Project: Mighty Mite - It's all about bang for your buck

Discussion in 'Worklogs' started by simland, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. simland

    simland n00b

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    Just ordered all the Computer components. Still deciding on Watercooled vs. Aircooled.

    The goal for this build:

    • Provide myself with a much needed update (I did a build about 5 years ago that started to show age 1.5 years ago.)
    • Low cost with great possibility. This is because there are great tech improvements on the horizon but I need a computer now.
    • Keep it small and compact
    • Overclock?
    • Great cable management
    • Low power usage and low heat temps
    • Last but not least, cliche styling...oh ya! (meaning a window and a blow hole are mandatory.)

    Getting all parts from the "Egg" the bill came out to $1370.75 USD.

    I'll get a detailed parts list up in a little bit, but the case I will be using is the Lian li PC-A05B.

    I'd like some influence on whether I should watercool or aircool. I'm against water cooling because it is expensive and the goal is to be low cost. (A 4870 block is expensive!) I'm for water cool because of the great overclocking possibilities and lit up tubes look pretty sweet. I'm against air cooling because of how much space the Noctua will take up and the poor stock airflow of the A05B. I'm for aircool because it is cheaper and the Noctua would look pretty cool.

    Thanks for reading and look for updates any day now. The parts should arrive Friday. At which point it's off to Home Depot for a jigsaw and some window parts.

    --Part List--
    Case: Lian-Li PC-A05B
    CPU: E8400
    VGA: Visiontek HD4870
    Memory: 4x2GB DDR2 800
    MOBO: BIOSTAR TPower I45
    PSU: Zalman ZM750-HP
    Sound: X-Fi
    HDD: 3x 640GB WD
    Optical: 22x Samsung DVD/CD
     
  2. simland

    simland n00b

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    Cooling solution update:

    I've chosen to go with Air Cooling because the cost is much more inline with the goals of the build. A 4870 block is far too expensive and building a loop for CPU only seems a little silly.

    Cooling Parts:

    CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U12P
    Blow Hole: 2x Scythe S-FLEX SFF12E

    Accessories:
    Drive Bay: Lian Li Bezel
    Blow Hole: Mesh Radguard Filter/Guard (~240mm x ~120mm)
    Fan Mounts: Silicone Silencers
    Cables: 90 degree SATA connectors


    Once I get the case and do some measurements, I'm going to see if I need to (can?) do a cold air intake in the base of the case.

    I'll be flipping the HDD cage around and may need to replace the front fan with a slim fan.

    I'll be flipping the PSU over and giving it some fresh air by cutting a hole in the bottom.

    That's the plan as it stands. Just to note, the reason for 3 HDDs is a Raid 1 for the Windows OS. The remaining HDD is for some iPhone application development ;).

    The cooling parts were ordered yesterday so they will be arriving later than the hardware components. I'll be doing as much as I can while I wait for everything to arrive.

    Look for more to come this weekend.
     
  3. simland

    simland n00b

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    Alright, so the Hardware arrived last Friday and it's been hell not being able to get it up and running.

    The additional parts have been arriving throughout the week. Here are some shots of the prebuild process and parts. The only camera I have available at the moment is my iPhone. It leaves much to be desired, but it works.

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    As of right now I've installed the blow hole, the bezel over the DVD drive, made the hard drive catch detachable, a hole for the PSU intake and filter and I've started some cable management. The rest of the parts come in today. That means it's window time. I'll be posting actual build photos this evening.

    Note: Unfortunately I've been having a lot of issues with my iPhone (had it replaced yesterday.) This means I've lost the "in process" photos of me installing the blow hole. It's too bad because the initial cut looked terrible but the final product after a lot of filing turned out pretty good. I'll be doing a write up in case fellow modders are looking for some advice on how to go about installing a blow hole.

    Is it possible to shrink the images with vbCode on the forum? I'd rather not have to modify the source images.
     
  4. Asgard_Thor

    Asgard_Thor [H]ard|Gawd

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  5. simland

    simland n00b

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    Here are some of the in process photos. I wish I had a better camera, it looks wonderful in person.

