Motherboard: A Challenging Installation
Making Some Room and Getting Rid of Some Noise
A few issues need to be worked through before the motherboard can be installed. In the shot below, you can see how many components could get in the way, negatively affecting the final build.
The hard drive cage, with its internal 3.5” bays, is first on our list. Thanks to our SSD and optional second 3.5” drive bay at the bottom, we can remove the entire cage.
After unscrewing just two screws, the drive cage is a thing of the past. This frees up a lot of room. Removing the adjacent 180 mm fan goes much the same way.
You actually need to remove the front panel in order to get rid of that 180 mm fan. Expect to use a couple of small screwdrivers and a lot of patience. While taking out the fan leaves a large hole, the air filter covers it pretty well.
It’s finally time to install the motherboard. Or is it? As always, the I/O shield comes first. In this case, it needed an extra push or two to make it fit.
Now comes the hard part. The following installation steps need to be followed in precisely the right order. Let’s take a look at the motherboard with the cooler already installed. It’s oriented the same way that it’s supposed to be installed.
First, the 12 V CPU connector cable needs to be plugged into the upper part of the motherboard. Next, the front panel leads have to be attached, since the motherboard's connectors are somewhat covered by the cooler. The cables themselves aren’t very long, which makes it necessary to put the board in the chassis and tilt it backwards to access them. We used a 45-degree wedge made of wood and covered with foam rubber to keep the platform tilted up. You'll want to use something similar, or have someone ready to lend a hand for a few minutes.
Now it’s time to carefully lower the motherboard onto the spacers. The large cooler has a tendency to rip off the cables unless you hold onto them, making sure they stay put as you lower the board. These images illustrate what we're taking about pretty well.
It’s also a good idea to connect the SATA cables while the motherboard is still tilted. There’s enough space to install the 24-pin motherboard power connector, USB 3.0 connector, and HD Audio connector after the motherboard is installed.
And that’s it for the installation. Whew, it's finally all done!
Without a drive cage in there, the SilverStone case looks downright roomy. This allows enough chassis volume to cool the APU passively, though you still need to keep an eye on ambient temperatures. Summer weather without sufficient air conditioning can prove fatal for any passive system, no matter how large. Maintain a comfortable room temperature though, and you should be fine.
To protect the motherboard from the weight of its CPU cooler, SilverStone provides a holder that’s attached to the bottom of the case and can be adjusted to support the cooler.