How to Build a Computer – Preparing the Case and Power Supply Unit

The first and most important thing that we all overlook when it comes to building a computer is actually getting the case ready and ensuring that everything is set up. It’s one of those steps that helps make the build a lot quicker, and if you can prepare the case beforehand, it’ll also minimize the possibility of getting cut up on the edges.

  1. The first thing you want to do is to get the case out of the packing that it came in, and to check that it’s not been damaged or bashed. These days, most cases are ATX, Micro ATX or Mini-ATX. The main thing to be aware of is that ATX is a size standard that cases and motherboards / mainboards are built to fit.
  2. Next up, you want to open up the left panel if it’s a tower, or take the top off the case if it’s a desktop case. If you’re lucky, the screws at the back of your case will be thumbscrews and you won’t need a screwdriver, if your not – then get your screwdriver out! Some more expensive enthusiast / gamer cases have easy access in which all you need to do is pull a handle or lever to open up the case.
  3. Once the case is open, take a look inside, of both the panel you removed and the case its self. If the panel has a fan attached – take note of this, because you’ll need to hook this connector up to your power supply after you’ve finished the build. If not, don’t worry.
  4. Looking behind the case, you’ll see either one of two things: – a place to plug in power cords, or a big empty hole. If you have a big empty hole, then we’ll need to install the power supply unit. Don’t worry – it’s really simple. The PSU just slides into place and gets secured by screws which should come with the PSU or case.
  5. While the case is open take a look inside for a box or bag of screws – they are sometimes taped to the inside of the case, and sometimes they’re in the packaging. Either way, it’s important to find them, as without them you can’t build your computer.
  6. Before we go any further, take a look at the front panel connectors and power switch cables – it probably looks like a big mess of cables and a nightmare to set up, but it’s really quite easy to wire things up once we’ve installed the mainboard.
  7. For the rest of the build, the easiest way to proceed. Is to organize the screws and put them in a safe location. There are many screws that look the same, but have different threads. Be sure to recognize the difference!
  8. There should also be some brass standoffs, which M3 screws will screw into. M3 screws are the ones with the finest thread. We’ll use these to secure the mainboard later.

If the case looks OK and you have found the accessories (screws etc.) that we need to continue the build, then the next stage is to prepare the mainboard and CPU for installation.

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