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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I finally got the rest of the parts in today. Props to the Egg for their shipment means, got delivered a day early.



Components are as follows:

Fractal Design NODE 304 Case
ASrock FM2A85X-ITX Motherboard
AMD A6-5400K Processor
G.Skil Ares 8 GB (2x4GB) 1866 RAM
AData SX900 64gb SSD (OS Drive)
3 x Toshiba 2TB SATA III HDD's (will be using Flexraid)
PC Power & Cooling Silencer MKIII 400W PSU

Gonna run Windows 7 with XBMC. Only going to be used for Internet Streaming and 1080 encoded mkv blu-ray rips (handbraked down slightly).

Will be starting assembly later today, pics to come.

First impressions: The Fractal Design Node 304 case is BEAUTIFUL. Extremely high quality for what you're paying for. The powdercoating is immaculate, the white painted HDD trays are beautiful, the brushed aluminum front is just stunning. Very very attractive case for a HTPC. Feels solid and sturdy when together or with the outer shell removed. VERY VERY happy with the choice.
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Got started last night.

Got the PSU into the case first.

IMAG0720_zps4372a435.jpg


IMAG0721_zps5e347652.jpg


Then the Motherboard:

IMAG0722_zpsdc26c24c.jpg


You can see how tight the PSU would be to the GPU if I was using one. Although with the location of the modular cables, in this situation I think the connectors would stick out under the card and actually have really good clearance.

IMAG0722_zpsdc26c24c.jpg


IMAG0723_zps78425a8a.jpg


Ram installed......only bit of real color in the build.

IMAG0724_zps416dcd34.jpg


In with the CPU and HSF. Some creative zip tie work to hold the fan cable out of the way (somewhat) and I'll call it good. I know I know, I'm using the stock AMD HSF. But this isn't going to be overclocked in the slightest, so it should be fine for me. Will monitor and upgrade if necessary.

I'm at the point now of playing around with how I want to mount the HDD's, and cable management. There's actually a LOT of room for running cables around, but lengths are making it difficult. That and the PSU cables are pretty stiff and not very pliable. But it's coming together. I will say that the cables included in the Fractal case for teh front USB/Power Switch/Audio headers are VERY long, and with as high as the standoffs are the cables can be routed under the mobo which really helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Up and running. Surprisingly snappy for what it is. Installing all the software as of now. Finished pics to come. Very very pleased with it's performance so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
All done!

Cable management........not to my standard I'd like to see, but not terrible. Would be a freaking NIGHTMARE with an actual GPU in there though.

Here's some installed pics, mind you it's got a SSD and 3x 3.5" HDD's in there.

View from the top. You can see how the SATA cables are coming up over the PSU and around the front of the HDD brackets.


Side view. You can see how the front USB 3.0 header cable really takes up a lot of room. Along the back where the GPU would reside, I have excess cables serpentined vertically to keep them out of the way. You can't see the fan controller header or cables because the underside of the top brace is hollow, so they're tucked in there (barely).


Other side view, not a lot going on here.


Figured I'd put the little labels on the case. On the inside that is.
biggrin.gif



Did manage to fit the third HDD bracket back in, and in the second pic you can see how it's kind of holding the SATA cables down.




Good news is that with the SATA power cables and the actual SATA cables, they're all run down low up at the front of the HDD brackets, and actually either tucked under those or under the front intake fans. The ONLY obstructions to the front intake fans are the Brackets and HDD's themselves. But a SOLID 50% of each fan is blowing free and clear back into the box. The rear 140mm fan moves a bunch of air out. And the best part, this thing is stupid quiet. I was shocked at how little sound I actually get out of it.

Installed Windows 7, Flexraid, and XBMC today. This is my first experience with two of the three. Flexraid was a snap to set up, have it running with 2x 2tb drives as primaries and the third one is the parity drive. Initialized and was up in no time flat. Moved 1.1 TB of movies from two different computers, and surprisingly averaged about 110MB/s transfer speeds over my home network (all wired, I had three computers side by side doing all this). Still took a little while, but I had other things to do. My ONLY complaint about flexraid right now is that when I reboot the computer, the autostart for the pooling doesn't happen, and I've got to manually restart the pool. Going to test it from an S5 state though because that's how the computer will be powered down most of the time. XBMC.........wow. I should have done this a long time ago. LOVE how it pulls the metadata for the movies, the Aeon Nox 4.0 skin is just beautiful in it's white scheme.........and it's played everything without a hitch so far on my integrated speaker 24" monitor.

