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Newbie is in a mess...

Last response: in Motherboards
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November 8, 2012 11:17:05 AM

Started off with a graphics card getting fried... it was an nvidia 9800gt.

The computer was a dell studio xps 540 (IIRC). Its a very small tower with poor placement of power supply, fans, and almost no room at the bottom for even my single slot graphics card. Seeing as a double slot definitely would not fit (or if it did I would be just begging to over heat it... the fans would be pressed up against the bottom of the case) I decided to go ahead and get a new case.

What the heck, Ill get a new psu as well just to be on the safe side.

So, my problem... I have no idea where to connect everything back into my motherboard.

By everything I mean my hard drive (optical looks like its color coded), case cords (usb ports, power switch, led lights..), and fans (there are four, two came with case and I bought two more).

I'm pretty confident I know how to hook up my psu... thats pretty much fool proof... right?

So, my motherboard had this FOXCONN ML1 E253117 on the back.

My new case is ANTEC THREE HUNDRED BK RT, and the fans I bought additionally are Antec 761345-75120-9 120mm Case Fan.

Any direct help would be much appreciated.

What would also be a great help is if someone could provide a link to a manual or diagram of my motherboard... I have been searching for one with no luck, but perhaps you savy folk will have more luck.

Finally, if I'm just out of luck and no one can help me, what will happen if I just start hooking things up at random? Will I damage any of my components? I hate to do trial by error, but I need to get this thing up and running.

THANK YOU!!! :) 

PS - let me know if you need any additional info... help me help you help me :D 

More about : newbie mess

a b U Graphics card
a c 157 V Motherboard
November 8, 2012 11:45:21 AM

I think I have you covered here.
This link describes all the connectors from your PSU and what their functions are
http://www.playtool.com/pages/psuconnectors/connectors....
I'll see if I can't make some sense here for your mess (BTW, welcome to the wonderful world of computer assembly).
Your PSU has the following connectors which must be connected - the 20 or 24 pin main power on the motherboard. The 4 or 8 pin ATX connector on the motherboard (do not put a 6+2 or 8 pin PCIe cable there - that's bad). SATA connectors to your optical drive and hard drive (one each). Also a SATA data cable goes from your drives (each one) to the motherboard. You can plug in any extra case fans either with a molex connector or (doubtfully) there may be headers on the motherboard for case fans.
This link will get you to your Dell Service Manual which may clarify connections on the motherboard.
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/STD540/en...
Hope it helps and isn't too confusing. Any questions at all, don't hesitate to ask
AFTERTHOUGHT: Don't forget to install your standoffs in the case (hexagonal screws which act as legs for the motherboard). Only install those standoffs needed - if extras, don't use them.
Your front panel may be problematic for the connectors but that's where the service manual should be helpful.
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November 8, 2012 1:56:21 PM

C12Friedman said:
I think I have you covered here.
This link describes all the connectors from your PSU and what their functions are
http://www.playtool.com/pages/psuconnectors/connectors....
I'll see if I can't make some sense here for your mess (BTW, welcome to the wonderful world of computer assembly).
Your PSU has the following connectors which must be connected - the 20 or 24 pin main power on the motherboard. The 4 or 8 pin ATX connector on the motherboard (do not put a 6+2 or 8 pin PCIe cable there - that's bad). SATA connectors to your optical drive and hard drive (one each). Also a SATA data cable goes from your drives (each one) to the motherboard. You can plug in any extra case fans either with a molex connector or (doubtfully) there may be headers on the motherboard for case fans.
This link will get you to your Dell Service Manual which may clarify connections on the motherboard.
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/STD540/en...
Hope it helps and isn't too confusing. Any questions at all, don't hesitate to ask
AFTERTHOUGHT: Don't forget to install your standoffs in the case (hexagonal screws which act as legs for the motherboard). Only install those standoffs needed - if extras, don't use them.
Your front panel may be problematic for the connectors but that's where the service manual should be helpful.


Thanks for the detailed answer!

I'm at work now but will recheck everything when I get home. I did notice a couple things though that I am curious about.

