How to Build a Custom Pentium 4 PC


When it was released, the Pentium 4 was a powerful chip. Its single core processor eventually broke the highly touted 3GHz "barrier" late in its product cycle. As of late 2009, however, it is an outdated processor that can be bested in performance benchmarks by processors that are priced lower than the Pentium 4 at its release. Intel Pentium 4 chips are in short supply, so be sure to check online auction sites and classified ads if you have a difficult time finding one.

Things You'll Need

  • Pentium 4 processor (CPU)
  • Motherboard
  • Graphics card (optional)
  • Power supply (PSU)
  • Optical drive (optional)
  • Hard drive (HDD)
  • Case
  • Operating system (OS)
  • Remove the side of the case. Install the motherboard by lining up the motherboard's mounting holes with the brass standoffs inside of the case. You may add more standoffs if there are not enough. Do not over-tighten the screws, as this may crack the motherboard's PCB.

  • Install the PSU. Check to be sure that its cables will reach all components inside of the case. Connect the PSU to the motherboard with the 20 or 24 pin ATX cable.

  • Mount the CPU on the motherboard. Place the chip into the socket, and gently but firmly clip the retaining mechanism around the CPU. Attach the heatsink/fan to the motherboard, making sure it fits snugly on top of the CPU.

  • Install the RAM by clipping it into the DIMM slots in the motherboard. Depending on your motherboard, it may or may not have matching DIMM slots. Check to see if your RAM is "dual channel;" this will determine whether or not you need to use color-coded slots. If you are using dual channel RAM, it must be plugged in to the corresponding slots.

  • Install your HDD into the case's hard drive cage. Connect it to the power supply using the appropriate cables and then to the motherboard. If your HDD is an IDE drive (long, flat, wide cables) make sure that the jumper on the rear of the drive is set to "master."

  • If you are using a dedicated graphics card, install it into the AGP or PCIexpress slot on the motherboard. If your graphics card requires an external power connection, use the proper cable from the power supply.

  • Install the OS using a flash drive or an optical drive. Check the motherboard's BIOS to make sure it is configured to boot from your media of choice.

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