I'm new to PCs and have been researching for my first build and noticed there's never been a mention of how the rear I/O panel should be installed. The small tabs that are on each port on the back of the motherboard, are you supposed to bend them back, or cut them off like plastic model cars?
I'm really confused.
We can answer this for you! As you mentioned above, cheaper motherboards usually come with stamped steel I/O shields.
The intention of the tabs is to provide a ground for each port into the chassis itself, so its best to keep them as snug as possible, but you may need to pull them back slightly when installing your motherboard. Just be careful, ground yourself properly and you shouldn't have too many issues.
One thing to note, is many vendors are going to an attached I/O panel for their higher-end boards, so if its in the budget, you could go this route for peace of mind when installing.