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Old July 7th, 2014, 01:51 AM   #1
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Upgrading PC - Square peg in a round hole?

Hi All,

I'm hoping one of you has been through this before or is far more knowledgeable than me about the guts of a PC. I'm no PC whiz and the most I've ever done before is pop out some RAM or a memory card and drop a new one in it's place.

I've been upgrading my PC Workstation and to power the new video card I've purchased a new power supply. When putting in the new PSU and plugging in all the new cables, I hit a big of a snag - the cables now protrude and prevent the case from being closed. It's because the power cables for the SATA HDD's do not have right-angled connectors (I checked and the original stock PSU did have right angle connectors for those cables, allowing them to fit snugly inside the case).

I am wondering what adapters/cables I should use. I have plenty of spare cables - ones with female plugs that are slightly larger than an HDMI port and have 4 round holes - from what I gather these are called 'molex' plugs. Is it as simple a getting a a 'molex' to SATA power adaptor (with right angle plug, of course)? Seeing as I need one for each of the two SATA HDD's, am I able to get a 'molex' to SATA splitter/dual adaptor - or is that not recommended practice?

Also one of my molex plugs seems to be piggy-packing off the SATA power cord - am I able to use this particular socket in the same way as any other spare molex plug or is it dependent on the SATA plug it is sprouting from?

Hopefully someone is able to help out with this question - so far everything else to do with my upgrade went smoothly, it's just this one little socket that is annoying me!
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Old July 7th, 2014, 02:27 AM   #2
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Re: Upgrading PC - Square peg in a round hole?

Hi John -

Not sure if you can gently flex the cable outside the molded plug and gain enough clearance, I had to do that myself.

You should have two connectors, the short one is "data", and the longer one is power, and I'm guessing that's the troublesome one? Yes, you can get a 4 pin molex to SATA adapter, including ones with multiple SATA ends. They work fine. Had them in my system for quite some time, might even still be one in there after the last rebuild I just did!

Only thing is to make sure they are well seated, and I suggest trying to make sure that you divide your "power" circuits - IIRC there should be at least two that are separate. I had a "mystery" crash that I finally traced to an adapter - discovered it was generating some excess heat (likely shorting or breaking the circuit), and was on the video subsection that I suspected was my "problem area". Redirecting the wires and switching around so the video had "direct" power, problem solved!

Hope that gets you up and running and "case closed"!
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Old July 7th, 2014, 02:37 AM   #3
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Re: Upgrading PC - Square peg in a round hole?

Thanks for the quick response Dave. Bonus points for interpreting my very vague description of what I could see!

When you warn about overloading, does that mean that, for example, the optical drives and HDD's should be connected via separate cable bundles? I've got more cables than I know what to do with right now.
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Old July 7th, 2014, 03:59 AM   #4
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Re: Upgrading PC - Square peg in a round hole?

I'm somewhat guessing, but since I had some odd crashes that disappeared on rewiring, I suspect it's helpful to sort of "distribute the load" of devices between circuits. I don't know if my crashes were due to just a poor connection or the video subsystem being "starved" intermittently - just know that rearranging things FIXED the random crashing! And I did pay a little more attention to dividing the load between available molex connectors... couldn't hurt!

When I've looked at PS diagrams, they seem to have multiple circuits, each with an amp rating that I'm sure you want to avoid exceeding, though I doubt many components in a "modern" computer really draw THAT much current!
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