How To Build A Recording Computer Part 6 Adding Hard Drives, PCIe Cards and Making The Connections

How To Build A Recording Computer Part 6
Adding Hard Drives, PCIe Cards and Making The Connections


I used Samsung Evo SATA III SSD’s for this build. Three of them. I think it’s always safer to err on the side of potentially having too much room than to run out of space in a few years, so I recommend you buy larger than 250gb for the storage drives if you plan to buy a lot of samples. A smaller size might be ok , but then again it might become too small should you decide to add more to the C drive later, so I opted for 500gb on all three.

Since all three drives look identical I decided to add identification to each one, so that I would know which one was which should I need to make a change or troubleshoot my setup. I used both colored tags on the drives and I also labeled each one. Mounting is as easy as securing each drive with the provided hardware.


Notice how very small these drives are, making my case look cavernous in comparison. My case even has a place to mount an SSD on the other side of the motherboard. About as large as a wallet they mount up easily in the large spaces provided.


Cable routing has almost become an artform in show PC’s. I think routing is important from a service access perspective as well.

You may want to mark an ID on each cable as well, not that this is really necessary but it can be helpful in the event you are looking at cables all the same color and need to identify one of them.
One of the most important considerations is that the wires shouldn’t interfere with the fans. Loose wires in close proximity to cooling fans can fall into the fans and stop cooling.




If you decide to use a platter drive there are some considerations as mentioned in earlier sections.
Make sure it isn’t a “green” drive. Black designated drives are usually the best. The drive should be 7200 rpm.

Plugging the drives is very straight forward. The drives are shipped with the connection cables. Locate the SATA III sockets on the motherboard and plug in the drives lower numbers to higher.

Have You Been Carded?

If you have onboard video there’s no need to install a video card. PCIe slots are much smaller than PCI slots. There is no chance you can put a PCIe card in the wrong slot. If you’re trying use all new hardware in your build you will most certainly use PCIe or M2 slots for any cards. If you want to reuse a favorite audio card then you will want a motherboard that still has the necessary
Older PCI slot. These can still be found but I suspect they’ll go the way of the dodo bird soon.

I used an older firewire interface, so I opted for a firewire card and a video card. Note- All socket 2011-v3 motherboards require outboard video.

Firewire card with Texas Instruments chipset


Video card- GeForce GT 740


Seat the cards securely into the PCIe slots making sure to hold cards by the edges. The cards will need to be screwed into place with the provided screws as shown. That’s all there is to it.There is really no order to the way the cards need to be installed, although it is preferable to use the slots designated by lower numbers first. You may want to consider cable exit locations at the rear of your computer, for instance, if you have an interface with a very short cord you will need to locate that card as high as possible to be closer to the interface…or buy a longer cord.

Are You Well Connected?

There’s no strict sequence to making the connections from the power supply to the motherboard and SSD drives other than routing and access considerations.

All plugs are clearly labeled. At this time also connect the wires from your case that go to the on/off switch, HDD and power leds. These connections can be a little confusing because these aren’t usually molded plugs, though they are labeled. Look at the instructions that came with your motherboard and you will see the connection layout for these pins. It’s also marked on the motherboard. It is easy to get the orientation of the pins wrong, so make sure that you are looking at these pins the same way they are on the motherboard. There is little chance that you’ll have a serious problem if you happen to get the pins backwards..the main problem being that the indicator leds won’t light up.These are polarity sensitive connections.



Most likely your case will have provision for external usb connection which is a nice feature because it brings the usb connections to the front of the computer. Otherwise you would only have the connections at the rear. Your motherboard should have a separate usb header. When making these connections it’s important to make sure you separate usb 2 from usb 3. If these are swapped your usb 3 devices will only work at usb 2.0.

If you need to remove a plug to reroute wires or for any other reason this is easily accomplished by pushing the lock tabs on the plastic plugs.

The hard drives and CD burners get their power from one power rail. The cooling fans in the case on on the motherboard are usually fed from a separate power branch from the motherboard since the bios will govern the fans. It isn’t unusual to see some power configurations with multiple plugs on one branch. The main power plug feeding power to the motherboard will be the largest plug and is hard to miss.

I only connect one hard drive which will be my C drive at the beginning. I connect the other drives after The OS is loaded. Another good rule of thumb is not to plug in any usb dongles or load any other discs until after you load the OS.

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Next up- Booting up and loading the OS.

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