If you have never built a computer before, connecting a power supply to a motherboard may seem daunting. However, it is actually quite simple. Of course, there are certain things you need to be aware of, but as long as you take your time and follow my step-by-step instructions, you should have no problem connecting a power supply to your motherboard.
What you will need To Connect A Power Supply To Your MoTherboard?
Prepare The Working Area & Gather The Tools You Will Need
The first step is to prepare the working area. Make sure you have a clean, flat surface to work on. It should also be very clean as you don’t want any dirt or dust getting into your computer. Once you have a suitable working area, gather the following tools:
1. A Screwdriver
This is pretty self-explanatory; in order to fit the PSU to the Computer Case, there are screws that need to be screwed. Usually, there are 4 of them, but the number and the type/size of the screws may vary, so make sure to have several different sizes and types of screwdrivers just in case.
2. Zip Ties (Cable Ties)
Using zip ties to secure cables is not mandatory, but it’s a good practice as it will make your life easier when it comes to cable management. Trust me, you don’t want a mess of cables inside the case, and I will explain later the why.
2. Anti-Static Wristband (Optional)
This is not mandatory either, but it’s a good safety measure. If you don’t have an anti-static wristband, make sure you touch something metal like a radiator before starting to work to discharge any static from your body.
Now that you have prepared the working area and gathered the necessary tools let’s move to the actual process of connecting the PSU to the motherboard.
Related Article: What Power Supply Do I Have? [Solved]
How To Connect a Power Supply To a Motherboard?
As I told you, connecting the PSU is a pretty simple process, but there are certain things you need to be aware of. I will go through the whole process step-by-step so that you can’t go wrong.
1. Attach The PSU To The Case
The first step is to physically attach the PSU to the case. Usually, the PSU is mounted at the bottom back of the case, but it may vary, so check your computer case’s manual.
It is really easy to find where the PSU should be mounted as there are usually four holes at the back of the case that line up with the four mounting points on the PSU. Once you have found the correct position, put the PSU in place and start screwing it in. Make sure not to over-tighten the screws as you might damage the PSU or the case.
2. Connect The 24-Pin Main Power Cable To The Motherboard
The next step is to connect the 24-pin power cable to the motherboard. This is the most important connector as it supplies power to the motherboard and all the other components.
The 24-pin connector slot is usually located at the top right corner of the motherboard. If you can’t find it, consult the motherboard’s manual.
Now, take the 24-pin cable and insert it into the connector. Make sure that the cable is fully inserted and that the clip at the end of the connector is locked in place.
3. Connect The 8-Pin (4+4) CPU Power Cable To The Motherboard
The next step is to connect the 8-pin CPU power cable to the motherboard. This cable is used to supply power to the CPU.
This cable could be either a 4+4 pin or an 8-pin connector. The 4+4 pin connector can be used as either a 4-pin or an 8-pin connector, so if your motherboard has an 8-pin connector, you can use the 4+4 pin cable.
If your motherboard has a 4-pin connector, you will need to use only a 4-pin cable. But if your motherboard is new, it will most likely have an 8-pin connector.
The 8-pin connector slot is usually located close to the CPU and is labeled as either CPU_PWR or CPU_PWR1.
To connect the cable, simply insert it into the connector and make sure that it is fully inserted and locked in place.
4. Connect The PCIe Cable To Your GPU
If your GPU needs a PCIe power cable, the next step is to connect it.
The PCIe cable is usually a 6+2-pin connector. Most motherboards come with at least two PCIe cables, but if yours doesn’t have one, you can buy one.
To find the PCI cable, look for a 6+2-pin cable labeled as PCI_E or PCI_E1.
To connect the cable, simply insert it into the connector on your graphics card and make sure that it is fully inserted and locked in place.
Related Article: What Is A PCIe Cable And What It Is Used For
5. Connect The SATA Cable To Your HDD
If you have read our guide on SATA cables, then you already know that there are two types of SATA cables, the data cable and the power cable.
The data cable is used to connect the HDD to the motherboard, while the PSU cable is used to supply power to the HDD/SSD and is the one we will be talking about.
The SATA power connector is usually a 15-pin connector, and it is labeled as either SATA_PWR or PWR_SATA.
It is part of your power supply cables and is very easy to recognize as it has a very distinct shape like in the picture below.
After you have located the SATA power cable, the next step is to connect it to your HDD.
To do that, simply insert the cable into the SATA connectors on your Hard Disk Drive and make sure that it is fully inserted and locked in place.
Related Article: Do Motherboards Come With SATA Cables?
6. Connect The AIO Cooler To Your PSU
This is not something that everyone will need to do, as not everyone has an AIO cooler.
But if you do have one, the next step is to connect it to the PSU.
AIO coolers usually have SATA power connectors, so like you did in the previous step to connect it to the HDD, do the same to connect the SATA power cable to your AIO cooler.
These are all the steps you need to follow to connect all the cables to your motherboard. As I told you, it is not that hard, and it should not take you more than 10 minutes to do it.
