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  #11 (permalink)  
Old October 18, 2008, 09:32 AM
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Quick update, I have a few more pics to post later today (the backside is now worse lol). And I have a list of quibbles I have run into.



Quibbles:
  • Inside of case should be black like under the front bezel.
  • PCI blanks (and cold cathode light switch) are loose with the tooless locks.
  • 5.25 drive bay tooless locks don't hold the drives firm on the backside, the drive itself will wiggle if you push it. I'll be adding screws to the back side when I finalize the build.
  • Feet are uneven, but appear to be adjustable. It doesn't manifest itself on my workbench because the surface of the bench is soft. However, on my desk the case rocks a bit. I'll look into adjusting the feet later.
  • No guards on the top and rear exhaust fans, with no way to aquire such sizes.
  • Fan screws are hex-head not phillips and no key included. Very odd they would do this, because the side panel fan is mounted 180 degrees out from what we would want (cable on top of fan in plain view, not bottom).
  • No extra HD pin/grommets, some HD pin/grommets do not fit the screw properly. This blocks the pin from fully seating and then blocks the adapter from mounting in the drive slot. A few spares would help.
  • One red LED light is not enough for this case, the side panel fan (at least) should also have LEDs, and the top and rear fan could also benefit from light.
.
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eVGA 680i SLI (A1) P31
Intel Q6700 Kentsfield | Scythe Ninja-B | Antec Tri-Cool 80cfm
4GB (4x1024MB) Corsair Dominator 8500
boot: 4x WD Caviar SE16 250gb SATA2 Raid-0
backup: Seagate 500gb 32mb SATA2
eye: eVGA 9800GTX+ SC 512mb 770/2.25ghz
candy: Samsung 940B-HAS | X-Fi XMusic | Pioneer DVR-212D SATA
juice: PC Power & Cooling 750Quad | Cooler Master HAF932
steering: Logitech G15 & G5 | E3D Pro/Momo Wheel | X-530's

Last edited by Lithotech; October 18, 2008 at 09:38 AM.
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old October 21, 2008, 11:07 AM
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Making progress. Mockup is done, dry fit is good. Front side looks ok to me, just have to deal with one of the cold cathode tubes, the cable won't quite reach the inverter from where it is so it is hanging in space right now. Also still have a fan controller to wire up. I put a Cool Drive and floppy in to fill the top two bays because the lighting showed through way too much when they were empty. The fan controller will go in the top slot, and I'll get a card reader for where the floppy is. All the HDs are in, and 4x striped raid online with a single backup drive.

Three pics of the front side:








Blasphemy!

Added the drive bay adapter for some more red LED.






Had difficulty getting both cathodes to reach the inverter. Sort of locked me into a crappy position for the inverter, I was worried the side panel wouldn't close.




Nasty! But good enough for now.




Side panel fits fine, the outward flares on the side panel and smartly placed, and afford near a 1/4" more room.




The bottom was resisting, so I pushed on the cables a bit more and tried again and she went on perfectly flush.




All Lit Up!




This minor ding was there when I first pulled it out of the shipping box.




Ahem....




Fixt!

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eVGA 680i SLI (A1) P31
Intel Q6700 Kentsfield | Scythe Ninja-B | Antec Tri-Cool 80cfm
4GB (4x1024MB) Corsair Dominator 8500
boot: 4x WD Caviar SE16 250gb SATA2 Raid-0
backup: Seagate 500gb 32mb SATA2
eye: eVGA 9800GTX+ SC 512mb 770/2.25ghz
candy: Samsung 940B-HAS | X-Fi XMusic | Pioneer DVR-212D SATA
juice: PC Power & Cooling 750Quad | Cooler Master HAF932
steering: Logitech G15 & G5 | E3D Pro/Momo Wheel | X-530's
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old October 21, 2008, 11:57 AM
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Damn Litho.. making me jealous.. grrr... Sharpie style eh?...

