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[ The PC Guide | Procedure Guide | Physical Installation Procedures ]

System Case Preparation Procedure

This procedure covers preparing the system case for the installation of a new system. You will want to perform this procedure when you are assembling a new PC, performing a major upgrade such as a full system upgrade, or moving a system to a new case. The focus of this procedure is on preparing a new system case, but the steps generally apply to an older case being reused as well. There will just be less assembly in the event of an older case (but you will need to clean the inside of the case most likely).

This procedure is geared more towards tower cases, since that is all that I use. Tower cases are superior to desktop cases for those doing their own PC assembly.

Procedure Overview:

  • Difficulty Level: 1 (Very low).
  • Risk Factor: 2 (Low).
  • Hardware Required: Screwdriver.
  • Software Required: None.
  • Time to Perform: About 5-10 minutes.
  • Preparation / Warnings:
    • Make sure the case is unplugged at all times.
    • The system case should be open before you begin. For instructions on opening the case, refer to this procedure.
    • Watch out for sharp metal edges inside the system case. I've cut myself before.
    • Cases vary widely and you may need to adjust these instructions. I use high-quality, name-brand cases but there are hundreds of designs.

Procedure Steps:

  1. Inspect Case Contents: Inspect the contents of the case to ensure that everything that should be with it, is. New or old, you will need these components.
  2. Clean Case (if necessary): If this is an older case it probably could use a good cleaning by blowing out the whole interior with compressed air.
  3. Inspect Power Supply: Make sure the power supply is tightly attached to the case. If this is an old case, make sure the vents from the fan are clean; if not clean them using compressed air or a vacuum. If this is a new case, double-check the input voltage setting (110V or 220V) to make sure it is correct (or else!!)
  4. Inspect Power Switch: Make sure the power switch is mounted securely to the front of the case and the wire going back to the power supply is intact, not pinched, and not loose.
  5. Install Feet (if necessary): Some cases come with separate plastic feet in a bag inside the box. Put these into their holes in the bottom of the case now. You may not be able to access the bottom later on (happened to me, big waste of time pulling everything out).
  6. Install Slot Inserts (if necessary): Some cases come with the inserts that go in the expansion slots in a separate plastic bag. You can install these now (leaving out one where you think the video card and other cards will go) or install them later. Your choice, just do it at some point.
  7. Install or Remove Drive Bay Faceplates: Some cases come with all of their drive bay faceplates (plastic covers, bezels) installed and some come with all of them loose. You will want to insert the faceplates into the drive bay positions you don't plan to use and remove them from those you are going to use. To some extent you can't finalize this until after you plan your system layout, but you can always change them later on.
  8. Install Additional Cooling Fan (optional): Some cases come with space for an additional cooling fan. If you are going to use a second fan, install it now. For an AT form factor system, the second fan should blow into the case (advice from Enlight Corporation, major case manufacturer).
  9. Jumper LED Display (optional): Some cases still have an LED display to show the "speed" of the system. The speed is set using jumpers inside the case; set them now if you are going to do this. If the manual doesn't tell you how to set the jumpers, you're pretty much out of luck...
  10. Detach Motherboard Panel: Most newer tower cases today come with a detachable panel upon which the motherboard is mounted. Detach this panel now. Usually, this is done by pulling down on the U-shaped handle on the outside of the panel. It can take significant force to overcome the springs holding the panel in place. On some cases, the panel is held in place using screws.

Next: Floppy Disk Drive Physical Installation Procedure

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