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Old June 21, 2010, 10:46 PM
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Join Date: May 2010
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My System Specs

Default My PC Refit... Cosmos S (Gaming Spec)

I've just got my rig back up and running after completing a refit. Changed motherboard, a couple hard drives, case, CPU cooler and modded the case with sound dampening material by Acousti. Using an Aerocool Touch 1000 Fan controller. And got rid of the RAID 0 configuration in favor of a 4 tier hard drive setup.

Full Specs:

Intel Core2 Quad Extreme QX9650 12Mb L2 Cache (3Mb each core)
Asus Rampage Formula Motherboard w/ 1333Mhz FSB with Gigabit LAN (onboard sound card used exclusively for front panel audio connectors when needed)
6Gb Corsair Dominator PC8500+ @ 1066Mhz
ATI Radeon HD5970 2Gb GDDR5 Graphics Card
Asus Xonar D2 Sound Card
Compro T500 T-DVB Digital Tv card
x2 Sony DRU-870s DVD-RW Burners
Pioneer BDC-202BK 5x BD-ROM + 12x DVD±RW SATA Dual Layer ReWriter
x3 Western Digital 500Gb Hard Drives (One used as primary OS and application drive / One used exclusively for downloads/ One partitioned in 2 for use for Windows XP and Vista OS Installs)
x2 Western Digital 1Tb Caviar Black FAEX Drives (One used exclusively for game installs / Other used exclusively for Backups)
Zalman CNPS9700-NT CPU Cooler
AcoustiPack Ultimate Acoustic Dampening Material
Tagan TG1100-U88 1100w BZ-Series Modular PSU (x6 12v rails)
Asus U3S6 Sata III and USB 3.0 Controller Card
x6 120mm Cooler Master SickleFlow Fans, x1 200mm Side Fan
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit Edition
Dlink DGL-4300 Gigabit Router
Iiyama ProLite E2607WS 26inch Monitor (1920x1200 / HDMI)
Altec Lansing FX-6021 2.1 Speakers

Here are the pics with Illustrations (Don't laugh at some of the descriptions... It's my way of keeping organised when all I see in thread writing is HTML code)(Warning, my camera is crap):


Case Exterior


Case Front


Case Side Panel


Fan Controller (BTW... The current temp showing in this pic is not my CPU temp... It's my GFX card temp.)


Case Jacks and Lights


Exterior Top Mount Fans


Monitor/Desktop (Yes, I know it's messy... And yes the wallpaper is a Dreamscape with full rotating Earth) (Update: I have replaced my keyboard and upgraded to the Logitech G510. I have also replaced the mouse and upgraded to the Roccat Kone+)


Front of case with Plates removed.. Foam blocks for sound dampening and help maintain directed airflow.


Internal Components (As good as the cable management in this case is, I just have too much hardware... There was only so much I could do.) Also, while the push lock mechanisms on this case are excellent and far more competent than most tool-less case mechanisms I've seen, I still hard screwed the ROM's in on the opposite side of the case to limit any possible vibrations (and resulting noise) that could result from not taking the time to do such a simple thing. Yes... I know... You can say it... It's pedantic... But I don't care.


Side Panel with Sound Dampening Material


Lian Li PCI Fan Controller Hard modified to be hard mounted to back of case, because top mount fan wires were not long enough to reach PCI Slots. 3 fans... 2 extensions... Forced to mod it. Online listings for this fan controller is wrong... It can control up to 4 fans... Not 3.


Modded Lian Li Fan controller from back side of case. (This Mod was done using a Drill and a Dremel... Damn I love my Dremel... Best Modding tool I ever bought.)



CPU Cooler


Aggravation... Hard to see, but if you look closely, you'll see I had to modify the motherboard in order to get the mounting bracket for the CPU cooler to sit properly... This part really pissed me off. Never fun... Always scary... Lots of swearing!


Power Supply


Top Mounted fans from inside.. You'll see that the cutting for the sound dampening material for the top was not easy.


