disc's Antec Fusion

disc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 24, 2005
Messages
250
edit 1: Updated receiver, xbox.
edit 2: Sandybridge rebuild.

I apologize in advance for the picture quality. My real camera died and my cell phone camera is pretty terrible. With that said:

Updated specs:
Intel i3-2100 (LGA 1155)
Gigabyte Z68MX-UD2H-B3
8GB (2x4GB) G Skill Sniper DDR3
1TB Samsung HD103UJ HDD (SATA)
Seasonic 400W Fanless PSU (SS-400FL)
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro (Rev. 2)
Nexus D12SL-12 120mm Fans (x2)
Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 ATSC/QAM Dual Tuner

Media Storage:
Infrant ReadNAS NV+
3x Samsung Spinpoint F4 HD204UI 2TB HDDs (4TB X-RAID array)

Home Theater:
JVC HD-56FN97 56" DLP
Onkyo SR-TX503 Receiver
Paradigm 5Se-Mk3 Fronts
Paradigm CC-350 Center
Paradigm ADP-190 Rears
Microsoft Xbox 360
Logitech Harmony One Remote w/ HP Windows 7 MCE Remote IR Receiver


The older s939 motherboard finally gave out on me so it was time for a rebuild. I spent a couple of HTPC-less weeks waiting for the Z68 motherboards to be released, and man; once you become accustomed to a HTPC there's no going back. I've been cable free for almost five years now, picking up my content from broadcast ATSC or downloaded mkv's. I've switched my software over to SageTV and control the whole show via my Harmony One.

Bare board:


Test fit:


Closeup of SATA connections (aka problem number one):


The Gigabyte board uses SATA connections parallel to the board. In a bigger case this wouldn't be such an issue, but in the Fusion there isn't enough clearance to properly insert a SATA cable. I did manage to get one to fit by installing the cable prior to seating the board, but I was violating all sorts of cable bend radii.

SATA solution:


One hour and three dremel bits later (hint: you want the carbide cutter for vertical cuts, and any normal cutoff wheel for horizontal cuts) we have a solution to the SATA connector problem. We can now properly connect and disconnect cables to all six side-mounted SATA ports.

Testing fitting Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro:


The Freezer 7 was attractive because it looks large enough to run passive and fits with the fusions air intake baffle. Ideally I'd use a Scythe Mini Ninja, but since these are no longer in production, the Freezer 7 would have to work.

Profile shot of the Freezer 7 (aka problem number two):


I knew going into this that the Freezer 7 Pro was going to be a little too tall for the Fusion, but thanks to m1k30rz's post on the spcr forums I knew we could make this work. How?

Making it work:


One fin at a time.

Removing Fins:


In total I took off 5 fins.

Final Freezer 7 Pro fit:


Fits like a glove now.

Bare motherboard with the first bit of cabling:


RAM and fan cabling installed:


Arctic Silver 5 laid down:


Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro installed:


Final picture with the PSU, tuner card, HDD, and cabling installed:


Final pic showing the full entertainment center:



And there we go. The modified Freezer 7 seems to be running great. The i3 runs about 32ºC at idle and topped out at 63ºC at full load. Considering I don't game on this machine, I'm not too concerned about the load temp (should I be?) The i3 seems to do a good job with the video (no stuttering yet) so I think I'm going to skip adding a discrete GPU to help keep the heat down. Overall, I'm pretty happy with how everything turned out. There were some surprises (mainly the SATA ports) that took a bit of thinking and elbow grease, but I'm pretty happy with the final outcome.


New build pros:
  • Rear cabling is now super clean: one HDMI cable carrying the video to my TV, and one Toslink cable carrying the audio to my receiver. This could get cleaned up even more if I upgraded my receiver to one with HDMI switching.
  • I love having the CPU power to do run commercial skipping in real-time.
  • I love that SageTV can handle all my TV and mkv's in one interface. Now to work on getting Netflix/Hulu integrated.


