Building Your Own PC

To build your PC from scratch you will need to purchase all the necessary hardware. The first thing you must consider before you start to shop around for your PC hardware is the specification of the hardware. You should think about what you are going to use your PC for, before buying fancy expensive hardware. Otherwise you will end up buying hardware which offers advance features that may not be necessary for your needs and end up wasting your money. For example, you may be using your PC for word-processing, spreadsheet and browsing the web. You would not gain much benefit by purchasing an advance 3D graphics card or having a top of the range processor. A simple graphics card and a mid-range processor will satisfy your needs.

Below is a list of all the hardware required to build your system except the obvious requirement, keyboard and mouse. The purpose of each is hardware is explained along with some guidance to help you choose your hardware. Select the required hardware for more information.

  • Tower or Desktop Casing with Power Supply
  • Motherboard
  • Processor
  • Memory Card
  • Graphics Card
  • Sound Card
  • Modem
  • LAN Card / NIC
  • Floppy Disk Drive
  • Hard Disk
  • CD/DVD Rom
  • PC Speakers
  • Monitor

Optional Extras

  • CD/DVD Writer
  • Blu Ray Writer
  • TV Tuner Card
  • Printer/Scanner
  • UPS
  • Web Camera
  • Headset

Select your work area and tools before starting to build your PC

Before starting to build your new PC, there are a number of things you need to do, such that work can proceed smoothly without too much interruption. Follow these steps before moving on to the next section.

Work Area

Find a large, clean, well-lit work surface which has two or more mains power outlets nearby (RCD protected, if possible.) You will need space for your monitor, keyboard and mouse and to lay your case on its side, such that you can fit the components etc.

Tools

Collect together the necessary tools nearby, such that they are close to hand. It is advisable at this stage to set up your anti-static precautions.

Equipment

Make a collection of all your new components (still in their packaging) and place them nearby, ready for use.

Set Up

Unwrap and carefully place your monitor (on its stand) on the work surface, such that you can clearly view the screen. Be careful when lifting monitors as they can be extremely heavy. Ask someone for help if necessary.

Retrieve the power and signal (if supplied loosely) cables from the packaging and fit them to the monitor as instructed by its manual. Do the same with the keyboard, mouse and speakers (if you have them) such that they are ready to be used later on.

Do not connect any devices to the mains power outlet yet.

Prepare your PC case before installing and connecting the components

Unpack the PC case and place it right way up on the work surface (if it does not have a PSU already fitted, unpack your separate PSU and place it carefully on the work surface.) Find the mains cable for the PSU, but do not plug it in just yet.

Opening the Case

Check your case instructions to determine how to remove the outer casing (or in some styles, side cover panel). This should give you clear access to the inside such that you can fit all your new equipment. Once this is done, carefully lay the case on its side, so that the opening faces up.

Fitting the PSU (if necessary)

You will notice at the rear of the case there will be a large hole (at the top in most cases). You will need to install the PSU, such that the fan outlet and power socket on the PSU will face outward and the power connectors all hang loosely inside the case.

The example on the right demonstrates a correctly fitted PSU. Notice the four fixing screws (circled in red) that hold the PSU in place. It is also important to make sure that any 'ventilation openings' on the PSU case itself, face toward the inside of the PC case. The PSU has a secondary function: to draw hot air out of the PC case and push it out of the back.

Explore the various screws and fixings usually supplied with a new PC case

The Fitting Kit, that should be supplied with the case, will have a number of items in it (most of which should be explained by the PC case instructions.)

It is important to familiarize yourself with the difference between commonly used PC screws, as equipment can be damaged if the incorrect type of screw is used. If it does coarse-threaded PC screwnot screw in easily, it may be the wrong kind.

Coarse-Threaded Screw

Count the 'ridges' down the stem of the screw, coarse-threaded screws will fine-threaded PC screwhave around four or five turns.

Fine-Threaded Screw

Tricky to count, but will have around ten or eleven turns and is slightly smaller.

A brass motherboard 'standoff' or 'spacer'Standoffs / Spacers

Configuration 'jumper' capThese will prevent the back of the motherboard coming into contact with the metal mounting plate inside the PC Case.

