Author Topic: My first PC build...  (Read 3792 times)

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Offline beaker

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My first PC build...
« on: 02:29, 12 December 11 »
Before I make an enclosure for the HxC floppy emulator I decided to finish off another project that's been rumbling on over the last few weeks/months.
I've always wanted a Snes and I've always wanted to build a custom PC. (not sure why I needed another one as I have 5 others I am currently using but hey...). In the Summer I finally got around to buying a US Snes but alas none of the games I got with it would load properly. I got a partial refund which I used to buy another machine but was left with the original broken machine. The case had gone that yellow colour so I decided to respray it. I've never sprayed anything and never built a PC from the ground so it's far from perfect.
Just wondering if anyone on the forum had any suggestions on how to improve on it?
I didn't want to spend alot so it's the latest ION2 that's passively cooled with a 500GB running Ubuntu. I took apart a cheap USB Snes controller adapter and resoldered it to the original ports then hotglued the PCB on the base and they all work. I also bought a couple of USB headers for the motherboard. The first was a PCB with 2 USB connections that was too high for the case so I ended up using the wired ones in the picture that I used for the controller adapater and the wireless keybaord and mouse dongle so that's all hidden. The power and reset buttons are both working but as they use push buttons the power button isn't held in the on position.
Things I'd like to do:
1. Find a way to clip secure the top to the base of the unit as I had to remove all the old fixings.
2. I am not sure if I need to add more ventillation? I've been copying stuff over from an old harddrive and the thing hit 86 degrees Celcius after an hour. With the top off it stays around 70 degrees Celcius. If I do it would be nice to do something that didn't destroy more of the old case.
If anyone has any suggestions on either that would be great?
« Last Edit: 02:33, 12 December 11 by beaker »

Offline awergh

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Re: My first PC build...
« Reply #1 on: 04:00, 12 December 11 »
Looks nice but it definitely looks like it could use some more ventilation, what about using the cartridge slot for an exhaust or something?

Offline Gryzor

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Re: My first PC build...
« Reply #2 on: 09:59, 12 December 11 »
This is lovely indeed... But yes, I think those temperatures are a bit too high - I wouldn't dare it leave it on and leave the house...

Offline Bryce

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Re: My first PC build...
« Reply #3 on: 10:57, 12 December 11 »
Looking good. For a start, you should at least go down to a 2.5" HD instead of the 3.5", that will already reduce the temperature a good bit. And move the HD further away from the heatsink. If you can live with less GB and have the cash, then I would go all the way and get a CF Card instead of a HD, 32GB Boot/Swap/User and the data external on  a Network or USB connection. I would also suggest using the cartridge slot to ventilate, but you need to get some air movement happening in there, so a fan is unavoidable. If the box still has feet that keep it raised from the desk, then you could use a fan to pull air in from beneath (somewhere underneath where the HD is at the moment and let it force air out anywhere it can (there are still a few ventilation holes above the backplate too).
If all that doesn't reduce the temperature enough, you could always underclock it?

Bryce.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: My first PC build...
« Reply #4 on: 11:28, 12 December 11 »
The fan underneath is a good idea. but a CF? What are you trying to do, turn it into a c64? Maybe a SSD, though costs rise...

Offline Bryce

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Re: My first PC build...
« Reply #5 on: 11:39, 12 December 11 »
A 32GB CF is enough to install a full Linux system on. It's small, fast and cold. What more could you want?

My C64 doesn't have a CF card, only my Amigas :)

Bryce.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: My first PC build...
« Reply #6 on: 13:10, 12 December 11 »
A 32GB CF is enough to install a full Linux system on. It's small, fast and cold. What more could you want?

My C64 doesn't have a CF card, only my Amigas :)

Bryce.


According to Wikipedia,
Quote
CF 5.0 already supports media up to 128 PiB and CF 6.0 adds speeds up to 167 Mbyte/s, while the SATA-based CFast already defines speeds up to 300 Mbyte/s.

Are they really that fast? Is that really MB or Mb?

[EDIT] Did some price checking, found a 32GB 233x card (nominal speed some 30MB/s) for €142 and a 600x (some 85MB/s) for €239, so definitely not a viable option. I don't think it beats an SSD...
« Last Edit: 13:15, 12 December 11 by Gryzor »

Offline Bryce

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Re: My first PC build...
« Reply #7 on: 15:12, 12 December 11 »
32GB is about the the "payable" level at the moment, the prices go logarithmic after that (which is why I suggested 32GB). The 300Mbytes is all theoretical crap, but they certainly are faster than a standard HD.
You can get a 32GB 400x Transcend CF on amazon for €57, which I think is an ok price.

http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B002WE4H8I/ref=noref?ie=UTF8&s=computers&psc=1

Bryce.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: My first PC build...
« Reply #8 on: 16:03, 12 December 11 »
...or a 32GB OCZ SSD with 70/125MB (write/read) speeds for €55, and that's only after ten seconds of looking around ;)

Offline Bryce

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Re: My first PC build...
« Reply #9 on: 16:55, 12 December 11 »
Yeah, but an SSD is much bigger and much hotter. The plan was to cool the PC, not make it faster! :)

Bryce.

