This is my desktop. Click on images to enlarge. Super-huge 6 MP images available on request.
. Quick noise-making specs: Scythe Katana ducted to Coolermaster case fan, MP0603H, SP2504C hardmounted, Seasonic SS-200SFD with Zalman ZM-F1, AV-710
This is the Coolermaster Centurion 5. The picture came out a bit blurry, but it looks a lot worse with flash.
The bottom front looks absolutely fantastic. The power and reset buttons feel
so good and so solid. I kind of want to put the case up on the desk just so I can see the front more often; the only thing stopping me is the cable mess that would ensue.
The computer isn't on, so you can't see that I've replaced the standard blue LEDs du jour with a red LED for power and a yellow LED for hard drive activity. Incidentally, I found that these are in turn a little too
dim, but whatever, this computer is rarely off anyway
The inside ledge of the right USB port broke off in a freak accident. I think I pulled on the USB cable attached to it, and the pull vector was a bit too "up", resulting in the plug breaking away the ledge thing. The port still works when a USB plug is inserted carefully, though I imagine it would be liable to break contact when least desired.
Business end of the case â€” you can see the dual-head Matrox G450, the TV tuner and the sound card. The small slot thingy between them is â€” apparently â€” an external SATA port on my PCI SATA controller. I never tried it.
The audio cable runs between TV card's audio out port and the card's line-in. It was the only 3.5mm-to-3.5mm cable I had, and ridiculously long. I looped it around inside the case.
The backplate is missing, I bought the motherboard used and it didn't come with one, and the "standard" one that came with the Centurion didn't fit, of course. The PSU is held in place by a grand total of one screw. (Okay, and a bit of support ledges inside, see below.)
Also note the updated fan grill, it's a bit better than the one in the Centurion reviewed by SPCR.
The innards are pretty standard, yet another tower case. You can see the excessive length of the audio cable, it goes to the front drive bays and then some. It just occured to me that I should just roll it up in a nice tidy spool in the back. Hmm...
Zoom in on the CPU area...
The same with a very high-tech duct in place. If you're wondering how it stays there, the top bit rests on the fan and the heatsink directly...
... while the bottom is taped and rests on the audio ports. The vertical piece is held in by friction between the case fan side and the case. Amazingly, this doesn't fall apart every second. Take that, probabilities.
Front area cable management shots:
It's not optimal, but I daresay it's pretty good. The IDE cable going to the optical drive up top is a touch too short to fold it properly.
The 2.5" drive lies on some bubble wrap. I honestly doubt it improves any sound characteristics, but I can't be arsed to suspend it properly.
The 3.5" drive was purchased with the intention of putting it in a file server box, so I just hard-mounted it in Centurion's drive rails for the moment. It was considerably loud at first, but improved over the first two weeks. The file server never happened, but the drive is quiet enough now to not bother me, so I didn't bother with decoupling. Seeks are easily audible, of course, but as a data drive, this doesn't concern me much.
Both hard drives run around 38~40*C, the laptop drive usually a touch cooler. Only fans providing airflow are the ones in the back, but the bezel in the Centurion is very open.
The thingy on the gray ribbon cable is a MIDI header. I still have a MIDI-port steering wheel that works very well. However, I don't use it very often, so I just keep the header plugged in and open up the case whenever I want to play. Saves the hassle of aiming in with the header every time.
The fan cable going up along the board is the power supply fan (a 80mm Zalman ZM-F1), hooked up through a thermistor and controller with Speedfan.
This is the PSU itself. It's microATX, as I mentioned, it's held in with one screw and sits on the two ledges as seen. You can see the cable going to the fan. The other fan header visible services the case fan, which has a cable long enough to reach this header but not the bottom one. (The third fan header on the board is le dead.)
You can see a three-wire fan cable disappearing in the hole. This is actually the Scythe fan's cable. It seems that I twisted it a bit too much in my previous cable control attempts, and it broke contact and was transmitting power to the fan only intermittently. (Wasn't trouble-shooting that
fun!) I'm a bit wary of stability of the heatsink on CPU, and the wire grips that hold the fan in place are pretty stiff, so I didn't try to take the fan off and replace the cable. I might in the future, but in the meanwhile the duct to the case fan works fine.
The space above the fan is about 3 cm. At first it was worrying me a bit, especially coupled with a undervolt on the fan, but the PSU seems to run just fine and it doesn't get too hot. (Then again, this computer may consume 60 watts DC at full load...)
The front with bezel removed. I would be tempted to remove more of those blanks, but prosaically I cannot figure out how it's supposed to be done without twisting them off the metal supports. I don't think
I did the one near the hard drive right, as it left a sharp broken metal edge, which is in stark contrast with the usual toollessness of the case.
View through the removed blank over the hard drive... How's that for airflow.
Last but not least, the oh-so-useful left side of the computer aiding in cable management:
The long cables running from the front are Firewire and the case speaker. The two unused cables are the 12V 4-pin connector and the Katana fan cable. The closer connector on the power cable going to the front is connected to a Molex->SATA extender that's conveniently just long enough, and the further connector is for the 2.5" hard drive.
Approximate temperatures as reported by the board are:
CPU 38~48*C, depending on ambient
2.5" hard drive 35~40*C
3.5" hard drive 37~42*C
I didn't bother testing on load, since I don't do that often. When playing OpenTTD, which task manager says maxes the CPU, but I suspect it just reserves the cycles and doesn't use them all â€” kind of like "full load" in BIOS â€” the CPU temperature doesn't go up more than 2*C.
I would report my fan voltages, but I messed with my Speedfan setup and changed some multipliers in the options, and I'm pretty sure voltage doesn't scale linearly anymore. My 'quiet' setting is 50% for case fan and 3% (three percent) for PSU fan, which keeps things quiet and cool enough. Speedfan claims this corresponds to 1361 rpm and 1448 rpm, and I'm inclined to believe the first of these measurements. When my ceiling fan is on (ie, when it's warm outside), I crank them up to 100%/100%, which makes it a bit louder but still much quieter than the big fan.
Overall this is pretty quiet. It's 21:00 right now, and the crickets outside are louder than my fans. As I sleep with my windows open, there's no point in quieting much further. There still are some tricks to be pulled â€” decouple the 3.5" hard drive (place it vertically), duct the CPU fan somehow â€” but I don't need to do them right now. We'll see what the situation will be like when I move in a week.
I'd say it's not bad, considering I started a year ago with this: