How to install a motherboard

How to install a motherboard: An Actionable Guide

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Putting together your own computer is one of those undertakings that can seem like it will be incredibly fun at first, but then you start running into obstacle after obstacle and realize that you may have just bitten off more than you can chew.

There are so many things you have to do when you are building your PC, and among the challenges, you will have to deal with along the way is trying to figure out how to install a motherboard. The motherboard is obviously essential to the whole computer setup, so you cannot afford to be reckless when it comes time for installation. You must take the time to really see how it is properly done.

Installing a motherboard is also something you will need to understand how to accomplish correctly if something, unfortunately, goes haywire with your computer. Even, just in general, knowing the basics of motherboard installation could end up saving you time and money that would have otherwise gone to a shop specializing in repairs.

The Tools You Will Need to Install a Motherboard

Before you installing a motherboard, it will be easier and more convenient for you to have the essential tools ready prior to beginning the process. The good news here is that you actually won’t need that many tools for this installation process, and some alternatives may even work in a pinch.

1. Philips screwdriver – You’ll obviously be working with a lot of screws over the course of this installation process and you’ll soon find that the Philips screwdriver will be your best friend here.

  • Flathead screwdriver – If, for some reason, you don’t own a Philips screwdriver and don’t really have time to get one, a flathead screwdriver can still get the job done if you put some extra elbow grease into it.
  • Butter knife – Should a flathead screwdriver still be unavailable at the time you are planning to move forward with the installation, a butter knife can work though, and again, it will take some extra work to get those screws out.

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2. Size 6-32 standoffs – Standoffs will be needed for separating the motherboard from the rest of the computer case. To be more specific, Wikipedia notes that you will need the size 6-32 standoffs to serve as the motherboard mounts.

3. Container – The last thing you want to do is to misplace all those screws you are unfastening, so keep them all in one container – ideally one with separate compartments – and save yourself the trouble.

4. Paper – This will come in handy once it comes time to install the standoffs.

5. Pencil – Much like the paper, this tool is needed for the standoff installation step.

6. Pliers – These will be required for securing the standoffs into the computer case.

7. Towel – A towel isn’t necessary for completing the installation process, but this is going to be hard work and you don’t want your sweat dripping on to the computer parts.

The Step-by-step Guide for Installing a Motherboard

With your tools now ready, we can move forward with installing a motherboard, and the first step involve:

1.    Opening the computer case

The first thing you want to do is to make sure that the computer is completely unplugged because you just don’t want any electricity around while you’re working.

Make use of your screwdriver or whichever alternate tool you have to remove the screws on the CPU. But remember, not all computer cases are removed in the same way. Some may not even require you to use a screwdriver.

How to install a motherboard

Once again, make sure to keep the removed screws in a container where you can quickly retrieve them. If you want to, you can also take this opportunity to clean the interior of your CPU a bit.

2.    Installing the I/O plate

Next up, you will need to get your I/O plate back in place. This is an important part of your computer because it provides protection for the internal components of the CPU while also offering access to the different input and output devices you may want to use.

You don’t really need any tools to complete this part of the process, but you will need to apply a bit of force to snap the corners of the plate firmly into place. If you are having some trouble trying to get the I/O plate in place, we recommend using the back of a screwdriver to apply some targeted force.

Also, don’t forget to double check the positioning of the I/O plate. Make sure that it lines up with the motherboard, or else you may need to repeat this step.

3.    Installing a motherboard standoffs

An article from recommends first laying out a piece of paper over the base of the computer case and to place it under the motherboard so that you can determine the exact spots where installation of the standoffs will take place.

You can use the pencil to mark the spots. Pierce these marked spots as well so that you can line the paper up with the case.

Next, you can go ahead and remove the motherboard and then proceed to align the paper you marked with the holes in the computer case. Install the standoffs where the holes are. You can complete this step using your hands, though you may need pliers to ensure that the standoffs are secured.

4.    Inserting the Motherboard

After placing the standoffs where they need to be, the next step for you to focus on is the insertion of the motherboard. The key here is to let the motherboard tell you what you need to do.

Take hold of the motherboard but make sure that you only keep your hands to the edges or else you may inflict damage. Look at the standoffs you previously installed and then line them up carefully with your motherboard.

How to install a motherboard

Once all that is done, grab the standoff screws and start screwing them in, while being careful not to apply too much force that may cause you to slip and damage something.

5.    Installing the motherboard, cables, and modules

We have now reached the final step of the motherboard installation process and this one involves making all the necessary connections to get your computer back in a state where it is ready to work again.

With the motherboard in place, Windows Central reminds you to connect the power and other case cables, and include either a SATA HDD or SSD in there too. Don’t forget the motherboard pins and also make sure to link up the front I/O switches with their corresponding LEDs. Also, be careful not to leave the GPU uninstalled before you put the computer case back on.

How to install a motherboard

Lastly, screw the computer case back into place and you should be done with this whole process.

At this point, you should now understand how to install a motherboard. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do, but we do hope that you can now see that it’s also not as complicated as it may initially seem. It even seems fun, right?


Knowing how to install a motherboard properly is essential knowledge because if you are living and interacting with the modern world, you likely have a computer in your home and you will probably need to tinker with it from time to time.

Now, you won’t have to spend money just to get someone else to handle the motherboard installation process. We hope you picked up some truly valuable tips from the article, and please go ahead and share your thoughts in the comments section.

If you enjoyed this article, we’d also appreciate it a lot if you shared it with others who may be seeking guidance for motherboard installation or ​other advice as well.