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 Post subject: NSK-3480, i3-530 and S12II-380
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:53 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:15 pm
Posts: 336
Location: Portland, Oregon
I've been eyeing a new system for a few months now when my old system dropped the IDE controller last August, an AthlonXP system from yesteryear.

I got the components from Newegg on a shellshocker + combo deal special.

Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H
Intel Core i3-530
OCZ Gold 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR3 1066
Antec NSK3480

Already owned:
Seasonic S12II-380 (SPCR review unit, thanks Mike!)
Nexus D12SL12
WDC 6400AAKS/ 640 Blue

I am currently running the memory at 1.3v and the CPU vCore at 1.00v. All other memory timings (1066, 7-7-7-16) and CPU/memory voltage settings are set to auto in the BIOS. I also disabled the onboard serial port and 1394 controller.

I modified the case by adding a number of cable management holes to the backplane, most of which wound up unused - it's been a while since my last build and I thought the standoff's might be a little higher than they were. I also painted it black to help hide the really crappy hole cutting job I did.

Now for the photos:

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My Kill A Watt reports 45 watts post boot idle...

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Interestingly it reports 2 watts unplugged...

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but 4 watts off and plugged in. Does that mean it's actually pulling 43 watts at the wall? Another interesting item is that the USB power seems to remain active, or at least the light on my Razer Krait doesn't power off with the machine.

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Top down view. Suspended HDD in the lower drive bay. No optical drive as I rarely use one. I have an external USB LG super-multi-drive for the odd time I need it. You will also note the cable management hole I added to the upper drive bay that feeds behind the motherboard tray. It's where all the cables are disappearing to.

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Obligatory side view. Really crappy phone cam, but a reasonably clean cable management job.

The CPU 12v loops out and back into the upper bay, then down through the legacy passthrough from the NSK 3300.

The main power goes out the upper bay and comes back in through a hole near the front panel wiring.

The front panel lights/switches go out the same hole and back in a hole directly under them at the bottom of the case.

The SATA cable shares this same hole to get back to the top of the case.

There wasn't enough space to fit the USB/1394/Audio wire through the same hole so I left them inside the case. Next time I have it apart I will be adding a separate hole for them. Sadly the FP Audio cable is too short to do anything with as the FP Audio pins are directly behind the rear audio block.


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Rear angle shot - there really is no airflow restriction from the cabling.

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Back side of the motherboard. You can see the wire routing a bit better this way. There was enough space to hide the extra cables up top, but closing the side panel takes a little manipulation to get everything situated, though no severe pressure to actually close.

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Rear of the case. Cut out the fan grille. Otherwise pretty standard.

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This is where the machine lives, and hence the 3480 as I was height restricted. This is an old, solid oak, 1960's US Govt. era executive desk. The desk surface measures 48" x 70". The bay the machine is in used to be a standard drawer on the top and a hanging file drawer on the bottom. I converted and inverted one of the drawers (with new, higher strength rails) to be able to slide the box inside. I can pull it all the way out to access the rear panel and unplug cables.

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The "drawer-doors" closed. I love the mid-century look of this desk, particularly the pulls, but the whole thing screams "I Dream of Jeannie". Not much airflow like this, but I don't seem to have a problem with temps - the cavity stabilizes at about 85 - 90 F when the room temp is about 70 F. If I add a graphics card and/or hotter cpu I will have to look into some sort of active/passive ventilation system. Any recommendations are certainly welcome!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:09 am
Posts: 397
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Great low power build! Seems like you can't go wrong with a build like this. Pretty much what I would go for in terms of chassis, motherboard and cpu.

My only recommendation is to upgrade to a picoPSU and get a larger, fan less tower-style CPU cooler. You'll lose two fans from your case, and you'll have the heat from the PSU away from the enclosed space in the drawer. Plus they're not that expensive (picoPSU's) and would probably also save a couple of watts to boot, although this is probably a minor saving.

You already cut the rear grill - I find that to be actually very noticable. It looks so empty in there, though! :)

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Main rig: Antec NSK1380 | Lapped Xeon E3110 | ASUS P5QPL-VM (using IGP) | 2x 2GB Corsair XMS2 800 MHz | MTRON Mobi 3525-32 GB | WD Caviar GP 1TB (Scythe Quiet Driv'ed, on foam) AAM=128 | Lapped Scythe Ninja Rev. A fanless + Arctic Silver 5 | PicoPSU-160-XT + Dell DA-2 200 W brick | M-Audio Audiophile 2492 | 1x Nexus 120 mm @ 550 RPM


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:57 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 2:50 pm
Posts: 675
Location: Milwaukee, WI
What HDD temps do you see with the drive in the upper, presumably-no-airflow, chamber?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:10 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:15 pm
Posts: 336
Location: Portland, Oregon
Jay_S wrote:
What HDD temps do you see with the drive in the upper, presumably-no-airflow, chamber?


The machine has been on in standard use (some idle, some Hulu, some email, etc) for about 4 hours now. hddtemp in Linux shows 40C.

I actually didn't build this to be a low power rig or a HTPC. Believe it or not I chose it for modest upgradability in the future (up to i7-850, 16 GB RAM, PCIe 2.0) but good affordability now. My purchase at Newegg was $375 including shipping. I just figured I might as well take advantage of what it would be good at now, which is sipping power.

In the future when I get a HSF that can withstand some abuse I'll start looking at overclocking. And when the 5850's start coming down in price (or Nvidia starts making something that doesn't require a nuclear power plant to run) I'll start to get back into some gaming. I still haven't played Orange Box yet!


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