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Thread: Sprocket Redux

  1. #1
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    She's back.
    Mostly.

    This version of Sprocket was an exercise in restraint...well, for me anyway.
    The goal was to fit a maximized cooling loop into a CM Stacker without
    major modifications.

    Define "major", please.
    Fine.

    In the context of this project, "major" means permanently visible holes, cuts, etc.
    With the exception of the top blowhole (which Coolermaster really should have changed anyway), I wanted the case to be returnable to stock appearance/functionality.

    So far, so good.

    If you have never seen a Stacker case in person, trust me, it's big.
    Even so I managed to cram it so full of stuff that I had to get creative with some of my component mounting in order to shoehorn everything in.
    Life would be so much simpler if Windows didn't require a floppy drive to load RAID drivers....

    The RAID array has finally reached it's full size...4x36GB Raptors.
    A Seagate 120 GB SATA drive is for storage.
    Here is a shot of the front bay of the case with all the drives in place...

    ...and a bench of the drives...

    Frankly, I have more storage than I know what to do with, but it is very fast and snappy.

    Cooling the drives is a new front bezel.
    I made this from black 1/8" Plexi and it mounts 3x120mm fans which blow over the drives and into the case. The bezel also holds two Bulgin switches (reset/power) and overlays the Sunbeam fan controller so only the knobs are visible.
    I'd like to replace the standard black knobs for some nice knurled silver ones, but haven't found ones I like yet.
    The bezel is mounted to two pieces of angled aluminum (visible in the HDD pic) whose mounting holes are completely invisible should the case return to stock.
    This is a shot of the test fit (actually, the ten millionth test fit...)...

    The button head allen screws have all since been painted black to lessen the visual clutter.

    I upgraded my northbridge motherboard fan from an 80mm to a 120mm. The DFI (like most nForce4 boards) suffers from terrible placement of the northbridge and can use all the help it can get. Also visible here is the access hole for the CPU socket- heatsinks/waterblocks can be swapped without motherboard removal.

    The reservoir has moved to the case roof (the tophat looking thingie) and is the only permanent,visible mod to the case exterior. Should the rez be removed the leftover mounting holes accomodate a 120mm fan or grill- which Coolermaster should have incorporated to begin with.

    Sprocket is up and running right now and initial results look good...mostly.
    CPU temps are slightly better than the Big Typhoon HSF, but this chip has always run very cool anyway, so I didn't expect much difference.
    The GPU temp has dropped a lot...the Swiftech MCW50 and the copper ramsinks are really outperforming the DangerDen NV-68 block I used before.

    Sadly, the northbridge temp has remained the same.
    How come?
    I have replaced my previous passive sink/active mobotray fan with a Vantec Iceberg4 (all copper) and upped the backboard fan to 120mm, so why the crap results?
    Turns out, the 120mm fan is dead.
    I should have tested it, but I didn't.
    The motherboard has to come out to replace it.
    Which means just about everything else has to come out first.

    *sigh*

    Looking on the bright side, this will allow me to make some much needed improvements to my wiring, but it's still a royal pain.
    The fully assembled beauty shots will have to wait till the reassembly is done...maybe tonight, but prolly tomorrow.

    More to come...


    Edit:
    Mini-stress test- Prime 95 for one hour...
    Last edited by clocker; 10-17-2005 at 12:24 PM.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    Frankly, I have more storage than I know what to do with

  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    lynx's Avatar .
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    Quote Originally Posted by clocker
    Life would be so much simpler if Windows didn't require a floppy drive to load RAID drivers....
    Can you say "slipstream"?
    .
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    Virtualbody1234's Avatar Forum Star BT Rep: +2
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    Yes I can.

    Slipstream.

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Quote Originally Posted by lynx
    Quote Originally Posted by clocker
    Life would be so much simpler if Windows didn't require a floppy drive to load RAID drivers....
    Can you say "slipstream"?
    So can I.

    Can you say "lazy"?
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    S!X's Avatar L33T Member BT Rep: +5
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    Enough harddrives eh?

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    ApacNTS's Avatar Helljumper
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    i'd buy that for a dollar...although shortly there after be arrested for indecent bidding

  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linkin Park
    Enough harddrives eh?
    It was an experiment.
    Disk performance of two Raptors in RAID0 is significantly better than running them alone.
    The addition of the third drive mattered little and the fourth was slightly better, but not amazing.

    My recommendation would be two drives.
    A pair of my Raptors will be sold to a coworker and I'll have to manage with a measely 200 GB.

    Life will be tough.

    On a happier note...the motherboard fan suffered from a poor connector (one pin was loose in the housing-easily fixed) and was brought online without disassembly.
    Whew.
    On a sad note...the fan doesn't seem to make any positive difference at all.
    In fact, it may make things worse, a phenomonon I'm at a loss to explain.
    My northbridge may just be running hotter due to the four drive RAID array and the new HSF/mobo fan are actually an improvement.
    Time will tell.

    The decrease in GPU temps has been constant- a back-to-back run of Aquamark (three times) and 3D Mark (three times) maxxed out at 43C, which is where it used to idle, so the improvement is significant. Most heartening is the lower deltaT between GPU core and GPU ambient (wherever that is measured), which is now @3C instead of the previous 7-10C.

    Just finishing up fabricating some "beauty panels" out of black plexi to cover up some of the uglier sections of the case and pics will follow.
    Ultimately, the Stacker will be powdercoated black (various shades) inside and out and the panels fit that color scheme, but I need to get all the drilling/fitting/cutting done beforehand to minimize risk to the finish.

    There is one major piece still missing- the custom fabricated base.
    I had to special order the 1/2" plexi for this and won't have it till next week...I hope it works out as well as I plan cause the material cost is rather pricey.

    Back in a few hours.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  9. Software & Hardware   -   #9
    ApacNTS's Avatar Helljumper
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    gonna be good to see the newly revamped sprocket. *waits eagerly*

  10. Software & Hardware   -   #10
    Duffman's Avatar Poster
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    I think we need to put together a sprocket slideshow, of her previous incarnations, to the tune of that Green Day song Time of Your Life of course.
    ...

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