[Tales of Woe, Lessons Learned, and a Victorious Conclusion!]
I've tried to keep most of my posts here been pretty positive, but I feel one shouldn't go into a complex build without expecting some hiccups here and there - and by this point, I've had my share
As I've noted before, reading build logs here at OCN has built up my confidence for this build, and reading them has been a wonderful learning experience. And as far as learning goes, nothing beats a good quality fail. So I think this is a good time to share some fails of mine - perhaps someone will avoid mimicking my less-inspired decisions
I've lost/destroyed/uglied-up a few things during this build. I believe the first one was a 140mm Noiseblocker
fan. When sleeving cables, frequently the heatshrink you use on the ends of the nylon-sleeving material just doesn't have enough surface area to grab onto to keep the sleeve from slipping back and exposing the wire. In these situations, a bit of superglue is very helpful. It is also easy to apply if you use brushable superglue
After spending the better part of a Saturday sleeving a dozen fans or so, I finished up with my two 140mm Nosieblocker fans. One of the cabling areas was particularly stubborn so I used a bit more superglue than I likely should have. However, everything looked fine when I was finished, and it was near the end of the day so I packed up everything. Even though I left the fans out for a while to dry before putting the now-sleeved fans back in their packaging, apparently the last Noiseblocker didn't quite have enough time to dry. Once I put the fan back in its case, the now-trapped superglue vapors settled all over the fan blades and case, leaving an ugly white film all over the fan. I tried cleaning it off with fingernail polish remover, alcohol, and some other chemicals - all to no avail (I also uglied up the branded, protective sticker in the process). So be careful and give your superglue plenty of time to dry
[You poor, poor fan - you deserved so much better]
My next blunder involved my motherboard. During the process of transferring the motherboard from my test area on the floor to the case, I managed to bump just a little on something, and one of the motherboard's capacitors got ever-so-slightly bent. I straightened it back out (it really did appear to be a minor thing) and installed the motherboard and my other components in my case, all of which I was still cooling on air for testing purposes. I then proceeded to fire up the computer. Everything booted just fine - all the voltage readings were solid, and the computer ran perfectly stable. However, I did quickly notice a subtle high-pitched whine when using the computer - it seemed the capacitor I nudged didn't take too kindly to the rough treatment and was determined to make his displeasure known (and quite continuosly at that). However, as I said, everything still worked so I chalked it up to something akin to a cosmetic blemish, particularly since you couldn't hear the whine with the doors placed on the case.
Fast forward a week or two and everything is running smoothly on water. Then one night after some stress-testing, I decided to shut the computer down for the evening. As I moved the cursor to quit a program ... *black screen - silence*.
The computer switched off, with no error message or shut down screen ... it just ... ceased. My display then started blinking its 'no signal' screen saver. That's odd, I thought. It was late at night, and I was going to sleep, so I figured I would boot the machine back up to reassure myself everything was in fact fine (I'm sure most of you reading this have experience moments like this). So, assuming this was a one-time fluke, I pressed the power button to boot the computer back up and end my worries. The machine's various lights came on - then *zap*. Everything shut off. Subsequent efforts to elicit a response of any sort from my computer were futile.
I tested the PSU with my multimeter and a power supply tester - they both indicated that the PSU was totally gone. I thought perhaps my earlier decision to use Corsair's pre-sleeved cables had come back to bite me, and this may well be what caused the problem. Regardless, I needed a new power supply, so I ordered a fresh one (no way I could in good conscience RMA the broken one given I had chopped up most of its cables and was otherwise using many aftermarket and homemade cables). This time I decided to build my own motherboard cable to ensure it -perfectly- matched the factory Seasonic cable (and in the meantime use a generic sleeved extension cable
to keep things looking neat).
My new powersupply arrived, and after plugging it in, happily my motherboard's status lights would turn on. However, the computer still wouldn't boot. I went through a large variety troubleshooting steps, and discovered everything seemed ok, with the exception of the motherboard (and the CPU and GPU, which at the time I had no way to test). So then I had to also cough up some more money for a replacement motherboard. Thankfully my motherboard was still within the 90-days-from-purchase window, so AMEX's Accidental Damage protection
paid for a replacement. Thankfully the new motherboard worked, but to get it installed I had to drain my loop and otherwise disconnect and rearrange quite a few items - a solid afternoon's work.
So perhaps an act of god took out my PSU and motherboard, or perhaps it was that whiny capacitor, or perhaps the Corsair-sleeved cable. I took the "opportunity" I was given by being forced to replace my motherboard to hook up some temperature sensors and clean up my water tubing and various other odds and ends.
My PSU/Motherboard murder-suicide did set my build log back quite some time, and I didn't post here during that time as I was a bit too busy wringing my hands, as well as getting my computer back up and running. The whole experience was stressful - particularly waiting to see if my CPU and GPU had been struck down in addition to my PSU and motherboard. lt certainly is an experience I hope not to repeat. But as they say - thems the breaks - and things are now running smoothly and I think, due to drama, I'm extra appreciative . [Photos photos photos!!!]
So sure, not everything has not run smoothly, and I've had other issues in addition to those I discussed above (but this post is long enough, right?). So to get back to fun things, I give you Thirsty in her current, fully functional glory. I've got her overclocked to 4.7ghz , running very stable and extremely quiet. When running at a low load at 4.7ghz, my current build is quieter than my old computer was at its stock speeds. Under heavy load, it is barely louder than it is at idle. The ridiculous overkill I've used in my cooling components, which contains many more radiators and fans than are needed, lets me keep those fans at or below 800 RPM, even when maximizing use of the GPU and CPU, at the same time (Prime95
being my favorites).
So she performs well, but what about her looks? I'd provide my opinion, but I know I am a bit biased...
[No case lights, side panel removed]
[Another angle without the side panel]
[Lots of UV LEDs, and ldcooling.com's XL-Window
[Another angle with the UV lights turned on]
To conclude, I'm thrilled with the way everything has turned out. The case is wonderful, and the experience has been occasionally stressful but frequently rewarding. If you are unsure about taking on a new build, go for it! Edited by Kallor - 7/7/12 at 8:12pm