HTPC up and running

By | December 12, 2007

After my first message about building a HTPC it’s gotten a bit quiet about the project. Well no more, I recentely finnished building and installing the HTPC. And it’s working like a charm, for the most part that is.

In the last message I described which hardware I picked for the HTPC. More in detail I gave details about the CPU, motherboard and casing I choose. Well let me say that I made the right choices. The cpu holds enoug power to do basically any job. The casing is as silent as hell and the motherboard has got everything you could ever need on board. (Not much in gaming but I didn’t choose it for that)

So now for some details on the assembly of the HTPC.  The first steps are pretty easy. Make sure you have everything you need. So that’s:

  • memory
  • cpu
  • casing
  • motherboard
  • harddisk
  • screwdriver
  • lots of time

For the assembly part that’s all you’ll need. When installing you may need a keyboard and monitor, but that’s worries for later on. So let’s walk through the assembly process.

Unpacking the casing

One of the first things you’ll want to do is unpack the casing from it’s box. And check to see if everything is there. Open the casing and check where everything is supposed to go. In my case the casing is divided in three parts. On for the DVD drive and powersupply. One for the motherboard and one for the harddisks.

[singlepic=266,100,75,watermark,right]The second thing you will want to do is screw in the motherboard. In most cases you will need to add to screws in the casing before installing the motherboard. The motherboard will be screwed into these screws. When placing the motherboard be carefull as they can damage when handled improperly.

After this simple job you will have to connect all the connectors. In my case these were the:

  • front side USB and firewire connectors
  • Usb connector for the display and volume control
  • The connectors for HDD lights and power ligths
  • The power switch and reset switch

Unfortunatelly I can’t help you with this step because it varies per case and per motherboard. But there is a diagram in the book that came with the motherboard. And the cables from the casing are always labelled.

Inserting the DVD drive and harddisk

This was one of the easiest cases I’ve ever seen to insert the DVD drive. Simply lift the drive bay out of the casing. Insert the DVD drive and screw it in place. Connect it to the motherboard and the power supply and done. Before inserting the drive bay back in the casing you may want to run the power cable for the harddisk underneath the bay. Saves some space in the casing over the motherboard.

[singlepic=263,100,75,watermark,right]For the harddisks a similar story. Unscrew the top plate over the harddisk bay and remove it. Just connect the harddisk to the motherboard and the powersupply and drop it gently in the harddisk bay. After this place the plate back and screw it in place. After that screw the harddisk in place with the larger screws. These screws are a bit different because of the rubber put between the harddisk bay and the screws. This is to reduce the noise level.

Please note that for this motherboard and casing combination you’ll have to purchase a new SATA cable. This is because the connectors on the motherboard point out and are on the bottom side. Making it impossible to plug in the default cables.

Putting in place the CPU
One of the last jobs is putting in place the CPU. Gently drop the CPU in the motherboard, there is a golden triangle that is to be alligned with the triangle on the motherboard. Never apply any force, the CPU is to fall in place smoothly. If it isn’t you’re probably alligning it wrong.

After the CPU is in place you can put the cooling unit on top of it. Note that for some no cooling paste is required as there is a sticker on the cooler with the paste in it. Attach it firmly with the brackets to the motherboard (some presure may be required).

All that’s left now is inserting the memory and your ready to start up your system. Oh and for fun some more pictures.

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