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 Post subject: Black Box: Quiet NSK1300
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:53 pm 
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This build was inspired by AuraAllen's NSK1300 modifications as per the pictures in this thread. My build is nowhere near as clean, and I didn't paint the frame as he did.

Components:
AMD X2 4000+ G1 Brisbane 2.5ghz 1.15v
Abit AN-M2
HD3870
4x1gb Ballistix DDR2-1000
WD Raptor 150gb
PW-200-M using FSP 400W Zen for 12v power
USB Lacie Optical Drive
Thermalright HR-01+
Accelero S1
1xEnermax Marathon as rear intake
1xEnermax Marathon drawing air through HR-01+

What I did:
Since I wasn't going to be using an optical drive internally, and I didn't need the optical drive bay-cover, I decided to try my hand at moldable epoxy. I purchased System 3 Sculpwood at a local wood shop. It says it's for wood repair, but it explicitly states it will bond to any non porous hard surface. I purchased some flat black spray paint that works with plastic from Michaels.

The Sculpwood filled in all the spaces on the front panel of the case. I sanded it down, and then painted it. The final product is an indication that this was my first attempt at anything like this. I didn't quite sand the face enough, so when the paint dried there were visible inconsistencies in the surface. I will eventually redo it, but given the low light it sits in, I actually don't notice the surface.

Enough gabber, picture time. Some are out of focus, my camera doesn't like low light and no flash, and then with a flash everything is too harsh.

USB powered Lacie Drive. It works just fine just one usb, but the only game I own that requires a disc(Everything needs to be on Steam) is BF2, and the disc is quite old. It's age is noticeable, and as such, the drive has a hard time w/o a second USB for power. It plays movies just fine with one.
Image

The NSK1300 has only 2 USB ports on the front of the case. My AN-M2 has 3 usb headers. I modified the usb/phone/mic pcb installed behind the face plate with zip-ties and usb ports ripped from 2 pci slot usb headers.
Image

Top down views. Here, the airflow pattern should be understood. Air enters from the intake fan, goes through the HR-01+, airflow is assisted by the second fan, passes over the PW-200-M(tight fit), cools the Raptor, travels by the video card, and out the PCI slots/lower side panel vents.
Image

Image

Video card
Image

I mounted the Raptor with shoe string in an X pattern, it dampens the drive well. I've used this flexible shoestring before for suspension, never had any issues with it. There's a foam pad underneath that keeps the raptor from making direct contact with the case. As it is, it's quiet. Initially it was in a Quiet Drive enclosure, but it was a tight fit, and it cramped airflow.
Image

Angle from the side
Image

Ballistix closeup
Image

Zen and power connections. I originally intended to use a Dell DA-2 220W brick with the PW-200-M, but some motherboards make the PW-200-M refuse to cooperate with this specific brick, and wouldn't you know it the AN-M2 is one of them. The plug is a modified motherboard 24-pin connector, details are in the link in my signature.

Image

Image

I purchased two stainless steel switches for power/reset. Each switch has a built in light with an independent circuit. The power switch has a white LED in a ring configuration, and the reset is just a circular red light. I think the Red light requires more than 12v. The white LED is bright whether it's powered by the PWR-on jumpers or HDD-activity jumpers. The red is very dim. Oh well. These are some shots before I installed the USBs/Reset switch.

Image

Image


The final product. In addition to the mucked up molding job, I also installed one of the USB plugs upside down...it's too much work to cut the zip ties and reinstall it, so until I get around to redoing the whole face plate, I'll attempt to cope.

Image

Image

Image

Image

A darker one to show off the power-on light.
Image

Here it is in harsh light, you can easily see the issues with the surface consistency. Fortunately, I prefer ambient light and I'm not reminded of my shoddy craftsmanship.
Image

Cooling and Noise
The majority of the noise is mechanical. I can definitely hear the idle noise of the Raptor, and it's seeks are clearly audible over anything else. The Marathon fans have only a turbulent woosh to them but it's only noticeable within 6'' of the case, and only if the room is extremely quiet.

