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How to Build a Mini-ITX LAN Party Gaming Desktop System (Page 2)

By: Steven Bassiri from Jun 16, 2019 @ 16:50 CDT

Putting it all together

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The first thing I like to do is install the CPU and other components on the motherboard outside of the case. You do not need to remove the black cover over the CPU socket, just put in the CPU gently, and close the socket. When you close the socket the black cap will pop off.

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We need the mounting components from the cooler installed before we install the motherboard into the case. Many people forget to do this and then need to remove the motherboard. Keep the thumb screws aside, just install the backplate and the mounting screws.

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The memory should be installed by pressing down the left side first, as there is no manual latch, so you need to hear it click in. The M.2 drive is very easy to install, it just takes one screw.

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At the rear of the case, we find that the PSU goes under a cover and that we have a lot of options for routing cables through their cable management system. We install the PSU and then choose exactly how many power connections we need. It's easier to install the modular cables when the PSU is outside the case. You might want to install module cables further back so that down the line if you need to insert more, there is open room around the PSU.

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Always remember to install the rear IO shield first before installing the motherboard! It's one of the biggest mistakes since it's not always at the forefront of the builder's mind. We also will need to install the front panel headers, the good news with this case is that we can install these on the motherboard when it is outside the case because of the modular design of the header cable.

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Before we install the motherboard, we also route cables out of tight spots, such as the 8-pin CPU power connector at the top of the motherboard. We then install the motherboard using four screws and plug in power and front panel connectors.

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The next step is to install the CPU cooler. In this case, the cooler already has thermal paste applied, so there is zero need to add more paste. We then install the cooler in the case by strapping on its fans and then screwing one of its fans into the case.

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Then we install the cooler block and plug in the fans. We also plugged in the HD audio connector and USB 3.0 front panel header before we install the GPU.

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In this case, the AIO watercooling unit blows out the front of the case, but our included case fans also blow out of the top and the rear of the motherboard. The configuration by default would have created negative pressure, which is not good for the system and is just asking for dust build up. So we reverse the top and rear fans to become intake fans. These fans will blow directly on the motherboard, and that's a good thing since the VRMs will need to be cooled.

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We finally install the GPU and route our cabling to meet our needs.

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