Building the S96J or Z96J - Step by Step Noob pictorial GuideThis was my first build of a laptop. I've previously built many a desktop and even modded a Dell XPS laptop, so this is not completely unknown territory for me, but for someone who doesn't have this kind of experience, I think this pictorial guide will be very helpful.
I bought my Z96J from GenTech with a slot load optical drive already installed. I had heard that this was necessary, as special mounting hardware would not be included if I bought the optical drive separately. I'm not sure if this is actually the case, however this guide will not include that aspect of the building process. I also have not received my wireless card yet so I can't include mounting and installing that either, but I have shown the mini PCIe connector, and it looks pretty easy to put a card in. Perhaps I'll update this guide with that info when I get my card. The guide will take you right through installing Windows.
As a disclaimer, I'd like to add that I have tried to be accurate and complete with the guide, but by no means should it be considered the only way to do things, nor does it cover every aspect of the build process, and if you prang your lappy I'm not to be held responsible. Oh, and please read through the entire guide before attempting this, so you'll have an idea of the steps you need to take in advance.
OK enough of that, lets get on with it.
Here's what I bought from GenTech:
A Whitebook (barebone) Asus S96J or Z96J with Optical drive included. Also, I had Ken Lee of GenTech flash this unit to the Intel 0901 BIOS, which is known to support the Merom CPU. At the time of this writing, the shipped BIOS from Asus is not known to work with the Merom. Many kudos’ go to Ken for providing this service for me.
Items I purchased separately:
2.5" laptop Hard drive (must be Serial ATA)
(2) 1 GB PC5300 (667) DDR2 SODIMM memory modules (be sure its DDR2 and 200pin SODIMM laptop memory)
Mini-PCI express Wireless card
T7400 Merom CPU
Windows XP Pro
Here's how the Z96J came shipped to me from GenTech. Included was this spiffy carrying bag.
Here's the unit. Fairly plain, but kind of cute and lovable.
As you unpack be careful not to lose the 4 small parts bags. 3 of them have the necessary mounting screws and if you lose them they'll be hard to replace. The other bag contains a warranty sticker stating that "if broken or removed warranty is void". Hmmm.?
Picture of the components I purchased separately.
Now to getting started. The only tool you really need is a small Phillips screwdriver. Find a nice clean and clear area to use for a work space. Leave the top cover transparent protector on for the time being to protect it while we have the Z96J upside down. Or put down something soft to lay the unit on when it's turtled up.
In the picture you'll see 3 screw holes in the component cover. One screw is missing that's included in one of the parts bags. Remove the two screws indicated by the red arrows and slide the cover to the front, or down in the photo. It slides about 1/8 of an inch, which will allow you enough room to lift off the cover.
Once removed you'll see the CPU, Memory, and mini-PCIe sockets.
Now take a close look at the CPU socket shown in the photo. Notice the corner I've marked "pin 1" and the "CPU locking screw". Be sure the locking screw is in the unlocked position.
This photo shows the pin side of the CPU. Note the pin 1 orientation here. Also look for obvious bent pins. Usually CPU's are shipped very well, but on occasion you may find one that doesn't want to drop in the socket. If this is the case, you might want to look here again for a bent pin. If you find any, you can try to straighten them out very carefully with a set of tweezers or needle nose pliers. If they're really bent bad.....well, let's not go there. Onward.
The topside of the CPU also has an orientation pin. Shown as the triangle in the photo.
Now align pin 1 of the CPU with pin 1 of the Socket and drop the CPU into the socket. You should not need any force to put it in, and it should be laying flat. Once done turn the CPU locking screw 1/2 turn clockwise to the locked position.
Now grab the heat sink cooling assembly. Note the tape covering the CPU heat sink and the pink plastic tape covering the 4 GPU memory heat sink pads.
Remove this tape carefully without disturbing the soft heat sink compound. There isn't any tape on the GPU heat sink so leave it alone. You may notice that I have removed the heat sink compound from the CPU block. I have done this because I used "Artic Silver 5" heat sink compound on mine. I'm not going to include using AS5 in this guide so don't remove the stock compound.
This photo shows how to insert and align the heat sink cooling unit. Note how you need to hold up the side closest to the front (down in the photo) to avoid pealing the gray heat sink compound pads off as you slide it in. Push the cooling unit in until you can see that the screw holes are aligned, then you can lower it. Be sure the wires from the cooling fan are out of the way and not interfering with anything. Also check that the unit is flat and seated against the mounting standoffs.
In one of the bags there are 8 screws. The 7 small chrome ones are for mounting the cooling module. The larger black one is the missing 3rd screw for the module cover we talked about before.
