By now, I’m sure many readers know the joy of buying your own computer in separate parts, instead of buying a complete one from, say, Game or Incredible Connection. You also save some money. Do you want to save yourself more money, and teach yourself a few things in the process? Put it together yourself!

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Step 1: The motherboard

Remember to always keep anything with a circuit board on the static-free bags your parts came in. This ensures you won’t end up with fried components, as static electricity can do a lot of harm (and will reduce you to tears when your GTX260 doesn’t work.

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Slot the RAM in first; making sure the groove in the middle matches the one on the motherboard.

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The processor fits in the ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) socket on the motherboard. Lift up the lever and the cover and match the processor to the grooves on the socket. Stick on a little thermal grease, about the size of a pea.

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As for the fan, well… I hate these things. The stock ones do the job well, but they’re a bugger to get in. Make sure the plastic pins are aligned with the holes around the ZIF socket, push those in first, then push the black pins through and twist the pins in the direction indicated by the arrows.

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Step 2: The Installation

The case is actually a really nice one, as you can see. I love the placement of the hard drive; because of that, if you have an extra-long graphics card you can still install it easily, and the fan at the front will blow air over it without any obstructions. And I can fit in a 120mm one.

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First, replace the backplate that comes with the case with the one for the motherboard interface. You sometimes have to cut away the old one and clip the new one in. Next, if your case needs motherboard standoffs, screw those into the holes you require to support the motherboard. This case doesn’t need that, so I just screwed it in. Don’t tighten the screws too much, else you risk cracking the board.

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Inserting the graphics card is a painless process: just align the slot with the PCI-E slot on the motherboard and push down gently but firmly.

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Next you can plug in the wires for the front USB and Audio ports. You’ll have to refer to your motherboard’s manual for this. They’re usually all labelled, eliminating any confusion.

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Installation of the hard drive is straightforward, too: just slide it onto the rails, and make sure to put in all four screws. Connect the SATA port to the hard drive and motherboard using the cable. Same goes for the DVD drive.

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When all this is done, you can slide in the power supply and connect the power cables to all the necessary components.

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Tidy up the cables a bit, connect up your fans, close the lid, and boot up. Enjoy!

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