Step 1: Installing the Mother Board

You need to configure and mount the Mother Board. 
Depending on where you purchased the motherboard, you really should double check all the jumper and switch settings. Make darn sure that you have things set for the CPU YOU HAVE ATTACHED TO THE MOTHERBOARD BEFORE you power anything on! Failure is not an option, and can cost you not only the motherboard, but everything plugged into it if you're wrong. So, DOUBLE CHECK all the jumper and switch settings, and make positive sure they are correct.
In a lot of cases the Motherboard HAS TO GO IN the case FIRST, before the drives, and obviously before the cards. In full tower systems and "flip-back" cases, a person can put the mother board and cards in later. But it is generally the best place to start, and safest place for your CPU & RAM once the jumpers and switches on the mother board are set correctly. I DO NOT suggest "air-chasising" a motherboard unless you have a great deal of experience and take the proper safety precautions. Air Chasising is plugging everything in, and starting it up, without the case. There are times that can be useful, but there are seriously a whole lot of things to consider (and be well aware of) before you attempt doing that. ANY and ALL metal around the motherboard, and static electricity are the two biggest factors, aside from the shocking reality that electricity can be dangerous.
Very Important: If you purchased the Motherboard and CPU together, from the same place, at the same time, the reseller may have pre-configured it for you... but do NOT rely on that (or them). They are human, and can sometimes forget, make mistakes, or possibly someone else just starting to work for them "did" the configuration. Always double check the jumper settings and switches. I can't stress this strongly enough. I've had new techs burn up hundreds to thousands of dollars with the flip of the switch because they didn't check. If any of them are wrong it could blow up, short out, or otherwise damage or ruin parts in your system when you hit the power switch. It's absolutely worth being 100% sure of!
Once you have the appropriate settings for the CPU you have selected, double & triple checked. Note: There should be a detailed description of all the setting options in the Technical Manual provided with the Mother Boards. NEVER try to OVER-CLOCK or tweak a system unless you are 100% sure you know what you are doing, AND you are willing to risk throwing away some money (as things CAN blow up). I've seen CPU's pop and motherboards literally have a crater all around the CPU because things got too hot.
After the jumpers have been set, verified, and re-verified (have I stressed the importance of that enough?) you can then install the CPU, then the RAM memory. Be careful to align the pins correctly on the CPU, and the 'key slot' on the RAM. Incorrect placement will cause damage, never force anything plugging into the motherboard. Forcing is how stuff gets broken.
After the CPU has been locked in, the heat sink (or fanned heat sink) installed, it's time to secure the brass nut anchors to the case, and install the plastic stand-offs in the board. Make sure you place the small washer between the brass nut anchors and the motherboard (and on top, between the motherboard and screw head) to help ensure there won't be any shorts, or other conductive problems.
Position the Mother Board over the stand-offs and gently slide it in place, until the motherboard is completely seated. Once you have the Mother Board seated properly, insert the screws into the brass anchors, and LOOSELY tighten, to start securing the Mother Board into position. Snug up the screws in a criss-cross x pattern, none too tight, but all securely snugged down.
Next, attach the power connectors to the Mother Board. There are only a couple different types of power connectors, most are 'keyed' (having one corner of the plastic at a slight angle). With some that are 'two parts' (rather than one bigger piece), the black, or common, wires are positioned in the center of the two power connectors. Once the power supply is done, it's time to attach all the rest of the wires in the case to the motherboard - make sure the fan(s) are plugged in. There should be power switch wires, a reset button wire, AND the internal PC speaker wire.
At this point, we normally turn on the power briefly, to make sure the power supply actually turns on (symbolizing both a good power supply AND a properly grounded motherboard AND RAM that is alright). If the power supply doesn't turn on, then you have either a bad power supply or a dead short somewhere. If everything turns on, and there's bangs, pops, or no smoke, and there are no beeps immediately - either your speaker is plugged in wrong OR you did everything correctly (depending on the motherboard). YEA!! 
It is important to know that you SHOULD get at least one beep during the initial power-up test, when the system realizes that there is no keyboard attached. (You DO NOT want to attach a keyboard or mouse yet... you want that error beep). If you didn't get that beep, then you likely have a problem (power off immediately). 

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This site was last updated on 03/31/06