original title: 'Making old, new again. Stuffing an 8800GTS into an Antec 3000B'
I recently decided to build another primary computer in anticipation of a couple upcoming PC games and a desire to decode H264 videos greater than 720p. My current system has served me well since it creation, but itâ€™s never handled encodes higher than 720p without sync loss and more 1080p encodes are appearing surfacing thanks to the HDDVD/Bluray formats.
Iâ€™ve considered upgrading a couple times, but the noise vs performance gain was not worth it. But with Core2Duo based processors Iâ€™ve finally taken the jump. I was going to wait for ATI to counter Nvidia and see which graphics card would product the best performance vs. heat dissipation, but ATI continues to delay their â€˜nextgenâ€™ card and early previews have shown that it consumes more heat than Nvidiaâ€™s latest product line.
Which brings me to what Iâ€™ve built this time and how to stuff it in a case too shortâ€¦ Intelâ€™s juggernaut Core2 QX6700 mixxed with Nvidiaâ€™s 2nd tear (now 3rd) 8800GTS 640MB graphics card. Itâ€™s a lot of system for any case and I really wanted an Antec P180B or similar, but prices are high again so I decided to recycle my Antec 3000B.
I knew the hard drive cage would be an issue, and the simplest thing would have been to run only one hard drive, with the drive cage in itâ€™s original position. Something I was not going to do, as I know how much case vibration as carried over when I originally suspended my drive cage and later switched to foam softening.
Right away a came up with a practical and simple idea, move the front fan to the â€˜other sideâ€™. But I wasnâ€™t sure it it would rub against the poll off cover or rub against anything. So I laid a couple 120mm fans I had against it and noticed that there was enough space inside the cover to accommodate a standard 120x25mm fan but I still was not sure if anything would rub against it, causing the blades to not spin or carry additional vibration. So I held the fan in itâ€™s new mounting location and installed the front cover, success. Hand spun the blades from the inside (front fan grill was already cut out) and did not notice any rubbing, so I knew I was set.
Fast forward to finally having the final part for my build, a PNY 8800GTS. Turns out that the power header is located on the back of the card and not itâ€™s side as many pictures show. It was a crushing blow, but I refused to hold off any longer. So I compared the â€˜recessedâ€™ hard drive cage against the length of this massive card and itâ€™s power header. I knew it would be a tight fit, but everything appeared fit it place with a little cable management and a couple curse words.
So I set to work on a massive rebuild, and when it was all finished, my old case fit a pair of hard drives mounted vertically around the power header with no contact. But it was a bitch to position everything and the drive cage almost sits flush with the case metal. Almost being the keyword, wouldnâ€™t want any unnecessary case vibrations, would we?
How's that for long winded?
The guts of my rebuilt system:
CPU: Intel Core2 Quad-core Extreme Edition 6700 (266fsbx10) (paid less than 500USD)
Motherboard: Intel D975XBX2 (paid around 155USD)
Videocard: PNY 8800GTS 640mb (paid 350USD)
RAM: 2GB Kingston Hyper-X DDR2-800 'SLI Certified' firstname.lastname@example.org
PSU: Seasonic 120mm 600watt (too loud, not pleased with)
Case: Antec 3000B (reused, reworked, trickedout)
Heatsink: Scythe Ninja (reused,great investment)
FANS: 2x Yate-Loon D12SL-12 @ 900rpm
HDD 1: Seagate SATAII 7200.10 250GIG (free, wanted SATAII drive for OS)
HDD 2: Seagate SATAI 7200.8 300GIG (reused, needed space and it's still too little)
Optical: Pioneer DVDRW A08 (reused, probably upgrade to an A12 soon)
FLP: Sony (reused)
OS: WinXP SP2 OEM (reused...heh)
Sound/NIC: onboard, might buy a SoundBlaster FX it onboard does not cut it.
New MISC: custom lexan air tunnel for heatsink (to replace old cardboard air tunnel)
Old MISC: see original configuration for details.
So far itâ€™s been an affordable, effective 'rebuild' and I'm pleased all around. Not as silent, the bd meter verified that it's about 2db louder than my old configuration. The biggest offender is the power supply. Probably caused by too much heatsoak, so if it does not go away when finally upgrading to a chambered case [Antec P-whatever] I'll probably opt for an Antec Phantom 500 or a Silverstone ST50NF with a YaleLoon fan in the chamber. Thermalright HR-03 Plus with a 92mm Nexus fan would be nice too, but most likely unnecessary.
Front, Rear, Misc