Most cases come with the hardware needed to mount components into the case properly, but in the event that some of the hardware is missing, or that you have more components than you were given screws, you may need to purchase more screws separately.
The reason for this is that every case is different, and it is more important to have screws that will work for the case than it is for an individual motherboard to have a standardized set of screws.
Screws versus Standoffs
It is important to note that the motherboard will not get directly screwed into the case. The case must be prepared with standoffs, or rising screws, first. The standoffs raise the motherboard off the base plate of the case, so the motherboard does not come into contact with the case’s metal.
Standoffs come in a fine and a coarse thread, so you’ll need to make sure which one you need for your case before purchasing. They will raise your motherboard off the case anywhere from 5mm to 30mm. They are usually brass and can be purchased anywhere you buy computer parts, specifically cases.
Standoffs are used in mid to high-level cases. Other cases have folds of metal build into the case.
Computer Motherboard Screws for Mounting
Computer motherboard screws are typically M3 x ¼ inch with a Phillips hexagonal thread. You can buy them on Amazon, Best Buy, or other computer stores. They come in packs of 50-100 on average. They are either silver or black.
Not only can they be used for mounting motherboards, but also optical drives and sometimes hard drives depending on the size of the drive.
The screws go into the standoffs because again, you do not want to attach your motherboard directly to the case without the standoffs separating it. The airflow under the motherboard is very important for keeping the computer from overheating and maintaining optimal performance.
In the event that the M3 screws are the wrong size due to either the motherboard or the case being incompatible. Sometimes an M2 screw is used instead.
To prepare yourself for all possible options, you might consider buying an assortment kit of computer screws that comes with standoffs, hard drive screws, motherboard screws, and many others.
Motherboard Screws for Coolers
Every processor will need some type of cooler to prevent it from overheating. The processor goes directly into the motherboard, and the cooler gets mounted to the motherboard above that. Coolers can be fans, pre-fabricated coolant loop systems, or customized coolant loop systems.
Some motherboards come with clips and notches already, but not always.
Thankfully, the screws for mounting your cooling solution will come with your heatsink. All you have to do is make sure the heatsink is compatible with the motherboard.
These days, more and more motherboards are coming with an M.2 socket for an M.2 hard drive. This SSD needs to be held in place by a screw that should come pre-installed on your motherboard. You will not need to worry about buying it separately and if you do not have it, you will need to contact the motherboard’s manufacturer.
There are a few different types of screws that you will need to work with when installing a motherboard into the case. Only an M.2 screw will come with the actual motherboard. All other screws will come with the case, the cooling solution, or anything else you are attaching to the motherboard.
Best practice would be to purchase an assortment of screws to get you started. That way you have the standoffs, the motherboard screws, and any other screws you need for your PC building needs.