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 Post subject: Antec ISK 300-65 (heavily modded) gaming PC
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 10:56 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:37 am
Posts: 29
Location: Romania
Hello.
I've already written about (the beginning of) this project in a very old thread in the "silent hardware -> cases and damping" section.
Since then, I've modified considerably both the case and the hardware used, so I decided to "show it off" here.

So, here it is (some info from the old thread reused, with your permission, in order to bring it all together here).

Basically, the most interesting part is using a microATX board inside this case:

Hardware details:
Antec ISK 300-65
Seasonic TFX 300W
Asrock P43ME
Core 2 Duo e5400, overclocked, of course :)
Scythe Big Shuriken
4GB DDR2 Kingston HyperX
90GB OCZ Vertex 2 SSD
Palit GTS 450 low profile

The pictures:

Image
What I wanted to do was to modify the case in such a way that I would not damage the mini-ITX mounting option (in order to still be able to install a mini-ITX board in the future, should I want to). For that, I used pieces of another (cheap - 20$) computer case.
On the left side of the picture you can see the four mounting points for the bottom part of the microATX board.
On the right side of the picture there are the two spacers needed for the upper part of the microATX board.

Image
Initially I've used a picoPSU, but since it limited me to 150W and I still needed an external, rather big, Dell DA-1 power adapter, I decided to go with a TFX PSU, mounted on the case. Same total size, more power, easier to move around, without worrying about the brick.
In order to mount it, I used the screws from the psu fan. I drilled two holes in the case for the upper ones, and simply unscrewed the lower ones a bit to "catch", "grip", etc. the side of the case (the image speaks english better than I do :) ).

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The motherboard, processor, heatsink, memory and SSD installed, plus two 60mm 19dba 18cfm Recom "yellow blower" fans, just "hanging around", waiting for the video card :). Not every microATX board is compatible, the width must be 210mm maximum.

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Low profile Palit GTS 450 video card installed. Original video card cooling removed (way too noisy) and replaced with two 60mm fans. The bottom one pulls air from the left side of the case (actually, that is the bottom, in my situation... you will see why, in other pictures, below) and cools both the video card and the SSD. The second fan draws hot air and pushes it to the right side (top, for me, see why below), then evacuates it through the vents drilled in the side of the case. I've also used a 60mm Mini Kaze to cool the back side of the video card and to push up the hot air from one side of the Big Shuriken...

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... while the hot air from the other side of the Big Shuriken is pulled out through the PSU,...

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... resulting the airflow pictured above. You can actually feel this, as the lower half of the case is cold, and the upper half is hot during operation.

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I had to cut a big part of the left side of the case, for the I/O ports. I do not use a I/O shield, because additional cold air comes in through that big hole in the left (bottom) side of the case. Also, I drilled many holes to ensure ventilation for the video card, on both sides of the case (of course, the ISK 310 already has ventilation in those areas, but it was not available when I started the project). The big hole near the DVI connector is necessary, without it you wouldn't be able to slide the top part and close the case.


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The result
- the case mounted on the side of my desk/virtual cockpit or
- the case (sort-of) VESA mounted on the back of my 32" LCD TV.

Now, in all fairness, this build is not silent, but it is quiet, especially if you know how loud the original cooling of the video card can be, and if you consider the gaming power the gts 450 brings to such a small PC.
The Big Shuriken spins its fan at about 1000 RPMs; it is pretty much silent.
The same can be said about the fan of the PSU.
The only noise comes from the three 60mm fans, which must run at full 12V. Anything less would be too slow, since the video card temps under load ramp as high as 90+ C (when running furmark for an hour. In most games, temps are around 80-85).


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 Post subject: Re: Antec ISK 300-65 (heavily modded) gaming PC
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 5:32 pm 
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Friend of SPCR

Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:53 am
Posts: 1314
Location: CT
Fun build !!

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Main/gamming : Antec Solo|X-650|Asus P5Q-E|Intel Q9550@3.4GHz|HR-01 Plus 120mm Nexus @6V|Corsair 2x2Go XMS2 DHX cas 4 @4-4-4-12|Exhaust Nexus 120mm @9V|Intel X25M G2 160Gb|Samsung 1TB in SQD|2xGigabyte GTS450 OC (@900/1900/3800)|GPU fan 120mm Nexus @6V
HTPC/folder/Storage : Silverstone|E5300 with Samurai-Z|2Go RAM|GTX460@800|2x1To WD EARS|Intel X25M G2 80Go

Fold with SPCR


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 Post subject: Re: Antec ISK 300-65 (heavily modded) gaming PC
PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:59 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:37 am
Posts: 29
Location: Romania
Indeed, building it was fun and challenging, and the result is a very practical "mobile" PC, since it's not that much bigger than a laptop, but much more powerfull (at the same price range, of course).
The only thing left to do (I wish I knew how to do it) is to make the video card control the speed of the three 60mm fans.
Right now, they are connected to the motherboard and always run at full speed.
A HD 5570 I used before could do that by changing the voltage supplied to the fan, as a function of temperature. The higher the temps, the higher the voltage, thus the speed of the fans.
Unfortunately, the Palit GTS 450 has a 4 pin fan header and I'm not sure exactly how it works, but the 12V line is always supplying 12V. Since the fans only have two wires each, I don't know how to control their speed with the video card.

