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 Post subject: NSK3480, I5-750, Now a Hackintosh
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:01 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2005 12:27 pm
Posts: 327
Let's start with a picture:

Image

Clicking on the picture will take you to the flickr page.

This machine is optimized for photo editing, although it would work for most other applications. It is very quiet. If there is any ambient noise the computer is inaudible. I can actually hear the faint hum of my Dell 2209WA monitor.

You can view my photography (may not be work safe at some companies) at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/29229060@N04/

Anyone could build this machine with no tools other than a screwdriver.

Case: Antec NSK3480, Tricool exhaust replaced with a Scythe S-Flex 800 RPM. The fan does not tick. The machine runs cooler without swapping the side panels

PSU: Earthwatts 380 (included with case), fan swapped for 1800 RPM Noctua NF-R8. At idle its dead quiet. Running Prime 95 it revs up to about as loud as the stock fan was at idle but with a somewhat higher frequency.

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2. Reviewed favorably by Anandtech.

CPU: I5-750, overclocked to 3.6 ghz (180x20). The multiplier drops to 9 at idle and the voltage is 1.2 going flat out and about .85 at idle, per CPU-Z.

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus with Scythe 800 RPM Slipstream. Gigabyte's motherboard fan control requires a program that will trigger UAC every time you log on, so its not in use. CPU core temperature equals ambient at idle. Running linpack (Linex) the cores hit in a range of 67-71c for the most part. Prime 95 is about 6c lower.

Memory: 8 Gigs of G Skill F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ running at 1440 Mhz, 8-8-8-23. Socket 1156 mobo's are picky about the memory that gets put in them.

Drives: Two Samsung F3-HD502HJ. Its dual boot with one drive Windows 7 64-bit and the other OS X 10.6.4. Look to the second page of this thread for details on OS X. Optiarc DVD burner, with a rather clunky tray. The Samsung hard drives are unusually fast, quiet and vibration free. The stock silicone mounts in the NSK3480 are sufficient. An external USB drive is used for backups.

Video: BFG Geforce 9800GT Eco, with Accelero S1 Rev 2 in passive mode. Idles at 37C, 23C lower than the stock slot cooler. With Furmark it leveled out at 51c and stayed there. The stock cooler hit 78c after one minute and I did not wait to find out what would happen next.

revised 7-8-10


Last edited by diver on Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:06 am, edited 18 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:15 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2009 8:04 pm
Posts: 42
Location: Brasil
Nice rig dude, but i would consider some more cable management.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:37 pm 
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R2_ wrote:
Nice rig dude, but i would consider some more cable management.


I am not sure what that would accomplish. I could change the camera angle slightly and most of those cables would disappear. Air does not move the way most folks think it does. Thanks for looking, but I think you are dead wrong.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 2:41 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2005 8:11 pm
Posts: 92
Location: Australia
diver wrote:
R2_ wrote:
Nice rig dude, but i would consider some more cable management.


I am not sure what that would accomplish. I could change the camera angle slightly and most of those cables would disappear. Air does not move the way most folks think it does. Thanks for looking, but I think you are dead wrong.


I think he is just suggesting the cable management to tidy it up a bit. It might not improve performance, but it will look better.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 2:46 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:31 pm
Posts: 822
Location: Melbourne, Australia
diver wrote:
R2_ wrote:
Nice rig dude, but i would consider some more cable management.


I am not sure what that would accomplish. I could change the camera angle slightly and most of those cables would disappear. Air does not move the way most folks think it does. Thanks for looking, but I think you are dead wrong.

I doubt the cabling is interfering with airflow at all. I certainly can't talk about great cable management, given the current state of some of my rigs :oops:.

However, check out some of the other NSK3480 systems posted in the General Gallery. If you are up for a little case modding, you can hide most of those cables down the back side of the motherboard, with just a few holes for the necessary cables to come into the main chamber.

To my mind, those nicely cabled rigs look pretty sweet. Since your PC is closed up the vast majority of the time, it doesn't really matter that much though.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 3:01 pm 
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Posts: 327
The original photo made the cable situation look worse than it really was. A few ties have been added and a few wires moved. The "ground rules" for this build were to avoid metal cutting, elastic drive suspension, wiring on of fans, and home made ducts. Its a "screwdriver" build for the industrially challenged.

I have no doubt that individuals who engage in extensive modding derive great satisfaction from the process. Its innovative, and some of these ideas (like ducted power supplies) make their way into commercial products.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:09 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 9:18 pm
Posts: 404
Location: Illinois, USA
Nice build - I will be doing something similar in a few months.

Can you answer a question about the Accelero S1 in this setup: would it be possible to insert a card in the 3rd slot (2nd from bottom) while it is installed this way, without a fan on it?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:20 am 
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swivelguy2 wrote:
Nice build - I will be doing something similar in a few months.

Can you answer a question about the Accelero S1 in this setup: would it be possible to insert a card in the 3rd slot (2nd from bottom) while it is installed this way, without a fan on it?


There is clearance to insert a card in the third slot, which is PCI on this mobo. However the back of that card will be only 5mm away from the Accelero. If the card is small, like a NIC, it should not have much impact on cooling. Just curious, what did you have in mind?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:57 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 9:18 pm
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Location: Illinois, USA
diver wrote:
swivelguy2 wrote:
Nice build - I will be doing something similar in a few months.

Can you answer a question about the Accelero S1 in this setup: would it be possible to insert a card in the 3rd slot (2nd from bottom) while it is installed this way, without a fan on it?


There is clearance to insert a card in the third slot, which is PCI on this mobo. However the back of that card will be only 5mm away from the Accelero. If the card is small, like a NIC, it should not have much impact on cooling. Just curious, what did you have in mind?


What I had in mind was a 5400 RPM HDD suspended on elastic 5mm above the floor of the case, which will put the top of the HDD just about at the level of the 3rd card slot. Sounds like it should work. :) Thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:42 pm 
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Posts: 327
Postscript:

Antec sent me a new front panel because the original had one bad USB connector. Their customer service is excellent.

The original graphics card was a Radeon 4670 with an OEM Acceelero L1. It developed a noisy fan bearing and then started to BSOD when Windows Experience Index was run. Its been RMA'ed to Newegg. They seem to be set up to deal with this stuff in a a professional way, but I don't have the refund yet. Anyway, I like the 9800GT ECO better.

The DVD burner has a clunky tray. I guess QC is not what it used to be. I have been experimenting with lowering Vcore from the default 1.264 V for overclocked CPU's. Prime95 X64 ran this evening for 3 hours @ 1.152 V. Temperatures have dropped significantly, but more importantly, its much harder to get the PSU fan to ramp up. That is with a 20% overclock. Its hard to say what stock voltage is for an I5-750 as there are so many power saving and turbo frequency features built into the chip. Most of these are disabled when overclocking or changing Vcore.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 8:04 pm 
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Updated the photo to show post front panel replacement cabling. I found an article on Tom's Hardware where they set up the CPU at 180 Bclk, 1.2 Vcore 20X, Turbo off. For the first time since dispatching the stock settings, the CPU drops its multiplier to 9X at idle, using only 3 watts (according to Everest). At full tilt it runs 3.6 Ghz. Prior attempts to hit this speed produced uncomfortably high temperatures at the bios default Vcore of 1.264. Remember, this thing runs with 800 RPM fans for CPU & exhaust.

I don't want to look inside that case again for a while.


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 Post subject: Re: NSK3480, I5-750, Accelero S2 Added
PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:21 am 
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Photo updated.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:52 am 
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Posts: 327
Yesterday I reseated the cooler (again). I must have not done it right last time because temperatures dropped about 2C under load. Also, I have run across a number of forum posts where others are using the 180x20 CPU frequency and roughly 1.2 Vcore on the i5-750. It seems to be the sweet spot for high performance with heat that can be managed by a quiet cooling system.

See my photography at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/29229060@N04/

Its why I built this beast.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:18 pm 
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Posts: 327
Another post script:

After seeing an article at Tom's hardware on dynamic overclocking, I decided to try it. Essentially I bumped bclk from 133 to 160 while doing whatever was necessary in bios to keep all of the turbo and power saving features of the i5-750 enabled. It works like a charm. On a Gigabyte mobo the voltage is set to "normal". This results in stock voltages for the overclock. I tested the 2 core 3.8 ghz capability by running Linx with two threads, both with affinity to 2 cores and without. It was stable. The key is to turn off LLC, normal voltage setting and enabling all of the special CPU features explicity.

Today I saw the Earthwatts 380 on sale at Fry's for $30. It makes me wonder why I put a $20 fan in a $30 power supply instead of just buying a whole new PS.

-Ron


Last edited by diver on Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 2:49 am 
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Posts: 490
Location: London, UK
diver wrote:
Today I saw the Earthwatts 380 on sale at Fry's for $30. It makes me wonder why I put a $20 fan in a $30 power supply instead of just buying a whole new PS.
Because you'd be equally annoyed with the new, as you were with the old one. And you've done your share of environmentally friendly maintenance.

Nice small rig!

I like you photographs. Do you usually ask for permission, or do you sneek around with the 70-300mm glass?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:28 pm 
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Cistron wrote:
diver wrote:
Today I saw the Earthwatts 380 on sale at Fry's for $30. It makes me wonder why I put a $20 fan in a $30 power supply instead of just buying a whole new PS.
Because you'd be equally annoyed with the new, as you were with the old one. And you've done your share of environmentally friendly maintenance.

Nice small rig!

I like you photographs. Do you usually ask for permission, or do you sneek around with the 70-300mm glass?


Some shots are obviously posed, some are obviously not. I don't do any sneaking around. I am always clearly visible, and that big camera is easy to see. If you look further back, you will notice many candid shots were taken with a 16-85, usually at about 65mm. The 70-300 was an experiment for the Mexico trip, but lots of shots were at the short end. All of the indoor stuff was done with a Sigma 30mm, at close range. I just walk up, raise the camera and shoot. Very rarely does anyone object. The kind of good looking ladies that I photograph usually want their picture taken and feel it is a compliment. By the way, in the US and most other countries, there is no requirement that permission of the photographic subject be obtained. The shot may not be used in advertising, but the photographer may sell prints as works of art. The genre is called street photography and it is considered legitimate art. Sorry about getting a bit off topic here.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:34 pm 
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I updated the photo today to reflect the current cabling which is slightly (very slightly) cleaner. My usage with the dynamic overclocking shows the machine to be generally more responsive than a 3600 mhz. static overclock as the top CPU frequency is 3840 with one or two cores under load, a situation that occurs more frequently than having all 4 running 100%. Tom's Hardware considered the performance of this arrangement (3360 on 3 or 4 cores and 3840 on one or two cores) to be equivalent to a 3600 static overclock with their suite of applications. However, from a quiet computing perspective, the dynamic alternative is much better. Maximum temperatures are 6C lower and the power supply fan no longer spins up to where it is really noticeable. The only area where the static overclock wins would be running a highly threaded application like video encoding, where there would be an approximate 6% gain.

See my photography at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/29229060@N04/


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 8:22 am
Posts: 379
Location: maine
bikinis, some tattos, lard ripples an old guy ...
and no pc. :roll:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:48 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:05 am
Posts: 64
Location: Rhode Island
colm wrote:
bikinis, some tattos, lard ripples an old guy ...
and no pc. :roll:


This is one of the few places on earth where men would find that disappointing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:16 pm 
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Posts: 327
colm wrote:
bikinis, some tattos, lard ripples an old guy ...
and no pc. :roll:


The image of the PC is on the last page, and its the only image of that sort. As for an old guy...

