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How to install computer hardware

Updated on May 21, 2010

Installing computer hardware isn't as difficult or risky as commonly thought. Everyone can do it with a little bit of patience and knowledge. Follow the steps listed in this hub and you will be well on your way to upgrading your own computer, replacing faulty components and even building your own computer! Components covered in this hub are the processor, RAM, graphics card and a basic PCI card.

Before we start a few things to keep in mind are to never stand on carpet in sock feet while working on a computer as to reduce the risk of static shock, of course don't have any liquids nearby any open computer case. Also don't force anything when installing any components, if components seem like they are taking excessive force to fit make sure you're installing them in the right slot and that all necessary pins/connectors are lined up.

What you'll need

Top of a AMD 4200+ x2 processor
Top of a AMD 4200+ x2 processor
Bottom of a AMD 4200+ x2 processor. Notice all the little golden pins.
Bottom of a AMD 4200+ x2 processor. Notice all the little golden pins.
An empty processor socket
An empty processor socket
Pushing down the silver lever to secure the processor in place
Pushing down the silver lever to secure the processor in place
Processor heat sink with thermal paste.
Processor heat sink with thermal paste.
You might have to apply a bit of force here.
You might have to apply a bit of force here.
Two 1GB sticks of RAM
Two 1GB sticks of RAM
securing the RAM in place
securing the RAM in place
A PCI-Express slot
A PCI-Express slot
That connection on the top left of this graphics card is used in a SLI  (dual graphics card) setup
That connection on the top left of this graphics card is used in a SLI (dual graphics card) setup

1.) a non-magnetic star screwdriver

2.) an anti-static wrist strap, if you don't have one of these just remember to touch the chassis or computer frame now and again to keep static electricity drained from your body.

The first order of business is to open up your computer case. Most cases will open up by way of a side panel. To release this panel you'll have to unfasten two screws found at the back of your computer and with a push the side panel should pop right off. Be sure to have unplugged your computer from any power sources before opening it up.

The processor

The processor can be the most difficult and tricky piece of computer hardware to install but have no fears with a little patience you will be fine. The reason for this is the pins can be hard to line up into their slots and the heat sink/fan often takes a bit of force to clamp properly in place. Before you begin trying to line anything up make sure that there is a thin layer of thermal paste spread on the top shiny metallic side of your processor, this aids in transferring heat from the processor to the heat sink and finally out of the fan. After applying your thermal paste line the pins up, once they're lined up properly the processor should fall right into place with no force at all. Once the processor is in place push down the bar on the side to lock it in place. Now carefully line up and place the heat sink and fan over the processor. Try to get the heat sink in place the first try to avoid smearing any of the thermal paste. Now that your heat sink and fan are in place over the processor push down the lever on the side of your heat sink to fasten it in place, this can sometimes take a bit of force but if you feel it's taking an excessive amount make sure that it is properly lined up and the fasteners on both sides are not hitting anything else. All that's left is to plug the fan into the power connector labeled CPU fan, if it's not labeled just look for the nearest power connector that fits the fans connector.You've just successfully installed your processor!


Installing RAM is pretty basic there's only really four things to be mindful of and they are. Making sure all pins are properly lined up, applying equal pressure to both sides of the RAM stick when pressing it into place and making sure that both of the white clamps on either side of the ram are securely fastened in place. The fourth is putting the RAM in the right slots, if you have a motherboard with two groups of slots as the one in the picture you'll want to put the RAM in the first slot of each group unless otherwise specified in your motherboards manual. It doesn't really matter what RAM slots you use but it's best to be cautious and use the first slot of each group or as in the picture above, the same color. Often times for RAM to run in ganged mode, a setting usually found in the BIOS, they'll be required to be in the appropriate slots.

Graphics card

The graphics card is one of the easiest pieces of computer hardware to install. All you have to do is line up all the pins and apply pressure until it is fully in the slot and the clamp on the slot is securely fastened. What you will have to watch out for is that you use the right slot if you have an sli or crossfire motherboard like the one in the picture. These motherboards are able to run two graphics card and when you're only using one it is important you place your graphics card in the first slot, usually the one closest to your processor. Refer to your motherboards manual if you're unsure. If you don't have the manual anymore look up your motherboard on the manufacturers website and you are sure to find an online manual. Many of the more powerful graphics card require that you plug them directly into your computers power supply as well, if this is the case find the proper connector, usually the only one that will fit, and plug it in. Again if you're unsure refer the manual from your PSU and if you don't have the manual look up your PSU manufacturer online and download the manual. Also don't forget to uninstall the drivers from your previous graphics card and install the ones for your new graphics card.

