Steambox preview

Recently, due to compatibility issues, I had to return a drive for a refund at Newegg. Since it was so far after the purchase date, I was given store credit.

On the other side, I’ve been working with a Raspberry Pi computer to set up as a streaming machine. I have a B version of the original, which is no where as powerful as the new Raspberry Pi 2. In addition, it took a lot of tinkering to get it to run as I wished.

Between these two items I decided to use my $180 store credit to build a micro atx streaming machine. It actually came out to $155 and consists of the following parts. Pictures and build coming next week!

I already have 16gb of low voltage Samsung ddr3 laying around (also known as Magic Ram due to its insane overclockability)

This is the case/PSU combo I went with. the LOGISYS Computer CS6801BK Aluminum Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case 350W Power Supply , http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=11-148-068

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It will fit in my entertainment center and will perfectly fit my parts. In addition it should be decent quality, yet runs at a decent price.

For storage, I went with the new to me, Silicon Power S60 3K P/E Cycle Toggle MLC 2.5″ 120GB 7mm SATA III 6Gb/s Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) , http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=0D9-0021-00005

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It isn’t quite at my goal price of 30 cents per gigabyte, but it was close and it is hard to hit that achievable goal at this size of disk.

For a combination of cpu, video and motherboard, I chose the ASRock Q1900M Intel Quad-Core Celeron Processor J1900 Micro ATX Motherboard/CPU/VGA Combo , http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=13-157-513

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This is a Celeron(!) quad core based micro atx board, with a fixed 2ghz cpu. It uses the cpu’s on-board video to drive at least 1080p. Combined with my other parts, this should work excellently.

Getting It Together

All of the major parts are in. Time to get them together!

IMO, the motherboard is the single most important part in a computer. It determines what other components you can use. It also determines the speeds those components can run at and connects everything together. The motherboard I’ve chosen, is the X99 SOC Champion. This board is aimed towards overclockers and matched my orange and black scheme.

Here’s the motherboard in place:

The CPU is important in that it determines the direction you are going with your build. On some chipsets, you can go with a dual-core Pentium if you are just looking at browsing the web or you could go with an i3, a dual core with Hyperthreading so that it logically performs as a quad-core. If you aim at truly high resolution gaming, an i5 might be your goal as it truly is a quad-core. If you are considering more workstation or 3d design related activities, you will aim for an i7, which on most chipsets (like the Z79) is a quad-core with HyperThreading, so that it acts like it has 8 cores. I went with x99, this leaves me with the options of the i7-5820k, i7-5930k or i7-5960k. The 5820 and 5930 are 6 cores with HyperThreading, while the 5960 has 8 cores with HyperThreading. As previously mentioned, I went with the 5930.

Here’s the CPU seated on the motherboard.

Here’s a shot with the memory seated.

Next is the installation of the CPU cooler.

Oooh Shiny…

While installing the pump, everything seemed fine, until I connected the fan header. One of the leads popped off of the pump. In a way that I couldn’t repair it directly…Though I did try:

After disassembling a couple of fans, I found a header that replaced the broken one. I spliced it into the wiring. Though this lead to an adventure with Cooler Master, because they couldn’t find the serial number in their system. That ended up taking some time to resolve, but they did fix it.

Similar to the processor, the Video card is determined by your planned usage. In some processors the video is actually on board. This is a great option for someone who is just browsing. From there the range can go crazy, up to multiple cards being combined into acting as one.

As I do game heavily, I decided to go with one of the higher end cards, the NVidia GTX 980. The specific card I went with cost a bit more than the other 980s, as it has the option to use water or air. I intend to go to water later, so this was the most ideal choice. It is also an awesome card in that the chips are tested by Asus and they pick the best ones to use on this specific card.

This won’t be the only card to reside in this computer, as competitions come up that specify different GPU/Chipset combinations.

Card in place:

One of my favorite things to do is run wiring. I love to make them disappear as best as possible. This case really made it easy as it has plenty of space behind the motherboard plate. It also helps that the case had the option to mount the SSD behind the motherboard, making wires even easier to hide.

The view from behind:

And we have lights! Plenty more coming soon!

