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If you found that cool new bit of PC gear waiting under the tree on Christmas morning, the next thought on your mind is to rip open your PC case and pop it in. Now is the time to take a deep breath, have Christmas dinner with your family, then go tackle the upgrade. But before you do, you might take a little time to review the upgrade process for the component at hand. We’ve got a lot of information on just how to handle these upgrades. Whether it’s something simple, like adding more RAM, or more complex, like swapping in a new motherboard, we’ve probably written about it.

So we’ve gathered our best stories together on installing components. We’ll tell you how to handle and install your motherboard, CPU, memory, heatsink, graphics card, and sound card. Discover for yourself that with a little help and guidance, you too can easily install your new component. Continued…

Cracking open your case is definitely the easiest part of the process. Make sure your computer is turned completely off—all the fans should have stopped spinning. You can unplug your PC if you wish, but make sure you’re well-grounded. Unplug your case from the wall to make sure it can’t accidentally turn on while you’re working (this can happen occasionally when inserting an AGP card), but it also means your case won’t be grounded anymore, so you need to make sure you don’t build up any static.

Feel free to remove the wires connected to the back of the computer (especially the component you’re going to remove). This way you can move your computer case without tugging on any wires or having the wires get in the way. Familiarize yourself with these wires and where they hook up so that there’s no confusion when it’s time to plug them back in. You may want to actually tape labels to them.

Remove your case cover. There are many different types of cases, and you’ll most likely have to remove some screws to open it. Sometimes you have to remove more than one panel to allow access to the computer’s guts. With your computer case now open, you’re now ready to begin operating.

How to Remove and Install Your Motherboard

Let’s start big, with the motherboard. If you’re a skilled craftsman in the art of installing motherboards, perhaps you can skip this. If you want to go through the process with pictures to guide the way, consider our latest article on How to Remove and Install Your Motherboard.

How to Install Memory, CPU, and Heatsink

With your motherboard in place, now is the time to begin installing some of the essential components to your computer. Check out our guide on How to Install Your Memory, CPU, and Heatsink.

How to Install A Graphics Card

Now that you’ve saved your ammunition for a killer graphics card, the only things keeping you away from gaming heaven are some simple steps and a victory cigar. Click on the following link for installation steps and suggestions on what cards are hot right now: How to Install Your Graphics Card.

How to Install Your Sound Card

With a new sound card in your possession, now you’re ready to put those speakers to good use. See our instructions on How to Install Your Sound Card.

You may fire when ready after you’ve installed your component. It’s a good idea to leave your case cover off in case you need to go back in for a quick tinker. Once you’ve powered up your system, installed new drivers, and gotten everything up and running, you can go ahead and close up the case and get your game on.

Don’t forget that if your component requires drivers to be installed, you should remove the old drivers first. Your component may come with its own set of drivers, or you may have to download them from the hardware company’s site. Once your new component is installed, with the proper drivers on your system, you’re ready to go.