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How to Build a Computer with an
AMD Socket A Athlon or Duron Processor
Part 2 - Setup the Chassis
Last updated: 11/6/2001

Setup the Chassis.  There is an easy way (and more difficult ways) to get a computer case out of its box without damaging it, the box, or the packing materials.  The easy way is to remove the box and packing material from the case like so...

1. Place the boxed computer case on the floor with the top up.

2. Slit the tape on the top of the box and along the sides of the top with a knife or razor and open the top.

3. Tip the box over so the open top of the box is on the floor and the top flaps are spread-out away from the box..

4. Carefully pull the box up and off the case.

5. Carefully roll the case over so the bottom of the case is up.

6. Remove the styrofoam packing from the bottom of the case and put it in the empty box.

7. Peal the plastic packing away from the bottom of the case.

8. Turn the case over on its bottom and remove the remaining styrofoam packing and plastic-wrap and place them in the case box and set the box aside.

9. Set the case on the workbench with the bottom on the bench and the back of the case facing forward.

10. Remove the two screws at the back of each side cover and place them in a bowl so you won't loose them.  Grasp the indentation on one of the sides with your fingers, put your thumb on the back of the case, apply pressure and pull backwards firmly, and then swing the side cover off from the top and bottom.  Remove the other side and put both sides where you won't trip over them or back into them.

11. Remove the power cord and box of hardware from the inside of the case.  Remove the hardware from the bag in the box and put it in a bowl.

12. Lay the case on it's side, with front towards the back of the bench and the bottom to the right.

I put a piece of foam rubber packing under the right side of the case to prevent it from being scratched.

13. Install one of the chassis fans inside of the case just below (to the left of) the power supply with the four plastic screws provided with the fan.  The arrow on the side of the fan (look hard in bright light; it's there) indicating the direction of air flow should point towards the outside of the case and the fan power cable should be at the bottom of the fan.

Chassis (and CPU) fans come in two flavors: 3-pin and 4-pin. 3-pin fans, like the one shown above, plug into the motherboard and have three wires.  The red wire is for 12 Volts DC to power the fan, the black one is a common ground, and yellow wire is connected to a transistor circuit in the fan.

The transistor circuit produces a series of pulses with a frequency which is proportional to the fan speed.  In other words the fan has a built in tachometer.  If your motherboard has a monitoring chip with an RPM input and a BIOS which supports it, the fan speed can be monitored and an alarm can be set for a dead fan or low fan speed.

Fans also come in various sizes. This fan is an 80 mm (millimeter) fan which is the diameter of the outside of the fan and is a very common size for chassis fans.

The chassis fan shown below is a 4-pin fan.  It plugs into to a 5 /14 inch drive power connector on the power supply.  It has just the red and black wires and cannot be monitored.

3-pin to 4-pin adapters are widely available.

14. If you are going to install a second chassis fan (we didn't for this computer), push down on the plastic expansion card guide/fan enclosure to release the two plastic prongs securing the top to the chassis, swing it inward, and wiggle upward to release the prongs at the bottom of the enclosure.  Lay the enclosure on the bench and snap the second chassis fan into it as shown.  The arrow on the side of the fan indicating the air flow direction should point into the chassis.  Thread the fan wire through the slit as shown.  Reinstall the unit by engaging the bottom prongs first, swinging forward, and snapping the top prongs into place.   Whether you install the fan or not, further secure the top of the unit to the chassis with a single 6# - 32*6L screw (I call them "chassis screws").

15. If not removed, gently push-out the remaining DB-9 knock-out on the I/O panel as indicated to the right.  Leave the other knock-outs in place for this motherboard.

16. Rotate the case 180 so the it is still on its right side and the front of the case is facing forward.

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Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.