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How to Install a CPU and Heatsink

The most critical part of building your own computer is knowing how to install a CPU and how to install a heatsink. The CPU is the brain of your computer and is the most delicate part. It’s easy to damage, although most CPUs are designed so that they’re nearly impossible to install incorrectly.

Installing a CPU is one of the most important steps in building a PC

The heatsink cools the CPU and keeps it from frying. Heatsinks are fastened to the top of the CPU and sometimes come with an additional substance called “thermal paste.” This is a thin gel that adds an additional layer of cooling. Let’s look at the basic steps for installing the CPU and heatsink.

1. Locate the Processor Socket

Before you can install a CPU you should find the processor socket on the motherboard. This is the square socket with numerous pinholes in it. Lift the lever to the side of this socket so that you can install a CPU into it.

Look closely at the pin pattern on your CPU socket. Notice that there is a diagonal corner where it appears some pinholes are missing. It might appear as a triangular pattern. This is there to help you properly align the CPU to the CPU socket. Carefully grab the CPU by the sides and turn it over to examine the pins at the bottom.

Compare the alignment of your pins with the pattern on your socket and you’ll see that there is only one correct pattern for alignment. Again, it’s virtually impossible to install the CPU incorrectly unless you force it. Make sure that you have the CPU and socket aligned correctly before proceeding onto the next step.

2. Mount the CPU

Once you are sure that the CPU pins and socket pins holes are matched up correctly, you can insert the CPU into the socket. Again, be sure to use that diagonal pin pattern as your guide.

You might meet some resistance as you are pressing down. This is a delicate procedure – and if you’ve never before learned how to install a CPU, you might think you are doing it incorrectly. However, learning how to install computer components takes practice. The resistance is normal. Again, the socket design and CPU pin patterns are designed to match perfectly.

Press down past the resistance point and then the CPU will slide smoothly into the socket. The CPU may make a snapping sound as it slips into the socket. When you’re sure it’s complete, lower the lever at the side of the socket to lock the CPU into the socket.

Check to see if your particular brand of CPU or cooling solution came with a protection plate. If it did, place it above the CPU as explained in your documentation.

3. Apply the Thermal Compound

Next comes the thermal compound. Some people choose to avoid this step altogether, while others who teach on how to install a heatsink swear by it.

Generally a properly designed heatsink will ensure that you may not need a thermal compound. However it doesn’t hurt to be too safe, especially with CPU processor speeds increasing and generating more and more heat. Thermal paste can usually shave off a few extra degrees of hot temperature off of your CPU.

Apply the thermal paste to the areas of the CPU that will make contact with the CPU. Begin by applying a little bit of the gel to the center of the CPU and then gently spreading outward. Don’t apply too much of thermal compound. A little dab will do you. Be sure to spread an even, thin layer of the gel to ensure that there is complete coverage over your CPU.

4. Install the Heatsink

Now we learn how to install a heatsink. This is a very crucial step. If the heatsink is not installed properly it might come loose. Your CPU will overheat and be toast in no time.

Before we explain how to install a heatsink, check to see if your heatsink has a fan separate from the unit. If it does, you’ll need to attach the fan to the heatsink first before attaching the heatsink to the CPU.

When you’re ready, mount the heatsink over your CPU according to the specifications for your manufacturer. The directions will vary. Some heatsinks are installed by requiring you to clamp down on them with levers and attaching them to metal hooks on the motherboard. With other heatsinks you may have to screw the whole unit into the motherboard.

Whatever the procedure, follow it closely and be very careful. If you need to use a screwdriver to install the heatsink you could very easily slip and damage your system components.

5. Install the Heatsink Fan Header and Configure BIOS

The final step in learning how to install a heatsink involves connecting the power leads from the heatsink to their proper headers on the motherboard.

Locate the header for the CPU fan on the motherboard. Then plug the power cable from the heatsink into the fan header on the motherboard. There will be more than one header on the motherboard, so be sure that you pick the right one. Choose the wrong one and your computer might get a power surge that will fry the processor.

