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Computer Case Preparation

Fitting It All In: From Motherboard to Computer Power Supply Wiring

Your computer case needs to fit all required components: motherboard cpu combos, computer speaker cable, computer power supply wiring and more. Computer case reviews can also help you select a case that best fits your needs (because they are not all created equal).

I always like to have a clean table to work on my case, with enough room to lay the case out, and still have room to work with the motherboard on the side. But if you don't have a table that big, you can work on the floor as well. Just be careful with smaller parts that you don't lose them.

A word of caution when working directly on a carpeted floor, be careful with static electricity. Always make sure you ground yourself by touching the case frame before handling the components. If you have an anti-static bracelet, then you don’t need to worry about grounding yourself.

Our first step is computer case preparation. Familiarize yourself with the layout of the case and where everything is going to be installed. A lot of cases use a similar layout, so once you know one, you are good to go on about 80% of them. If you decided on a custom case, the layout of your case will be a little different, but you will still recognize what is what. Take a few moments now to look over your case and recognize where everything is. Here is the basic case layout:

Computer Case

The large space in the middle is where the motherboard will go. On the right are the hard drive cages, and above them, the cage for the CD/DVD Drives. Top left is where our power supply will go, and the wires are what will connect our front panel LED's to the motherboard.


Here we have on the left, the rear looking view from inside the case. From the top will be:

  • Power Supply;
  • Case Fan (round opening on left);
  • Motherboard Back Panel (rectangular opening on right) - in some instances, this will be for motherboard cpu combos;
  • Peripheral and Graphic Cards in the slots on the bottom. They currently do not have the brackets removed.
Computer Case Inside Back
This is the front of the case, viewed from inside. You can see the wiring harness that will connect to the motherboard for our front panel indicator lights. You can also see in the front the hard drive bays, and a place for a case fan, should you choose to install one there. Computer Case Inside Front

Here we have the back of the case from the outside. You can see from the top...

  • Power Supply - The fan opening is on the right, the computer power supply wiring (power cord connection and the power switch) on the left.
  • Motherboard Back Panel - This where your connections will be for keyboard, mouse, etc.
  • Case Fan - To the right of the panel opening is the opening for a case fan.
  • PCI Slots - On the bottom left are what will be the openings for the PCI slots.
Computer Case Inside Back

This is the front of the computer case. You can see...

  • Power Button
  • Reset Switch
  • Hard Drive Activity Light - Labeled as H.D.D.
  • Front Panel Connections - This particular case has 2 USB ports, and jacks for headphones and a microphone.
Computer Case Front


Now that you know where everything is, let's look at the connections within the case. You will see a group of wires that are connected to the front panel of your computer case. These wires will hook up the following...

  • LED lights on the front panel for the Hard Drive and System Power
  • Case Speaker (not to be confused with the computer speaker cable) - only used for beeps from boot up and errors
  • Reset Switch
  • Power Switch
  • USB Port
  • Audio Port

So you are now familiar with your case layout, you know what will be going where, and you have all the parts ready. Let's move on to the motherboard...

Step Five - Getting To Know Your Computer's Motherboard


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Thanks for
Clear Guide

"Putting the parts together was relatively straightforward. The only snag we hit (my son & I) was getting the CPU fan aligned properly. We had 3 pins in, then noticed when we turned the board over that one wasn't through.

After struggling (carefully!) for 10 minutes, we loosened the other pins, aligned all the pins and we were away again.

The hardest part, I thought, was the wiring. And here your guide really shined.

Most of the other guides ignore it, or just say 'connect all the wires properly'. So thanks for the details (because the devil really is in those wiring details)."

Don, the Netherlands


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