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PC Building Guide - Building: PSU and cables

The power supply unit (PSU) is the last component we will show you how to install in our building guide, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have to install it last. It is often easier this way as otherwise it will take a lot space needed for other things. For example, space needed when installing the other components, but in our case we chose to install it from the start to be able to show you how to install the power cables for the previously installed units. Since Antec's case has the PSU in its own chamber we had no problems with it obstructing us.

The installation inside case is usually quite easy and the PSU is simply seated in the rear of the case and attached with regular screws.

No PSU installed
PSU installed

When the PSU and other components are in place it is time to move all the cables and even if we've already shown you this during the individual component installations it might be good to know what connectors and what cables you have to work with.

ATX 24-pin (Motherboard)
ATX 12V 4-pin (Motherboard)
Molex 4-pin (Harddrive/optical unit)
SATA (Harddrive/optical units)
ATX 12V 8-pin (Motherboard)
Floppy drive power cable
PCI Express 6-pin (Graphics card)

It's not always you need to use all of these power cables, but in our system we've used most of them. We've used the PCI Express cables for our two PCI-e graphics cards, Molex and SATA power cables have been used with our harddrives and a floppy drive power cable was required by our multi-function panel. The two main power cables are now left and are connected to the motherboard and powers all the remaining components, everything from processor to memory and other circuits. In our case it is both an ATX 24-pin cable and an ATX 12V 4-pin cable to make the motherboard come alive. Do note that a 24-pin ATX connector consists out of a 20-pin + 4-pin connector to make the PSU backwards compatible with other motherboards, which only use a 20 pin ATX connector. With such a motherboard you simply split the 24 pin connector.

The two ATX power cables installed

After that all the power cables have been fitted, if everything has been done right, the computer is ready to be started for the first time. It might be worth it to make a last check before turning it on. You do not want any unpleasant surprises when booting up for the first time. You should first of all check that all of the cables are connected, most important are the cables for the processor fan and component's power cables. If you happen to forget a SATA or IDE cable the only thing that happens is that the computer doesn't find the unit, but there is no risk of damaging the unit. You should also check that all expansion cards are fitted correctly and that the memory modules are really in place, but if you've followed our instructions you should be fine.
After a quick a check you should just have to connect the power cable from the outlet to the power supply and turn it on. If everything works as it is supposed to, we congratulate and you can move on to our section about BIOS settings. However, it is not uncommon that something goes wrong and the computer doesn't start so we will therefore do some basic technical support and error searching next, if nothing else it will help you when contacting the store if it happens to be a defective product.

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