Installing a PC computer Motherboard
Installing a PC computer Motherboard.
Buying Tips and help
Before getting started
Verify and set jumpers
Install pegs or standoffs
Install important components
Front panel setup
- Difficulty of installing computer motherboard should be a 5 out of 5.
- Write down important information from the top or bottom of the board such as the Model Number, Serial Number, and specifications.
- If you're using a hard drive with any data on it make sure to backup any important data currently on the hard drive.
- Ensure you are familiar with ESD and its potential dangers.
- When physically installing the motherboard ensure the computer is off and the power plug is disconnected from the power supply.
Before installing a computer motherboard, ensure with the case that the motherboard is going to be installed into that it supports the form factor of your motherboard. Today, you will find that the majority of available computer motherboards are either ATX or MicroATX.
- Additional information about motherboard and the form factors can be found on our motherboard help page.
Before installing the computer motherboard ensure that all the jumpers or dip switches have been set properly. While these jumpers and dip switches can be changed when the motherboard has been installed, it is easier to adjust the settings while the motherboard is outside of the case.
New motherboards today will have the jumpers set as auto, allowing either the BIOS or the software to setup the proper settings for the CPU and Memory and other settings. If the motherboard supports this feature, ensure that the jumpers are set as auto. If you wish to manually adjust the settings for your peripherals, ensure that they are the correct values. While it is possible to 'overclock' a system, it is recommended that first the values be the real values of the system to ensure the system works before tampering with its settings.
Once the jumpers have been verified, if pegs or standoffs are not installed into the chassis, insert these attachments now to the chassis. These are required to help prevent the motherboard from shorting out and must be installed to install the motherboard.
When installing the pegs or standoffs ensure that they are inserted into the proper holes in the case. Many cases will support different form factors that allow for different motherboards to be installed. If the pegs are not placed in the proper holes this could cause damage to the motherboard if turned on. The holes on the case will have a small indication of what the holes are for; for example, a hole may have the words ATX listed next to it to indicate the hole is for an ATX motherboard.
As the standoff is being installed, ensure that they are installed firmly into the case to help prevent issues such as the pegs coming loose when unscrewing the screw from the peg.
Once the pegs have been firmly attached, if a back plate is on the computer, ensure it has been removed. Next, place the motherboard in the case; when placing the motherboard in the case ensure that you align the back of the motherboard with the back of the case. As the motherboard is being placed in the computer align the holes in the motherboards with the pegs or standoffs that were attached earlier.
Once aligned, begin placing screws into the motherboard that should then be held by the peg or standoff.
Caution: when screwing in the screw you do not want the screw to be extremely tight; if too tight it could cause the motherboard to crack. However, the screw should be in enough to hold the motherboard in place.
If not already installed, install the below necessary components into the computer.
Once the motherboard has been successfully physically installed into the computer, the Fpanel (short for front panel connectors) must be connected. This panel controls such things as the power button, reset button, hard drive light, power light, etc
Unfortunately, the setup of this panel can be confusing at first, even with the instructions provided from the Motherboard manufacturer. Below are steps and additional information and help with successfully connecting the cables to this connector.
- This connector consists of a series of 2 pin connectors.
- The cables that connect to these connectors are 2, 3 or 4 pin connectors.
- The cables will consist of a red, green, blue, white or other color cable with a black cable. This may vary, the important thing to remember is that the black cable or the dark color of the cable is ground or '-'
- Most cases have a separate cable for each setting, but some computers now will have all of these cables as one large connector. If the computer has one large connector it is likely it will go in only one way. It is important to note that this one large connector is only found with OEM computers. If you are installing a new computer motherboard into an OEM case it is very possible that the one large connector will not work with your motherboard. Unfortunately, this connector is usually proprietary.
- Finally, the computer WILL NOT boot if some of the cables are not properly connected. If you are unable to turn on the computer or receive a NO POST, this is one of the first things we recommend you check when attempting to install a motherboard.
Once the front panel cables appear to have been successfully connected, connect the other cables in the below order.
- Connect the main motherboard ATX style power cable coming from the power supply to the motherboard. Note: it is very important that this cable is properly connected to the computer. If improperly connected, this will likely destroy the motherboard. Today, ATX and other new motherboard form factors have a keyed power supply connector allowing the cable to only go in one way.
- Next, connect the IDE/EIDE, SATA, or other interface cables to the motherboard from the hard drive, CD Drive, floppy drive.
- Connect the Molex power cables from the power supply to the drives in the computer - hard drive, CD Drive, and floppy drive
Once the Motherboard has been successfully physically installed and connected into the computer, place the case back onto the computer and connect the keyboard, monitor and power to the computer (we recommend that you do not connect all the cables yet, if problems are experienced you may have to disconnect all the cables again).
Once the computer successfully boots, enter BIOS setup as the computer is booting to set all of the values not automatically detected. We recommend you check or set the below values.
- CPU settings; ensure the proper speed - voltage etc is properly set accordingly to the CPU.
- Memory; ensure that the memory is correctly detected and setup.
- Drives; ensure that the floppy, hard drive and CD-ROM drive are properly setup.
- If onboard video, modem, NIC, or sound card is present and you wish to have these devices disabled for new video, modem, NIC, and sound card disable these devices now.
- Check other settings such as the time, date, COM ports, etc.
Once everything has been properly detected and setup, save the settings and exit and reboot the computer.
- See the motherboard definition for further information about a motherboard and related links.