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#1 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 03:20 PM

I just bought a new case for my PC last week, along with a Corsair H60 all-in-one CPU liquid cooler. I figured I'd document stuff I do with my PC in this thread.

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the Corsair H60 box

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Antec Three Hundred case

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front panel comes with two USB ports, audio jacks and the power/reset switch

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back is your fairly standard bottom-PSU layout

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this is the underneath/back

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interesting anti-rust paper they included for the hardware

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the front panel wires and the fans' speed controls

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the back of the front panel

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standoffs and (thumb)screws

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now opening up the H60

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neatly packed

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heatspreader comes with TIM preapplied. Supposedly, it's very good so I kept it.

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hoses are rather stiff, but I'd rather them be stiff than leaky.

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couple radiator fins are bent, but it's no biggie.

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size comparison with the old NZXT case

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getting ready to move the motherboard over

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Nvidia chipset. replaced the TIM with AS5, as the heatsink is passive and tends to run hot.

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H60 CPU block installed

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radiator mounted in the recommended pull configuration

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using the stock 120mm case fan as a HDD cooling intake

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two 120mm intake fan capability, with removable fan cages

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rather dark photo of the guts.

Motherboard: Asus P5N-E SLI
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz
GPU: 2x Nvidia GeForce 8500GT SLi
RAM: 6GB (2x Samsung 2GB, 2x Kingston 1GB) DDR2
HDD: 1x 60GB OCZ Agility 2, 2x 1.5TB (WD Caviar Black, WD Green), 1x 120GB (Samsung Spinpoint)
PSU: NZXT PP500 500W
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#2 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 01:57 PM

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got some really cheap 120mm fans on eBay ($2.50/free shipping cheap)

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blue LEDs too

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opening up the case again

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bought some screws to mount a push/pull on my radiator

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installed on radiator

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and another fan on the side next to the graphics cards

I didn't take a photo of the computer lit up, but it looks pretty nice since the two front intake fans are also blue lit. Unfortunately the radiator pusher fan died so I will have to find another one, but for now it should be fine since it still has the puller exhaust fan.
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#3 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 03:30 PM

got an SSD for the boot drive now

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60GB, $60 on eBay

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all the HDDs currently mounted
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#4 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 05:04 PM

Did more upgrading, thanks to eBay. Got an HP OEM GTS 250 card for $60 shipped.

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first, I updated the BIOS...quite a jump there

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pulling it out. Strangely, the OEM heatsink design was better than a lot of the brand name ones, since the blower actually blew all the hot air out and not just past the card in every direction

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P5N-E SLI selector card thing didn't work, when I put it on 'single card' there was no video output.

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the two 8500GT's that used to be in there. Yes, they're dusty.

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GTS 250 put in. Despite what it looks like, the blue shroud is VERY solid.

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dat ass

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my VGA adapters and wifi antenna installed.

The performance increase is nice. In Team Fortress 2, I'm getting easily twice the FPS that I used to with the 8500GT's in SLi, and this is on max settings with the GTS 250 (roughly half the max settings with the old setup). This is mostly due to the graphics card, but I did overclock my CPU as well. The P5N-E is very OC-friendly.

Current clocks:
CPU: 1333 -> 1650 MHz FSB (3.30 GHz)
RAM: 800 -> 810 MHz (OEM type RAM, cannot handle much)
GPU (graphics, core, RAM): 775, 1900, 1200 MHz

My CPU temps are rediculously low thanks to my case/H60, it idles at 40°C and never really goes higher than 50°C. GPU hits 61°C playing TF2 at max settings (I got a dual monitor, I can watch/mouseover MSI Afterburner in realtime). I tried running at 1700 MHz FSB but the computer would randomly freeze up every 15 hours or so. It's stable indefinitely (or at least for 48 hours) at 3.3 GHz, perhaps some unlocked voltage control will help. Either way, a full 24% increase automatically handled by the BIOS is pretty beast. The push/pull fans on the H60 radiator means that any temperature increase from the CPU has virtually no side effect to other components in the case. Very tempting...

I may need to get a bigger PSU first though. 34A total on the 12v rails, and I do have 5 hard drives inside.
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#5 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 10:18 AM

I had left my server PC in a friend's room, and the temperatures on the GPU (one of the leftover Nvidia 8500GT's from my PC) would hit 100C during a TF2 session. In order to cool it better, I had to think of a way to get a fan right on top of it...

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this is a PCI slot fan I have, the wires are coming off so they required resoldering

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it was made to blow air out of the slot, the exact opposite of what I wanted it to do. I tried flipping the magnet in the rotor, but it still blew out. I also tried swapping in a different fan rotor, with the same result.

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foreign fan rotor installed...now what to do?

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use my drill press as a stationary dremel, that's what.

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I traced the vent pattern on the intake, and professionally reproduced it on the other half of the case

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now it's effectively a suspended fan that blows straight into the top face of the 8500GT.