As for cooling, I didn't record temperatures when I only had 1 fan installed, I do recall the ranges though.

1 fan as intake(23-26C ambient temp):
CPU idle/Load: 36-40C/56-63C
Case 'System' temp idle/load: 40C+/50C

1 fan intake, 1 fan on HR-01+
CPU idle/Load: 33-36C/44-50C
Case 'System' temp idle/load: 36C+/45C+

Power
Just a little on power draw. I haven't done a CPU stress+GPU stress, but here are the numbers I have.
CPU load(F@H): 99-107W
GPU load(Oblivion): 168-188W


Overall, aside from Catalyst Control Center bugs, I'm happy with the system. It's small, it looks clean(in dark light), and it's fairly low power.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:58 pm 
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Location: Santa Maria - Brasil
Great build, congratulations.
My only concern is about the power suply, because AFAIK it's bad not to have draw from other rails than the 12v.
I don't know if I made made myself clear because I don't speak english very well.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 8:13 pm 
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lucas82 wrote:
Great build, congratulations.
My only concern is about the power suply, because AFAIK it's bad not to have draw from other rails than the 12v.
I don't know if I made made myself clear because I don't speak english very well.


I think I know what you mean. The FSP seems to work just fine with no 5/3.3v load. In the specifications it says it can operate with 0mA on either of those rails. I haven't had any power related issues yet, and I've been folding 24/7 for 2 months with this setup.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 8:52 pm 
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Location: Santa Maria - Brasil
Well, then it's perfect.
Did you try another configuration of airflow (back fan exausting air, fan on the heatsink blowing through it)?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 6:11 am 
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lucas82 wrote:
Well, then it's perfect.
Did you try another configuration of airflow (back fan exausting air, fan on the heatsink blowing through it)?


I haven't tried that yet. I did try the rear fan as an exhaust with just one fan(the exhaust fan), and results were very poor. It would probably be a good idea to try it now that I've sealed the front of the case up, and ducted it, but it all depends on how motivated I am with the limited free time I have.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 9:13 am 
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Location: Vancouver BC
nice build


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:13 am 
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Well, well ,well, it's very nice !


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:20 am 
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So, I've made some changes. Swapped the X2+AN-M2 for an Intel Q9400+DFI JR P45-T2RS. I'm thinking the board might be overkill, but I wanted to have all of the tweaking features a DFI has to offer. Anyway, I've been trying to relieve the main system power supply by assisting the system with the use of an external supply for the PCIE power plug on the video card. The thread about that is here.

I'll paste the most recent post below,
-
I decided to try the external power supply idea once again. I fashioned a plug to go from my Dell power brick to the 6-pin PCIE power plug on the video card. Both the main system PSU and the external brick are plugged into the same outlet. The system works fine, and even under load. The external brick reduces the main system draw by ~20-30W, which makes sense, considering the HD3870 isn't a high powered card.

My next test is to swap the PW-200 for a PicoPSU. I know, the Pico is only rated at 120W, but in an email from Short-Circuit, and from a phone call with the makers of the unit, the PicoPSU is a 200W design with thermal limitations. The 20-24 pin adapter in my case basically acts as a riser, putting the PW-200 directly in front of the CPU fan. Since the Q9400 is a very low heat producer, the air isn't very warm. The PicoPSU would be getting a large amount of airflow.