    Some notes:
    1) I opted to not switch the HDDs around because there is no room for it even with 90° SATA cables.
    2) I added a switch for cold cathodes. It will be in the room where I sleep and I don't need lights at that time. (One could argue I don't need lights at all, but to that I say bugger off.)
    3) I'm not sure to what degree I will be sleeving the cables because having to take the headers off looks to be a lot of work. Not sure if the cost benefit is there right now and I'm very anxious to get the hardware installed.
    4) I'm installing hardware now and the build process is pretty much over. I'll have completed photos up when that is done. Expect those around the end of this weekend. Maybe I'll borrow a better camera for those photos.

    The case feet and PSU support feet are furniture feet. They worked out real well. All in all, I'd say it's been a successful first modding experience so far.

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  6. simland

    simland n00b

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    And she is done! Finished this past Friday. I'll upload a few pics and give a link to a smugmug gallery with all the pics I took. 98 or so in total. I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have. Be it on soldering, extracting/fixing male molex connectors (with a paperclip), sleeving, replacing rivets with thumbscrews or whatever. I'm no expert but I've lived the headaches and experienced the joys of success.

    SmugMug: Link

    [​IMG]
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  7. Cmustang87

    Cmustang87 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Very impressive customizations SimLand. If only I had your patience and less of my ADD.

    I have a question. Is that blue tape masking tape? If so, what is it for?
     
  8. alan.p

    alan.p Limp Gawd

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    The masking tape is used to protect 'good' surfaces during the work.It helps cut back on damage.

    It's a pretty common practice.
     
  9. axan

    axan [H]ard|Gawd

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    nice clean system
     
  10. Greg-O

    Greg-O Limp Gawd

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    Very nice, I like it...:D
     
  11. simland

    simland n00b

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    Yup, the blue tape is 3M Painters Tape. It protects the surface from user error and doesn't leave any tape residue when it comes time to remove it.
     
  12. peekama

    peekama [H]Lite

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    This is a really cool mod, you don't see the mobo switched to the other side of the case very often.
    nice work
     
  13. simland

    simland n00b

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    The PC A05B tends to forcefully guide you in making some design decisions. However, that's why I purchased the case. It gives you some room to play and it's unique with the flipped Mobo and the PSU under the HDD cage.

    Thank you all for your compliments. It's sad now not having a project to work on. There is a light at the end of the tunnel however. My friend came over to look at the case and after a good 20 minutes of "oohing" and "awwing", he stated that I would be building his next case. Now we just have to get it cleared with his wife.
     
  14. Nogib

    Nogib n00b

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    Saw this system IRL last night, very impressive and very quiet indeed. :D Fantastic job!
     
  15. simland

    simland n00b

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    Minor update to the build:

    The 4870 was broken from the start and would cause an ATIKMDAG whenever I tried to utilize AA. After months of living in squalor, I finally broke down and purchased an upgrade.

    A 4890 now resides in the case and I can confirm that it does indeed fit inside the A05B. I was a little concerned given my desire to retain decent cable management. Not only does it fit, but under load it only raises system temps about 3 degrees.

    Other than that the system is doing great. I highly recommend fan filters to anyone who operates their computer in a dusty environment.
     
  16. criccio

    criccio Fully Equipped

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    I recommend taking that internal grill off the rear fan, its incredibly restrictive.
     
  17. simland

    simland n00b

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    You make a very interesting point. I'm not sure why I left it on. However, there is a more restrictive filter on the outside, so I'm not sure if removing the inside grill would help. As is, the CPU idles at around 21-23 C and under load hits around 28 C.

    I think I would have to take off the Noctua to get at the the far screws for the grill. If temps become an issue, I'll certainly keep this in mind. Thanks for the tip!
     
  18. Spun Ducky

    Spun Ducky Gawd

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    I like the flipped motherboard idea I might have to experiment with that a bit.
     
  19. crazjayz

    crazjayz 2[H]4U

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    The mobo placement on the A05 is upside down and the opening is from the right side of the case. There was no modding to achieve this layout.