ATX cases, build ur own PC

Firstly, is it easier to build your own PC now that you have jumperless motherboards.  Or can you still blow a part up due to a wrong voltage setting or jumper setting?

Secondly, whats the difference between a ATX midi tower any of the other towers.  What is ATX and what are the alternatives.

The spec below says 235 watt PSU.  Is its just a case, why display the wattage?

h= 368mm
w= 190mm
d= 475mm

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Wattage determines how many devices the power supply can support. Each device (hard drive, floppy, cd,tape, mother board) uses a certain amount of power the total power can not excede the rating of the power supply. It actually probably shouldn't go past 80%. Most power supplies sold now are more than adaquate. There was a time when power supplies were only 100 watts and would not support adding additional hardware.
There are basically three types of motherboards. ATX...AT and Baby AT. The case must support the type of board you have so an ATX case is made for an ATX board. ATX has features that the others don't. One of them is that when you shut down the computer it goes off by itself as opposed to AT where you physically press a power button.

The reason the case lists the wattage is because most cases come with the power supply already in them. So the case you refer to has a 235 watt power supply in it. A mid tower  is a medium size case where a mini tower is a shorter one and a full tower is a taller one. The one you cited is about 15 inches high. It makes for more room inside to help increase airflow to keep it cool.

As far as being easier to build your own that is a relative question. It is not easier to build one than to buy one already built, but when you do it yourself you get many more options and choices and the good feeling when all goes right.             Mrbreeze
> The spec below says 235 watt PSU. If its just a case, why display the wattage?

A "midi" tower is taller than a "mini" tower, but not as tall as a "full" tower.  The taller the tower, the most empty bays you have, for adding internal hard-drives and CD-ROM/DVD/CD-writers.

Most cases also include a 'PSU' (Power Supply Unit), which has been pre-selected to fit into the case; that's just one less detail for you to worry about when assembling your own PC.
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oddbodAuthor Commented:
OK thanks I didnt realise that the power supply unit comes with the case.  If the case costs about £30 ($48) does that sound right ie with power supply.  Are power supplies that cheap.  Or perhaps its the other way around, power supply comes with case, as metal and plastic case is cheap to make?

I currently have an ATX as the comp. switches itself off when shutdown.  I was annoyed when having purchased it, the case was larger than my old mini tower.  I take it then, there is no way an ATX board can fit into a small mini tower?

Finally nobody answered my bit about jumper settings on new motherboards.  Are they jumperless free so that it makes it impossible to short circuit the board?

I'm planning to build my own computer, so how can I make sure I have every single small part, right down to the USB connector plug?
It will never be impossible to short circuit the board as long as connections and leads are still exposed.  Just dropping a screp on a powered system board can fry it.  ATX boards use Pentium 2,3 processors and SDRAM which all run at one uniform voltage.  There is no need to change the voltage.  Also, there may be a jumper or two on the board still.  Some allow you to clear the CMOS and enable/disable certain features such as Wake on Lan, Wake on Modem, etc.  If you want to bould your own computer, be sure you have the following:

-ATX main board with support for the processor you have selected (BX-2 shoudl suffice for pentium 2, 3 up to 600 Mhz or so).  The bus speed is the key.  The very newest processors run at 133 mhz bus, and the prior ones run at 100 mhz bus speed.  Get the right board and processor combo.

-Case. Make sure the case will house your board.  Full size ATX boards will not fit into mini ATX cases.  The case will allow for 3 or 4 slots, while the board will have 7 or 8 and will be too long for the case.

-Cables.  2 ide cables, 1 floppy cable.  IDE cables should ideally not exceed 18-24 inches.

-Drives.  Whatever you prefer.

-RAM.  Make sure you get the same speed memory as your board will support.  100 mhz boards will only support up to PC 100 memory.  133 mhz boards will support both PC 100 and PC 133 memory.

-Video card.  AGP is preferrable.  Most all ATX boards have AGP slot for video now, and they integrate nicely with the latest processors.

-sound, modem, ethernet, etc.  The best you can aford is the best choice here.  Don't cut too many corners or you won't be happy in the long run.

Have fun, and good luck, but most importantly, be careful.  Get a static strap from your local computer store and build your box in a static free area.


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> nobody answered my bit about jumper settings on new motherboards. Are they jumperless free ?

Some motherboards have jumpers;
some motherboards are jumperless;
very few, if any, are jumperless-free.
oddbodAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all.

Anyone know any website in the UK which sell "everything" you need to build a PC.  I would hate to have to find every part myself and then realise I'm still missing a screw or connector.

....and a static free area is where?  Bedroom ok?
I'd go to and see if they promote any companies in the UK.  As far as static free areas go, be sure that you are not on carpet, try to be in a fairly humid area, and wear a static strap connected to an earth ground, such as the ground plug of an electrical outlet.  
> then realise I'm still missing a screw or connector.

What I usually forget is those tiny jumpers (to set a hard-drive to master/slave, or to change a motherboard setting) and a bootable MS DOS diskette (complete with FORMAT/FDISK/LABEL/CHKDSK/SCANDISK/DEFRAG/MEM utilities).
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