Introduction: How to Assemble a Computer

Building a computer can be frustrating and time consuming, when you don't know what to do or what you need. When you think you've done everything right but still can't get it to turn on, or get the speaker to stop beeping. Know you messed up, and having to start all over again. Today is when you learn what components your computer needs, what components go on a motherboard, where they go on a motherboard, and why it is very important to build and test your motherboard before you put it in your computer case. To be able to test your motherboard you are going to want to make sure that you motherboard has a speaker.


First things first, there are a couple of items you'll need before you start building you computer:

  1. Computer Case
  2. Motherboard
  3. Central Processing Unit (CPU)
  4. CPU Fan
  5. Memory (RAM)
  6. Graphic Processing Unit (GPU)
  7. Power Supply Unit (PSU)
  8. Hard Drive
  9. Nails
  10. Standoffs
  11. Screw driver
  12. Thermal Paste
  13. Anti-static wrist band
  14. Anti-static mat

Pictures of these items will be along with most to all the steps, also many of the cables you will see should already be included or connected to some of the items.

Step 1: CPU and CPU Socket

The first thing you might want to add your motherboard is the CPU, or the Central Processing Unit. You are going to need to make sure that your CPU, matches the CPU socket. The CPU that I am use is a PGA, Pin Grid Array, which means that the CPU had pins on it, and those pins allow the CPU to slide into the CPU Socket

Step 2: Putting the CPU on the Motherboard

Before you try to put the CPU in the Socket, you'll need to be sure that the silver lever on the socket is up. When the lever is up it allows the CPU to smoothly slide into the socket. When putting the CPU into the socket you need to check that the golden triangle on the CPU lines up the the triangle indent on the socket. Once you have the triangles in the same corner, you can move the CPU around a little until it falls into the Socket. Once the CPU falls in, you can then push the lever down to look the CPU in the socket.

Step 3: Thermal Paste and CPU Fan

The Thermal Paste is a substance that helps the computer keep cool and is placed on the CPU. To do its job not much of it need to be applied to the CPU, an amount as small as a grain of rice will do. The CPU Fan goes right on to of the CPU and the Thermal Paste.

Step 4: Applying the Thermal Paste

When applying the Thermal Paste you want to be very careful to not apply to much of it on the CPU. You want to apply it in the center of the CPU, and remember an amount the sizes of a grain of rice will do.

Step 5: Adding the CPU Fan

The CPU Fan goes directly on top of the CPU. Once you have the fan on the CPU make sure the notch on the side with out the black leaver goes through the silver hole. Once you get it you can pull the silver piece towards you. And once you got the little notch through the hole on the side with the black lever. you can flip the lever to the other side, so that it looks the fan in place.

Step 6: Plugging the Fan Into the Motherboard

Once you have successfully put the CPU Fan on the motherboard, you now need to connect the fan to the motherboard. The fan should have a wire connect to it, as seen in the image. The look on the motherboard near the CPU for a 4 pin plug that had the words CPU_Fan, once again like seen in the images. Once you find it you need to connect the CPU Fan wire with it.

Step 7: Memory (RAM) and Graphic Processing Unit (GPU)

The Memory or the RAM, which is where the computer stores data and read it. Another one of the components in a computer is called the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU).

Step 8: Memory (RAM)

When putting the RAM sticks on the Motherboard, you need to make sure the notch on the socket where it goes is lined up with the indent on the RAM stick. If the notch and the indent are not alined the RAM stick will not click in. If they are alined, you will need to apply some force for it to click. Depending on the type of Motherboard it will change the number of RAM sticks you'll need.

Step 9: Putting the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) on the Motherboard

For the GPU, like the RAM, you'll need to match the notch with the indent on the GPU. And with this, you are going to need to apply some force to it for it to click in.

Step 10: Power Supply Unit (PSU) and Hard Drive

The Power Supply Unit (PSU), gives power to the Motherboard. While the Hard Drive is the component in the computer that stores all of the digital content.

Step 11: Connecting Power Supply Unit (PSU) to Motherboard

The PSU has two plugs, a 24 pin, and a 4 pin. It doesn't matter which you plugin first, but for these steps, I will plug in the 24 pins. And then you can plug in the 4 pins.

Step 12: Plugging in the Hard Drive

The Hard Drive has what is called a SATA cable, and you will need to plug it into one of the SATA Data ports along the side of the Motherboard. Some computers will have more than one Hard Drive, so you'll need to plug those SATA cables into the other SATA Data ports. And where the cable needs to go is labeled SATA Data Port.

Step 13: Testing the Motherboard Outside the Case

Building the Motherboard outside the computer is a very important step, if you have plug something in wrong. Or did not properly put a component on the Motherboard, and you have already screwed it into the case. You will have to take it out to find what you did wrong.

