Step 2-B: How to Install the Motherboard in Your Computer.

The motherboard is a large circuit board loaded with microchips performing many vital functions. All of your computer's components fit on or are connected to the motherboard. The motherboard I have selected is loaded with features, provides excellent sound quality and includes many ports for connecting your peripherals such as a printer, digital camera, MP3 player etc.

You can use these instructions even if you are using a different motherboard than the one I recommend on my Recommended Parts to Order page. All current motherboards have essentially the same components. They may be arranged a bit differently from brand to brand, but these instructions will work for any motherboard you are installing.

If you haven't done so already, click here to Order Your Motherboard icon. Make sure you buy a motherboard that uses the same socket type as your CPU processor or else they will not be compatible with each other. If you are not sure which motherboard to use go HERE for more information that will help you decide which motherboard to buy to make sure you get a good one.

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The picture above gives you a good look at the motherboard and its various features. We will be attaching components to most of the features pictured above, but for now the only thing we will be doing is attaching the motherboard to the case and connecting it to the power supply. By the time we are done assembling the computer in an hour or so you will be familiar with all the features shown above and you will be able to impress your friends and relatives by explaining to them what everything is and what it does.

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The picture above shows the I/O panel on the motherboard. I/O stands for Input/Output, which makes sense because this area contains all the jacks for plugging in your peripherals such as the keyboard, mouse, speakers, printer and Internet access cable. You will use the keyboard and mouse for inputting information to your computer. The computer will use the speakers and printer, along with the monitor, to output information and media to you. Notice how the I/O panel juts out from the rest of the motherboard. The reason for this is because this panel will actually poke out through the back of the computer case so the jacks will be accesible to you.

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The picture above shows you the area of the case where the I/O panel will be positioned. First you will need to snap the metal I/O shield into place. The I/O shield is in the motherboard box. Be sure to put the round holes that correspond to the keyboard and mouse PS/2 ports at the top edge. If there is already an I/O shield attached to the case in that space you will need to remove it with a flathead screwdriver and then attach the one that came with your motherboard.

Install the Motherboard Inside the Case

The next step is to attach the motherboard to the case. First, notice the 9 screwholes in the motherboard. There are some near each corner and in the middle of each edge. There is one near the middle of the board as well. There are usually nine screwholes in total. You need to line these holes up with the holes in the bottom of the case, then insert a tall brass mounting screw (also called riser screw or stand-off) into each hole in the case that aligns with a hole in the motherboard. Only insert mounting screws into aligning holes. The best way to determine which holes align is to maneuver the motherboard into the case and insert the I/O panel into the I/O shield that is attached to the case. Remember to follow the static-prevention rules! Once the motherboard is in place you can more clearly see which holes align between the case and the motherboard. Make a mental note of which holes align, then remove the motherboard from the case. Insert a brass mounting screw into each aligning hole and tighten it. You may have to put the motherboard in and out a couple of times to ensure you get all the aligning holes correctly identified. Be very careful not to scrape the motherboard against the mounting screws or the case as you maneuver it.

The next thing to do is to place the motherboard into the case and onto the mounting screws. Then insert the screws from the motherboard box through the holes and into the mounting screws. It helps to use a magnetized phillips screwdriver. Be careful to avoid scraping or scratching the motherboard with the screws or the screwdriver. Tighten the screws firmly but don't overdo it.

Attach the Cables to the Motherboard

Now you can attach the 24-pin power cable from the power supply to the white ATX Power Connector on the right edge of the motherboard (refer to the picture at the top of this page). This cable provides all the electricity in the proper voltage for the motherboard.

The last task is to connect the square 4-pin ATX power cable from the power supply to the square socket on the left-middle side of the motherboard just above the long blue PCI Express slot.

See the group of small cables from the front of the case? Those cables are for the power button, reset button, warning speaker and various LED lights on the front of the case. To connect those use the rectangular white Asus Q Connector that came in the motherboard box (refer to pages 2-32 and 2-33 of the motherboard manual). Attach the cables to the Q Connector and then plug the Q Connector into the white socket in the lower right corner of the motherboard.

If your case has a front panel USB port you can attach its cable to one of the blue sockets at the very bottom of the motherboard. The cable should be inserted so the missing pin on the cable aligns with the missing pin on the socket.

If your case has a front panel IEEE 1394 (aka Firewire) port you can attach its cable to the red socket at the bottom left of the motherboard. The cable should be inserted so the missing pin on the cable aligns with the missing pin on the socket.

Make sure all the case fans are plugged in. You will need them to keep the air inside the case cool. Some fans have straight four-pin plugs that attach to cables from the power supply. Other fans, such as the ones on my recommended case have square four-pin plugs that attach to the small white sockets along the lower right edge of the motherboard on either side of the red SATA sockets.

Now your motherboard is securely fixed in place and you are ready to begin installing the components it houses.

Click HERE to Install the CPU Processor.



Computer Expert Tip:

For high quality products at low prices I recommend Tiger Direct icon, Newegg and Amazon when buying parts for your computer building project.



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Be sure to check out my list of recommended parts to order. I have selected top-quality components at good prices. Just order these parts and you will be building an awesome new computer this week!

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