Building a Personal Computer
multimedia applications, from part including a hard drive, floppy drive, DVD drive, Zip drive, modem, sound card, video camera, and SCSI card to support a scanner. Depending on what you have decided you want your computer for, and what functionality and budget you are operating with, you may choose to build a slightly different PC, with a different CPU and different parts. While we do not have the space to provide instructions on the assembly of many different PCs, the example below will provide you with background and guidance, and demonstrate how to approach the task at hand.
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The text describes some of the problems actually encountered during an assembly. I wish I could invite you to work beside me, reading the documentation for that jumper setting, deciding just which card should go in which slot for the best overall fit, and enjoying the pleasure of turning on the PC and seeing it boot up for the first time. However, the best I can do is invite you to the experience through this book. My hope is that you will one day have the opportunity to experience it for yourself.
Once the research is done and the parts purchased, organize everything you will need to assemble the PC. Have the parts with the accompanying documentation and software available, together with your PC tools. You will need a safe place to work, with a ground mat and ground strap. Be careful to follow all the safety rules and precautions discussed at the beginning of this book. Work methodically and keep things organized. If you find yourself getting frustrated, take a break. Remember, you want the entire experience to be fun!
The parts purchased for the PC before the beginning of the assembly are listed below. Since the system includes a DVD drive that can read a CD, a CD-ROM drive is not needed.
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The parts to be installed inside the case are shown below: building a computer desk from scratch
ATX case with power supply
Pentium II CPU that runs at 350MHz
One 64-MB DIMM
AGP video card
DVD drive kit
SCSI host adapter (to interface with a scanner)
Video camera with USB connection
Mouse and keyboard
DIAGRAM – the Parts of a PC before assembly
The general steps to assemble the PC are as follows:
Set the jumpers on the system board
Install the CPU and CPU fan
Install RAM on the system board
Verify that the system board is working by performing a memory test
Install the system board in the computer case
Connect the power cord and front panel connectors to the system board
Install the floppy drive, hard drive, and Zip drive
Install the video card, modem card, sound card, and SCSI adapter
Install the DVD subsystem, including a DVD drive, controller card, and cords
Connect essential peripherals
Install the operating system
Connect remaining peripherals and install device drivers.
This section describes how to set jumpers on the system board to configure hardware; the jumpers and their functions are listed below. When doing an installation, read the system–board documentation carefully, looking for the type of information in the table, and set the jumpers according to the hardware you will be installing, which may differ from what appears here.
system board layout including jumper definitions
For example, although this system board does not require that a jumper be set to indicate what type of CPU is installed, many system boards do have a jumper for this purpose. Also, a system board might require you to use jumper settings to regulate the voltage to the CPU. When making this kind of selection, read the documentation that comes with the CPU to learn the voltage requirements. If the system board has an L2 cache, then there will most likely be jumper settings to indicate how much cache memory is installed.
Table: Jumper settings on the system board in Building a Personal Computer
One of the most time-consuming steps of assembling a PC can be setting the jumpers on the system board, or rather studying the system-board documentation to learn how to set the jumpers. (Once you know how to set them, doing so is quick and easy). The documentation for the system board used here is really very good. Every jumper is clearly marked, and the settings for the jumper are clearly explained. That is not always the case.
First, locate the four jumper groups on the system board, each jumper group will be discussed in turn to determine what it does and what settings it should have. As each jumper set in the documentation is examined, one setting for each jumper group will be marked as a default setting. This is usually the factory setting (the setting on the system board when it is shipped). However, if you want to use the default setting, check to see that the jumper is set as indicated because sometimes the factory sets the jumpers differently from what is listed in the documentation as the default.
Also, occasionally the wrong documentation will be shipped with a system board, or the documentation will have an error. After power-up, if you have problems because the system is incorrectly sensing your system-board configuration, double-check your settings. If you don’t find an error, suspect the problem may be with the documentation. If your system-board manufacturer has a Web site, check it for the latest information about jumper settings.
Jumpers are set to the closed position by placing a small-cap across a pair of the pin. An open jumper has no cap across the pair. If you want to set the jumper to open, you can place the unused cap on one of the two pins, so you won’t lose it. This is called “parking” the jumper. Set the following jumpers:
Closing the “Clear real-time clock” jumper (labeled CLRTC in the documentation) clears CMOS RAM, which may be necessary in order to remove a forgotten password or erase improperly, but forgotten, CMOS changes. To clear CMOS RAM, turn off the PC and unplug the