Step By Step Guide to Building a New PC

Shoes at Pawas

Installing RAM and Motherboard Connections:

We install the DIMMs with the motherboard and pan still out of the case. You can see the two alignment notches in the contact edge of the DIMM, and the two blocking keys in the socket, so the DIMM will only go in one way. The minor increase of static electricity risk working outside the case is well worth getting the DIMMs in without damaging them or the sockets.

The new style DIMM sockets have one disadvantage vs. the older "lean in" SIMM sockets. You need to apply a good deal of force to make the DIMM engage the locking mechanism and seat properly. Definitely a two thumb job.

Here we see the ATX motherboard, mounted on the pan, ready for installation into the case. The CPU (a Pentium II) and heatsink havebeen installed, and the heatsink fan has been connected to the motherboard. Two SDRAM DIMMs, 32MB each, have been installed.

When installing the motherboard pan (with motherboard, CPU and RAM mounted) back in the case, you want to be very sure that you don't accidentally crush any cables or onboard components when moving the pan into place. Normally, the pan hinges along one edge when aligned properly. Don't procrastinate putting the all of the screws attaching the pan to the frame back in once the pan is positioned.

Once the pan is installed, the motherboard is ready to be electrically connected to the case power supply and drives. You can see in the picture the extra mounting holes in the pan for motherboards of a different form factor.

The 20 lead ATX power supply connector replaces the P8 and P9 connectors of the older AT power supplies. The connector is keyed to go on one way, and is generally as easy to install with the pan inside the case as out.

The ATX design usually leaves enough room to attach all of the case LEDs (lights) and switch leads with the motherboard installed. LED and switch leads are often labled, power, HDD (hard drive), keylock, right on the leads, but if not, you'll have to follow them back to the front of the case and read off the faceplate what they are.

With the motherboard pan installed in the ATX case, you can now see the I/O core ports through the openings in the metal I/O shield. Most case manufacturers provide a metal bezel that fits around all of the ports, providing RF shielding and pictorial or text labels for the ports.


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