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 Post subject: Alpha Three--surprisingly quiet Digital Imaging Workstation
PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2004 10:12 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2003 9:53 pm
Posts: 2696
Location: Scarsdale, NY
I have had numerous requests to post up some info about my power rig, Alpha Three. I figured that since I wanted to line it with the egg crate foam anyway, I might as well shoot some pictures when I was done, so I present to you: Alpha Three!!!

Here are the system specifications:

Antec Sonata black steel ATX midtower enclosure, lined with, "egg crate," foam, with the stock exhaust fan replaced using an AcoustiFan AF120CT,

ASUStek P4P800 ATX i865PE-based socket-478 mainboard with passive Swiftech MCX-159 copper/aluminum northbridge cooler cooler,

Intel Pentium 4 2.6C, running at 3120MHz, cooled using a Thermalright SP-94 and AcoustiFan AF92CT,

Sapphire Radeon 9800 adapter with TweakMonster BGA RAMsinks and a Vantec Iceberq 4,

black Vantec Nexus NXP-205 3.5" fan controller, where all but the PSU and CPU fan hook up to,

the stock case fan mounted on a Zalman fan bracket to cool the VPU, VRAM and northbridge

18GB Seagate Cheetah 15K.3, attached to an LSI Logic LSIU160 PCI SCI host adapter for OS/apps,

three Maxtor Diamond MAX Plus 9-series 6Y060L0 (60GB each) stripped to a Promise FastTrak S150 TX4 PCI SATA RAID adapter using PATA->SATA converters for A/V purposes

and two 512MB pieces of PNY Verto PC3500 DDR SDRAM.

Image
Here's a wide-open shot of the system; the RAID array is in the lower cage; they're PATA drives hooked up to a SATA RAID controller via adapters. There's only three drives now; one of the drives nerfed on me and since I had rebuilt the array without it, I'm just doing without it; when I had all four drives, I was pummeling the 32-bit, 33MHz PCI bus to smithereens anyway; it can get a break this way. :D I just freshly lined the side panel, floor of the case and the back panel as well as the bottom of the 3.5" bay (where the floppy belongs, had I put one in) with the foam.

Image
Here's a much closer shot of the system internals. The system drive is an 18GB Cheetah 15K.3 mounted inside a ZM-2HC1 and then cooled with a Vantec aluminum sink with 2 thin 50mm fans in it; the assembly is barely visible in this shot, though, since it's in the second half-height bay from the top. The heatsink is an SP-94 with an AF92CT on it, powered through the mainboard header. I cleaned my cabling best I could; I'm not sure not all of you can even imagine how much cabling is actually in this system, and it's not even that bad; Alpha Two had two more hard drives than this, and almost twice as many fans! Every fan in this system, except for the CPU fan and the PSU fan, is hooked up to the NXP-205 that's in the upper external 3.5" bay.

Image
This is a shot from behind; I know, I know, somebody's probably going to get a nasty cut from that. I plan to line it with something but I ran out of the stuff I used on Sigma One, and I'm not sure the spacing on this will actually allow me to put the same stuff, but I'll figure it out sooner or later.

Image
I took out the two lower half-height bay covers and shot this sweet picture of the NXP-205 and the Cheetah, cool and calm in its 2HC1 and with the Vantec cooler mounted underneath; you can just see the sinks from this angle. Every fan in the system, except for the CPU fan and the PSU fan, is hooked up to the NXP-205.

Image
Here's one last shot from out front. I tried to keep it clean and neat, since its predecessor was so tacky and WAY too bright (SEVERAL LED fans, including one mounted in the top blowhole, plus FOUR cold cathodes made for the most insanely bright rig that Alpha Two was).


Any questions? Comments? Suggestions?

-Ed

EDITS: Added specifications and made fixes for typos, spelling, grammar and punctuation.

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Last edited by Edward Ng on Thu May 20, 2004 7:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2004 12:46 pm 
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Friend of SPCR

Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 8:12 am
Posts: 337
Sup dude

I got some questions

Do u feel the egg crate foam helps? What is it exaclty?

What r ur temps, my OC barton hit 60C becasue florida just got really hot!!

Did u mod the PSU?

Do u have any fan cooling ur HDD

thx
~RaNDoM


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2004 5:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2003 9:53 pm
Posts: 2696
Location: Scarsdale, NY
Hey, man.

The egg crate foam was actually a cheap bed liner that came with a cheap bedding set I was using back in my dorming days at college. When I graduated and came home, the thing became derelict and then I bumped into it one day after becoming a member of this community, and decided to use it as free isolation (since the good stuff costs $80)...

In all honesty, however, I don't think it is the most effective stuff. It's okay for placing drives on top of to decouple/suspend, and I suppose it's okay for reducing air isolating air turbulence noise in a case with excessive turbulent air flow (which, well, I don't have), but for any other purpose, it doesn't serve very well; I doubt it comes close to AcoustiPack, for example.

On Alpha Three, I am running a P4 2.6C overclocked to 3000MHz; it is slightly upvolted (I believe it is at about 1.70). The heatsink is a Thermalright SP-94 and attached to it is an AcoustiFan AF92CT, running, "full," speed (which, being an AcoustiFan, is not very fast anyway). I placed the thermistor underneath the sink, sort of wedged in between the lip of the sink and the motherboard (bit it's not tight; in fact, it basically floats in there); fan speed, from what I've seen in Motherboard Monitor, floats from 1500 at idle to about 1900 at peak.

Temperature at idle, after, "warming up," is 32C, and full load temperature, after running Prime95 torture for at least 3 hours straight, is 49C; my room ambient was about 70F at the time of testing.

The PSU is the loudest part of the system, and no, it's not modded; I think I'd rather replace the stock unit with something better than mod it, because Antec PSUs run far too hot for me to consider reducing air flow at all.

My 15000rpm Seagate Cheetah is double-cooled, being mounted with a Zalman ZM-2HC1 heatpipe cooler, and then a Vantec aluminum sink with dual low-profile 50mm fans attached underneath (this item being attached to the fan controller and spun slower). The three Maxtor Diamond MAX Plus 9 drives that are in RAID 0 below are basically weathering it for themselves, but I did clean up the intake air path a little using my snips and by manipulating the cables to clear up room for flow.

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2004 6:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2003 9:53 pm
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Location: Scarsdale, NY
Well, taking a note from MightyMac (with his Antec), and deciding that since it was safe in Sigma One (which has a much cooler running Fortron), might as well give it a try here, I swapped out the stock PSU fan in Alpha Three for an AF80CT. The noise level has dropped incredibly, but I'm going to have to run it hard for a few days to see how well it holds up.

Be back in a few days with pics and stability test results!

-Ed

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