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

Introduction, CPU and memory

By: Sander Sassen

Many computer enthusiasts, like ourselves, dont give prefab boxes like those from Dell, Compaq or HP much thought, wed rather take control and determine what components our PC will be comprised of. However, as the enthusiast market is growing, many people start building PCs because their friends or family did it too and said it was easy. Well, there actually isnt much to putting a PC together, doing it properly however is something else. We all want to end up with a working PC, rather than a smoking pile of PC components right?

In the following pages well guide you through a how-to on building your own PC. We took lots of pictures while we built a rather run-of-the-mill computer with all the components a standard PC is equipped with. So without further ado, lets get started shall we?

Computer Components

Fig 1. Computer components, motherboard, CPU, memory, harddisk, DVD-rom drive, video and sound card and an ATX computer case.

These are all the components well need to build our PC, a motherboard, a CPU, memory, a hardisk, a DVD-rom, a video and sound card and naturally an ATX computer case. Make sure you have lots of room to build your PC, well be using a wooden bench to put ours together. Well start by laying the motherboard on a flat surface and mounting the CPU.

Placing the CPU

Fig 2. The CPU in the socket, the socket lever points in the vertical position so the CPU isnt secured into place yet.

Pick up the CPU, but avoid touching the die, or the pins, just pick it up by the sides and place it in the socket. Make sure the CPU has the right orientation, is mounted flat and level, and that it is not tilted in any way. If it is, gently push it down, but dont apply too much force. If you cannot mount it properly one of the pins might be bent. Align the misaligned pin with a pair of needle nose pliers. Once it is properly in place push the socket lever to a horizontal position, the CPU is not secured in place.

Securing the CPU

Fig 3. The CPU mounted in the socket, the socket lever is in horizontal position so the CPU is now secured in place.

Now that youve successfully mounted the CPU, well continue with installing the memory. Never pick a DIMM up by its contacts or touch the circuitry but rather pick it up by the sides. Again, look at the orientation, the DIMM has notches that align with pins on the DIMM socket of the motherboard. Before mounting the DIMM make sure the socket levers are pushed outward.

Placing the DIMM

Fig 4. The DIMM mounted in the DIMM socket, notice the levers are pushed outwards to be able to mount the DIMM.

Once the DIMM is in place you can push it down and youll notice that the levers move inwards to secure the DIMM into place. Once its fully inserted just push the levers a little more inward to make sure its a good fit. Now that the DIMM is secured in place, well continue with mounting the CPU heatsink.

Securing the DIMM

Fig 5. The DIMM secured into place, notice that the levers are now fully inward and the DIMM is mounted flat and level.

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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