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[56K WARNING] Two build logs in one!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Click here to read Part 2 of the log.





Hey guys, I haven't been posting in quite a long time.
Given that my school break started last week, here's what I'd been getting up to.

I've been making a fair bit of money with my freelance PC assembly business, so I decided to treat myself to some new stuff.
Nothing exciting here, but I take pride in a build (no matter how simple) so let's get down to business. smile.gif

Here's what I had in my main rig prior to the overhaul:
Xeon W3520
Asus Rampage II Gene
6GB DDR3 Crucial Value RAM
500GB WD Black
2TB WD Green
MSI HD 6870 Reference
CoolerMaster Elite 341 Chassis
FSP Aurum 700W PSU

Taking advantage of the cheap price of RAM, I decided to add another 12GB worth of G.Skill NT Series sticks to my system; and went for a new chassis as well which would give me far better ventilation in the tropical heat - the Fractal Designs Define Mini. In addition, the H50 wasn't keeping up too well with the Xeon's temperatures and hence I got an Antec Kuhler 920 for it.

So without further ado, let's get to it. Here's the retail box of the Define Mini sitting in a corner of my room! Was pretty excited about this since its my first 'proper casing' ever since I built that rig in 2009.
400

Unpacked and sitting on the floor. Understated elegance. I know, I could probably do better with Lian Li or Silverstone, but none of them are as affordable or as flexible as this.
400

A comparison between the old CM341 and the new Define Mini.
400

A close-up on the USB ports. They don't seem to be too nicely made - they're quite tight and it is a bit of a pain to plug stuff in so I'll be using a powered hub instead.
400

The audio ports on the other hand are nicely coloured in black. Prefer this to the pink/green combination that most other manufacturers use. Aluminium ports would be a future mod, hmm.
400

Unlike the Corsair 550D, the door on this thing only opens from the right. Which is a bit inconvenient for me because I sit on the left side of the PC.
400

The spacious interior.
400

Doing a bit of test-fitting prior to mounting all the components. I was quite worried that there wouldn't be a space for the top fan to fit if I were to use the Antec 920 rad.
450

Aaaaaand it fits. With just that little bit of clearance.
450

Tubes are going to be a little stressed, due to the position of the CPU socket on an X58 motherboard...
450

Got my front fans (AVC DS12025B12H) mounted and I removed the top HDD cage for direct airflow to the hot X58 Northbridge. Black Silverstone grills for the fans as well.
400
400

The amount of filtration and insulation on this casing is phenomenal. And that's a good thing, for my 15 hours of usage daily.
400

Some very nice and solid vented PCI brackets Fractal includes with their casings. Sadly, I won't be using these because I've got stealthed Silverstone aluminium vents.
400

The Fractal PCI vents aren't the only things I'm trashing - the thumbscrews aren't spared either. Got some gold ones, and I'm using them because I can.
400

Screws and the PCI fan controller that comes with the casing.
400

Some nice cable management holes and grommets; but I'm not a fan of the sheer number of cables coming from the front panel. Luckily they're black, and hence easily hidden.
400

And now... On to the hardware. Here's the hardware I'll be re-using from my old build; the CPU, GPU, Optical drive, HDDs, motherboard and PSU.
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Something very old in a new rig... An RS232-based VFD indicator. I'll be getting a USB to RS232 converter for this soon, so in the meantime I just have it mounted in there displaying blanks.
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More fans - here's a sneak peek of the 14cm Lian Li ball bearing LED exhaust at the top, another AVC at the bottom for intake; and the Nidec Gentle Typhoon AP31 rad exhaust.
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Motherboard and disks in. What a mess already...
400

Then the power supply goes in; and while it looks neat from the front...
400

What a mess at the back. One of the drawbacks of the Define series is that despite the (apparently) cavernous rear, the side door actually bulges a bit when you shove cables back there.
400

After a while more, got the cables done and most of the stuff mounted right. The 920 especially; phew.
400

