Sunday, May 30, 2010

State of Computing

Mandatory background music, one of the better renditions of ragtime classic The Entertainer out there. By the way, I went through the blog template over the weekend to add proper tags and some site feeds too. To my non-existent readership: Enjoy!

Finally reminded myself to take a couple of pics during the weekly dusting routine

First of all, the heavily decorated front end of the case, notice the predominance of blue hue:)

What rests behind the door is less pretty however highly functional. Two 12032 fans (Silverstone FM122) pull a tonne of air with tremendous static pressure through those filters. Both are set to their lowest speed of 800rpm; at top rotation my neighbors would probably think I have been testing my own gas turbine.

Any casual observer would be able to tell this mid tower is probably filled beyond its intended capacity, well unfortunately it is true. I could not add anything to my rig without messing up with the fragile arrangement of cables, not even an additional HDD. The choice of CPU heatsink turned out to be the biggest problem due to its sheer size, and the 14cm fan is non-PWM, which means it has been running full-speed since I hooked it up, so much for the promised awesome stealthy operation. Why did I get it, well I kind of had to get it for bragging rights: As of May 30 2010 it is still not available in NZ. I will probably replace it once it becomes more common with something not so huge.....

Finally let me bore you out with the details specification list:
CPU: Intel QX9650 C0 w/ Noctua NH-D14, cannot be overclocked due to mobo.
Motherboard: SuperMicro C2SBX+
Memory: 8GB DDR3-1333 of all brands
Graphics: Zotac 9800GTX+ 512MB w/ AC Twin Turbo, 55nm version, very problematic
Sound: Razor Barracuda AC-1
SSD: Intel X25-M G2 80GB
HDD: Caviar Black 640GBx3, in RAID5 array so usable capacity is about 1.1TB.
Case: Antec P182, heavily mutilated
Power Supply: Antec CP-850
Additional cooling: Thermalright HR-05IFX/SLI on NB, and what is the remainder of an Evercool Serpent on SB with a 6cm fan that also send some air to the 4 sticks of RAM.

Just for the record, I also use Dell 2407WFP monitor, Logitech G1 mouse, Cherry G84-4100 ML switch keyboard and Phillips HP 840 headset.

P.S. In case you are wondering how did I stuff the CP850 inside the theoretically incompatible P182 case, well it did require a bit of basic modding: P182 has the same internal dimensions of P183, except the PSU riser which happens to be a few millimetres too high. The mod is pretty simple: Drill out the 7 rivets holding the riser in place (four on the bottom, three at rear), as well as four screw holes to line up with the CPX format. Once you have the actual thing in your hands you will know how to do it. The new PSU did seem to fix all the previous NMI issues.

I am planning to undertake the more risky move of flashing 4MB Phoenix BIOS once I am more free in the following months.


Next set, my server rig with water cooling, the tubes lead to an enormous Zalman Reserator 1 Plus. The ring has been set up at least two month ago, however various plots prevented me to add the finishing touches, or more precisely, two nicely cut holes with rubber cover for the inflow and outflow pipes.

All I can say is that the ring runs exceptionally quiet and cool.

CPU: Intel E8400 C0 ES, I paid too much for this junk of CPU and plan to use it till it drops dead.
Motherboard: Gigabyte G33M-DS2R, arguably the best 3 series mATX board, will happily take a Q6600 to 3.6G thanks to the six phase PWM. This rig also doubles as my HTPC.
Memory: 2GB DRR2-800
Graphics: Onboard with DVI from Dell ADD2 card
HDD: Caviar Green 640GB
Case: Inwin mATX, still had some touches of workmanship from the better days of CaseTek.
Power Supply: Antec BP-350. Overpriced, however it is really hard to find an efficient PSU in the sub-200W range.
Cooling: Staple Zalman Blue W/C Set, I hand made all the bolt-thru kits so they all stay on nice and tight.