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 Post subject: My rig in 37 pictures (and story so far in 37,000 words!)
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:37 pm 
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Preface: pictures are 40 - 170KB each, click for larger version, 250 - 750KB each.
Even I can't ramble for 37,000 words, so only about 1,700 I'm afraid :lol:


Hi All, I'm going to present this thread as a load of pictures with captions and then all my long rambling commentary on how I arrived at this config afterwards; for anyone that's interested so without further ado the pictures:

I wanted more air flow through the case and decided on bottom intake.
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Holes marked out on paper. (46 of, since increased to 57)

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Holes marked on case through paper with a centre punch.

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Pilot holes drilled.

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Pilot holes in floor of case seen from inside.

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Holes drilled out, 10mm holes on 15mm centres. Additional soft "Acousti" feet stuck on existing case feet to lift further off floor to increase airflow under the case to the new holes.

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Motherboard tray with Asus P5B-E Plus motherboard, 4x 2GB Kingston HyperX RAM and Q9400 CPU with ZERROTherm BTF-90 "Butterfly" heatsink. Thermnalright HR-05 Northbridge heatsink, much larger than original Southbridge heatsink and 4 port USB PCI bracket.

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Fitted with 3 Arctic Cooling F8 fans, super-glued to soft white door sealing foam.

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Monster graphics card! Freedom Force & GTX260 review thread

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Graphics card fitted to motherboard.

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Graphics card takes up four slots in total!

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Shroud from CPU heatsink to rear case fans stops well short of the motherboard to allow extra air flow out of the case from over/around the motherboard. CPU at idle can be cooled by case fans alone if desired.

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CPU cooling from the other side.

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Antec Signature 650 cracked open and fan speed wire (yellow) extended and routed out with rest of wiring.

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Arctic Cooling F8 PWM fan on rubber grommets swapped in to Signature PSU.

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PSU fan header (centre), original fan plug (right) and Arctic Cooling fan plug (left)

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Replacement fan plug jammed on to fan header.

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Arctic Cooling F12 PWM fan for CPU cooling. Soft de-copling foam and corner cut off to clear northbridge heatsink clip.

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All fitted in to Cooler Master ATCS 201 case.

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Holes in case floor feed cool air straight to graphics card cooling. Lower case fan removes the hot air. (In theory!)

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CPU fan sits on the motherboard behind the DIMMs, has to be this low as the case is narrow.

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Lots of heatsinks. (Red SATA cables now replaced with black ones)

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HDD in Scythe Quiet Drive sitting on foam. (normally stands upright not touching anything and not falling over!)

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Rear 3/4 view.

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"Blow hole" in top of case serves as an intake, mostly to the PSU right below it.

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Rear view.

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Signature PSU with swapped fan on "Acousti" rubber fan mounts. PSU carrying plate had to be modified to allow for the fan grill that's bevelled outwards considerably.

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Internal case bar had to be notched to make room for bottom modular connector. PSU fan speed wire (yellow) plugged in front of RAM.

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Front view

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Scythe Quiet Drive budges out front of case slightly!

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Low tech sound damping!

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More low tech sound damping!

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Cable "management"

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Yet more low tech sound damping!

This text is a run through of the things I’ve done to my PC and it’s slow evolution that's lead to the above point. I’m not sure it gets quieter exactly but certainly faster. It seems to be a cycle of PC is fine then it’s too slow so gets upgraded and then it’s no longer quiet enough so I work on getting it back to really quiet.

The last full write up was a some 5 and a bit years ago, here, so things have changed quite a bit since then.

Shortly before the big upgrade an accidental short finished the Q-Technology PSU and I replaced it with a Seasonic S12 380w.
The system then had a big upgrade in Jan 2007 from Athlon XP2500+, 1GB RAM, Radeon 9600pro and 300GB HDD to Core 2 Due E6600, 2GB RAM, Radeon X1950pro, NeoHE 430w and 500GB WD 5000AAKS. The X1950pro was a Sapphire one that came with VF-900 on it and I bought Zalman 9500AT for the CPU.
Obviously it was much faster and I also went to Windows Vista at the same time. Unlike many people I had no problem with Vista, it ran fine and I couldn't understand what the problem was. Since then I've had the "pleasure" of working on under-powered Vista PC, and worse still laptops, that are intolerable!

On the Silencing front the hard drive got put in Scythe Quiet Drive, one of my best purchases. I find when getting to the quietest levels the hard drive becomes the loudest part. It’s much more effective than the previous enclosure I had, but also much longer, which became sort of a problem. The SQD knocks 3-4dB(A) off the idle noise, according to the SPCR review, and helps with the seek noise too.
I have a thread about the VF-900 and swapping a Noctua fan in to it to make it quieter.
At one point a stray wire got caught in the fan and stopped it, I didn’t notice for 2-3 days as was away and sadly this damaged the X1950pro. It kind of worked but some of the memory chips no longer worked properly so 2D has some corruption and any kind of 3D load produced a hard crash pretty quickly.
I replaced the X1950pro with HD4670 that was smaller and higher performance. The VF-900 got transplanted to it and the Noctua fan replaced with a Xilence one as the Noctua fan was also damaged by spending 2-3days ~90°C! Details here.

After a while of using the Zalman 9500AT, which has black PWM fan and 775 mounting only, I discovered it’s minimum speed is about 30% / 1300rpm and not that quiet. After much messing around I found a way to add a fan mate to the loop to “moveâ€

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:32 pm 
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Location: Lancashire, UK
Nice build, SebRad.

I especially like the photos documenting how you drilled more holes in the bottom of the case. I've been pondering the same thing regarding a more powerful PSU with top mounted fan in a Antec 300 case, and wasn't sure if it would work or not.

Good to see that someone else has used an AC 80mm fan for the fan swap in their PSU. I thought I might have been slightly off my chump when I decided to use one for my earthwatts 430, but it works surprisingly well.

How is the Arctic 12 fan for you? I bought one a few weeks back, but it had too much of a buzzing/motor sound to it (kind of like hearing a lawnmower off in the distance). I was never sure if I'd just got a bad fan or if it was an issue with the new design.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 6:38 pm 
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So, what didn't you modify?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 6:52 pm 
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FANtastic! :lol:


Cool floppy and opti drive paint job!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:38 am 
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Thanks guys, the top DVD-RW (Samsung) is a proper silver drive, the lower DVD-ROM is painted as is the floppy. Just using model paint as I recall.
Quote:
So, what didn't you modify?

Nothing that I'm aware of :lol:

The 80mm fan in the PSU at lowest speed doesn't produce a proper speed signal. Get intermitant readings of 1000-1200rpm, I can certainly believe half that for 500-600rpm. Under enough load once it's climbed beyond 700rpm the signal is fine so the speed control is still working and the PSU can hopefully keep itself cool. The original fan can, I believe, get up ~4000rpm where the AC in there now is nearer 2000rpm. I've only seen upto 1000rpm so there is definitely still headroom in my use.

The 120mm AC F12 PWM fan is fine. No bearing noise to speak of that I've noticed. I previously had AC 12025PWM fan which looks like an ordinary black fan. The more and curved blades of the F12 are supposed to help but my back to back testing suggested nothing to choose at equal rpms. The F12 maybe slightly quieter for a given rpm but nothing dramatic, it also speeds up faster in the % range. Not a problem with Speedfan but maybe less desirable with automatic / BIOS fan control.
Some reading I took a while back:
Code:
PWM%    12025(rpm)  F12(rpm)
15         -           400
20        400          527
25        422          659
30        439          703
35        502          811
40        555          900
45        620          1029
50        703          1096


Having made a mess of cutting the fan holes in the back of the case I wanted to do better with the bottom ones so gave it a little though on how to go about it. You can see the results. I'm pleased with how they came out, looks almost professional :lol:
Seb

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:54 am 
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SebRad wrote:
The 120mm AC F12 PWM fan is fine.


Thanks for the info. I guess it means I either got a bad fan, or Royal Mail did a bangup job of banging up my fan while it was en route to me :roll:

I have a 12025 PWM as the front intake at the moment. It doesn't seem to move a whole lot of air though, which is something I noticed the F12 did in spades, comparatively. It's a shame it couldn't do it quietly and had to be relegated to my "big box o' computer bits".

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:14 am 
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I totally love those mod threads !! thanks for sharing Seb !!!!

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