Assembling a couple of PCs

Last week we received the hardware required to set up a small cloud.
Having the hardware at hand will allow us to start testing new open source solutions for cloud High Availability software

The hardware specs:







So Kieran and I had the task of assembling all the parts together and make sure all hardware was properly working.

I have always been a laptop guy, mostly due physical constraints that don’t allow me to have a dedicated case, monitor and all the gear that comes with it. I’m always on the move so having a laptop made most sense and I never had to assemble a computer myself.

Fortunately, Kieran had just finished assembling his personal computer at home, so he took the lead and started assembling the first computer.

First Day

For the first computer we started plugin in all the hardware in the MOBO before placing it inside the case to test it out first.
All the hardware was detected so we placed the MOBO inside the case with all the components plugged it in with only the hard drives missing


Second Day

We got back from where we left the day before and plugged the hard-drives in the MOBO and started testing.
To our surprise the computer would not power on.
The day before everything was working fine, what could have gone wrong?.
After a few minutes staring at the MOBO Kieran noticed that the case power connectors where plugged in the wrong pins.
After fixing that little issue we powered on the computer and all the hardware was detected

For the second computer, after having watched Kieran assemble the first one I took the lead and he stayed around to give me some help.
To be honest, assembling a computer is not as complicated as I thought, the process is very straight forward.

I had to:

  1. Insert the CPU on the MOBO
    (I heard from some friends that for some CPUs you need to apply a thermal paste to glue the processor and the fan, but in our case the thermal paste was already applied on the fan)
  2. Connect the CPU fan
  3. Plug in the RAM
  4. Plug in the Power supply
  5. Plug in the hard drives
  6. Connect the case cables

Everything is set!

It took around 20mins to connect everything.

However, for our surprise when we tried to turn the computer on it simply didn’t.
Dejavu all over again.
This time we made sure the connectors were plugged in the right PINs so we knew that wasn’t the problem

We then started to unplugged some parts trying to isolate the problem, at first we took the RAM, then the hard-drives and in both cases no luck, the computer would not power ON.

After 15 mins with failed attempts of figuring out the problem we decided to search for possible causes online.
Nothing useful came up.

Without many choices left Kieran suggested we power the MOBO directly without the case just to make sure it was working.

We found this video showing a guy turning his PC on with a screw driver.

We did the same thing and for our relief the computer turned ON


We knew the problem was in the case
We then started thinking of possible solutions.

  1. Since the computer will be used as a server and it won’t need to be powered ON/OFF very often we could use a screw driver whenever needed
  2. Buy a new case
  3. Use the reset button to power ON/OFF

We decided to go with the third option and after wiring the reset cables in the power switch PINs we tested out and it worked

So in the end, the process of assembling two computers, that I’m sure would take less than 15 mins if we had more experience on the subject, ended up taking a little bit more than that. However, on the positive side we faced some problems that forced us out of the comfort zone and I can definitely say for myself that I learned something new during the process.

Our final handy work: