Lets Build – PSU And Board Installation

Empty CaseOkay the board is pretty much ready to go in now. I first took both of the side panels off the case, and lay it on it’s side. The case already had 6 board mounts placed, and I added a further 3 (to make a 3 x 3 square of them) from the bag of bits that came with the case. Lots of bolts/screws etc in there. Next, I took away the case’s place holding backplate, and put in the Asus motherboard silver backplate. This just squeezed perfectly into the space, be sure to get it the right way up, though! Looks a bit symmetrical! With the backplate and all the board mounts in place (they keep the back of the board away from the metal – to stop short circuits), I had the scary task of placing the board laden with the cooler and ram into the case. Once this was in, I proceeded to screw the appropriate screws into the motherboard mounts, through the board. A task made much easier with my electric screwdriver! There seemed to be solder joints around some of the screw holes, I can only assume these are ground lines, and the screw connects them to the grounded metal case.

I then popped the power supply into the bottom, the instructions didn’t actually say which way to place the PSU – as it’s natural “upright” position with the fan on the bottom used to be used in all cases, as the power supply was at the top. Now however, the PSU is at the bottom of the case, and having the fan beneath it facing the case wouldn’t be very useful. I took the initiative and put it in upside down, so the fan would pull air from inside the main case area and blow it out the back. 4 screws went quickly in the back to secure it in place, then I could start looking at the modules. This OCZ 600w ModXStream PSU is a “modular” power supply – it has attachable cables – and so the case is tidier if they are not needed, and they can be left out. I actually proceeded to use all of them except one PCIe cable.

What’s in the box?

PSUThe power supply came accompanied with a kettle lead (3 pin UK to computer power lead) and what looked like an OCZ pencil case. Within there was 2 molex leads (PSU to 2 molex plus one floppy each), 2 SATA (PSU to 3 SATA each), 1 PSU to PCIe 6 and 1 PSU to PCIe 6+2. It is worth mentioning, the PSU has it’s “vital” wires connected, and they cannot be removed (20+4pin board, 8pin CPU and a 4 pin (board?) that I didn’t use).

On the back of the PSU, there is 4 “peripheral” connection points for the SATA and molex modules, and 2 PCIE connection points. I would guess if you invested in another PCIe 6+2, you could probably run 2 x 8pin powered graphics cards. Great pic of the back of the PSU on Amazon, second pic – Click here.  There was also 4 screws for the PSU in there, don’t think there were many/any instructions – but you really don’t need them. Just pop it in carefully and connect up! All of the cables have some sort of black mesh around them to keep them together, and protect them I suppose.

I plugged in the essential board connectors, and proceeded to attach almost all of the modular attachments – as I needed 5 SATA connections (hard drives, SSD, dock, DVD drive) and used 2-3 molex (for the fans). The CPU (8 pin) cable has to go over my graphics card and to the board, which looks rather untidy. I have bought a little 8 pin extender (45cm) so I can route it around the back of the case or around the back of the board – a few pounds off eBay. After connecting everything up, I added in the SSD – attempted to mount it on the special bottom SSD mounts, perfect – but the 90-degree SATA III 6gbps cable wanted to go out of the SSD and down 90 degrees – bit of a problem on the very bottom of the case. So the SSD is currently sat ontop of a disk drive spacer and screwed to one side of the drive bays. A straight cable is in the post (again a few pounds off eBay).

All SATA leads were connected to their respective devices, DVD drive, HDD1, HDD2 (Samsung 1tb drives), the OCZ SSD and also there was a SATA lead coming from the top of the case – from the dock. All in all, this filled all of my slower SATA 3gbps board connectors (HDD1 and 2, dock and DVD drive), and I connected the OCZ SSD to one of the two 6gbps ports. One SATA port left! Bit limiting. Also, no IDE port on this board for my old trust DVD drive, or old hard drives – but no big issue really. The disk drive I am using is a (liteon?) £11 of eBuyer super multi drive. It’s fine – but extremely loud. Reads and writes most things though. I installed this in the bottom drive bay, as there were many cables tight over where it would sit, were it higher up – and I didn’t mind too much where it went. I may add in at some point the on/off switch and molex powered CRT cathode ray tube lights. However I don’t fancy chopping up the cables of my new case just yet.. although there is a starter button on the board (glows red when off).

More coming on the case of the case..

Recommendations – things are going to get messy with wires going everywhere. I have tried pretty hard to get excess wires out of the way, and keep the case a bit clearer, mainly by sending most cables behind the side of the far drive bay wall. Best idea – put all of your devices in first, then proceed to connect them all up, tidily one by one, maybe do shorter distances first, and hide away the excess cable and move on.

Also don’t go out of your way to get a modular PSU – as you may end up using all the cables anyway.