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What Are Motherboard Standoffs???

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January 28, 2010 1:53:16 AM

I am having boot problems and have been reading the Boot Problems Sticky. Can someone explain what these Motherboard Standoffs are and how to install them. I didn't see any mention of them in my motherboard instructions, but they are all over the place on here in terms of build directions.

As a side note, I am experiencing boot problems on my new (first) build. I clicked the power switch and one of the fans briefly lit up but then nothing happened so I am in the process of going through the Boot Problems sticky to see what might be the cause. I am feeling very overwhelmed and frustrated at technology right now!!!!

More about : motherboard standoffs

January 28, 2010 2:03:29 AM

so you have to use them?? Did I damage my motherboard by not using them??? What screw slots do they go in, all of them??

I didn't think they were that important...

So many questions...
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a b V Motherboard
January 28, 2010 2:04:06 AM

IN this Pic ( http://www.hardwareheaven.com/articleimages/buildapc_20... ) you can see the standoffs (the little brass barrel like thingies) they are used to raise the MOBO above the case so that the soldered parts do not contact the case and to provide a ground for the MOBO and the case. They are normally part of the screw that come with the case (though some new cases use raised parts formed into the case tray for the same purpose ( http://images17.newegg.com/is/image/newegg/11-121-001-S...$S640W$ ) as you can see in this pic and do not use standoffs unless using a micro Atx MOBO then you use 2 of them in the holes provided for the micro ATX MOBO (since raising those 2 spots would cause regular sized MOBOs to short out on the case)

EDIT : when you look at the MOBO you'll see which screwholes were designed for them (they have little metal rings around them ) and you should use them all because if you do not that part of the MOBO that does not have them can become warped and eventually short out due to the weight of things like the HEatsink\cooler or ad in cards.
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January 28, 2010 2:14:50 AM

rtmcwilliams said:
so you have to use them?? Did I damage my motherboard by not using them??? What screw slots do they go in, all of them??

I didn't think they were that important...

So many questions...


Yes you need to use the standoffs. As mentioned above, not using them can lead to an electrical short. Yes this can damage the motherboard and anything connected to it.

Only way you will know if you damaged somethings is reinstall the motherboard with standoffs and boot up. If you hear popping, smell smoke, see sparks then cut power immediately. If none of those things happen then let the system boot up. You might want to install a couple temp monitor programs, just to keep and eye on things.

Regarding the screw slots, the motherboard has holes in it--look at the back side. You will want standoffs every place there is a hole where you would place a screw to connect to the case. Make sure you don't have more standoffs then holes because again this could cause problems.
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January 28, 2010 2:16:32 AM

I'm using the Antec 902 for my case. I am going to retackle the project tomorrow and see if I can get everything to work....I'm also having a heck of a time with wire management.
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a b V Motherboard
January 28, 2010 2:18:07 AM

Are you sure they weren't already installed in your case? A lot of times I see they already are. if you did really install the board w/o standoffs, I'm afraid something is most likely fried (though perhaps not).
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January 28, 2010 2:21:24 AM

rtmcwilliams said:
I'm using the Antec 902 for my case. I am going to retackle the project tomorrow and see if I can get everything to work....I'm also having a heck of a time with wire management.


Here is a video of a build that address cable management: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBEFIJmg-fk
Also just google Antec 902 Cable Management and you will get a bunch of returns.
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January 28, 2010 2:22:45 AM

It only came with 3 standoffs, should there be more than that? I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I didn't fry anything.
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a b V Motherboard
January 28, 2010 2:28:16 AM

Are you saying you have a bag with three standoffs, or that there were three standoffs in the case? If you have a bag with three then most likely they are just extras and the others were preinstalled.
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a b V Motherboard
January 28, 2010 2:31:09 AM

Alright, I just looked at a picture of your case. There are nine standoffs in total. 6 were preinstalled, and the three you found were supposed to be added by you. So, as long as you only bolted the board into the six installed standoffs, you should be ok. When you get a chance, remove the board and add the other three standoffs (they will go on the far right side of the case).
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January 28, 2010 9:35:27 AM

EXT64 said:
Alright, I just looked at a picture of your case. There are nine standoffs in total. 6 were preinstalled, and the three you found were supposed to be added by you. So, as long as you only bolted the board into the six installed standoffs, you should be ok. When you get a chance, remove the board and add the other three standoffs (they will go on the far right side of the case).


