Okay well as you may have seen the team is putting together a Vox gaming pc for our gamers and what we have been doing is working up some guides that may help you if you wanted to build your own pc. Now don’t take these guides as absolutes, we aren’t the be all and end all authority on building computers. But as such we are building PC’s and have experience doing so and wanted to share that information and knowledge. As a side note there please get involved and add some comments or even recommendations around anything here so people who do read get to see your input or suggestions so they can make their own decisions!
Okay, so the focus of our gaming machine is a gaming machine
for our players that’s cool and quiet, don’t mix those two up because cool and
quiet in this instance goes hand in hand. Basically we are using a cooling
method which is quiet to start with but combining it with a quiet case design
so get the best of both worlds. Our case of choice is the Coolermaster Silencio
550 for its internal sound proof qualities which helps to keep the operating
noises inside the pc. The power supply is the Coolermaster GXII 750, we don’t
run SLI/Crossfire so there is no need for insane amounts of power and this PSU
also has a quiet HDB fan, what does that mean? It’s designed with rubber mount
points to eliminate vibration noise alongside the fan design itself which is
designed to be friction free for quieter operation and life span. Our tools of choice are below:
First up we will install the PSU, this isn’t rocket science at all short of ensure you have the exhaust fan side facing DOWN, the Silencio 550 has a vented base plate with a filter to keep the PSU air flowing and keeping some of the dust out. So we won’t go into huge details around that as its somewhat irrelevant but I will show the pictures below to highlight some of the quiet operation features of the case like the padded front and rear case panels to dampen sounds inside the case, and also a really nifty one which is the rubber padded feet for the PSU to sit on so it’s not touching the metal of the case, this means less vibration of course!
Okay so let’s break this up a little, at this stage our PSU is in the case and what we are going to do now is show you just some smart ways to cable manage. You might think who cares just bang it in and tuck the cables away somewhere out the way. This is never a good idea, its good practice to properly route your cables before you install your components.
This doesn’t just make installing the components easier but also keeps the inside of your case tidy and that means fewer objects floating inside the chassis to disrupt the airflow within the case itself.
The first step to this of course is the two power cables for your motherboard, before you do this install your PSU and untangle the cables and lay them out neatly from the front of the case, this means you get the full distance reach of the cables as you’re not losing cable having it wrapping over another cable. Once you have done this, the next bit is easy, the power connectors are the same on virtually every board out there, and as such the Silencio 550 has cut outs on the motherboard tray to allow you to route your cables behind the case and then back through relative to where the power leads connect.
In the image below I have highlighted this, the first being the cables routed through the motherboard try and back into the case at points where they are ready to connect. This is neat and tidy and even place your motherboard into the case in its static bag to ensure you have enough cable coming out of the tray to reach the connectors. The first image shows my cables routed through the back of the case and back through the motherboard tray.
The next picture is the rear side of the case, this is where you start to make use of your cable ties to keep the cables tucked away and also in the positions you want them. You will see in the picture below on the base of the motherboard tray there are grooves, almost like a cut out raised piece of metal, this is a loop for you to slip your cable ties under to secure them to the motherboard tray.
What I have done here, is run the cables out the back and then back through into the case at the appropriate connection places. I have cable tied the cables only in one place, the reason I do this is that you get a little more length as you run your cable at an angle to the point it re-enters the case, run it through, and then cable tie it at the nearest anchor point the cable crosses. Before you fully tighten the cable tie just give the cable a little pull to tension it, no don’t lean back on the cable with all your weight, just bring up the tension till it starts becoming taught then tighten the cable tie fully to keep the cable in place.
You will see the same principle used on both the motherboard power connectors, ensure you run your cable to the exit point directly, make it taught at the point you’re going to anchor it too and then tighten the cable tie.
Don’t stress too much about trimming the ends off the cable ties, we do that once we are finished!
Okay so now our core components are taken care of, let’s get rid of the power cables we aren’t going to use. The first one you generally encounter or is handy to deal with is the old 4 pin molex power connectors. In a lot of situations you won’t need any of these power outlets and can simply tie them to the back of the motherboard tray out of the way. But in our cases we have a hot swap drive bay on the front of the case, the interface card for the bay has a 4 pin molex power connector so we need one.
What we do in this instance is again run the power lead all the way out through the motherboard tray port closest to the power supply, out the back of the case. We then re-route the cable back into the case at the closest port in the motherboard tray to the interface card for our hot swap drive bay. Now a key thing to note to make this process easy, run the molex connector at the VERY END of the cable through the motherboard port closest to your interface card and connect it, leave no slack inside the case, and then fold the cable together neatly.
