Installing a Motherboard Guide

Note - To avoid electrostatic shock, use an electric wrist strap or occasionally touch the metal portion of a hammer before you install a motherboard. This will discharge the static electricity making it safe to handle the computer components.

1. Begin by unplugging the computer and remove the side cover from the case. Computer cases differ in how they open, generally there will be two Phillips screws holding the side of the case. The image below shows the Phillips screw located and the bottom of the side panel.

Removing Computer Case Side Cover

2. Next, check the inside of the case for letters that say "ATX" or "BTX." These letters indicate the motherboard form factor and where the standouts need to be placed in order to line up with the motherboard.

Computer Case Form Factor

3. Be sure to use plenty of standouts in the holes, you want to distribute the motherboard's weight evenly throughout the case. Typical computer standouts are shown below.

Computer Standouts

4. If your motherboard is an ATX form factor, put standouts in all the "ATX" labeled spots inside the case. Refer to the image below.

Standouts Inserted

5. Next, carefully insert the I/O shield into the back of the case just below the power supply. Be sure to orient it properly so the connectors on the side of the motherboard can fit. I like to test it on the motherboard while it is out of the case then fit the I/O shield in so it will line up properly. You may have to tap it a few times with a hammer to get it to fit snugly into the back of the case.

I/O Shield Installed at back of case

6. Place the motherboard over the standouts and gently apply pressure toward the I/O shield so the motherboard connectors on the side of the board fit through the shield and out the back of the case.

7. Using Phillips screws, gently tighten the motherboard into the standouts you inserted earlier. Be careful not to overtighten the screws because this can damage the board.

Securing the motherboard

8. Attach the case connectors (power LED, hard drive activity LED, reset switch, etc.) to the appropriate pins on the motherboard. Check your motherboard manual for the exact connector names.

Power LED connector

Note - If the connectors do not function properly (for example, the power light in the front in the case does not turn on when the computer is powered on), simply reverse the orientation of the connector to fix it. If the connector was installed backwards, do not worry, the board will not be damaged in any way.

Power LED

9. Connect the 24 pin motherboard power connector into the 24 pin power slot on the motherboard. These connectors can only fit in one direction so if it does not slide in easily try reversing the orientation. Don't force it! When the connector is firmly seated it will lock into place.

24 pin motherboard connector

24 pin connector on motherboard

10. Next, the P4 connector (shown below) gets inserted into the 4 pin slot on the board.

P4 power supply cable

Motherboard P4 slot

Put the case side cover back on and that's all there is to it! In 10 easy steps you just installed a motherboard.

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