Building a PC can be like piecing together a sophisticated puzzle. Motherboards, being the central hub, host a myriad of components ranging from your CPU to RAM.
Securing this precious cargo with the right screws ensures stability, reducing the risks of unwanted movement or damage. At its heart is the motherboard, and with it comes an age-old question: “Do motherboards come with screws?”
The answer is generally a ‘No’, motherboards typically do not come with mounting screws. These screws are usually provided by the computer case manufacturer.
Also, you might have noticed when installing your motherboard that some screws are missing. It’s because motherboards don’t come with screws, or at least most of them. The screws are provided with the PC case instead.
Some motherboards do come with a few small screws; however, those are only for the M.2 drives. But you will need a few other screws to install the motherboard to your PC case.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s delve deeper into the specifics.
Motherboards and Packaging: What’s Inside?
When you unbox a brand-new motherboard, you’ll typically find:
- The motherboard itself.
- Cables, such as SATA cables for connecting drives.
- An I/O shield for the rear of the case.
- A manual or quick installation guide.
- A driver disc (though many opt for online downloads now).
But, interestingly, motherboards usually don’t include the mounting.
What Types of Screws Need for Your Motherboard
The screws provided with the motherboard do not let you install the motherboard onto the PC case. To do that, you need a few other types of screws. Here are the most important ones:
Standoffs are small and cylindrical in shape. These are made out of either metal or plastic. These are used to make spaces between the PC case and the motherboard. They prevent short-circuiting by not letting the back of the motherboard touch the base plate of your PC. So, it should be noted that you should never install a motherboard without standoffs.
These types of screws are made out of copper. While most low-end PC has regular risers, mid to high-end PC cases use Brass Risers. This type of screw has a male screw thread on one end and a female screw thread on the other.
Riser screws also prevent the motherboard from touching the PC case’s base, preventing short circuits.
3. M.2 Screws
As stated before, some motherboards, especially the newer ones come with M.2 Screws. These are not mounting screws. These are very small in size and a PCIe SSD card is mounted with this screw. It prevents the SSD card from getting damaged by moving it around.
The M.2 SSDs do not come with these M.2 screws. They are provided with the motherboard. And when put into the M.2 drive socket, without the M.2 screws, the M.2 SSD drive has a heavy chance of getting damaged by extreme vibrations while moving the PC.
Where Do I Find These Screws Then?
The responsibility for these screws falls on your case (or chassis) manufacturer. When you purchase a computer case, it’ll come with a set of screws, standoffs, and other required mounting hardware.
This is primarily because the screw requirements can vary based on the case’s design. Including screws with the motherboard would be like providing shoes without knowing the size!
Types of Screws and Standoffs
There are different types of screws and standoffs provided with cases:
- Standard Standoffs and Screws: These are commonly used to mount the motherboard onto the case, ensuring there’s a gap between the motherboard’s rear and the case’s metal surface.
- Fine-Threaded Screws: Often used for SSDs or case panels.
- Thumbscrews: Larger screws used for side panels, allowing for tool-free access.
When building, always refer to the case manual to ensure you’re using the correct screws for the motherboard.
The Case of Missing Screws
In some rare instances, you might find the provided screws insufficient or missing entirely. What to do?
- Check the Box: Sometimes, the smaller components are easily overlooked or stuck in some crevice of the packaging.
- Contact the Manufacturer: Most companies are quick to send replacement parts.
- Local Computer Stores: They often have spares on hand.
What Is Add-In Card Fastening Screws?
The add-in card fastening screws, aka PCIe expansion card fastening screws, are required to fasten the expansion card to the PC case. The expansion card is plugged into the PCIe slot on the motherboard and these screws keep it in place.
These screws do not come with the motherboard. They come with the PC case or sometimes with the expansion card itself.
These screws are essential to keep the expansion card in place so that it does not unplug from the PCIe slot. Even the slightest nudge can displace the card and make it inoperable.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can a screw damage the motherboard?
Only one loose screw is enough to fry your motherboard. It is recommended that you keep the inside of your computer as neat and clean as possible. When the motherboard comes into contact with an unintended object, it can cause a short circuit and possibly damage the motherboard permanently.
Can I use regular screws for the motherboard?
The short answer is – Yes, you can use normal steel screws to fasten the motherboard. However, it is recommended that you use the screws provided with the PC casing or the motherboard itself.
The screw sizes play a big role so even if you’re using normal steel screws, make sure the screws fit. Otherwise, if the screws are too big or too small, it could result in a short circuit.
What size screws do the motherboard use?
There are so many sizes for motherboard screws that it can overwhelming. But most of the motherboards and other circuit boards use #6-32 x 3/16” standoff; and sometimes 1/4”.
Lastly, you should try and fill all the holes with the right screws. This will keep your motherboard and all the drives mounted on it in place at all times. Make sure the screws are tight enough but not too tight. You want to keep the motherboard in place and away from short circuits so tightening it just enough is the way to go.