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Tech Tips

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    PlanetQuake | Features | Tech Tips | 9-9-2000
   

Tech Tips
This is where your gaming and hardware needs are met. Be all that you can be or get out of the game! This won't be a forum for techno-geeks to find more ways to impress their non-technical friends, it's for plain folk who need help to better their gaming experience. But don't blame us if you blow your machine sky high; we're offering tips, not the Bible on computers. The mailbag is alive and well - send in those questions to TechTips.
by Love2Play

Building your own Gaming Rig (part II)


Preparation

No idle chit chat, let's do it.

Things you will need to get out, anything else leave boxed and out of the way.  These items may or may not come with the listed items:

Computer Case -power supply, power cord, small bag of screws
Motherboard - Manual, ribbon cable for Hard Drives and Floppy, may come with brackets for CPU
CPU - Make sure it has a heatsink and fan. May have a small book specs.
RAM - nothing extra here
Floppy Drive - nothing again
Cdrom Drive - ribbon cable, mounting screws, sound cable, manual and installation cdrom 
Hard Drive - mounting screws, brackets & manual if you buy the retail package
Video Card - any specialized cables (tv in/out), installation cdrom and manual

You will also need a Phillips head screwdriver and a pair of needle nose pliers. Maybe a box of bandaids, there are sharp corners and small places to work in ;-)

Hopefully you have a nice flat surface to work on with good light.  The dining room table is my favorite.  I made a pad for it so I don't hurt anything.  It's the right height, size, and has an overhead lamp.  Place all of your items in one area and get the case out.

So let's get started. Pictures will be throughout the article.  They are linked, we don't want to waste precious space on pics, we want instructions here!  But I'm no photographer so no critiquing my art photos :P  And then it's easier on your printer to print this out to have on hand.  So if you want to see it, click it :)

The case

Take the sides off of the case and take the motherboard mounting plate off. In the back, make sure there are no plates blocking the area where your motherboard ports will be accessed.  Such as the port openings fo ryour keyboard, mouse, and printer.  Install any case fans in the brackets provided inside the case if it did not come with them. The larger cords with whitish plastic connectors are your power cords for the motherboard hard drive and floppy drive.  The smaller twisted wires with black connectors are the LED connectors.  We will get to those later, tuck them up out of your way.

TIP:  At this time punch out the slots in the front for floppy drive and the cdrom.  Don't wait until it's all assembled. 

Take out your motherboard, in advance examine the way the motherboard will be mounted on the mounting plate and then into the case.  Which direction the slots and ports will face. DO NOT mount the motherboard yet.

Motherboard 

The first thing we hope you have done is had a good look at the manual for our motherboard.  If you have read no other manual, this one is one you MUST read.  You need to see the instruction for settings for our CPU and the slot order for your RAM.  We hope and pray you got a jumperless motherboard, but even some of those have a jumper or two to set.  So READ THE MANUAL. Then save it for later because you'll need it when we boot this baby for the first time.

Prepare your CPU first by attaching the heatsink and fan if you did not buy the retail package of the CPU coming with a heatsink and fan attached.

Lay the motherboard on a flat, slightly cushioned surface (that pad I was talking about, or a tablecloth). Install the brackets to your CPU (if the type if CPU you bought is an upright standing CPU such as a slot 1) and install your CPU. If it has pins such as a PPGA or Socket 370 type CPU's then you will want to be VERY careful.  Make sure you have the flat corner facing the right direction, open the socket handle and gently drop the CPU into the holes.  It should line up and drop in easily.  No pushing!  You can easily bend the pins.  Be sure to connect any wire for the fan to the provided place on your motherboard.

TIP: DO NOT force hard-handed any item into the motherboard.  If it doesn't fit with slight to moderate pressure, release and try again.  Have a close look at how you are positioning it.  Forcing something can break it or the motherboard.

Next install your RAM. Look at your manual, some motherboards have an order about things.  Make sure you use the correct slots. (the order of slot 1, 2, or 3 etc...) Fortunately, RAM only fits in the slots one way, you can't put them in backwards ;-) Open the end brackets out, set your RAM down on the slot then apply even moderate pressure.  Not end to end, even across the RAM module.  When it goes into place, the end brackets should snap closed on their own.  If not, the RAM is not secure in the slot.

Next go ahead and install your ribbon cable for the floppy, cdrom, and hard drive.  For the hard drive, the longest portion of the cable, away from the 2 connectors goes on the motherboard. This is best done now so you don't have to squeeze your hands in there later.  Once again, look at the manual, see which is which to install the ribbon cable.  Paying attention to where the manual or motherboard says PIN 1 is.  PIN 1 is the red stripe side of the ribbon cable. The Red stripe is positioned to PIN1 on the motherboard marking on the IDE slot.

TIP:  The purpose here was to install as much as possible on the motherboard while it is on a flat surface.  Once installed on the case mounting plate, it is flexible when pushed on.

Mounting

On the mounting plate for the motherboard install the mounting screws. These are best rather than the plastic mounts.  The plastic allows the motherboard to move. However if the case mounting plate does not have the screw holes in the appropriate place for your motherboard, then the plastic mounts are fine.  We want a firm hold. Now place your motherboard on the mounts and screw it on.  Again, not using too much force.  It's not a car, it's a computer.

Turn the mounting plate with your motherboard attached upright and position it back in the side of the case. Go gently, lining up the ports on the back.  It make take a little maneuvering, go easy and it will slide in place. Once in place, put the screws back into the mounting plate to secure it to the case. Once this is done, lay your case down on it's side, motherboard facing up.

 


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