You’ve ordered a new motherboard and are ready to upgrade your system only to find out that there are no screws in the packaging.
Is this normal, or should you return the motherboard and ask for a refund?
After all, you can’t mount your motherboard without the necessary screws.
However, there’s nothing to worry about as it’s common and you can easily solve it.
Motherboard Didn’t Come With Screws (What To Do)
If your motherboard didn’t come with screws, you could simply buy new ones online.
You can also use the screws from old computers because not all the holes on a motherboard need to be screwed to keep it in place.
Let’s consider those options in more detail.
1. Buy New Screws
When you buy a new motherboard, there’s a high chance that it doesn’t come with new screws.
However, it depends on the manufacturer to include the additional bits and tools or not.
The main reason is that motherboards are additional pieces of hardware attached to the case.
These screws should come with the case and not the motherboard.
However, if you don’t have any screws with your case, you can order them online.
First, you should decide what type of screws you’ll need and which ones fit your specific unit.
Everyone considers hardware compatibility before purchasing a new motherboard.
For example, the motherboard’s form factor, including ATX, Mini ATX, and MicroATX, determine the types, numbers, and layouts of the screws.
Therefore, the motherboard you buy for your case is more than likely compatible with the screws on the case.
Getting the right type of screws for motherboards can be tricky because different screws are used to mount a motherboard (more on that later).
Consult the motherboard’s user manual and see what types of screws are required.
You should also ensure that the screws fit the holes inside the case.
However, there’s little to worry about unless you have a unique case.
If you can’t find any information about the type of screws you need, you can rely on a PC screw kit that contains a wide range of screw types required for different PC parts.
Hopefully, you’ll find compatible ones in this kit.
If you decide to buy replacement screws from a local store, you could bring in the motherboard and ask them to give you the proper screws.
Before installing the screws, check the threading and the length of the screws to make sure they fit perfectly.
2. Use Old Screws
If you have an old motherboard or computer case, you can use the old screws because most standard cases and motherboards use the same screws.
Fortunately, there’s nothing complicated about getting the screws right.
They either fit or they don’t.
You can easily check if the motherboard is firmly attached to the case and make sure nothing is loose.
The only thing you should pay attention to is the length of the screw to make sure it goes all the way in.
You could even use other types of screws as long as they fit tightly.
Typically, screw holes on motherboards have yellow or white circles that show the safe screw head size.
You’re good to go if the screw fits tightly and the head isn’t bigger than the marked circle.
Which Type Of Screws Are Usually Needed For Motherboard?
As mentioned earlier, motherboards need different types of screws for installation.
As a result, you need to check if all kinds of screws are compatible with your motherboard and case.
Here’s what you need to know:
Standoffs are screw-like items that act as a spacer between the motherboard and the metal chassis of the case.
As the name suggests, they don’t keep the motherboard in place.
You’ll experience electric shorts without standoffs because the motherboard can send the power it receives to other metal parts.
A standoff looks like a screw and goes into the mounting holes on the motherboard.
They’re typically hexagonal and can be made of plastic or metal.
They typically have a #6-32 UNC threading, and you’ll need a #1 or #2 Philips screwdriver to attach them.
However, it’s better to check and consult the user manual before purchasing standoffs.
Although most standoffs are universal, you may need different sizes and types depending on the manufacturer and the motherboard’s form factor.
There are different types of motherboard standoffs.
Some of them have male and female threads on either end.
The male threaded end goes into the hole inside the case, and the female end attaches to a screw on the motherboard.
Metal standoffs are spacing and securing agents, while plastic standoffs typically don’t secure the motherboard.
As mentioned, these standoffs are crucial components when attaching your motherboard.
The only time you don’t need these standoffs is when they come preinstalled on the case.
Some computer cases have proprietary standoffs that are difficult to find on the market.
In such cases, the manufacturer provides them with the case.
Remember to keep them if you want to change your motherboard so that you can use them with the new mobo.
2. #6-32 UNC Screws
Since most motherboard standoffs are the #6-32 UNC type, you need matching screws to tighten them.
These are standard machine screws mainly used in securing panels and parts, including motherboards.
You could use 3/16″ or 5/16″ long screws, but the 3/16″ is more common.
3. M.3 Screws
The M.3 × 5 type is another screw you can get for mounting your motherboard if you don’t have the #6-32 UNC screw.
This size and length (5 mm long) are universal for most standoffs.
On some motherboards, you may even be able to use M.2 or M.4 screws, too.
If you don’t have #6-32 UNC or M.3 screws, you could try these types and see if they fit.
In addition to the above screws used to secure the motherboard onto the case, you’ll need other types of screws to attach other components to the mobo.
Here are the most important ones:
These screws are typically 7.5 mm long and feature large knurled heads with grips on the heads for screwdrivers.
However, the knurled head makes it easy to fasten or loosen them with your fingers.
You’ll need these screws to fasten the case’s side panels.
B. M.5 × 10
You’ll need these screws to attach the fans to the case.
They may come in the computer case or come included with the fan itself.
They feature a flat head that’s Philips No. 2 type.
These small screws attach SSD cards.
Your motherboard may come with these screws fastened inside the holes.
Tips To Consider When Choosing Screws
Screws and Standoffs have to match since screws go into standoffs and fasten the motherboard.
If they don’t match, you can’t get a secure and firm connection, potentially leading to motherboard damage.
