Purchasing a power supply that fits the case pays dividends here as it’s a straight fit and uses the original fixings. The only change that was needed is to lengthen the ATX cable, fortunately you can buy a 15cm extension cable which is long enough to connect to the mother board connector with the case fully open. As it’s an Intel board you will also need to lengthen the separate 4 pin 12V power connector, while you can buy extensions for these we just extended the existing cable by inserting some extra length using in-line barrel crimps. The stock PSU fan was a bit too noisy for us so we swapped it for a low noise Akasa, the white lead hanging out the back is the speed controller.
The case fan:
We used the original case fan which draws air in from the case rear and blows cold air over the motherboard and importantly the graphics card. The bad news is that this is a 12V fan with an incompatible connector so you have to cut this off and either make up a 4 pin Molex to connect to the wiring loom or in our case look in the parts bin for a spare lead and connect using barrel crimp connectors.
We used round IDE cables because they look so much better and they can be routed much easier in such a complicated case as this.
We planned for this so this was a fairly straight forward fitment using the original fixings although we did find it easier to fix the IDE cable and power connector to the drive before pushing the complete assembly into position.
Again thanks to forward planning we were able to fit the hard drive into it’s original caddy and it’s original position. The cables should be fitted to the drive first before fixing in position as the hinge can get in the way.
Power On/Reset Switch:
Warning – We used the original front panel (see manual) but even though the original connector fits the ASRock motherboard panel connections don’t be tempted to just plug it in as the pin outs do not match up. You need to identify the power switch connections and match these up to the pin outs on the mother board. We also traced out the other connections to give us a reset etc. but could not get the power led to light so ours maybe dead.
With the assembly complete it’s was time to fire it up and see if it works ok see part 5 for details
One of the things we believe in is re-using old components so whenever we dismantle an old machine we tend to keep the bits so a quick look in the parts bin gave us a chassis for mounting a mATX board. This saved us from having to drill new fixings for mounting posts for a motherboard all we had to do was drill 2 fixings for the chassis itself. The other benefit was that we could manoeuvre the chassis within the case before drilling the fixings to make sure we had enough clearance to be able to close the case without anything hitting against say the power supply or optical drive. (Sounds good but we nearly came to grief at the last hurdle – see later on for details). Another thing this allowed us to do was to do a preliminary installation of the motherboard cpu and memory etc. (we actually fired the computer up before assembly to prove the hardware before installation.
If you are unlucky enough to have a separate chassis for your motherboard then you’ll have to trial fit your motherboard and then mark out fixing points using the holes in the motherboard as a guide. What I would do though is make a cardboard template and use this to mark out your drilling points for the fixing posts. I’d use those small brass fixing posts but the plastic push fit type are probably easier to fix.
Orientating the board: Custom PC
Using the chassis it was easy to trial fit the motherboard and assembly in position before final fixing. We installed temporary PCI and Graphics cards to line up the rear panel fixings (This is important – allow space for when the plastic goes back or your connectors will foul). We ended up cutting away the join between the two sections of the rear panel to clear the Audio connectors but some motherboards may not need this.
Card fixings: Custom PC
Thanks again to the chassis we only needed the top rail from the old I/O panel to be able screw the top of the cards to the rear panel the chassis provide the bottom fixings for the cards. The top rail was hack sawed from the rear panel and fixed back onto the case using self tappers. We actually did this at the same time as orientating the board so that the cards lined up perfectly. If you are not lucky enough to have a chassis then you will need the bottom fixing points as well so just hacksaw down the middle of the I/O panel and fix once again with self tappers.
Optical Drive caddy: Custom PC
At the last hurdle just as we thought we were home and dry on closing the case the ATX power connector was found to catch on the drive caddy. Fortunately it was not catching on the drive itself so with the application of the hacksaw again, 1.5cms was removed from one corner of the caddy. Unfortunately this was still not enough because we found that the retainer for the ATX cable itself was catching on the back of the optical drive – the only solution was to cut this off using a knife. It was a tight fit but the panel closes.
G4 Manual Download:Custom PC
We were lucky enough to find the official manual for the G4 available for download unfortunately we found this after we had completed the project – unfortunately it’s 8Gb pdf file so I’m unable to host this here but a search on Google should let you find a copy to download. This could prove invaluable for this Custom PC build, but you could manage without it.
Getting Started:Custom PC
The external plastics should be removed and safely stored before any work is carried out on the steel case itself. The manual will tell you how. You’ll also need to remove the plastic from beneath the motherboard for which we could not find any use for although it seems to be part of the door mechanism.
Removing the old components:Custom PC
We ended up with a fair sized box of metal and components after removing everything from the case which may end up on ebay at some point unless we get exited about building them into a PC case to balance up the equation. Don’t forget to remove the wire and fixing brackets on the case’s exterior which we think was for the wireless network or Airport as it is known.
Cutting the old motherboard fixings out:Custom PC
You have to remove all the existing fixings for the old motherboard the easiest way we found was to drill them out from the exterior of the case which leaves you with some holes but the exterior plastic will hide these ok.
Rear panel removal:Custom PC
We thought it best to remove the entire rear panel which they call the I/O panel. This is held in with pop rivets and so you need to drill these out remember that you are only removing the inner panel the exterior to which the plastic is attached has to remain. Keep this panel as you will need part of it to make up for fixings for your AGP Graphics card and PCI cards etc.
You will find various metal plates held in with screws which seem to have no purpose except to hold down cables, those also went into the large box of components except the hard drive caddy which will be re-used for the same purpose later in the build.
In part 3 we will look at what we need to put back, modify or fabricate before installing the components.
We were asked by POPP’s to supply and install a small computer network in a community centre.
For this project we supplied everything including the desks and fittings. The network consisted of 4 Acer desktop PC’s which we networked together sharing a Printer and Internet connection. We also extended the Wireless network using WiFi repeaters to supply Internet in the communal areas, lounges etc.
We fitted wired keyboards and mice at the customers request and large 20″ screens to make it easier for users with visual impairments to see what was on the screen.
Computer Workstation and Wireless Network
For this installation we supplied the desks, chairs and fittings for this single computer workstation.
We also installed Printer connected to a Wireless Network with Repeaters installed to cover all the communal areas. At a later point in the project we also supplied the Laptops, which we connected to the wireless network so that they could access the internet from anywhere in the facility.