Newbie mistakes

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Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 4:39 pm

So, during the last bit I've been attempting to build my first gaming PC. I got a lot of the parts at the techreport meetup, which I thought would save me a lot of money. Well, my first mistake was overpaying for the CPU. My mothrboard is an older one without Ivy Bridge support, so I got a Sandy Bridge CPU. However, the Canadian dollar dropped by 9 cents between when I placed my bid and the auction ended, so I wound up paying a fair bit more then I intended. Then I discovered that it didn't come with a cooler. Great. So I bought a coolmaster for about what I could get a used stock cooler off eBay ($30 vs $38).

Tied to this I had to drop from a 280X to a 270X due to the fact you still can't get one for under $400 off NCIX, but whatever, it will still be a great upgrade compared to a lenovo laptop.

Well, I started building last night. I got the cooler on the CPU after lots of advice from twitter and must struggling with screws. I discovered that one of the RAM units won't fit next to the Coolmaster, but channels 1/3 should work as well as 0/2, from what I can tell from the manual.

This morning I got all my drives and motherboard into the case and hooked them up. I thought it odd there were only 4 places to screw it in instead of 9, but eh, it feels secure. I got all the wires hooked hooked up. It seems that motherboards COME with sata cables, which I never considered, so I wasted $15 at NCIS buying 3 extra ones.

Then I notice that there is no room for the power supply. *headdesk* That is right; I stupidly didn't check that my case was a full ATX case, because I'm an idiot.

Now, my uni is throwing out a ton of computers, so I might be able to find a case there that is full ATX, but those are going to be super cheap prebuilt cases that don't have any of the nice rubber bits or thumbscrews this lovely Corsair has, and I don't even know if any of them will be full ATX. Or I could buy a new motherboard, and have to reinstall everything, and spend like, $150. Or I could mount it externally, right? Now, I'm not sure how I'd do that, other then duct taping it to the outside of where it would normally go.

tl;dr; I'm a newbie idiot.
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 4:46 pm

Could be worse. Eons ago, my uncle brought me a bunch of parts to put together a computer for him. One of them happened to be a PCChips motherboard. I worked very carefully, and hooked up everything properly, and when it came time to turn it on, something caught my eye. I thought "Wow! I've never seen an LED on a motherboard before! Cool!".

It wasn't an LED.

It was really the voltage regulator catching fire, and burning out with this intense flame that was so bright, I'd also liken it to staring at stick welding without a shield on. Needless to say, I got blamed for it, even though the vendor I RMA'd it to said that they'd had lots of returns of those boards.

And that's why whenever friends or family ask if I work on computers, I immediately start faking a seizure, or whatever it takes to get them off that subject.

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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 4:59 pm

Hey, we all learn one way or another. If it makes you feel any better, I built myself into several corners too.

I have a 7870 and Z77 mATX board in an old 2002 mATX HP Pavilion. It has one cooling fan: the closed-loop water cooler fan I put in for the CPU. I figured I could just CrossFire another card in at some point, but nope... it'd only support a x16/x4 configuration--in slot #4 (otherwise it'll be x16/x1 and the top card can't breathe). My case doesn't have room for a double-slot GPU in slot #4. I should have either gone ATX (for dual GPUs) or mITX (for a SFF case) and now I'm stuck. So I also bought myself into a hole.

I also encountered other issues, but these were solvable:
1) The back case fan was 90mm and my radiator was 120mm, so I had to drill more holes and mount points through the steel. Worked great!
2) The case wasn't designed for a full ATX PSU but there were just aluminum rivets in the way so I manhandled them to flatten them down enough to fit the ATX PSU.
3) No 2.5" slots and no 3.5" adapters, so I have my SSD screwed in only on one side in a 5.25" bay.
4) No front bays for USB 3.0 (only 5.25" ones, and they're recessed), so I got a 4-port USB 3.0 hub and duct taped it to the front.

The lesson here is that creativity can overcome some stupidity. But not all of it--we have to learn to live with what's left (either that or pay up to make it "right," but that's no fun!).
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 5:13 pm

Duct Tape Dude wrote:Hey, we all learn one way or another.