Update on my desktop: the CPU is running at 3.7 GHz at max voltage, I don't care about the heat output since it will not overheat unless my water block breaks. RAM seems to be the weak point, as it's unstable (will eventually BSOD) at anything over 805 MHz. Seems to be running fine at 800 MHz, so the 1:2 divider isn't completely necessary. I can also clock my GTS 250 to wherever I want, but at upper levels of OC I think it's not getting enough power so it reverts into 2D mode (100 MHz clock...quite literally 10%).
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#6 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 08:59 PM

Did some benchmarks on ShoPC:

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Very pleased with the results.
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#7 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:43 PM

Forgot to update this thread when I got new hardware.

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i7 power baby.

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i7-2700K

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Corsair Vengeance 4GB sticks

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bench testing

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water block on the CPU

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the underside of the motherboard

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all sticks installed

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hard drives mounted

Motherboard: MSI P67A-GD53 (B3) LGA 1155
CPU: Intel i7-2700K 3.5GHz Quad Core
CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro CWCH60
RAM: 4x Corsair Vengeance CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B 4GB DDR3
Boot SSD: OCZ Agility 2 OCZSSD2-2AGTE60G 60GB
Programs HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1501FASS 1.5TB
Storage HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARX 2.0TB
Auxilary HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EARS 1.5TB
External HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS 1.5TB
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer
Power Supply: ?? 850W
Case: Antec Three Hundred
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#8 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 09:12 PM

I got in my new graphics card yesterday, a Geforce GTX 660. EVGA's Superclocked one, to be exact.

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box is quite nice

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still in the anti-static bag

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front view

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the Kepler boards are actually quite small

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plastic film still on the surface

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top view

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really liking the socket covers

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front view after all the plastic film was removed

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only using the DVI-I port as both my monitors are VGA

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installed in my case and running. One day I'll have a 660 SLI.

Another thing I did last night was to switch my monitor to a portrait one. This is useful because you can read documents more easily and do other things where a 'skinny' screen res is desired (usually things with lists, ie. IM/music/monitoring software). The monitor I did the modification on was very old and did not support rotation so I modified the case so it could.

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removed the rear bezels behind the monitor to access the guts

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the cables going from the base into the monitor. there was a hinge on one side only, and the plastic part holding the other side up snapped off.

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Inside the monitor itself.

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mocking up the new arrangement

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I ended up keeping this screwhole to minimize the amount of drilling/tapping I needed to do.

At this point I realized that there was a spot I needed to drill but the drill press didn't reach that far in. My hand drill's battery was dead, so I hooked it up to the charger and did some electrical work in the meantime. The monitor's power cord was missing the ground pin, it looked like it was pulled out. It didn't affect the monitor in any way, but earlier this year I noticed that sometimes when I plugged in the VGA connector it would spark against my graphics card. This floating ground is not good at all and although there is an electrical connection to earth ground in case something goes wrong, I'd rather it go through the power cord than through my computer case. lol

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You can see the battery charging in the background. This was the power supply and audio amplifier for the monitor.

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the power cord wires need to be desoldered

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lazily soldering on the old ground wire so I don't have to wrap the new one around the ferrite bead

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finished. fyi the new power cable took much f-bombs and close calls to get in, it was extremely tight.

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electrical work took half an hour, and the battery was charged. Free-hand drilled a hole and surprise surprise it was off. I then screwed the mounting bracket to the monitor case and drilled through the steel

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result

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new hole in the reverse side

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tapped it easily

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drilled holes in the plastic for the other holes, and secured the new holes with washers and a nut just in case

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reassembling everything

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the shroud needs dremel work if it wants to go back on, but I'm not gonna touch it for now just in case I want to revert the mod

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cord management all sexy

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all back together

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Finished with the new setup. I like it so far.
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#9 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:35 PM

...and my power supply blew up a couple of days ago. Not surprising, considering it was a no-name. Fortunately it didn't take out any other components and my pc actually booted with almost everything unplugged using a 250W psu.

Got an Antec Neo Eco 620W psu, it was today's Shell Shocker on Newegg ($50 with $20 MIR). Can't really beat that. It's not SLi certified but it does have a 48A single 12v rail. More than enough for my i7-2700K at 95W TDP and my GTX 660 at 140W TDP (maybe a bit more since it's the Superclocked spec)...not more than 20A, which leaves over 300W on the 12v rail, more than enough headroom for multiple hard drives and another GTX 660 SC (what I had in mind in the future). It only comes with one 6+2 and one 6 pin PCI-E connector, which is all a pair of 660's need.
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#10 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 12:11 PM

Did some repairwork on my G11 since my main rig is down. Modding is still in progress, as I need to get my LED box back from Skidz.

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right before taking it apart

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ten billion screws on the underside to remove the top black bezel

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the silver part doesn't come off yet, so don't try. there's four more screws for that before it separates from the back

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the main logic board

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that would explain why my backlighting was bad. I need to replace the LEDs, possibly with a different color.

More to come hopefully tonight.
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#11 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:17 AM

The 3mm LEDs I put in my keyboard are disappointingly dim. I might have to dremel out a pocket in the plexi for a 5mm wide angle.

