Assembly and Setup
After our all-around examination of the barebone we can now try to transform it into a regular computer. We took some standard midrange components: a Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 hard drive, an ATI RADEON 9600 Pro graphics card, a PCI audio card, two 256MB modules of DDR400 SDRAM, an optical drive and an Intel Pentium 4 3.4GHz CPU (Prescott core).
Of course, you could have picked up a cheaper processor for such a modest configuration, for example a Pentium 4 2.8GHz, but the difference in price between these two CPU models was rather small, and we also wanted to see how efficient the standard cooling system of this barebone was.
We advise you to remove the power supply for an easier assembly – thus you will be able to mount the CPU cooler correctly, without any risk of misalignment. The power supply is not originally fastened with screws. It is held by a spring-loaded metal plate – you can push it to extract the PSU. After you’ve done the assembly, you can put the PSU back and fasten it with screws or you may leave it as it is – the metal plate holds it firmly enough. As for the assembly process, you may want to start it with the CPU and its cooler. You’ll need your hands and a screwdriver to perform this operation. When the CPU is in the socket, put the cooler on it and tighten the screws watching out for any misalignments. You must press on the heatsink rather hard since the springs there are rather tight. Be careful not to let your screwdriver slip off as this can damage the mainboard. The CPU in its place, you can now get to the optical and hard drives. Don’t hurry to put the memory modules in – you can accidentally brush against them during the installation of the hard drive. The drives are both installed easily and quickly – you put special cylinder-headed screws into the mounting holes in the side panels of these devices and then slide each device into its appropriate bay along the guides. After that you just fix it with a special lock and attach the cables.
Now that you’ve fastened the drives, you can put in the memory modules and the expansion cards. The cards are fastened without screws, but you must be careful with the lock – it snaps shut very easily, so if you find yourself trying to apply force to it, make sure you have inserted the card into the slot to the end. That done, put back the power supply and attach the power cables. When laying the cables, avoid putting them into the guides the cover of the case moves by. Check out you’ve attached everything correctly and close the cover. That’s how the assembled system looks like:
Now you just have to put the front panel back. That’s all. It takes about 25 minutes in total to assemble the system unhurriedly and thoughtfully. This is an indication of the well-thought design of the barebone, and we are sure that even inexperienced users can easily handle the assembly process on their own.