PCI Slots

These are by far the easiest slot to install anything in as they have no fasteners and only require that you properly line up the pins. Some components you might install into a regular PCI slot are a network card, sound card, USB card or even PCI slot fans.

Final thoughts

Keep in mind that you may not be installing exactly the same hardware as I have in these pictures but the process is essentially the same and hopefully in this hub I have given you a better idea of how to install computer hardware. I also cheated a little bit and used an old motherboard and some old components that I had laying around that weren't in any case. When the motherboard is actually in the cases the only difference will be that things will be a bit more cramped.

Here are some more hubs of mine that may be useful to you.

Slow computer? Tips to improve computer performance for free

Data back up and recovery

Do you need to upgrade your computer or buy a new

Tips on deleting data for good

Buying a new computer, how to find the best and cheapest

Tips on how to make your computer start faster


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    • appsforwindow profile image

      Janu Cap 

      2 years ago from Ha Noi

      Thanks, James L! It's a great post. You should make a tutorial video

      Follow you and follow you thanks friend !

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I need help with a conclusion paarpargh?I am typing an essay on Italians, and need help on the conclusion paarpargh.Here is the essay:ItaliansItalians are warm, welcoming people, who love to relax, celebrate, and socialize with family and friends. Their celebration and relaxation usually takes place around a dinner table at a restaurant or at home, so they can enjoy the traditions of Italian cuisine. Italians have a strong passion for eating, but also enjoy talking.In Italy, conversation is considered an art form. If you were to walk the streets of Italy, or stop at a cafe9, you would notice people of all ages engaged in intense and animated discussions on a wide variety of topics, ranging from family, work, politics, gossip, food, drinks, and sports, especially soccer.From the largest cities, to the most rural of villages, there is one place that will always remain as the central meeting point of Italian culture- the Piazza ( meaning square ). No matter how big or small the Piazza is, you will always see people sitting, strolling, walking, talking, and interacting with one another. Piazzas are also the main focal points for festivals, gatherings, celebrations, and political events.To real Italians, lunch is a 1-2 hour affair with traditionally a two to three course meal, which explains why most places halt for two hours of the day. Stores shut down, banks close, and all of the streets are empty. At around 2 o’clock, people start to emerge from their houses and populate the streets again until around 19:30 when it’s time for dinner. After dinner, the streets come to life again as Italians stroll around the piazza to work off their meal or head off for their evening engagement. Italian food is high in the ranks of most delicious, richest, and most varied of all cooking, with dishes for every occasion. Their food plays a huge role in their life and culture. Every region has their specialty, not only pasta, but all varieties of meat and fish are cooked to old, handed down recipes, mouth watering puddings, and of course, nobody can beat their ice creams. Shopping may not be a national past time, but it is taken very seriously in Italy. The major cities, like Rome, Milan, Florence, are full of the most wonderful shops selling everything from designer clothes to the newest and hippest furniture to be found anywhere in the world. Milan has its furniture fair every year and furniture makers from far and wide will go there to see what is happening at the leading edge of furniture design. Leather is also a good buy in Italy, Italians know their leather and the finest gloves, shoes, jackets, and bags are worn by virtually all Italians. They glory in being chic, and are generally always beautifully turned out. Sports are a very important passion in the lives of many Italians. Football, being their main passion, with hundreds of football clubs with top soccer teams playing for their country. Volleyball is also much enjoyed as is rugby, with the rugby team playing for the European Challenge Cup. Italians place more value on the simple things in life ( family, community, enjoying a Tuscan sunset ) rather than the material things most westerners covet. There are plenty of happy farmers in Italy who want no more than to share a meal with others in their community. The Italian Language is a romance language, spoken as a native language by about 70 million people in Italy, San Marino, and parts of Switzerland, Croatia, Slovenia, and France. Italian is based on the Tuscan dialect, which beforehand was only available to upper class Florentine society. Unlike other romance languages, Italian retains Latin’s contrast between short and long consonants. In particular, among the Romance languages, Italian is the closest to Latin in terms of vocabulary.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Eseis, paidia, xertee polla pou emena den me endiaferoun. Egw lew oti den prepei na yparxei fanatismos kai h epistolh toy Katholikou ths Syrou mou arese. Einai s' auto to pneuma.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Very useful and helpful . Thanks lot.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Pls i am a computer engineer i need a laptop am just 15years

    • James L profile imageAUTHOR

      James L 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Thanks borge, I'll do my best.

    • borge_009 profile image


      8 years ago from Philippines

      Nice hub James. Informative and helpful. Keep up and Welcome to hubpages.

    • James L profile imageAUTHOR

      James L 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Carol, it's good to know that they're of some value

    • profile image

      Carol Rossi 

      8 years ago

      Nice article James and great pictures. Your articles are quite helpful (unlike most I read on this topic).


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