First, that diagram of my motherboard is not accurate... not sure why. My computer is the 540, but I know from memory that things are out of place on that diagram. Oh well, thank you for the link :) 

I have all my standoffs connected correctly, so that shouldnt be a problem. Thanks for the heads up though.

Now, specifically... The Data Cables for my Drives... does it matter which sockets I plug them into as long as they fit? Are they universal? I have 4 plugs and two drive cables... I think I know which one my optical goes to but the hard drive data cable is a mystery... I have a 1 out of 3 chance of getting it right.... is trial and error ok for this?

Also, case and fan cables... is trial and error ok with these also? Will I ruin my motherboard if I do it this way?

Thanks again!
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November 8, 2012 2:08:41 PM

with a little trial and error for the front panel connector you cant really ruin anything and it doesn't matter which data header you plug in your hard drive and optical drive to
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a b U Graphics card
a c 81 V Motherboard
November 8, 2012 2:12:47 PM

eatsdirt said:
Also, case and fan cables... is trial and error ok with these also? Will I ruin my motherboard if I do it this way?

All important connections are keyed to make it difficult if not impossible to insert things backwards without breaking something or showing some signs of something not being right such as latch being on the wrong side of the notch it is supposed to latch onto or the connector being a few positions off to either side of the connector.

For stuff like HDD/power LED, power/reset switch, speaker, etc. "trial and error" is probably ok but would be time-consuming so you might want to look around the jumper connections pinout silkscreened onto the motherboard above/below the pins.
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November 8, 2012 4:01:19 PM

Excellent! I think I might JUST be able to figure this out!

Thanks for all the help, I will check back later tonight... with more questions or a declaration of success!
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November 8, 2012 9:28:34 PM

C12Friedman said:
... The 4 or 8 pin ATX connector on the motherboard (do not put a 6+2 or 8 pin PCIe cable there - that's bad)...


Oooook... so, I have a 4+ 4P cable connector... no straight 8 pin.... is this ok?
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a b U Graphics card
a c 81 V Motherboard
November 8, 2012 9:52:59 PM

4+4 or straight 8pin ATX12V/EPS are exactly the same thing.

Some PSUs (like mine) have both the 4pin and 8pin ATX12V instead of 4+4.
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November 8, 2012 10:06:22 PM

InvalidError said:
4+4 or straight 8pin ATX12V/EPS are exactly the same thing.

Some PSUs (like mine) have both the 4pin and 8pin ATX12V instead of 4+4.


Awesome, thank you.

I have another question...

Having trouble figuring out not only where to plug in my case cables, but how, as in, the orientation...

I would include a couple of bad pictures... but not really sure how to... I'm such a noob... :??: 



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a b U Graphics card
a c 157 V Motherboard
November 8, 2012 10:09:09 PM

Mostly the orientation doesn't matter except for the led's - if wrong, they simply won't work - shouldn't affect anything else
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a b U Graphics card
a c 81 V Motherboard
November 8, 2012 10:15:22 PM

4-pin molex connectors have clipped corners on one side to prevent people from plugging them in backward.

4/8/20/24 pin motherboard power connections have a mix of square and "clipped corner" pins for that same reason, as do PCIe power cables. These differently shaped pins make it very difficult to successfully insert connectors backwards. Connectors that have a latch on them can only lock onto the connector's "lip" when inserted the correct way, simply look at the connector to see which side the 'lip' is.
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November 8, 2012 10:29:03 PM

my power switch, power led, reset switch, reset led, and hdd led, are all separate 1 or 2 pin socket type connectors coming out of a flat cord... like a hydra's heads coming out of a tape worm.... terrible description, I know...

Also, what lettering should I look for on my motherboard to indicate it is the place to put the power switch cables?
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a b U Graphics card
a c 157 V Motherboard
November 8, 2012 10:41:38 PM

pwr_+ and pwr_-
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November 9, 2012 1:06:40 PM

C12Friedman said:
pwr_+ and pwr_-


Well, I didn't see anything quite as convenient as that...

I started hooking things up though... got called out though before I could give it a test run. Hopefully tonight I can get into it more.

You folks have been amazing... I will update again tonight when I get a chance. Thanks again.
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!