Motherboard Standoffs

Written by Charles Peacock
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Building your own computer isn't all that difficult, but it's important when doing so to remember how sensitive the equipment is that you're playing with. Things like processors, motherboards and memory chips are not made to be handled a lot. They have a lot of exposed connections that are sensitive to things like dust, static electricity and skin oils.

Keeping Your Motherboard Safe

If you've ever put a computer together (or even installed a PCI card) you've probably read the important warning to "ground yourself" before touching any of the components. The reason this is so important is that computer components can easily be rendered inoperable by a small static electric shock. Motherboards in particular have hundreds of exposed metal connections that can easily short if they come into contact with metal or charged human skin.

Installing a motherboard into a PC case does not always mean that it is completely safe. On the back of every motherboard is a whole slew of soldered metal connections. If these connections touch the metal side or bottom of your case while the computer is on, there's a good chance that the entire board will short out.

Using motherboard standoffs is a smart way to keep your board safe. Standoffs are basically just small plastic or rubber legs that lift your motherboard off of the wall of the case. First you screw them into the side of the case, and then you lay your motherboard on top. They keep the motherboard from touching any metal, which means that you don't have to worry about it shorting out and ruining your system.


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