• Opal: Physical assembly – the case

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    HARDWARE DIY By Will Fastie Obviously, everything ends up going into the case. Last week, I discussed the assembly steps necessary to prepare Opal’s n
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    • #2397723

      Several years ago I tried this by purchasing the various parts separately: motherboard, processor, cooling fan w/wiring, memory chips, PCI-e graphics card, mid-tower case with power supply/fan/wiring harness already installed and power cord. I already had a 1.5 TB spinning hard drive and a DVD/CD burner with all the wiring, and a usb keyboard, usb mouse, usb speakers, and VGA connected 19 inch flat panel display, all left over from previously cannibalized desktop systems. The motherboard was shipped from China. I explicitly and carefully followed the directions and assembled everything, including the button-sized battery, being ultra-careful to not short anything out or discharge any static. And although everything powered up nicely and I could hear and see fans spinning and drives being accessed (hard drive and dvd burner with a boot CD present), I never could get any signal to the display and nothing on the screen. I checked all the connections and cables and tried using the motherboard’s native VGA port instead of the PCI-e card port, but no signal was being sent to the display. I concluded that there was no BIOS software present and abandoned the project after that (it still sits on a shelf in a closet). Both the boot CD and the used hard drive had BIOS available in the boot sectors; but I could never figure out how to deal with it with no signal going to the display, nothing to see.


    • #2397736

      A lot of new motherboards have the I/O shield attached so you don’t have to push it through the opening, it pretty much self installs when you position the motherboard in the case.  I’ve built three recent computers in mITX cases and this feature made it so much easier than before where you had to be careful not to bend any of the tabs on the I/O shield.

      A couple of comments on the article.  The power supply is not exhausting hot air into the case as you allude to when you commented on the cables lying on top of the grid.  The fan on the power supply is for intake and hot air is exhausted out the back.  Most ATX cases have the air intake on the bottom of the case.  Second, I don’t know what your use case is for this PC, but unless you are doing demanding video gaming or rendering, the Noctua D15 cooler you picked is overkill.  I have a workstation that I use for office work, photography and financial analysis.  I have the Noctua NH U12S which is smaller, lighter, and less expensive than your selection.  My CPU temperatures are well controlled with this cooler under all my work applications.

      I only build in Fractal Design cases and all the cutouts have nice rubber grommets so there are no sharp edges.  Since the PC sits right next to me, it is critical it is quiet as can be.  The case is padded with sound absorbing material so I really don’t hear any of the three HDDs and the power supply is a hybrid Seasonic and the fan rarely starts up.

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