Tv Set up.. My Tv is actually a Fully 1080p HDMI Computer monitor with a Virgin V+ box and a DVD player for audio. V+, DVD, and Computer are all connected to an HDCP compatible HDMI switch box and then connected from switch box to the monitor via an HDMI Cable. Computer Digital Optical audio connected to back of DVD player. My PC is my Blu-Ray Player. It was either 300 pounds for a Blu-Ray Player, or 60 pounds for a Blu-Ray ROM... I'm not rich. ROM it is.


Entertainment Center Equipment from top box to bottom... HDMI Switch Box/DVD Player Receiver/Virgin V+ Tv Box

Also with this setup, if I play on my PC a game which uses an XBOX360 controller. I can easily switch the screens and play the game on the couch. Surpisingly, this has proven very useful when I have friends over. I love this setup. The new refit is quiter than my old case, cooler, and the couple hardware changes I made (including losing the RAID) has actually proven to improve my system performance by a considerable and noticable margin. And has improved overall system stability. One fair warning about this case. While the sound dampening material makes a considerable impact to the noise level of this case, I highly (and I do mean highly) recommend using a proper fan controller for the CPU heatsink. The motherboard CPU fan connection just wants to go full boar non stop, so even with dampening material, it was very loud. Once I rewired to the fan controller, this case is now dead silent. Even quieter than my old case and that's a big achievement. Especially considering how open this case is. I expected it to be louder. But the rewiring to the fan controller (I was experimenting for results) the CPU cooler keeps my CPU at a frosty 22C. So I'm very happy. What do you guys think?

On one final note. The reason I chose the fans I did, was not only because of their stats, but also because they have a significantly dimmer glow from most LED fans. While I do like lights on computers, I don't like seeing those lights glaring all over the place when I'm watching a movie or trying to sleep. These give enough glow to be seen and look cool, but not bright enough to light up the entire room in the dark. I'm very happy with the result I got from that choice.

Last edited by bignick277; December 26, 2010 at 06:39 AM.
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Old June 22, 2010, 07:48 AM
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Join Date: May 2010
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My System Specs

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wow. conggrats man. that really came out great!!! too bad the case didn't come with a place to put all your cables.... but you did a good job of tucking them away in a corner!
happy gaming!!! :D

edit: wow thats pretty gutsy of you to mod the motherboard :P good thing i didnt get into that situation! but gllad those mods came out well!
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Old June 22, 2010, 12:38 PM
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Join Date: May 2010
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My System Specs

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Thanks man... Actually the case does have a place for all the cables... They're all tucked away behind the plate wall. The problem is I have too many cables between 6 satas, thick power cables as all are braided, IDE, Fan controller fan connections and temperature probes etc. Everything first goes behind plate wall then back out to where their needed. But even with that, it was still a pain to get it to even look like it does now. Also with the acoustic dampening material I installed on the right side panel, it reduced the amount of room I had to work with within that pocket. It worked out well enough though. But considering what the wiring situation looked like in my old case in comparison... I'm very happy... Wait... Here's a pic of what the wiring looked like in my old case, so you will see what I mean.



A marked improvement in my opinion.
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Old December 26, 2010, 06:17 AM
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Join Date: May 2010
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My System Specs

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Just a quick update guys. I have made few updates and changes to my rig since my original posting and thought I should update this post as a result.

Updates:

