Well, short and simple, my fiancee is a gamer....and loves CS:S but the computer she had was a ~3 year old Dell and just wasn't cutting it. So when we got engaged I promised her I would build her new computer. The premise was simple, be able to play DX9 games well without breaking the bank. Since her nickname is Smallfry, that was the name of the build!
First task was to decide on components and after a lot of thought and countless hours on ebay, OCN classifieds, and Newegg I secured everything I needed.
E2140 - $40 new
(2) 7600GT's - $80 new
P5N-E SLI - $50 Open Box
2GB Ballistix Tracer - Free (had laying around)
160GB HD - $30 - Open Box
Zalman 9700NT - $40 - New
Sony DVD-RW - $20 - New
Antec Neo 380 - $19 - New AR
Rocketfish - $48 - New
Cables and Misc mod supplies - $20
Total - ~$350
Not a bad start and after some OC love should be a stout little rig
I wanted to keep the mods simple and understated on this project to match the style of the Rocketfish, nothing like Can U see Me lol. One of the big things I focused on was keeping everything black and green. And I mean everything; black SLI bridge, black cables, green PCB's on the video card, black PCB motherboard, NT version of the Zalman...the list goes on. It was a royal pain in the ass trying to stay under budhet and still find things that were black and green, but in the end I managed it!
Anyway, first task was to tear the case down and paint it. I didn't take pics of the majority of that process since by now everyone has seen the Rocketfish inside and out but here some pics after painting.
Once the painting was complete it was time to install all of the components. Notably the cable management wasn't my best effort but I had no intention of it being visible anyway.
It's been a while since I've done a pure air cooled rig, so I was a bit concerned about air flow and in my distinct overkill style wanted to make sure air flow wouldn't be an issue. I went the ghetto route on this one and zip-tied two 120mm fans in place. I placed one close to the Ballistix given how hot they run.
My fiancee has always been obsessed with my blue gears temp monitoring fan, so I went one step further on her build and picked up one of the programmable LED fans. If you guys haven't seen these, they are amazing. You can program up to 16 separate messages and control how it is displayed. To show off the fan I modded a Lian Li PC-343B drive bay fan, similar to the Kama Bay.
Last step was to add a window to this monster. I went small on the window mostly because I knew there would be a lot of "dead" space in this case and I thought that would detract from the simplistic style of the exterior so I place the window directly over the motherboard and nothing else.
Got it booted up for the first time tonight and am currently installing Vista on it before I OC it and run some benches. Again, I'm not expecting anything spectacular especially since it's running Vista but if I can pull 6k in 3dmark06 I'll be happy.
Comments and opinions welcome!!