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I am modding out a custom built case/system. I have my motherboard mounted on a metal tray, (Dell did this) has been working great. Not I am modding the case to hold everything and how I want to mount the motherboard on the tray I have a slight gap between the wall of the case and the motherboard/tray.

Can I put a piece of thin anti-static foam/packaging in between the tray and the case?

That is safe right?

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+1: A friend just mentioned the same thing to me, and I wondered whether it is the right thing to do; you've saved me the effort (+: –  Everyone Apr 10 '11 at 5:54
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2 Answers

I'll assume that the motherboard is not touching the tray (except at the standoffs) since it was mounted there by Dell. If it is, then it will short out and nothing will work.

You didn't say why you want to put something between the tray and the case. I'll make a couple of guesses, but if they are wrong please explain why you are doing this.

  • If this is to hold the tray in place because you don't have the right hardware to mount it in the case, I'd look for a better way to mount it. Ditto if you are doing this to cushion the tray for transport.
  • If this is to stop a vibration problem then I would place some small insulators (foam would be fine) at several places on the tray. Avoid any hot spots.
  • If this is because you don't like the idea of empty space inside the case, then I wouldn't do it at all. Airflow around the motherboard is good. Blocking it with foam insulation will only increase the temperature in the case.
  • If the foam is near anything that gets hot, then this is a bad idea. In the worst case it could cause a fire. It could also overheat something and cause it to fail.
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+1 I wasn't going to go in to as much detail as you, but was going to mention the last point - thermal hazard. –  William Hilsum Feb 28 '10 at 20:29
    
@Wayne, WEll, the way I have to mount the board/tray from dell I can only put one screw in to the case. The board is totally stationary as it was mounted from Dell. I just want to ensure vibration. The case will be totally flat at all times. I wanted to put a few small pieces under two corners to just ensure that it is totally level. –  user29734 Feb 28 '10 at 22:49
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Bit late to this but I don't think you will have an issue. Since there is nothing on the back side of the motherboard that gets hot, what are people worrying about? Its the components on the FRONT of the motherboard that get warm, and they have sufficient cooling (fans and heat-sinks) which pull the heat away. The back of the board will be fine, and I imagine wont make much difference to your temperatures.

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