Truth in advertwhining

Every interaction with everyone is new relation
Start from scratch or stretched for years
We don’t all make sense
We all project our worries on each other
Casting out our own fears
In a net to catch our nightmares
Don’t try to tell me it’s just the other person
My tail can only be commented about
Just. So. Many. Times.
Before the smoke indicates it’s on fire
You say I’m not dumb
Or at least not to be so sad about it
It’s just too easy for me to fuck it up
Make that choice
Which breaks the light
“It’s not my fault”
“It’s not my fault”
“I didn’t meeeeaaaan it”
Ha
I’m so scared of being alone that I cast my fear net out to catch all the emptiness I can find
Anything meaningful I manage to snag, I throw back every time
Eventually……

And it Begins…

While waiting for the primary parts, I figured it was time to tear the case down and see what can be done with it. I intend to go with no optical drives. I reached the point with the tear down that I was able to get rid of almost all of the drive cages. I also discovered an SSD socket on the back of the motherboard plate.

These are the parts that I’ll install for this round.

eVGA SuperNOVA g2 850W Power Supply

Power supplies seem to always come in bags. It really seems like the manufacturers expect us to carry these around. I can see the party now, “Hey do you have a power supply?” “Well as a matter of fact I do and look at this great bag!”

It also came with a bag to carry any extra cables and accessories.

Being a fully modular power supply, installation becomes so easy. That and you get enough cables to make it rain.

Here’s how the Power Supply installs, when using the upper portion of the case.

This is how it looks from behind. If you look at the bottom of the picture, you can see the chrome black plate that covers the i/o panel for the upper portion of the case.

On the lower portion of the case, I’ve installed the back plate for the Power Supply hole

For the SSD, I’ve gone with my second Mushkin. The first one has been running for 5+ years without a hitch.

While I can’t do anything with the RAM yet, here’s pictures of it anyways. I love the looks of these sticks.

The cooler I’ve run with is the Glacer 240L v2. The best benefit being that it is expandable, without voiding the warranty.

One item that will be adjusted is the Radiator. A first minor gripe will be the fin count in the radiator. As you can see here, there is lots of space between these fins. The good being is that the fan being used doesn’t have to be “high static”, but the overall cooling capabilities are usually less.

Now to tear down the case. I discovered a few interesting things.

Like, 2 more spots for fan placement!

Lots of hard drive cages in the way for the air flow…oh wait, those can go away

Oh wait, everything is removable and there appears to be an 80mm fan here! Not a fan of this thought, it’d make a lot more sense for it to be a 120mm fan…

If you look closely, you’ll see that the front panel has been reoved. After some fiddling, I was able to install it on the top portion of the case.

Oh look, fans!

By this point, I’ve discovered the SSD slot on the back of the motherboard tray. So let’s put an SSD there!

Now I get to put the water cooling radiator

I’ve screwed it into the side-wall of the top portion of the case and begun to run the cables for the Power Supply.

Time to…pull out more drive cages!

This is starting to get roomy. Let’s see what we are looking at downstairs.

Finally, if I didn’t have a hard drive cage collection before, I definitely do now!

The next update will be the installation of all the PHUN stuff!

In the Beginning…

The path to this build began with winning a contest from the hardware review website www.hardwareasylum.com.

The prizes were a custom-painted HAF Stacker, a Cooler Master 750W 80+Gold PSU and a t-shirt.

This is the case, from receiving to exploring some of its options.

Being the combination of a “Mid” (according to CM) and mini-ITX towers, this made quite an imposing figure lurking on my doorstep.

The Mid-tower, standing by itself.

Front Panel, when installed on mid-tower (it is removable and able to be installed on mini-ITX).

Seperated, Siamese-twins standing side-by-side.

Setting the cases up in the configuration I’ll be using.

Even outside the box, this case is beasstly!

I also received the PSU and shirt! The PSU will go in my old system, which recently had a PSU failure.

Build Preview ‘Orange & Black Attack Stack’

The name is pending, but I figured to start with a list of parts going into this rig:

