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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | System Case | Parts of the System Case ]

Mounting Hardware

If you are buying a new case, it should come with mounting hardware. These pieces normally come with the case, not the motherboard. Make sure you have the appropriate mounting hardware or your system assembly will stall in pretty short order! The exact hardware included varies greatly and depends on what the manufacturer decided to include in the case, but you will generally find some combination of the following (since most cases will use a combination of mounting holes):

  • Plastic Standoffs: Also called "spacers", "sliders", and of course the highly technical "thingamajiggies", these are generally made of white plastic and are used for mounting the motherboard to system cases that have large eyelet holes. They have a collapsible point on one end and a round disk on the other. They were originally created to make motherboard installation "easier" since they do not require screws, but in my opinion they are just a pain to deal with because they make lining up the motherboard more difficult during installation.
  • Metal Standoffs: Again also called "spacers" and a few other names (some of them unprintable), these are 3/16" hexagonal nuts with a threaded screw on the end. They are usually made of brass, sometimes steel, and they are used for mounting to threaded holes in the system case.
  • Screws: These are used to screw the motherboard to the brass standoffs mentioned above.
  • Washers: Generally made of plastic or paper, these go under the screws to keep the screw head away from the circuitry on the top surface of the motherboard. These are now sometimes being omitted in new system cases because they are less necessary now than they once were (since motherboards today now tend to keep the circuitry farther away from the screwholes than they once did).

A plastic standoff (or spacer), commonly used to mount
motherboards to cases that use standard mounting holes.

Original image Kamco Services
Image used with permission.

Some cases actually come with their mounting hardware fixed into position and not movable. In theory, a time-saver, but it may reduce your flexibility in the event that you want to upgrade down the road. Other cases have done away with standoffs in favor of metal "dimples" that stick up from the case to support the motherboard.

Check out the Motherboard Installation Procedure to see these little toys "in action".

Next: Faceplates and Expansion Slot Inserts

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