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How to Build a Computer [Part 2 of 3] (Page 2/4)

Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Posted: February 17, 2000
Click here for Part 1 of this guide

Click here for Part 2 of this guide

Click here for Part 3 of this guide

Installing your Processor and RAM

While the tray is still outside the chassis, you will want to install the processor and RAM. Depending on the type of processor, installation may be slightly different. Slot based processors are simply inserted into the slot on the motherboard (firmly) and then locked in place using the plastic guides. Socket based chips (your stereotypical processors from the golden age that are making a comeback) are slightly more complicated. All the chips now use the ZIF standard (Zero Insertion Force), so you don't bend any of the pins. To install first release the socket lock using the gray lever next to the socket, then align the pins with the holes on the socket and insert. You shouldn't have to push at all, just guide. Once the chip is in place (if it doesn't go in, you don't have the chip aligned properly... you can only install it one way), re-lock the socket by replacing the lever to its original position.

If you are using a slotkey, you have an even more complicated procedure. However, to put it simply, first attach the processor to the slotkey, and then insert the slotkey into the slot on the motherboard. Depending on the model, you may or may not be able to lock the slotkey in place.

Now you are going to need to install the fan/heatsink. On the socket based processors take the heatsink and find the white pad on the bottom. Line that up with the processor. Then attach the metal "strap" to the bottom of the socket (the thin part of the strap) and push down on the other portion of the strap until it clicks under the other side of the socket. Then plug the fan into the built-in fan power port on the motherboard (it should have three pins). To install the heatsink/fan on a slot based processor, you should be able to simply slide it into the processor guide with the processor. Then plug the fan into the fan power port. Note: if you are installing a non-standard CPU cooler, you may need to do other specific operations to properly install the cooler.

Now, installing the RAM is relatively simple. This is because there has been one slot standard for RAM, and that is pretty much the only one being used anymore. To install a SIMM/DIMM (SDRAM), all you need to do is push out the two locks on the side of the slot, align the off-center slot with the notch in the RAM, and slide it in. Once you have fit the RAM into its slot, push down on one side until the lock snaps up, and then do the other. Make sure the RAM is firmly in place, and then move on.

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