Check the documentation that came with your motherboard to properly locate the correct header. Once installed, be sure that it is securely in place.

Afterwards, assuming that the rest of your computer has been installed properly, you can configure the BIOS. The BIOS will need to detect the type and speed of the computer processor that has been installed. Again, the exact procedure will vary depending on the manufacturer; check the documentation that came with your motherboard.


Learning how to install computer components like a CPU and heatsink might seem like a daunting task to someone who’s never done it. However, it’s not as hard as you think. CPUs and heatsinks being made today were designed to fitly snug together with a minimum of fuss.

You don’t need much in the way of mechanical skill and about the only tool you will need is a screwdriver. Yet this is by far the most delicate operation you will perform on your computer. Once you pass this hurdle, everything else will be a breeze.

Important Facts To Know About Computer Maintenance

Read on and find out more about computer maintenance and support. We list down 5 facts to know so that you won’t be at a loss the next time you call for support.

Computer breakdowns are pretty much unavoidable

1. The Original Manufacturer

One of the first things to do when you get a computer breakdown is to call the original manufacturer of your hardware. They will offer service and support through a phone line. Some of them are notoriously difficult to deal with – so be prepared to weather some bad service sometimes.

2. Repair It Yourself

If you’re feeling adventurous and you have the know-how, you can try repairing the PC yourself. In fact, many vendors now give you a choice to repair yourself according to their instructions.

If you really want to learn how to upgrade, maintain or troubleshoot computers, then click here to learn about a great resource.

3. Outsourcing

This point is more relevant to companies. If you own a business, you can consider outsourcing your computer repairs to a vendor or third-party company. Just be careful in dealing with them – make sure that you write up proper contracts and scrutinize their terms and conditions.

4. Look for Your Friends

If you have a friend with good computer background and experience, then you can ask them to upgrade or repair your PC for you. I personally help out with many of the PC problems my friends and relatives have.

5. Remember to Get Names

Oh, one last point. Always remember write down the name of customer support officer speaking to you in a support phone call. You need to reach that same person again if you check some technical fault and need to get back to the company.


Computer breakdowns are irritating and frustrating. What’s important in such situations is to know how to call for support and maintenance. Remember the above points the next time you’re reaching out for computer assistance and hopefully your ordeal will be less painful.

Hard Disks: FireWire Vs. USB

These two technologies are competing to be the best way to connect electronics together. They both began as a connection to your PC or Mac, but they have grown to be a form of data transfer between almost any electrical data storage device. See who is the winner in one of the biggest technological races of this century.

USB first showed up on the map to solve the problem of Plug N’ Play devices. Most devices were, at that time, connected to a computer via a serial port. Serial ports were not intended for such a wide application of uses and it is a relatively slow port. What USB set out to do was to create a standardized plug that can be duplicated easily with adapters and hubs. The result was the same standard port you see today. It is much faster now than its original version, but it has remained as unchanged as a wall socket. When it was introduced, you actually create 144 USB ports from just one source by duplicating it with hubs. Of course, the PC needs to able to handle the software load. USB started popping up on all types of devices from digital cameras to MP3 players. It is now used to even connect devices together with out even using a computer.

Firewire came about shortly after the release of USB. This severely hurt the spread of its use because USB had quickly become a standard for personal computers. It was developed by Apple and released in 1995 on its G3 Power Mac. Apple had the advantage of being the standard computer in the artistic community, so this was the edge that they had on USB. It took a couple of years, but consumer electronics began using Firewire to appeal to the industry that connected video and sound equipment to their Macs. It was also praised for its speed of data transfer. It was nearly impossible to transfer digitized video via USB because it was too slow. Firewire affected the entertainment industry in such a way it won the 2001 Primetime Emmy Engineering Award.