Take the 7 small chrome screws and screw them into the mounting holes numbered 1-7. Tighten them in the numbered sequence to avoid warping.
Route the cooling fan wires down to the fan connector as shown. Make sure they are out of the way and won't be pinched when you put the cover back on. There are two guide slots on the connector. The plug from the fan has two protrusions on one side. Make sure those line up with the connector's guide slots and connect the wires. The orientation should look the same as in the photo. You're done with the cooling module.
Now grab your memory modules. Before handling them touch your work surface and the cooling module of the laptop to equalize the electro-static potential. If you were wondering about a grounding strap, here's your answer. What we want is to have the same electrical potential as what we're working on to avoid static damage. If you are grounded with a grounding strap and the component you touch has a static charge of 30,000 volts, guess what's going to happen. Right, so quit thinking like a grounding strap is the ultimate protection, it isn't. If you're cautious about handling static sensitive components and equalize the electrical potential before touching them, then you don't really need a static strap.
Insert a memory module as shown. Make sure the memory module's slot lines up with the connector guide pin. Insert at about a 30-degree angle. Push the module in till the connectors guide pin can go no further in the module guide slot. With even pressure on both sides, push straight down on the module until it snaps in place.
It should look like this.
If you have a second memory module insert it in the same fashion, except up side down. Note the second connector's guide pin location.
Now to installing a mini-PCI express card. I purchased a Atheros AR5006x Wireless mini-PCI express card from a seller on another Forum. Here it is with the bag and remaining two screws from the shipped accessories.
Now pull the black and white antenna wires out from their protective vinyl tubes. You can remove the tubes if you wish. Plug the white wire to the "MAIN" jack and the black wire to the "AUX" jack. It's rather hard to line up the plugs with the jacks as they're small and must be perfectly aligned to snap in place. Take your time and press firmly on the plug until it snaps in place.
Insert the card in the socket at about a 30 degree angle, then put one of the two screws in one of the mounting holes. Be careful here, as it can easily fall out into the main board tray. Also be sure the battery is removed before installing it. We don't want any arc and spark now do we. Press down and screw it in. Do the same with the other screw and align the wires so they're not in the way of anything, or will get pinched when you put the cover back on.
You're done working in here, so replace the bottom cover and tighten it down with the 3 screws.
Time to install the hard drive. Mount the drive in the drive caddy with the drive label up as shown. There are 2 mounting holes on each side of the caddy. In the bag containing 6 screws, take the 4 chrome screws and secure the hard drive in the caddy. Now insert the hard drive with caddy in the laptop.
The two remaining black screws are used to lock the caddy in place.
Insert the laptops battery and you're done with the hardware build. Insert the power plug from the AC power brick and start charging the battery.
Now is the moment of truth. Open the top cover and press the power button. The green power light should come on and in a few seconds you should see this screen.
If you don't get anything on the screen, then you've done something wrong in the build and need to re-check what you've done previously.
You're ready to install the OS, but for me I like to see what's happening as I boot, so I turned off "quick boot" and "full screen logo" in the boot options section of the BIOS. You can get into BIOS setup by hitting "F2" right after turning the unit on.
Insert your OS CD in the optical drive, Windows XP-PRO in my case, and boot the computer. Notice my DDR2 memory is running at its proper speed.
It should boot right to the optical drive and load your OS setup. Follow the instructions for installing your operating system software. Important note: As you see in the photo I've made two partitions. Later I'm going to test OS-X86 and have a duel-boot system. If you are planning on having a duel-boot or multi-boot system with other operating systems, then don't let Windows make the whole hard drive one partition. It does this by default. You will need to manually assign the partition size and leave some hard drive space un-partitioned for any other bootable OS's you have in mind. I partition half my 100GB for Windows XP and left the other half un-partitioned. I didn't need to leave that much un-partitioned space for OS-X86. It needs no more then about 6G.
Let Windows setup do it's thing and after about 20 minutes, it should have finished. Insert the Z96J driver disk in the optical drive and install all the drivers. Start at the top and installed in sequence all the items listed. You will have to re-boot after some of the device drivers are installed. Once you're finished with the Z96J driver disk, install device drivers for any other components you might have. Now install the other software, AsusDVD, Nero, PowerDirector, Media@Show SE and the User Manual if you wish. Also install your anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Next connect to the Internet and do all your security updates. When that finishes, you're done.
Super-PI 2MB calculation in under a minute. Nice
I hope this has helped in the building of your S96J or Z96J. If you have any questions feel free to PM me and I'll try to answer them.
Good Luck !