Items you will need
Optical media drive
Linux distribution CD
Research the mini-computer parts and components. There are many options to choose from when dealing with mini-computer setups. Generally, you purchase a "barebone kit" that has the specialty case and motherboard found in mini-computer setups. Make sure to purchase a setup that works with the Linux distribution you plan to use. (Most Linux distributions do not work with Atom processors in their standard format.) Make note of any additional components that you need that do not come with the kit.
Purchase the barebone kit and components. If you intend to use your mini-computer for a specific purpose, make sure you purchase any specialty items associated with that use, like a TV tuner card or wireless network card.
Open the case. Make sure you properly ground yourself as is discussed in Smart Computing's guide "Get Grounded."
Install the processor and heatsink, if your kit did not come with either one. Lift the socket lever, place the processor in the socket and replace the lever. Apply thermal paste as directed by the manufacturer and secure the heatsink to the motherboard with the mounting bracket.
Insert the memory into the memory slot. There are locking clamps on each side of the memory chip slot that lock into place when the memory stick is fully seated.
Insert the hard drive and optical media drive into their respective drive bays and secure them with the included mounting brackets.
Insert any specialty peripheral cards into their respective expansion slots and secure them with the provided mounting hardware.
Connect the power and data cables to the drives.
Close the case and connect the keyboard, mouse and any other devices (such as a monitor or TV) to the mini-computer.
Power on the mini-computer and install your Linux distribution CD.
Tips & Warnings
You can install a Linux Distribution from a USB drive or over a network, if you prefer not to use a CD.
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