Nice stuff Litho.. looks nice when lited up, the cable management looks super to be honest.
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Old October 22, 2008, 06:28 AM
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What a sweet setup you have there Litho, those HAF932s look nice and roomy.
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old October 22, 2008, 04:00 PM
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Thanks guys!


Next up:
  • Post Hard Drive Benches
  • Update my sig!
  • Swap the video card for a 9800GTX, will perhaps pair that up sooner than I thought too.
  • Swap floppy for card reader and CoolDrive for Sunbeam Reobus fan controller.
  • Finalize cables front side, mess up backside some more.
  • Fix backside removing any ISuck-tape.
Wishlist:
  • Swap the 4x WD SE16-250 drives with 4x Seagates I have but need to shuffle a lot of files.
  • Hardware raid controller
  • New mobo and quad cpu
.
__________________
eVGA 680i SLI (A1) P31
Intel Q6700 Kentsfield | Scythe Ninja-B | Antec Tri-Cool 80cfm
4GB (4x1024MB) Corsair Dominator 8500
boot: 4x WD Caviar SE16 250gb SATA2 Raid-0
backup: Seagate 500gb 32mb SATA2
eye: eVGA 9800GTX+ SC 512mb 770/2.25ghz
candy: Samsung 940B-HAS | X-Fi XMusic | Pioneer DVR-212D SATA
juice: PC Power & Cooling 750Quad | Cooler Master HAF932
steering: Logitech G15 & G5 | E3D Pro/Momo Wheel | X-530's
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  #16 (permalink)  
Old October 29, 2008, 12:07 PM
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Change in plans:
  • Hard Drive benches in next post. Some interesting results!
  • Sig can wait!
  • Vid card tonight if I don't get waylaid.
  • Hopefully get the fan controller in tonight too.
  • My mobo doesn't have another free USB header, so nix on the card reader -- I'll continue to use the external one I have.
  • Cables are fine for now lol. Will be more mess to deal with after the fan controller is in though.
  • Swapping to 4x Seagates moves up on the list. After seeing how much faster they are in singles, I really want to see what they do in a stripped array compared to the WD's. I'll be picking up 1 or 2 larger drives to transfer stuff to and free up 4 x 250's in the near future.
Wish list keeps getting longer, dammit!


.
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eVGA 680i SLI (A1) P31
Intel Q6700 Kentsfield | Scythe Ninja-B | Antec Tri-Cool 80cfm
4GB (4x1024MB) Corsair Dominator 8500
boot: 4x WD Caviar SE16 250gb SATA2 Raid-0
backup: Seagate 500gb 32mb SATA2
eye: eVGA 9800GTX+ SC 512mb 770/2.25ghz
candy: Samsung 940B-HAS | X-Fi XMusic | Pioneer DVR-212D SATA
juice: PC Power & Cooling 750Quad | Cooler Master HAF932
steering: Logitech G15 & G5 | E3D Pro/Momo Wheel | X-530's
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old October 29, 2008, 02:58 PM
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Hard Drive Benchmarks

I ran several benches of the drives as singles, dual drive RAID 0 and 4x drive RAID 0 with various stripe and cluster sizes. All but one stripe size showed odd or problematic results. Interestingly, it was a different stripe size than what I was using before (and I did the same routine before). Might have updated the BIOS since then, or something else. It seems the best balance for me atm is an 8K stripe and 2K cluster size.

I didn't fuss too much with various cluster sizes because most of the benchmark programs don't require the drive to be formatted, so it saves time. For the most part, I just used a 4 to 1 ratio: 16K stripe and 4K cluster, or 8K stripe and 2K cluster, etc. I did verify that different cluster sizes made little difference, and it is the stripe size that has the most impact on performance.

Someone mentioned in another thread that the latest drives are much faster these days. For sure, perpendicular recording has helped increase density and speed, as the Seagate easily slaughtered the WDs as singles. Considering the Seagate is already older tech (still PMR though), I was impressed. Can't wait to try one of Seagate's 7200.100 500GB 32MB drives!

