PC Installation

Pi-Amp PC Installation

The objective of this section is selection and installation of the power supply, hard disk drive, optical drive, and main board. I don't champion any particular manufacturer and encourage you to select components to fit your computing requirements. There are forums and magazines devoted to evaluating PC component performance such as bit-tech.net.

PC components vary somewhat in performance and are continually being improved, however Form Factors remain constant. Form Factor ensures that key dimensions such as mount points and I/O interfaces are the same across manufactures. This chassis design uses the most common PC Form Factors.

The table below is an expample of new, mid level components at 2011 pricing.

PC Parts Description No. Supplier Stock No. USD ea. Total
S3 Toggle Switch, DPDT, MOM, On-Off-On, 5A 1 DK EG2419-ND 4.59 4.59
LED1 LED 5MM RED PANEL MNT 1 DK 67-1163-ND 1.80 1.80
LED2 LED 5MM GREEN PANEL MNT 1 DK 67-1164-ND 1.80 1.80
Power Supply Antec BP550 1 Various NA 70.00 70.00
Main Board Intel BOXDG45ID 1 Various NA 90.00 90.00
CPU Celeron E3300 1 Various NA 54.00 54.00
Memory 2 GB DDR2 800, TWIN2X2048-6400 1 Various NA 40.00 40.00
HDD Samsung 1.5 TB 5400 RPM SATA 1 Various NA 100.00 100.00
Optical Drive LiteOn DVD R/W SATA 1 Various NA 40.00 40.00
Sound Card Auzentech AZT-STUDIO X-Studio 5.1 1 Various NA 25.00 25.00
Total NA NA NA NA NA 427.19
Power Supply

Form Factor: ATX12V

Rated Power: 550 - 1000 W. There are various web sites that offer interactive calculators to estimate power requirements. The following power requirement was generated by Antec. Their calculator is located here.

Pi-Amp Example of ATX Power Supply Wattage Calculation
Modular Cabling: Due to space limitations, detachable cables are required. A power supply certified as "Modular" allows removal of unused cables from the power supply, producing less clutter, a neater appearance and less resistance to airflow.

Device Connections: Ensure that the power supply has power connections for SATA drives. Also consider connection requirements for graphics cards and main board.

Install the power supply and fasten to the rear panel using four #6-32 x 3/8" machine screws. Remove the modular cabling until required.



Pi-Amp Showing ATX Power Supply
Hard Disk and Optical Drives

Form Factor (HDD): 3.5"

Form Factor (Optical): 5.25"

HDD Considerations: Data interface should be SATA, not for performance but cable routing. IDE interface uses a wide ribbon cable that is difficult to route and restricts air flow. Capacity should be 1 to 1.5 TB. No reason to skimp on media storage space. Consider starting out with one drive and adding a second as media content grows. Common drive speed choices are 7200 and 5400 rpm. Unless you are planning on serious gaming, data access speed is not critical. A 5400 rpm drive will run cooler and quieter and use less power.

Optical Drive Considerations: Data interface must be SATA. Consider media requirements such as CD, DVD and Blu-ray. Does this drive really need write capability?

Install the drives and drive head.


Pi-Amp Drive Head and Controls Panel Close View
Main Board

Form Factor: Micro ATX (9.6" x 9.6")

The main board used in this system specs out as follows:

More than sufficient for playback and trans-coding. Your mileage may vary.

Consider the following options when selecting the main board:

For media playback, this does not require a high end PC.

Note: The stock fan supplied with AMD / Intel processors are loud, consider upgrading.

  1. Install the main board with CPU, RAM and I/O shield and fasten to the chassis tray using #6-32 machine screws.

    Pi-Amp Main Board Mounting Screw
  2. Locate the 2.54 mm male front panel header on the main board. Header location and pin configuration are listed in the main board user manual. These pins control main board power on, re-boot and power HDD activity and system power LED's.

    In order to power on and re-boot, two pins are contacted momentarily. This is accomplished using S3 (DPDT MOM, On-Off-On). The HDD activity and power on LED's are connected to the header honoring polarity.

    Pi-Amp Main Board Front Panel Header Pins
  3. Connect S3 and LED's according to the schematic below. The pin configuration shown is specific to this main board, consult the user manual. LED's listed are interchangeable.

    Pi-Amp Main Board Front Panel Wiring Schematic
  4. Connect the power to the HDD and optical drive using one cable. Connect the main board power. Connect the HDD and optical SATA data cables.

    Pi-Amp Main Board IDE and Power Connectors
  5. Organize cables with cable ties.
Final Fit
  1. Load the chassis into the case and select locations to install three EZ-LOK #6-32 brass wood inserts into the rear edge of the case (top, left and right). These inserts will secure the chassis to the case.

    Pi-Amp Installing the Aluminum Chassis into the Wood Case
  2. Transfer the location of the holes to the chassis Rear Panel and drill holes with a 7/32" bit. A 7/32" hole allows for a slight amount of chassis movement caused by changes in humidity. Before drilling the holes, put a piece of masking tape where the bit will exit to prevent metal chips from falling inside the chassis.
  3. Match drill holes for the #6-32 brass wood inserts into the rear edge of the case using a 5/16" bit (about 1/32" smaller than the thread diameter).
  4. Do not attempt to drive these inserts using the screw driver profile on the insert. Instead, install a #6-32 machine screw in the insert with a nut for back up and then use the machine screw to drive the insert.

    Pi-Amp #6-32 Brass Wood Inserts
  5. Fasten the chassis to the case using three #6-32 x 1/2" machine screws and slightly over sized washers.