Configuration Jumpers

Small plastic caps that can be placed across two pins to set hardware options.

PC fan fixing screwFan Screws

Larger in diameter and having a more coarse thread than the standard screws, these are used to attach fans to the PC Case.

In all our instructions, we will try to help you use the correct kind of screw as per our experience. However, due to the enormous variety of PC devices we cannot guarantee that we will be correct in guessing the fixing type.

It is important not to force a screw fixing or over tighten it. If, when fixing a device, the screw does not rotate smoothly into place or gives any resistance to the movement, try another screw or another type of screw.

Technical Tip: Screws fasten clockwise and unfasten anti-clockwise. To prevent 'cross threading' (when the screw thread damages the fixing hole and continually spins) try rotating the screw anti-clockwise a couple of turns, applying light pressure, until you feel or hear a slight 'click' this will indicate that the threads are aligned and that you can safely proceed to fasten the screw.

Completing the Case preparations

If you have not already done so, fit the PSU to the PC case using coarse threaded screws from the fixings kit.With the PSU fitted, attach the power cable to the PSU.

Do not connect the other end to the mains supply yet.

Fitting the motherboard inside your PC Case

With the PC Case ready, collect together the 'fixings' kit and follow these steps.

Unpack the Motherboard. You will notice that it is packaged in a special bag (usually black or silver in color.) This is a special anti-static bag. Try to keep the motherboard inside this bag until it is needed.


A good quality motherboard will be supplied with a User Manual, driver disk/CD and all the cables you will need to configure your PC, including a Floppy Drive cable, one or more IDE cables and where supported, one or more Serial-ATA cables. In addition, you should also receive an IO Shield which can be fitted into the PC Case to match the connectors on the motherboard.


You will notice, in various places on the motherboard, there are small holes with bare metal 'rings' around them. These can be used to fix the motherboard to the inside of the PC Case.

Warning

Under no circumstances should the motherboard be mounted such that the back of the board is in contact with the metal case. This will cause a short-circuit and could damage the motherboard.

Find the corresponding points inside the case and fit the standoffs as appropriate to allow you to screw the motherboard into place. The standoffs should raise the motherboard around half an inch off the metal mounting plate, preventing a short-circuit.

Look closely at the Motherboard shown here. You will notice a collection of coloured 'blocks' along the top right edge. These are the connectors for the Keyboard, Mouse, USB etc. The Motherboard should always be fitted such that these are accessible to the rear of the case.

Installing PCI/AGP/PCI-Express adapter cards into your PC

Now that the Motherboard is fitted, we can proceed to install the adapter cards.

Note: If your motherboard has video and/or sound adapters built in, you may skip this step as necessary.

You will notice at the back of the PC Case, there are a number of thin strips of metal held in by a screw. These are Blanking Plates. In order to fit adapter cards (video / sound cards etc.) it is necessary to remove these plates as necessary. At this stage, it is wise to remove all of them, and store them nearby.

On the Motherboard itself you will see a number of plastic 'slots' with very small metal pins inside as shown below:

PCI Express

AGP

PCI

ISA

 Note that these are the standard colors, but color may vary on newer motherboards.

PCI-Express and AGP Slots are only for Video cards. PCI slots can be used for any suitable adapter card, as can ISA slots, although ISA is gradually being phased out and will not be available in newer PC's.

Unpack your adapter card taking extra care to handle it by the edges and not touching any of the components. You will notice that it has a plate at one end very similar to the blanking plates as discussed earlier.

It should be possible to gently push the card into the matching slot, such that the plate on the card fits into one of the blanking plate holes at the back of the PC Case. You can then use the original screw that held in the blanking plate to secure the card to the case.

Repeat this procedure as necessary with any other adapter cards you may have, and complete the task by refitting blanking plates in any holes that are unoccupied by cards.

Fitting a socket-type CPU, heatsink and fan to a PC motherboard

By now you will have successfully fitted your motherboard and installed your Adapter Cards. The Processor and Memory can now be installed as follows.

Unpack the CPU (Central Processing Unit). Make sure at this stage that you have your anti-static measures in place and even briefly make contact with both hands on the metal of the case to make sure. Try not to touch any exposed metal pins or components.

'Socket' type CPU and connector

'Socket' type connectorIf you take a look at both the CPU pins and the holes in the socket you will see that in one or more corner there are some missing pins (examine the upper and lower right corners of the white socket in the picture below.) This is the 'keying' method for this type of CPU.

'Socket' type CPUNote the darker, 'core' area on the CPU, where the heat is generated.

(If your CPU doesn't look like this then it is probably a Slot-Type CPU)

Gently lift the free end of the 'arm' on the edge on the socket until it stands upright. Align the 'missing CPU pins' with the 'missing socket holes' and carefully drop the CPU into the socket.

Be very careful not to bend any of the CPU pins. They are extremely delicate, and should one be moved out of alignment, it will not be possible to fit the CPU.

Check that the CPU sits perfectly flat onto the socket and is not raised at any corner. Lower the arm again to return it to its original position. The socket will grip the CPU pins and lock it in place.

Warning
Never power up the PC without the CPU cooler attached!
Coolers for modern processors will require some form of heat transfer material on the underside. This may be in the form of a small 'pad' about 1 or 2mm thick. This will help the heat to dissipate from the CPU core to the cooler.
Be sure to check the instructions that come with your cooler, as in some cases, a thin protective film will need to be removed prior to fitting the cooler to the CPU. Failure to do so will cause the CPU to overheat very quickly and destroy itself.
If this pad is not present, it may be necessary to use a thermal paste. Market leaders,
Arctic Silver offer excellent step-by-step instructions for applying thermal paste.

Carefully, attach the CPU cooler (it will clip onto the lugs on either side of the socket) and connect the power wiring as necessary (see Internal Cabling section for help.)

Installing RAM sticks into the slots on the motherboard in your PC

Unpack the RAM (Random Access Memory). Make sure at this stage that you have your anti-static measures in place and even briefly make contact with both hands on the metal of the case to make sure. We are going to make the assumption that since your Motherboard is likely to be fairly new, you will using DIMM memory. Do not worry if you are using SIMMs. The procedure is exactly the same. Note, however, that SIMMs must be installed in pairs.

a Dual In-line Memory ModuleAs with the CPU's and Adapter cards, DIMMs have a 'keying' system. Check with the Motherboard manual to find the first slot (usually slot 0) and fill the slots in numerical order as appropriate.

Motherboard DIMM SlotsA DIMM module and slots

DIMM insertion is a simple case of pushing the small white retaining clips slightly outwards, then inserting the DIMM (with aligned key positions) into the slot. You will know when it is fully inserted as the retaining clips will automatically move into position and secure the DIMM.

Floppy Disk DriveFitting a floppy disk drive inside your PC Case

The next step is to install your data storage devices.

Unpack the FDD (Floppy Disk Drive). Make sure at this stage that you have your anti-static measures in place and even briefly make contact with both hands on the metal of the case to make sure.

You will notice, on the front panel of your PC case, there is an opening the same size as the floppy drive's front panel (if there is a plastic cover plate fitted, just gently push it out from behind.)

Slide the floppy drive into the opening backwards such that its front panel becomes flush with the front of the PC case. Clear any obstructions to this insertion from inside the case if necessary.

Once fully inserted, there should be some fixing holes inside the case such that you can secure the floppy drive to the case. Use the fine threaded screws for this.

Fitting a hard disk drive inside your PC Case

Unpack the HDD. Make sure at this stage that you have your anti-static measures in place, and even briefly make contact with both hands on the metal of the case to make sure.

IDE Hard Drives

Locate the IDE Configuration Pins on the HDD. These can usually be found next to the power and data connections, and will be a group of six or eight small pins with a small plastic 'jumper' attached between two of the pins. If this is to be the only HDD in your PC, then set this to Master. Alternatively, if this is to be an additional HDD then it must be set to Slave.

