Saturday, April 20, 2013

Building my new computer–Day 2–the Motherboard

Hello, last night I found myself thinking about the build once I was in bed.  A sorry state of affairs, but I have invested quite a lot of time and money in it. At one point my credit card was on hold because there had been so many transactions in one day. I didn’t order from Amazon in one go, I would order something and then double-check the next purchase.

One of the uncertainties is whether I have got the correct (and enough) cables for both the power and interconnectivity. Especially given how many fans the Case has.

The other uncertainty is just how will my Arctic Cooler Freezer 13 fit. As I mentioned before had a brief panic when it turned up and indicated it was compatible with various CPU sockets including the 1156, but not the Intel 1155 which is the socket on my Mobo. After a bit of research it turns out that as the Freezer 13 is physically compatible. Although the 1156 and 1155 sockets are not electrically the same they are mechanically, well as far as the Arctic Cooler goes. Having sorted that out I am now worrying about whether the Freezer 13 will fit on the Mobo and in the case. The fall-back is to stick with the fan that comes with the CPU.

As you can see the PC world is afflicted with buzzwords, some are important (Windows 8 read)  and some  I will find out about later (Digi + VRM).  There are also a bunch of downloads which I might or might not need on the ASUS website when it comes to powering up the computer.

ASUS P8Z77-V LX motherboard – in its box

The manual is quite long, larger than the one I downloaded in advance so I am having a read through. My pre-sleep started worry included SATA cables. Fortunately the Mobo comes with two SATA 6Gb cables, but I couldn't remember what came with the Blu-ray drive. Just having a look, no there doesn't seem to be a cable. Ah well I will pop over to PC World or Maplins shortly. Let's hope that there are enough power cables. One of the cables has a right angle plug and the other is straight, they are both lockable.

The Mobo box included two SATA cables and an I/O plate for shaving protecting the I/O sockets. The plate is very thin so be careful it is sharp.

ASUS P8Z77-V LX motherboard – in its box

After the excitement of the Mobo, which is the heart of the computer here is the Processor that will (hopefully) make it all go. The Intel Core i5 Processor – i5-3570K. That is quite a box for a chip. I think I checked that it included its own CPU fan, but was relieved by the size of the box – it does. Although one Amazon reviewer thought it was pretty cheap. (Which is why I got a better fan.) Putting an “i” in front of names seems very ipopular at the imoment.

The Case in the background was being used as a prop.

Intel Core i5 Processor

And here is the chip, fan and booklet. I reckon that the fan is quite neat. There is thermal paste already applied for mounting it. It is a lot smaller than the Artic Freezer 13.

Intel Core i5 Processor – the bits in the box

With the Mobo out of its bag I gave a bit of thought to cables and routing.

I know have a better understanding of the main power connections.  I have to admit I hadn’t twigged that the CPU needs some additional power.  My Mobo has an EATXPWR 24-pin connection (which can have 20+4 pins)and an EATX12V connection (8pins but 2 x 4 pin plugs). It seems that you can supply enough power through 4 pins, but 8 pins is better. The trouble is when you are doing something for the first time you get a bit paranoid. I want to make sure I get it right. (Using the carpenter’s adage measure twice, cut once, although, in this case I could blow my Mobo.

Surprisingly one you understand what is going on it makes sense, but there are loads of people on the Web who are confused by this business of 4 pins / 8 pins.

My power supply, an AX760, comes with a whole bunch of cables that you can plug in if needed. So I had to identify which cables were needed and which sockets on the PSU they had to be plugged into – that took a while, my paranoia again, I want to understand the logic behind the design.   Now I know where those cables are going I can get on with populating the Mobo. Then I will deal with the issue of whether the freezer 13 fits or not!

I think I will have to re-think my Fan connection strategy having looked at the places to connect the fans on the Mobo.

ASUS P8Z77-V LX motherboard – with serial number

With the CPU, unwrapped and ready I unclipped the socket lever, opened it up, without removing the cover and placed the CPU in the socket. Notches stop it going in the wrong way -  I hope. I then closed the lid and re-clip the lever – the force required is slightly more than I had anticipated – I am pleased that the board was supported on the anti-static mat.  The socket top moves forward onto a screw and the plastic cover flips off. You are told to keep the bits so you can return the Mobo to ASUS with the “keeper” in if there are any problems.  That doesn’t totally fill me with confidence – do many Mobos have to get returned because of build problems? Ah well at least I have a picture of the Serial Number on my Mobo. The trouble is if you go looking for trouble you find it. Ah well fingers crossed.

ASUS P8Z77-V LX motherboard – CPU in place – ready to be clipped

And here it is clipped in.

ASUS P8Z77-V LX motherboard – CPU loaded and locked

And now for the DRAM – 16GB in four 4GB DIMMs. These come with heat spreaders, which also provide an “aggressive” look. I am worrying that they were cheaper than some of the other Corsair memory choices because you can’t fit stuff around them.  (Like this Low Profile version – ah well I will cross that bridge…)

A lot of RAM taking a lot of space – Corsair Vengeance

They don’t take up quite as much space when mounted. In this case I had to flip the clips before putting them in and they are keyed so can’t go in backwards. That didn’t stop me trying on the last one. Again the level of force is quite high, but not that high. The clips then lock them in place. (They are the on the bottom left of the Mobo.)

ASUS P8Z77-V LX motherboard + 16Gb RAM and i5 processor (but no fan)

One decision is when to mount the Artic Freezer CPU cooler. I am a little worried that it won’t fit. Mind you I have just checked out an installation video and I have decided to fit the CPU cooler at the end. The Fan direction can be orientated in different directions and I also want to ensure put the RAM in first. There is another question, will the RAM heat sinks/spreaders provide enough room? It all looks pretty tight.

Here is where the Motherboard will go – outputs to the left. If you look at the mesh below the big hole you can see the SSD mounted on the other side. That seems to be an odd afterthought.

Motherboard Mounting Points – Zalman Z11 plus

Tomorrow – motherboard mounting and connecting!

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