How to Build a Computer: (Currently Editing) First a little background here, The case that is used in this build is the Antec Nine Hundred. The other components that I used was the Asus P5K Deluxe (based off the P35 chipset), Intel Core 2 Duo E6400, 2GB of Corsair XMS2, Silverstone 750W power supply, 4x Seagate 320GB SATAII hard drives, ATI 2900XT video card, X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS sound card, and a Cooler Master UFO CPU cooler. Before we get started, what you need to know is that installations will differ to some degree based on what case you choose, what platform your building off of, as well as the types of accessories you install. This guide is intended to help you if you get stuck somewhere and/or are interested in building your own and want to read up on how one would build a PC. Getting Started: Before we begin, it's a good idea to get all of your components out of their packaging and lay them down where you will be working. This way you know exactly what you have, what you need to install, and what you have left after you've started. As you can see in the picture below, I have my case that I will be using during this build. _______________________________________________________________________________ After you have all your parts laid out at your workspace, lets remove the case from the packaging and get ready for installing all the components. Note however that if you are working on a place such as a bed, carpet, or other fabric, you should wear an anti-static wrist strap or be touching the case with your hands while handling any electronic device to prevent a static charge from ruining your equipment. _______________________________________________________________________________ Preparing the Case: One of the important steps that many new builders forget are the gold extender feet that go between your motherboard and case chassis. These prevent your motherboard from shorting out, and allows air to pass underneath. The ones in the following photos are based off of the ATX design, note that each form factor has their own layout, so be careful to only install them where they will be screwed down. The photo below is a closeup. _______________________________________________________________________________ As stated above, only install the extender feet where the motherboard will be screwed down, to prevent the possibility of a short. You will notice that there are many empty holes in the case, which would be used if I was using a motherboard with a different form factor. _______________________________________________________________________________ The next step is to remove the rear I/O panel that comes with the case, with the panel designed for your motherboard. To do so simply push outward on the panel from inside the case, and it should pop out towards you. _______________________________________________________________________________ The next step is to install the new rear I/O panel. If you purchased an open box / OEM motherboard, chances are you never received a rear I/O panel. If thats the case I would attempt to use the panel that comes with the case, however most likely it will not work, if that happens then you would need to run it without the rear panel or try to find one online. _______________________________________________________________________________ Installing the Motherboard: Now that we have the case ready for the components, it's time to install the motherboard. This may seem like the most complicated step when it comes to actually building the computer, however it is actually easier then it looks. First make sure the motherboard is lined up properly so the rear I/O panel is in the correct spot, and that the expansion card slots are also lined up with the back of the case. When you are lining it up with the gold extenders, be very careful not to scratch the bottom of the motherboard on the case, as it may cut through the PCB and into the imprinted circuit board. _______________________________________________________________________________ In the photo below you can see that the holes in the motherboard line up exactly with the gold feet we had secured to the case. If there are holes that do not line up with any feet, then remove the motherboard and either relocate them to the proper holes in the case, or add additional ones. _______________________________________________________________________________ The photo below should help you locate the correct screws to use if you are unsure about what kind to use. These are usually the same screws that are used to secure the expansion cards down as well. _______________________________________________________________________________ The screws should screw in fairly easily and do not require much force. If you notice that you need a lot of force or that it's not properly screwing in, then remove it and try another one, as it's very important to have the motherboard securely screwed down to the case. Make sure that you did not forget any, as it can be easy to overlook. _______________________________________________________________________________ Installing the Processor: Now that you have the motherboard securely connected to the case, it's time to install the processor (CPU). This part does vary slightly with the different sockets that are available, although the same general rules apply. To install the processor, first open up the holder as shown by pulling the lever outwards, then lifting it up. Once it is lifted you can pull back on the holder, now it should look like the photo below. _______________________________________________________________________________ Now comes the actual installation of the processor. All current processors can only be installed in one direction. If you attempt to power on the computer with the processor installed incorrectly, it very well may damage/destroy the processor and/or motherboard. Note that on the CPU itself there is a marking, usually an arrow, which indicates the direction in relation to the motherboard marking. It's hard to see the marking on the motherboard in the photo below, however you need to verify that that the arrow on the CPU lines up with the marking on the motherboard to ensure correct operation. You can also judge by looking at the bottom of the processor and making note of irregular pin configurations, as thats usually another way to ensure the CPU only goes in one way. _______________________________________________________________________________ Now the processor should be in the socket. It shouldn't require much if any force to drop into place, if you feel that you need to applya strong amount of force, it's most likely installed incorrectly. _______________________________________________________________________________ Now that the processor is in place, it's time to secure it to the motherboard by closing the CPU holder and pushing the lever down and under the latch. It should look the same as what is shown in the picture below. _______________________________________________________________________________ Now it's time to apply the thermal paste. Please note that usually the heatsink comes pre-applied with a thermal compound, so this step may not be necessary. However if yours didn't include any thermal compound on the heatsink, or you wish to use a higher quality thermal paste, then follow these directions. You only need a small amount of thermal paste for proper conductivity, too much or too little will cause an increase in temperatures and may even cause shorting if too much thermal paste is applied and it falls down onto the motherboard. As shown in the picture below, you only need a small amount in the center of the CPU. I usually apply a small dot between the size of a grain of rice and a small pea, then I gently spread it around for a more even distribution.