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    Building a Shuttle Gaming XPC
    Author: Daniel Topler
    Date Posted: August 30th, 2004
    Bottom Line: When Shuttle announced an XPC with an AGP slot, gamers could finally use this machine and loved the systems because they offered equal performance as their desktop counterparts, yet were stylish, light, and easy to build. SLCentral set out to build one spending under $1000, read on to find out more....

    Find the lowest price for this product
    Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
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    Putting It Together

    Shuttle includes a rather poor manual with their XPC systems, so we have decided to go through the building process here. Of course, each XPC's setup slightly varies, so the guide below may not fit your XPC exactly. However, it does suit as a good general guide to the installation, and virtually all setup steps are the same on all XPC's, with the exception of the CPU installation. The guide itself is pretty straight-forward. It is organized in easy-to-follow steps, and important things you need to read are in red and italicized.

    With that said, lets begin!

    1). Unpacking Everything, and Opening the Case

    First things first; it is reccomnded to take all the parts of your XPC system out of their boxes and lay them out somewhere. It should go without saying that you should build this system in a static-free area. Once this is done, you need to remove the case from your XPC. It's extremely easy to do this when using a Shuttle XPC. There are three thumb screws on the back of the system, one on each side, left, right, and top. Unscrewing this loosens the case, allowing you to slide it back and up, removing it entirely, revealing the internals of the system.

    2). Removing the Heatpipe

    Next, you'll need to remove the heat pipe. If you are dealing with an Intel system, you'll notice a heat SHIM on top of the heat pipe. This needs to be removed prior to removing the cooling device. It took me a while to get it off, not sure if I was just being stupid, but it isn't easy to do. you need to press down hard on the two outer tips, which then lets the clips come loose. It's hard to explain, but the actual concept should be pretty obvious when actually building the system.

    Once this annoying little piece is off, the rest is pretty easy. Unscrew the four thumbscrews on the back of the system, which lets the fan slide up, and lets you lift up the heatpipe, and remove it from the system. You're now ready to proceed on.

    3). Installing the Optical Drive

    Luckily, my Lite-On DVD burner is pretty short in length, which comes in handy when building XPC's. But, virtually any drive should work in an XPC. To install it, you'll need to remove the drive cage from the system. It is secured by a few screws. These are not thumbscrews, so at this point, you'll need a screwdriver, and an electric one is always nice. Once your drive cage is out, using the screwdriver, remove the front bezel of the 5.25" bay.

    Next, place the optical drive in the bay, lining it up with the edge of the drive bay so it looks good when installed, and screw it in. Make sure it isn't upside down! Don't put the drive cage back in just yet, as you need to install the hard drive.

    4). Installing the Hard Drive

    Installing the hard drive is very similar to the installation of the optical drive, which is explained above. Place the hard drive (with the label up) in the bottom drive bay. You should not have to remove any bezels since Shuttle leaves one bay open for the hard drive. From here, just screw it in. Make sure the ports are facing toward the back, and not toward the front! Set the drive cage aside for now.

    5). Installing RAM

    Now would be a good time to install the RAM. RAM is most likely the easiest component to install in this, or any system. First, locate the DIMM slots, and press out the little white tabs on both sides of the slot(s). Then, take the RAM stick, and press one side into the slot. Then, press in the other side, until you hear it click. If it does not click, it is backwards, and you'll need to turn it around. Do not force the RAM in the slot. If it does not go fully in, flip it around and it should go in easily. Forcing it in may break both the slots and the RAM stick.

    6). Installing the CPU, Heat Pipe, and Fan

    Upfront, this the hardest and most complicated installation of the system. That being said, it's not that hard. First things first, lift the little lever to "open" the socket. Next, take the CPU, and with the pins down, place it in the socket, with the little arrow on the chip being placed at the top right of the socket. It should easily go into place. If it doesn't, keep on rotating it until it fits. Make sure that it is fully into place before continuing. You can now push the little lever back into place.