New build cons:
  • One thing I dislike a little is that the Seasonic PSU is a little too deep to install the DVD burner I previously had in the machine. Though I almost never used it, I do wish I was able to install it. Given the choice though, I'll stick with the SS-400FL for its silent operation and modular cabling.
  • The HP Win7 MCE Remote IR Receiver doesn't seem to be quite as sensitive as my original Microsoft MCE IR receiver, but I ruined that trying to desolder the IR receiver eye to stealth it behind the VFD window :-(


Previous post and configuration:
I am finally happy with my hardware, so I can safely post :)

My specs:

AMD X2 3800+ (s939)
MSI K8NGM2-FID
eVGA 8600 GT
1 Gig (2x512) OCZ Value Ram
1x Seagate 400GB 7200.9 (PATA)
Vbox Cat's Eye 164e
NEC ND-3500 DVD burner
Logitech Harmony 670 Remote /w MCE 2005 IR Receiver

Infrant ReadyNAS NV+
2x Samsung HD501LJ 500 GB (SATA, Raid-5)

and most importantly :)

JVC HD-56FN97
Onkyo SR-TX503
Paradigm 5Se-Mk3
Paradigm CC-350
Paradigm Titan
Xbox 360 (Falcon Motherboard)

Everything in this machine is there for one purpose or another. To take advantage of my motherboard's digital audio, I modified my serial port bracket to mount S/PDIF input and output ports. I utilize the 164e to handle two simultaneous ATSC feeds (my only source at the moment, as I've canceled my cable). 400 GB (less a 40 GB OS partition) handle the storage of uncompressed HD shows. BeyondTV controls all my broadcast HDTV, although with the use of HIP, I play a fair amount of downloaded content in MPC (damn you BTV, and your lack of h.264 playback). Video is fed to the JVC via a DVI-HDMI cable.

I appologize in advance for the pictures, my camera is nearly seven years old.















That is it. Overall I'm very happy with my gear. My weak link in the system is my AV receiver; it will battle the HDCP video card to be upgraded next. edit: both upgrades made their way into my setup. I'd be more than happy to take any (constructive) criticism and/or answer any questions about the build.
 
Last edited:

Occidio

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 17, 2005
Messages
1,497
Beautiful case, almost identical to my NSK2400. 2 questions. Is that knob just for volume or does it do something else? What exactly can you do with the VFD screen? Will it read movie names or case temps or does it only do specific functions? About the only thing I did differently in my case was bring the IDE cable for my DVD in thru the HDD drive bay to hide the cable a lil more.
 

disc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 24, 2005
Messages
250
The round knob does indeed control volume, but it's a little impractical since I'm not getting my lazy ass off the couch to adjust the volume. I'm not sure if it's functionality can be changed.

The VFD is controlled by LCD Smartie, which is VERY customizable. I have it set up to display the channel and program name if a show is playing, and proc usage and free disk space if no show is playing. This is almost embarrassingly simple compared to what LCD Smartie is capable of doing. You can display just about every system variable (proc usage, temps, fan speeds, disk space, up time, email, winamp info, rss feeds, date, current time, etc.) If you can imagine it, LCD Smartie can probably display it.

I tried running my DVD IDE cable through the hard drive compartment, but I quickly ran out of cable. Maybe I'll get a longer cable in the future, so I could route it through the hard drive compartment, and maybe mount a third HDD above the burner.
 

CrimandEvil

Dick with a heart of gold
Joined
Oct 22, 2003
Messages
19,671
Nope, just volume control. I want to swap mine out for a Powermate at some point.
 

Tangent inc.

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 5, 2006
Messages
398
nice setup... how are you temps?

i also am working out the power mate swap. i am planning on using it for fast forward and rewind.

i dont know if you are stuck with the eexternal hdd but i have two 500 and a 250 WD in mine. it was easy and there are off the shelf parts to make it happen. i made mine before i looked but it is not very much money to get going.



i can take it apart if you want other pics.
 

Adidas4275

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 11, 2006
Messages
5,986
i am glad to see another hard member using beyondtv i have had good experience with it an BM + DVDlibrary plugin

do you get full HD from your cable box to the PC via the Vbox Cat's Eye 164e?

all the channels?

does the STB remove the QAM so you can get like ESPNHD and DiscoveryHD?
 

disc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 24, 2005
Messages
250
Adidas4275,

Because I'm a cheap ass, I pull all my HD from the OTA antenna sitting on top of my right speaker. If my cable box was HD, I'd still be limited to coax, composite, or S-video between the cable box and the computer. The only really feasible way to get HD from cable is to use an HDHomerun, or if your cable box has an active firewire port. I know the HDHomerun won't work with encrpyted QAM (ESPN, HBO, etc.) but I don't know if these are viewable via an active firewire port.

