Welcome to my complete guide, including photos, to building your own rig!
I apologize for some blurry photos!
All of these photos were taken at night when I rebuilt my computer because I used the wrong mobo screws when I built it.
Please do not steal my photos without permission.
In this guide, I will assume that you have already purchased all your parts for your machine, and have a spare couple hours to build it.
First things first, let's go over some ground rules:
The only tools you will need for this is a Philips-head screwdriver.
The screws and brackets that you will need are all provided with your case.
Always make sure you are grounded before working on any computer. Static electricity can severely damage valuable components. Try to keep one part of your body touching the metal frame of your case to ground yourself. I find it easiest to keep my elbows or forearms on the frame. Avoid working on carpet if possible.
If something isn't fitting in where it should, do not force it. Stop, and check if you are putting it in the right way. The I/O shield is the only thing that you should have to force to get in.
Do not overturn screws. Screw them in snugly. If you screw them in too tight, you can damage the thread on the screw or on the component, and damage the component at the same time.
Keep everything that comes with your parts for your rig. Manuals, CDs, etc.
Alright, let's get started.
For my build, I used the following parts:
DFI Lanparty UT NF4 Ultra-D
AMD Athlon x2 4400+
2GB (2x1GB) G.Skill DDR400 Extreme Series
XFX nVidia Geforce 7600GT 256MB xXx Edition
ASUS 16x Dual Layer DVD Writer and 16x DVD Reader
Sony Silver 3.5" Floppy Drive
Western Digital Caviar 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB SATA
Antec Super Lanboy Aluminium Case
Enermax Whisper II 535W
I recommend them all.
First of all, take of the left side panel of your case by unscrewing the thumb screws on the back of your case. For now, remove your case fans so we can easily build into the case.
These are the screws and gold mobo mounts you need to install your mobo. Since loads of different screws come with your case, check first that the screws are the right ones for the mounts by just screwing them into each other with your fingers. If you can remove them easily, then they are the right ones.
Now insert the mobo mounts into your case. Be sure to line the holes up on the motherboard, with the case. Make sure you do not put a mount in the wrong place, because if one is underneath the mobo, it will short out.
This is the I/O shield. It's basically a frame for your mobo ports.
First remove the stock I/O shield that came with you case by pushing it from the outside of the case, in. Then slot the new I/O shield in. You may have to push a little to get it in. Some of the ports may have little guards on them, just bend them out of the way to use the ports.
Now insert your motherboard. Lay the left side of it down first, and then the right. Make sure all it's ports are in the I/O shield correctly.
Now make sure that all the holes on your mobo have mounts underneath them. Then screw the mobo down.
Now comes the time to install the CPU and heatsink. Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of this, because I did not remove my heatsink when I rebuilt my computer. Here's a link to some AMD video guides on how to install both.
Time to install our RAM.
First, pull the little levers on the edge of the RAM slots out to put the RAM sticks in. In this picture, the yellow ones are unlocked.
Now place the RAM sticks in. Notice the little hole on the bottom of the RAM stick, and the little bump in the RAM slot, line the sticks up so they fit into each other. Then push on both sides of the stick and pull the clips up so they clip into the little ledges on the RAM sticks. If you have dual channel RAM, then be sure to stick the two sticks into the same coloured slot. If you don't, then stick it in any one.
Now we have to install our hard drive.
If your case boasts tooless design, it will most likely have hard drives bays like this.
Pull one of the hard drives slots out, by pushing in on the two silver clips on the front of one. While doing that, pull it out.
Then place the hard drive into the holder.
Using the specials screws that came with your case, line the holes on the hard drive up with the ones on the holder, then attach them together.
Then slot the holder back in the same way you got it out.
This is a SATA data cable.
This is a SATA power cable.
Attach them both to the back of the hard drive like so. Plug in the SATA power cable later though, when you put your PSU in later.
Then attach the other end of the SATA data cable to the corresponding plug on the mobo labelled 'SATA 1.'
