How To Build A Recording Computer Part 4 Installing Power Supply and Motherboard

How To Build A Recording Computer- Part 4
Installing Power Supply And Motherboard

©recordinghound 2016


Work Space

Before you begin your build, you will need all of your hardware ready to assemble.

Here is a list of the hardware I used in the building of this computer.
Case- Fractal Design R4
Power Supply-EVGA 80 plus gold 750watt
CPU- Intel 5820K
Motherboard- ASRock Extreme 2 2011-v3
Memory- GSkill Ripjaws 16gb DDR4
CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-U14S
Video Card-GIGABYTE GeForce GT 740
Hard Drives- 3x Samsung 500gb 850 SSD
Firewire PCI Express card
Cpu cooling-Noctua NH-U14S
Firewire-1394 PCIexpress card texas instruments chipset
Windows 10 64bit OEM

Ideally you will select a build location that allows you to keep the build in one place until you can complete it. Many of us don’t have a dedicated space to build a computer. A kitchenette table made a great work table for this build, with the added benefit that I can walk across the floor for coffee and snacks!

I recommend you cover the table with a thick towel at the very least to prevent scratches to the table and protect the parts. A light colored towel will allow you to see small parts more easily. Another benefit is that if small parts are dropped they won’t roll away as readily. There are dedicated mats available especially for this kind of work. You likely won’t be doing this again for at least 3 to 5 years, so I didn’t invest in a dedicated assembly mat. If you are assembling the computer on a piece of antique furniture, then getting a specialized rubber mat will help to better protect the surface. Having at least a towel will make handling and assembling much easier. Ideally a shop with a large table and temperature control is best.

Having a location that allows you to move around the sides of the build while in progress is helpful, otherwise you’ll be moving the case more. Notice the case I purchased allows removal of the hard drive bay. This gives you more room to work inside the case during assembly. I recommend laying the case on it’s side with the motherboard mounts facing up during most of the assembly since it’s easier to attach the hardware from this position. Note the sound insulation in the following picture.

Soundproof insulation in Fractal Design R4 case.

Soundproof insulation in Fractal Design R4 case.

The Power Supply

I always assemble the heaviest parts first. This avoids the possibility of accidentally dropping a power supply on a motherboard during assembly. If the power supply is already in place it can’t be dropped on the motherboard.
Most power supplies come with all the cables you could possibly need. You might not need all of them. All plugs are labeled and keyed.

All cables included!

All cables included!

All female plug receptacles on the power supply are clearly labeled.


At this time it isn’t necessary to install the plugs on the power supply since they may interfere with the motherboard installation. This computer has the power supply mounted in the bottom of the case unlike some other designs that have it in the top. This is better for center of gravity and weight distribution. Mounting the power supply is a simple matter of putting it into place, lining up the mounting holes and attaching it. Note- The screws that attach the power supply don’t need much torque. It is possible to overtighten and wring off screw heads or strip them. Tighten until the screw bottoms out and then add a very small amount of additional torque to prevent vibration from loosening the screws.

Use only a screwdriver with a hardened head and make sure you seat the tool all the way into the screw. The screwdriver head must fit well into the screws. A size too small won’t fit well and will strip out the screw. If your tool slips on the screw something is wrong. If the screw doesn’t go easily into the mounting hole it might be crossthreaded, meaning the screw didn’t line up properly with the threads. Usually backing it out and re aligning it will do the trick. If not try another screw. Occasionally defective screws are shipped.IMG_0525

The case should be vertical during this stage of the assembly. Lay the case on its side for the next step.

The Motherboard

Preparing for installation-

The motherboard will be our next item to install. First there are a few considerations that need to be made.
Make sure you’re properly grounded and remove the motherboard from the box. Always handle the motherboard by the edges. Lay it on the work table on a non conductive surface components facing up. Orient the motherboard exactly the way it will appear inside of your build. Determine which card slots you will be using on the motherboard. Remove the associated covers from the back of the case, so these slots are open for the cards you plan to install.These are usually held in place by a thumb screw. Loosen and remove. Find the thin metal plate with holes that line up with the connections on the back of the motherboard. This should go into the case before you install the motherboard. It snaps into place. Don’t put it in backwards or upside down!IMG_0596

Motherboard oriented for visual case layout.
Slot filler plates are in white. Remove those corresponding to the desired PCIe card layout.IMG_0543

Shown with PCIe cards installed.
Some computer cases are shipped with mounts already in place. The case used as an example is intended to house a wide variety of motherboards, so the mounting studs will need to be manually installed. Your case should have been shipped with mounting studs. They look like this.IMG_0539

Locate the mounting holes in your motherboard. Insert the mounting studs in each place on the case that corresponds to where the holes are on the motherboard. Always handle the motherboard by the edges. Notice the motherboard manufacturer provides a tool to put over the studs so you can hand tighten them.After you’ve done this you can try a test fit. Lay the motherboard into place and see if you missed a stud or put one in the wrong location. Too few and the motherboard doesn’t have good support. Studs in the wrong holes can contact the circuit traces on the backside of the motherboard and cause a short, so this step is very important. The studs only need be hand tight with the provided tool.
If you drop a stud, never let it stay inside the case. Always find it and remove it.

Before you mount the motherboard into place make a close examination of the board itself. The protective cover should be over the cpu socket. Look for anything that might be laying on the motherboard such as small loose wires or anything metallic. Check the underside of the motherboard for scratched traces. Anything that isn’t mounted to the motherboard should be removed with a light touch and either forceps or needle nose pliers.IMG_0545

A magnetic phillips screwdriver is best, preferably with at least a 10” length. I used a simple multi-driver. If you drop a screw onto the motherboard or into the case during assembly always locate and remove it. Small stray metallic objects inside your case aren’t good.You might need to sit the case up into a verticle position to dislodge a lost screw or mounting stud.

To be continued-

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