Trandy, thanks. You know the old saying, there is no accounting for taste. Aside from that, I had the time of my life in Mexico last month. It also proved to me that this project was really worth it. When I returned home, half of the photos I edited on my notebook had to be redone because of the pitiful color response of its 13.3" display.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:19 am 
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Location: Turkey
Thanks for posting. Looks very nice.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:43 pm 
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Posts: 327
Two days ago the motherboard failed. Because I could buy another one at a Microcenter only 10 minutes away, I decided getting the machine up and running again that evening and avoiding the pain and waiting of the RMA process was worth $109, including sales tax. I have not decided about sending it back. Had it been a $250 X58 board, my approach probably would have been different.

As a result of the rebuild I got some new ideas for cable routing and those are reflected in the updated picture at in the first post of this thread. The main change was to route the SATA cables through te front of the upper compartment, down behind the front panel and then through the floppy drive cut out. Unused cables and the one 4 pin connector cable in use are stowed better. I believe the SATA cable from the hard drive in the upper compartment was previously binding somewhere and transferring mechanical vibrations into the case. Much to my surprise, changing the routing of that cable produced a slight reduction in sound levels.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:42 pm 
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Location: canada
Nice looking micro rig!

I installed the same CPU cooler in mine and I love it. Keeps my idling at 27-29C on low RPMs. It was really easy to install as well.

You have different fan mounting brackets though.

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:52 am 
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Thanks for stopping by PuddinPops.

Some more thoughts:

While I was trying to troubleshoot my bricked system I considered buying a new power supply. What I noticed is there are a lot of PSU's that are the required 140mm deep, but many have very long wires. The EW 380 included with the NSK 3480 has a custom short wiring harness. I suppose with a 60 cm long 24 wire cable, it becomes necessary to mod the case so that the wires can be run under the motherboard tray. Looks like the EW 380 until it burns up.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:54 pm 
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Today I went over to Fry's and bought a Kill A Watt. All measurements are at the wall AC power:

Idle: 66
Linpack: 190
Prime95: 179
AtiTool: 120
P95&ATI 200
Sleep, 2

Note that when running Prime95 with ATITool I ran Prime95 on 3 workers as this produced a higher reading than with 4 threads. I suppose if I played around with it long enough, a 220 watt reading could be coaxed out of the system. Considering an 80% PSU efficiency, its hard to get this box over 160 watts DC, or even half of the 380 watt capacity of the PSU.

Additionally I tried under-clocking the 9800GT Eco to 300/750/800. That only produced a 2 watt savings at idle, probably not worth the trouble.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 4:08 pm 
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Location: California
Wish your motherboard had an integrated GPU so I could get a rough estimate of how much energy the eco-9800 GT's use.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:35 pm 
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alphabetbackward wrote:
Wish your motherboard had an integrated GPU so I could get a rough estimate of how much energy the eco-9800 GT's use.


From looking around, the numbers I have seen are 18 watts idle, 66 watts TDP. Under the PCIE 2 specification, it is not allowed to draw more than 75 watts as there is no 6 pin connector.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:16 pm 
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
alphabetbackward wrote:
Wish your motherboard had an integrated GPU so I could get a rough estimate of how much energy the eco-9800 GT's use.


You could run it headless, maybe? Just pull the graphics adapter and watch the idle watts. Granted that you've got a watt-meter, that is.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:44 pm 
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Strid wrote:
alphabetbackward wrote:
Wish your motherboard had an integrated GPU so I could get a rough estimate of how much energy the eco-9800 GT's use.


You could run it headless, maybe? Just pull the graphics adapter and watch the idle watts. Granted that you've got a watt-meter, that is.


I have the watt-meter, however I am traveling for a few days. I will give it a try when I get back.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:38 am 
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Today I removed the 9800GT Eco and booted the machine with a Kill A Watt on the power line. The result was 39 watts AC at idle. that is 27 less than with the card in. Allowing for 80% efficiency in the PSU, the graphics card draws about 22 watts DC at idle, perhaps a bit less if there any losses on the motherboard.


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