We usually spend a lot of time on our PC, but relatively little time in our PC. In this way, would we say, were it not that there are sometimes situations where you have to open your system cabinet – for example, to replace certain parts? Fortunately, all of this is not as complicated as it seems. With a little bit of confidence (and a screwdriver) you come a long way.
In this article, we show you how replacing parts in your desktop is at work. We choose specifically for the desktop because a laptop is really a very different branch of sport. We do not go as far as replacing a motherboard and processor (also that is of a different level), but let you see how you replace a hard disk or a memory module for example.
A good preparation is half the work, is the cliché. And clichés are often clichés because they are true, and this is no exception. If you do not make preparations and start working in a messy room, you’ll lose your screws in no time, you’ll knock over your system cabinet, and you’ll be on your new card with your shoe, and so on. So make sure you have a few trays or bowls before you screw (if all screws are identical, one tray is enough) and make sure you have the space For your new and old components, but also, for example, to be able to put your system cabinet on its side, if necessary. You do not have to buy an antistatic wristband from us, but just touch a metal surface (for example, a heating radiator or system cabinet) before you grab the components to discharge yourself and prevent you from causing problems. Finally let it guesses (but we’ll say it anyway) that you have to pull the plug out of the socket before you take a screwdriver: working in a powered system cabinet is life-threatening.
02. Unscrew the system cabinet
When you have made all preparations, it is time to open the system cabinet. As you can read in the box ‘No cabinet is the same’, we can not give you a ready-made explanation for screwing up your system cabinet. However, we can tell you that with most (but not all) system cabinets you only have to open one side to access all components, and that side is usually not the side where the power is. Take a good look at your system cabinet from the back and check which screws are meant to hold the side that you want to unscrew into place. This prevents you from loosening screws that do not have anything to do with the system cabinet, and then do not know where to fix those screws again. When you have unscrewed the right screws, you can often easily slide the side from the rest of the system. Tip: do not do that carelessly and look carefully at how the system slides/clicks. That prevents a lot of trouble when you have to put things back together in the end.
No closet is the same
In this article, we will show you how to unscrew the system cabinet and how to replace components. However, no system cabinet is the same: each manufacturer has its own way to build in its components. Do not stare blindly at the examples in this article and try to understand the principle behind them. Whether a disc is placed horizontally or vertically, that does not matter, if you just look at how it is stuck, so that you can fix it yourself again after unscrewing.
Are we finally going to replace a component now? Almost: there is one more step that we have to do first. In an ideal world, you regularly clean your computer – both from the outside and inside. In reality, almost nobody does that, even though it is absolutely necessary. Dust on the inside of the system cabinet, for example, can cause the refrigeration to make a lot of noise, or even worse: that the fans of your cooling become clogged and no longer turn. In that case the temperature in your system cabinet can rise so high that components can be irreparably damaged. It is of course not the intention that you go ragging through your system cabinet with your vacuum cleaner; there you can just buy a van compressed air. The honesty tells us to say that we really use the vacuum cleaner for this. After all, it is suitable for sucking away big dust, if you just make sure you stay away from the components, cables and so on,
04. Replace hard disk
For the replacement of your hard drive is actually the same as for opening your system cabinet: look carefully how everything is put together and with which screws you can release the disc. Once you have done that, you can usually easily extend the hard drive. Take a good look at how the connectors are fastened at the back, although this is now evident with SATA. If you have bought a drive of the same type as the disc that was already in it, then it is a matter of sliding out, plugging the old drive back into the new drive, sliding it back and tightening it again. However, you can transfer from a hard drive to an SSD (or a more compact hard disk), you may have to attach the disk with a cradle. No worries, you often get a manual with such a disk. But even if it is not, it is simply a question of screwing the disc into the carriage and then sliding the carriage into the slot where your old drive came from. The most important thing is that the disc is properly secured.
