My sound card won't fit in my case!
November 9, 2005 7:47 PM   Subscribe

I just bought a new soundcard and I'm trying to install it. It doesn't physically fit within the case! I'm thinking about bending the case with pliers...

Ok, this soundcard fits into a PCI slot. I've got 3 free PCI slots, and I think everything is dandy. Well, when I go to slide the card into the slot, it seems the back end of the case is situated too close to the motherboard, or something. If the card is fully flush with the back of the case (the part of the case where the interface slots peek out, and you plug in your speakers), it's not aligned with the PCI slot. It still needs to go back about 2 or 3 mm farther toward the back of the case.

Apart from taking it apart and adjusting the motherboard or something, which I don't feel comfortable with, the only thing I can think of is to take a pair of pliers and bend the back of my case outwards as much as necessary to get this damn card in.

Any suggestions?
posted by jojopizza to Computers & Internet (19 answers total)
Something is amiss. What kind of 'puter, a Dell?

DO NOT 'readjust' the case with pliers, you will regret it. Either the sound card is 'bad' (very unlikely) or you just are not holding your mouth right.
posted by raildr at 8:20 PM on November 9, 2005

It's hard to say without seeing the case, but...

You've got the slot in the mother board (hereafter, "the slot") and an accompanying slot in the back of the case (herafter "the hole") where the interface thingies go. The card is sorta T-shaped, with the interface thingies on the top of the T. Normally, you install the card so the top of the T is against the inside of the case, at the hole, so that the interface thingies are accessible from outside.

Is it possible to put the card through the hole from outside, and then seat the card in the slot (so that the T extends outside the case)?

Am I making sense?
posted by winston at 8:25 PM on November 9, 2005

Why not bend the case slightly? You will not hurt anything. It's strange that you'd have to do this, but it won't harm anything.
posted by seinfeld at 8:26 PM on November 9, 2005

Can it fit in any PCI slot? Do you have any other PCI cards that do fit in the free slots? This should give you an idea if it's the sound card or the motherboard alignment.
posted by justkevin at 8:43 PM on November 9, 2005

Cheap cases typically have screwholes drilled very inaccurately and will make it difficult to put PCI cards in correctly. You'll probably have to bend your case or not screw in the card or something.
posted by angry modem at 8:47 PM on November 9, 2005

Winston, that makes sense, but the card won't fit through the hole without widening the hole via pliers.

Justkevin, all 3 PCI slots are similarly aligned, and none of them fit.

It's not really a cheap case, I spent something like $70 or $80 on it 3-4 years ago. However, I did recently have a new motherboard installed in it, and I think the alignment on it might be screwy or something. This is the first time I've tried to install a card since I had the motherboard upgraded. (I've installed tons of PCI cards in the past.)
posted by jojopizza at 8:56 PM on November 9, 2005

Oh, and it's a generic beige box that I had custom built by choosing parts from a list.
posted by jojopizza at 8:56 PM on November 9, 2005

You know the piece of metal on the back of the case with all the slots, which the connectors for PCI cards stick through? I had to remove the whole thing once. It was integral to the case so I simply cut it out carefully with a dremel. Without that, the graphics card wouldn't fit. It happens. No big deal. I'd cut before I'd bend but that's just me.
posted by RustyBrooks at 9:38 PM on November 9, 2005

most pci cards have a couple screws holding the metal strip on, that the connectors stick through. you could probably take that whole thing off if its getting in the way, no need to bend the case.
posted by harrigton at 9:53 PM on November 9, 2005

Cool, thanks people!
posted by jojopizza at 10:02 PM on November 9, 2005

Just try to make sure that the PCI card is supported when it's in the slot, or gentle tugging on the cables plugged into it could damage the card or, worse, the motherboard.
posted by 5MeoCMP at 10:25 PM on November 9, 2005

Yeah, my case is now successfully mangled, and the card is installed, but it's not supported. I don't think there's anything I can do about this other than buying a new case, since there's nothing left there to screw it to. (The part I had to remove was the part that you screw it to.)
posted by jojopizza at 10:48 PM on November 9, 2005

Congratulations. You're now a casemodder.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 12:53 AM on November 10, 2005

So wait, are there any other cards installed on this motherboard? Because it sounds, as you mentioned, that the board may not be mounted right in the case. If this is the case, you probably want to get it taken care of because there could be risers sticking up behind the board where there shouldn't be.

