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Switching Computer Cases

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by p3rsonman, Sep 16, 2008.

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  1. p3rsonman

    p3rsonman Thread Starter

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    I recently purchased a nVidia GeForce GTX 260 for my HP Pavilion a6235x PC, and I'm left feeling less than satisfied. My current case and layout is not ideal for such a large card, and the GPU temperature at idle has been around 51 C (not what I would like it to be). So, after doing a bit of searching, I've come across the idea of installing a new case with more space and fans to keep the card (and other hardware) cool. The case I'm looking at happens to be the Antec 900 (fits my budget).

    http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=15900

    Take a look at the case if you want, I'd love to hear your opinions.

    But my real question is, how difficult is it for a beginner-intermediate user like me to remove all the hardware from my current case and install it in a new one? I've done some work with the hardware in the past (Installed a new PSU, multiple graphic cards, network cards, optical drives etc.), but I've never done anything with the motherboard. Would you recommend this choice to someone like me?

    By the looks of it I should be able to handle the job, but that's just from watching videos. Do any of you have tips or recommendations I could use to help me with this task? Any help is greatly appreciated, and my thanks in advance to anyone willing to help.
     
  2. BG-0

    BG-0

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    It's basically very simple to move the motherboard. You disconnect the power, fan, HDD and optical drive cables, then unscrew 4 or more screws, put the approriate standoffs in place in the new case, seat the MB on them, screw back the 4 or more screws, reconnect all cables.
     
  3. dannyn

    dannyn

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    Very easy.
    You will be fine, we are always here for you.
    If you have a problem, my advice would be to post a picture and we will do our best.
     
  4. win2kpro

    win2kpro

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    The problem you MAY encounter will be the front panel pinout. Most "mass produced" machines use a proprietary type front panel pinout, and the new chassis will come with standard 1x2 kk connectors (maybe one 1x3) kk connector and connectors for front panel sound, USB and possibly 1394 firewire.

    You will MOST LIKELY have to remove all HP front panel wiring from the connectors to the motherboard header, and re-pin the front panel (Power On-Reset-HDD power-HDD activity) and possibly the sound connector, USB and 1394 firewire if applicable, re-using the old HP connectors that connect to the motherboard.
     
  5. brite750

    brite750

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    another big problem is that it looks like the HP is a BTX form factor not ATX, although the Mb may still be an atx or matx
     
  6. win2kpro

    win2kpro

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    According to HP specs the board is a uATX.
     
  7. p3rsonman

    p3rsonman Thread Starter

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    Hold on a second, you guys are confusing me.

    win2kpro, are you saying I'll have to use the wires from the HP case instead of the Antec in order to connect the USB, audio, Firewire etc?

    And what's this about uATX and BTX? How can I check what my mobo is?
     
  8. win2kpro

    win2kpro

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    HP indicates he motherboard is a uATX form factor motherboard (AKA micro ATX motherboard).

    http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/documentdocname=c01077676&lc=en&dlc=en&cc=us&product=3577455

    All "mass produced" machines, i.e. Dell, HP, Gateway, etc. come with "manufacturer
    proprietary" motherboards. Many, (not all) have proprietary front panel headers on their
    motherboards. Most "standard" motherboards use a nine pin front panel header on the board (2x5 pin with one pin missing). Some of the "manufacturer proprietary" motherboard MAY use a 2x10 or 2x12 or other header on their boards, and MAY be pinned out using a single kk connector.

    New chassis (cases) generally come with four 1x2 kk connectors (a 1x2 connector for the
    Power switch, Reset switch, Power LED, and Hard Drive LED although some will come with a 1x3 kk connector for the Power LED. The new chassis (case) will also have a kk plug for the front panel USB, front panel sound, and possibly a front panel firewire connector.

    You are going to have to examine your motherboard front panel header, and other headers
    (USB, sound, firewire, etc) and see if the connectors on the new chassis (case) can be
    utilized "as is" or if the wiring for the connectors will have to be re-pinned using the old
    HP connectors to connect to the motherboard headers. USB and firewire connectors are
    generally "standard" and should not have to be re-pinned or changed. The front panel wiring for the kk connector MAY have to be re-pinned to use with the existing board.

    You need to draw a schematic of how the present front panel connectors connect to the
    current front panel motherboard headers to see what (if any) changes need to be made in the new chassis (case) wiring and connectors.
     