The motherboard........what a piece of crap. It didn't recognize my 1866 memory........brought it up at 1600. Seriously, no issues with the motherboard. Layout is well thought out, has an I/R header so I'll be putting that to use (I have a Harmony One remote that I REALLY want to get working with this. No strange noises, sounds, smoke, or smells from it (unlike the A75 from what I've seen......).

Tomorrow will be giving it a shakedown on the 50" plasma/Harmon Kardon receiver/Infinity speaker combo..............Looks right at home right now (sorry, dark room, cell phone as all the rest of the pics were......it's on the bottom shelf).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast93bird View Post

So I finally got the rest of the parts in today. Props to the Egg for their shipment means, got delivered a day early.



Components are as follows:

Fractal Design NODE 304 Case
ASrock FM2A85X-ITX Motherboard
AMD A6-5400K Processor
G.Skil Ares 8 GB (2x4GB) 1866 RAM
AData SX900 64gb SSD (OS Drive)
3 x Toshiba 2TB SATA III HDD's (will be using Flexraid)
PC Power & Cooling Silencer MKIII 400W PSU

Gonna run Windows 7 with XBMC. Only going to be used for Internet Streaming and 1080 encoded mkv blu-ray rips (handbraked down slightly).

Will be starting assembly later today, pics to come.

First impressions: The Fractal Design Node 304 case is BEAUTIFUL. Extremely high quality for what you're paying for. The powdercoating is immaculate, the white painted HDD trays are beautiful, the brushed aluminum front is just stunning. Very very attractive case for a HTPC. Feels solid and sturdy when together or with the outer shell removed. VERY VERY happy with the choice.
All looks really nice! When you say "handbraked down slightly" are you talking about lowering the file size of the .mkv's or are you worried about not being able to play high quality rips at 1080p?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xtreme21 View Post

All looks really nice! When you say "handbraked down slightly" are you talking about lowering the file size of the .mkv's or are you worried about not being able to play high quality rips at 1080p?
Just compressing them a little to save on file size. They play fine and are indiscernable from playing the blu-ray itself, to my eyes at least.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nothing to really update. It's been built and working fine since the last pics that I posted.
 

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Fast93,

Your setup is almost exactly what i have on the way in the post right now.

Question for you...

Do you think that cables with be impossible to route with full drive cages? (i.e. 6 drives?) How about the thought of finding space for 6 3.5's and an SSD screwed, glues or otherwise in there too? (i.e.- 7 drives in total?)

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
With the cages full......it'll be pretty dang tight. I could potentially see an SSD on the rear inside top of the outer shell provided you don't have an extra tall HSF. You'd just need to have longer cables for it of plug and unplug them in the blind. Hope this helps.
 
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Hi again,

As you were kind enough to reply to me, i thought I would let you know that the build went great. It took a bit of fiddling with the wires to get them as "clean" as possible, but the addition of the 7th drive went very well.

I screwed to to the outside of one of the outer drive cages. (I will attach a photo for reference-- obviously the other drives weren't installed at this phase, but this little beauty stayed there after the other 6 drives were in their proper homes as well...)

I cannot express how thrilled I am with this setup!!

The only con to the whole thing is the stock AMD cooler on the cpu. It is a horrid little noise maker. Looking to replace it, but bearable until I do so.

Thanks again!

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Looks nice!!! How was the cable routing with everything stuffed in there? I didn't think there was room on the outside of teh HDD cage, definitely good thought you had.
 

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The cable routing went as good as could be with the PSU I bought. I went with a non-modular one in case the on board graphics just wasn't up to snuff. Due to this, it was a bit or a bend-this here/ squeeze-this-there kind of deal, but all in all I managed to get the cables *mostly* out of the way and so that there is sufficient airflow to keep everything cool and quiet. The positive side of the PSU that I chose is that there was plenty of room to bundle up the unused cables and stuff them at the egress point of the PSU without any problem at all.

I would say, at present, there is still room for a graphics card and a CPU cooler if I want to go that route...

(If I should find any need to open it back up in the near future, I can post some more photos)
 
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