Antec ISK110 takes shape

Have decided to push ahead with this as time permits. It has been “fun” working with the small chassis. For example you have to unclip the plastic side panel next to the power supply in order to fit the power supply cable because there isn’t direct access to it from above – the chassis gets in the way. Getting the corner screws for the board in was fairly tricky, but achievable. It is quite a squeeze to get all the cables connected and in place sort of neatly. The hardest by far is the front panel connections (power switch and indicator lights) because the cables that are connected to the audio and USB sockets just happen to go right across that set of jumpers due to the layout of the GA-E350N WIN8 board and the way the cables come out of the front panel. As it turns out the GA-E350N is a pretty well specced board so that there were in fact jumpers to connect both of the front panel USB cables as well as the front panel audio which means this system will have 8 USB ports available.
At this point I decided as I did not have a HDD handy and would have to borrow one, before going too much further with the assembly it would be a great time for a “smoke test”. Normally when I assemble a new system I test the motherboard outside the chassis. Usually the power supply leads are long enough to do this if you put the chassis on its side on a desk and run the leads out, then you can run the motherboard just sitting on top of its cardboard box or some other suitable surface. When you are assembling a motherboard from components like a CPU and memory, you want to be able to test these are all installed properly before you put the thing inside the chassis because there is quite a lot of work to do from that point on and I don’t want to waste a lot of time installing a board if it turns out to have some sort of problem. In this case the board was preassembled and known to be working so the test was done with it installed in the chassis but without having fully completed the assembly.
The board with only the power cables connected internally. On any board which only has power cables connected you can start it up with a small screwdriver or some other metal object to carefully short the power switch pins on the front panel connector jumpers.
The same board with all the front panel cables connected. Note the clip on side panel next to the power supply removed as mentioned above.
Both photos show the display output from the VGA. I first tried with a HDMI to DisplayPort cable connected to the HDMI socket on the board and DP socket on the screen. This however resulted in a blank screen. It was fortuitous that I eventually did manage to find a spare VGA cable and hook it up because it almost looked as though the board had somehow blown up and was only going to spin the fan – as there is no onboard speaker to make a useful beep. (When that happens you have to try disconnecting every peripheral to see if there is a short or overload or something).
Getting the cables in tidily will be the next big challenge and I do think Antec should have built some sort of tiepoints into the side so that cable ties can be anchored to them to help tie back cables. It will just be a rats nest.