Motherboard Assembly into the chassis.

Submitted by dave on Thu, 08/03/2017 - 17:09

Installing the motherboard assembly into the chassis assembly:

Hope I didn't throw you off with that heading.

The computer case is also called the chassis by some and I just wanted to put that out so you would know what others were talking about who prefer to use the term chassis.

I usually use the term computer case or just case but the term chassis is becoming more and more popular today. (I'm old school) To me this is the touchiest and most delicate part of the assembly.
That's because this is where you will be placing the motherboard very carefully onto the offset pins that's screwed into the computer case.

Image removed.
Screw Standoffs for mounting the Motherboard.

Without scratching the circuit traces on the underside.

I call them offset pins because they hold the motherboard assembly above the metal computer case so no current will short out between the motherboard and the metal case..

They are actually a male/female combination of screw that will be included and packed with your computer case.

Image removed.
Bag of screws for the Cooler Master Haf 932.

The above bag is how the different screws and standoffs are usually packaged with cases.

You should now look very carefully at your motherboard and locate the holes in it that are made just for the screws that will bolt the motherboard to the case.
These holes are quite often metal lined looking almost like small slats or staples around the edge of the hole.

The owners manual that came with your motherboard should have a picture or a drawing of these holes that clearly indicate where the standoffs are to be mounted to the computer case.

The different styles of motherboards will have different patterns that the standoffs will be placed in. Depending usually on the size and shape.

Make sure that the screw holes you choose in the computer case or the mounting plate if your computer case is the tool-less type, match up with the hole pattern on the motherboard.

You will find more holes in the case than you actually need.
That is to insure whatever board the customer buys, the mounting area of the computer case will have the proper hole placement for it.

There are only a few patterns that are used and so all the holes for all configurations are usually punched into the computer case or mounting plate in the area where the motherboard will be mounted.

This can give the impression to the first time builder that there are too many holes. Just screw in the standoffs that match the pattern of your particular motherboard and forget about the left over holes.

Image removed.
Cooler Master Haf 932 case inside view.

By carefully looking at the holes in the motherboard you will be able to see which holes in the computer case you can screw the mounting standoffs into so they will align with the holes in the motherboard.

Your job is to find the proper holes and screw in finger tight the standoffs needed only for your board

DO NOT PUT IN MORE THAN IS EXACTLY NEEDED!

You may also find some footpad stands that are usually made of plastic.

Image removed.
Plastic standoff drawing for mounting Motherboards.

If your motherboard has holes at corners where there is no place to screw in the standoffs then you will place one of these plastic footpads in each hole and the pad end will sit on the case supporting the motherboard where there are no holes for the screw-in standoffs.

You should not have to use more than two of these to brace the motherboard corners.

Examine the area where the memory sticks go and see if there are any holes in the motherboard but no corresponding holes in the metal underneath.
This is also a good place to put a footpad to help brace the memory area in case you add or replace the memory sometime in the future. This will help to keep the board from bending when you press on the memory to install it.

Also I have come across one board that had only one screw in the area that the PCI slots were and had an area left unsupported. I placed one of these plastic footpad stands here in a hole on the motherboard that had no corresponding hole in the case to help support this area when cards are inserted.

Motherboards usually have one or more holes that have no corresponding place to screw a standoff in the case so don't worry if you have more motherboard holes than you have standoff holes to brace it with.

The main idea here is to  insure the motherboard has a solid foundation that keeps the circuits from coming into contact with the metal case except where the areas clearly made to put a standoff in.

The areas where you fasten the metal standoffs to the motherboard are usually metal or metal banded. This makes a common return for the current to flow through so don't worry about the metal screws making contact with the metal screw holes and the metal case.
It's the metal traces you see running around the underside of the motherboard that needs to be protected from the metal areas.

A really simple and easy way to ensure proper placement of these standoffs is to place the motherboard on a piece of paper the same size of the board and insert a pencil or pen into each hole making a small mark on the paper or even punching a hole where each mounting hole is.
Then placing the paper on the case area where the motherboard is to be mounted you can clearly see where to screw in the mounting standoffs.
In fact you could actually screw the standoffs into the computer case through the paper then pull the paper out over the standoffs making sure you don't leave any pieces of paper in the case.

When properly placed the connectors at the rear of the motherboard will line up with the large rectangular hole in the back of the case.

The picture below shows the rectangular connector region on the back of the motherboard

Image removed.
Connections shown for connecting motherboard to Peripherals.

and the picture below shows the rectangular hole at the back of the case it should fit into easily.

Image removed.
Computer case back showing hole for connectors to fit.

In this case the motheboard mounts sideways near the top and the power supply sits at the bottom. It's usually better to have the power supply sit at the top with the fans blowing outwards since hot air rises. This case has lots of fan areas to keep it cool.

The metal shield will pop into the rectangular area from the inside.
Be careful these panels are easy to bend and that will make it very difficult to get into proper placement.
Look carefully at how the motherboard will sit in the case and make sure that the holes in the panel will line up with the connectors on the motherboard.
This is not hard but can be tricky to get just right.
This panel must go in before the motherboard placement.

Now Motherboard Assembly Placement:

I usually pick it up by the fan assembly on the CPU giving me really good control with one hand.

You might want to stop and look things over carefully to find out what method is better for you. I'm right handed and not sure if this method is good for lefties or not.

OK here's the plan, you're going to very carefully place the motherboard assembly onto the screw offsets you put in earlier making sure you touch the motherboard to nothing and that the offsets touch only the hole areas they are intended for.

If you accidently scrape any of the circuits against a metal standoff or sharp edge or anything hard or sharp you may damage the motherboard leaving it useless.

Now that I've got you worried let me reassure you.

Just take it slow and easy on this part and  it should go well. I've never yet had a motherboard damaged inserting it into the chassis but I always work like this time is the time it's going to happen. That makes me go very slow and careful.

As you're placing it into the case I usually find it easier if I tilt the rear connector side of the mother board assembly down a little.

There are flap like panel protruding out of some of the connector holesin the shield.

This is the only part of the assembly that is extremely touchy.

CAREFULLY pick up the motherboard assembly

These are common grounding areas that have to press against the top of the metal cased connectors that are usually rectangular in shape.
These grounding flaps make for a better circuit connection to the motherboard and help protect it from static shock as well.

Tilt the back side of the motherboard assembly down just a little so you can slip the connectors into the holes intended for them and under the grounding flaps so that the grounds will be pressing against the top metal part of the connectors as you gently lay the rest of the motherboard assembly down onto the stand off pins.

Now and probably with a flashlight if your area is not brightly lighted.
Check each of the holes in the motherboard assembly that is intended to take a screw and make sure they line up with the stand off pins.

If they are not lined up DO NOT SLIDE THE MOTHERBOARD ASSEMBLY TO GET IT INTO PLACE!!

Carefully tilt the inside edge of the motherboard up just a little to clear it from touching any of the standoffs and fit it against the metal shield tighter that it was so the pins line up properly.

If you have put the standoffs in the proper place then the screw down holes in the motherboard assembly will line up properly.

Again I stress the importance of checking the manual that came with the motherboard to make sure you have the right pattern. Before you fasten everything down. Or even placing the motherboard onto the standoffs.

If you have the proper pattern and the  connectors are snugly against the rear shield poking through properly then all the screws will line up right.

After the motherboard assembly has been properly placed onto the standoffs then one at a time screw in the screws provided with the case for the standoffs.

Every new case should come with a compliment of standoffs and screws to fit them.

Image removed.
Cooler-Master-Haf-932-bag-of-screws.

The above bag is how the different screws and standoffs are usually packaged with cases.

You should now look very carefully at your motherboard and locate the holes in it that are made just for the screws that will bolt the motherboard to the case.
These holes are quite often metal lined looking almost like small slats or staples around the edge of the hole.

The owners manual that came with your motherboard should have a picture or a drawing of these holes that clearly indicate where the standoffs are to be mounted to the computer case.

The different styles of motherboards will have different patterns that the standoffs will be placed in. Depending usually on the size and shape.

Make sure that the screw holes you choose in the computer case or the mounting plate if your computer case is the tool-less type, match up with the hole pattern on the motherboard.

You will find more holes in the case than you actually need.
That is to insure whatever board the customer buys, the mounting area of the computer case will have the proper hole placement for it.

There are only a few patterns that are used and so all the holes for all configurations are usually punched into the computer case or mounting plate in the area where the motherboard will be mounted.

This can give the impression to the first time builder that there are too many holes. Just screw in the standoffs that match the pattern of your particular motherboard and forget about the left over holes.

Image removed.
Panel in back shows the screw holes for this case.

By carefully looking at the holes in the motherboard you will be able to see which holes in the computer case you can screw the mounting standoffs into so they will align with the holes in the motherboard.

Your job is to find the proper holes and screw in finger tight the standoffs needed only for your board

DO NOT PUT IN MORE THAN IS EXACTLY NEEDED!

You may also find some footpad stands that are usually made of plastic.

Image removed.
Plastic-snap-ins-standoffs.

If your motherboard has holes at corners where there is no place to screw in the standoffs then you will place one of these plastic footpads in each hole and the pad end will sit on the case supporting the motherboard where there are no holes for the screw-in standoffs.

You should not have to use more than two of these to brace the motherboard corners.

Examine the area where the memory sticks go and see if there are any holes in the motherboard but no corresponding holes in the metal underneath.
This is also a good place to put a footpad to help brace the memory area in case you add or replace the memory sometime in the future. This will help to keep the board from bending when you press on the memory to install it.

Also I have come across one board that had only one screw in the area that the PCI slots were and had an area left unsupported. I placed one of these plastic footpad stands here in a hole on the motherboard that had no corresponding hole in the case to help support this area when cards are inserted.

Motherboards usually have one or more holes that have no corresponding place to screw a standoff in the case so don't worry if you have more motherboard holes than you have standoff holes to brace it with.

The main idea here is to  insure the motherboard has a solid foundation that keeps the circuits from coming into contact with the metal case except where the areas clearly made to put a standoff in.

The areas where you fasten the metal standoffs to the motherboard are usually metal or metal banded. This makes a common return for the current to flow through so don't worry about the metal screws making contact with the metal screw holes and the metal case.
It's the metal traces you see running around the underside of the motherboard that needs to be protected from the metal areas.

A really simple and easy way to ensure proper placement of these standoffs is to place the motherboard on a piece of paper the same size of the board and insert a pencil or pen into each hole making a small mark on the paper or even punching a hole where each mounting hole is.
Then placing the paper on the case area where the motherboard is to be mounted you can clearly see where to screw in the mounting standoffs.
In fact you could actually screw the standoffs into the computer case through the paper then pull the paper out over the standoffs making sure you don't leave any pieces of paper in the case.

When properly placed the connectors at the rear of the motherboard will line up with the large rectangular hole in the back of the case.

The picture below shows the rectangular connector region on the back of the motherboard and the picture below that shows the rectangular hole at the back of the case it should fit into easily.