After years- at least five, IIRC, of using watercooling, I decided to try air again.
Two reasons behind the conversion- first, watercooling is somewhat of a PITA-especially if you swap parts out frequently.
Second, the new Intels- specifically, the 45nm chips- just don't run that hot.
Also, aircooling technology has advanced a great deal since last I tried it and I figured that for just a few bucks it was worth a shot.
What really pushed me over the edge was rediscovering my TJ06 Silverstone case, buried in a storage closet.
The TJ was the first case I totally fell in love with- I thought then (and still think now) that it was the most handsome enclosure I'd ever seen.
The CM Stacker (the original T-01) that I'd had before- and went back to again- and the Silverstone TJ07 that I ultimately ended up with, were better suited for watercooling (mainly cause they were big) but neither had the look of the original Temjin.
Now, the TJ06 was a seriously flawed design internally- it's claim to fame was a "windtunnel" cooling system that only fit a very few motherboards/heatsinks...it certainly didn't work with anything I had at the time.
It also had a horrible placement of the harddrive cage.
Naturally, within minutes of unboxing the case, both of these items were removed.
Here is one (not mine), unmodified...
I can't remember the last case- if indeed there are any- that I used just as delivered.
Anyway, she went through several iterations- watercooled, of course- that resulted in lots of case hacking and part removal.
Here are a few examples...
Chassis was painted matte black and the front was cut to install a radiator.
Note the 120mm hole below the top mounted PSU...this originally held a fan to cool the HDDs and later became a mount for a reservoir.
Now the original optical cage has been removed and a smaller one installed. The HDD has been placed up front, cooled by a roof mounted 120mm fan and handles have been added to the top ( don't ask why, I don't remember).
I think this was the final version before I got another Stacker and moved on.
At any rate, you get the idea...I chopped up this case mercilessly and threw it into the closet and forgot about it.
Till last week.
I dragged her out, gazed at it speculatively and decided to try reviving her from the dead. Really, she had nothing to lose...
Naturally, all my hardware has changed and all the holes cut for watercooling were now useless, so there was a lot to do.
First up was the roof panel.
The handles and the 120mm blowhole were not only unneeded but also offended my sense of aesthetics- which has changed a bit since I started doing this shit- so they had to go.
The easiest and most useful for case ventilation way of doing this was to just mesh the top- like so...
This also served to make possible the next mod I wanted to do.
The Corsair PSU I now use had the hardwired cables on the side furthest from the motherboard when mounted in the stock position. This subtracted about 6" of length- which I really needed- and necessitated the use of extenders.
However, if I could flip the PSU, the cables would be more properly positioned but the cooling fan would be facing the roof.
The mesh made this possible.
I decided to reverse the Corsair's fan as well...it now draws air from the back and exhausts out the top. While I had the case open- yes, another warranty sticker shot to hell- I removed the redundant 4-pin motherboard cable. This is my biggest gripe with what would otherwise be an almost perfect PSU...they hardwire BOTH a 4-pin and an 8-pin connector, one of which must be hidden, unused. Why they don't just have a single 8-pin and include an adaptor, I'll never know.
Anyway, problem solved.
Next up were the optical and harddrives.
I had no way to mount them.
Back in the day, I only had one harddrive-remember when they used to be expensive?- and one optical (still do).
Now I have four harddrives and absolutely no where to mount them.
Fortunately, I had a Coolermaster 4 into 3 drive cage left over from of my three Stackers (pictured (here).
So, I made a plate bolted to the front of the case (remember, all of this had been cut away at some point), used a 140mm fan and adaptor, and ultimately ended up with all the drives and the DVD burner installed.
I'll get better pics of this later...there's still a lot left to do.
Finally, the whole reason for this exercise...the heatsink.
Whilst cruising Microcenter a few weeks ago, I spotted a Xigmatek cooler that looked quite nice- model 1283, I believe- and it was on special for just $29.95 with a $15 rebate...so basically, $15 total.
Direct touch heatpipes, 120mm fan- I figured I had little to lose.
I also picked up the optional backplate which eliminates the gawd-awful pushpin retention pins in favor of springloaded screws.
Concurrently, I also wangled a trade with a friend for a new Gigabyte P45 motherboard- he wanted SLI (which my P35 had) and I didn't (but I was interested in the newer chipset...more about that later...).
Although the case modifications were only half finished, I installed the board anyway just to see what would happen.
Here's how she looks at this point...
Hidden behind the black beauty panel in the top left corner are the harddrives and the DVD burner. The four silver knobs are a fan controller.
Still working on the wiring.
After a heartstopping few hours when it wouldn't POST- turns out it takes more effort to seat the RAM than I've ever seen- she ran.
Like a bat out of hell actually.
This chip- my second Wolfie- has never been a great overclocker.
On the P35 board the most it'd do at stock voltage (1.25v) was 3.6GHz.
4GHz was possible but I wasn't comfortable with the increased voltage needed to get there.
On the new P45 board, it hit 4GHz at only 1.1v and it's currently running 4.2GHz at 1.2v...still under stock!
Once I get everything buttoned up, I'll see just how high she'll go- I'm thinking maybe 4.5GHz...on air.
Some bench/temp shots...
That's 45 minutes of Prime 95 ( a good sign) and she's topped out at 44°...pretty bloody good, I think.
And, just for grins...
This burst speed is about 700MB more than the same array on the older ICH9 controller.
Finally, PC Pitstop Overdrive test...
So, here we are.
There's more to do before the case is finished.
If the weather cooperates I hope to be done by the weekend.
I knew this post was going to be long- I tend to ramble a bit- so breaking it up into parts is probably good for all of us.
Now I have to go shovel some snow.