Step 8: Connect The Cables

This is starting to look like a real computer isn’t it? We are approaching the home stretch so hang in there. We have to attach the drives to our motherboard and power supply next. The cables you need to attach everything should have come with either your motherboard or individual drives, depending on if you bought the retail or OEM versions.

Get the cables out as you will need them to install the drives.

Connect Hard Drive Cables

  1. If you bought an SATA hard drive, the cable going from the drive to the motherboard is very easy to install, as the connectors can only fit one way into the drive and motherboard connections. Connect one end to the hard drive, and the other connector to the hard drive, aligning the connectors properly. If you bought an IDE hard drive, more than likely the connectors are tabbed, and can only fit one way into the connection slots. To be sure, when connecting the IDE cable to the hard drive, you want the red stripe facing closest to the power connecter. This is also known as ‘pin 1’, and is always installed this way. Attach the other end of the cable to the motherboard by installing it into the slot. Make sure both connections are snug and tight.
  2. Attach the SATA power connector from the power supply to the back of the hard drive if you have this drive type, or one of the standard power connectors if you have an IDE version. (A standard power connector will be the same shape as the connection slot on your drive, long and rectangular in shape)

Connect CD-Rom / DVD Drive Cables

  1. As described above, on an IDE cable more than likely the connectors are tabbed, and can only fit one way into the connection slots. To be sure, when connecting the IDE cable to the hard drive, you want the red stripe facing closest to the power connecter. This is also known as ‘pin 1’, and is always installed this way. Attach the other end of the cable to the motherboard by installing it into the slot. Make sure both connections are snug and tight.
  2. Attach a standard power connector from the power supply to the back of the drive. (A standard power connector will be the same shape as the connection slot on your drive, long and rectangular in shape)

All of our drives are now secure, connected and have a power source. We can now finishing connecting things to the outside of the case.

Connect External Cables

Now that everything is finished up on the inside of the machine, we need to connect all of our external devices such as the keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

  1. If you still have the monitor connected from before on our quick power up test great! If not, go ahead and connect it to the video port on the video card now. If you have onboard video this will be mixed in with the other I/O ports on the back of the case, and if you installed it seperately to a slot it will be farther down in the back.
  2. Connect the keyboard, mouse, and speakers to the matching I/O ports on the back of the case. Many times these are color coded so it makes it easier to connect. They are also labeled next to the ports with a mouse symbol for mouse, keyboard for keyboard etc.
  3. Depending on how you plan on connecting to the internet, either connect the phone line to your modem OR connect the network cable that runs from you cable modem, DSL modem, or wireless router to the network port on the back of your computer. It will be the port that looks similar to a phone jack, just slightly larger.
  4. If you bought a scanner or printer, you can go ahead and connect it now, since Windows will detect and set the drivers for you when you run installation for the first time.

With everything attached to the inside and the outside of your new computer, we are ready to try and do a full boot test for the first time. Keep the side off the case so we can make sure everything is functioning properly, and troubleshoot if necessary.

Step 9: How To Build A Computer: Performing The First Boot Up

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