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Assembling Our Budget-Oriented Box

System Builder Marathon, Q4 2012: $500 Gaming PC

Prepping Rosewill’s Blackbone is simple. The front bezel snaps off with a small tug from the bottom. And with no front-panel wiring attached, it's easy to set that aside while you're working on the drive cages or fiddling with the front fan.

As we’ve seen in the past, threading the painted standoffs into the painted motherboard tray requires a nut driver. We couldn't do this by hand.

The ASRock H77 Pro4/MVB gives us an option to reuse a cooler designed for Intel's LGA 775 interface, which is nice. But frankly, this is overshadowed by the board's thin, flexible PCB (not so nice). Exercise extreme caution when it comes to mounting the boxed Intel heat sink and attaching the 24-pin ATX power connector. I can't recall the last time I was worried about damaging a motherboard during system assembly.

As you can see, the Blackbone is a roomy case. Our short 8” graphics card made it possible to mount the hard drive in any of the internal 3.5” bays. Unlike some of the enclosures we’ve used, Rosewill doesn't skimp on the length of its internal cables. The fan and front-panel leads are long enough for us to wire everything up neatly. Unfortunately, although our motherboard has an on-board USB 3.0 header, this older case design doesn't offer front-panel USB 3.0 ports. We were able to connect all four USB 2.0 ports using on-board headers, but had to curl up the eSATA cable, leaving one non-functional port on the front header.

Although the assembly was pretty straightforward and we were able to get this machine up and running quickly, we did run into one small problem the first time we fired it up. The bezel’s vent filter was a bit warped inward, making the slightest bit of contact with the case fan. The result was a faint ticking sound. It was only a minor issue, solved by removing the bezel and pressing the grill out a bit.

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