ShoPC also got an upgrade in the mail today, in the form of a new sound card. I had found a Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D for $54 on Amazon which is a great price considering they usually fetch around $70 in most shops still. I also had $15 in Amazon credit so that brought my total to somewhere around $39, which for this card is a steal.

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unpacking the Amazon box

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the sound card safely inside. I must say, Creative went with a minimalistic approach to the packaging, which is very nice.

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the sound card itself

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taking it out of the plastic

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the rear of the card

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mounted right above the GTX 660, where nothing else will ever fit

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and here's the ass of my computer now. This sound card has a built in headphone output with built in amplifier that can drive up to 600 ohms, with a quick-switch between headphone and speaker output in the SB control panel. Not bad at all.

Breaking in the new card by playing a collection of flacs from all genres, as of right now I'm in the middle of the Fate/Zero OSTs.
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#12 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 03:02 PM

Got in a new graphics card, and I figured I would update the thread with my computer's specs too.

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EVGA's GTX 770 with their ACX cooler. I really wanted the Titan cooler but it was $60 more that I didn't have. Next time baby, if I keep following trends I'll pick up the GTX 880 several months after it comes out. Teehee

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huge plastic clamshell to protect the card, which was good since Newegg shoved it on the bottom of the box

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popping it open

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this is a large card, it's longer than the 660

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what it looks like from the rear

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plastic off, ready to go in

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ignore my cable management please

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power hooked up

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I think my wifi card will be ok there

I sold my GTX 660 to make room for this one. Here's my computer's specs at the moment:

Motherboard: MSI P67A-GD53 (B3)
CPU: Intel i7-2700K @ 4.2GHz
GPU: EVGA GTX 770 ACX
RAM: 4x Corsair Vengeance 4GB
Boot SSD: OCZ Agility 2 60GB
Programs HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1.5TB
Storage HDD: Western Digital Green 2.0TB
Auxilary HDD: Western Digital Green 1.5TB
Scratch HDD: Hitachi 2.5" 160GB
External HDD: Seagate 3.0TB
Sound Card: Creative SoundBlaster Recon3D
Power Supply: Antec Eco 620W
Case: Antec Three Hundred
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#13 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 04:46 PM

Newegg had a Shell Shocker on a Kingston 240GB SSD...

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the box

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SSD is a nice red color

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compared to my old OCZ Agility 2

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Bottom comparison shot. The OCZ wins the sexy award, but has less than half the speed of the Kingston

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9mm drive compared to the newer 7mm

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Updated drive array
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#14 User is offline   Joshua Pack 

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 05:43 PM

Benchmarks!!! LOL did you know they took out the graphical benchmarking in win 8.1??

http://www.cnet.com/...in-windows-8-1/

Here is my computer of 6 years score.

7.5 isn't bad. i do have an SSD installed now though. my 8 Core CPU and memory is the slowest. haha
Attached File  bm5-2014results.PNG (5.11K)
Number of downloads: 6

Attached File  bm5-2014.PNG (16.3K)
Number of downloads: 6
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#15 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 04:22 PM

Oh interesting. They do add a lot more factors into the benchmarks though so I suppose that's alright. I think their WEI thing didn't take off as much as they would have liked.

Apparently Win7 has WinSAT, I'll give it a try when I get back home. :D
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#16 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 03:41 AM

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New upgrades for my pc. Corsair HX750 power supply, and a DVD drive that I can actually use

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Removing my old power supply from the case

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Box in a box

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Silent mode sticker, the fan in the PSU isn't always on

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Here's the HX750's faceplate

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The panel with the ratings and such

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It's a bit larger than my old PSU (Antec ECO 620W)

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I decided to mount this one with the fan facing down, as to keep it as much as possible from intaking hot air from the graphics card. There's enough clearance underneath that it can pick up air pretty much straight off the intake fans. The standoff was going to be resting on the grill of the fan so I put stickers on it for some abrasion resistance.

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Mounted in the case

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Modular cables that came with the power supply

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Here's the DVD drive I got on sale, it's a Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE

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DVD drive installed

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Everything put back together. Excuse the wire management, as usual.

ps. I forgot to do the assessment. lol
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#17 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 04:55 PM

I recently got another GTX 780 to put in SLI, which generally works great but I would have some issues which I think were related to power so I upgraded my power supply. I also got a new case for myself, so I finally put everything in when it all got here.

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Got a Seasonic SS-1050XM power supply for the new setup.

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The reverse side of the box

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Open it up and it's packaged a lot like the Corsair psu's

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Same velvet-ish bag too

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Here's the power supply taken out of the bag

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The hybrid fan control is great

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Now onto the case, I got a Corsair C70 Vengeance Series in white

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It looks really good taken out of the box

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translucent smoked side panel with spots for fans

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Taking the guts out of the Antec Three Hundred

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Reusing the 120mm intake fans

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Got some fans up top too, I'm not completely sure it's necessary though

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Hard drives in, there's a push pull setup around the cage

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Starting to hook up everything

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I'm using all six SATA ports...