The first thing you'll want to do is jump the computer is to make sure that the PSU is plugged in and turned on. And then you'll need a screwdriver so you can touch the two power pigs on the board. After you get your motherboard started, you are going to want to listen to how many beeps are made. And be sure that you touch the same two pins or it won't turn on.

This is a link to a site that has all the beep codes:

Step 14: Putting It in the Case

If you tested your motherboard, and only one short beep was made that means everything is normal and you can begin putting the motherboard into the computer case. The first thing you'll want to do is to remove all the connections on the motherboard to make it easier to to screw the motherboard and other components in the case.

Step 15: Screwing the PSU to Case

The first component that was screwed in is the PSU. On the back side of case there is a large rectangle hole, you'll want the power switch, the fan, and the plug should be seen through the hole. You will need 4 nails to screw the PSU. Before screwing the nails in you'll want to make sure that holes on the PSU line up with the holes one the computer case.

Step 16: Putting Hard Dive Back

In the front part of the computer case, you'll find many slots where hard drives can be put. It doesn't matter in which slot you put the hard drive. On the computer case, there will be a black piece of plastic with a red nob that you turn. To put the hard drive in, you first need to turn the red nob to the unlocked side. Once turned, the piece should slide out easily, after that you need to put the hard drive in the same slot as the slot where you took out the plastic piece. As you slide the hard drive in you need to look at the top to make sure that the holes on the case line up with the holes on the hard drive. Once you get them to line up you can then slide the plastic piece back in and turn the nob to lock it.

Step 17: Screwing Standoffs

Depending in the type and size of the motherboard, you'll need a different number of standoffs, which keep the motherboard off the surface of computer case. For this case and motherboard, it'll use 6, at the bottom of the case in the corner above the PSU there will be a couple of holes spread out making a rectangle. You'll need to screw the standoffs into those holes.

Step 18: Putting Motherboard and GPU in Case

Once you have all the standoffs screwed in the case, you are going to need to place the motherboard on top of them. You'll need align the holes on the side of the motherboard with the holes on the top of the standoffs. And when putting the motherboard on top of the standoffs make sure the GPU is aligned with the tall hole on the back side of the case.

Step 19: Screwing in the Motherboard and GPU in Case

Once everything is aligned you can begin to screw in nail on the side of the motherboard where there are standoffs underneath it. Once the motherboard is screwed down you can then proceed to screwing down the GPU to the side of the case.

Step 20: Plugging in the Connector Again

Once everything is screwed in you can now place the plugs you took off earlier back on the motherboard. IF need you can refer back to steps 11 and 12, which are the steps that show where the plugs that were taken off go.

Step 21: Part 1 of Plugging in Last Cords

The first out of many plugs, is the USB plug. On your motherboard there will be two that say USB next to it, it doesn't matter which one you plug the USB wire to, it just matters if it says USB near it.

Step 22: Part 2 of Plugging in Last Cords

Next we will plug in the audio cord, that plug is next to the USB in the corner. With this wire you need to line up the pins and the plugs. As you can see in the picture, there is one pin missing, and on the wire, there is no hole in the same spot.

Step 23: Part 3 of Plugging in Last Cords

The next wire that will be plugged in is the system fan. This is a plug that requires a 3 pin plug. It is in between the GPU and the CPU.

Step 24: Part 4 of Plugging in Last Cords

The next plug is the HD plug, it will be in a cluster with other wires. As you can see in the picture, there is a chart under the pins. Chart corresponds to the pins. So this plug will go in the bottom left corner.

Step 25: Part 5 of Plugging in Last Cords

In the same cluster of wires you will find the Reset SW. That plug will go right next to the HD plug from the previous step. And you can see that on the chart that corresponds with the pins.

Step 26: Part 6 of Plugging in Last Cords

Again in the same cluster you will find the Power SW. This one will go above the Reset SW, which you can also see in the chart.

Step 27: Part 7 of Plugging in Last Cords

The last two plugs are the Power led+ and Power led-. The Power led- will go in the top left corner, and the Power led+ will be in between the - and the Power SW. These two plugs will also be in the same cluster of wires.

Step 28: Test Computer

Once you have finished, once all the wires are connected, and all the components are screwed in the computer. You are going to want to test it again so you know you have done everything right. To turn it on now you are going to need to press the power button on the computer. And for this testing you are going to need to listen to the beeps again to know if everything is running smoothly.

Here is the link to the site with the beep codes:

Step 29: Closing Computer

Once you did the test, and find that everything is normal and everything is running smoothly. You can now close your computer. Just need to slide the cover back on and screw it shut.