Full load power draw at the wall is 155-160W(GPU+CPU), though that's ~20-30W less than it would be if the entire system was being powered by one PSU. At 80% overall PSU efficiency, that's ~130W DC required from the main system, which is above the Pico's rating, but not it's true capacity. The only reason I want to try this, is because the PW-200 will not work with the power brick, requiring me to leave the FSP Zen on my desk, which is a bit of an eye-sore. The Pico does work with the brick, so it would free up a lot of desk space.
-

so, that's where I'm at now, suggestions, warnings, anything is welcome.

edit: I just had another thought, if the PicoPSU works, I could just use the Dell brick alone, and make a connector to go from the 12v lines on the brick directly to the PCIE connector. There wouldn't be any need to use a second power supply until I get a higher power video card.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:00 pm 
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So, for the first time in a while I actually acted rather quickly on this idea. I soldered a connector for the Brick+PCIE 6-pin+ PicoPSU. I'm writing this from the system, so it's working so far.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:30 pm 
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Hi ryboto

It looks good.

I love your cardboard wall. :)

To bad you didnt get the front panel smooth.
Mine looks good after I re-did the whole thing.
Took me several hours to make it look "acceptable".

I promise you i'll post mine I general gallery soon. :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:49 pm 
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you might consider downloading a mini-image of battlefield 2, to save yourself the hassle of putting the CD in the tray.

mount it with daemontools or alcohol 52%.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 4:44 am 
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@ryboto

Nice box. Just to make sure I get it right (sorry if I don't :wink:): You have two wires coming from your Dell brick. One's directly connected to a PCIe power connector and thus powering the GPU, and another to the PicoPSU-120 powering the rest of your system. And your total power consumption is less than 200W.

If so, that's truly impressive. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 9:50 am 
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lowpowercomputing wrote:
@ryboto

Nice box. Just to make sure I get it right (sorry if I don't :wink:): You have two wires coming from your Dell brick. One's directly connected to a PCIe power connector and thus powering the GPU, and another to the PicoPSU-120 powering the rest of your system. And your total power consumption is less than 200W.

If so, that's truly impressive. :)


Yes, you're correct. I'm going to go one step further though. Consider that all the 12v power has to go through the Pico. This pushes the Pico to it's limits. Well, why not alleviate the Pico of all the 12v that I can, since the Dell brick is providing the 12v? Instead of feeding it to the Pico only to then have it fed to the system, feed the 12v directly from the Dell brick.

This is essentially what I've done with the setup so far, at least with the PCIE connector. There's one more connector I could do this with, and that's the P4-Atx connector. Instead of passing the 12v through the Pico, just let the Brick handle it directly. I can test this with my FSP Zen, to see how the system responds. I rarely have the machine off, as it folds nearly 24/7. In the event that it's off, I could install a switch to power down the brick so that the PCIE and P4 connector aren't being powered up.

So, maybe today at some point, I'll plug the Zen into the Pico, but just use the Pico for the Motherboard and harddrive. The FSP will provide power directly to the P4 and PCIE connector...this should exactly simulate the Brick. The only reason I don't use the brick first, is because I'd have to splice in more connections, and why do that when I can simulate it with the Zen.


Here are my power consumption figures so far(AC draw),
CPU load(4cores P95) - 125W
CPU load 2cores+ GPU folding - 155W
CPU load 4 cores + GPU folding - 185W

Considering I assume the CPU+system components to consume ~70W DC (based on what I can gather from reviews), and the video card to consume ~85W DC, at ~80% PSU efficiency, that's ~190W AC under full load. If I had gone with a more efficient board, I could probably shave 10-15W off that figure, but I'm not so sure. This board has a fanless NB cooler, and the nb/pwm never really get above ~40C under full load, which implies to me that their not producing a ton of heat, and therefore aren't using a lot of power. Without an ammeter, I can't know for certain though.

Sorry for the repetitive, long-winded post, I'm a little groggy today.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:50 am 
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Fayd wrote:
you might consider downloading a mini-image of battlefield 2, to save yourself the hassle of putting the CD in the tray.

mount it with daemontools or alcohol 52%.


And it will work with legitimate servers?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:52 am 
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AuraAllan wrote:
Hi ryboto

It looks good.

