How to install the motherboard

The motherboard is the most unwieldy component in your system, but since it acts as the foundation for everything else in your case, installing it correctly is of paramount importance.getintopc

Step 1: If your motherboard doesn’t have an integrated rear panel, take it from the box — it looks like a small cutout of all the different motherboard ports — and install it in the back of your case by orientating it properly and pushing it in. Double-check that it aligns with your motherboard’s outputs before plugging it in if you’re not sure which way it goes.

Step 2: To install the motherboard, you have to screw it into the insulating standoffs that prevent your components from shorting. Some cases come with these pre-installed, while others need you to install them yourself. They’re easy to identify because they look unusual — they’re essentially screws that have another screw hole on top instead of the typical screwdriver notch. They’re usually gold or black.

If necessary, screw your motherboard’s standoffs into the correct holes depending on the size and layout of your motherboard. You can look at your motherboard to figure it out or install them where your manual suggests.

Step 3: Place your motherboard into your case, and push and wiggle it into place so that it slots into your I/O panel and has all of its screw holes lined up with the motherboard standoffs underneath.

To attach your motherboard to the case, screw it in. First, seat the screws and give them a couple of precursory turns. Then, proceed in a star pattern, tightening each screw a little at a time. Don’t go wild while tightening, as you might damage the board. You only need enough torque to hold the board in place without it wiggling.

Step 4: Once the motherboard is seated comfortably in the case, there are a few necessary connections.

The motherboard’s main power connection is a wide, two-row cable that fits snugly into a similar-looking spot on the board itself. This 20- to 28-pin connector powers both the motherboard and the CPU. However, some boards have one or two more four-pin or eight-pin connectors for the processor, which resides near your CPU, typically in the top corner. If you have them, you’ll need to plug them in, too.

Connect the case plugs and buttons to the motherboard. A double-wide row of pins — the location of which will be noted in your manual — handles the buttons for reset and power, and activity LEDs for power and storage. These can be especially fiddly, but you need at least the power button connected in order to turn your PC on.

The USB headers and front-panel audio connectors will be on their own. These connections are around eight by two pins, and they’re enclosed in a larger plastic housing. This header has a notch on one side that should clearly indicate which direction it plugs in.

Desktop Computer Brands

This list comprises the major computer brands. In choosing a brand, consider the manufacturer’s owner satisfaction and reliability ratings (available to CR members) from our surveys.Acer Aspire laptops and desktops run the gamut of computers from budget to high end, including a full line of thin-and-light laptops and detachables. Acer also produces Chromebooks. The Nitro and Predator series are the company’s gaming desktops.

From hobby computers to Apple

Computers small and inexpensive enough to be purchased by individuals for use in their homes first became feasible in the 1970s, when large-scale integration made it possible to construct a sufficiently powerful microprocessor on a single semiconductor chip. A small firm named MITS made the first personal computer, the Altair. This computer, which used Intel Corporation’s 8080 microprocessor, was developed in 1974. Though the Altair was popular among computer hobbyists, its commercial appeal was limited.

The personal computer industry truly began in 1977, with the introduction of three preassembled mass-produced personal computers: the Apple Computer, Inc. (now Apple Inc.), Apple II, the Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80, and the Commodore Business Machines Personal Electronic Transactor (PET). These machines used eight-bit microprocessors (which process information in groups of eight bits, or binary digits, at a time) and possessed rather limited memory capacity—i.e., the ability to address a given quantity of data held in memory storage. But because personal computers were much less expensive than mainframe computers (the bigger computers typically deployed by large business, industry, and government organizations), they could be purchased by individuals, small and medium-sized businesses, and primary and secondary schools.

Of these computers, the TRS-80 dominated the market. The TRS-80 microcomputer came with four kilobytes of memory, a Z80 microprocessor, a BASIC programming language, and cassettes for data storage. To cut costs, the machine was built without the ability to type lowercase letters. Thanks to Tandy’s chain of Radio Shack stores and the breakthrough price ($399 fully assembled and tested), the machine was successful enough to persuade the company to introduce a more powerful computer two years later, the TRS-80 Model II, which could reasonably be marketed as a small-business computer.

The Apple II received a great boost in popularity when it became the host machine for VisiCalc, the first electronic spreadsheet (computerized accounting program). Other types of application software soon developed for personal computers.