Although most motherboards use the same standoffs and screw types, you should always consult your user manual because some motherboards may have peculiar designs that don’t go with typical screws.
While installing the motherboard, you should first attach the standoffs and then secure them by screwing the M.3 screws inside them.
Make sure the screws fasten smoothly without any resistance and go all the way in.
On the other hand, screws that are too long can damage your motherboard, so it’s essential to double-check for the right screw type before mounting the motherboard.
Do I Need To Screw All Motherboard Holes?
The motherboard is a highly sensitive computer component that needs to be installed following strict security measures.
If you don’t mount the motherboard correctly, it may rattle and touch the metal parts of the case, leading to electrical shorts and killing the motherboard.
It could also bend when you insert items into the I/O ports.
You want to make sure you’ve screwed all the holes correctly to avoid any damage.
Most motherboards have nine holes arranged along the four sides and the center.
If your motherboard doesn’t come with screws and you want to use your old screws, you may not have enough of them to screw all the holes.
Some users have suggested that it’s unnecessary to screw all the holes, and doing the main ones will suffice.
However, it’s best practice not to leave anything to chance, given the significance of this component.
Some people believe that putting the standoffs in place is enough and you can only screw the main ones, leaving out others.
All that matters is having spaces between the mobo and the case in all designated locations.
That’s why installing all the standoffs is more critical than the screws.
If you have too few screws, use them in spots with heavy components or on the edge where it’s touching the side panel.
This way, you’ll prevent the motherboard from rattling or flexing when connecting peripherals.
The screw on the top is also essential because the CPU cooler is located on top of the motherboard, and the fan movements can cause the motherboard connections to come loose.
You could leave out the one on the bottom right corner because there won’t be any heavy components or too much pressure to insert peripherals in that location.
Generally speaking, though, if you don’t want to run into unknown or strange problems due to weak connections, you’re better off screwing all spots.
How To Install The Motherboard Standoffs Onto The Case
After deciding which types of standoffs are the best for your motherboard and purchasing them (or simply using the old ones belonging to your case), it’s time to connect them to the case.
There are pre-drilled holes on the case, which aren’t necessarily aligned the same way as the holes on the motherboard.
Therefore, you need to decide which holes to use.
Before connecting the mobo to the base plate, you should mark the exact spots where the holes should match.
You can create a template by putting the motherboard on a piece of paper and marking the standoff holes.
Now, place the paper on the base plate and align it with holes.
Put the standoffs on the case and fasten them using a screwdriver.
After aligning the holes on the motherboard with those on the case, place the motherboard on the base plate and fasten the standoffs using the screws.
In the end, all the holes on the motherboard should have their corresponding standoffs screwed onto the base plate.
Start with outer edges and corners to secure the mobo and then proceed to other holes.
After making sure the motherboard is firmly connected to the case, you can attach the other components according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
No matter what motherboard brand and model you have, you should follow some safety measures to avoid hurting yourself and damaging your motherboard.
Here’s what to do:
1. Ground Yourself
Since you’re dealing with electronic components, you should take safety precautions even when nothing is plugged in.
You can ground yourself by touching something metal inside the case.
Still, if you want to be extra cautious, you could use a rubber glove or an anti-static band to avoid damaging the motherboard.
2. Handle The Motherboard Carefully
While installing the motherboard, it’s essential to take it by the sides and avoid touching the sensitive circuitry.
Don’t apply too much pressure while fastening the motherboard, and apply equal pressure on all parts and corners.
It’s also good to avoid fastening the corners tightly before doing the next holes.
In other words, secure each corner firmly enough that the motherboard doesn’t move, and then fasten all the screws tightly at the final step.
3. Avoid Electrical Shorts
As mentioned, placing standoffs is essential in avoiding short circuits.
Generally, you should avoid anything that makes the motherboard touch the case and damage your components.
If you see any touchpoints, reseat the motherboard and take care of all the cables and connections.
Clean the case entirely before connecting the motherboard because dust and debris can also cause short circuits.
Also, pay attention to where you attach the standoffs.
If you have a standoff that’s not connected to the case, you’ll have electrical shorts.
Frequently Asked Questions About Motherboard Screws
1. Are Motherboard Standoffs Necessary?
Motherboard standoffs aren’t necessary for the proper functioning of the computer.
Theoretically, you could install your motherboard outside the case, and the computer would work fine.
However, you cannot install your motherboard onto the case without standoffs, or you’ll risk electrical shorts and frying your motherboard and even your CPU.
2. Are All Motherboard Screws The Same?
Most motherboard screws are the same since they’re standardized.
However, the sizes vary depending on the motherboard’s form factor, as ATX motherboards have different screws from MATX types.
In addition, some manufacturers may choose to have different designs, so you should check beforehand.
3. Do You Need Washers To Attach The Motherboard To The Case?
You don’t need any washers when attaching the motherboard to the case.
The M.3 and the #6-32 UNC screws commonly used in mounting the motherboard come with a metal washer designed to transfer electricity.
If a washer were necessary, the manufacturers would include it.
4. Why Do Motherboards Not Come With Screws?
Motherboards don’t generally come with screws because the screws are related to the case, not the motherboard.
Each case has specific holes occupied by certain screws and standoffs.
It would be illogical to offer screws with the motherboard only to find out they’re not compatible with the case.