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both of the EVGA GTX 780 FTW cards installed

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Here's the case compared to the Antec one. It really does look and feel amazing.

The K70 is really sturdy since it's all steel, but as a result even with the carrying handles it's still fairly difficult to move around elegantly.

It looks so cool though. It was also painless to use, the snappiness of the clasps takes some getting used to but it is by far the most unique looking and user-friendly case I've ever bought.
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#18 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 14 January 2015 - 06:20 PM

I recently bought a BenQ XL2420Z monitor, and it was well worth the $350 I spent on it.

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Here's the box, there's not really any handles to carry it around like the Asus monitors but it did come inside another box which is why it's still in good shape

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Cracking open the box, there's all the accessories in the styrofoam tray

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The monitor comes with this mouse-like device used for navigating the on-screen menu, or switching between three preset monitor profiles

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Assembling the base and the stand

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Getting to the LCD panel

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Looks sharp

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Here's the mouse thing, it's designed to magnetically connect to either side of the monitor base

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Power, USB and dual-link DVI cable. It also came with a VGA cable

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Ready to go

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It's not exactly the same dimensions as my Asus monitor (24" VE series I believe), and the colors are indeed washed out from the factory.

I did a little searching for a good color profile, and now it looks a lot better. I played some Titanfall on it and to my surprise it looked like it was running at 30fps despite it being set at 144Hz and MSI Afterburner was reporting anywhere from 75-120fps. I changed a setting that BenQ had added into the Nvidia configuration panel, and after a reboot which I'm not sure was necessary the game was running smoothly.

The buttons on the screen are all touch-sensitive, and they light up when your hand is near it. I'm still experimenting with the motion blur reduction features, but there are lots of intelligent touches here and there that shows that this monitor was designed with gaming in mind. A removable headset hook on the rear, a carrying handle up top and a built-in USB hub and headphone jack on the left side are all very nice to have. It even comes with a dust cover with a hole for the handle to poke out.

Brilliant monitor!
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#19 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 06:50 PM

A common complaint about the Corsair C70 case is the fact that the tinted side window contains two 120/140mm fan grills that spoil the otherwise pristine viewing. I do not plan on running side fans, so I bought a sheet of polycarbonate to replace it.

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Here's the side panel with the factory-installed window.

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It's held on by screws, but the panel is not flat. The black plastic skirt contains raised screwholes that the window has pegs to accommodate

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The black plastic can come out, it's actually two unique pieces that fit into one another

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Measuring out the dimensions of the window, it appears to be 12-1/4"x13" edge to edge

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Scoring the polycarbonate, I settled on a window dimension of 12-1/2"x13-1/4", the extra 1/4" should be enough for error since the holes I will be drilling into the window will be larger

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Clamping down the polycarbonate to split it. I've done a lot of work with acrylic and was prepared for a loud bang when it cracked, but the polycarbonate didn't make much of a noise at all. It does like to be scored deeper however, since it doesn't like to crack due to how flexible it is.

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First cut done, 12-1/2" wide

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Second cut done, now I have a 12-1/2"x13-1/4" piece of polycarbonate

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matching it up to the original window. I used a normal Sharpie to mark the drill points, as the tip fits nicely into the C70's window holes. Don't forget to drill the holes for the two key nubs on either side as well

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Test fitting of the window. I found that I didn't have enough spacers of the correct size to mount the window, so I had to run to the local hardware store to pick some up.

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Continuing the project at Steve's house

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I could not find anything in local retailers that resembled either a spacer or thick washer of sufficient length and minimal diameter as to not interfere with the window. I settled on getting some 1/4" ID polyurethane tubing, I paid 24c for a foot of it. I used a sharp Xacto to cut the tubing to appropriate length,

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After an agonizing five minutes or so I finished cutting the tubing into roughly 1/4" lengths

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Window installed. The beauty of using the tubing was that it squishes rather well, providing some benefits. The first and most obvious is the fact that you don't necessarily have to be precise with your cuts, as you can just squish the tubing a bit. Also, the fact that it squishes provides both shock absorption from the window getting hit, and also a minor friction threadlock for the window screws. It's also invisible, so it doesn't affect visibility very much if at all.

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Exterior view of the window installed.

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I also took the time to relocate my H60 radiator, as when it was mounted in the rear it had the unfortunate side effect of having to expel all the graphics cards' hot air too. Under full load, the CPU was going up to 74C. After I moved it, temps would only go up to 65C.

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Here's the case with the window installed.

