We connect the front panel of the case – all about connectors

Often, users leave the front panel connection for last during assembly, with more emphasis on the core components of the PC. This approach is reasonable, but in turn, one incorrectly connected panel connector will not allow you to turn on the device even if all other components are correctly assembled. How to avoid this, we will consider in this material.

What are the connectors on the front panel of the case
The design of computer cases has changed over the years, and this fate has not spared the panel with connectors. Various card readers and built-in reobases are no longer as relevant as before, and speakers are not used by every ordinary user. The controls remain unchanged in the form of on / off and reset buttons, indications, audio and USB ports.

In addition to these main groups of connectors, in some modern cases, you can find backlight control buttons. Connecting the case backlight can be implemented in various ways, depending on the manufacturer . This is often a 3-pin 5V cable that connects to the motherboard and a SATA cable for connecting to a power supply. Another common option is to connect to a built-in controller.

When connecting wires from the front panel, it is advisable to follow the general cable management of the case . Namely, plan ahead and run cables before installing the motherboard. Connecting the panel wires is the penultimate step before assembling the PC. The final step is to install the video card, as its dimensions can be inconvenient.

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Typical Connector Arrangement Using ASRock B450M-HDV R4.0 Example

The three main categories of connectors have corresponding connectors on motherboards in designated locations that vary slightly from device to device.

Audio connectors

On the front panels of modern enclosures, you can find two types of implementation of audio0-connectors:

Separate – Separate connectors for microphone and audio output.
Combo – one connector that combines both interfaces.

Regardless of the type of implementation, the audio connector is connected to the board using one standardized connector. The audio connector is a 9-pin connector, the tenth connector is missing, thus creating a specific structure that does not allow the connector to be plugged in incorrectly. Typically, the corresponding connector on the motherboard is located on the lower left side of the motherboard and is labeled HD_Audio. In compact motherboards, it may not be located in the most convenient places, and the use of processor coolers with a horizontal arrangement can greatly impede free access to the connector.
A variety of versions of USB ports have not spared computer cases either . On sale you can find cases with standard USB ports of different versions, double-sided Type-C, as well as with their various combinations.

This type of connector has a 9-pin connector similar to an audio connector, but with a different hole pattern – the missing connector is on the edge. As a rule, you can find the corresponding connector on the board near the massive power cable connector on the right side of the motherboard. It is marked with the USB designation. There are often several of these connectors on the board.

Unlike the older version 2.0, USB 3.0 ports are connected with a massive cable and plug. There is a separate locking frame for the 19-pin connector. To prevent incorrect connection, the plug has a special key and it will simply not work to insert it into the connector with the wrong side. It is also located in a group with the rest of the USB ports. The massiveness of the connector in some cases does not allow you to neatly hide it, and this factor directly depends on the specific board and case.

A modern and compact USB Type-C connector is not found in all motherboards, and in order to use the corresponding port in the case, you should foresee this nuance in advance. This connector has a guide for tight connection of the connectors. Its connector is fundamentally different from the previously reviewed USB versions. Instead of pads, “tracks” are used – ten pieces on each side. Typically, it can be found in the group with the rest of the USB connectors labeled USB 3 *.

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If there should be no special problems with the connection of the previously considered connectors, then the connection of the control and display connectors of the PC can give an inexperienced user a number of problems. This is due to the many separate wires, which have neither physical guides nor protection against misconnection.

As a rule, the required connectors are located in the lower right part of the motherboard and are labeled PANEL or F_PANEL. The connectors for buttons and indicators are divided into groups and are located one after the other. Depending on the specific board, the connection pads may be located in a different sequence. Therefore, it is important to have on hand a short user manual, which details the pinout of the board. If it is not there, you can use the hints of the board manufacturer, namely, the markings applied by the markings next to the pads. But it is worth considering that they may not be readable in all cases.

The standard connector is a 9-pin connector, and the connectors are connected face down. Typically, the Power SW on / off button has a double wire and plugs into the top right-most connector.

The next step is to connect the indicators that indicate the power LED on the PC. The required pins are in the same row. The plus is on the far left, and the minus is on the right, respectively.

The next step is the Reset SW button. In this case, it is located on the far right, just like the on / off button, but in the bottom row.

It only remains to connect the display works hard drives HDD LED. The required connector can be found in the bottom row of the F_PANEL panel. As in the case with the PC power indicators, the positive connector is to the left and the negative connector to the right. Complete with the motherboard or case, the user can find an adapter for connecting the previously voiced connectors. The adapter greatly facilitates frequent plugging / unplugging of miniature connectors.