How to build your own personal computer - Kitchen Table Computers - Tablet Version
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Installing the Processor in Your Homebuilt Computer


The microprocessor is often both the most delicate and the most expensive part of a homebuilt computer. As such, it deserves and requires special care. Handle processors gingerly, and never touch the pins or conductors with your fingers.


Anti Static Precautions

Handle microprocessors only by their edges.Processors are extremely sensitive to static charges and physical shock. A static charge that's too small for a human being to even feel can completely destroy a processor. In addition, processors can be damaged by rough handling or being dropped.

So never handle a processor roughly, never touch the pins, and never handle it unless you are using proper anti static precautions.

Handle the processor carefully, holding it only by the edges. Set it down only on an anti-static mat or on the foam pad that it was shipped in. Be kind to your processor, and your processor will be kind to you.


Inserting the Processor Correctly

Processors are keyed to their sockets.Processor sockets are keyed to prevent improper installation. But because they're so delicate and the pins are so fine, it's really, really easy to permanently damage them if you're not careful.

Notice in the picture on the right that both the processor and the socket have two corners without pins. This is to prevent the processor from being installed the wrong way. All processors have some system to prevent improper insertion, but they're not all the same. Sometimes you have to look at the pins, and sometimes you have to line up an arrow.

Whatever the case, look carefully before you insert the processor to make sure that you're inserting it correctly. If your processor came with a manual, read it.

Modern processor sockets have a ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) design. If the processor is aligned properly with the socket, gravity alone should cause it to drop right into the socket. You should never need to use force greater than a gentle nudge with a single finger (and the pinky finger, at that) to insert a modern processor. Never, never, never.

Some processors have no pins. Instead, they have little bumps that make contact with the CPU socket. They look like pimples and dimples. This design makes it nearly impossible to break the chip while installing it, but it does sometimes cause problems if dust, hair, or other debris finds its way to the socket. Canned air solves the problem.

Lower the bail to secure the processor. Most processors are secured by a bail mounted alongside the socket. Once you've lined up the pins and allowed the processor to drop into the socket, check to make sure that the processor is fully inserted and not sitting crookedly.

Once you are absolutely certain that the processor is seated properly, gently close the bail to secure the processor.

If you encounter too much resistance, stop and check again to make sure that the processor is lined up correctly. If you close the bail while the processor is not seated properly, you probably will ruin both the motherboard and the processor.


Finished? Congratulations! Now take a breather and a swig of your favorite beverage and prepare for the next step: Installing the CPU Cooler.







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