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Photo with flash of the computer running

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Crappier photo without flash

I thought I wouldn't like it since it wasn't tinted, but for the ease of the project (couple of hours if I had all the parts) and how clean it looks I am definitely satisfied. I was thinking of etching the polycarbonate with some sort of design, but that's a project for another day.
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#20 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 03:52 PM

Due to the fact that my H60 is currently making the notorious grinding noise under full load, I decided to look up how to fix it and accidentally stumbled upon information about making a custom loop with the Corsair Hydro series in general. Dumping some links for my future use:

http://www.overclock...furb-and-repair
Dude cleaned his H60 out and put automotive coolant in it

http://www.overclock...guide-for-noobs
Using the H50 pump as a basis for a custom loop

http://www.overclock...lub-aka-the-mod
also using AIO liquid cooling solutions on graphics cards, possible in the future since apparently nobody makes anything for the GTX 780 FTW
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#21 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 13 February 2015 - 05:46 PM

I got a heat-damaged Corsair H80 whose pump had failed for some reason, so I cracked it open to take a look inside and see if it could be saved.

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Here's the pump/waterblock unit

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Underneath, the TIM is left on to protect the copper surface

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Removing the top plastic shell reveals the electronics for the pump controller and the Corsair Link. The three pin fan header is for the water pump, and the two pin header is for the temperature sensor.

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Looking down on the waterblock now reveals the pump control circuitry

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Strangely enough, it looks like there's only one drive coil

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Another shot of the pcb from an angle that's easier to see everything

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Freeing the connector wire from the casing, and also desoldering the pump coil wire from the pcb

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Pump control board is free

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Looking down on the actual drive unit, the casing is melted slightly on one side.

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I undid the four screws and the unit comes up like this. The coolant is directly underneath

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Clearer shot of the impeller unit. There's no c-clip or anything holding it on so pull it straight off the 2mm shaft

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The impeller pops right off, along with a large O-ring

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Here is the problem: the overheating caused the plastic housing to melt and deform on one side, and the pump stopped working because the impeller was making contact with one side of the housing.

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I put on two Xmod motor shaft shims, which raises the impeller high enough so it doesn't contact the pump housing. I soldered everything back up together, and now it works again

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Seal up the unit again and see how it does.

I've been running the H80 unit overnight to test for leaks and to see if the pump is actually working despite still being mounted at an angle. I put the H80's radiator directly above my H60's that was running in my computer, and left the waterblock off to the side of the pc. When I checked on it the morning after, the waterblock was warm despite only the radiator being exposed to high temperature which to me signifies that the pump is working properly again. I might do some testing on another PC to make sure that the repaired H80's performance is good enough for an i7 system, since I want to be doubly sure that the slanted pump will still push enough water to cool a CPU effectively.
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#22 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 04:08 PM

Well I took the plunge and installed the semi-repaired H80 on my computer. I also relocated the radiator back to the rear where it originally was, and put both Bitfenix fans back up on top. Since I had to go into near-complete teardown mode, I decided to move the bottom intake fan closer to the front in order to better influence the airflow through the case (and also because the filter doesn't completely cover the center fan position).

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Here's the case pre-teardown

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I removed the hard drive cages for the first time. It's not a swing-out design like I originally thought, but a slide one with screws on two or three sides. Putting the fans on it when the cages were removed would've saved me a lot of headache when I put everything in this case...

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Here's a view of the case with the cages removed

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Returning the top fans to their original position

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Here's the AS Ceramique paste that I put on how many years ago...

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Pulling off the H60 waterblock, it's a bit dried up

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Sorry I didn't clean the H60 radiator before taking the photo but here's a comparison with the H80's thicker radiator. Another thing to note is that the H80 has a lower fin density, which probably is to maintain about the same restriction to flow so the 60 and 80 can use similar pumps.

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Looking at the fin density through another angle

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Mounting the H80 on my i7-2700K

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Everything back in the case. I seem to have forgotten to take a photo of the front bottom intake fan, but I had to remove the plastic spacer and the fan is sitting nicely under the hard drive cages.

So the biggest question is, how's the performance? Sadly, there's not much improvement over the H60 and I believe that's due to the decreased pressure through the coldplate. The impeller spinning off-axis can't be helping the coolant flow, but surprisingly enough to me it works alright. Temps are around where my H60 in dire need of cleaning was at, roughly 60-70°C under full load.

Until I go to a full-loop custom setup, I will probably be keeping the H80 on there unless it fails completely. Despite the mediocre performance, there's something that feels good about running a machine with hardware you've fixed yourself regardless of how seemingly insignificant the repair job was.
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#23 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 03:10 PM

After Kawaii Kon 2015, I came back home to find that my old MSI motherboard had died. First the USB devices went strange, then stopped responding. After I tried to reboot to see if that solved the problem, the board failed to POST. I was actually kind of surprised the board lasted as long as it did, particularly being on 24/7 and with overclocked components all around it.

That being said, I had to order another one to get myself back up and running.

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This time I went with something a little higher end, the Asrock Z77 Extreme4. This is actually the same mobo that Waddles has.

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Standard documentation, IO shield and driver CD

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The mobo itself is very well packed, covered in a static bag

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Some reviews I read complained that the brownness of this mobo didn't lend itself well to many PC color schemes, but I have no complaints

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The capacitors look nice

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Looking from the other direction

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CPU socket, LGA1155

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Side by side comparison with my old MSI P67

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Now from the other direction

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Mounting everything back in the C70

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Everything back in

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On a second thought, I decided to experiment a bit with the fan layout. I am still suffering from high CPU temperatures whenever the graphics cards are working hard, and hopefully this is a solution that lets me run the CPU fan in an exhaust setting. I really don't want to run it as an intake, mostly because I don't have any filters for it.

