Page 1:Part 1: Component Selection
Page 2:Processor And Graphics Selection
Page 3:Motherboard Options
Page 4:Remember The Memory!
Page 5:Hard Drive Selection
Page 6:Power Supplies And Other Components
Page 7:Part 2: Choosing The Right Vendor
Page 8:Purchase Price
Page 10:Part 3: Putting It All Together
Page 11:Installing The CPU
Page 12:Installing The CPU Cooler
Page 13:Installing The Power Supply And Motherboard
Page 14:Installing Other Components
Page 15:Motherboard Cable Installation
Page 16:Device Cable Installation
Page 17:Final Words
Motherboard Cable Installation
The latest ATX standard uses a 24-pin connector previously found on server-sized EPS power supplies, but most motherboards don't require all 24 pins. The below example shows how a 20-pin plug fit into a 24-pin socket; the wide latch is designed to work with either 20-pin or 24-pin plugs.
Reasons for 24-pin power include added amperage supplied to PCI Express slots compared to older interface standards. While most cards won't overdraw a 20-pin connector, graphics card makers have suggestions for minimum available power.
The 4-pin or 8-pin ATX 12V connector satisfies the electrical demands of the CPU. Formerly known as the "P4" power connector, it was added by Intel to supplement its Pentium 4 cores, and later adapted by AMD motherboard designers. The newer 8-pin versions were originally meant to address phenomenally power-hungry Pentium D and Prescott-based Pentium 4 processors, but many modern AMD and Intel processors are efficient enough to once again work from 4 pins. Most 8-pin boards will work with both 8-pin and 4-pin power, as the connectors are cross-compatible.
Also seen in the photo above is a 4-pin CPU fan power connector and the Front Panel Audio connector. Onboard 4-pin fan connectors are designed to provide pulse width modulation (PWM) automatic speed control, but the connectors are once again cross-compatible with 3-pin fans. Check your motherboard manual for instructions on the Front Panel Audio connection.
The case's power switch and indicator light, reset switch, and hard drive light are usually connected at the motherboard's lower front corner. LEDs pass current in only one direction, and positive pins (indicated by a "plus" sign below) normally connect to the colored wire on each lead. A black or white lead wire usually indicates negative or ground state.
USB connectors have been standardized for several years. The missing pin location is blocked by most front-panel USB connectors to assure that the connector is polarized correctly. A reversed connection would damage the motherboard, so 4-pin, 8-pin, or single-row internal break-out cables require special care. The missing pin indicates the negative/ground end of the connector.
- 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