If your motherboard does not have front panel audio header (the female connector on the center/top of the motherboard) you can easily make one yourself, or buy an accessory that will do this for you. With this method there is no need to cut any traces or tracks on the board.
Since the picture is worth a thousand words, I will let it speak for itself. The connector used in this article is an old style HD Audio connector which are not made anymore, but if you take a look at the front panel connectors on your motherboard you should see something similar. You may also use S/PDIF connector on the motherboard if you wish, this method will work with any front panel audio header. You can also use normal line out or microphone connectors on the front panel if they are available on your motherboard.
where to plug in audio on motherboard
It is always a good idea to check if your motherboard supports front panel audio output feature. If you are not sure about how to do this, please contact the manufacturer or read the manual carefully.
1) Make sure that the power supply is UNPLUGGED before touching anything inside of it.
2) Unplug all HDD’s, Optical Drives, Modems, USB Devices and all expansion cards.
3) Follow the instructions below in the exact order that is listed.
4) The front panel audio header may be located on the back of your motherboard or near the last PCI-E slot on some motherboards (the example picture shows where to find the header on an ASUS board).
5) Plug in a front panel audio connector into the header and test to see if your PC is detecting the new hardware.
6) If it does not detect, try plugging in another cable.
7) If you are using an older style S/PDIF connector (which is wider than the HD Audio connector), you will have to plug it in the S/PDIF header which is located at the bottom of your motherboard.
What is front panel audio and why do you need it?
On some new motherboards, the front panel audio header is a 4 pin or a 10 pin connector which can be easily mounted on any chassis.
This header provides “Front Panel Audio” function to your PC. It supplies the motherboard with analog sound from onboard multimedia devices such as AC’97 codecs and HDA codecs.
How to connect the front panel audio header to the motherboard
The front panel audio header on the motherboard is color coded – the black wire connects to pin 1 which is located near the center of the connector. Pin 1 is labeled “R” (+) on some motherboards.
1) Plug in a standard 4 or 6 pin connector into this header.
2) Connect the other end of the cable to a 4 or 6 pin connector which will be plugged into the power supply.
3) Inside your power supply, there should be an extra 4 or 6 pin Molex connector – connect it to this one.
4) Carefully push the cable into the chassis where you removed all other cables from.
5) Ensure the cable is not in contact with any sharp edges inside or out of your chassis.
6) Attach cables to optical drives, hard drives and expansion cards again.
Tips for troubleshooting a front panel audio connection
1) Check the sound level of your front panel audio output.
2) Try testing another standard 4 or 6 pin connector from your power supply to see if it works.
3) Be sure that you are plugging in the cable into the correct pins inside the front panel header. Pin one is labeled “1” on some motherboards.
4) Try testing another front panel audio cable to see if it works.
5) Be sure that you have connected the cable to the correct pin inside the power supply cable.