Truer words were never spoken. When I was 8, I migrated up from a dual 5-1/4 floppy drive setup, to one with a massive 20MB harddrive. Which, to my horror, I somehow managed to type C:\del *.* (or whatever cmd it was that wiped the disk)

My dad took me to the shop that a friend of his ran, and I did the walk of shame towards the back, and told the Tech what I had done. After a few good laughs, he showed me not only how to fix it, but also taught me a few things, including how to make a custom batch file. so I could load my games with just the press of a key. None of that monkeying about the CLI for my badass 8 year-old self! :P
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:43 pm

Duct Tape Dude wrote:I also encountered other issues, but these were solvable:
1) The back case fan was 90mm and my radiator was 120mm, so I had to drill more holes and mount points through the steel. Worked great!


That is an idea. I wonder if I could mount some rails to the case with the PSU outside where it would normally be, so it got the same airflow? I'm sure the machine shop guys could do it for less then the cost of buying a new case or MB.
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:44 pm

I get that you're in Canada, but still $15 for three SATA cables is kind of a lot.
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:05 pm

First, relax and breathe.

Canageek wrote:Then I notice that there is no room for the power supply. *headdesk* That is right; I stupidly didn't check that my case was a full ATX case, because I'm an idiot.

Now, my uni is throwing out a ton of computers, so I might be able to find a case there that is full ATX, but those are going to be super cheap prebuilt cases that don't have any of the nice rubber bits or thumbscrews this lovely Corsair has, and I don't even know if any of them will be full ATX. Or I could buy a new motherboard, and have to reinstall everything, and spend like, $150. Or I could mount it externally, right? Now, I'm not sure how I'd do that, other then duct taping it to the outside of where it would normally go.

Most "full" ATX and micro ATX cases can use regular ATX power supplies. Which PSU do you have and what is this Corsair case that you have already put all your stuff into? Might as well just list out all your components here.

If you have to take all the stuff out for an open config for a while, consider that practice for building. This means you will get to put things together for at least another time! ;)
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:44 pm

Flying Fox wrote:First, relax and breathe.

Canageek wrote:Then I notice that there is no room for the power supply. *headdesk* That is right; I stupidly didn't check that my case was a full ATX case, because I'm an idiot.

Now, my uni is throwing out a ton of computers, so I might be able to find a case there that is full ATX, but those are going to be super cheap prebuilt cases that don't have any of the nice rubber bits or thumbscrews this lovely Corsair has, and I don't even know if any of them will be full ATX. Or I could buy a new motherboard, and have to reinstall everything, and spend like, $150. Or I could mount it externally, right? Now, I'm not sure how I'd do that, other then duct taping it to the outside of where it would normally go.

Most "full" ATX and micro ATX cases can use regular ATX power supplies. Which PSU do you have and what is this Corsair case that you have already put all your stuff into? Might as well just list out all your components here.

If you have to take all the stuff out for an open config for a while, consider that practice for building. This means you will get to put things together for at least another time! ;)


Oh, the power supply will fit just fine... but not at the same time as the motherboard, as it extends into the PSU space. Image

I'm not sure as to the cases model. I think it is a 200R, but am not sure as I forget and can't find a model number. The MB is a GA-P76A-UD4 and iut is a PS600 power supply.

Things are looking up though; one of my freinds has a spare full ATX case. They say it isn't as fancy as the one I have, so I'll miss all the toolless bays, and I may have to duct tape the SSD to the wall, but it should all fit. (Seriously, toolless bays: I put all the drives in to the case in like a minute. This is so different then the cheap HP Deskpro cases I'm used to working with when I was in high school).
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:50 pm

Can you take a picture of the other end? The 200R specs claim it can take ATX boards. Seems like you did not mount the thing properly (like totally shifted with an offset)? Or it is a different case that takes only micro ATX boards?
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:35 pm

Flying Fox wrote:Can you take a picture of the other end? The 200R specs claim it can take ATX boards. Seems like you did not mount the thing properly (like totally shifted with an offset)? Or it is a different case that takes only micro ATX boards?


