Once all the peripheral devices were mounted, I installed the motherboard (with the CPU, CPU cooler, and RAM already inserted). In hind sight, you might choose to mount the motherboard before re-installing the drive cages as things start to get a little crowded, especially with all those loose wires and cables lying around. The board lined up perfectly on the pre-installed standoffs and all of the expansion cards fit perfectly into the rear expansion slot openings.
The expansion card slots use standard machine screws to secure each card in place. Call me old fashioned, but I’m not a big fan of tool-less, platic retention mechanisms so this is just fine with me.
Routing all the various cables can be challenging, but in the end it proved to be relatively easy thanks to Zalman’s attention to detail and excellent documentation.
The HD160XT User’s Manual is filled with clearly illustrated instructions to guide you step-by-step through the process. Just take your time and carefully connect each cable to its proper destination. The front panel audio cable has connectors for both AC’97 and Azalia HD audio. The +5VSB power adapter plugs in between the motherboard and main ATX power cable. (I personally don’t like having to use adapters and more often than not will break out the soldering iron and make direct connections. The pre-installed adapter taps into the +5VSB line and a common ground to provide power to the display and IR receiver when the HTPC is turned off.)
The HD160XT’s bundled hardware requires three USB connections (LCD, control board, and card reader). If you run short of USB headers on your motherboard, you can use the included external USB cable to route one of the USB connections out the back of the case to a rear panel USB port.
The LCD panel VGA cable exits the back of the case thru a pre-installed PCI slot bracket. The ATI X1600 Pro video card comes with one VGA connector and one DVI connector so the LCD cable plugged right in.