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Reference photo for the fan header

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It's running really close to the heatsinks surrounding the CPU. I might have to switch back to the H60 since the radiator is thinner.

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Looks fairly clean afterwards though.

Temperatures are lower than before, although still higher than I'd like. I'm confident in my seating/TIM application, so perhaps this H80 isn't working that well after all. I idle in the mid-40s and it goes to the low 80s under load, which is a lot worse than I expected. The next time I open up the PC, I will put in the H60 and see what happens.
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#24 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 05:04 PM

I realized that I needed to relocate my SSD and 2.5" scratch drive since that would allow me to remove the lower drive cage and that would allow better airflow and cooling.


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I had an old, non working CD drive laying around that I could steal the guts from in order to mount it in one of the 5.25" bays.

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Unscrew four screws and crack it open

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Looking in its guts

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Not sure if the rust happened before or after it stopped working

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The faceplates were discolored and actually quite dirty, and will need to be painted.

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There's not much movement when pushed together, so I can just glue it after painting

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The tabs snap into the metal, so I will need to cover them up

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Don't want them to get sticky so I have masked them off with electrical tape

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My crappy paint job after three coats, used an old can of Krylon Fusion I had laying around.

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I found a nice L-bracket formerly from the EDF-Revo project.

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Cut it in half and it's the perfect size

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Looking good with a test drive (also broken)

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Making a bracket with an old traffic sign

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Like so

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The larger metal piece came from the side of a blown PSU. Recycled metal is the best kind of metal

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M2 screws hold the drive in place through drilled 1/8" through the L-bracket

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Holes line up thankfully, and it can close.

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M5 bolts are used to hold the brackets together

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Awesome placement of the connectors.

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Plenty of room all around.

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Doesn't contact any of the bumps or standoffs in the shell.

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Here's the painted faceplate. I'm not going for a professional looking job, just something that looks black that will work with my current PC color scheme.

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Prepping it the next morning for my real drives

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Corsair Force GS 240GB in first

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Toshiba laptop drive in next

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The Corsair is skinny, so there's quite a bit of airflow space between them. Also, there is no contact between the drives and the disc lid, which I was worried about.

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Here's the connectors after it's all put back together

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Here's the front plate snapped on. Looking good, I think

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This is how it looks inside my case. This was taken right before installing my new Asus Strix GTX 980Ti, stay tuned for updates.
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#25 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 05:18 PM

Finally got around to uploading the pics.

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Here's the box, I went with Asus this time around. It's the first non-EVGA card I've had since the 250GTS all those years ago.

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Inner box is just as nice

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This little box has the driver CD, instruction manuals, and some decals

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There she is

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You can't really tell from the stock photos, but this thing is massive. I thought those fans were smaller than EVGA's ones, due to them being able to fit three of them on the card.

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Here's a size comparison with the GTX780s. The fans are more or less the same size, and the Strix card is a lot taller than the PCI slot.

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Here's the backplate, with cutouts for different components. I really like the Strix logo, but not as much as I like the recessed power sockets.

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Size comparison inside the case, the GTX780 is mounted in the secondary slot. The Strix 980ti is both longer and taller.

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The red strip lights up like a heartbeat when the PC is on

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Really crappy picture of the cards inside my case

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Slightly better shot of size comparison

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Also got in these Bitfenix fans, and some ram that was on Shell Shocker.

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Putting the 120mm Bitfenix fans on the hdd cages

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Blue ram is my original set of Corsair Vengeance 4+4GB 1600MHz, red ram is the new Vengeance Pro 8+8GB 1600MHz.

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Performance is actually better with just the GTX980ti in there, due to the 780 being overkill for a dedicated PhysX card, and the fact that my old chipset drops the channels to 8x when running two cards.

I'm loving the performance increase. Even from SLi'd 780s, there is noticeable improvement particularly with running insane levels of textures. Also, the Strix heatsink is fairly amazing since I'm able to hash at 99% GPU utilization and the card stays around 70C at half fan speed. Simply amazing.
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#26 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 02:57 AM

Forgot to post this for awhile.

Current PC specs:

Motherboard: Asrock Z77 Extreme4 LGA1155
CPU: Intel Core i7-2700K
CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro H80 (modified)
GPU: Asus GTX 980ti Strix Gaming
RAM: 2x Corsair Vengeance Pro 8GB, 2x Corsair Vengeance 4GB (24GB total)
Boot SSD: Corsair Force GS 240GB
Programs HDD: WD Caviar Black 3.0TB
Storage HDDs: 2x WD Green 4.0TB
Auxilary HDD: WD Green WD15EARS 1.5TB
Project HDD: WD Caviar Black 1.5TB
Scratch HDD: Toshiba 160GB 5400/2.5"
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D
ODD: Samsung SH-224DB
Wifi: Asus PCE-N10 11n
Power Supply: Seasonic SS-1050XM 1050W
Case: Corsair C70 Arctic White

Primary Monitor: BenQ XL2420Z 24" 144Hz
Secondary Monitor: Asus VE247H 23.6" 60Hz
Keyboard: Logitech G11
Mouse: Logitech MX518
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#27 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 05:07 PM

Upgraded my computer recently. Here's a log of the five hour process of swapping guts...