S-ATA Hard Drives

If you have a S-ATA (Serial-ATA) drive then no configuration should be necessary, as only one S-ATA drive can be connected to each S-ATA connector on the motherboard.

The Hard Drive differs from the Floppy Drive in that it is usually inserted from within the PC case. On one end of the Hard Drive will be the sockets for connecting the cables. This end must point into the case such that the cables can be connected later on.

Gently slide the Hard Drive into the bay that now holds the floppy drive above. Move the drive around until you find the fixing points. You may need to clear any obstructions to this insertion from inside the case if necessary.

Once inserted, use the coarse-threaded screws to secure the drive to the case.

Setup multiple IDE Hard Drives and CD/DVD drives in your PC, including SATA drives

A configuration 'Jumper' capPrimary, Secondary, Master, Slave?

Generally, a Motherboard will have two IDE sockets, 'Primary IDE' (or IDE0) and 'Secondary IDE' (or IDE1)

You can connect up to two devices to each IDE connector using a suitable cable. Since the computer can only 'talk' to one device at a time, each device is given a 'priority', Master (High Priority) or Slave (Low Priority)

A common IDE configurationOn IDE devices, priority is configured using a small 'Jumper' cap (pictured left). A small metal clip inside the cap will connect the two pins it covers and configure the hardware.

Basic IDE drive configuration

A basic PC will have one HDD and one CD-ROM and may be configured as shown to the right. To achieve maximum performance from each device, they are both configured as Master.

Any additional devices to be connected to each cable should be configured as Slave.

An extended IDE configurationNote
The HDD configured as Primary-Master (the Master HDD on the Primary IDE Cable) is usually known as the Boot drive. It is this drive that the PC will 'talk' to first to load the Operating System software.

An extended IDE configurationAdding extra IDE drives

This diagram demonstrates how it is possible to add further devices. In this case, an extra HDD and a CD-Writer has been added. Since there was already a Master device on each cable, each additional device is configured as Slave.

Of course it is perfectly acceptable to connect a CD-ROM as Primary-Slave or a HDD as Secondary-Master or Secondary-Slave, but Primary-Master should ideally be a HDD for best performance.

What about configuring Serial-ATA Devices?

Happily, Serial-ATA Devices do not require configuration of this kind, as it is only possible to connect one Serial-ATA device to a Serial-ATA connector on the motherboard, so each Serial-ATA device is essentially 'master' on each Serial-ATA channel.

Fitting a CD or DVD Drive inside your PC Case

CD-ROM driveUnpack the CD-ROM. Make sure at this stage that you have your anti-static measures in place, and even briefly make contact with both hands on the metal of the case to make sure.

Using the IDE Configuration Pins set this device as a Master. In some cases, particularly with DVD or CD-Writers, it is necessary to select Slave for best performance.

As with the floppy drive, you will notice, on the front panel of your PC case, there is an opening the same dimensions as the front panel (if there is a plastic cover plate fitted, just gently push it out from behind.) Slide the CD-ROM into the opening backwards such that its front panel becomes flush with the front of the PC case.

Once fully inserted, there should be some fixing holes inside the case such that you can secure the CD-ROM drive to the case. Use the 'fine threaded' screws for this.

Once inserted, use fine-threaded screws to secure the drive to the case.

Reviewing your PC building work so far

PC Font Panel with FDD and CD-ROM fittedWith this section completed, you should be looking at something similar to the picture (right).

Most PC cases will have spare 'bays' such that you can fit further drives (such as a DVD or CD writer) at a later date. In this instance they can be seen as blank plates under the CD ROM.

If you have found that your PC case has no suitably sized fitting for the FDD or you have another device of similar dimensions) it is possible to obtain a 'Fitting Kit' that will enable you to install these devices into a standard CD ROM-size bay.

Connecting the PC Case Front Panel. Connecting the features of the PC Case front panel to the motherboard

With all the hardware installed correctly, follow these steps to connect the internal cabling.

You will have noticed during the previous work, that the PC Case itself has some cables. These are for the Front Panel Display. These are usually labeled as the following;

·      SPK - Speaker - Small speaker mounted in the PC Case

·      PWR SW - Power switch - System power on/off

·      RST SW - Reset switch - Reset system

·      PWR LED - Power LED - Light shows when system is on (usually green)

·      HDD LED - HDD LED - Light shows when system is accessing HDD (usually red)

·      SLP LED - Sleep LED - Light shows when system is suspended (in 'sleep' mode)

Basically, these connectors slide onto a set of grouped pins on the Motherboard. Owing to the many variations of Motherboard, it will be necessary to refer to your Motherboard manual for the connection method of these cables.

Technical Tip

It is worth noting that a speaker or switch cable can be connected both ways round and work perfectly well, while an LED (Light Emitting Diode) cable must be connected the right way round to function properly. If an LED fails to light when it should, reverse the connection.

Floppy Drive data cableConnecting a Floppy Disk drive to the motherboard

Use this cable to connect the Floppy Disk Drive to the Motherboard. There should be a 'twist' in the cable next to one of the connectors. This indicates that this connector is for the first floppy drive in the system (Drive A:) Since we only have one Floppy Drive, this is it. Also, the Pink colored wire in the 'ribbon' indicates Pin 1.

On the back of our installed Floppy Drive (use a flashlight/torch if necessary) we can see a set of 34 pins onto which this cable will fit. However, to ensure that it is correctly fitted, we must locate pin 1 (the pink line), and fit the cable such that the pink line is on the left hand side as we look directly at the back of the floppy drive.

Once this connection is made, locate a similar socket on the motherboard (black, 34-pin socket) and connect the other end of the Floppy Drive cable to this socket. The Motherboard-end connection will be easier to make as it is usually 'keyed' to ensure correct connection.

Connecting the CD/DVD drive

A standard ATA33 IDE cableAlmost exactly the same procedure is used here to connect the CD-ROM. Take the wider, '40way Ribbon' cable and connect one end (either will do - no twist this time) to the 40 pin connector on your CD-ROM. Note this time that the pink line must be next to where the CD-ROM Power connector is located. The Power connector on the CD-ROM is a deep white socket with 4 big pins inside.

Once the connection to the CD-ROM is made, locate the specific connector on the Motherboard for Secondary IDE. Your Motherboard manual will help you find this. In this case, the CD-ROM must be connected to the Secondary IDE socket. Again, the connector will be 'keyed' for correct alignment.

A CD Audio cableFinally, if you have a sound adapter in your system, don't forget to connect the CD-audio cable. Don't worry if you don't have one, your local PC hardware store should have plenty. Simply connect one end of the cable to the back of the CD-ROM, next to the IDE cable, then connect the other end to your soundcards 'CD-IN' connector. If your Motherboard has on-board audio, the 'CD-IN' connector will be located on the Motherboard somewhere. Check the Motherboard manual for its location.

80way IDE ribbon cableConnecting a Hard Disk Drive. Connecting a Hard Disk drive to the motherboard

IDE Hard Disk Drives

If your Hard Drive is what is known as 'ATA33' type, then it is connected in exactly the same way as the CD-ROM.

If, however, you have an 'ATA66/100' type, then the connection procedure is still the same, but the ribbon cable must be a special '80way' kind. '80way ATA66/100' cables look similar to their 'ATA33' counterparts, but have 80 wires instead of 40. They often have color-coded connectors as follows;

·      Blue connector - to Motherboard

·      Grey connector - to 'Slave' Device

·      Black connector - to 'Master' Device

Note that connector colors may vary depending on manufacturer.

S-ATA ribbon cable connectorIn both cases, it is important to note that the Hard Drive IDE cable must be connected to the Primary IDE connector on the Motherboard if it is to be the main/only HDD in the PC.

S-ATA Hard Disk Drives

Alternatively, if your Hard Drive is a S-ATA type, then the connections will be quite different. S-ATA uses a much thinner ribbon cable. New S-ATA compatible motherboards will usually have some S-ATA ribbon cables supplied in the box, ready for use.

Use one of these to connect each S-ATA Hard Drive to the motherboard connector as instructed by the motherboard manual.

small power connectorConnecting power from the PSU to each of the PC components

large power connectorThese will supply each device in the PC with its power requirements.

