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How to Build a Computer [Part 3 of 3] (Page 1/4)

Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Posted: February 18, 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 Hard Drive, CD-ROM Drive, and Floppy Drive

Installing your IDE and Floppy drives is the next operation you will need to take part in. There are two different ways to install these drives, and which one you use will depend on your case. If you are using an old or inexpensive case, you may have to fasten the drives directly to the case using screws. However, if you are using a case such as the 6890A, you will be able to use standard drive rails to attach the drives. Simply screw the rails to the drive (make sure you leave enough headroom for the external drives so you don't have to reach into the case to insert a disk) and slide the rails into the case. Depending on the rails you have, you may or may not have to fasten the rails using screws.

Now it's time to plug them in. Start off with the power cables. Idealy, each drive should have its own line straight to the power supply, but that isn't realistic for most people. If you do have to share, here's the best way to go - let the CD-ROM and Floppy drive share the same power cord and let the hard drive have its own cable. Oh, and make sure you leave one of the cables for any fans you need to plug into the power supply - they create a large amount of electrical noise and shouldn't be daisy-chained onto your drives. If you have two hard drives, you can use the same source cable for those, as they don't create any electrical interference that could disrupt operation.

Next, you need to plug in your floppy and IDE cables. The floppy drive needs to be plugged into the end of its cable, and you should follow the same plan with your IDE cables, particularly if you intend on installing a secondary slave later on - the slave drive creates interference if it is plugged on the end of the cable because it is always "fighting" for bandwidth. Now that those cables are plugged in, connect your analog I/O cable to your CD-ROM drive and sound card. If you would like more information on installing IDE drives, check out our Hard Drive installation guide and our Optical Drive installation guide.

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