Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Build

It has been probably ten or more years since I assembled a new system so I was rather excited to jump into this one. I remember the cuts and scrapes from the sheet metal cases, working to get the motherboard to fit into the case properly, setting motherboard jumpers to get things to work together, etc. Times have changed. I will walk through this build using pictures and a small amount of commentary.

As you can see from the photo above, I started the evening with a pile of boxes from the three different vendors I used.

Upon opening the case, I was surprised at the quality and lack of really sharp edges. It was organized very well. It came with three fans installed, one in the top, one in the front and one in the rear. As you can see in the photos there are plenty of drive bays (more than I will need or use I'm sure).

The first step was to install the power supply. I used pcpartpicker.com to mock up the system. This allowed me to determine all the parts would work together and estimated the wattage needed by the selected components. It estimated less than 350 watts so the 500 watt power supply should be more than adequate for now.

After attaching the CPU and CPU fan to the motherboard, it was time to fight with getting it to fit in the case properly.

I was again pleasantly surprised! After attaching the screw posts in the proper holes on the case, the motherboard lined up PERFECTLY and I then secured it with six screws. So far so good.

I installed the SSD drive in the slip-in drive holder provided, snapped it into place and attached the cables.

I then installed the memory, the graphics card and DVD-RW drive. Then it was time to attach all the cables. Again, this turned out to be a relatively painless process. I did have to spend a whopping two or three minutes looking at the manual to see where a couple of the front panel cables needed to be attached to the motherboard. Other than that, everything was color coded and labeled and very easy to connect.

I then spent a few minutes organizing and putting cable ties on the cables to increase the ease of air flow through the case. I probably could have done a neater job but I was in a bit of a hurry to test out the new system.

I added two case fans to the side panel of the case and then I was ready to close everything. As you can see from the photos below, I only hooked the power to on of the fans. If I have a problem with heat (which I doubt), I will power the other one up. This reduced the noise produced by the system a little.

Finally, with everything all buttoned up, it was time to do the "smoke test". The pretty blue lights came on and everything was off to a good start. I inserted the Windows 7 DVD and the install started. But that is the subject for the next post.

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