  1. I won a custom painted HAF 935 from my friends at www.hardwareasylum.com. This is an extremely customizable and expandable case. To start I’m placing a majority of the components into the Mid-Tower HAF 945 portion. The water-cooling and PSU will go in the mini-ITX 915F portion. Later I may expand with a 915R to add a removable Steam Box, so I can stream games from the main PC into any room on my network. The timing of receiving this case placed me in a position to enter into an Overclocking Competition on HWBot.org, though the delay in my funding being received may’ve delayed my build too long to actually win. http://us.coolermaster.com/product/Detail/case/haf-series/haf935.html
  2. For cooling, I was shopping for a Swiftech H220 to start a custom cooling loop. Well, it was going to be $150 for just that pump, once I added in a radiator I was already up to $350. Then I saw a deal on the CoolerMaster Clacer 240L. While the radiator is only 120×2, when I was aiming for 120×3, I realized it has the Swiftech H220 for a pump! Plus, the deal meant it was $100 for all the parts and it is all expandable, so I can still customize it, down the road. Including changing out the radiator, tubing and expanding it to include other parts. http://us.coolermaster.com/product/Detail/cooling/glacer/glacer-240l-v2.html
  3. Initially I thought I had a Power Supply in place. Especially after Seasonic said that it worked fine. Yet, while it was at Seasonic my current rig started working fine, not showing the issues that were there when the Seasonic PSU was installed. So, I had to purchase a new Power Supply. After combing through deals and reviews, I landed on the eVGA Supernova 850 G2. While it’s not 80+ platinum like the Seasonic unit was, it posts figures comparable and it appears to actually be more efficient than the 80+ Gold rating requires. http://www.evga.com/Products/Product.aspx?pn=220-G2-0850-XR
  4. I’ve used Crucial and Mushkin SSDs. Recently Mushkin released an exclusive line via NewEgg. I looked over the specs and I’m more than satisfied with the idea of using this ECO2 line. Initially I will be overclocking and testing with this rig, so capacity isn’t an issue. http://www.poweredbymushkin.com/index.php/catalog/45-eco2.html
  5. Once I went down the line of using this case, I committed to a primarily orange and black color combo. When it comes to orange and black motherboards, you are pretty well set on a Gigabyte SOC board. This worked out in a few directions. First off, the competition I was interested in entering requires a Gigabyte board. Secondly, I was pretty set on going with the x99 chipset. Finally, they were releasing a new board the SOC Champion. The few drawbacks of this board are that it “only” has 4 RAM slots, “limiting” it to 64GB DDR4, rather than 128GB. It doesn’t have dual NIC. The m.2 socket is “limited” to 20 GB/s. These drawbacks result in higher memory performance due to less line tracing for the additional RAM slots, more CPU cycles due to handling only one NIC and less of the PCI-e bus being taken up by the m.2. Plus, I love the looks and performance of this board. http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=5280#ov
  6. For the processor, I’d debated between the 5820k and 5930k. The 5960x being far beyond my needs or budget. I settled on the 5930k, so that I could take advantage of 16x speeds in SLI, which maybe in my future. http://ark.intel.com/products/82931
  7. The last two items took the most research and work, the video card and the memory. On the video card part, I already have a GTX 680, which plays fine on my 1920×1200 resolution display. Though it doesn’t do so well on more demanding games on my 2560×1600 resolution display. This is mostly due to only having 2GB of on-board memory. While researching, I discovered the ASUS Platinum Poseidon gtx980. It’s pricing is about the same as buying a GTX980 and adding a water cooling block, while not adding the risk of voiding the warranty. Plus it has air-cooling, so if I am not completely ready to add it to the water-loop, I can run it without worries. http://www.asus.com/Graphics_Cards/POSEIDONGTX980P4GD5/
  8. Finally, there’s the memory. This was a tough one, memory support by motherboard manufacturers has been spotty at best. I was leaning towards a 3000mhz kit, but the design, overclocking and MOD monitoring of the Crucial Ballstix Elite Memory won me over. http://www.crucial.com/usa/en/memory-ballistix-elite-ddr4

Goilem

I am the Goilem
I wait for your command
You take me and you leave me
As only you can

Crush the gem
Burn the scroll smash your mirror
Free
My
Soul

Living your life
As free as a bird
Casting your bidding
Into the visage of your mirror

I am a cyclops
The emerald in my forehead
Casting its pale light
Guiding my way

Crush the gem
Burn the scroll smash your mirror
Free
My
Soul

You mold me with your will
Shape me as only you do
The mouldy scroll
Giving me life

Crush the gem
Burn the scroll smash your mirror
Free
My
Soul

Living my life
As dumb as a rock
Wrapped in clay
Soaked in mud

Crush the gem
Burn the scroll smash your mirror
Free
My
Soul

I am the Goilem
Crawling back to you
Drying clay crumbling
Each step an act of surrender

Lingering spirits

There’s a picture of 3 ghosts beside my bed,
A mother, a daughter and a dad,
They look like nice people,
So happy and alive,
I can almost place their names,
It’s all right there in my head,
But maybe I’m wrong,
I often am.

I think i knew them once,
Lives spreading out before them,
All the doors were open,
All the lights were green,
Always smiling,
Never dying.

There’s a picture of two ghosts beside my bed,
I think of them every day,
A man and woman leaning together on a concrete bench,
Surrounded by nature and beauty,
Backs to the camera,
I remember them happy,
But maybe I’m wrong,
I often am.

I think i knew you once, perhaps it’s just a dream, 
Future memories of holding elderly hands,
Walking through the store,
Guiding through doors,
Shuffling on floors,
Always smiling.