With the installation done... It's time to physically install the rig back in its table...
400

Check the temps... Which seem perfectly normal in Asian tropical equatorial climate...
400

And settle down for breakfast. ^^
400


Honestly, I apologise for some of the pretty bad pics. It's been 2 years since I last used my 1000D EOS, and I promise that the i3 photolog will be much better. More close-ups and some fancier post processing.
I'm still using Photoshop Elements 2.0 for the post processing, so please don't bash if some of the photos look a bit off. I just wasn't that alert or pumped that day, and just wanted to get it over and done with... So yeah.

I hope you guys enjoyed this one; I'll be updating the one for my bedroom rig tomorrow morning.
In the meantime feel free to discuss, give me some feedback, talk about the rig in general or just rate my cable management prowess. smile.gif

Here's a couple of videos about the case and some stuff after the build. Enjoy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9i4nEBFDLrA&feature=youtu.be
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnMoHPcVP_o&feature=youtu.be
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qM5HvNavzs&feature=youtu.be

See you guys soon.
Edited by Volvo - 7/10/12 at 3:14am
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post #2 of 11
Nice build!
Gold thumbscrews. Because you can. smile.gif
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post #3 of 11
Whats that drink in the mug you were having for breakfast... Looks like meatsauce or something.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by funfortehfun View Post

Nice build!
Gold thumbscrews. Because you can. smile.gif
Yep! biggrin.gif I actually have a liking for gold + white themed stuff, so I was a bit disappointed when I found out that the FD Define Mini didn't come in white. But oh well; I dropped a couple of bucks on eight gold screws since that was all the shop had left - 4 of them on the case doors and the other 4 as PSU screws.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteJM View Post

Whats that drink in the mug you were having for breakfast... Looks like meatsauce or something.

Hmm, it's this thing we have called Milo.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milo_(drink)

It's a sort of chocolatey drink and you either get a more cocoa flavoured mix if you buy the Malaysian one; or a more milky and fuller taste if you buy the Australian ones.

The thing that looks like meatsauce is a concoction called Milo Dinosaur - there's where you add Milo powder to hot water; stir thoroughly and add ice cubes to chill before dumping a generous dollop of Milo powder on the top and then serving.
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Build Log Part 2: The Bedroom Rig


Right, so the story continues here. I have been using the same rig in my bedroom for about 6 years or more now. It is (or rather, was) a HP Media Centre m-Series PC with numerous upgrades along the way.
Bought it early 2005 with a Pentium 4 640 HT and then had it upgraded to a Pentium D 930.
The 930 was of a faulty stepping - EIST was disabled right from the start because it caused instability and hence it always ran at 3.0GHz and I was always under the impression that it pulled its full 95W of TDP no matter what the usage.

Folding on it was pointless, and gaming was pathetic; even if the only games I ever played on this thing were Minecraft and TF2.

In 2008 I picked up a HD4550 with 512MB of GDDR3 memory to replace the *weak* X1300PRO. That didn't help much, and that was when I realised that the PD930 was the ultimate bottleneck in the system.
2009 came and it saw the replacement of the stock LITEON 400W power unit with a Seasonic M12 II 430 (SS-430GM 80PLUS Basic) due to heat issues; as well as the slow (and quickly filling) WD2500JS with a WD5001AALS. I also had Windows 7 installed on it for the first time; and the new disk and OS really brought about a new realm of computing for me. Everything ran quicker and smoother - except for games. The PD930 was STILL being a constant bottleneck and the CPU usage never fell below 65% at any time despite my insistence on a very stringent clean build.

Earlier this year I purchased an E2180 for a song; and contemplated replacing the PD930 with it. Alas; this being an OEM board; the latest BIOS revision was way before the E2180 was introduced and hence the PC wouldn't boot with the E2180 (though theoretically an i945P should be able to handle an E2180).