05. Soundcard/video card
There used to be a sound card and a video card in almost every system cabinet. However, the technology has been developed so far that you do not need a separate card for audio and video, but that they are simply included as a chip on the motherboard. In some cases, however, you want to install a more powerful card because, for example, you want to play heavy games or get started with audio or video editing. When you look at the back of your system cabinet, you see that there are elongated metal plates. To place a card, you have to unscrew such a picture. Now place the card on the spot where the metal plate just sat and click the metal contacts in the lock that belongs to the spot you just removed the picture from (what this is for, depends on the card you have bought: read the documentation that comes with the card). Do not use brute force, but push hard enough that you hear the card click into place (make sure there are no cables in the way) Depending on the card you have purchased, you may have to connect another power cable. You can also read this in the documentation of the card you have purchased.
Research your components
We would like to tell you in this article which type of hard disk or memory module you should buy exactly. Unfortunately it does not work that way. Just as no system cabinet is the same, so also for the parts in it. What memory modules you have to buy depends on the memory modules in them. You can upgrade to some extent, for example if you want a regular hard drive to an SSD, but you can not (just) install a SATA drive if your system only supports IDE. Now, for most cases, converters are available, but that goes beyond the scope of this article. It is important that you look closely at the possibilities of your system before you just buy a new component. So it may be that you need a more powerful power supply for a certain video card, or a certain port. If you do not come here, the specialist shop can help you further. You will also find a lot of information in the Device Manager (Control Panel).
06. Network card
Compared to a sound card or video card, replacing a network card is very simple, especially because there are not many different types. You buy a new network card when, for example, you have a system with a chip that only supports 10 and 100 Mbps, while you have an Internet connection that is much faster. To place a new network card, remove the metal plate again, slide the network card into place and screw it down. There are no special circumstances here, so a network card is a nice component to start with if you find it exciting.
Placing a new memory module is not as complicated as it seems. Close to your processor you see a number of slots, one or more of which already have a memory module. In some cases you replace that module, in other cases you add one or more (this depends on your system configuration: read the manual or ask the specialist dealer). To remove a module, open the plastic clips on both sides and carefully pull out the module To place a module, ensure that the metal contact points align exactly with the slots and push the module in firmly (not forcibly). Then click the clips again to lock the module.
08. Power supply
Replacing the power supply of your PC is not hopelessly complicated, but there are quite a few cables coming from. It is therefore especially important that you pay attention. If we can give you a tip: take pictures of how the cables are connected to the motherboard so that you have something to fall back on. Furthermore, it is simply a matter of buying the right food, looking at which screws you have to loosen, changing the power supply and connecting the cables to the right place. The latter, of course, is very close, so document it and do not assume that you remember what comes to where.
We have indicated that we leave the motherboard alone this time, but there is a part of the motherboard that you have to replace in some cases, and that is the button cell battery. This battery can be depleted and that means your computer can not remember basal things like date and time, and that can cause problems. Fortunately, that battery is really easy to replace. You spot it pretty easily on your motherboard, because it is a regular button cell battery, like you find it in your thermostat and other household appliances. Removal is done in exactly the same way: without violence and with policy. Incidentally, you do not have to be very frenetic with the holding of the battery. It is a myth that he will empty in a few seconds. In theory, energy is indeed lost,
If you have replaced the components of your choice, you could of course close your system cabinet again. However, we advise you not to do that anyway. For example, it may be that you have not connected something correctly or that the component is not working. Then of course it is extra frustrating when you have just completely closed the system cabinet and put it back in its place, to discover that you have to repeat the whole circus. When you have done the replacement or upgrade, you can best put the system cabinet upright again, connect a keyboard, mouse and monitor, and then the power supply. You can leave the rest for a while. When the system is working properly and you have confirmed that the new component is being recognized, you can switch the system off again, disconnect the power cable and tighten the box tightly. Then you put the system cabinet in place and reconnect all peripherals. If something suddenly conflicts at startup, then you know in any case that the new component itself is working properly.
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