How To Build a Computer – How to Install the CPU and Mainboard

The most important part of a computer is the brain or CPU. That and the mainboard are responsible for controlling all the hardware in your system. For such a critical component, it’s surprising that it actually installs so easily. To make our build easier, we’re going to install the most valuable components first, so they aren’t going to be a concern later on.

  1. The first thing you want to do is to check the CPU and mainboard are indeed compatible. You might also want to take a quick look at the mainboard’s manual and the CPU’s manual too to double check that there are no specific installation instructions that might be different, as over time configurations do indeed change.
  2. Generally however, the first thing you need to do is to prepare the mainboard by locating the CPU’s socket and releasing the lever that’s to the side of the socket. This will allow you to lift the socket up, so that the socket itself is exposed. Chances are there’s a piece of plastic or paper in there that you need to remove.
  3. Before doing anything else, take a look at the CPU. Don’t take it out of the plastic box it’s in; examine it carefully because this is one of the most expensive parts of any computer system. Be careful not to drop it! Now, looking at the top, look for a little gold arrow in one of the corners. When you look at the pins, you’ll see that unlike the other pins – this corner signifies PIN 1 of your CPU and it needs to match up with the same corner of the CPU socket on the mainboard.
  4. Knowing how to install the CPU, hold it by the edges and position it carefully in the correct position. The CPU should just fall into place and whatever you do, don’t force it. If you need to force things – that means it’s probably the wrong way round.

After the CPU is in place, make sure it’s secure, using the lever that you lifted earlier. The central processing unit is now properly installed.

Installing the Heat sink and Fan

Installing the Heat sink and fan is the next step of the process and it’s quite easy providing that you check the guidelines beforehand, because installation instructions differ between models. Generally however, with Intel systems, you have to place the HSF over the holes and push down the black securing pins on each corner. With AMD machines, there’s a lever clip that must be clipped to either side of the CPU area.

One thing that’s important to know is that installing the HSF (Heatsink and Fan) is the most awkward part of the process and also the most important, because if it’s not installed correctly, your system is guaranteed to overheat and possibly destroy your CPU.

Finally – Installing the Memory

To wrap things up, it’s now time to install the system memory. Just like with every component, take the opportunity to make sure it’s compatible, and then prepare the mainboard by finding the appropriate DIMM memory slots.

When installing memory, it’s always best to install it in pairs. If you have two sticks of memory, make sure that you install it in the same colored slots for best performance.

Luckily, inserting the RAM is pretty easy. It’s a simple case of pushing back the white securing clips and then slotting the RAM in correctly – there’s only one way in which it’ll fit (check the slot in the middle of the stick).

After that, all you need to do is push down gently at each side of the memory stick, and the clips will slip back into place as you apply pressure.

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