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Starts off with my acquisition of a six-core Intel Core i7-5820K. This was my first step into the world that is LGA2011v3...

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Picked up an Asus X99-A II motherboard for it

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Opening up the box and seeing the accessories

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The motherboard itself is relatively plain, but matches my Corsair C70 case color scheme perfectly.

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First thing I noticed was the double arm retention system, I suppose it's because the CPU itself is relatively large. Also visible are the H80 mounting pegs screwed in to the heatsink posts.

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Opening up the CPU retention completely reveals the thousands of pins that make contact with the CPU.

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Seating in the 5820K

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Now it's completely in

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Attaching the H80 for testing purposes

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Using my spare GTX 780 since the 5820K does not have onboard graphics, and all my other cheaper testing graphics cards were at work

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Board tested fine outside the case, so now it was time for the lenghtier procedure of transplanting it in. Time to remove my Z77 Extreme4 and all of the stuff plugged in to it.

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Big stuff came out first, the H115i radiator is gigantic

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Almost clean

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One last look at the i7-2700K that has been powering my gaming for the last several years

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Side by side comparison of the two motherboards

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X99-A II is finally installed, now to hook everything back up to it

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SATA cables for my hard drives go in first, and the larger power cables into the motherboard

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nickel-colored H115i LGA2011v3 hardware, it's functionally identical to the ones from the H80 but it will match better to the rest of the silver hardware on it.

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H115i waterblock and radiator installed

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There was an extremely tight squeeze for these components, I managed to fit a push fan on half the H115i, but we'll see if it's actually necessary.

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More open view of the photo above

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Standing the case up. Note the RAM stick positions, this is recommended by ASUS for two modules, it wouldn't boot in the traditional closest-to-CPU position

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Redid all the cable management in the back of the case. Feels good

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Graphics, sound and wifi cards reinstalled and it boots up perfect. Time to take it inside and configure the UEFI.

It's been running great ever since, got a stable 4.1GHz overclock on the 5820K. I changed zero settings otherwise and got a jump from approximately 14800 to 15700 in 3DMark's Fire Strike test. I currently run Overwatch at roughly 200fps on mostly medium/high settings with OBS streaming in the background, and the CPU stays around 30% or so. I will run benchmarks on CPU-bound programs later (like AASS lolol), but for now I'm satisfied just with the new guts.
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#28 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 05:22 PM

Found an awesome deal on Prime Day, the Eagletec KG010 mechanical keyboard was on sale for $40. It got amazing reviews everywhere I looked, so I figured for that price I wouldn't mind taking the plunge to mechanical switches.

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The box it came in was nothing special, but then again I don't want to be paying a premium for something that will get opened once and put into storage

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Inside the box it came with a bubblewrap sleeve over the keyboard, and the usb cable tied up top.

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First look at it and I am blown away. The top is alumninum, and the keys all rest on it for a sturdy feel. There are two feet underneath in case you like a raised rear like I do

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Plugged it into my Latitude E5410 and it works perfectly

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Not a very good indicator, but the brightness is enough to where you can still see it in a slightly below average lit room at 60%.

I've been using it since the day I got it, and am liking it a lot. Apparently these use Outemu Blues which are cheaper versions of Cherry MX Blue...roughly 55-60g of activation force, with tactile click feedback.

The feature set on this keyboard at this price point simply blew me away. There are no macro keys, but for $50 normal price you cannot complain. A lot of the secondary functionality is done through a Fn key, but it has...
- Multiple backlight levels
- Backlight 'breathing' with adjustable frequency
- Media control keys
- NOT TENKEYLESS
- WASD/arrow key switching for playing either really old games, or for southpaws
- Email/browser/calculator hotkeys

There are also drainage holes at the bottom in case you spill something on it, although a full cleaning would definitely be prudent at that point. I'm very happy with this addition, and will be using it despite missing my macro keys.