I could very easily be wrong about the case model; I got it out of the back of the van at the Tech Report North meetup.
Here are some photos of everything I could think of; http://imgur.com/a/QADgF
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:47 pm

It's the Obsidian 350D, micro ATX only.

http://www.corsair.com/us/pc-cases/obsi ... -case.html

Should have picked one of those micro ATX or mini ITX boards from the van before the security dude showed up. :P
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:04 pm

Flying Fox wrote:It's the Obsidian 350D, micro ATX only.

http://www.corsair.com/us/pc-cases/obsi ... -case.html

Should have picked one of those micro ATX or mini ITX boards from the van before the security dude showed up. :P


Yeah, I should have. I really should have done more research before going to the meetup, as I didn't know anything about CPUs at the time, so I didn't know what type of mothboard to get.
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:29 am

Since the Corsair Obsidian 350D micro-ATX case is as large on the outside as ATX cases from other suppliers, it may be an understandable mistake.
http://techreport.com/review/25222/cors ... e-reviewed

Corsair has a new mini-ITX Obsidian 250D out now that is as large on the outside as others' micro-ATX cases.

The best thing to do is to always count how many PCIe expansion slots the case allows.
1 or 2 slots = mini-ITX (or possibly DTX)
4 or 5 slots = micro-ATX
7 slots = ATX

It is usually not a problem to mount a micro-ATX motherboard in a full-size ATX case, but you need to be careful to check the locations of standoffs to make certain that they are not shorting your motherboard to ground.
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:47 am

Oh man, this reminds me of the hell I went through building my third computer XD

My first two units were pre-built boxes. First was an HP, second one was some no-name little thing. I had done some minor upgrades on those, but nothing too tedious. Anyway, I bought a new video card, which didn't fit in my motherboard (It was this new-fangled "AGP" thing or whatever. Yeah, this was a while ago XD), so I bought a new motherboard. No big deal. While installing my CPU (I DID make sure the socket was compatible first, go me!), i BENT THE PINS and had to buy a new chip >_<. THEN, only after all that, did I find out that my new mobo was TOO BIG for the case I wanted to use, so I had to go and buy a new one of THOSE TOO (Which I still use to this day!). Three trips to the store and like $500 later just to use a GeForce 5000 or whatever the hell it was.

And lets not get into my near-disastrous attempt at water cooling, where I cracked the reservoir while installing it and didn't realize what I'd done until I saw water dripping down the front of my case a week after the fact....
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:20 pm

Canageek wrote: I'm a newbie idiot

Hey, that's why the TR forums exist. I see threads all the time from people that want others to "check this build out before I pull the trigger." Nothing wrong with that.
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:19 pm

So, I asked the electronics shop people at work, as they are throwing out a ton of computers, and they hooked me up with an old computer with a large case. It isn't nearly as nice as the Corsair; (No cable management, no tool-less bays, no USB3 ports on the front [though 2 USB1.1 or 2, not sure how to tell]. Lots of space for fans though; I might move the fans from the Corsair over.); it feels like going from a luxury car to a beat up old pickup, but hey, beggers can't be choosers.

Now, it is the right size for a full ATX, but I thought the Corsair Obsidian 350D was the right size as well, and this had a mini-ATX board in it. Can someone have a look at it and confirm that it will fit a full ATX before I lug it home? It feels like an aluminum case, but it is still rather bulky and I walk home.

The pictures: http://imgur.com/a/3GrUP

Thanks. A friend also offered me an old case of his as well, so I'll compare the two.
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:45 pm

Spent hours going through all sorts of documentation to enter drive parameters on an ST-351A/X, only to realize later I could have just selected "Type 17" in the BIOS. :roll:
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:58 pm

Canageek wrote:Now, it is the right size for a full ATX, but I thought the Corsair Obsidian 350D was the right size as well, and this had a mini-ATX board in it. Can someone have a look at it and confirm that it will fit a full ATX before I lug it home? It feels like an aluminum case, but it is still rather bulky and I walk home.

The pictures: http://imgur.com/a/3GrUP

Thanks. A friend also offered me an old case of his as well, so I'll compare the two.

1. Micro ATX. No such thing as mini ATX. There is mini ITX though.
2. Using JAE's method, what does that tell you? ;)
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:21 pm

Flying Fox wrote:
Canageek wrote:Now, it is the right size for a full ATX, but I thought the Corsair Obsidian 350D was the right size as well, and this had a mini-ATX board in it. Can someone have a look at it and confirm that it will fit a full ATX before I lug it home? It feels like an aluminum case, but it is still rather bulky and I walk home.

The pictures: http://imgur.com/a/3GrUP

Thanks. A friend also offered me an old case of his as well, so I'll compare the two.

1. Micro ATX. No such thing as mini ATX. There is mini ITX though.
2. Using JAE's method, what does that tell you? ;)


Opps, thanks.

7 slots on the back, 2 of which weren't covered by the old motherboard, so it should be full ATX compatible. I was just a bit worried after last time. Now to compare it to the one my friend is offering me.

So, does this case look OK to everyone? Is there anything I should be aware of using an old case like this? I'm thinking I'll have to put a floppy drive into it to cover that hole in the front, even if I can't hook it up, as I don't have the shield. Is there a way to tell if the ports on the front are USB1.1 or 2.0, or is that solely a motherboard feature?
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:27 pm

USB3 ports are blue.

Canageek wrote: Is there anything I should be aware of using an old case like this?
Look very carefully at the position of that lowest brass motherboard standoff. Does it need to be unscrewed and placed into a different threaded hole to line up with the mounting holes for your ATX motherboard?

Canageek wrote: I'm thinking I'll have to put a floppy drive into it to cover that hole in the front, even if I can't hook it up, as I don't have the shield.
You could fill that 3½" bay with something more useful than a floppy drive.
http://www.ncix.ca/products/?sku=222213 ... cture=SIIG

http://products.ncix.com/detail/nmedia- ... 8-1544.htm
http://products.ncix.com/detail/nmedia- ... 1-1544.htm
http://products.ncix.com/detail/ngear-u ... -78988.htm
http://products.ncix.com/detail/general ... -76603.htm
http://products.ncix.com/detail/siig-us ... -89730.htm
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:45 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:USB3 ports are blue.[\quote]

Yeah, I know they aren't USB3. I was wondering if they were USB1.1 or USB2, or if those are the same plug?

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Canageek wrote: Is there anything I should be aware of using an old case like this?
Look very carefully at the position of that lowest brass motherboard standoff. Does it need to be unscrewed and placed into a different threaded hole to like up with the mounting holes for your ATX motherboard?


Good eye; they are wrong. There looks to be some matching holes in the case lower down that look like a match though, the 'hill' type of hole.

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Canageek wrote: I'm thinking I'll have to put a floppy drive into it to cover that hole in the front, even if I can't hook it up, as I don't have the shield.
You could fill that 3½" bay with something more useful than a floppy drive.
http://products.ncix.com/detail/siig-us ... -71656.htm

http://products.ncix.com/detail/nmedia- ... 8-1544.htm
http://products.ncix.com/detail/ngear-u ... -78988.htm
http://products.ncix.com/detail/general ... -76603.htm
http://products.ncix.com/detail/nmedia- ... 1-1544.htm
http://products.ncix.com/detail/siig-us ... -89730.htm


Huh, thanks for the suggestion. Once I've got everything up and running I'll have a look at buying those.
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:49 pm

Count the mounting holes in your motherboard and match up each one with either the screw-in brass standoffs or the raised mounting points pressed into the metal of the case. You may need to unscrew some of the brass standoffs and relocate or remove them entirely.

It looks to me like the brass standoff lined up with the 3rd PCIe slot needs to come out. The one lined up with the 4th PCIe slot also needs to be removed. Re-install one of them in the far lower right hand corner, lined up with the 7th PCIe slot (looking at the 4th photo in your set).

If you leave the extra standoffs in place, they will short your motherboard to ground. You won't be able to get the PC to boot because the power supply overload circuit will shut it down immediately when you press the button. (Yes, I've made this particular newbie mistake in the past.)
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:37 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:Count the mounting holes in your motherboard and match up each one with either the screw-in brass standoffs or the raised mounting points pressed into the metal of the case. You may need to unscrew some of the brass standoffs and relocate or remove them entirely.

It looks to me like the brass standoff lined up with the 3rd PCIe slot needs to come out. The one lined up with the 4th PCIe slot also needs to be removed. Re-install one of them in the far lower right hand corner, lined up with the 7th PCIe slot (looking at the 4th photo in your set).

If you leave the extra standoffs in place, they will short your motherboard to ground. You won't be able to get the PC to boot because the power supply overload circuit will shut it down immediately when you press the button. (Yes, I've made this particular newbie mistake in the past.)


That is good to know! I'll make sure to remove the ones that don't line up with the holes and move then to where they do, or remove them totally. Thanks.
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Re: Newbie mistakes

Postposted on Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:49 pm

Moved to SBA.
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