Lets Build – Board and CPU

Okay with the SSD’s firmware finally ready, time to move on! The case arrived at this point, so I got it out and had a good look around it. Very nice. Next, I grabbed the board out of the box, and looked at the other contents of what had come:

  • 2 x SATA 6gbps cables
  • 2 x SATA 3gbps cables
  • Driver and utility disk
  • Lots of (useful) instructions
  • Case / board blackplate for the back I/O
  • What I believe is an ATI crossfire bridge, might be NVIDIA, but it looks very similar to a crossfire, but bendy.
  • A quick connector thing that you plug in all the board headers to – e.g power and reset switch, busy and power light.
  • Another smaller quick connector – unsure as to it’s use.
  • 1 ASUS motherboard, of course!

I have never had a new motherboard before, so I was unsure how to remove it out of it’s large anti-static bag. To be honest, you are going to be having your fingers all over it later, so I don’t think it matters too much where you hold it. I didn’t want to be touching all the solder joints, and I ensured I grounded myself regularly ( I touch my old case and power supply – still connected to mains, so hopefully grounded!). Probably should use an anti-static wristband or jacket etc.

With the board out, I looked at the processor socket – there is a small plastic thing that needs to be removed first. Easy enough, just lift the lever and open the socket, and it comes out. I then unboxed the lovely i7.. being very careful not to touch any of it’s pins. Also in the i7 box came:

  • Intel cooler (as I bought the retail version – thermal paste ready applied in 3 wide strips)
  • Instructions (relatively useful)
  • An Intel sticker on the back of the instructions (for putting on your case – the sandy bridge logo :) as on the front of the box).
  • The i7 processor



Very daunting, picking up a very fragile component worth about £240, in just 2 quivering fingers. After admiring its beauty, I slotted it into it’s socket. The instructions show you that there are 2 notches opposite each other on the socket – and the CPU has 2 little grooves, one on the left and one on the right – so theres only one way to put it in – don’t worry. After dropping it into it’s new home, (it went in easily, I think it would be hard to get it like one pin left or something), I closed it’s cover over the top of it. Then came a scary moment – pulling the lever back down towards the board to squeeze the CPU into it’s holder. Seemed to go okay though.
Read on for info about the cooler – probably my most feared part of the build
Recommendations: Read the instructions, and be careful with your components :).