I've had to remove one of my RAM modules due to stability issues with 8GB of Corsair PC8500+ Dominators on this particular motherboard. I was getting random BSOD's here and there. Normally it wasn't an issue and just seemed random, but became a big issue once I started playing minecraft. Becoming consistant and easily recreatable giving me a reliable means to start troubleshooting the issue. After troubleshooting and narrowing down the possibilities, I managed to isolate the issue down to the memory. Using Memtest 86+ I found that I was getting a lot of memory errors. Thinking it was a faulty module. I pulled out a random module and retested. Errors went away. My first thought was "cool, first try and found the faulty module". Then my instinct kicked in and knew that computers are "never" that convenient. So I put the supposedly faulty module back in and retested. Errors came back. I then pulled out another different randomly chosen module and tested again. Errors disappeared again, proving my worst fear. It's not a faulty memory module, but something else. Most likely the motherboard. I started doing some research on the web about these memory modules on my specific motherboard. It's a known issue. It seems that the Asus Rampage Formula does not like these particular RAM modules in 8GB configuration. It works with other modules in 8GB configurations such as OCZ and G.Skill, but not the Corsair Dominators. After much research I could no one who has come up with a way to get these modules working in 8Gb configuration. Only way to fix would be to buy all new RAM modules which is just not an option for me. So I have removed one of the modules permanently on solve my stability issues.

The one benefit I've gained from removing the one memory module is that I now have the stability headroom to overclock the computer. I've managed to get it to 4.0Ghz but only at about 80% stability. But I have managed to get it to 3.8Ghz at 100% stability. I don't run it overclocked for normal use. Only for when the need should arise (which I haven't had the need yet, given my current setup). But I have now preconfigured and saved 2 profiles in the BIOS. One for standard clock configuration and one for my overclocked configuration. This at least gives me extra headroom in the future should I need to push my computer a litter harder.

Changes/Upgrades:

I have changed graphics card from the HD4870x2 to an HD5970 to update for DirectX 11 support for gaming.

I needed more SATA slots in my computer so I have now added a new Asus U3S6 controller card to the computer. This card has 2 internal SATA III and 2 external USB 3.0 ports. I have connected my 2 SATA III hard drives to the new controller. I have tested this card and I am getting considerably better hard drive performance from the SATA III drives I've connected to this controller.

Fair warning to anyone wanting this same card. Anyone who wants a SATA III controller, most of the cards currently on the market are underperforming because they use PCIE 1x interfaces. The PCIE 1x interface does not have the bus bandwidth needed in order to fully realise SATA III performance. The Asus U3S6 is one of the few that can perform to SATA III performance, but it requires as PCIE 4x interface. However, if you do not have a PCIE 4x interface, it works just perfectly in a PCIE 16x interface. It just won't use the full length of the slot. And as long as your PCIE 16x slots are at least to the 2.0 revision standard (PCIE 2.0), there will be no graphics performance hit to your computer as PCIE 2.0 has the bandwidth headroom to allow for this.

I have removed my EIDE DVD burners and replaced them with SATA DVD burners so I could get rid of the EIDE cable and turn off EIDE controller in the BIOS requiring one less step during boot up after post. Speeding up computer boot times and reducing the cables required inside my computer.

I have added a spare 500GB hard drive into my computer by modifying the Floppy drive mounting brackets to accommodate the hard drive instead of a floppy drive. I then partitioned this drive into two partitions, installed XP Professional on one partition and Vista Ultimate 64bit on the other. (I already had the 2 OS's, why not use them. But I have set up my PC so that it automatically goes into Win 7 without asking me which OS I want to boot. But if I want to go into one of the other OS's I just hit F8 during post and select the different hard drive. This way it only asks my which OS I want to boot to when I actually need to use one of the other OS's. Reducing average boot times and stages to OS load. And because of the way I've already set up my drives with games installed on it's own separate drive it makes it really easy to install games across all three OS's but use the same central data source. Meaning I don't end up wasting valuable hard drive space installing the same data in 3 different locations. They all use the same central sources for everything excluding their own local required OS files.

Final Notes:

The above changes and upgrades have considerably improved the performance and reliability of my PC. It's given me more redundancy, reliability and compatability over the whole of my system. And because of the changes I was able to remove a couple of the cables in the computer allowing me to better organise the cables and now looks a lot better as well. I will update the specs in my main post above accordingly. But I won't be updating any of the pictures. Camera's broken. I hope at least someone finds at least some of this interesting.

Last edited by bignick277; December 26, 2010 at 06:40 AM.
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