GT3-BH CaseFormer staff writer -
I used an ATX board for this project since that is one of the whole points of getting this case. The install begins by you removing the side panel from the case. To do this, lay the case on its side on something that will not scratch it. Remove one screw on the rear of the case, then lay your hands on the side panel and slide the side panel towards the rear. Once this panel is off, you need to remove the support beam, CD/HDD frame, and the feature module. Now you need to get all the wires and cables out of the way by draping them over the sides of the case. There, with all this room, the ATX motherboard will fit nicely. Put in the motherboard I/O backing plate, and once the board is in place, screw it down securely. I am glad it did not require a shoe horn or anything! As a side note, make sure to install your CPU, CPU fan and memory modules onto the board first as it’s much easier that way. Now connect all the wires for power to the board, the fans, the USB and audio headers for the front panel, and all the other front panel connections for bootup and reset, HDD led, etc.
Slim CD/HDD Frame:
This part is pretty straight forward. Choose the hard drive you wish to use and insert it into the frame and fasten it in place with screws. Make sure the connections for the cables, whether they be SATA or IDE, are facing up toward the top of the case or they will be against the feature module and you won’t be able to connect any cables. The slim CD does not come with the case, so I had to purchase one separately. I found that they are not carried by any brick-and-mortar stores in my area and had to resort to the internet to find one. The slim CD sits to the top of the CD/HDD frame and is attached by four of the tiniest screws I have ever seen that are included in the package. You need to set this assembled frame aside until later, as it goes in place last.
The Feature Module:
Oh, the feature module. Let me suggest this, if you are having a bad day, leave this for another one. The directions specifically mention that the install process of assembling components in this case is considerably longer than a standard case and it requires patience and finesse. I mean, now that I have gone through it, it is actually pretty straight forward, but figuring that out the first time around was not. You see, this module is very customizable. You can set it up for a variety of configurations such as two VGA cards (single slot) and one PCI card, or two PCI cards and one VGA card, or even a HDD thrown into the mix and it can be expanded or compressed to fit different boards. This was no small feat when I did it. It would have helped tremendously if the individual parts had part numbers stamped on them and a guide in the manual to follow. The manual does have a guide, with the parts lettered, I just wish the letters were on the parts too. Some of the parts looked very similar and were symmetrical in shape, so it was easy to flip them and get confused.
Inside the module cage is a PCI-Express riser card. This is the card that you will plug your VGA card into and then it, in turn, plugs into your motherboard. Also inside the module cage is a PCI adapter with a Kapton PCI ribbon cable attached to it. The ribbon cable will get inserted into the PCI slot on your motherboard. Just be aware of this; you need to install all the cards you plan to into the module before you secure it together.
ATX motherboards have seven slot positions on them for your PCI slot, PCI-Express slot, etc. This feature module defaults to having the VGA adapter in the slot number seven position. An ATX board can have its first VGA port in either the slot six or slot seven position. The motherboard I installed had the VGA slot in position six. This means I had to disassemble the module and reconfigure it for my board. I inserted my single slot Geforce 7600 GT VGA card in the module and left the PCI slot open. I have heard that GTR Tech is considering moving the default configuration to have the PCI-Express adapter positioned over the number six slot.
Since the feature module is so large relevant to this case, it covers a lot of the motherboard. Before you install the feature module back into the case, you would be wise to connect your SATA and/or IDE cable, CD-ROM SPDIF, and anything else that will be under the module. Also, ensure that all the motherboard jumpers are where you need them and pray to the PC gods that you NEVER need to access the CMOS jumper.
Now, insert the Kapton PCI ribbon cable into your PCI slot, locate the PCI-Express riser adapter over your PCI Express slot and lower the assembly into place.
Next, connect the power and data cables to the hard drive and slim CD, then put this cage in place and screw it down. You can now screw down the feature module and support brace as well.
Finally, replace the side covers and there you have it, a slim and trim PC ready to haul to the friend’s house for the next LAN party to surprise everyone with the power of your rig, or the sleek, sexy new Home Theater PC to put in your home.