Ensure that your PSUs connection to the mains socket is switched off at the wall, and gather up the collection of power cables from the PSU.

Each device will have its own power connector which will receive a cable from the PSU. The HDD and CD-ROM will generally use a large connector each and the FDD will usually use a small connector.

S-ATA power connectorIf you have any other devices which require power, remember to connect these also.

S-ATA Hard Drives

An IDE to S-ATA power adapterIf you have any S-ATA Hard Drives in your PC, the you'll need to connect power to these also. The S-ATA standard uses a special power connector (pictured right). Newer PSUs may already have the special S-ATA power connectors, but older units will not.

Some S-ATA Hard drives allow you to use either a standard large PC connector or special S-ATA connector (but not both at the same time.) If your S-ATA Hard Drive only accepts the special power connector and your PSU doesn't have one, then you can use an IDE to S-ATA power adapter (pictured left.)

AT power connectorConnecting the Main Power Cable. Connecting the PSU to the motherboard

Once everything else is connected up, we can go ahead and make the final connection - providing power directly to the Motherboard itself.

Ensure that your PSU is disconnected from the mains wall socket, and locate the main power connector cable from the PSU.

AT power socketATX Power connectors

Newer type of power connector found on ATX power supplies

The ATX-style connector is 'keyed' and should 'clip' into place when correctly seated.

AT Power connectors

ATX power connectorThe older of the two, this 'double' connector is found on AT-type power supplies

ATX power socketIn the case of the AT-type connector, make sure that the four black wires go side-by-side in the centre of the two connectors as they are fitted to the socket.

Congratulations!
If you have successfully completed the steps so far, you have built your own PC! All that remains is to connect it up and test it...

Connecting a monitor and speakers to your PC

Having completed your new PC, take some time to go back over your work in the previous steps, and check that all your connections are correctly aligned and secure, and that your CPU, RAM and cards are all secure in their fixings. A thorough check here can save a lot of frustration later on.

15-way VGA connectorProceed now by connecting the remaining devices, such that you can power up and test the new machine. Position the PC case such that you have clear access the sockets/connectors at the back.

Monitor signal cable

DVI connectorTake the Monitor display cable, and connect it to the suitable connector on the Video Card back plate. Use the cable screws if necessary to fully secure the cable. Do not worry about other connectors on the Video card at this stage.

stereo audio jackSpeakers (if you have them)

Connect this to the 'SPK' socket. It can be found either on your sound card, or if your Motherboard has a sound card built-in, refer to its manual for the correct method of connection.

A PS/2 style keyboard connectorConnecting a keyboard and mouse to your PC

Keyboard

An AT style keyboard connectorDetermine the type of keyboard you have and its associated socket. Your Motherboard manual will instruct you on its proper connection. As previously encountered with PC connections, these are 'keyed'. Do not force the connector or the pins may break.

 

 

 

Serial mouse connectorMouse

PS/2 mouse connectorDetermine the type of mouse you have and its associated socket. Your Motherboard manual will instruct you on its proper connection. Again, these are 'keyed'. Some care in connection is required.

Switching on, booting and testing your newly-built PC for the first time

It's time to see if all the hard work paid off. If you didn't check over your work at the beginning of the last section, now is definitely the time.

Carefully move your PC case around so that you can clearly see the front panel again. At this point, take some time to clear to one side all your tools, loose parts and packaging, so that you have room to move the keyboard and mouse into the main area of the work surface.

Check the mains power cables to your monitor, PC Case (and speakers if necessary) are plugged in and ready and switch them on at the wall. The PC case should not power on at this point, if it does, simply press (and if necessary, hold for a few seconds) the POWER button on the front panel until it switches off.

Switch on the Monitor (check the manual for help with this if necessary.) The Monitor should show some indication of being 'on' by displaying a small green/amber light on the front panel.

Press the 'POWER' button on the PC case

If there are any loud or disturbing noises at this point disconnect the power at the wall socket immediately and refer to the Troubleshooting section below.

