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The purpose of this manual is to assist an entry level technician in the safety requirements, process, and design of building a PC. Initially this first section will cover workspace preparation and installation of components such as the motherboard, power supply, CPU and RAM.
Setting up the workspace for the process of building a PC needs to be organized into two separate categories of protection for internal components and protection of you the technician. Threats to the safety of the PC include Electrostatic discharge (ESD) and liquids (Water, soda, alcohol etc.). Electrostatic discharge can easily destroy internal components of the machine during the installation process. In order to circumvent this, we will begin by placing the case and parts on a workbench and placing an anti-static mat in front for the technician to stand on during installation. The technician will stand on the anti-static mat in order to reduce the risk of static accumulation from the workspace through absorption. Additionally, as a precaution the technician is suggested to utilize an anti-static wristband and to remove all jewelry from the body.
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Lastly, remove all beverages from the workspace before and during installation as to ensure that no liquid will get spilled on the internal parts being installed. Liquid can render these parts unusable so it is wise to not risk having them close during the process. Safety threats to the technician include environmental and materials. Proper cable management is necessary during the installation and finished product of building a PC. Loose cables and cables left around on the floor during the process can cause an environmental hazard because either you or a coworker can potentially trip on the equipment resulting is possible bodily harm. Lastly certain types of IT equipment needs to disposed of accordingly and it is highly advised that you consult the Material Safety Data Sheet before working with any component.
Parts (Part 1)
Now that we have the workspace set up we can start to organize the parts necessary for our build. This sections parts will include the motherboard, Power Supply, CPU and RAM. Beginning, gather the Socket 1151 Motherboard, ATX 20+4 pin Power Supply, i5-8600k 3.60 GHZ processor, and the DDR4 8 GB RAM. Place each part neatly and separated on the workbench but with a cautious amount of space from the end of the bench so that no parts will fall off and be damaged during installation. Proper tool procurement should include a screwdriver set, a regular Philips head will work for most but a flathead can become useful as well. Additionally, make sure that there is available thermal paste for the installation of the CPU later in the manual. Picture’s of the parts required are shown below.
- Motherboard, Socket 1151
- Power Supply, ATX 20+4 pin PCIe
- I5-8600k 3.60 GHz Processor
- DDR4 8GB RAM
Below is a layout of a motherboard. Once the Motherboard is installed it is very important to have a base understanding of what connects to the motherboard and where it all goes. This diagram will allow a real time reference to be used during installation as well as study material.
Now that we have our workspace prepared, proper tools and parts organized it is officially time to begin the process of building the PC. Step 1 will be installing the motherboard. Take the ATX case and lay it on its side with the opening facing up towards you the technician. Once the side of case is removed locate the appropriate location for the motherboard. Inside the empty computer it is easy to find the proper placement for the motherboard by looking for the largest open space as well as holes needed for proper lineup of the incoming motherboard. Please refer to the diagrams below for assistance.
Once you have properly located the appropriate placeholder for the motherboard it is time for the install. Carefully remove the motherboard from the package and keep the equipment face up being cautious not to scratch or damage the surface. Gently place the motherboard into its appropriate location while also lining up the screw holes of the motherboard with the case. Now take the correct screws and screwdriver and begin screwing the motherboard into place with case. While grounding the motherboard be very careful to not scratch the motherboard. Scratching the surface of the motherboard can cause irreparable damage to the hardware and render it unusable. Below is a diagram for reference of a finished motherboard installation.
Installing the Powersupply
Now that our motherboard is properly installed and grounded it is time to install the powersupply of the machine. Different cases have different places for where a powersupply will go in a computer, sometimes the powersupply can go above or below the computer. For this particular case our power supply will be located below the motherboard. For installation of the powersupply look back into the open case and locate the open area that is directly underneath the newly installed motherboard. Once you have found this location then set the computer up as it regularly stands, this will make installation of the power supply much easier. Please refer to the diagram below if you need assistance locating the power supply location.
Once the power supply is firmly placed in its appropriate location it is time to mount it. Notice the groves on the outside of the case directly behind where the power supply is sitting? Take the correct screws and begin mounting the Power Supply in place through the grooves on the case. Once the Power supply is placed and mounted in its appropriate location it is now time to connect the power supply itself to the motherboard. Please refer to the steps and instructions below for assistance.
Before we begin the installation process, please locate the following 2 cables attached to the power supply.
- 20 + 4 pin connector
- 8-pin CPU connector
Now that the cables have been located we can begin connecting them. Please refer to the diagram below for assistance in connecting the cables to their appropriate place on the motherboard. Make a note to check that the cables are firmly seated in their appropriate holders. This should be relatively easy considering the shape and design of the connection but a loose cable can cause the PC to fail.
The red arrow indicates placement for the 20+4 pin connector and the blue arrow indicates placement for the 8-pin CPU connector.
Installing the CPU
Installing the CPU is probably the easiest but yet hardest part we have had to install so for in this manual. The CPU is a crucial component of the PC and is to be handled with great care. First we need to locate where on the motherboard exactly our CPU will go. The CPU is located in the slot on the motherboard that really sticks and almost looks like the shape of bread. It is generally to the middle of the motherboard but slightly above the center. Please refer to the diagram below for assistance.
Now that we have located the appropriate spot for the CPU it is time to install it. When handling the CPU be extremely careful as to not damage the pins located on the bottom of the processor. Damage to these pins can and will cause a processor to fail. Grab the CPU by both sides and look at the pins in comparison with the motherboard slot, to install the CPU we need to line these pins up together. Carefully let down the CPU into the slot and allow the pins to naturally line up but do not force it down. If the CPU requires to be forced down then it is not lined up appropriately and you run the risk of damaging the bottom pins.
When the CPU is being installed appropriately then it will not require any force.
Once the CPU is in place then gently lower the lid on top and your CPU installation will be complete. Please refer to diagram below for reference of a completed CPU installation.
Installing the RAM
When installing Random Access Memory (RAM) into a computer the same advice for the CPU is still applied, be very careful with connectors on the bottom as well as the RAM slots on the motherboard. When installing RAM it is best practice to pick the RAM up by its top and not touch the connectors on the bottom. Once you have picked the RAM up observe the bottom connectors for a larger divide or slot, this divide/slot will line up with the motherboard RAM socket. Once you are ready and observed both, go ahead and line up the RAM divide with the motherboard slot and gently press down to insert the RAM into its appropriate location. For this PC we will be installing two RAM sticks into the motherboard, this is called dual-channel mode. Once the first RAM stick is installed go ahead and repeat the process for the second. Be advised that while there indeed needs to be slight pressure in installing the RAM into its place, not much is required so if you continue to force the RAM down then you run the risk of damaging both the motherboard and/or the RAM. Make sure that the RAM snaps into its slot and your installation is complete. Please refer to the diagram below for location assistance.
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