A mobo needs to be mounted to the case, so you might be wondering: do motherboards come with screws? In most cases, no. If you're looking for the screws or standoffs to mount the motherboard to the PC case, they usually come packaged with the case itself. In some instances, especially with newer mobos, you might have some screws intended for M.2 drives.
You certainly learn a lot when you've built as many computers as I have. Having built countless PCs for myself, family, and friends, I've gone through a lot of PC cases and motherboards and realized exactly which component the screws come with.
If you're wondering about motherboard screws and whether they come packaged with the board itself, you're in the right place. Let's get right into what you need to know.
If you buy a brand-new motherboard, don't be surprised if it doesn't come with screws of any kind. Simply put, most motherboards don't.
In a few cases, particularly with more modern motherboards, you might find that they come with one or two screws.
When included, these are usually intended for mounting an M.2 drive, as they need a single screw to be held in place. This is important, as most SSD cards don't come with screws of their own.
Your motherboard has to be mounted inside your PC case and for this to work, you will need motherboard screws and motherboard standoffs.
However, if you're considering motherboards online, you shouldn't expect those motherboards come with screws.
So, where do you get mounting screws from?
The answer is your PC case. This is the metal chassis that all your PC components live in and when you buy one new, all the mounting screws and standoffs will come with it.
The screws for other PC hardware also come with the case.
For instance, the screws you need to hold a PCIe expansion card in place, the screws intended for your power supply unit, and so on.
What happens if you don't have mounting screws for your motherboard?
This could happen if you're using a used PC case, or if you accidentally discarded the new screws.
Well, you can try to buy some motherboard standoffs and screws online.
It's a good idea to confirm the screw type that your motherboard uses. If you can't though, most ATX motherboards use what is known as a #6-32 UNC screw, so it is worth a go. #6-32 simply refers to a screw with a #6 thread diameter and 32 threads per inch.
The good thing is that these motherboard mounting screws are pretty easy to find online, and you can get a pack of 100 for pretty cheap.
Getting standoffs to match these screws is also just as easy. A 15-pack will cost you very little and since they are just as important as the actual mounting screws for your motherboard, you don't want to skip out on them.
Both mounting screws and standoffs have ends that can be inserted into the screw locations on your motherboard or in your PC case.
However, based on their shape, it is clear that they don't serve the same purpose.
A standoff is a type of screw applied to the standoff holes in the base plate of your PC case. They tend to have a cylindrical section on top of the actual screw, with a treaded hole in its center.
Once you have all the standoffs in place, it elevates your motherboard off the actual PC case, preventing them from touching directly.
This is done because your PC case is usually made of metal, and it's electrically conductive as a result.
When you place your motherboard directly in the PC case without standoffs, the conductive traces and capacitors might make contact with the case and cause a short circuit, essentially frying your motherboard.
Once you place your motherboard on top of the standoffs, with the hole in each standoff aligning perfectly with your motherboard holes, you can use your mounting screws.
These will screw directly into the standoff, keeping the motherboard anchored firmly against the motherboard and not the back plate of the board.
So, screws and standoffs play very different roles in a computer.
What if you don't have any standoffs available but you still want to install your motherboard in the metal case?
Standoffs prevent your motherboard from making contact with the back plate of the case and short-circuiting.
With some computer cases, you might be able to get away with screwing directly against the case. However, to be honest, it is never worth the risk.
I don't recommend it, but if you absolutely want to attach your motherboard without using standoffs, I recommend that you place a non-conductive and soft material under the board to reduce the risk. This could be a plastic bag or styrofoam.
There are three major motherboard form factors. These are ATX, which is the biggest and the most common, Micro-ATX, which is a little slimmer in one dimension, and Mini-ITX, which is noticeably smaller than the others.
All motherboards of the same form factor have all their screw holes in the same exact location. The location of these holes has to be standardized to allow manufacturers of motherboards and PC cases to always be in sync with one another.
However, the different sizes of motherboard have different screw locations from one another.
Don't worry though, almost every PC case is built to accommodate each type of motherboard, whether it is Mini-ITX or ATX.
Just make sure that you place the standoffs in the appropriate holes, depending on the type of motherboard you're using.
You don't need to worry if you notice that some of the holes in your PC case don't have standoffs in them. As long as the ones that correspond to the motherboard holes are occupied, the other ones don't all need to have a standoff in them.
You were wondering whether motherboards come with screws, and now you know that in most cases, they don't. Only some motherboards come with a few small screws, but these are intended to fasten an M.2 drive, and not to mount the motherboard.
Fortunately, your PC case will come with the components needed to mount the motherboard - the screws and standoffs. Make sure the standoffs are aligned properly depending on the motherboard you have so that you can use the screws you have. You should never attempt to use a PC that doesn't have standoffs as the motherboard can short circuit.