*If I posted this in the wrong forum, I'm sorry, couldn't find a better place to post*
Hi, my name is Josh (online handle is CTRL) and I'm new to the forums but not to system building. I run a shop in DFW called "Knyte Computers" based out of a LAN cafe in the area. I've come to this forum countless times in the past and read up about specific cooling products or cases for a while, but never took the time to join and contribute. I decided it was time to make up for all this mooching, and decided I'd start posting reviews and comments and assisting people on the boards as much as I could.
I build custom computers for people and have done everything from "dead silent" computers for funeral homes (the customer's description, not mine) to gaming machines, and from now on whenever I get my hands on some big hardware, or complete some strange/unique/unusual build I'm going to post some pictures here and let people get some more real-world commentary. If something sucks, I'll say it, but I do my best to avoid prejudices.
So here we go.
This build was for a customer of mine who teaches stock trading classes and day trades during his free time. He came to me saying that he needed it to be on 24 hours a day, 6.5 days a week (markets closing on Sunday is his only real break) with as much real estate as possible and the horsepower to back it up.
Front of the case (HAF 932) with the Koolance RP-1000K pump/resivoir.
--The case as most of you know is fantastic overall, more will be said on this further down. But pretty simply, it's easy to work with and it just looks mean.
--This unit works amazingly well and is fairly quiet for the volume it pumps at, but the fan controller doesn't handle high-power fans that well (it was on/off only on two Cooler Master R4-L2R-20CR-GP fans). Overall I would probably use this unit again, because it looks good, works well, and I just plugged the fans into some 3-pin headers on the motherboard and used the on-board smart-fan functionality built into the BIOS.
1KW Silverstone PSU with the Seven (7) NVIDIA Quadro FX380's, on the Asus P6T7 motherboard (aka "The SuperComputer" board).
--This 1kW power supply (Model: ST1000) works great and the finish on it is superb. It works very well, and when I ran "Hardware Monitor" all the voltages were spot-on. A lot of people will say Silverstone products are overpriced, but on occasion it is well worth the money.
--The Asus P6T7 motherboard (with 7 PCI-Express x16 slots) is only one of two motherboards that would really work for this build. There's an EVGA board out now, but when I built this system it was the P6T7 or a Server mobo. More details about this part at the bottom.
-- Quadro FX380's are pretty standard fair for large monitor arrays, low power usage, low heat, and pretty good performance. 256MB per card is more than enough to run two high-res screens for stock trading, but this is definately not a gaming machine. The interesting note here is that the board won't SLI that many cards (it'll only do 4), but with SLI disabled, you get all 14 monitor hookups. And as a note, these Quadro cards CANNOT be mixed with GeForce cards according to NVIDIA so sadly, you can't just throw a couple of these into your system to add more screens.
--The CPU block (CPU-345AT) with the 240mm radiator (2x120 with the Cooler Master fans listed above),
--12GB of G.Skill PI RAM (had issues with one stick so only 5 are in the picture, but all 6 sticks were good). I have never had a bad stick of RAM from G.Skill in the 4 years I've been ordering from them and if I ever do, they have the same Lifetime Warranty most other high-end memory makers offer.
--This picture is a perfect demonstration of how well Cooler Master designed this case. All the wire cutouts are perfectly placed to hide everything nicely and it comes with a 140mm fan on the back for exhaust stock. I basically plugged everything in with both doors off, ran my wiring how I wanted it, and easily closed both doors. There is plenty of room behind the motherboard tray to run wiring (thankfully).
The tool-less DVD bays in the HAF work perfectly and allow for easy refilling of the reservoir if it ever gets low on fluid, but I am disappointed that the fill port on the top of the case wasn't G1/4 threaded to pop a nozzle on it, but this will be a case mod I'll perform down the road a ways (it will be well documented if nobody's done it yet). The 2 fan radiator in the top is also from Koolance (I'm a big fan of their products and customer support) and the nozzles on it (90* compression swivel nozzles) as well as the compression nozzles throughout all worked flawlessly and make it easier to route tubing across the system. These nozzles are again, a little expensive, but I've never had one leak on me, and you don't have to worry about silicone-ing them, pipe-clamping them - just push the tube on and screw - couldn't be any easier or more effective.
One last shot of the internals here. My only complaint with the Reservoir/Pump combo from Koolance is that it forces you to put it in the 2nd 5.25" bay otherwise the nozzles (even 90* nozzles) connecting it conflict with the radiator. But with the way it is in this build there is enough tube you can easily slide the reservoir out far enough to dump in more fluid in about 30 seconds when you need to.
So now you want to see what those cards were all used for I bet... GRATUITOUS AMOUNTS OF MONITORS. When I set it up there were eight 23" monitors (2048 x 1152 resolution) and one 46" Samsung LED LCD. He e-mailed me the other day to tell me he hooked up four more 22" Samsung monitors across his desk with a 24" HP monitor in portrait mode on the floor by his chair (might have pictures to show in the future).
And my personal favorite, a screenshot of him loading up his computer with 9 instances of MetaTrader (each instance uses ~7% CPU and 900MB of memory, sustained)
The P6T7 is a finicky board, be careful using it to it's full potential because I had a Lvl 3 tech at Asus tell me they didn't even have 24GB (6x4GB sticks) of RAM to pre-test a board for me with, so I don't know how consistently this board works at that level. If you do a lot of searching on this board for customer reviews you will see a lot of similar stories. This board is inconsistent, but when you get one that works - they are AMAZING.
So what do you think?