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New Guts in Old Gateway (pics) -- Overheating Solved

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May 7, 2007 10:33:06 PM

Hello again, experts, technicians and pure speculators. I recently gutted out my old Gateway P4 ATX mid-tower and stuffed it full of goodies. First, here's the list of the important stuff that went in:

Quote:
MB - ASUS P5N32-E SLI Plus LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard
CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Model
RAM - Patriot eXtreme Performance 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit
GPU - EVGA 640-P2-N821-AR GeForce 8800GTS 640MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Video Card
HDD - SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD321KJ 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
PSU - CORSAIR CMPSU-620HX ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 620W Power Supply
CPU HSF - ZALMAN CNPS7700-CU 120mm 2 Ball Cooling Fan
OS - Microsoft Windows XP Professional 32-bit With SP2B 1 Pack


Before: Life as a Bland Gateway P4


After: Life with Some New Guts


I put in an 80mm Zalman intake fan (bottom front) and a 120mm Zalman exhaust fan (top back). However, I've discovered that while sitting at idle in my relatively cool office at work, the CPU was reaching temps of about 39C. Under load (graphics intensive game -- NWN2 with everything cranked), it was reaching about 48C. Those numbers seem to be repeating themselves in my home office, plus a degree or two as it's warmer there. So my question is, are these "normal" temps for that CPU (no overclocking yet) with a monster 8800GTS mounted underneath it? Or is there a possibility that I didn't get a good mate of the HSF to the CPU? I used Arctic Silver on clean surfaces, so don't know how that could go wrong... :?
May 7, 2007 10:56:19 PM

Those temps seem high. Most people seem to be getting temps of 26-30 C at idle, and up, at load, depending on the HSF. What are you using to measure temps?
May 7, 2007 11:01:51 PM

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What are you using to measure temps?

The ASUS AI utility that came on a disk with the motherboard...
Related resources
May 7, 2007 11:12:39 PM

Those temps certainly aren't anything to brag about or worry about. They might be slightly on the high side but unless you're a perfectionist they are easily within the operating range of a Core 2 Duo and i wouldn't bother to reset your heatsink unless you plan on doing some moderate-heavy overclocking.

Taking a look at your case looks like you don't have enough airflow with only an 80mm intake fan. Not only would i consider that too small of an intake fan that cold air isn't really even close or blowing on any critical components.

The only thing to do would be to reset your heatsink if you think it doesn't have the best contact, otherwise your system is perfectly fine.
May 7, 2007 11:13:45 PM

Hmmm.....

ASSUMING that the temps you listed are your CPU temps, I would suspect that you may have the HSF seated incorrectly, that you may have insufficient cooling in your case, or that you are getting incorrect readings.

I would try to reseat the HSF again, using the Arctic Silver sparingly, and see what happens.
May 8, 2007 12:30:48 AM

Looks like poor airflow, as there is room for bigger fan in front and the rear is right on the HSF cooler, can you adjust the CPU fan, and which way is the PSU fan blowing? I might try a 120 with increased CFM in front and move all the cables best one can.
May 8, 2007 12:53:56 AM

The temps are not really that bad.

You are limited with options at the front of the case but can you mount a fan on the side panel? If it is vented maybe a 120 on the side directed at the cpu, gpu area would promote more airflow. Removing the side panel and directing a fan at the computer would give some indication if stirring up air at the cpu area improves it's temps.
a b B Homebuilt system
May 8, 2007 1:34:33 AM

Quote:
Hello again, experts, technicians and pure speculators. I recently gutted out my old Gateway P4 ATX mid-tower and stuffed it full of goodies. First, here's the list of the important stuff that went in:

MB - ASUS P5N32-E SLI Plus LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard
CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Model
RAM - Patriot eXtreme Performance 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit
GPU - EVGA 640-P2-N821-AR GeForce 8800GTS 640MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Video Card
HDD - SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD321KJ 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
PSU - CORSAIR CMPSU-620HX ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 620W Power Supply
CPU HSF - ZALMAN CNPS7700-CU 120mm 2 Ball Cooling Fan
OS - Microsoft Windows XP Professional 32-bit With SP2B 1 Pack


