My quest to build a new computer had been going quite smoothly all last week. I bought a new power supply and was prepping my old system to swap in the new motherboard. I told Windows 7 to expect some new hardware, backed up some files, and shut down my computer. I then opened up the computer case to remove the old motherboard. What I discovered was an archive of old dustbunnies and a layer fine dust over almost everything. This was expected though as computer cases are notorious for harbouring incredible amounts of dust. I disconnected the old motherboard and power supply and removed them from the case, the act of which covered my work area in dust. I tried not to think about how many thousands of tiny dust mites were in the dust.
I then grabbed my vacuum cleaner and using the hose, sucked up all the dust in the nooks and crannies of the computer case. I also did a pass over all the computer components, including the fans. I was then ready to mount the new motherboard into the case when I realized I had a problem. On the back of every PC is a cutout for all the connectors that are on the motherboard. This thing is called an I/O shield and it snaps into the case and comes with the motherboard when you buy it. The cutouts on the shield have to line up with the connectors the board. Since I picked up my new board from work sorta hobo style, I didn’t get the matching I/O shield. Unfortunately, the old shield doesn’t line up with the connectors with the new motherboard.
Technically, you can use a PC without this shield but it provides electromagnetic shielding and more importantly in my very dusty apartment, it acts a dust barrier. Because I want to build this right, I began looking to see where I could find the correct I/O shield that I needed. The Internet told me eBay was my best choice. I wound up buying a replacement shield for $16 from a place in the Netherlands. It’s a bit of a ripoff for a thin piece of punch aluminum but that was the best price I could find. Some of you might be wondering why can’t I just install it when it arrives in the mail. Unfortunately, this stupid shield goes in first and then you mount the motherboard. I could just assemble everything first and then take it apart again when the shield arrives but that’s a huge hassle.
It will take about a week for this five cent piece of metal to get to me. So my new computer sits half assembled in an open case. I’m writing this on a laptop, which is getting long in the tooth. So until the shield gets here, I’m putting the computer project on hold and moving onto other items on the funemployment agenda.