Which technology is better? With the release of USB 2.0, USB has dominated Firewire and almost made it disappear in the PC industry. Mac still embraces it; even cell phones have USB ports on them. USB is now fast, universal and you can actually charge devices like cell phones and iPods through a USB port. Firewire started out with the speed, but USB has pulled ahead in a dominating way.

Building Your Own Computer

Building Your Own ComputerThe world of computers is constantly changing. It is one of the only industries that is different from month to month. If you’re in the market for a new PC, there are continually new options available. To get the best bang for your buck in computer technology, you may want to consider building your own PC.

Those with a little know how in the computer industry can save themselves tons of money by building their own computers. Companies such as Tiger Direct and offer components that can create a top of the line system for a fraction of the cost. These stores offer all of the necessary components that reside in the “case” or main unit of the computer.

These include the motherboard, processor, cooling fans, hard drive, memory, keyboard, mouse, video and sound cards. There are motherboards available with integrated video and sound but not all do.

When you are buying a motherboard, make sure to check whether you will need to buy a separate video and sound card. Also make sure that the motherboard you are buying has extra slots so you can expand your system.

Another key to remember when building your own computer is to make sure all of your components will work together. Manufacturers make specific models to work together, so you may want to buy your parts from just one brand.

If you are going to use your computer to surf the Internet and play computer games you are going to need extra pieces. At minimum you will need an Ethernet card, CD/DVD drives and a graphics card. You can also benefit from gaming ports for joysticks or other game controllers.

The hardest part about building your own PC is installing the motherboard and the Operating System. This is the first step toward creating the unit. You must physically put the components into the case using screws. Begin with the motherboard and then connect your processor. Add the memory into the memory slots and install any necessary drives.

Once you’ve installed the drives, you can put in the install CDs for your operating system. Most PCs will guide you through the set up process to install the operating system. After making sure the operating system is up and running, put in your other devices one at a time.

Although it may be quicker to install all of your additional hardware at once, you want to test each piece as you go to make sure that piece is in good working order.

Even though building your own PC can give you a better computer for less money, the process is not for everyone. As a compromise, computer companies like Dell and Gateway allow their customers to custom build PCs on their website.

A customer can choose from different options regarding speed, memory and special portals. The additional benefit of buying from a company is that the PC is normally under a guarantee. You can also take advantage of technical support. This may be the best option for someone who has extra money to spend to get the custom components that they want.

Cooling Problems: A Five Step Approach

Is your computer a monster? Is it a fire-breathing dragon that can go howling through the latest games, the most intense video, and the heaviest of heavy duty number crunching?

If so, the analogy of fire-breathing dragon to computer may be particularly apt, because the inside of its case can run as hot as blazes. To prevent this, I favor a five step approach.

The first step is perhaps the easiest to deal with. Answer this: what is the room temperature where your computer is located? Cool, perhaps uncomfortably cool for some people, is best. This brings to mind a friend, a skinny, aesthetic fellow, who spends hours running a demanding 3-D animation program on his PC.

He liked a room temperature near 80 degrees, while his computer would have preferred something in the range of 68 or so. Actually, he was shortening the life of his machine by running it under these conditions. Finally, he was persuaded to wear a pullover, and turn the thermostat down. My friend is reasonably content with the compromise, and his computer lives on.

Now, the second step: have you noticed the design of computer desks? How there’s a cubby hole set aside for the computer itself? Usually, a PC will just barely fit into the things.

If you get such a desk, use the cubby hole for instruction manuals, textbooks, put a vase there, anything but a computer. The walls of the cubby hole block air vents, restricting the airflow inside your computer’s case. Hot air pools up, letting the temperature climb higher, like the inside of a oven.

No matter how strong the exhaust fans are in your PC, it has to be able to pull some air in through the vents to breathe, you might say. Give it a chance. Keep it out of the cubby hole.

Also, keep it out of direct sunlight. That is the third step. Ask yourself this: why does a cat like to sleep in the shaft of sunlight that comes through a window? The answer is obvious. It’s warm there.

