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  How to build your own PC? 
  Jun 21, 2001, 10:00am EDT 
 

Motherboard, heatsink and case


By: Sander Sassen

The CPU heatsink is next, make sure the fan is working by rotating it a couple of times with your finger, or simply blow against it to make it spin. Also make sure the heatsink either has a thermal interface pad mounted or comes with heatsink paste. Simply place the heatsink on the CPU and push one side of the heatsink clip, in our case the left side, down to secure one side of the heatsink to the socket.

Placing the heatsink


Fig 6. The heatsink mounted on the CPU, notice the heatsink clip is secured to the socket on one side.

Now align the heatsink so that it sits flat and level on the CPU-die, making sure it isn’t tilted and push the other side of the heatsink clip down so that the heatsink is secured in place. If both sides of the heatsink clip are secured check once more to make sure the heatsink is mounted flat and level and doesn’t tilt on the CPU-die.

Securing the heatsink


Fig 7. The heatsink secured in place, now make sure the heatsink is mounted flat and level and doesn’t tilt on the CPU-die.

All that is left to do now is plugging in the 3-pin heatsink fan plug into the appropriate connector on the motherboard. The connector is usually labeled ‘CPU fan’ or ‘CPU’. Mind the orientation of the plug, and don't use force to push it down if it doesn't fit properly. Now that’s done we’ll start preparing the case to accept the motherboard.

Connecting heatsink fan


Fig 8. The 3-pin heatsink fan plug plugged into the appropriate connector on the motherboard.

The ATX computer case needs to be prepared in order to be able accept the motherboard. First thing we’ll do is making sure everything is supplied, you should have a small bag with screws and copper standoffs and a powercord. We’ll need these srews and standoffs as these parts normally aren’t supplied with the PC components themselves, so be careful not to loose them.

ATX computer case


Fig 9. ATX computer case, notice the small bag with screws and copper standoffs and a powercord.

First thing we’ll do is break out the appropriate holes on the ATX-rear-bracket, where the motherboard connectors will stick out of the case. These will be used to connect the mouse and keyboard as well as any USB, serial or parallel port devices you might have. Make sure you take a good look at which holes need to be opened and when in doubt just take a good look at the motherboard.

ATX-rear-bracket


Fig 10. The ATX-rear-bracket with the appropriate holes already prepared for the connectors on the motherboard.

Then cautiously place the motherboard in the case to determine where the copper standoffs, to lift the motherboard off of the metal backplate, need to be mounted. Make absolutely sure you mount them in the proper locations because a copper standoff somewhere in the middle of your motherboard will quickly cause for a shortcircuit.

Determining standoff location


Fig 11. Placing the motherboard in the case to determine the location of the copper standoffs.



1. Introduction, CPU and memory
2. Motherboard, heatsink and case
3. Front connectors, ATX power, drives
4. Connections, cables and audio/sound cards

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