If you put your hard drives around the same way I did, then you will need to remove the other side door of your case to plug the cables in. If you haven't, then take it off now in preparation for the optical drives.
Now we have to install our optical drives.
But first, we have to remove the drive bay covering. To do this, get your screwdriver, and push it between the clip on the cover, and the frame. The push the screwdriver so it pushes the clip out, and unclips it. You may need to use a little force. Once the clip is out, then just remove the cover.
On the back on the optical drive should be a little cap over two pins, with more pins next to it. It should be marked on the drive, master and slave. Your drive should ship in the master position, the way you need it. If you have two drives, then be sure to make one master and the other a slave, by positioning the little cap over the slave pins. Then push the optical drive in through the front of the case. Be sure to line it up with the front of the case.
Now get the screws that came with your drive or with the case, and screw in the optical drive. Use all holes on the drive to make sure it doesn't come loose or anything.
This is an IDE cable.
This is a molex power cable.
They both need to go into your drive like this.
Be sure to put the IDE cable in with the little notch on the head of the plug facing up. Plug in the molex connector when you put in the PSU at the end.
Install the floppy drive exactly like the DVD drive, except it uses a smaller power connector, and it's data cable has fewer pins.
They both plug into the mobo like so. Plug the power cable in later.
This is my graphics card, an XFX 7600GT.
First off, remove a PCI-E x16 slot cover from the back of the case. The x16 slot is the long one.
Next, just slot the metal edge of the card in just like the one that you took out was, and screw it in.
Make sure all the pins at the bottom of the card are properly in, like so.
If your graphics card requires extra power, it will have a power plug in the position I have marked in the following photo, and it will need a power cable plugged into it like the one in the following photo.
Now we can put in the power supply! The red button on the PSU must be adjusted first though, so it will work properly with the electricity in your country. For me, it's on 230, but it may be different in America. Check your PSU manual for details.
Insert your PSU so it is on these ledges in your case, and screw it in with all the screws needed to hold it securely.
Now plug in all power cables necessary for the optical drives, floppy drive, and hard drives.
Then you need to plug in the main power cable to the mobo.
Attach the small 4 pin connector to the top part of the plug on the mobo, then stick in the bigger 20 pin plug. You also need another 4 pin plug to stick into your mobo next to those plugs.
Now the last power cable to need is one female molex connector into a male molex plug on your mobo.
Before we can start the computer, we have to hook up the front case cables. These operate the power button, reset button, and LEDs on the front of the case. There should be cables coming out of the front of your case. Now, looking on the motherboard, in the bottom right corner should be little pins, in very small writing there should be written things like power led, and hdd led, etc. There should also be such labeling on the cables mentioned earlier. Plug the corresponding cables into the pins on the motherboard. If your case has front USB, there should also be some USB pins on the motherboard too, so plug those in while you're at it.
Now fire that sucker up! Make sure that all your case fans are spinning, particularly the heatsink. If they aren't, shut down the computer, and connect them up.
The last thing we need to do now, is install the operating system.
Start the computer up, and then when your computer is loading, hit Delete to bring up the motherboard BIOS. It may not be this exact key, if it isn't, it should tell you what one it is in your mobo manual.
Now this screen that you will be at now, is the BIOS. Go to Advanced Bios settings, and find the First Boot Device on that list. Set it to CD-Rom. Set the secondary to Hard Drive. Then, quit and save, and restart your PC. Now stick in your Windows XP CD. The Windows XP setup should start, and just follow the onscreen instructions.
Once it's done, install all your drivers that came with your mobo, graphics card, and anything else that came with your rig.
I know this isn't a very thorough guide, but it is just the basics. If you need to know how to install something that I haven't covered in this guide, just read the manual of the item you're wondering about. It should have installation instructions in it. If you get stuck with anything while building your PC, maybe because I was too vague in my explanation, just refer to your manuals. Most manuals explain how to install things, but most people find it easier with a photo guide of how to do it.
Now all that's left, is to enjoy your newly built PC.
Thanks to my bro for letting me use his camera to take the photos for this guide.
Updated: 5 December 2006