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Old March 20, 2011, 10:44 AM
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Default Rison's Project SR-2.

Project: SR-2

also known as : project: migrane, project: where did my money go? and project: wtf have I got myself into?

It was a dark and stormy night. Yeah, lets skip that part, i'm not a writer - so i'll try to keep this short (muahahah, yeah right).
Mid December 2010 I decided to buckle and purchase an SR2 system to replace three folding PCs in my garage. A 980x, a 920 D0 and a 860 (which is currently for sale)

I mainly did this for (1) cool factor and (2) consolidate PCs to drop power usage. (mostly #2) The three PCs were consuming a good 1100 watts. This equals (at $0.12/Kwh) 13.2c/hour. $3.17 / day. Average about $95/month to run.

I purchased the EVGA board from Newegg, and received it in 4 days (on Dec 20, 2010) and already had the CPUs purchased from Ebay - two Intel Xeon 5645's for $550/pop with shipping. I purchased the RAM from newegg too, 6 sticks of 2GB ADATA gaming ram, 1600Mhz 9-9-9-24 DDR3.. it came in two triple channel kits. I normally wouldn't consider ADATA ram, but it gave free shipping and was cheaper than other triple channel kits from NCIX or Newegg.

My first instinct was to run this thing on the bench, the motherboard comes with little plastic risers - but the tinkerer in me wanted to mount it on something. Also, the garage can kick up some dust sometimes, so i'd prefer to have it run in a case with fans.

So the case I had to tear apart was my old, trusty Coolermaster ATCS 840. It's a huge case that many have modded to fit the SR2, so I thought "why the hell not".

First problem (of many) was the board is just too god damned big.

I have to "modify" the motherboard rail brackets so the motherboard would clear.

When I say modify, I mean grind the shit out of, then file down.



Woo hoo, it fit. Mostly.

I also "modified" the base with some tape.. for a "just in case" type of deal.. so nothing touches the back of the motherboard.




So here it is, in all its glory.






Kickass right? wrong.

The damn motherboard didn't work properly. Memory errors all over the place. RMA time!

This is the start of the project going sideways. I unmounted everything and sent it back to EVGA. When it got there a few days later, they emailed me stating they want $120 US because they found bent pins on one of the sockets.
As you might be aware, i'm a freaking hardware geek. At no point did I bend the pins on the CPU, and am EXTREMELY careful adding/removing the backplates.. and shipped it with the socket supports on.
After long and frustrating emails I buckled, and paid the piper. To this day i'm still bitter about this, and will NEVER purchase an EVGA product again.. for the rest of my life. (My GTX 580 I bought is an MSI)


So I get the motherboard back, and keep moving forward.

I didn't take any pictures of the reassembly.. because by this time I just wanted to get the damn thing up and running. I received the mobo back in uh.. February? I dunno, it took a freakishly long time to get the motherboard back.

Installation (again):





I went with the cheaper CM 212+ heatsinks.. cause I had them lying around plus the four Scythe SFLEX 1600rpm fans.

Free air time!






So, it's running.. but massive Win2k3 problems with core errors. This stopped the project for a good 3 weeks. In this time, I ordered a Mountain Mods Pinnacle 18 case. Huge mistake. Huge. Terrible. Bad.
Lots of people have read the rants on me purchasing this case, and breakdown is as follows:

Total cost of case:
Case: $378.54
Duty: $59
Fans: $35.50
Grills: $20
Pain and suffering: $priceless.

Total: $493

The pain and suffering was putting the damn thing together. The panels came individually wrapped in seemingly endless lengths of green cling wrap - which I didn't want to use a knife, in case of marking/scratching the expensive case. Couple that with the sharp edges everywhere, I cut my hands quite badly about 4-5 times. I literally bled all over the damn thing.

So i've taken two sets of pictures.. the older set (shown below) is when I was still messing with Win2k3.. painfully trying to get F@H working. Everything else was rock stable, 48h burn in tests.. but F@H failed at 0% every time on bigadv units.

To this day I have no idea why..






Notice the coffee mug in the above picture. Lots of that was consumed during this process.. a lot of the work was done "after hours" post 9pm to midnight (I'm up at 5am to goto work in the morning) Candle was burning at both ends to get this box working.