What should happen

Check that the CPU fan is spinning to prevent heat damage to the CPU. You should be able to hear the faint 'rushing' noise of some fans and the noise of the HDD spinning up.

The 'power' light on the PC case should illuminate and the HDD light may flicker a little.

After a few seconds, the Monitor will begin to display various texts and eventually stop at a message similar to - Unable to load Operating system - or similar.

This is an excellent response and demonstrates that the system is ready to have the Operating System installed.

If things went wrong

Disconnect the PC completely from the mains supply and refer to the Troubleshooting section  below.

 New PC Troubleshooting

Fix common problems with newly-built PCs

Chances are, if you are reading this then something is not quite right with your new PC. Don't worry. It is unlikely that there is something seriously wrong.

Select from this list of possible problems and some suitable suggestions will be given. "After I pressed the Power button..."

Nothing happened

·      Check mains plug switched on at wall

·      PSU may have its own power switch - check this is on

·      Check PSU-to-Motherboard cable(s) are correctly connected

·      Check front panel power switch is correctly connected

·      Check Reset button is not stuck 'in'

·      Check mains cable fuse

There was a loud bang (possibly with smoke) at the back of the PC Case

·      PSU was faulty or set to incorrect voltage for mains supply system. Replace PSU

PC is on but monitor shows no display and a sequence of beeps emits from the PC

·      Check fitting of CPU, RAM, Video card, sound card etc. If necessary, remove and refit these components

·      Check the motherboard manual and perform a BIOS reset procedure

·      This may indicate a faulty motherboard

PC is on but monitor shows no display and one beep emits from the PC

·      Check monitor is switched on at the wall socket

·      Check monitor power cable is connected correctly

·      Check that the monitor's signal cable is connected correctly to both the PC and Monitor

·      Check that the monitor is switched on at its front panel

·      This may indicate a faulty video card

PC is on but there are no power and/or HDD lights on the PC case front panel

·         Check correct connection of front panel connectors to the motherboard (see motherboard manual)

·         This 'may' indicate a faulty Motherboard

PC is on but HDD does not spin up

·      Check power connector to HDD is properly connected

·      Check IDE ribbon cable is correctly connected to both Motherboard and HDD

·      This may indicate a faulty Hard Drive

PC is on but CD-ROM shows no lights/will not eject tray

·      Check power connector to CD-ROM is properly connected

·      Check IDE ribbon cable is correctly connected to both Motherboard and CD-ROM

·      This may indicate a faulty CD-ROM Drive

PC is on but the CPU fan/fans do not spin

·      Disconnect the power immediately to prevent damage to the CPU from overheating

·      Check fan power cables are correctly connected to the relevant power connector (in most cases, a motherboard FAN connector or one of the PSU power connectors)

·      Disconnect the power and carefully spin the fan blades with a finger. If there is any resistance to this movement, this may indicate a faulty fan unit

On boot up, the monitor shows corrupted display

·      Check seating of CPU, RAM, Video card, sound card etc. If necessary, remove and refit these components

·      Check the motherboard manual and perform a BIOS reset procedure

·      This may indicate a faulty Motherboard or Video card

On boot up, display shows incorrect CPU type/speed

·      Check the motherboard manual for the appropriate CPU jumper settings (where applicable)

·      Check BIOS settings for CPU type (see Motherboard Manual)

·      Perform a BIOS reset procedure

·      Perform a BIOS update (with an updated BIOS, the Motherboard may support your CPU)

·      This may indicate a faulty/old motherboard

On boot up, display shows incorrect RAM total

·      Check correct seating of Memory Modules in slots

·      In cases of two or more modules, this may indicate a faulty module

·      This may indicate a faulty/old motherboard

On boot up, display shows - FDD/Keyboard/Mouse not found (or similar)

·      Check correct connection of device described, In the case of the FDD, check its ribbon and power connections

·      Check that the BIOS is configured correctly for the device described

·      This may indicate a fault with the described device or Motherboard

 

 

  • View the three videos below on PC Assembly  and explore the step-by-step process of building your own PC.
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