The HD/cable situation will change when they get the kinks worked out of OCUR tuners, but right now they seem to be a mess.


i am glad to see another hard member using beyondtv i have had good experience with it an BM + DVDlibrary plugin

do you get full HD from your cable box to the PC via the Vbox Cat's Eye 164e?

all the channels?

does the STB remove the QAM so you can get like ESPNHD and DiscoveryHD?
Tangent inc,

For the sake of quiet fans, I let most of my temps run up a little bit (I think the last time I looked, my chip was in the low 50's under load [sidenote: I don't have AC :(.])

The two (three if you're creative) drive limit in the Fusion is a bit challenging. I finally bit the bullet, and bought a ReadyNAS to accomodate my future growth. My plan is to remove one of the 400GB drives in the Fusion, and replace it with a 500GB in the NAS.


nice setup... how are you temps?

i also am working out the power mate swap. i am planning on using it for fast forward and rewind.

i dont know if you are stuck with the eexternal hdd but i have two 500 and a 250 WD in mine. it was easy and there are off the shelf parts to make it happen. i made mine before i looked but it is not very much money to get going.

<snipped image>

i can take it apart if you want other pics.
 

Adidas4275

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 11, 2006
Messages
5,986
yeah thats what i thought... but there was a hope. i need an outdoor HD antenna where i live and dont really feel like putting one up. i hope in the next year HD via cable will be available.
 

Tangent inc.

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 5, 2006
Messages
398
i bought a rubber dowel, melted a hole in the center, garillaglued a screw and mobo standoff and drilled some holes in the cage. i worked perfect and there is plenty of room above the optical drive. that HDD gets hot though. in at about 37c it is 9 degrees hotter then the two 500s but its internal so i deal with it.

case temps are a different monster. i have huge heat sinks in there but running every fan at well under a killatwist has been leaving my cpu at about 50c in the 10-20%usage range. the case temp is a chilly 31c as of right now.

i changed out the psu and swapped the fans to silverstone rheostat ones for sake of noise. the only thing i hear is the hdd spin up so i put up with the temps... mobile chips can take a beating as well so i hope nothing burns up on me. next project is killing the cpu fan and molding a duct to pull air through the heatsink. they line up well i just need to get off my butt and do it.

nice choice with the nas.
 

disc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 24, 2005
Messages
250
nice choice with the nas.
With picture goodness. I didn't realize how small this thing was before I got into it. I was expecting something shoebox sized, but it's hardly bigger than the four hard drives it holds.





 

Adidas4275

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 11, 2006
Messages
5,986
that NAS is sweet, what model is it?

its a lot smaller than my 4U server case :)
 

CrimandEvil

Dick with a heart of gold
Joined
Oct 22, 2003
Messages
19,671

disc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 24, 2005
Messages
250
that NAS is sweet, what model is it?

its a lot smaller than my 4U server case :)
It's an Infrant ReadyNAS (RNV2-S2-0000.) I bought it diskless so I could shop fatwallet/slickdeals for good deals on hard drives. With Vista and GigE, I'm getting less than optimal write times (I top out at about ~11 MB/sec write) but I've heard that has a lot to do with your GigE NIC drivers. Regardless, it serves up my torrents and 720p x264 files without a hitch, so I'm happy.

one problem with your setup: remove that u of m banner. its hideous.
Let me guess, OSU :confused: Haha, I bleed Maize and Blue :D

I'm working on getting my WHS server up and running; it's housed in an LC19 and looks rather nice sitting on top of the Fusion. :)
That case looks like it belongs with a fusion. Pics are necessary when you're happy with your config.
 

chickenselects

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
252
nice setup but that blue and maze is killing me.

Good to see the results when done properly.












GO SPARTANS!
 

disc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 24, 2005
Messages
250
Updated the original post with my new Z68 configuration. I'm thinking the RAM is probably overkill, and perhaps I should switch it out for a 4GB kit when I upgrade my main desktop to LGA 1155.
 

demografik

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 25, 2002
Messages
1,055
Updated the original post with my new Z68 configuration. I'm thinking the RAM is probably overkill, and perhaps I should switch it out for a 4GB kit when I upgrade my main desktop to LGA 1155.
i read this whole thread confused as hell until i saw this post :eek:
 

450

Fully [H]
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Messages
20,978
I didn't see this in your post, what speakers are you using?
 
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