Before: Life as a Bland Gateway P4


After: Life with Some New Guts


I put in an 80mm Zalman intake fan (bottom front) and a 120mm Zalman exhaust fan (top back). However, I've discovered that while sitting at idle in my relatively cool office at work, the CPU was reaching temps of about 39C. Under load (graphics intensive game -- NWN2 with everything cranked), it was reaching about 48C. Those numbers seem to be repeating themselves in my home office, plus a degree or two as it's warmer there. So my question is, are these "normal" temps for that CPU (no overclocking yet) with a monster 8800GTS mounted underneath it? Or is there a possibility that I didn't get a good mate of the HSF to the CPU? I used Arctic Silver on clean surfaces, so don't know how that could go wrong... :?

make sure your rear fan is blowing out, and is your ram in dual channel configuration? check what slots your using, to me it looks like two

new computer -> new case, makes things easy
May 8, 2007 2:29:01 AM

Your right in order to be in dual channel the memory has to be in slot 1 and 3 or 2 and 4.
May 8, 2007 7:35:54 AM

First, thanks for all the helpful replies. Sorry it's taken me a while to get back to this, but I had to do that sleep thing.

Quote:
Looks like poor airflow, as there is room for bigger fan in front and the rear is right on the HSF cooler, can you adjust the CPU fan, and which way is the PSU fan blowing? I might try a 120 with increased CFM in front and move all the cables best one can.

CPU fan is fixed, so no adjustment there. The PSU is in a bad place, as the fan blows out of the PSU, so directly down onto the CPU. Perhaps a 120 in front is the way to go... I've checked, and the front is definitely drawing in while the back is blowing out.

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can you mount a fan on the side panel?

Well, I'm definitely not afraid to take a dremel to this thing, as I already have to get the MB faceplate to fit in the back. Perhaps that's a way to go as well.

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and is your ram in dual channel configuration?

8O Good catch! The manual said nothing about that setup. However, it does say that the left two slots (where the memory currently is) are Channel A and the right two slots are Channel B. I'll have to move one of the DIMMs tonight.

Quote:
I would try to reseat the HSF again, using the Arctic Silver sparingly, and see what happens.

I think this will end up being Step 1 for me tonight. I'm just not confident that I did this part right. I put the thermal paste on as per the little flash video on Zalman's site -- they show you spreading it over the whole CPU. Then at one point when I couldn't get the HSF screws to catch, I pulled the whole thing off, examined it and then placed it back on. Having now checked Arctic Silver's instructions on their website, I'm just not confident that I did this part right, so I may as well do it again per arctic silver instructions. Will normal rubbing alcohol suffice to remove the old thermal paste?

Quote:
new computer -> new case, makes things easy

Le sigh. Yes, that would have been beautiful. However, I didn't skip the new case because I ran short on the $50. I skipped the new case for other reasons that were unavoidable. Consider this a "stealth" rebuild. 8)
May 8, 2007 7:56:22 AM

Hehehehe, that tiny 80mm front intake fan looks funny (lonely even) at the front... what with all that phat hardware next to it. Nice parts dude. :D 
May 8, 2007 9:15:17 AM

i'd take everything out of the case, and make a blowhole for the psu and mount it upside down. should be right with a 120mm hole saw (or the closest size) then at least your hot air form the psu will be going straight out of the case.

Also you can get a 80->120mm fan addapter thingy which will allow you to put a 120 mm fan at teh frount of the case. Then you could move the 80mm fan to that little slot in between the HDD rack and the frount, should help cool your HDDs (always a good thing).

as for the hole side fan idea... it is a good one. my cooler master case came with a duct and a grill above the GPU. I removed teh duct and put a fan there (i have a water cooler you see) this helped with some airflow over my ram. and got some cable ties and got another fan over the grill. whather or not you want to have them sucking or blowing is up to you (would rely depend on the other fans)

which brings me to another point, the rear fan should be sucking air out of the case.
May 8, 2007 9:27:27 AM

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Also you can get a 80->120mm fan addapter thingy which will allow you to put a 120 mm fan at teh frount of the case.

I drilled the holes for the 80mm mount, so I could easily redrill for 120. Careful application of the shop vac should prevent me from having to gut the whole system just to drill down there. Alternately, I could just line the edges of the 120 with that double sided foam tape and slap it in there. Like you said, I'm sure I could find a home for the 80mm somewhere.

