can a motherboard work properly without spacers?

Hi Everyone;

            I am having a peculiar problem with a motherboard.  As discussed from a previously closed post, the motherboard works fine outside of the desktop case.  However, when place inside the desktop case, it does not power up at all.  In an attempt to solve this problem, I ordered a completely new miniATX form factor desktop case complete with screws and brass spacers.  Now, here are the problems I am running up against.  

             First, all of the screws secure the motherboard to the backplate except one.  I am not sure what the problem is on that part of it because the screw and the thread is the same along with the aligned hole.  Assuming it is wanting a brass spacer insert, the hole on the motherboard has a silver ring around it, thus, indicating the need for a screw insert.  All of the other screw inserts did work out just fine.  

             Secondly, I see on the motherboard hole inserts for the brass spacers.  However, here is the problem I am running into on this part.  While there are holes on the back plate for spacer inserts, they do not match up to the motherboard.  So, I am stuck on that part.  I have thought about perhaps drilling small holes on the back plate, but, this should not be that much trouble.  

               And, finally, I did notice the computer does not boot up anymore either after being placed into a new case which was also experienced from the old desktop case.  Of course, this is likely a problem of the motherboard being shortened out because of one screw not mounted securely in place in addition to the lack of brass spacer inserts.  

               In closing, if someone could review these issues I am being face with and offer some fruitful avenues of resolving them, it will be most welcomed and appreciated.  At this point, I am at a loss because I am not sure what to do especially with regards to the screw which will not mount the motherboard to the backplate in addition to the inability to insert the brass spacers.

               I will look forward to hearing back from someone.  And, thanks in advance for any help given.

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Bernie BsenChef de cuisineCommented:
try to replace some of the metal spacers by rubber pads having nearly the same height than the spacers. Seems as if you have a short circuit anywhere where it shold not be.
Perhaps you can find out, which screw causing the problem - if the board works propperly outside the case it must be a reason like that....
When you tested outside of the box was it with the same PSU? Is this motherboard an ATX mobo, or an ITX or BTX?

The purpose of the spacers is to prevent the mobo from touching the chassis and shorting. Try removing the mount with the motherboard attached and test outside the chassis that way.
I'm a little confused.  You say "all of the screws secure the motherboard to the backplate except one" but then "the [holes in the backplate for spacer inserts] do not match up to the motherboard".  

You want to fasten the threaded brass standoffs into the case (or the motherboard tray), using ONLY the holes that match up to the pattern of fastener holes on the motherboard.  Don't insert any brass standoffs into case holes that don't line up with matching holes on the mobo.  There will undoubtedly be unused holes in the case/tray.

Then you line up the motherboard with those brass standoffs and insert screws through the top mobo holes to fasten the mobo to the brass standoffs.  If you do this and there's one screw not installed, it probably won't make any difference.

If the mobo fastening holes don't line up with any of the possible standoff locations on the case/tray, you probably have the wrong type of case for your motherboard.

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GMartinAuthor Commented:

           Everything is the same with the exception of the desktop case.  The power supply is an ATX.  I was told from a previously closed post that any microATX form factor desktop case should work fine with this MSI motherboard.  And, like I said earlier, the screws match up to the holes but the spacers do not.  With regards to rubber pads to place underneath whre the spacers should go, where can I get something which would work like that?  This sounds like a possible solution to this problem.


the screws match up to the holes but the spacers do not
 I must be very dense today because I still don't understand what that means.  Screws only go in where there is a corresponding brass spacer.  No brass spacer = No screw.  If none of the spacers line up with mobo holes, then there would be no place to install any screws.

