Chas­sis strip­down

So, you’ve bought all the hard­ware, your tools are prepped — what’s the next step to en­sure your build is as easy as it pos­si­bly can be?

APC Australia - - The Lab -

“You should wait un­til later to in­stall any AIO liq­uid cool­ers, be­cause the wa­terblock and tub­ing will only be a nui­sance dur­ing the in­stal­la­tion process oth­er­wise.”

TIP 1 Case strip­down

The first thing to do (other than lay out all your hard­ware, and take a shot for In­sta­gram, ob­vi­ously), is strip your case down to its frame. Care­fully un­screw, pop off, and re­move ev­ery panel you can find. You can also re­move the dust fil­ters, and any hard drive cages you don’t need. Do­ing this im­proves air­flow, makes your build in­fin­itely eas­ier to man­age in the early stages, and stops you man­han­dling and po­ten­tially dam­ag­ing some of the more aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing pan­els (damn you, brushed alu­minium).

TIP 2 Panel stor­age

It’s smart to keep your part boxes, at least for a year or so, un­til the war­ranties run out. That said, there’s an im­me­di­ate use you can make of the box your chas­sis came in. The larger side pan­els and glass win­dows can slot care­fully into your card­board case box, be­tween the poly­styrene pack­ing ma­te­rial, to en­sure they don’t get dam­aged or lost. You’ll know where they are, and you can rest as­sured they’re not go­ing to fall over or get scratched dur­ing the build process.

TIP 3 Med­i­tate

Not re­ally, but you should vi­su­alise where your hard­ware is go­ing to go. This is a great time to do a test fit — place your hard­ware where you think it’ll go and check there won’t be any prob­lems or con­flict­ing parts. Imag­ine your ca­ble routes, check there’s enough room for your fans; it’ll save time in the long run.

TIP 4 Re­place the stock fans

Most stock fans are more than ad­e­quate for pro­vid­ing some sort of cooling, but if you have an eye for de­tail, you pre­fer more per­for­mance-ori­ented fans, or you’re just af­ter some­thing that’s a lit­tle qui­eter, re­plac­ing those stock polypropy­lene blades now is def­i­nitely the best de­ci­sion. With un­fet­tered ac­cess to ev­ery area at this point, it’s easy to route the ca­bles be­hind your case, and in­stall them with­out wor­ry­ing about the chas­sis be­ing too heavy when ev­ery­thing’s in­side. One thing we would say is that you should wait un­til later to in­stall any AIO liq­uid cool­ers, be­cause the wa­terblock and tub­ing will only be a nui­sance dur­ing the in­stal­la­tion process oth­er­wise. Also, if the top of the chas­sis is pretty tight, it might be worth hold­ing off on those, at least un­til you’ve had the op­por­tu­nity to plug in the moth­er­board power ca­bles, and any other fan ca­bles you’re go­ing to need.

TIP 5 Pre-thread your ca­bles

When work­ing with more bud­get-ori­ented cases with lit­tle ca­ble man­age­ment room, pre-in­stalling and thread­ing your ca­bles ahead of time is a smart way of mak­ing a cleaner, ti­dier build with­out nec­es­sar­ily break­ing the bank. One par­tic­u­larly prob­lem­atic ca­ble tends to be the eight-pin EPS, or CPU power. For cases with­out any ca­ble rout­ing room, you can ac­tu­ally lay the CPU ca­ble un­der the moth­er­board it­self and into the top left-hand cor­ner of the case. Then, af­ter you in­stall and se­cure your moth­er­board down (not for­get­ting the I/O plate, of course), you can plug in and in­stall your CPU ca­ble, keep­ing it out of the way and tidy in the process. In pricier op­tions, and with mod­u­lar power sup­plies, now is the per­fect time to de­cide what ca­bles you’re go­ing to need and pre-in­stall the lot, ty­ing them to the back of the chas­sis where you can, us­ing the ca­ble ties we men­tioned ear­lier.

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