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

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 Add-in Cards

Depending on how your motherboard tray was designed, you may or may not have to reinstall your motherboard tray to install add-in cards.

To install an add-in card, make sure that the slot you are installing it into has had its cover removed. Then firmly insert the card into the slot and push down until the "goldfinger" on the card is fully inserted into the slot. Then attach the front plate to the case using a screw so that the card doesn't move around. Remember that PCI slots 1&3 and 2&4 share IRQs, and that slot 5 shares an IRQ with the USB controller, so if your system's BIOS doesn't support manually determining IRQs for PCI slots (most Athlon boards and some cheaper PII boards), you won't want to have your cards sharing IRQs.

For more in-depth information on installing add-in cards, you can check out my how to guide on the subject. It goes into this topic in much greater detail than I have here.

Cable Cleanup

No matter what kind of case you have, you will have to install your motherboard tray eventually. However, before you do that, you may want to do some cable binding. This consists of more tightly binding your power cables so that they don't go all over the place and are easier to work with. You can do that with the lock-ties I recommended earlier. Just snip off the loose ends once the cables are bound. You won't be able to do this with the twisty ties, but for the next part you will be able to use either.

Count out the number of power connectors you are going to need for your drives and fan, and separate them out from the rest. Then bind the rest of the cables together and attach them to an out of the way part of the case (above the power supply if you can). Remember you DO need the ATX power cable available. ;) After you've finished up binding the cables, plug the ATX power cable into the motherboard. It's simple enough, you can only put it in one way, and it should click into place.

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