Benchmark Programs Used

Note: I didn't start using RoadKill's HD Speed test untill all was finished, so I don't have a singles test for the WD drives. I also tested the Seagates in different mobos/systems, with close enough results to not bother cluttering up these results. I can post them later if someone wants.
  • ATTO
  • Everest Disk Benchmark
  • HDTach
  • HDTune
  • RK HD Speed (RoadKill)
Single Drive Results


ATTO Seagate 7200.10 250GB Sata2 16MB




ATTO Western Digital SE16-250 Sata2 16MB




4 x 250GB Western Digital SE16-250 Sata2 16MB
RAID 0 w/ 8K Stripe 2K Cluster




Everest Disk Read Seagate 7200.10 250GB Sata2 16MB



Everest Disk Read Western Digital SE16-250 Sata2 16MB




4 x 250GB Western Digital SE16-250 Sata2 16MB
RAID 0 w/ 8K Stripe 2K Cluster




HDTach Quick Seagate 7200.10 250GB Sata2 16MB




HDTach Quick Western Digital SE16-250 Sata2 16MB




4 x 250GB Western Digital SE16-250 Sata2 16MB
RAID 0 w/ 8K Stripe 2K Cluster




HDTach Long Seagate 7200.10 250GB Sata2 16MB




HDTach Long Western Digital SE16-250 Sata2 16MB




4 x 250GB Western Digital SE16-250 Sata2 16MB
RAID 0 w/ 8K Stripe 2K Cluster




HDTune Seagate 7200.10 250GB Sata2 16MB




HDTune Western Digital SE16-250 Sata2 16MB




4 x 250GB Western Digital SE16-250 Sata2 16MB
RAID 0 w/ 8K Stripe 2K Cluster




Roadkill HD Speed Test Seagate 7200.10 250GB Sata2 16MB




4 x 250GB Western Digital SE16-250 Sata2 16MB
RAID 0 w/ 8K Stripe 2K Cluster




.
__________________
eVGA 680i SLI (A1) P31
Intel Q6700 Kentsfield | Scythe Ninja-B | Antec Tri-Cool 80cfm
4GB (4x1024MB) Corsair Dominator 8500
boot: 4x WD Caviar SE16 250gb SATA2 Raid-0
backup: Seagate 500gb 32mb SATA2
eye: eVGA 9800GTX+ SC 512mb 770/2.25ghz
candy: Samsung 940B-HAS | X-Fi XMusic | Pioneer DVR-212D SATA
juice: PC Power & Cooling 750Quad | Cooler Master HAF932
steering: Logitech G15 & G5 | E3D Pro/Momo Wheel | X-530's
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old October 29, 2008, 03:05 PM
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Are the Seagates brand new? If so, are their 250s still shipping as a single platter drive? That's gotta count for something. (I am absolutely clueless when it comes to reading HD benchmarks... I kinda understand the bandwidth idea, but then they throw in different sized blocks and I haven't got a clue what I should be looking at.... :) ).
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Old October 30, 2008, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sswilson View Post
Are the Seagates brand new? If so, are their 250s still shipping as a single platter drive? That's gotta count for something. (I am absolutely clueless when it comes to reading HD benchmarks... I kinda understand the bandwidth idea, but then they throw in different sized blocks and I haven't got a clue what I should be looking at.... :) ).
Yes, a couple of them are only months old (bought when they hit $50), the other two and a month or two older. All within 6 months though. They are quite thin and compact, so I would surmise they are single platter.

I can see from these results that I still have some sort of problem with the WDs. It could be the nVidia 680i chipset though, as I have heard of poor raid performance on them and I had problems with these same drives before this. The original stripe clucter I was using was crazy, but seemed the best compromise. Now, it is different. That's one reason I want to try 4x seagates.

Nevertheless, the numbers are a huge boost from a single drive, even the seagate which comes pretty close in a couple things as a single drive vs 4x stripped array.