Offline beaker

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Re: My first PC build...
« Reply #10 on: 21:41, 12 December 11 »
Thanks for the positive feedback.  :D
There are some holes underneath where the screw fixings used to be located but they’re obviously nowhere near substantial enough to allow air to circulate properly.
I should have clarified that that is a 2.5 inch hard drive in there at the moment; it just looks absolutely massive next to the Mini-ITX motherboard.  I think taking it all into account, that space is at a premium and a SDD would be the same size as the current hard drive and so would be touching the heatsink, and that it’s a slow Atom processor that I am going to use primarily for emulators and old games so a fast hard drive would be wasted, the CF card is probably the way to go?
Also at those prices, I think I may order a second card for my Nikon D300 camera, thanks for the link Bryce  :D
I like the idea of a fan underneath. The machine is on its original rubber feet and the motherboard is on proper spacers I glued into place so hopefully there should be enough room. The only thing I am not sure about is the flap but only because I think it could be a problem to remove. The section in front and behind the flap, and the flap itself are separate bits of plastic and I ended up gluing them all with araldite after the plastic cement I was using first turned out to be useless.  :-[
Does anyone know if it would be possible to separate them again without damaging the plastic or paint?
« Last Edit: 21:44, 12 December 11 by beaker »

Offline Bryce

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Re: My first PC build...
« Reply #11 on: 22:05, 12 December 11 »
I wouldn't chance trying to seperate plastic parts that have been glued with araldite, the odds on them breaking is very high to certain.
For the fan beneath I would cut a hole the size of the fan blades. That will reduce the noise and ensure the most air. Any grid of small drilled holes or similar will make a racket with air flowing through. As far as the cartridge port is concerned, if you have an old cartridge case, you could remove a section in the back and bottom so that it let air through when plugged in. That way you still need a cartridge to us it ;) Pretty cool.

Bryce.



Offline beaker

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Re: My first PC build...
« Reply #12 on: 00:18, 13 December 11 »
The cartridge is an awsome idea  ;D 
 
I'll have to look for a cheap US cartridge and print off a Zelda or Mario game label to attach to it. In the mean time I'll just have to use it with the lid off and take some more temperature readings to see what it should be running at.
 
Out of interest what fan would you use? The harddrive is actually partially mounted at the back of the motherboard above the RAM and I have a maximum of 50mm between the motherboard and the front of the case (a little tight). I am also hoping a 10mm thick fan will be enough as the Atoms are supposed to run pretty cool anyway.
 
Thanks again.

Offline Bryce

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Re: My first PC build...
« Reply #13 on: 10:23, 13 December 11 »
I'd buy a cheap RAM cooler, something like this:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zalman-Ultra-Quiet-Ram-Cooler/dp/B002VYFH9W/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1323764182&sr=8-8  That way you have maximum air flow, it's relatively quiet and is already mounted a nice frame that's easy to fit. This one is only 7.5mm heigh, should easily fit.
Depending on the dimensions of the cartridge, you could even fit one of these:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Case-System-Exhaust-Blower-Cooler/dp/B0043QUS7W/ref=sr_1_5?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1323764429&sr=1-5 inside it to suck the air back out. Then you definitely don't have cooling issues, but you can't remove the cartridge any more.

Bryce.

Offline beaker

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Re: My first PC build...
« Reply #14 on: 20:24, 13 December 11 »
Thanks I'll look into those some more; I was originally just looking at case fans :)
 
Then you definitely don't have cooling issues, but you can't remove the cartridge any more.

 
Sorry I confused myself; I thought you meant something slightly different with the cartridge idea... As the cartridge slot cover is also araldited in position I was just going to use it as a mounting point for a cartridge so it just looks like it was inserted and would hide the hole for the exhaust. So work out how large the whole is of the cartridge and cut/dremmel a hole in the slot that size so air can escape. Cut some crummy or dead cartridge case down to approximately the size it protrudes when inserted into a real Snes. Cut a large section of the back of the cartridge to allow the air to escape from that section and then glue it into position. That way from the front and sides it gives the illusion of still being a Snes… Also the US Snes looks better with a cartridge in :)
 
Enclosed are poor quality pictures of the cartridge inserted into my real Snes and sitting in situe on the PC Snes to give you an idea of what it should look like. So I'll probably lose 1/2 the height of the cartridge but should still give me a 40mm x 130mm opening at the top. Hopefully that should be enough?

Offline Bryce

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Re: My first PC build...
« Reply #15 on: 21:04, 13 December 11 »
That should be fine for cooling and will look seriously cool :)

Bryce.

Offline beaker

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Re: My first PC build...
« Reply #16 on: 21:51, 13 December 11 »
Cool, once again thanks for your help. I'll start ordering the parts and in the mean time I can make a start on the HxC case :D