MICRO CENTER: COMPUTERS & ELECTRONICS
In-store Clinics

Performing a Power-On-Self-Test (POST) Inside of a System Case

ESD precautions
Removing system board
Take all appropriate ESD precautions:
Use a static discharge wrist strap
Keep product in its protective box or bag until you are ready to install it
Avoid touching board or chip contacts
Handle boards by their edges or retention brackets
1. Remove system board from its protective bag and place on a non-conductive surface such as the cardboard box or foam insert.

Removing protective covers
Installing CPU
2. Remove any protective covers from the CPU socket and open the retaining clip or socket lever. (If the CPU heat sink requires installation of a retaining frame or back plate, attach it to the system board first.) 3. Install the CPU: Remove the CPU from the protective packaging and seat it in the socket. Avoid touching pins or contacts; hold the CPU by the edge and gently settle it into the socket. Do not force the CPU to seat in the socket. Make sure to align the processor with any pin configuration or edge guides. Close the retention cover and lock the socket lever in the closed position.

Applying thermal compound
4. If the CPU heat sink does not have thermal compound pre-applied to the base, then place a small amount of thermal conductive paste in the center of the CPU. Spread the conductive compound over the top of the CPU in a thin, uniform layer. Attach the heat sink to the CPU following the manufacturer directions. 5. Install memory: Remove the memory module(s) from their packaging. Move the retaining clips out and away from the slots. Align the memory module so the notch matches the rib in the socket and press the module firmly down into the slot until the retaining clips snap shut against the module.

Preparing case for system board
Installing stand-off posts
6. Prepare the case to accept the system board: Identify positions of the system board mounting holes against the chassis posts or mounting points. You can use a marker to circle the mounting holes that line up with the system board holes.

7. Install stand-off posts in the appropriate hole positions and tighten. Snap the rear I/O cover plate in the rear case opening.

Caution: DO NOT install stand-offs in every hole, since they can short out against the system board.


Insert system board
Install power supply
8. Insert the system board into the case, centering it on the stand-off posts. While holding the system board in position, screw in, but do not tighten completely, one bolt at a time. Once all bolts are in place, tighten them down to secure the system board.

9. If the power supply is not already present in the case, install it now.


Install video card
Attache power connections
10. If the system board lacks integrated video, install a compatible video card in the slot.

11. With the power cord disconnected from the power supply or the power to the supply shut off at the rear switch or surge suppressor, attach the ATX power connection and any secondary connections to the motherboard, video card and fans.



Attach cables
Install drive
12. Connect cables: Attach front panel switches, speaker, and LED indicators. Attach a PS/2 or USB keyboard. Attach monitor cable to video connector or card. (Optional) Attach a PS/2 or USB mouse. (Optional) Attach floppy, hard disk, and or optical drives and connect the appropriate data and power supply connections.

13. (Optional, not required for POST verification.) Install drives in drive bays and attach data cables to system board. Attach power connectors to the drives.


Monitor screen

14. Turn on power to the Power Supply. Press the front panel power button or short the front panel pins designated for the power button to begin POST.


Basic POST Troubleshooting:
If the system does not power on (no fans or lights): Verify power is turned on. Try disconnecting drives or any unnecessary power connections. You do need to have all motherboard connections including the 20 or 24-pin ATX connector, the 4-pin ATX 12v connector, and you may need additional 6-pin or 4-pin motherboard connections for memory, fans, or video. Double check the front panel connections; remove everything but the power button connector or use a screwdriver to short the two pins instead of a switch. Verify no additional stand-offs were installed or loose parts got under the motherboard to short it out.

If the system powers on (fans spin, LEDs light up) but it does not POST (blank screen): Verify all motherboard connections are attached. Try disconnecting drives or any unnecessary power connections. If you added a video card, but have onboard video, remove the card and test the system board first. Verify memory and any adapter cards are installed securely in their slots. Verify CPU and memory is compatible with the system board.

If you receive beep code errors, check the manual for the meaning. Most common causes are incompatible memory or video not detected.

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