heatsink to the arms and pull the latch to secure the heatsink.

Plug in the heatsink to the pins that are labeled CPU_FAN. If it is not plugging in do not force it, it may not be positioned right. If it is positioned right it should plug in without requiring a lot of force.

Step 4: Insert the RAM

To add the RAM, locate the DIMM slots on the motherboard (they are the long strips and are usually in groups). The slots for the RAM are split up into two different sized parts. The shorter end and the longer end of the slot should line up with the shorter and longer parts of the RAM connecters.

Unlatch the two ends of the slot so the RAM can be placed. Line up the RAM with the slot and push down. This may take a little force to get it to go into the slot, so don't be nervous to push down a little harder if it is not going in (unless it's the wrong slot then I would suggest not pushing any harder to avoid damaging something).

Step 5: Insert the Video Card

The slot for the video card should have a really short end and a long end. Line up the short part of the video card with the short part of the slot or have it so the ports on the video card are on the same side as the ports on the motherboard. This should not take as much force to put in the slot as the RAM. It is not a problem if the video card seems like it is not very secure, since it will be screwed into the case later.

Step 6: Add the Speaker

There is a place to plug the speaker in the motherboard that should be labeled. Put the speaker there.

Step 7: Hook Up the Power Supply

Since we have to test what we have done so far to make sure it works, the power supply needs to be hooked up to the motherboard. There should be a 24 and a 4 pin connector coming from the power supply. Hook those up to the motherboard in the correct locations.

Step 8: Hook Up the Motherboard to the Monitor and the Power Supply to a Power Source

Connect a monitor to the video card using a VGA cable. Then connect your power supply to a power source and turn it on.

Step 9: Testing the Motherboard and Components

Once the power supply is powered and on, what we have done so far can be tested. There is a set of pins on the motherboard labeled "Power" or something similar. Touch those two pins at the same time with a screwdriver large enough to touch both at once and see if it powers on. It may take a few tries but it should work if done correctly. If everything works the speaker should beep once and video be displayed on the monitor. Once you confirm everything is working disconnect the power supply form the motherboard.

If there is an error, listen for beeps because it can indicate the problem. Common beep codes are shown in a picture above.

Step 10: Opening the Case

To open the computer case unscrew the sides and take them off. In the case of the case shown, the screws were on the back of the case.

Step 11: Placing the Motherboard in the Case

To install the motherboard into the case, you first need to put in stand off screws. These screws are there to prevent the components from breaking since the motherboard would be touching the metal case while being powered. On the case above, there were already stand off screws in the case. To know where to put the stand off screws, look on the case to see if there is a legend (like the case above) that tells you where to put the screws based off of the type of motherboard you have. The motherboard used in this build is a Micro ATX, so the screw holes labeled with an "M" are the ones that could be used depending on the shape of the motherboard. Not all the holes were needed for the motherboard in this demonstration.

Once all the stand off screws are in place, the motherboard can be put in. Put the motherboard in the case so the ports are sticking out of the case (there should be holes for the ports to go into). After that the motherboard can be screwed into the stand off screws with normal screws. The video card also needs to be screwed onto the case to keep it stable.

Step 12: Installing the Power Supply

There should be a spot for the power supply to go. Place it there and screw it onto the case to secure it. Once you do that, connect it to the motherboard like you did when you tested the motherboard.

Step 13: Plugging in the Motherboard to the Case

There are cables in the case that need to be connected to the motherboard. They are labeled like the motherboard so use those as a guide to plugging in everything.

Step 14: Adding the Hard Drive

Locate the hard drive slot for your hard drive. In the case above, the holes needed to line up so it could be secured. Once the hard drive is secured, you can hook it up to the motherboard using a SATA cable.

Step 15: Put the Case Back Together

Put the case back together once everything inside is installed and secure.

Step 16: Plug It In

Place the computer in the desired location and then hook up the power cord and VGA cable in the same ports that you used to test the motherboard and components earlier.

Step 17: Test

Test the computer to see if it works, if there are problems look back at what you have done that may have been wrong and make sure everything is plugged in.

<p>Whilst this is a very simplistic guide, and building a computer is simple, you really should mention risks of static shocks, always make sure you ground yourself before touching any component as you could kill it very easily if you shock the component.</p><p>also, always use thermal paste, better safe than buggered</p>
<p>So, I am getting ready to build a computer sometime soon for the first time. What would you recommend is the best way to keep grounded? I can't afford wasting a part like that. </p>
<p>Thank you for the constructive comment. It is important to take precautions while building a computer and I could have mentioned it in the guide. I did this for a class so I'm probably not going to edit it since it has been graded already.</p>
No probs. Hope you got the grade you wanted
<p>&lt;ironic&gt;</p><p>awesome</p><p>&lt;/ironoc&gt;</p>

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