Monday, August 4, 2014

Installation Experience SG09

The finished system

My new case, the Silverstone SG09 arrived on Saturday, August 2. I was too busy in the weekend that I could not play with it until late Sunday night. Actually, it was almost near midnight when I opened the packaging to see what is was like.

I did not plan to transfer all the components to the new case on the same day. But that is what actually happened. I had to all of the work in the kitchen otherwise the baby would have woken up to the noise.

Starting of the transfer of components

I first removed all the components that has to go in the new case, and placed them on the floor. Then I put the old case aside and brought the new case in.

Removal of the side panels was not painful despite having 6 screws to deal with. This case has a weird side panel setup. One of the side panels is actually half a panel and the other one is one and a half of a panel, plus the top area. I am not sure why they went with this design. I would not call this an elegant way to fix whatever design problem they originally had. But this could be the optimal fix because the newer SG10 case carries the identical design philosophy.

Installation of the PSU

At the first glance, I felt that the PSU was the one that should go in. (You will see that this was not the way to do it.) It does not mount itself onto the case. First a drawer like cage had to be removed from the case and the PSU had to be installed onto this cage. After that, you have to insert the unit into the PSU mounting hole. It actually went in quite smoothly.

Installation of the drives

Then I went about installing the three drives. First the SSD. The case supports 4 SSDs, but if you are not using the slim optical drive bay (which I won't), you can install a couple of SSDs in there as well. Installation of the SSD required taking out two plastic pieces which you would screw onto the drive and then screwed back to the case. It is a bit of a time consuming task and would be a hassle when upgrading the drives in the future.

The HDD installation went without any issues. I have two hard drives, and they fully exhausted the supported 3.5" storage space. Hence I don't have to worry about the hard drives again. I do not see myself buying new hard drives in the near future. That is definitely not because I have a lot of free space left in my drives, but to make it really feel like an upgrade, I would at least have to go with 5TB drives which are not what I would call affordable.

The hard drives too do not install directly onto the case. There is a thin horizontal metal plate that fixes on to the chassis behind the motherboard tray and the hard drives are installed on to this plate. The plate has to be removed first to proceed with the installation of the drives. Once that is done, the plate goes back in the case. One thing that is worth mentioning is that this metal plate goes right behind the CPU cutout in the motherboard tray. This means, if you have to replace the CPU cooler in the future, you will have to remove this metal plate first. At least, you do not have to remove the hard drives individually, so it is not THAT bad after all.

After installing all three drives, I plugged in the data and power cable to them without much issue. With the Raven RV03 case which I had before this one, I had to use two SATA power cables coming out from the PSU but this time I could do with just one. Win!

Installation of the motherboard

After that I went about installing the motherboard. That is when I found out that you cannot install the motherboard  with the PSU already installed. Dammit! I think I should have referred the manual before commencing the installation. Time to remove the PSU then.

Once the PSU was removed, the motherboard could be installed just fine. But before screwing the motherboard in, I connected the 24-pin and the 8-pin power connectors, as well as the fan cables because otherwise it would be difficult the access those areas later on, as I already had the CPU cooler installed. (I also had the RAM already installed on the motherboard.) I managed to plug in all the stock fans to the motherboard's fan headers without any drama. The 8-pin needed to be routed behind the motherboard tray and there is a opening at the rear top end of the case to pass it through to the other side. There is an opening for the 24-pin cable as well, towards the front of the case and in the top area.

After that, I installed the SATA data cables. There is a small opening towards the front of the case to sneak the SATA cables through to the other side. I didn't have much trouble plugging them into the ports.

Then I installed the front I/O wires. There is a way to route them behind the motherboard tray and back through the opening that I sneaked the SATA cables through.

Then it was the time to actually screw the motherboard in. Most of the motherboard  place-holders on the case were pre-installed, except for one of them, but I only noticed it after screwing in the rest of the screws. I did not want to pull the board out just to put it in, so I just proceeded like nothing happened. I have no plans to take the motherboard off the case in the foreseeable future, so probably this problem with persist until I scrap the rig after many months.

Remember in that post about the Maximus VII Gene, I mentioned that the front audio cable could be plugged into a port on the motherboard instead of the port on the audio daughter board. This was not actually the case. The port would not pin-align so I had to connect it to the daughter board after all. I guess it is for a different front panel audio cable. Good thing I checked it before installing the video card. Otherwise I would have had to remove the video card to access that area.

Installation of the video card

Then it was time to install the video card. The screws for the video card are hidden behind a bracket, which you first have to remove to access the screws. I remember this design was there with a generic case that I had in the past and it was not a nice design. Why cannot these cases come with a tool-less design nowadays? It is not as if this is a cheap case either.

The known issue with the video card and the fan clips of the CPU cooler was still present. Well, it is the exact same hardware, and now under a different shelter. That problem would not just go away unless I switch this cooler for a smaller one. But I do not see that happening, because this seems to be the best cooler for this case.

Anyways, I plugged in the PCI-E power cables as well at this point despite not having the PSU screwed on to the case. I did not have the other ends connected to the PSU. I could do it at any time. Ah the convenience of a modular PSU.

Installation of the PSU - this time for real

After all the components were installed, I put the PSU back in. Since all the stock case fans could be plugged directly into the motherboard and also since all the drives could be connected using just one SATA power cable, there were less cable clutter behind the motherboard to deal with.

Putting the covers back and finalizing the build

Putting the covers on was a tedious task because of the aforementioned design. But I managed to finally close up the case. Then only I remembered that I turned the PSU switch off at the very beginning. Goddammit! I had to take off the covers again, switch it to ON position and put the covers back. I wasted another 5 minutes or so doing that.

That was the whole assembly experience. It wasn't the easiest case to work with but ironically the 3 times large Raven RV03 was not easy either. It was a screw hell. It also took me many hours to get up and running. I had to go through a similar experience when I had to RMA the case because of a crack and Amazon sent me a new case, but I do not seem to have written a blogpost about it. Weird!

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