Thanks for making me feel a lot better! I do seem to have a lot of extra screws, is this normal? I have a lot of long screws that measure a little under an inch and a lot of the regular normal sized ones with different tops. Is there any way to know which screws should go into the motherboard, I just assumed it was a certain screw (large lug head), but it could have been the other ones now that I think about it.
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January 28, 2010 11:07:22 AM

in my antec 300, it says atx and you put a standoff there. Or go into the antec 902 manual and read it for standoff locations. Use screws that have another hole at the top that allows for another screw to be screwed in
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January 28, 2010 11:36:04 AM

ubernoobie said:
in my antec 300, it says atx and you put a standoff there. Or go into the antec 902 manual and read it for standoff locations. Use screws that have another hole at the top that allows for another screw to be screwed in


I went to try and download the ANTEC 902 manual online, but I think either the link is broken or my work's security settings won't download the file. So I have no manual.
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January 28, 2010 11:40:55 AM

EXT64 said:
Alright, I just looked at a picture of your case. There are nine standoffs in total. 6 were preinstalled, and the three you found were supposed to be added by you. So, as long as you only bolted the board into the six installed standoffs, you should be ok. When you get a chance, remove the board and add the other three standoffs (they will go on the far right side of the case).


I screwed it right into the case, and I did avoid the three far right side holes, because they weren't working.

Although I only remember finding 5 other screw holes for a total of 8, maybe I missed one.

I also think I made two other errors:

I definitely forgot to plug the CPU power in

I also wasn't sure about the front panel connectors, they don't specify what is positive and negative they just have an arrow indicating one side. I matched up the two pin connectors by taking the black side of the cables and matching it up with the positive side, hopefully the black isn't the ground?

This is the growing pains...LOL
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a b V Motherboard
January 28, 2010 12:47:41 PM

For aligning the MOBO it is sometimes easiest to place the board in the case and see where the holes in the board align with the case and then remove the MOBO and place standoffs in those locations (since the case and MOBO are compatible they should lign up properly !!)

for the CPU power - it might actually be a good thing you missed it the first time (Figure since it wasn't connected chances are the CPU did not get damaged by the shorting out ) but you will need it in order for the system to boot (that could be why the system would not start !)

On the front panel connectors - it will not hurt anything if you get them backwards (they are just the LEDs that light up and the switches like Power on and reset which just make a connection when pressed so can be either way as pressing the button still will make the connection and releasing breaks the connection - but the black is normally ground (just like your car battery (red = +, black = -)).
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January 28, 2010 12:53:14 PM

What power supply are you using? And what about the rest of your components?
You PSu might be too weak and could be reaching it overvolt protection everytime you stratup.
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January 28, 2010 12:56:56 PM

Tridec said:
What power supply are you using? And what about the rest of your components?
You PSu might be too weak and could be reaching it overvolt protection everytime you stratup.


Sorry the links don't work, but here are the parts.

1. Case: Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811129021

2. MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA790GPT-UD3H AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128398

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 925 Deneb 2.8GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retai
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819103656

3. Power Supply: FSP Group SAGA+ 450R 450W ATX12V Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817104954

4. Hard Drive: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822152181

5. DVD-Drive: LG Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM SATA DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827136177

6. RAM: Kingston HyperX 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory Model KHX1333C7D3K2/2GX - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product
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a b V Motherboard
January 28, 2010 1:45:27 PM

LEDs are one directional, but the switches can go either way. Hooking up an LED backward won't hurt anything, it just won't work. So if one doesn't work, flip it around.

I'd suggest taking the computer apart and slowly redoing it. You want all 9 standoffs in first (3 rows of 3) and then the MB bolted into those 9. After that, carefully follow the MB manual to get all of the connectors etc. in. And since one is not listed, I assume you are using the default CPU fan and thermal paste?
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January 28, 2010 1:47:31 PM

EXT64 said:
LEDs are one directional, but the switches can go either way. Hooking up an LED backward won't hurt anything, it just won't work. So if one doesn't work, flip it around.

