So, you’ve bought a new motherboard and case. You put your CPU in, mounted the CPU cooler, added the RAM, and you’re all set. You now want to put the motherboard into the case, but you notice that the motherboard screws are nowhere to be found. You wonder whether you can use your old motherboard’s screws to put it in. So, are motherboard screws universal?
So, most motherboards actually do not come with any mounting hardware, but your case does. All motherboard screws and standoffs are universal, so you can use them as you like. The number of screws and standoffs that you need depends on the motherboard. Moreover, some cases cannot fit large motherboards, so pay attention to that.
And if you happen to lose a screw or standoff, most computer or hardware stores should have replacement screws and standoffs. You should bring the motherboard screw and standoff so that you can compare it in the store, just in case.
You can find more information about motherboard screws, cases, and mounting down below.
Are Motherboard Screws Universal?
The standard motherboard screws are regular M3*5 screws that have a flat head, just like any other machine screw. M3 stands for the diameter, which is 3 millimeters, and the 5 stands for the length, which is 5 millimeters. You can find standard M3*5 machine screws almost anywhere, so even if you don’t have any right now, don’t worry.
So, are motherboard screws universal? Can you use old motherboard screws? Yes and yes! You do not even have to buy new screws to mount your new motherboard. However, you still need to have the right standoff screws to mount the motherboard. Standoff screws are mounted into the case and they create a small margin of space so that your motherboard won’t get grounded and shorted by touching the case.
Just like motherboard screws, the threaded standoffs used in standard PC cases are universal. There are perhaps a few non-standard cases that use different standoffs, but the chance that you have one is slim.
Just like motherboard screws, standoffs for ATX computer cases and motherboards are universal.
But how do you even mount a motherboard? After grounding yourself and opening the case, it’s pretty simple. Just thread in all the standoffs in the right places inside the case. You can check where they should be in the motherboard manual.
Once the standoffs are in place, gently place the motherboard inside the case and line up all the holes on the board with the standoffs. Then, slowly screw in all the M3 motherboard screws until no holes are left. Make sure that you do not overtighten the screws because you could end up breaking your motherboard.
Note that sometimes standoff screws can come in different sizes with some unusual cases. If you have a unique case, double-check that your motherboard screws can go into the standoffs. In fact, you should check if the screws go in with every case.
Note that many motherboards come with M.2 screws and standoffs. Those are different than the screws you use to mount the motherboard. They should only be used to mount M.2 SSDs using the appropriate slot. But then again, M.2 screws are usually pre-screwed for you.
If you have motherboard screws but do not have any standoffs, do not mount the motherboard directly on the case. There are a few sensitive spots on the back of the motherboard that can cause a short-circuit and instantly kill your motherboard. As a bonus, it might kill your CPU, RAM, GPU, or some other piece of hardware as well.
Your PC case usually comes with screws that hold your motherboard. So, are motherboard screws universal? They indeed are universal. All motherboards use standard M3*5 screws that go through the appropriate holes on the motherboard and then thread into the standoffs.
Note that you have to use standoffs, which create a margin of space between your motherboard and case to avoid short-circuits or damage. Some cases have unique standoffs, but pretty much all cases use the standard ATX layout with standard standoffs. If you do not have motherboard screws, you can easily find them in any store or online.