It doesn't matter that one may not be able to interpret some of the data, all one has to do is compare the data to other data to see improvements. There are other experts out there that may be able to idenify my problem by looking at these benchmarks, but the best place I knew to post and ask for advice is now gone.

I don't worry too much about it, the drives are stable and fast enough. I also plan to eventually buy a hardware raid card, and never have to worry about lousy chipset raids again. This way, I can migrate entire raids to different motherboards with less fussing. So, in time I will migrate the WDs out and replace with seagates -- I just don't know when I will have time or the money to buy another couple of large drives to hold the data temporarily. I need at least one more 500gig drive as well as the one I just bought below...

.
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eVGA 680i SLI (A1) P31
Intel Q6700 Kentsfield | Scythe Ninja-B | Antec Tri-Cool 80cfm
4GB (4x1024MB) Corsair Dominator 8500
boot: 4x WD Caviar SE16 250gb SATA2 Raid-0
backup: Seagate 500gb 32mb SATA2
eye: eVGA 9800GTX+ SC 512mb 770/2.25ghz
candy: Samsung 940B-HAS | X-Fi XMusic | Pioneer DVR-212D SATA
juice: PC Power & Cooling 750Quad | Cooler Master HAF932
steering: Logitech G15 & G5 | E3D Pro/Momo Wheel | X-530's
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old October 30, 2008, 10:40 AM
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I just ordered a seagate 500gig 32mb cache, and should pick it up today. Damn thing is $15 more than it was weeks ago, but I found I needed it right away. You see, my wife was at a community auction last night, and called me to ask what $ to bid for a package of Microsoft software. I told her it was worth about (or just over) $1000 retail, and to put in a silent bid for $100-150. I said it was very unlikely that it would go for that cheap. She said the value was listed at over $1000.

I came home last night to see the two software packages on the counter! Holy crap! She won it?? OMG! I asked her how much, she said $105, and Happy early Birthday! My Bday is in November, and I am celebrating now, wewt.

The software is a retail copy of Vista Ultimate 32/64 bit, and a copy of Office Ultimate 2007. I still don't have Vista, and was planning on getting an OEM version of VHP eventually. I use Office 2003, and am happy enough with it for what I use it for. I was in the beta of Office 2007, so know what it's all about and am confused as anyone with the changes. Anyway, it's licensed for three computers, so I will keep and use it on my main system, my notebook, and my youngest daughters system.

So now I need a drive to put Vista on, and I need it right now dammit!

The 250GB seagate I am currently using as a backup for the raid will do. It's too small for backups anyway, and I wanted a 500gig drive as soon as prices dropped back to what they were. I don't mind paying a bit of a premium, since I need it right now, Dammit!

What I will have to do is archive the 250gig onto the raid, then restore it to the 500gig. Test it, and if all is well I will then install Vista on the 250gig. I am out of drive bays at this point, so will have to either store the backup drive when not needed, or mount it in the Thermaltake iCage. I also plan to swap out the sata DVD for a pata one I have, to free up the last sata port. So, I have a bit of shuffling work to do, but it looks like this weekend I should be playing with Vista and trying the 32bit vs the 64bit versions with my particular hardware.

As soon as I get some benchmarks of the single 500gig seagate, I will post them here, maybe even edit them into the previous post.

.
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eVGA 680i SLI (A1) P31
Intel Q6700 Kentsfield | Scythe Ninja-B | Antec Tri-Cool 80cfm
4GB (4x1024MB) Corsair Dominator 8500
boot: 4x WD Caviar SE16 250gb SATA2 Raid-0
backup: Seagate 500gb 32mb SATA2
eye: eVGA 9800GTX+ SC 512mb 770/2.25ghz
candy: Samsung 940B-HAS | X-Fi XMusic | Pioneer DVR-212D SATA
juice: PC Power & Cooling 750Quad | Cooler Master HAF932
steering: Logitech G15 & G5 | E3D Pro/Momo Wheel | X-530's
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