How to Assemble a Computer

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

In assembling a computer, the main points to consider are purpose, availability, compatibility, and cost. Before building a system, ask these questions: What is the computer needed for? Are the parts for this computer available? What is the compatibility of the parts? Is this computer within the budget? The answers to these would serve as a guide in assembling the right computer.

Materials Needed:
- One (1) motherboard
- one (1) compatible processor with cooling fan
- one (1) compatible memory module
- one (1) tower casing with power supply
- one (1) graphics card (if the motherboard does not have a built-in video adapter)
- one (1) compatible hard disk for storage
- one (1) CD/DVD-ROM/RW drive
- one (1) ps/2 or USB mouse
- one (1) ps/2 or USB keyboard
- one (1) CRT or LCD monitor
- one (1) Philips screw driver
- one (1) pack thermal paste or grease
Step 1
When all the parts of the computer have already been selected and checked for compatibility, begin by laying all the components on a flat surface. Make sure that they are placed on anti-static sheets or wrappers (the sheets they are packaged in, for example) to avoid damage due to electro-static discharge. Also, avoid touching any leads or any exposed metal on any component.
Step 2
Take the processor and carefully place it on the CPU slot of the motherboard. Take note of the correct positioning of the processor. Avoid touching any lead of the processor to avoid damaging it. Refer to the motherboard manual for the correct placement.
Step 3
Apply thermal paste to the cooling fan of the processor. Spread the compound evenly on the metal surface. Install the fan on the motherboard, following the instructions on the motherboard’s manual. Take care in doing so to avoid damaging the processor. Connect the CPU fan’s power to the appropriate pins on the motherboard. Refer to the manual for the correct pins.
Step 4
Place the motherboard in the tower casing and screw it in place. Install the back panel that came in with the motherboard on the casing. It should fit the rectangular hole at the back of the casing.
Step 5
Insert the memory module in the memory slot of the motherboard. Locate this on the motherboard’s manual. Avoid touching the chips of the memory module to avoid damage. Check the slots of the memory so that it fits appropriately into the board’s RAM slot. When the memory module is properly inserted, the locks would snap to an upright position and lock the module in place.
Step 6
If the board has no video adapter built in, insert the graphics card in the appropriate slot in the mother board. This may be the AGP or the PCI-e slot, depending on what components you have. A lock would also hold the card in place.
Step 7
Install the CD/DVD-ROM/RW drive in the casing. Screw the drive in place to secure it. Connect the drive to the board using the IDE cable that came in the package. An IDE slot should be available on the board.
Step 8
Mount the hard disk in the casing. Screw the drive in place to secure it. Connect the hard disk using the appropriate cable that came in the package. This may be an IDE or a SATA cable. An available IDE or SATA slot should be available on the board.
Step 9
Connect the casing’s power, reset, and LED pins to the motherboard. The appropriate pins on the motherboard can be seen on the manual.
Step 10
Connect the power supply to the board. There is a power slot on the board which should have the same number of pins as the power supply. These may be 20- or 24-pin ends.
Step 11
Connect the other power cables to the other components. The CD/DVD-ROM/RW drive and the hard disk must each have a power cable connected to them.
Step 12
Screw the cover of the casing in place.
Step 13
Attach the CRT or LCD monitor power cable to the power supply. If there is no slot on the supply, then the monitor plugs directly into an outlet. Connect the VGA or DVI cable of the monitor to the graphics port of the system. This may be the built-in port or the port of the installed graphics card in Step 6.
Step 14
Attach the mouse and keyboard to the appropriate ports. If a ps/2 mouse and a ps/2 keyboard were bought, attach them to the ps/2 ports at the back of the system. A USB mouse or keyboard should be attached to the USB slots.