How to Install a Motherboard: 2017 QuickStart Guide

Note: For MUCH more detail on installing a motherboard (and all your other parts) including quality images from our most recent real-life build to make it easier for you to follow along, check out our complete How to Build a Gaming PC in 2017 eBook.

Learn the basics of how to install a motherboard quickly and easily with the following steps. Motherboard installation is usually a straightforward process, but some aspects can be confusing such as having the standoff screws aligned in the right places and connecting power cables in the correct alignment. It's always a good idea to have your motherboard manual handy during the installation to check any specifics for your particular mode.

1. Prepare Case & Surrounds

First things first, you should prepare your computer case if you haven't already. Remove the cover and place it on a desk or other non-conductive surface. Make sure you have enough lighting in the room and are either grounded manually or are wearing an anti-static wrist band.

2. Prepare Standoffs

Some PC cases come with motherboard standoffs pre-installed, but if yours doesn't then you'll need to install them yourself. Standoffs are screws in your case which your motherboard will sit on top of in order to keep a little distance between your case and your installed motherboard. This is for safety reasons so that your motherboard doesn't rest directly on your case.

3. Prepare Motherboard

Your motherboard should be contained in a special anti-static bag. If you're ready to install the motherboard now, you can remove it carefully from the bag handling it by its metal edges.

4. Install Motherboard

Now you can place your motherboard into the case, which is fairly straightforward to do. You can either do this AFTER having installed your CPU and RAM onto your motherboard, or BEFORE installing these parts. Either method can work, but installing your CPU and RAM first may be more convenient for you as you have more control over the installation of these parts.

The holes on your motherboard should line up with the mounting screw holes on the case. Make sure you've got it the right way around by checking that all the back panel connectors such as USB ports, mouse/keyboard ports, parallel ports are all facing out towards the back of the case.

Now carefully screw in the motherboard using the screws that came with the case, and be careful not to screw them in too hard. Just a little tightness is needed, but make sure the screws are fully secure though. 

5. Motherboard Connections 

When the board is secured to the case, that's basically all you need to do to install a motherboard, and you can move onto installing your other parts. But don't forget that at some point you'll need to connect your motherboard cables such as the power, connections to the front panel, SATA connections, and perhaps fan connections depending on your build. 

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