Overview In lesson 3 we'll take the next step to make a computer by installing the motherboard into the case. We'll attach the Intel CPU cooler to the motherboard and connect the cables to the motherboard.
To install the motherboard into our case we first have to position the risers. The risers are designed to raise the motherboard off the back of the case to prevent an electrical short.
The risers are screwed into positions around the back of the case to match up with screw holes on the motherboard. The risers have screw holes in them to allow another screw to go through the motherboards holes and secure the motherboard to the case.
Some cases come with risers that clip into place, in the case and other cases have risers that are built in.
The best way to find the positions for the risers in the case, is to hold the motherboard in place and look for the holes in the case that correspond to the holes in the motherboard.
Be sure to put risers where ever a screw can go through a hole in the motherboard. Its important not to add unneeded risers because any risers that dont correspond to a hole in the motherboard will make contact with the circuits on the back and short out the motherboard.
Once the risers are in place we need to install the face plate for the motherboards external connectors on the back of the case.
Face Plate (rear panel)
The faceplate is included with the motherboard. You may have to remove part of the plate with your screw driver if it covers the connectors on the motherboard. The case will usually come with a generic plate that you have to remove. Press the edges of it from the outside of the case and it will pop out.
Then slide the face plate that came with the motherboard into place, from the inside of the case. Press around it's edges and it will snap in.
Installing the Motherboard
To attach the motherboard, insert it into position and move it to the back of the case, so the external connectors are sticking out the back.
You should see the risers through the holes in the motherboard. Put the first screw in the top left hole, but leave the screw a little loose. This will hold the motherboard in place and still allow you to move it slightly in order to add the remaining screws.
Add the next screw at the bottom right of the motherboard and leave it loose as well. The rest of the screws can go in any order.
Once all the screws are in, push the motherboard toward the back of the case and tighten all of the screws down.
Connecting Front Case Cables
The last step in installing the motherboard is to connect the cables from the front of the case.
On this case there are separate cables for the Power and Reset buttons, and a HDD LED, which attach to pins at the bottom of the motherboard. We could connect them directly to the motherboard, but this Asus motherboard came with a Q-Connector. The Q-Connector lets you plug all of the cables in it. Then you plug the Q-Connector into the pins on the motherboard.
If you have a motherboard from a different manufacturer, check the motherboard manual to locate and identify the pins. Connect the cables with the names facing the top of the motherboard.
This will insure, in most cases, that they are attached in the correct direction. If it turns out that a button or light on the front of the case doesn't work. Make sure the cable is connected to the right pins and try flipping it over.
Most cases also have ports on the front panel for audio in and out, USB and Firewire. Firewire is also called 1394
The audio cables from the front panel connect to a AAFP header on the motherboard. The connector has one missing pin and will only go in one way.
We're installing an add-on sound card in Lesson 8, so we'll wait to install the audio cable.
The USB and Firewire cables from the front panel will go into colored headers on the motherboard. The USB headers are usually blue and the Firewire, red.
Be sure to check your motherboards manual to identify the USB and Firewire headers. The connectors are pinned the same, so it is possible to plug a Firewire cable into a USB header. If you do, the motherboard will be damaged.
Some cases will also have a loose grounding cable. If your case does, remove a screw that holds the motherboard, attach the grounding cable and tighten down the screw.