The above : finally installing Debian 6.0 - the Linux bigadv projects were back! (mostly..)




After about a week, and the bigadv finally getting more workunits added.. I decided to put the rest of the fans in the case (the second back case fan isn't in, in the above pic)

And now, the final setup as it is now, folding away happily in the garage:











The drive bay is a coolermaster 4-in-3 which has another 120mm fan, so the case has lots of air flow. Four Coolermaster R4's (blue) in the front, two in the back exhausting, and three on the top exhausting.

The hard drive used is a Western Digital Blue 500 gig (I use these as OS drives for all my folding boxes)

The PSU is a Silverstone Strider 1000W PSU

The UPS is a APC 1300VA BackUPS XS

Cpus are running at 195Mhz fsb, @ 3.7Ghz.

Total system power draw folding : 450W.
5.85c/hour, $1.30/day, average $39/month. That's a substantial savings in power ($56/mo, $672/year).

Total cost for the system, I don't like to think about it.. but i'm debating on adding a second, lol. I already have PSU and ram.. just need the mobo and cpus.

Mobo $693, Ram $148, CPUs $1100, PSU $180, Case $493, HDD $40, CM 4-in-3 $29, Cm212+ $45, 4x Scythe fans $68.
Total - $2796.

I have made most of that money back from selling the 980x system and 920 D0 system.. and will "break even" with selling the i7 860 system (hint, hint!, check my BST ) But I am making the bulk of the money with electricity savings from consolidating my folding farm to one box.

Would I do this again? Hell no. I wouldn't recommend this type of headache to anyone either.
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Last edited by Rison; March 20, 2011 at 02:48 PM.
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Old March 20, 2011, 11:03 AM
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Cool story bro. First time I've ever seen a EVGA SR-2 fully assembled. But honestly the Mountain Mods Pinnacle 16 looks too plain for a $493 case. Kinda looks like something that I can put together with some 2mm aluminum panels hanging around, tools and time.

What made you decide not to use the Coolermaster ATCS 840 instead as planned. I think it would look nice as well. Other than that it is an awesome build for folding.
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Old March 20, 2011, 11:08 AM
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Rison, wow very nice mini worklog. Man I was already for a good story -"It was a dark and stormy night" Thanks for all the numbers, really nice to see. Pricey case for what you get, although company costs. Next one you can build the case yourself for half price.
Again very nice post.
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Old March 20, 2011, 11:36 AM
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Pinnacle 18 you should say... not 16. NIce worklog.... nice hardware too !! have fun!!
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Old March 20, 2011, 02:06 PM
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He didn't even include PPD numbers....for shame haha. Solid build though. Any reason the case is in the garage and not in the basement or whatever besides temps?
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Old March 20, 2011, 02:46 PM
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Even though the ATCS 840 looked like it fit.. all the screwholes weren't tapped well, so I decided against using it.

I agree the MountainMods case is underwhelming.. it is a plain, no frills case that's overpriced and over-hyped by the community.

PPD numbers are pretty much the same as everyone else posted in the SR2 thread, anywhere from 90-150K PPD, depending on workunit.
980x+920 D0+860 was 55k+35k+40k, on average.. the PPD is approx the same as the SR-2.

Doh, it's 18, not 16.. thanks for pointing that out.
And it's in the garage, as my basement is finished and has my home theatre in it. I don't like the fan noise in it. Also, there are power considerations, where the breaker kept clicking out. Third reason is that I was heating my garage with a space heater in the winter.. and this is a far better setup, rather than powering a 1000W heater.
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Old March 20, 2011, 03:05 PM
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going to need some air flow in the summer though .
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Old March 21, 2011, 10:07 PM
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During assembly, we had to RMA 2 SR-2's because of no power and no post, each RMA took like 2 weeks, all in all, i'd say the failure rate of these SR-2's are ridiculously high :P
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Old March 21, 2011, 10:18 PM
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I've had 2 boards die as well.

Both for almost the exact same issues. Memory stability.
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Old March 22, 2011, 03:49 AM
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3 dead SR2s here.

Man do I feel your pain Rison, trying to do... something with that dreaded board. Out of the 4 that I had, not one managed to find its way inside a case.
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Last edited by 3.0charlie; March 22, 2011 at 03:54 AM.
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