*puzzled*  :)  
The standoffs are required, if you screwed the motherboard directly to the case without them it would ground out on the case and best case scenario it just wouldn't turn on, worst case it fries hardware. As mentioned above you only use standoffs on the holes that line up on the case and motherboard. Most cases come with the standoffs not installed, if yours came pre installed you'll have to unscrew them and move them to the appropriate locations.
Yeah, I'm thinking there are one or more standoffs installed in the case or mobo tray that don't line up with corresponding holes in the mobo and causing a mobo short to the case.
George, you can always measure with an ohm meter if the brass rings around the hole connect to the board ground or is isolated from it. (use ground connections on power plug, or capacitor ground)
if it does connect to anything else (i use mostly the the +5 V to check) you can mount it isolated as indicated above with rubber rings - or plastic standoffs
GMartinAuthor Commented:

         I know I am not asking this question clearly enough, but, I will try to be more problem focused here.  Since none of the holes on the motherboard for the spacers match up to any of the holes on the backplate, can may I use the plastic spacers to work around this limitation?  To be honest, I think the motherboard just does not match up to this case.  But, I don't want to spend money on trial and error methods of shopping for a case either.  Sorry, I guess I am just a little frustrated with this whole ordeal.  

           At any rate, if someone can provide some shared insights on how I might can still use the plastic spacers given within the link provided by nobus,  it will be appreciated.  I have always thought the holes still need to match up with both, those on the mb and those on the backplate.  

           Thank you

What model MSI motherboard is it?  Make/model of the case?

If absolutely none of the motherboard holes lines up with the holes in the case, even if you can attach plasic spacers, the motherboard will be "floating" with nothing but the rear plate panel keeping it in place.  I wouldn't recommend that at all.  If you could get even a couple of holes lined up and use a couple of the brass standoffs, fastened to the case and then the motherboard screws going into those couple of standoffs, then at least the motherboard wouldn't be moving around and would be more or less correctly aligned.

I suppose you could make a template by laying the motherboard on a piece of paper, mark the location of the holes with a pencil (inserting the tip of the pencil through the motherboard holes to mark the paper), then use the paper template to drill new holes in the case.  But the holes won't be threaded correctly etc. and you'll have metal shavings.  And precise alignment is very important.  I don't like that idea much at all.  Forget I said that.  :)

GMartinAuthor Commented:

        The motherboard is an MSI KM4M (MS-6734) Ver.1  The case itself is made by Apex (Model TX-381-CRT) purchased from a few days ago.  The case is a mid-tower ATX form factor as well.  


Both the motherboard and case are Micro ATX. This should work. Something doesn't add up!  

Are the mobo holes, and the case holes, arranged in the same pattern but don't seem to line up?  Note there might be more holes in the case than are needed for your board.  
George, can you post a picture of the case layout and spacers?  and one of the mobo also?
GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hi Everyone;

            Sorry guys.... I have been taken away from this project over the past few days because of holiday stuff.   At any rate, I will upload a pic of both, the motherboard and the desktop case.  Unfortunately, I think there is more going on here.  I did notice a strange "clicking" noise when the motherboard is started "outside" of the case.  I can not exactly determine if this clicking noise is from the power supply, which is brand new, or some componenet of the motherboard itself.  Also, I noticed a delay too in the response time taken to load BIOS information onto the monitor screen, especially on the first boot.  And, of course, it just won't start at all when mounted into the case.  Realizing the spacers can not be mounted and only the screws are used, I know this is an obvious problem.  

             In closing, I have spent a great deal of time with this project and starting to wonder if I should just simply salvage what I know is good with respect to hardware components.  After all, we do have 3 up and running computers.  I was just going to fix this one up and store it away as a backup in the house.

            To wrap up, I want to thank everyone for helping with this issue.  I realize it has been somewhat frustrating for all of us.  If more ideas should come to mind, please feel free to post.  I always welcome feedback which always opens newer doors to a possible solution.  Besides, the worst thing which can happen here is learning something from this experience so I will know what to do in the future.

           Thank you.


GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hi Everyone;

           While both the case and the motherboard are ATX form factor,  most of the back plate holes simply did not match up to the corresponding holes of the motherboard which was necessary to properly mount using the spacers and screws.   Since the motherboard could not be properly mounted, naturally, there was going to be a short which would logically explain why the pc would not power up when the motherboard was inside the case, but, would power up outside of the case.

            At any rate, I must conclude the culprit here is simply a mismatch with the motherboard and the desktop case.  I need to try harder to find a case compatiable with this motherboard.  I will look into that a little later on.

            Thanks again everyone for the shared input and suggestions.

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