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I have a computer built from hand-me-down parts that has onboard sound. I have a set of speakers and a pair of headphones I would like to use, and currently I have to dig around behind the computer to switch between them. The motherboard has pinouts for front-mounted headphone and mic connectors that, when connected, will automatically turn off the speakers and route all sound input and output through the front-mounted ports. Unfortunately, the case doesn't have connectors.

Can I make my own front-mounted connectors? How much would it cost, and from where can I buy the necessary parts?

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You may not need "parts" at all, depending on your motherboard. If you have open drive bays available, the Front Panel Controllers section at NewEgg rocks. One very promising unit would be the Startech 35BAYPANELBK Black 3.5" Drive Bay Multi-Port Panel ($27 US as of today.)

This is way easier than having a shop do custom work, or drilling anything into your case. And there are lots of different panels and configurations available.

  • A few months later, and I finally ended up buying something similar to this. It works great, I just lack all the proper USB headers. – Andrew Scagnelli Feb 3 '10 at 22:18
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while i'm pretty sure that it is possible to drill 2 holes into the case and fit a headphone and mic socket, why not not just installing a cheap secondary sound card?

advantage: you can use speakers and headset simultaneously for different sources rather than switching between.

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Yes you can salvage it from a second hand computer shop or you could ask a local computer repair guy they always have spares, the rates would depend on how well you can bargain

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