Computer Assembly How-to

Author: Dave Kuhlman
Revision: 1.0a
Date: Dec. 26, 2003
Copyright: Copyright (c) 2003 Dave Kuhlman. This documentation is covered by The MIT License:


This document explains how to assemble a computer system built on top of an AMD Athlon CPU and an ECS K7S5A Pro motherboard.

This document explains how to install, set-up, and run
SCGI support for Quixote.


1   Introduction

Assembling your own computer is satisfying and can save money, too. This is especially true if you intend to load Linux on your system, since you will be able to avoid the hidden cost of MS Windows.

This document does not explain everything you need to know. It focuses on a very specific set of hardware components. You will find additional information and guidance in the See Also section below.

Rather than attempting to tell you everything you need to know or to anticipate every problem you might run into, this document gives, instead, a sequence of steps that you can follow along with hints, clues, and advice that I learned during the assembly of my own computer and which I think might be helpful.

2   The Components

Here is what you need to order:

3   Installing the Motherboard

Check the backplane template. It's the plate through which the connectors for the keyboard, mouse, etc show through. The motherboard comes with a replacement template. You may have to replace the one in the case.

Lay the case on its side. Place the motherboard in the case. Make sure that all connectors on the backplane are properly exposed through the backplane template. Fasten with 6 screws.

4   Install the CPU

Make sure that you are grounded.

Open (lift) the CPU socket lever.

Look carefully at the pin arangement on the CPU and the CPU socket. It is constructed so that it only fits one way. Do not force the CPU. It's a zero-force insertion socket.

Lower the CPU socket lever and press in and under to latch it.

Attach the heat sink and fan. The Speeze heat sink and fan comes with pretty good instructions. A few hints:

5   Attach the Power Supply and Other Connectors

The power supply has a single, large, rectangular connector. Insert this in the power connector on the motherboard.

The other connectors from the case are tricky. Look at:

Match the wires from the case to the connectors on the motherboard and connect.

6   Install the Floppy Drive

Place the floppy drive in the case and fasten with 4 screws (though 2 screws are probably enough). You may have to remove a plastic cover cut-out from the case in order to expose the front of the floppy drive.

Connect the floppy to the motherboard. The K7S5A motherboard comes with a floppy drive connector cable. The K7S5A motherboard has a special connector for the floppy drive.

Connect one of the power supply cables to the floppy drive. Notice that the floppy drive power connector (plug) is smaller than those used for hard drives and CD-ROMs.

7   Install the Hard Disk

Set the jumper on the drive (next to the connector) to select "Master". Note for later: If and when in the future you wish to add another hard drive, one way to do so is to set the jumpers on the new hard drive to make it a "Slave" and connect it with the same IDE cable as the first hard drive.

Place the hard disk in the case and fasten with 4 screws (though 2 screws are probably enough).

Connect the hard disk to the motherboard to IDE slot 1. The K7S5A motherboard comes with an IDE connector cable. The motherboard has two sockets (connectors) for IDE devices. They should be labeled "IDE1" and "IDE2".

Connect one of the power supply cables to the hard drive.

8   Install the CD-ROM Drive

Set the jumper on the CD-ROM drive. Here you have a choice. You can either:

Connect one of the power supply cables to the CD-ROM drive.

9   Install the Video Card

Identify the AGP connector slot in the motherboard. Refer to the diagram in the motherboard manual.

Remove the backplane connector cover for the AGP slot.

Press the video card into the AGP slot. Secure it to the back plane with a screw.

10   Try it Out

You should now be ready to give your system a try.

Close the case.

Check to determine that the power selector on the case is set correctly. In the US, at least, it should be at 115V.

Attach connectors to the backplane for your mouse, keyboard, monitor, and power.

Power it up.

Press the Delete key to enter the BIOS setup. Review the BIOS settings. Here are a few that you may want to pay attention to:

11   See Also NewEgg is an especially good place to purchase your components. The NewEgg Web site is very helpful for finding items. And the prices are quite good, too.