A motherboard is a critical part of a computer as it functions as the backbone of the computer. It ties the computer components together, such as the CPU, hard drive, GPU, etc. However, to fit the motherboard to the case, you need a particular type of screw size. But which type of screw size does a motherboard use?
A motherboard uses different sizes and types of screws for various purposes. And the kind of screws and standoffs you use varies depending on the motherboard. But generally, the size of standard motherboard screws is #6-32 x 3/16 inches, sometimes 1/4. M3 screws are also used. And less often, a motherboard can use a #6-32 screw.
The best way to know the exact size of screws a motherboard uses is to check the motherboard manual. If you don’t have access to the manual, you can check the motherboard’s standoffs. Once you determine the match, purchase them from your online retailer or a local hardware store. Keep reading to learn more about motherboard screw size.
Types of Screws and Mounting Hardware on the Motherboard
The screws and mounting hardware used to fit a motherboard to the casing varies. Because not all motherboards come with the screws and mounting hardware you need, it is essential to know the difference between the different types of screws and mounting hardware used on a motherboard.
Up to eight types of screws and mounting hardware are used to assemble a motherboard. Below, we elaborate more on these screws and mounting hardware used on a motherboard.
Type #1: M5 x 10
The M5 x 10 is a flat head and conical-shaped screw often used to hold the fan for cooling the motherboard. The diameter of the thread of this screw measures 5.5 mm, while its length, excluding the head, measures 10 mm. Usually, a Philips No. 2 star type screwdriver is used to fasten this screw. But in most cases, the casing you get often includes up to 4 of these screws.
Type #2: 6-32
The most common type of screw on a motherboard is the 6-32. This screw is often used to hold the expansion card and sometimes the power supply unit. The 6-32 screws are also used to hold the side panels of the PC casing. This type of screw comes with a hexagonal-shaped head, and the thread has a diameter of 3.5 mm and a 1.32 inches thread pitch. Also, this screw has a stem length of 1/4 inch or 6.35 mm. For this type of screw, you need a Philip #2 screwdriver to fasten it.
Type #3: Thumbscrews
The thumbscrew is a type of screw with a reasonably large head that has been knurled. Thumbscrews often have a shank about 7.5 mm in length and are typically used to hold the case’s side panels. The shape of this screw makes them easy to tighten or loosen using only your fingers.
Type #4: M3 Hexagonal Head
The M3 hexagonal head screw has a diameter of 3 mm and a thread pitch of 0.5 mm. The length of the stem of this screw is 5.5 mm or 7/32 inches. And as its name suggests, it has a hexagonal head. This screw is often used to hold the optical drivers. Although its external appearance seems similar to the previous 6-32 screws, their main difference is in their thread pitch.
Type #5: M3 Round Head and Long Shaft
This screw is used to secure the motherboard to the brass of a standoff. It is attached to a 2.5 inches SSD to their brackets/bays. However, you need a Philips No. 1 screwdriver to loosen or tighten this screw.
Type #6: M3 Round Head and Short Shaft
The M3 rounded head and the short shaft are identical to the M3 round head and long shaft. But the main difference between the two screws is their stem. The M3 round head and long shaft are 4 mm longer than this screw. To fasten or loosen this screw, you need a Philips No. 1 screwdriver. The use of this screw is often to fit the optical drivers to the case.
Type #7: M3 Standoff Fine Thread
The standoff is made of brass and is used to attach the motherboard to the case. It is a type of separator with a female and male thread with a pitch of 0.5 mm. The length of this standoff shank is 3 mm, while the internal bore is about 3 mm.
Type #8: M3 Standoff Coarse Thread
Finally, this standoff coarse thread is identical to the standoff above, but the stem’s pitch thread of this standoff is 1/32, whereas its internal hole thread pitch is fixed at 5 mm.
Apart from using standoffs to hold the motherboard in place, it also helps to create a margin of space between your case and the motherboard to avoid short-circuit or damage.
Hopefully, with this vivid description of the types of screws to expect to find holding a motherboard and the components of a motherboard, you will be able to find the right size for your motherboard. While most cases come with an integrated standoff, you most likely wouldn’t have to worry about that. Nevertheless, you need to get the right screw, as using the wrong screw size can cost you a motherboard.