Motherboard: Asus X99-A II LGA2011v3
CPU: Intel Core i7-5820K
CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro H115i
GPU: Asus GTX 980ti Strix Gaming
RAM: 2x Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB DDR4-2400 (16GB total)
Boot SSD: Corsair Force GS 240GB
Programs HDD: WD Caviar Black 3.0TB
Storage HDDs: 2x WD Green 4.0TB
Auxilary HDD: WD Green 1.5TB
Project HDD: WD Caviar Black 1.5TB
Scratch HDD: Toshiba 160GB 5400/2.5"
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D
ODD: Samsung SH-224DB
Wifi: Asus PCE-N10 11n
Power Supply: Seasonic SS-1050XM 1050W
Case: Corsair C70 Arctic White
Case Cooler: 4x Bitfenix Spectre Pro 120mm, 2x Bitfenix Spectre Pro 140mm, 1x Corsair SP140L 140mm
Primary Monitor: BenQ XL2420Z 24" 144Hz
Secondary Monitor: Asus VE247H 23.6" 60Hz
Keyboard: Eagletec KG010
Mouse: Logitech G303 Daedalus Apex
Speakers: Logitech X-230 2.1
Headset: Turtle Beach PX4 (voice over Bluetooth)
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#29 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 04:49 PM

I upgraded my wireless card a couple weeks ago, and since I didn't have my DSLR on me at the time I had to take photos with my phone (Galaxy S4).

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picked up an Asus PCE-AC56 card to upgrade my aging PCE-N10.

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Opening up the box, it comes with a low profile bracket too.

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Comparison between the AC56 and the N10...not only is the PCB a lot larger and heatsinked, the antennas are bigger too.

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Closeup shot of the card. Teostra would be proud of its looks

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Installed at the bottom of the case next to my Creative Recon3D

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magnetized external antenna base. This is what I'll be using, and having the antennas up on the desk will definitely help with reception.

After installing, there is only one thing I am irritated about...the signal LED used on this card is blue. I will definitely be modifying it next chance I get to have a red LED and stick with the look of my case.
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#30 User is offline   aotsukisho 

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 05:27 PM

Did several upgrades last month, hopefully I'm done with the expensive stuff for now.

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Got this on sale, and wanted to give it a try. I loved the Eagletec KG010 I've been using, but this had true Cherry MX Blues (and a wrist rest).

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Opening it up and it's a standard keyboard lol

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A whole bunch of accessories underneath.

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Sayo has my KG010 so I can't compare the two right now, but this is the Apollo next to my old Logitech G11.

I love it so far, it doesn't clack as hard as the KG010 due to it being plastic chassis, and as such I haven't bothered with the O-ring mod. I'm not really a fan of the build quality, as certain keys are clickier than others with the tactile feedback which to me says bad quality control. I do love that it's a USB 2.0 hub just like how the G11 was a USB 1.1 hub, and it has an audio passthrough which is nice. It also has its own software, which I installed but didn't bother with.

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On the audio front, I needed another headset. I've had my Sennheiser HD 280 Pros for many years now, and I was only recently aware that they made headsets. I've never tried an open-back headphone design, but seeing as very few headsets supported features I required (mic talkback or monitoring being very high on the list), I decided to give it a try.

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I saw these on sale and had to get them...seeing as my motherboard and GPU both have LEDs on them...

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Shot of the actual headset. The open-back design does allow you to take in ambient noise as well, which doesn't become a problem once you crank up the volume a bit. I really like how you can hear yourself talking though, which makes mic talkback redundant with this design.

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It's a lot bigger than my current Vengeance LPX memory, mostly due to the LED light bar up top

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There was a small problem however, as my Vengeance LPX were indeed low profile I quickly found that my H115i's radiator hoses interfered with the larger heat spreader on the Vengeance LEDs.

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As a side note, I installed this mesh filter that I've been intending to add on the rear 120mm fan mount which is currently blank. I was considering adding a fan there as an intake, but wasn't sure how that would affect airflow directionality in the case. I did notice that I was accumulating dust due to negative pressure in my case that I've been intending to work on so I decided to put it on anyway.

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It sticks nicely on the inside of the case, so I don't have to worry about accidentally scraping it off while moving it around.

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Very noticeable size difference with the sticks actually installed.

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So this is my new setup as of 3am, using my Bitfenix Spectre LED 140mms as pushers instead of pullers. By raising up the radiator by that 25mm or so the hose can move around the

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I had to wait til the next day to use actual hardware to attach my radiator to the case instead of some screws I found in my box outside

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6-32 3/8" stainless steel hex heads with nylon washers that sadly weren't quite large enough to completely cover the rubber grommets, but this will do for now.

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The final upgrade was to take me into the NVMe generation. Despite having an M.2 slot (and U.2 support) on my X99-A II, I've heard about throttling issues due to heat buildup on the flash chips. This model is basically an M.2 SSD mounted to a PCI-E x4 adapter but with a heatsink over it.

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Opening up the box, that's the heatsink

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You can barely see the actual SSD's pcb underneath, with thermal pads to interface it to the heatsink.

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SATA power port, since there's also LEDs on the chassis.

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I did some shuffling of components in my PCI-E slots in order to make everything work. Note that for whatever reason, this configuration didn't work as the motherboard wouldn't recognize my sound card.

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Closeup of the install

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How the system looks when powered. My PCI-E x16 slot retainers, graphics card and memory all pulse red and/or white now.

I did have to reconfigure my PCI-E cards afterwards as I mentioned. I believe I put my wifi card next to the graphics card and moved the sound card right next to the SSD.

The only other upgrade planned for the forseeable future is fans, since the fans I had my eye on for months finally went on sale for Black Friday.
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