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 Post subject: Yet another HTPC/Desktop system
PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2003 12:13 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2003 12:00 pm
Posts: 140
Location: Finland
Still a bit work to be done but the system is already up and running, here's the current specs:

Coolermaster ATC-620C (black) case
Intel D865GLCLK mATXotherboard (integrated audio/video/lan)
Intel Pentium IV 2,8Ghz 800FSB processor
Coba 350W Power Supply (120mm fan)
2 x 512mb Kingston PC-3500 DDR
Samsung Spinpoint 160gb Serial ATA HD (SP1614C)
Plextor PX-708A DVD+/-RW drive
Hauppauge WinTV GO2 TV-Tuner

Processor is cooled by a Thermalright SP-94 with a bit of Arctic Silver 5 and a Y.S. Tech 80mm fan on top blowing AT the heatsink (the most silent one, can't remember the serial number right now). Would have wanted a 92mm but there weren't any great alternatives available.
One Nexus fan mounted inside the case onto the 60mm fan hole with a 60mm-80mm adapter sucking air out of the case.

You probably noticed that I didn't list a VGA card in the specs. I was going to install a 9700pro card with an Arctic-cooling VGA silencer but unfortunately the card was dead on arrival and I'm now waiting to get a replacement or some other card. The system is currently using the integrated video on the motherboard.
It's fairly quiet in my opinion but my last computer was insanely loud (you wouldn't believe how loud..) so it probably isn't as quiet as many of you would like.
One thing that bothers me though, is a very loud humming sound which I assume is coming from the HD and amplified by the case. The HD is mounted with normal screws and only from the other side since it's not possible to use screws on the other side in this case, so it's far from the best possible mounting.
I'm thinking of getting a Novibes or similar and mounting the HD into the free 5,25" slot I have left in the case, since there's hardly any space to do anything fancy with the 3,5" slot.

Temps reported by the Intel Active Monitor are CPU ~40C and system around 32C when idle. I fired up Seti@Home and the CPU temps rose to ~50C and system temps to around 42C. I think the temps are ok for such a cramped case, actually they're nearly identical to my old computer (the one that sounds like a jet :) ) with a 1ghz Athlon.
The Coba PSU has worked great so far! The back of the PSU has a switch (high-low-auto) which I keep at auto and the fan has been inaudible (about ~850RPM) even when the system is under load. All the voltages seem to be very good too.

Just a few random thoughts I had when I was building this system:

-The Intel guy who made the CPU retention bracket should be shot! It took me an HOUR to get it off the motherboard, one of the darn pins just wouldn't come off willingly.
-Assembling systems into mATX cases is harder than I thought, good thing I have long and nimble fingers :)
-The Nexus fan is a pain to install! I had some pretty darn long screws that still weren't long enough for the fan. I actually ended up using those black small wire things with a loop at the end through which you pull the other end to tighten them, to mount the fan to the fan adapter. Would have been thoughtful if Nexus had bundled the screws with the fan.
-I love Intel hardware :) This was the most trouble free OS install I've ever had. There were literally NO problems (minus the small one below). No hardware conflicts, no software problems, no lockups, nothing. Quite amazing. Actually I even got my WLAN working in five minutes after it had been thoroughly messed up for years.
-I had some small trouble with the new Samsung HD. Windows 2000 didn't want to recognize anything more than 127gb, but it was solved by adding one line to the registry
-A nice surprise to see how software had progressed from the last time I built a computer. The chipset driver installation and BIOS updates were accomplishes by only a click or two, really nice.

I'm not really able to post pics since I don't have any webspace anymore and I'm not eager to get any crappy geocities accounts just to show a pic or two. The system isn't that exciting anyway even though I love the look of the case :)

I'm quite pleased with the system as it is, if I'd get the temps under load to drop a bit more it would be ideal.

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 Post subject: Re: Yet another HTPC/Desktop system
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2003 7:13 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2002 6:33 am
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Fabool wrote:
One thing that bothers me though, is a very loud humming sound which I assume is coming from the HD and amplified by the case. The HD is mounted with normal screws and only from the other side since it's not possible to use screws on the other side in this case, so it's far from the best possible mounting.
I'm thinking of getting a Novibes or similar and mounting the HD into the free 5,25" slot I have left in the case, since there's hardly any space to do anything fancy with the 3,5" slot.