The upgrade ceiling; as well as the falling prices of Sandy Bridge CPUs and the reliability of ASRock boards I've used in numerous customers' computers saw me emptying some amount of cash for a new bedroom rig.
Here are the list of parts to be used.

- Intel Core i3 2100: New purchase
- ASRock Z68 PRO3-M: New purchase
- ASUS HD5770 1GD5 Reference: Re-used from sig rig
- 2x 4GB G.Skill NT Series DDR3-1333: New purchase
- 2x 1GB Hynix ECC Unbuffered DDR3-1333: Re-used from an old Mac
- WD5001AALS: Re-used from previous setup
- Corsair H50: Re-used from my sig rig
- CM341 Chassis: Re-used from my sig rig
- 2x Sanyo SAN ACE Side Intake fans: Re-used from my sig rig
- 2x AVC DS12025B12H: Picked out from my never-ending supply of quality ball-bearing fans
- 24x DVD Writer: Re-used from previous setup
- FSP Aurum 500W PSU: New purchase
- Dell U2211H: Bought used, the douche sold me a unit with a bright spot.

Without further ado; cue the pictures!


An overall shot of the parts to be used. Once again; apologies for the blurry images...400

Right, let's first take a look at our canvas; the casing. This is it in its extremely dusty form...
400

Some close up on the RAM...
400

Fan love. Did I tell you I'm a sucker for industrial-strength fans?
400

Delish shots of the GPU. Since its been used for less than 1,000 hours in the sig rig, its near mint.
400

When I said near mint, I mean near mint.
400

The Corsair H50 I'll be using. Since the old grommets split, I'll be using the green set from the Antec Kuhler 920 that I installed in my sig rig. The motherboard comes with LGA775 holes alongside mandatory LGA1155 holes; making this possible.
400

The motherboard; packaging and contents.
400
400
400
400

Z68. Totally unnecessary since I don't use any of that Virtu crap; but I do appreciate 4 RAM slots.
400

Totally populated. Hopefully I won't stress the memory controller too much, since I won't be overclocking on this one.
400

The Z68 chipset sink. Could've been nicer if they didn't engrave the 'A' there.
400

The handsome Sandy Bridge i3 in its socket. Mmm.
400

And the Corsair H50 that goes on top of it. With some ancient thermal paste...
400

And a handsome Silverstone FF-121 filter over the radiator.
400

A sticker here seems like a reasonable aesthetic touch, no?
400

Most of the parts mounted up and sitting nicely in the chassis...
400

Graphics card in. We're almost done here, save for some cable management, which frankly is a bit tough in a chassis that is this small, has no grommets and holes because it can't have any and has zero space behind the motherboard tray.
400

Here's a nifty tip for those of you with a CM341. There is quite a bit of a gap between the DVD writer, PSU and the case roof. So do take advantage of that to hide some of your cables.
400
400
400

You may have also noticed the lack of wires at the floor of the case - that's because I have the HD Audio/AC'97 wire wrapped around the front fan. I don't need that since I don't use headphones at home; and I'll never be plugging any audio devices into the front jacks. I have a mic, and that goes at the back so the cable is deemed unnecessary for me.

Right, on to address the shenanigans of this casing - that very crude whinging noise that all CM cases make when you use intake fans on the stamped grills; as well as prevention of dust buildup since this is going to be used in a bedroom.

Here's the casing in its dusty form. I've been using rad mesh grills on the side fans, and while they provide a bit of boost to the aesthetics they don't go very far in preventing the ingress of dust.

400


Upper side fan assembly removed and cleaned...
400

I have with me some Modright Filterright filters. While hideous, they do serve a purpose...
400

No, I'm not going to be using them as filters. That sounds bonkers, but it is true... I'm having them disassembled.
400

The inner rings are very useful. You see, what I'm creating with them is a shroud that distances the fan enough to prevent it from making whinging noises or clattering against the grill; but at the same time leave me enough space for everything else inside the casing.
Turning 25mm thick fans into shrouds makes little sense, turning 38mm fans into shrouds makes even less sense and buying a slim fan like a Kaze-Jyuni to turn into a shroud is a definite no-no.

