Rebuilding My PC [3]

Now that we have the board completed, the next task is to install it into the chassis. Your existing chassis should already have spacers installed, the board sits on these spacers to hold it up clear of the chassis. Check that the spacers are in the same number and positions as the board needs, if not you will need to remove or install spacers to suit. Carefully slide the board into position getting the rear panel connectors in place, you may have to bend tabs on the I/O shield to make it easy. Just slide the board around carefully to get the spacers to line up with the mounting holes. Then use a magnetic screwdriver and take it really easy and get the screws into the holes and carefully tightened. Don’t use a power screwdriver and don’t overtighten the screws. If your screwdriver slips and hits the board the chances are very high that the board will be fatally damaged. So take it real slow and careful here. Once you have the board fastened down, connect the power supply connectors. The usual requirement is the 2×10 or 2×12 for the main power connector and a separate 4 pin connector for extra CPU power (this is NOT optional, even though the connector looks the same as the extra 2×2 that gets tacked onto the end of the old 2×10 power connector). Modern PSUs typically have a 2×10 and 2×2 connectors that clip together for the main connector, as well as a separate 2×2 for the CPU connector. As sometimes modern supplies have replaced the 2×2 with a pair of 2x2s that clip together, you may find as I did with the Enermax that the pair of 2x2s will need to be separated so that one of them can be plugged into the CPU power connector on the board. Getting the main power connector in can be a little tricky, especially with this board where there isn’t adequate support under the connector, so you want to take it carefully to avoid bending the board too much.

The next bit of fun is to connect the front panel cables to the board. Typically there will be front panel USB and audio connectors, perhaps these days firewire or eSata could be installed, and there are also power and HDD lights, power switch and perhaps a reset button. The switches and lights will usually be on one set of combined headers, while USB and audio each have their own set. In this case the Foxconn TS001 shines out with the clear labelling of the various connectors. As it happened most of them seem to work so far although I haven’t tested out the audio jacks. I also put in an old DVD drive from my old PC and it had to be plugged into the IDE port.


Now for the moment of truth. Connect VGA, Keyboard, Mouse, turn the thing on and see if it comes up to the Bios screen. Then select the Bios settings and go into Hardware Monitor to read out the temps and fan speeds. I started off reading around 60 degrees C for the CPU which is probably in an acceptable range. If this all works out then install an OS and some kind of test and monitoring software (for example burn in software such as Burn In Test, temperature monitor software such as SpeedFan). Run the software for a reasonable time frame to give an acceptable burnin test period. This is an optional step, just one you might want to try to see that everything is working OK, especially that the heatsink and fan are doing their job properly and keeping that CPU nice and cool.

Finally, before you get the thing into use, tidy up inside the case. Typically you will need to reroute cables so that they have no chance of getting caught up in fans or other moving parts, and make everything look really neat and tidy inside. 

This is my first blog post from the newly rebuilt PC, I’ll explain that further in the next post.