Now, imagine a computer, with a dark colored case sitting before that same window. It will get hot without even running!

When your cat gets hot, it can get up and walk away. Your computer can’t. So, keep it out of sunlight.

The next step is one of the most practical, and addresses the problem directly. The surest way to lower the temperature inside your PC’s case is to add another fan.

This is a much simpler operation than it may sound like to the beginner. All you have to do is open up the case, mount the fan with four screws, and either connect it to a lead coming from the case’s power supply, or plug it into a 5V receptacle on the motherboard.

The rub comes when you don’t have a place to mount another fan. This is often a problem with smaller size cases.

Modification, cutting a new fan port, is a job best left to an experienced hand. I have done this sort of thing, but only on a completely empty case. Everything, motherboard, hard drive, and all, comes out first. No metal shavings, or metal dust should be allowed to reach your PC’s components.

The fifth step, if the others fail, is liquid cooling. At one time, this was viewed as a drastic option, and I can well remember how leery many of us were when this new technology came on the market. Yet its fascination drew me to try it, on a PC I put together from scratch.

The effectiveness surprised me. It tamed what could have been an otherwise insurmountable cooling problem, and has performed admirably in the many months since.

Uses for an External Hard Drive

An external hard drive is a hard disk drive (much like the one in your computer) that is placed externally, outside of the case. You can buy them pre-made, or purchase a hard drive and an enclosure, and make your own. They came in many sizes, are relatively inexpensive, and are well suited to perform various functions. In this article, I will detail 3 specific uses for your external hard drive.

For one reason or another, you may have chosen a computer whose storage capacity you’ve outgrown. It may be full to capacity with files and programs, and you need room to expand. So the first example is to use your external hard drive to add expandability to your computer. This is true in case all of your PC’s hard drive bays are full, and especially if you have a laptop which has only one hard drive bay.

A second example is to use your external hard drive as a shared storage drive. You can attach it to a PC, set permissions and share-ability, and start saving, and sharing various files. For example, you can share and save pictures, MP3s, and video files. By using it in this manner, you’ll be able to free up tons of space on your computer’s local hard drive, and you’ll be able to share files with everyone in your home network.

Another possible use for your external hard drive is to save important documents. For example, you can scan wills, deeds, insurance information, leases, bank account and credit information, and store them on your external hard drive. You can also take pictures of all your valuables, and keep these safe in your external hard drive for future reference. If it’s important to you, then it’s worthy of being saved in your external hard drive. You can then store this hard drive in a secure location such as a fire-proof safe, or a safety deposit box. This will surely save you tons of headaches in case of theft, or worse yet, a disaster.

There you have it. That’s 3 possible uses for your external hard drive. They’re versatile, and come in sizes that you can choose according to your specific needs. If you have a lot of files to save, then you can get a 500 GB hard drive, or larger if you wish. If you only have a few important documents to save, then maybe a 15 GB hard drive will suffice. The important thing is that it is you who can choose the size you need. It is you who can choose what its primary function will be. And if you need to, you can get more than one external hard drive. That’s what makes them so ideal.

What Power Supply Do I Need?

In our world today, the quality of a personal computer is often measured only by its processor speed, memory capacity, and hard drive space and for gamers, the quality of the video card. Sometimes, the computer monitor will grab some attention, especially if it has an LCD screen. Seldom, however, do we think of a computer by its power supply. And seldom do we give them an upgrade, even if we have upgraded each and every other computer component.

But when the power supply is damaged or stops working, we have to think about it, or we have no computer period. The only solution is a power supply replacement.

There are a lot of computer power supplies available in computer shops, so finding one should not be difficult. Replacing your power supply with a new unit should also be easy. The hard part is selecting the power supply that your computer needs. There are different kinds of power supplies and each has different specs. For your computer to work properly, it must be equipped with the right one.

There are two basic things to consider whenever you are buying a new power supply for your computer — power requirements and the power supply’s form factor.