I had a situation just like this a while ago, and everything was fine until one day I put some memory in or something, which pushed the board onto a riser, which fried the whole thing. Took me forever to trouble-shoot, and cost me some money too.
posted by Who_Am_I at 6:09 AM on November 10, 2005

Who_Am_I has a point. From now on, view your current case as a precarious stopgap measure, and make it a priority to buy a quality case ASAP. An unsupported PCI card is begging to be broken. Also, a good case is worth saving for as it will last you several rebuilds. :o)

The way my case is made, with the mobo correctly mounted, it means that my sound card can't be screwed in properly because the holes don't line up. I didn't want to leave it unsupported, so I eventually found a long, thin screw which could just about make it through the eyes of both bracket and case, albeit at a slant. Every piece of advice I got was NOT to bend the case as it could cause shorts with the mobo or other components.
posted by paperpete at 8:03 AM on November 10, 2005

I had thought this was a good case, since I spent $70-$80 on it, and it's nice and spacious. But it's been a few years now. I'm guessing the last guys who upgraded my machine messed up the job somehow.

Other cards: The only other one is my video card. The sound card and network card are onboard. I normally avoid onboard stuff like the plague, but the upgrade dudes assured me they were high quality. They were wrong, so I'm now installing a separate sound card.

Ok, I'm putting a case upgrade on my wish list.
posted by jojopizza at 8:10 AM on November 10, 2005

It might be a very simple problem of the motherboard being mounted too close to the back of the case. All motherboards have some slop, and can move around a bit when the screws are loosened.

What I would suggest is taking a screwdriver to the screws on the motherboard. Loosen, but don't remove them, and pull the motherboard toward the front of the case. You should feel some motion... there's always some play in motherboard placement. When you've pulled it as far toward the front of the case as you can, re-tighten the screws. There are generally six to eight, and you'll probably loosen some, pull and realize it's still stuck, loosen some more, pull again, and then loosen the last screws.

This isn't rocket science, it's very easy stuff... the motherboard is just a big circuit board that's been bolted onto the bottom of the case. There's nothing even vaguely magical about it.

I should warn you that I have seen a couple of motherboards (mostly old Tyan pentium-1 era boards) with very narrow 'safety zones' around the screwholes, and in some cases it could cause a short if you did what I just suggest. Generally it was easy to fix by moving stuff around again, but not always. So I can't promise that this is absolutely risk free, but I'd guess you've got a 95%+ chance of everything being fine. You essentially can't keep using the system the way it is now, anyway. It strikes me that a small risk of a wrecking a $50-$100 part is much better than the certainty of replacing a $50 case, and then running the same risk of shorts ANYWAY when you move the board into the new case.

I'd do it on my own systems without thinking twice, if that helps any.
posted by Malor at 8:14 AM on November 10, 2005

Let me recommend the modestly priced Antec SLK3000B. Best case I've worked with (in a history, admittedly, of working with cheap-ass, or Dell or Compaq cases.)
posted by Zed_Lopez at 10:50 AM on November 10, 2005

If you do Dremel the case (which is probably better than bending), a few tips:

a) Do something to avoid getting metal dust on the rest of the components

b) Use a sanding Dremel tool to file down the part you cut so it isn't sharp. Sheet metal can be nasty.
posted by Geektronica at 7:47 PM on November 10, 2005

« Older How's about a guy who's not a fuckwad?   |   Cheap drum trigger to MIDI converter Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.