And so, the best thing to do would be this.
400

I'll be using the nice and long Modright screws to mount the fans...
400

And the final assembly consists of more FF-121's on the outside.
400

It goes in this order:
[Outside] FF-121 -> Case Door -> Modright Ring -> Fan [Inside]
Beats the dust and the fan now makes a low hum at high speeds instead of that God-awful whining.

And we're all done.
Quite painless, right?
And here's the part where I fire it up.
























Wrong.
Something went wrong there and now I'm using the rig as such because...
400

... The power supply came DOA.
Now before you lash out at FSP, do note that this is the 4th Aurum 500 I've purchased, and its part of a large number of Aurum 400, 500, 700 as well as FSP Hexa 400s and 500s that I've been putting in customers' rigs. And this is the only one that happens to be DOA.
Blame it on my bad luck, it seems that my rigs never ever go one year without an incident. rolleyes.gif

Anyway, that about concludes the update for today. I'll try to get more pictures when I have it back from RMA and re-installed, but in the meantime here's the HP rig awaiting the scrapyard.

Well, not all of it. The major components such as the disk, motherboard, RAM, CPU and cooler stay, obviously. The case is rusting quite a bit and hence its going to the scrapyard. In fact, I've already thrown out the plastic front fascia, the plastic top with an integrated DVD storage thing, as well as both side panels in an attempt to lighten the thing as much as possible.
It now stays on my table till it completes its job of seeding some downloads; and this update is written from it.
400

As much as building the replacement was a pain and such, it has been a joy; and the end product is nothing short of marvelous. It is far quieter than its predecessor; and the excellent fan control on the ASRock board tunes the fans down to a mere 706RPM. Temperatures on the i3 hit a maximum of 48-50 degrees Celsius with IBT on pretty warm ambients (above 30+) and that is all with the fan at 706RPM.

Many thanks to everyone for reading my log, I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have writing it up, and please of course leave your comments and criticism in the thread. Feel free to discuss and tell me where I can improve. Photography? Notation? Order? Anything.

Even cable management - but I've got a feeling that unless what comes back is a 400W Aurum or a 550CM Aurum instead, it is going to be pretty terrible compared to most builds you see in this community.

Until next time, see you.
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core™ i5 2400 @ 3.0 ASROCK Z68 Pro 3 M AMD Radeon HD 6950 Shader Unlocked, @ 900/1400 2x KVR1333D3N9/4G 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
2x KVR1333D3N9/2G Plextor M5S 128GB Western Digital Caviar GreenPower WD5000AACS Western Digital Caviar WD2500JS 
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LiteON iHAS324 DVD-RW DL Thermaltake Water 2.0 Pro w/ AVC DS12025B12U Windows 7 Home Premium x64 Dell Ultrasharp U2211H 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Rapoo V500 (Kailh Yellow) FSP Aurum AU-400 400W 80PLUS Gold CoolerMaster Silencio 352 CoolerMaster Storm SPAWN 
Audio
Fenda F&D H200 2.0 USB Powered 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i3 2100 @ 3.0 ASROCK Z68 Pro 3 M AMD Radeon HD 5770 1GD5 (Reference) 2x KVR1333D3N9/4G 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
2x KVR1333D3N9/2G Transcend SSD370 128GB WD Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT Samsung SH-223C 
CoolingCoolingOSMonitor
Thermaltake Water 3.0 Performer-C AKASA Ball Bearing Windows 7 Home Premium x64 Dell Ultrasharp U2311H 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Armaggeddon Strike Eagle MKI-3 (Kailh Red) Dell (Foxconn) F320EM-00 320W 80PLUS Gold CoolerMaster Elite 341 CM Storm SPAWN 
Audio
Dell USB Powered 2.0 
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T8
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core™ i5 2400 @ 3.0 ASROCK Z68 Pro 3 M AMD Radeon HD 6950 Shader Unlocked, @ 900/1400 2x KVR1333D3N9/4G 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
2x KVR1333D3N9/2G Plextor M5S 128GB Western Digital Caviar GreenPower WD5000AACS Western Digital Caviar WD2500JS 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
LiteON iHAS324 DVD-RW DL Thermaltake Water 2.0 Pro w/ AVC DS12025B12U Windows 7 Home Premium x64 Dell Ultrasharp U2211H 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Rapoo V500 (Kailh Yellow) FSP Aurum AU-400 400W 80PLUS Gold CoolerMaster Silencio 352 CoolerMaster Storm SPAWN 
Audio
Fenda F&D H200 2.0 USB Powered 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i3 2100 @ 3.0 ASROCK Z68 Pro 3 M AMD Radeon HD 5770 1GD5 (Reference) 2x KVR1333D3N9/4G 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
2x KVR1333D3N9/2G Transcend SSD370 128GB WD Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT Samsung SH-223C 
CoolingCoolingOSMonitor
Thermaltake Water 3.0 Performer-C AKASA Ball Bearing Windows 7 Home Premium x64 Dell Ultrasharp U2311H 
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post #6 of 11
Man, the quality of your pictures makes your build look like pure SMSFJNFFJFFEX! thumb.gif
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Solitude R2.0
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post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by funfortehfun View Post