Any ideas?


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 Post subject: Re: Antec ISK 300-65 (heavily modded) gaming PC
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:48 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Posts: 3233
Location: ITALY
adisega wrote:
Any ideas?

Have you tried if SpeedFan may control those fans without the tacho (third, usually yellow) cable?

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Regards,
Luca


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 Post subject: Re: Antec ISK 300-65 (heavily modded) gaming PC
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:26 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:37 am
Posts: 29
Location: Romania
Thank you for your suggestion.
Actually, two of the three fans (the Recoms) have three wires, only the Mini Kaze is a two-wires fan.
Unfortunately, after installing and configuring speedfan, i discovered that my motherboard doesn't seem to be capable of changing the fan speeds, for any of them. The percentages change as a result of temperature variation, but the fan speeds (and noise) remain the same.
So thank you again, but I believe it is not possible (at least with these fans).


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 Post subject: Re: Antec ISK 300-65 (heavily modded) gaming PC
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Posts: 3233
Location: ITALY
adisega wrote:
The percentages change as a result of temperature variation, but the fan speeds (and noise) remain the same.

I suppose you have properly set the advanced configuration tab of SpeedFan with reference to your super I/O chip.

_________________
Regards,
Luca


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 Post subject: Re: Antec ISK 300-65 (heavily modded) gaming PC
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:35 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:37 am
Posts: 29
Location: Romania
Last night was the first time I've tried to use speedfan to control the speed of the fans, not just report stuff.

If I am not mistaking, I had to modify the PWMs to manual and set them to remember. Actually, except for the CPU fan, all others were already set to manual. I've also defined the range of the speeds (min, max, and checked the automatically controlled) and defined which fan speeds must be increased for the GPU temperature (actually). Last thing, I checked the automatic control on the main page.
As I was saying, the percentages (in the lower half of the main page) change with the temperature, but the reported RPM (upper half) stays at the maximum.

Am I missing something? Are there other setting that need to be modified?


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 Post subject: Re: Antec ISK 300-65 (heavily modded) gaming PC
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:44 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Posts: 3233
Location: ITALY
adisega wrote:
Last night was the first time I've tried to use speedfan to control the speed of the fans, not just report stuff.

If I am not mistaking, I had to modify the PWMs to manual and set them to remember. Actually, except for the CPU fan, all others were already set to manual. I've also defined the range of the speeds (min, max, and checked the automatically controlled) and defined which fan speeds must be increased for the GPU temperature (actually). Last thing, I checked the automatic control on the main page.
As I was saying, the percentages (in the lower half of the main page) change with the temperature, but the reported RPM (upper half) stays at the maximum.

Am I missing something? Are there other setting that need to be modified?

At first sight and broadly speaking (every setup has its own peculiarities) I don't think you've missed anything relevant (I'd try even all the options different from "manual").

There may be interaction between BIOS and SpeedFan (on some motherboards you have to disable the fans control inside the hardware monitor section to let SpeedFan take control of, and/or updating - flashing - with latest firmware, while usually the so-called "power fan" header is not software controllable, and so on), but it's a thing out of reach for me (troubleshooting is sort of hands-on-black-magic, which cannot be performed through a forum effectively).

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Regards,
Luca


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 Post subject: Re: Antec ISK 300-65 (heavily modded) gaming PC
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:37 am
Posts: 29
Location: Romania
I've already tried all options besides Manual (though the program wouldn't let me select some); I've cruised the BIOS in search of anything related to my problem, but there seems to be nothing of any relevance; I've tried both fan headers on the motherboard (referred to as SYS and AUX in SpeedFan), with no success.
And yes, I know very well what you mean about troubleshooting...
Thanks again, anyway.

I'm already thinking about some changes because of this :).
...thinking about using a mini-ITX board, but still keeping the 90 degree reversed orientation. That would allow me to keep the two-slot video card and hopefully replace the two 60mm fans with 80mm ones. It's not going to be easy, as I'll probably have to find another way of fixing the motherboard standoffs.

Nothing better than a new challenge before sleep :)


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