The editorial team here at Tom’s Hardware has supported new PC builders since 1997 with tips, tricks, and sage advice. Our most complete builder’s guide was published back in 2006. Today’s updates add the best of what’s new to what’s tried-and-true.
Traditional Socketed Processors
For the last 15 years, socketed processors have followed a common theme: an arrow on one corner of the CPU aligns to another arrow on the CPU socket. This is the first method manufacturers use to assure proper orientation, but AMD also uses missing pins with blocked socket holes to further prevent improper installation.
CPU pins are easily bent, so a truly impatient builder could successfully force the CPU into the socket the wrong way while smashing pins in the process. With the tension level released as shown, the CPU should literally drop into the socket under its own weight, with no force applied. These are known as "Zero Insertion Force" (ZIF) sockets.
After checking to make sure the CPU is fully inserted, press the tension lever into the horizontal position to lock it in place.
In addition to being marked with an arrow, pinless processors have edge notches to prevent incorrect installation. A load plate holds the CPU tight against its contacts, using a locking lever to apply the load.
After making sure that the CPU is correctly installed as shown above, drop the steel load plate over the CPU and rotate the wire clamp into its locked position.
- Part 1: Component Selection
- Processor And Graphics Selection
- Motherboard Options
- Remember The Memory!
- Hard Drive Selection
- Power Supplies And Other Components
- Part 2: Choosing The Right Vendor
- Purchase Price
- Part 3: Putting It All Together
- Installing The CPU
- Installing The CPU Cooler
- Installing The Power Supply And Motherboard
- Installing Other Components
- Motherboard Cable Installation
- Device Cable Installation
- Final Words