Man, the quality of your pictures makes your build look like pure SMSFJNFFJFFEX! thumb.gif

You flatter me, they ain't that good without the help of some good old retouching in Photoshop. smile.gif

But thanks anyway, I hoped you enjoyed it. Will strive for better pics next time biggrin.gif
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post #8 of 11
You know what they say, it's not a build log unless it's got a picture of someone's feet in it.

Nice build btw.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyboyd View Post

You know what they say, it's not a build log unless it's got a picture of someone's feet in it.
Nice build btw.

This one's got my feet in it!

400

Thanks for enjoying it. smile.gif
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post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Part 3: Table management

Okay, so some of you may have chanced upon pictures of how messy my table previously was.
450

Notice the bunch of cables behind the monitor, that's a whole bundle of crap that was never cable managed because we didn't have the time to.
Since school has reopened (somewhat), I didn't have time to whip out the DSLR and grab some good shots, so mobile phone shots will have to do for now.

The process of cleaning up the mess was simple.

#1: Simplify. It's a bedroom, I won't be here for long hours, and if I game here it'll be in the night. So out went the MX5020 speakers and in comes this pretty nifty Sharp CP-USB50 speaker.
#2: Find some air conditioning pipe trunking, hide cables inside, cut slots where cables are supposed to exit.
#3: If your desk is small, get a tenkeyless.

And the results...
450

I didn't really regret losing the VS2320. The Sharp ain't no full-fledged audio system, but it plays loud and proud for a USB soundbar this tiny.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGi1H7AF9RE


Shall be redoing my other desk tomorrow. The wooden desk that houses the Define Mini. Not many pics for that one since the trunking is hidden behind the table, and it is a very tight fit, but it goes to prove that having many peripherals doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be messy.
Edited by Volvo - 7/10/12 at 3:18am
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2x KVR1333D3N9/2G Plextor M5S 128GB Western Digital Caviar GreenPower WD5000AACS Western Digital Caviar WD2500JS 
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LiteON iHAS324 DVD-RW DL Thermaltake Water 2.0 Pro w/ AVC DS12025B12U Windows 7 Home Premium x64 Dell Ultrasharp U2211H 
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Rapoo V500 (Kailh Yellow) FSP Aurum AU-400 400W 80PLUS Gold CoolerMaster Silencio 352 CoolerMaster Storm SPAWN 
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Fenda F&D H200 2.0 USB Powered 
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