Power Requirement

Modern power supplies have power outputs that range from 200 watts to 500 watts. Before purchasing a new power supply, you must first know the amount of power that each of your computer’s components need. These power requirements can usually be found on the labels of the components themselves. By adding up these figures, you’ll have a good estimate of the power output your new power supply should have.

As a general rule, never buy a power supply with output ratings that are lower than your estimates. Neither should you buy those that have too high a power rating, as most of this power would simply be wasted.

Form Factor

The standard form factor used on most PC power supplies today is the ATX-form factor. Not all power supplies, however, use this standard. If you have an older PC, it must be using a power supply in the AT-form factor. There are also less common form factors today like the TFX and BTX form factors. Before purchasing a new power supply, identify first what form factor would fit on your PC or else there’ll be no way for you to use it.

How To Properly Install A New DVD Drive With Ease

When you are ready to begin installing your new DVD Drive,have plenty of room on your desk or table to work.Allow enough space to move around and to be able to move the system unit as well.

Check to see if you have ample light.You may want to have a container to place small screws in.The system unit cover may have small screws and you don’t want to lose them.

After you have plenty of work space and ample lighting, prepare your mind as well.Make this and every other adventure of working on your computer educational and fun.

Now go over to to familarize yourself with all components inside the PC. Take the time to study the actual components inside your computer.You’ll be glad you did should something go wrong.Follow these steps to install your drive.



Turn off your computer and unplug all peripherals. Take notice of how you unplug or disconnect any devices.


Remove the side panel of the tower system or the cover if you have a desktop.Place the panel in a safe place well out of the way.


Before touching anything inside the system unit, remove electrical static charge from your body by touching a door knob or any unpainted metal surface.


Remove the new drive from its protective wrapping and take the time to read through the manual. Be sure you have all components and save the box just in case it need to be returned.


Check the jumper settings on the drive to be sure it is set to master.If you are adding this drive as a second drive,you will have to set one as master and one as the slave drive.

Your manual should make this procedure quick and fast. A small pair of tweezers can be used to remove the small jumper to the correct position.Most drives are set to master by default.



Locate the drive bay for the cdrom drive.In most cases,its at the top of the case.If you are removing another drive,slide it out partially,disconnect cables, and slide the drive out completely.Take note of the location of all connections.

If you are installing a new drive the first time,use a small screwdriver to pop off the 5.25 inch drive bay cover and bezel on the system unit case.


Slide the new drive in partially and connect the data,sound,and power cables to the rear of the drive.Slide the drive in completely and use small screws to secure the drive to the case.

In some cases,the drive is secured to the case with the use of Drive rails.These rails should be mounted on the old drive if you had to remove one.Check the drive’s manual if your new drive came with side rails.

When connecting the cable,carefully graps the cables by the ends and not the wires themselves.Carefully but firmly push the connectors into their sockets until you are certain of a good connection.

If you are installing this drive as a second drive and have made this drive the secondary or slave drive, connect the drive to the center connector on the Ribbon cable.The master drive must be at the end.


After all cables are re-connected to the drive and the drive is secured to the case,replace the system unit cover,reconnect all peripherals.Be sure the faceplate of the drive is flush with the front of the computer.



Boot up the computer and in nearly all cases,the operating system should detect the new drive and install the device driver if necessary.

In most cases,new cdroms and dvd drives will not come with a cdrom or diskette with a device driver. Windows should install the drive with ease.

Some new drives will come with a cdrom full of software,such as games,music,or movies.Check this cdrom for software utilities that you may need to help run and operate your drive.


heck your new drive to see if Windows has recognized it.Click on My Computer and you should see the drives installed.Check for both drives if you installed the drive as a second drive.

And that’s it.You can now use the drive as a huge data backup.Or you may want to make movies. Whatever the case,check the drive for compatbility with other drives.

Take the time to learn absolutely everything about that computer you’re reading this with.Quickly master the art of installing not just the dvd drive, but all drives and other components.