    Now, you'll have to apply thermal grease on the CPU die. Take the thermal, and spread it all over the CPU die (the little part of the CPU that is metal, if you are using an Athlon 64, spread it on the entire CPU). Make sure it is all covered, but don't put an excess amount. Just use good judgment.

    Next, take the Heat Pipe (without the fan), and gently put it on the CPU, so it slides into place. Try not to move it around a lot so the thermal doesn't spread around. Once this is done, take the fan and slide it down the vertical portion of the heat pipe. Do not forget to plug the CPU fan into the little place on the motherboard that says CPU-Fan (that is very close to the CPU socket area). Forgetting to do this could burn out your CPU. Once this is done, the CPU installation is done! Congratulations! The rest should be smooth sailing.

    7). Setting Up the Cabling

    One of the last steps is the cabling, simply because when setting up important components such as the CPU, cables can easily get in the way. But now that most of the installation is done, it's a good time to cable the system. This will vary if you are using SATA instead of IDE, so keep this in mind.

    Take the IDE cable labeled "Hard Drive" on the little blue tab, and plug it in the motherboard. The IDE port is located in the front of the system. You want to put it in the blue IDE port. Then, take the other end of the cable, and just place it on the top of the heat pipe for now.

    Next, take the other IDE cable labeled "Optical Drive" and plug it in the remaining IDE port. Then, take your drive cage, and plug the other end in the optical drive in the 5.25" bay. While you are at it, take the end of the "Hard Drive" IDE cable, and plug it in the hard drive. Then, take the nearest power cables (which should have already been wired when you received the system) and plug them into the devices as well.

    From here, you can put the drive cage back in the system, and screw it back in.

    8). Installing PCI and AGP Cards

    Ah, we have come to the last component installation in our XPC gaming PC, and it just could be the most important part of any gaming computer, the video card. Also included in this section is installation for a PCI card, though I don't see why you need one in an XPC system.

    On the back of the computer, you'll have unscrew both screws that are on the PCI and AGP slots (even if you are installing a card in just one of the slots, you need to unscrew both). Now, you'll be able to easily install the cards. First install the PCI card (if you have one), then do the AGP card. If you don't know how to install a PCI card, well, you should not be doing this project.

    When proceeding to install the graphics card, make sure you push down the little lever on the end of the card. Just push it in and you are ready to go. If you need to plug in a molex connector, go ahead and do this now.

    Screw both screws back in the back of the computer, and you're ready to go.

    9). Testing It Out

    Before putting the case back on, its a good idea to turn on the system and make sure it actually works. So plug everything in (keyboard, mouse, display, and power for now), and turn on the system. If you get a boot screen with no errors, congrats! If you have some sort of error, try to diagnose it, and if you can't find out the problem, feel free to e-mail me. From here, you can put the case back on and get ready to install Windows (or whatever OS you'll be using, but since this is for a gaming XPC, I assume you will be using Windows).

    10) Windows

    You may have installed Windows yourself in the past, but many reader's haven't, and it doesn't hurt to go over it. You'll first need to put the CD in the optical drive (duh). Then, get into the BIOS and make sure CD-ROM is set to boot first. Once this is set, save the changes and restart. Doing this will take you into Windows Setup. Once it is fully loaded, just press next, F8, and then create a new partition(s). I'd recommend one partition for the entire hard drive, but do as you please. Once this is done, continue and wait for the XP setup to complete. In less then 45 minutes, you should be in the familiar Windows XP environment.

    Congratulations! You have set up your very own portable gaming machine! Read on to learn how to install drivers and tweak Windows, as well as our official benchmarks from our system!



    Installing Drivers & Updates Go the the next page
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    1. Introduction
    2. Choosing The Parts
    3. Other Accessories
    4. Buying Everything
    5. Putting It Together
    6. Installing Drivers
    7. Windows Tweaks
    8. Conclusions
    9. Gallery

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