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  How to build your own PC? 
  Jun 21, 2001, 10:00am EDT 

Connections, cables and audio/sound cards

By: Sander Sassen

Now that we have all the devices mounted we need to make sure each device is connected to the power supply and the motherboard. For that purpose the powersupply is equipped with a large number of power plugs for 5.25” and 3.5” devices. The harddisk and the DVD-rom both use the 5.25” variety, whereas the floppy drive uses the 3.5”.

Device power connectors

Fig 16. Devices connected to the power supply, make sure you align the plugs properly and only apply force in a forward facing direction, don’t twist and turn.

Then we’ll have to use the IDE and floppy cables that came supplied with the motherboard to connect the harddisk, the DVD-rom and the floppy drive to the motherboard. Please mind their orientation, pin-1 is usually marked and should align with pin-1 on the device. If you’re using a DVD-rom and a harddisk we’d advice to put them both on a separate IDE-channel, and use an ATA66/100 cable for the harddisk.

All cables connected

Fig 17. All the devices connected to the motherboard with IDE and floppy cables.

We’re now done with all of the cabling required to get the system up and running. All we need to do now is to plug in the video and sound card so we can actually get the system up and running. We’ll start with the video card, which uses the AGP-slot. Make sure the card is properly aligned with the slot and then gently press it down.

AGP-card plugged in

Fig 18. The AGP video card plugged into the AGP-slot on the motherboard.

However many AGP-cards have the tendency to pop out of the slot or actually get tilted when you plug them in. This is usually due to a case not having the right distance between the AGP-slot and the bracket the AGP-card screws into. If this happens the PC won’t display any video and usually starts beeping. So make sure it is plugged in fully and not tilted and secure it to the bracket properly.

AGP-slot alignment

Fig 19. Here’s how the AGP-card should align with the AGP-slot, the card is plugged in all the way.

Then the soundcard needs to be plugged in, and secured, usually a few slots below the AGP-card, or any slot that is free. We’d advise against placing it right next to the AGP-card as its heatsink needs room for proper airflow and cooling of the AGP-card. Once the soundcard is in place we can also connect the audio-cable from the DVD-rom to the soundcard, CD-in, so we can listen to CDs on our PC. Without it you’ll only be able to listen to your CDs using the headphone plug on the DVD-rom’s front.

DVD-rom audio cable

Fig 20. The audio-cable plugged into the DVD-rom, a requirement for listening to CDs on your PC.

And that actually wraps up our how-to on building a PC, the only thing we’ll need to do now is put the covers back on and connect it to a keyboard, mouse and monitor and we can start configuring the BIOS and installing the software. However, there’s so many different BIOS’s out there that we unfortunately cannot give you any other guidelines than to give the motherboard’s manual a good, thorough read and when in doubt ask someone in our forums or chat if you need immediate assistance.

Finished PC

Fig 21. The finished PC, all the parts are mounted and properly secured and all cables are connected.

We hope that this small guide will be of help when you decide to build your own PC. We realize that your mileage may vary on some points, and components mounted, so these are just general guidelines that’ll give you an impression on how to best go about building your own PC. Our last piece of advice is to do one thing at a time, if you’re fixing a problem or mounting new hardware and can’t get it to work. You’ll be much better able to diagnose any problems as there’s only one thing changed in the system every time.

If you do happen to run into problems or would just like to ask some more detailed questions, we’d be happy to help out. Please use our forums to get any of your questions answered, the Discuss This Article link is right below.

Sander Sassen

1. Introduction, CPU and memory
2. Motherboard, heatsink and case
3. Front connectors, ATX power, drives
4. Connections, cables and audio/sound cards

Discuss This Article (7 Comments) - If you have any questions, comments or suggestions about the article and/or its contents please leave your comments here and we'll do our best to address any concerns.



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