1) Unplug the HDD before you startup your system nexttime. See if the loud hum goes away.

2) There was a discussion over the last 4-6 weeks about alternative methods of mounting/dampening HDDs in desktop HTPC cases. Among others, MikeC was talking about sorbothane mounting the drive.

Fabool wrote:
-The Intel guy who made the CPU retention bracket should be shot! It took me an HOUR to get it off the motherboard, one of the darn pins just wouldn't come off willingly.


That's weird. It generally takes about 30 seconds to get the bracket off. You do know that you have to pry up those white pins, right? They wedge the bracket to the board by forcing open the black split pins on the underside of the board. After you pry up the white pins you can squeeze the black pins together from underneath the board and just lift the bracket right off the board. It's way easier to do than it is to say.

Fabool wrote:
-I love Intel hardware :) This was the most trouble free OS install I've ever had. There were literally NO problems (minus the small one below). No hardware conflicts, no software problems, no lockups, nothing. Quite amazing. Actually I even got my WLAN working in five minutes after it had been thoroughly messed up for years.



I build systems as a side job and this is the exact reason that I love Intel so much. The stuff works right out of the box with no hassle and is also super stable. You can't beat it.


Fabool wrote:
-I had some small trouble with the new Samsung HD. Windows 2000 didn't want to recognize anything more than 127gb, but it was solved by adding one line to the registry.


You realize this is an Win2000 issue, not an Intel issue, right?


Fabool wrote:
I'm quite pleased with the system as it is, if I'd get the temps under load to drop a bit more it would be ideal.


I'm pretty impressed with your temps considering this is in a case with rather poor airflow. 50°C for CPU load is great under those conditions. Things may change when you actually put an ATI 9700 in there though.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2003 8:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2003 12:00 pm
Posts: 140
Location: Finland
Yeah, I knew that the white tabs had to be pulled out but one of them just wouldn't come off no matter how much force I applied to it (a few times my tool slipped and almost made some serious damage to the motherboard!).
In the end I kept at it for so long that the white tab began to break, let's just say there was not much left of it when it finally came off :D Probably the only nasty bracket out of a thousand, and I had to get it.

Yes, the HD problem was due to Windows2000. Easily solved, but it took a little while to find what was wrong.

Planning on getting a Novibes clone for the HD ( http://www.sunbeamtech.com/new/products ... lencer.htm ) since the real Novibes isn't available here. Hopefully it's just as good as the real thing.

Forgot to mention earlier that the reason the system is so powerful is because I need to do some 3d work on it so it's more of a desktop system than a HTPC machine.
I'm quite pleased with the performance/heat/noise ratio since it seems to be holding steady. The temp on the CPU at load has been 49C and the system temp 40C for the past 24h.

I'll see if I can get some pics up somewhere when I get the vid card.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2003 12:47 pm 
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Fabool wrote:
Yeah, I knew that the white tabs had to be pulled out but one of them just wouldn't come off no matter how much force I applied to it (a few times my tool slipped and almost made some serious damage to the motherboard!).


No, the tabs don't need to pulled out, just up about 40-50mm. Sometimes they'll come all the way out pretty easy, other times you'll have to be content with just pulling them up a little bit. Either way works, just so you get them up enough to give the black plastic room enough to compress together.

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Main Box: Intel i3-3225, Intel DH77EB, 16GB Corsair RAM, 256GB Samsung 830, SS360GP PSU, CM PS07 case.
Music Server: Intel DH77EB + i3-3220, 2xSamsung 2TB F4, Pico PSU, Fractal Define Mini, 2xScythe Fans @250 rpm.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2003 1:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2003 12:00 pm
Posts: 140
Location: Finland
Well, yeah but it didn't come up enough either :) Believe me I tried but it just hooked onto something at the bottom and fidling with it from that side didn't too much good except left a scrape on the motherboard which thankfully didn't do any real damage.

Although, there might have been something wrong with that particular hole because I had a lot of trouble with that corner when mounting the Thermalright heatsinks x-plate. One of the screws didn't want to align properly no matter how long I fiddled, it was like the hole on the x-plate was half a millimeter off so I had to use a lot of force to screw it in and the standoff was left a bit crooked. Good thing it didn't affect the actual heatsink installation.

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