Key note coming up, this is a long cable with numerous connectors, when you fold it back together at the back of the case, lay each fold side by side, don’t bundle them together otherwise you will cable tie it down then realise you can no longer put the back of your case on again. Using the image below you can see how I have folded the cable back together almost into a flat ribbon compared to bundling it so it doesn’t stick out far from the motherboard plate. It’s not an exact science as you do have plastic power connectors there but do it neatly and cable tie it to the motherboard power cable and you should have no issues getting your rear case panel back into place.
We aren’t running SLI as I noted before so we only need one of the two video power leads, so without too much fuss you simply run them out the back of the case from the closest tray port to the power supply and then run them up the back of the case.
Now a good practice here, bring it out the back and you will see the cable is already folded from when it was boxed, keep the cable folded in its original shape and you can easily cable tie it to one of the motherboard power cables to keep it in place. See the image below which shows the VGA power cables routed out the back of the motherboard tray and cable tied out of the way.
Well now we have our unneeded cables out of the way let’s flick back to the VGA power cable, the one we DO need to use. What we are going to do here is run it along the hard drive bay, cable tie it in two places and then it will be ready to simply click onto your video card. A key thing to note when routing cables along your drive bays is the positions. The Silencio 550 has bracketed drive bays which means you just slip the guides onto your hard drive and slide it into the grooved positions in the drive bay. This is all good and well but if you cable tie to the wrong spot you’re soon going to find that your drive won’t go into the bay you cable tied to.
The easiest way is get one of your drives, any drive will do and put it into the bay, you will see there are holes in the bay between the drive slots. Just slip your cable tie through one out the way in the two places you are going to tie to then take the drive out again. That way you are going to ensure you won’t be re cabling during your actual build which is a real pain in the butt.
The best way to cable tie your VGA power to the drive bay is first run it at a diagonal from the power supply direct to your drive bay, the important thing to note here and again its where placing your motherboard in the tray as a guide will help, but run your first tie so your cable does NOT cross over your motherboard. Aim to keep your first tie below the level of the board. The second cable tie have that parallel to the position of your video card so once tied you simply loop it over to the power sockets on your card. Another good practice is to leave the cable ties loose, don’t fully tighten them so if you find you have too much cable loose beside the card you can feed a little back down and then secure it. See our example below:
Okay the final part, this is the cables for your SATA power. We are going to run 2 methods here and there is a good reason why. The first one is for your hard drives, this one is the one where your lively to change things up the most so don’t cable tie this into place.
BUT if you want to keep it neat you still can. If you route first SATA power cable out the back of your case through the closest port on your motherboard tray you can then loop it back around at the base of your case and bring it back into the case through the very bottom of the drive bays. This is a great way to do it as it gives you the flexibility and reach to connect your drives however you want to without having to cut cable ties. It’s also easy to tuck or fold the excess cable at the bottom to keep it out of the way. Example in note below:
The second cable is for your optical drives, a lot of us don’t even use them anymore but our machines will have them. One thing I like to do with the optical drive power cables is run them along the rear of the hard drive bays, you really never disconnect them or move them around a lot so it’s cleaner and they don’t get in the way.
One of the good things about running the power cable for your optical drive down the rear of the drive bay is it gives you a nice and easy cable to run the connectors for the USB ports, the front panel audio and the switch/led cables along. You can simple bundle those connect them all and then neatly tie them back in against the optical drive power cable as they are also cables you really never change often.
It’s a bit of a pain as most power supplies have 4+ connectors on each power cable run so you will find that you have a bundle of extra connectors in your optical drive bay but you can always just tuck them away underneath the drive. The handy part about this is if you want to drop a hard drive in to copy data across you can simply sit it in the optical bay while you are transferring the data. See below example of our optical bay power cable run:
That just about does it, we have our SATA power cables run and tied off, our motherboard power and VGA power all nicely run and our power cables we don’t need cleanly tied off behind the motherboard tray. The final step of course is to clip the ends off your cable ties, don’t go right up tight against the tie as sometimes the cable tie will fall open if you trim too close. All you need to do now is pop the back on and move on to installing your motherboard and components.
We will be water cooling our pc’s so stay tuned as the next component will be similar to this but more of a guide to show just how easy it is to self-install a sealed water-cooling kit. In the meantime here is our finished product, a prepped and ready to build chassis with neat power cabling: