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 Post subject: Soundless and powerful Streacom FC5-based system
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2012 4:26 pm
Posts: 4
Hello,

As a follow-up to my original topic asking for system building advice, I've completed my new computer. There are more powerful FC5-based systems around, though this one is by no means weak. The system is completely passively cooled and has no moving parts whatsoever. I initially planned to get a discrete GPU, but due to the expenses and difficulties involved (read: PCI-E riser cards), I decided to go for a CPU with a mid-level GPU integrated.

Basic specs:

    Case:Streacom FC5 WS Evo Black
    Motherboard: ASUS F2A85-M PRO
    Power supply: Streacom NANO150
    CPU/GPU: AMD A-Series A10-5800K 3.8GHz
    Memory: Kingston HyperX 10th Anniversary Series (Low Profile) 2400MHz 16GB CL9
    Storage: Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
    USB 3.0 Cable: Streacom SC30
    Thermal paste: Arctic Silver 5

Construction:

Most of the build was pretty straightforward, though the mounting of heatpipes and the brackets holding them to the motherboard was a PITA. In addition to the thermal paste on the CPU, I added some to the areas where the CPU block connects with the heatpipes (the FC5 manual says to do this, but doesn't hurt to say it), the areas where they connect to the bracket, and also the areas where the brackets connect to the case (this wasn't mentioned in the guide).

As it's quite difficult to do this properly without some kind of a mess, my recommendation is to stick one screw in through the outside of the case first, attach the larger bracket (which in my case the thermal paste held affixed to the brackets), loosely tighten it, attach the smaller bracket using the same method. Then, make sure the heatpipes are properly attached to the CPU cooling block, add the remaining screws, and fasten the brackets and the CPU block.

Aside from this, the build went swimmingly, with only a few minor issues:
- The pin-cable provided by Streacom has a width of two pins, while the motherboard expects three (with one gap in the middle). I'm sure this could be easily solved by some creative use of copper, but I frankly don't even want an LED.
- The secondary power supply cable going to the motherboard is slightly too short, so it's rubbing up against the RAM.
- Mounting the SSD was a bit difficult as finding appropriately placed screw holes was easier said than done, considering I had an M-ATX motherboard. In the end, I attached it with just 3 screws - which hold it quite well. Since there are no moving parts, there is no danger of it falling off.
- Aesthetic issue: The PSU power brick is -huge-, but I can just hide it under the desk.

Operation:

The computer feels lightning-fast, everything being snappy as hell. The UEFI BIOS allows for a great deal of configuration, though some options are strangely buried. For instance, if you want to manually choose how much RAM to dedicate to the graphics card, you have to change the "Use onboard graphics (or whatever the terminology was)" option from "Auto" to "Force" first - this allows a maximum allocation of 2GB, which I went for.

The OS installation (Kubuntu 12.10) took under 5 minutes, if you discard the time I spent looking at options.
Everything has since pretty much worked well. There is one slightly annoying bug, which I suspect has to do with the power supply, and that's that it can't reboot or shut down properly - it just goes into a state where nothing happens, the screen is blank. The unfortunate solution here is pretty much to hold the power button in until it shuts down. It has no problems booting up (something it does in about 10 seconds, or 3 if you discard the time wasted by the BIOS).

The heat generated is surprisingly low, I've yet to see it go above 45*C (although I haven't done any gaming with it yet). I can easily touch the cooling fins without any discomfort.

All in all, I consider this quite a success. I compromised very little on power (I could have gone for a monster Intel processor, but that would also necessitate a discrete GPU), while the costs and effort required would go up drastically. I was also quite worried that the power supply would be insufficient, but it hasn't shown any sign of faltering yet, after running the computer for the better part of a week.

Credit:

Many, many thanks to Highfi for his help with selecting components and sharing his experiences. Without his knowhow, the computer would have likely ended up looking and working a whole lot differently - and not for the better. This dude knows what he's talking about! :)

Photos:

http://i.imgur.com/z1Fif4b.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/M0FO9e2.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/l1oadBK.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: Soundless and powerful Streacom FC5-based system
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:06 am
Posts: 152
Location: Cape Cod
Very nice build. Congrats!


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 Post subject: Re: Soundless and powerful Streacom FC5-based system
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:30 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2002 6:33 am
Posts: 8636
Location: Sunny SoCal
tDa wrote:
The secondary power supply cable going to the motherboard is slightly too short, so it's rubbing up against the RAM.


Those Pico-PSU P4 ATX cables are always too short. I just purchase one of those $3 extension cables to add on. Those cables are available at all the usual case-mod supply stores.

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 Post subject: Re: Soundless and powerful Streacom FC5-based system
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:28 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:28 am
Posts: 313
Seems like the A10-5700 would have been a better choice with its 65 watt TDP instead of the 5800K's 100 watt. Have you tried any games yet?


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 Post subject: Re: Soundless and powerful Streacom FC5-based system
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:29 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2012 4:26 pm
Posts: 4
Thanks, capecod! :)

Ralf Hutter: I'll keep it in mind, but I doubt it's worth the time and effort to fix for this particular build - it's not a major issue, and adding more cables would mean (slightly) more heat inside the case. I know air flow isn't a major issue, but still. Also, it would make it far less tidy.

Moogles: No, I haven't - mostly because I don't have time for any gaming. Last I did any was around Xmas/New Years, as I had time off from work. At some point, I probably will, but not yet.

The temperature hasn't yet been an issue, and I think using Arctic Silver instead of the stock thermal paste compensates for the TDP being over the recommended 95W limit.

Anyway, a warning: People, don't go for the Nano150 PSU if you're going to emulate my build.
It mostly works, but I've had a few random freezes from time to time which I attribute to the PSU. I intend to replace it the moment Streacom release their fabled Streaflex 250.


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 Post subject: Re: Soundless and powerful Streacom FC5-based system
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:44 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:49 pm
Posts: 1189
Location: UK
tDa wrote:
The temperature hasn't yet been an issue, and I think using Arctic Silver instead of the stock thermal paste compensates for the TDP being over the recommended 95W limit.

It might not make so much difference actually. The huge areas that need to be covered means that there's more than enough area for efficient transfer and the paste itself will make a trivial difference to heat conduction. It's for this reason that industrial machine applications do not use expensive thermal paste. They use big lumps of aluminium stuck on large areas with cheap silicon based pastes.

tDa wrote:
Anyway, a warning: People, don't go for the Nano150 PSU if you're going to emulate my build.
It mostly works, but I've had a few random freezes from time to time which I attribute to the PSU. I intend to replace it the moment Streacom release their fabled Streaflex 250.

This PSU seems to have been vapourware for some time. Makes you wonder what stage it is at.

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