  9. Compiler

    Compiler

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    None of the HP computers are BTX. The newer standard size boxes (mini towers) have the motherboards flipped upside down and on the other side - Kind of like BTX. But they are not BTX boards. PSU is on top.... CPU is on bottom, etc.

    I haven't seen the inside of a recent HP box, but the previous generation still used standard connectors for USB... and for the front panel, just map out which pin go where for LEDs & buttons...

    p3rsonman:
    Could you post a picture of your motherboard (in general) and then a picture zoom-in to were the cables from the case plug in. Which, if the front of the case is facing left - that should be in the upper left area of the motherboard... same for an USB-front connectors.
     
  10. win2kpro

    win2kpro

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    I just looked at 3 HP front panel harnesses I had that I scrapped from machines and all 3 terminated with a 1x8 connector with one position blocked, and one position empty.

    One was straight wired (PWR LED, HDD LED, and PWR SW), one had a 1x8 extension, and one had a 1x5 extension. Apparently none of them used the RESET switch.

    I don't recall what model machines I pulled these from and whether they had a straight 1x8 motherboard header with one unused pin, and one pin missing of maybe a 2x8 motherboard header that they were using the opposite side for other connections.

    The worse thing that could happen is you may have to do a little wire shifting, and you MAY POSSIBLY not have RESET pins on the motherboard header.
     
  11. p3rsonman

    p3rsonman Thread Starter

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    Okay, thanks for clearing most of that up. You had me a bit worried there.

    You're correct, my computer doesn't use the reset button right now, and I wouldn't be bothered if I didn't use it on my new case. But here are the pictures of the motherboard layout I found on the HP website, and the pictures of my current wiring.

    http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/...en&dlc=en&cc=us&lang=en&product=3577455#N1057

    I know these might be a bit hard to see, but I'm in a hurry and I didn't have time to clear out the PSU wiring. I also couldn't really get at an angle that you would be able to see for the top right of the mb under the PSU, but hopefully the shots help you guys out. (Also, don't ask why there's a paper reading PCI-E sitting there, I don't know).

    http://img522.imageshack.us/img522/5282/dsc01817cy0.jpg

    http://img93.imageshack.us/img93/9398/dsc01819uk5.jpg
     
  12. win2kpro

    win2kpro

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    What I'm trying to impress upon you is to be sure and make pictures and drawings of everything that connects to the front panel, and where they connect on the board.

    On a proprietary motherboard you are not going to find a manual online with the various pinouts, so make sure everything is clearly marked before you remove the board.

    You may get lucky and have to make only a couple of changes.
     
  13. p3rsonman

    p3rsonman Thread Starter

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    I opened everything up, and took out the PSU so I could get a better look at the MB, and here's what I found:

    The cable running from the power switch is, as you described earlier, a 2x5 pin with one missing. From what I could tell, everything else would work properly with the new case and no modifications. The power switch from the new case is a 1x2 pin connector, so I'm sort of confused now.

    How would I use the cable from the original case to work with the new one? I don't really know how to do the rewiring, but if it's not to difficult of a job, I might be able to do it with a little instruction.

    (Also, I was having some trouble removing the DVD drive? My case is strange and only opens on one side, so I'm not sure how I'm supposed to remove this thing. Maybe I'll have to phone HP).
     
  14. win2kpro

    win2kpro

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    When you pull the board you will probably need to take a magnifying glass and look for markings on the front panel header. The connections are generally marked, but they are very small. This is when you will need to make your connection schematic for connecting the new connectors from the new case.

    One of the problems often encountered is there is no standard in markings. A power switch connector on the board may be marked as PW, PW-SW, PWR, PWR-SW, etc.
    Power and Reset connector are not polarity specific. The Power LED (PLED), and the Hard Drive LED (HDD-LED) connector are polarity specific. When you are making your final connections with the LEDS, if they don't work one way, turn the connector 180 degrees.
     
  15. p3rsonman

    p3rsonman Thread Starter

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    win2kpro, I want to sincerely thank you for your help and quick responses, you're guiding me through this.

    Just to clarify, I can use the 1x2 pin connectors in the 2x5 power switch slot on my motherboard? If yes, all I have to do is map out which parts of the power switch connector will correspond with the hard drive LED, power switch itself, and reset connector?

    I'm just not sure if you want me to use the connector from my original motherboard instead of the new ones, or just place the 1x2's in the right spot on the power switch port.
     
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