Figure 3-1 shows the major components of the Mainstream PC. The Intel D865PERL motherboard is on top of the Antec Sonata case, with the Plextor PX-708A DVD burner and the ATi RADEON 9200 video adapter to the left and the Logitech keyboard and mouse to the right. In front, left to right, are the Seagate Barracuda hard drive, two 256 MB sticks of Crucial PC3200 memory, the Pentium 4 processor, and the Dynatron CPU cooler.
Figure 3-1. Mainstream PC components, awaiting construction
Before you proceed, make sure you have everything you need. Open each box and verify the contents against the packing list. Oh, yeah—and make sure your processor is compatible with your motherboard. We didn’t do that until we started building our system, and it bit us in the ass.
Although by necessity we describe building the system in a particular order, you don’t need to follow that exact sequence when you build your own system. Some steps—for example, installing the processor and memory before installing the motherboard in the case—should be taken in the sequence we describe because doing otherwise makes the task more difficult or risks damaging a component. Other steps—such as installing the video adapter after you install the motherboard in the case—must be taken in the order we describe because completing one step is a prerequisite for completing another. But for most steps, the ...