Well, the much anticipated Building your own PC part 2 tutorial is finally ready! We have already picked our parts, if you need the parts list again they can be found HERE.

Warning: The assembly process should be done on a table, preferably wood. During the whole process make sure to touch the metal inside the case periodically to discharge any stored up static electricity in your body. Static electricity is your worst enemy through out this process.

Preparing the Case

Our first step of the assembly process is to prepare the case. If you look at the back of the case there is a face plate where the ports (mouse and keyboard, onboard VGA, onboard nic, etc) are normally located. Well, chances are that face plate won't fit our motherboard, so we're gonna pry that sucker out. Don't worry, the motherboard we bought comes with it's own unique face plate.

Now take your motherboard out of the box and anti static back and place it on the antistatic bag. Discharge yourself before handling the motherboard. Now you need to find out which holes in the case to place the spacers in so your motherboard doesn't fry. The spacers should have came with your case. Try and estimate where to put the spacers by looking at your motherboard. Once you that that figured out place the face plate that came with the motherboard on the same place the old one was in the case and place motherboard behind it, making sure the ports on the motherboard fit in perfectly with the port holes in the face plate, and gently place the motherboard down, making sure the screw holes in the motherboard match up with the spacers. This usually requires some force, you might need to push the motherboard into the face plate to get the correct alignment. It might help to have 2 people do this, one to push the motherboard in, the other to screw in the screws into the spacers.

Now you need to take out the plastic peice where our CD burner will go, just take out the top one.

Now figure out which component slot on the back matches up with the AGP port and pry that out so you can install the graphics card later. This may sound complicated but it really isn't, once you have your case and motherboard set up everything else goes pretty smoothly.

CPU, Heatsink and Fan

Now take out your CPU, be sure to discharge yourself before doing this (yes, we will be discharging ourselves quite a bit during this whole process). Now if you look on your motherboard you will see the socket 478 slot. On the side of it is this little lever. Pull it out a little and then up. Now match the processor chip with the holes in the socket and drop it in. DO NOT JAM IT IN!! It is a ZIF (ZIF = zero insertion force) socket. The chip should just drop in, if it doesn't it's not lined up correctly. After it drops in pull the lever back down to secure the chip.

Now for the heatsink and fan. You need to thermal grease for this. Sometimes your heatsink will already have it applied, but if it doesn't you just need to apply a thin layer of it. No bigger then dime size. Not all heatsinks and fans apply the same way, so in order to be sure you did it correctly, refer to the documentation that comes with it. It's won't be difficult, I beleive anyone can do it . Just be sure to plug the fan in! On our motherboard the correct place is the little white plastic jack with 4 holes in it. It's next to the big ATX power jack. If you don't plug in the fan your processor will fry in seconds, we don't want to waste our money!

Installing RAM

This is very easy, probably the easiest part of the whole process. Discharge yourself again. There are 2 white levers on the side of the slot. Make sure they are both pulled down. Just take out the stick of ram that we bought in the first tutorial. Place the ram facing the processor and gently but forcefully kind of rock it in. This might require alot some strength but don't overdue it. You can damage your slot or memory module. But they are pretty durable so you can beat them up a little. You'll know it's in because the 2 white arms you pulled down will automatically snap in place to secure the ram.

Graphics Card

This is done almost exactly like the ram. Discharge yourself. pull down the lever on the side of the AGP port. Take out the graphics card and rock it in like we did with the ram. Screw in the metal peice that now covers the opening that we made in the case preparation step. The screw should have came with the graphics card.

Hard Drive and CD Burner Installation

Now you have to install the hard drive. Take out the hard drive and on the back make sure the jumper is set to master. In order to make sure it's set to master check the documentaion that came with the hard drive. Usually the hard drive is set to master or cable select by default. It really doesn't matter because the computer will find the bootable device no matter what, unless it's set to boot from say... the floppy drive, which by default it isn't. In the case you should see a bunch of racks. These are obviously where the hard drive and disk drives go. On the buttom rack is usually the smallest rack and that is where the hard drive goes because there are no removable plastic covers covering it. Slide the hard drive in the bottom rack and screw it in. Now at the top of the racks, slide the CD burner in, the one where we took the plastic covering off. Screw it in.

Now you should have 2 80 pin ribbon cables that came with the hard drive and cd burner. Discharge yourself yet again. Plug one in the hard drive and the other in the cd burner. Some people will say "make sure they plugged in the right way" but it's really pretty self explanatory. You should be able to figure out. Now plug the hard drive into the IDE interface in the mobo (mobo = motherboard ). It should probably be the one closest to the CPU but again, these days, it shouldn't really matter. Plug the cd burners ribbon cable into the remainding IDE interface.

Power Everything Up!!

Now we have to give everything power. This is easy. Discharge yourself one more time (are you sick of this yet?). Now look at your power supply, there will be a ton of different wires with plugs at the end coming our of it. Take the biggest one and plug it into the big huge plastic interface on the motherboard. Now there should be a bunch of medium sized plugs. These are molex plugs. Plug them into the hard drive and cd buner.


In your case should be a bunch of little wires with little plastic plugs at the end. There is no one way to connect these into the motherboard. You going to have to look in your motherboard documentation to correctly place them in your motherboard. It isn't to hard though.

If you plug your computer in the wall, a green LED should light up on your motheroard. This is a good thing, it tells you your motherboard is getting power.

Many people will say to get a anti static wrist strap. If you are a technician fixing 20 computers a day, that's fine, but you really don't need one for building your own PC. Besides, simply touching the metal in the case shouldn't be to hard and it works just fine.

You are bound to have to make some kind of cmos configurations in the bios when you start up. There really isn't one way to do this, it will vary depending on the manufacturer and version you have. And don't forget to install your OS and drivers. The driver CD's come with your motherboard and graphics card. There are tons of tutorials on installing OS's on AO.

Anyway, I hope you all learned something, novice and experts alike. If you didn't know what was inside your computer, now you do. If you didn't know what you needed to buy or do to build your own PC, now you do.

BTW, I am open to any constructive critisism.