Now that we have covered the basics, let’s talk about modular power supply setup and cable management.
Related Article: SATA Port: What It Is, What It Looks Like, And More
What Is A Modular Power Supply?
A modular power supply is a power supply that comes with detachable cables. This means that you can choose which cables you want to use and which ones you don’t need.
For example, if you only have one HDD/SSD, you don’t need to use all the SATA power cables that come with the PSU; you can use one.
This is very useful as it gives you more flexibility when it comes to cable management, and it also makes your build look much cleaner.
With that being said, I wouldn’t recommend it for first-timers as you should know exactly what cables you will need before buying a modular PSU.
How To Connect A Modular PSU To Your Motherboard?
The only difference between a modular PSU and a non-modular PSU is that the modular PSU comes with detachable cables while the non-modular PSU has the power supply cables pre-attached. There are also the semi-modular PSUs that are somewhere in between the two. They come with some of the cables pre-attached while others are detachable.
Anyways, let’s talk about the process of connecting a modular PSU to your motherboard.
- The first thing you need to do is to identify all the cables that you need and then connect them to the appropriate power supply connectors. Finding the appropriate connectors is super easy as they are all labeled. For example, the 24-pin connector will be labeled as 24PIN_ATX or something similar, and the 8-pin CPU power connector will be labeled as 4+4_CPU.
- After you have connected all the cables you need, the next step is to connect the power supply cables to your motherboard.
- To do that, simply do exactly what you would do with a non-modular PSU, and voila, you have successfully connected a modular power supply unit to your motherboard.
Now that we have talked about how to connect power supply cables to your motherboard, let’s talk about how you can do it in the best way possible and achieve optimal cable management.
Cable Management Tips
While connecting the power supply cables to the motherboard is very easy, and even beginners can do it without any problems, cable management can be a bit tricky, and it might take some time to get it right.
But don’t worry, I am here to help you and give you some tips on how you can do it in the best way possible.
But first, I would like to explain why good cable management is important.
The main reason you should do it is to achieve better airflow inside the case and make your build look much cleaner.
If you don’t do it properly, the cables can block the airflow, resulting in higher temperatures and damaging hardware.
Loose cables can also be a safety hazard as they can short-circuit your components if they touch each other.
Now that we have talked about the importance of cable management, let’s move on to the tips.
So, What You Should Do To Achieve Optimal Cable Management?
The first and most important thing you need to do is to use your PC cases’ cable management holes and route the cables through them to the back of the motherboard. This will not only help you keep the cables hidden but also achieve better airflow.
I can’t give you exact instructions on how to do it as it depends on the case you have. But, what I can tell is that the less visible the cables are, the better.
So when connecting the PSU cables, take your time, and think about the best way to route them.
Another thing that you should do is to use zip ties to keep the cables in place.
After you have found the optimal way to route the cables and connect them to the appropriate connectors, you should use zip ties to keep them in place.
This will not only help you with the airflow but also ensure that the cables are not going to move around and touch each other.
And lastly, make sure that the back cover doesn’t press the cables.
This is a very common mistake people make that can damage the cables.
So, when putting the back cover on, make sure there is enough space for the cables.
These are the most important things that you need to do to achieve optimal cable management.
If you follow these tips, I am sure that you will be able to do it without any problems.
Connecting The Power Supply To Your Motherboard FAQ
Which Power Cable Usually Connects The Power Supply To The Motherboard?
The power cable that usually connects the power supply to the motherboard is the 24-pin connector. This is the cable that will provide power to the motherboard and all the other components.
Does The Power Supply Need To Be Connected To The Motherboard?
Yes, the power supply needs to be connected to the motherboard. This is because the power supply provides power to the motherboard and all the other components.
What Cables Should I Connect To The Motherboard?
The cables that you need to connect to the motherboard are the 24-pin cable, the 8-pin cable, the SATA power cable, and the PCIe cable.
How Do I Connect The SATA Power Cable To The Power Supply?
If you have a modular power supply and want to connect the SATA power cable to the power supply, you will need to find the SATA power supply connector on the power supply. It will be labeled as SATA or something similar. Once you have found the connector, simply insert the SATA power cable into the connector.
Do All PSUs Have 6-Pin Connectors?
No, not all power supplies have 6-pin connectors. Some PSUs have only 4-pin connectors. To be sure that your PSU has a 6-pin connector, you will need to check the specifications of your PSU.
As you now know, connecting the power supply to the motherboard is not that difficult. However, it is important to make sure that you do it properly to avoid any damage to your components. Make sure to manage the cables well to ensure good airflow and prevent any short circuits. Lastly, make sure that the back cover doesn’t press the cables when you put it on.
I hope this article was helpful and that you now know how to connect the power supply to the motherboard. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.
Nick Ryley is a computer architect and the owner of The Pc Geekz.
His love for playing games got him interested in computers in the first place. He wanted to be able to build a gaming PC that could run all the latest games at max settings, and this has him pursuing a major in computer architecture!
He started this blog to help people out and answer some of the most common questions about computer building