I love your cardboard wall. :)

To bad you didnt get the front panel smooth.
Mine looks good after I re-did the whole thing.
Took me several hours to make it look "acceptable".

I promise you i'll post mine I general gallery soon. :)


ha, cardboard wall, yes, it was a great idea by the way. It sits a bit differently now with the new board. I'll eventually redo the front panel, I just don't have the time this weekend. Can't wait to see your build.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 1:41 pm 
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I've got the same case too, and I want to try painting the top black. I have no idea why Antec made that piece light grey. It's such a small case that people are most likely going to be looking down on it, so the light color stands out as such an eyesore against the all black front. How did you paint your top? Did you just spray on the black paint or did you do some sanding + primer?


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:07 pm 
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PartEleven wrote:
I've got the same case too, and I want to try painting the top black. I have no idea why Antec made that piece light grey. It's such a small case that people are most likely going to be looking down on it, so the light color stands out as such an eyesore against the all black front. How did you paint your top? Did you just spray on the black paint or did you do some sanding + primer?


Krylon spraypaint worked fine. I haven't seen any chipping or peeling, and I frequently move the case, have things bumping into it on the desk, and I put my CD-Rom on the top when I need to use it. I'm pretty satisfied with how it's worked out.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:44 pm 
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Well, I just booted the system up using the FSP Zen to directly power the P4-atx connector, and PCIE power connector. The Zen provided 12v to the PicoPSU, and the Pico took care of the 24-pin and HDD power needs. So, looks like I'll need to solder in another connector to get this configuration to work on the brick, might do that tonight, depending on whether or not the lady of the house will let me make a mess on the counter again...

edit: so, I realized, I could just use a molex splitter in the system, and achieve the same effect with the Dell brick, so that's what I've done. The system appears to be working perfectly. I'll fix the mess of wires eventually, but since I've replaced the Raptor with a WD6400, the mess of wires in front of the drive isn't going to matter in regards to heat.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:53 pm 
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So, it's working, and I'm loading all 4 cores with Prime95 right now. The 12v rail of the brick is only outputting 11.65V, according to Speedfan. Should I trust this? Is there a more accurate program for measuring the system voltages? Also, is 11.65v something I should worry about? I believe it's within ATX spec.

I did have one strange issue, this also happened when I was using the FSP Zen. SMP folding causes the system to just turn off. I have tried GPU+V6 single core client folding for almost two weeks, and when I always set affinity. Initially I was setting affinity to core 0/1, now I've tried 2/3, and I've also stressed with Prime95 for many hours, so I am fairly confident in the system stability. I'm just not sure what SMP client crashes could mean if it's Prime/3D/Single F@H client stable.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:48 pm 
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so, after a day of folding with the GPU client and 1 core on the V6 client, I checked the 12v line using speedfan. It was being reported as 11.23v...upsetting. So, i've just switched it to the FSP Zen to test the 12v line there, and Speedfan says it's only 11.5 while idling. Also upsetting. Not sure what I should do...

edit: under load, the 12v line of the Zen is read as 11.33v under load, which was what the Dell brick was switching to, it was going between 11.23-11.33 under load.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:19 am 
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Just curious, what voltage do you run the ballistix at? I did some testing last year when I first built my system and found that without active cooling at 2.2V, the ballistix gave all sorts of errors in memtest. And this was at stock speeds too. Have you run into any memory errors?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:48 am 
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PartEleven wrote:
Just curious, what voltage do you run the ballistix at? I did some testing last year when I first built my system and found that without active cooling at 2.2V, the ballistix gave all sorts of errors in memtest. And this was at stock speeds too. Have you run into any memory errors?


I run them at 2.1-2.15v. In my previous board, they were stable at this speed and would pass HCI memtest indefinitely. In this DFI board I can't even run them at their rated timings. If I set DDR2-800 4-4-4-12, it fails to POST. If I set DDR2-800 5-5-5-18, it works fine. This is with the voltage at 2.15v, same as the previous board.

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