I'd suggest taking the computer apart and slowly redoing it. You want all 9 standoffs in first (3 rows of 3) and then the MB bolted into those 9. After that, carefully follow the MB manual to get all of the connectors etc. in. And since one is not listed, I assume you are using the default CPU fan and thermal paste?


Yes Default CPU and CPU fan.
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January 28, 2010 5:39:02 PM

For front panel connectors, it's usually the case that the colored wire is the (+) and the white or black colored wire is the (-). Your Gigabyte board will have two places for the power LED, a 2-pin or a 3-pin. If it's a 3-pin is just next to the front panel connectors. If it's a 2-pin it's one of the front panel connectors.

All the extra screws, standoffs, etc. are because most of these cases can handle a mini, micro or full ATX size board. Having removable standoffs makes them flexible that way. You use the number of standoffs you need for your board. Since you an ATX board you'll likely be using all of them.

Get a hold of the mobo and case manual and you should be able to match everything up properly.
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a c 156 V Motherboard
January 28, 2010 8:25:54 PM

EXT64 said:
Are you sure they weren't already installed in your case? A lot of times I see they already are. if you did really install the board w/o standoffs, I'm afraid something is most likely fried (though perhaps not).

A good PSU is supposed to detect the short and electronically shut itself down.
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January 28, 2010 9:38:12 PM

Do I not have to plug power into the socket next to the CPU. My manual is telling me "do not insert the power supply cables into pins under the protective covers when using a power supply providing a 2x2 12V and 2x10 power connector." I definitely have TWO power pins already in the motherboard and they measure 2x2 and 2x10
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Best solution

a b V Motherboard
January 28, 2010 10:04:10 PM

rtmcwilliams said:
Do I not have to plug power into the socket next to the CPU. My manual is telling me "do not insert the power supply cables into pins under the protective covers when using a power supply providing a 2x2 12V and 2x10 power connector." I definitely have TWO power pins already in the motherboard and they measure 2x2 and 2x10


What that means is that if your Powersupply only has a 4 pin CPU plug that you are using and not an 8-pin plug you want to use the 4 pins that do not have the protective cover (though my MOBO did not have a cover at all - the Manual does tell you which 4 to use also !!) - You should have the big MOBO plug (either 24 pins or 20+4 pin depending on your psu - most have 4 pins that can be removed if using an older MOBO but you want to use all 24 pins if you have them) plugged into the MOBO connector - and then by the CPU you have either an 8-pin or a 4-pin plug that also needs to be attached (if you have a newer PSU it will have an 8-pin connector for that plug where oplder PSU's will have just a 4-pin (which you can use by attaching to the correct 4 pins in the 8-pin socket on the MOBO) - THe only time you really need the 8-pin is if you have a very high TDP CPU that requires more than aboput 150Watts - since the 24Pin MOBO connector supplies up to about 75W and the 4-pin provides another 75W for the CPU if the CPU requires near that limit then you should be using an 8-pin (since it can then provide another 75Watts if needed)
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January 28, 2010 10:34:13 PM

Thanks for the help everyone, I correctly put the standoffs in and screwed the motherboard to them. I also plugged in the four hole CPU power. The thing is still not working, so I'm going to go back to the Boot Problems sticky and see what I did wrong.

Still doing the same thing. I hit the power button, one of the fans turned on, then it turned off and nothing...

I've been using a wrist-strap so I don't think I fried anything, at least I hope not...
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January 29, 2010 12:47:16 AM

Best answer selected by rtmcwilliams.
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a b V Motherboard
January 29, 2010 12:55:47 AM

Best bet is to go back and start from the top - just install the MOBO - CPU - 1 stick of RAM and connect them all to the Powersupply as needed use the onboard video and try booting to see if you get anything. If that works make the needed adjustments in the BIOS for the RAM (voltage, speed, and timings) save and exit the bios - shut down and then add the rest of the RAM and try again if it still works then add the HDD and DVD player and retry and in BIOS make sure they are detected - then readd the video card and try booting with it - that way you can narrow down where the problem starts and make troubleshooting easier.
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