Quote:
which brings me to another point, the rear fan should be sucking air out of the case.

It is. I think it's just pure semantics on this one. Since the fan is inside of the case, I say that it is "blowing out." If it were outside of the case, I would say it is "sucking out." :D 

I like the thought of the PSU blowhole, but I'm not sure I want to go through the arse pain of taking everything out again to make a mod of that size. It makes deadly good sense, though. :?
May 8, 2007 9:39:24 AM

my next system will be the mother of all air coolers, going to have the psu blowhole and i'll be getting one of them 30cm ducting fans for the side of the case, bunch of fans on the bottom of the case (kinda like reversed blowholes.... but sucing air) bunch on the top and bunch of fans on the frount and back.... everything blows air out while the 30cm fan clows air on the entire system... just have to figure out how to stop all the viabrations :?
a b B Homebuilt system
May 8, 2007 11:21:04 AM

umm no PSU these days blows the hot air into the case check that one again
May 8, 2007 11:39:28 AM

yeah.... now that you mention it ....that fan sux air into the psu from th case and blows it out the rear
May 8, 2007 12:14:15 PM

Quote:
umm no PSU these days blows the hot air into the case check that one again

Hmm... I may have misjudged it then in that tornado alley caused by the rear case fan, HSF and PSU fan. That's fabulous if it's actually sucking heat off of the CPU. However, that would really make me think that I mucked up the HSF thermal paste/install if I'm constantly running at 40C idle. There are two 120mm fans within 2 inches of the HSF cooling fins drawing air away from the CPU...
May 8, 2007 1:28:00 PM

wait.... what? i don't have a good psu so i can't tell.... but anyways if the second fan blows air into the case then i'd do the psu blow hole but if it sux air out throught the psu and out the back then that would be good....
May 8, 2007 3:50:57 PM

I have that exact same case. Pretty solid case considering it came from Gateway. Solid construction, looks good, basically tooless. I have the system in my sig, with my CPU overclocked to 3.5Ghz, and it sits under 38C at idle, usually less. I have 5 80mm fans. Two in the back as exhaust, 2 on the side panel, and 1 intake in the front. I cut some holes in the motherboard tray and did some basic wire management, nothing fancy. I'll put up some pics when I get home if you want.
May 8, 2007 8:41:07 PM

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I'll put up some pics when I get home if you want.

I want, I want! :D  I looked at routing some cables behind the MB, but didn't go there... would be interesting to see.
May 8, 2007 9:09:25 PM

Excuse the dust. Not the best, and I could probably get it a little better, but I think this is about as good as it gets for me.

I cut three holes in the motherboard tray, and stuffed any cables I didn't need behind, then I routed all other cables through the holes to their device. I wish I could turn the hard drives around, but there's a metal lip on the back of the hard drive cage that makes it impossible to plug the IDE cable in if they were to be turned around. Also, notice my homemade round cables. Increases air flow a bunch if you don't have those wide, flat cables hanging around.




May 9, 2007 1:12:54 AM

i have to say that is a pretty good looking case....
May 9, 2007 1:49:12 AM

thats the same case i have im fixing to build a new system
what did you use to cut those hole in the side panel with to install the fans
thanks
May 9, 2007 2:19:12 AM

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i have to say that is a pretty good looking case....


Yeah, I like it, especially with the mods I've done.

Quote:
thats the same case i have im fixing to build a new system
what did you use to cut those hole in the side panel with to install the fans
thanks


Dremel, a very handy tool for anyone who wants to mod cases.
May 9, 2007 2:51:44 AM

that it is... just wondering is ther a hole saw bit for it? i do have a drill so i guess it dosn't matter...
May 9, 2007 4:25:05 AM

Not sure. I used a cutting wheel for all my holes. Cut out the rough hole then grind it down untill it's where I want it.
May 9, 2007 7:03:48 AM

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Not sure. I used a cutting wheel for all my holes. Cut out the rough hole then grind it down untill it's where I want it.

+1. Dremel is the "Man's Man" tool -- no workshop is complete without one. I used the same method as Gary; cut the rough hole, then grind it down to spec. Thanks for the pics, Gary. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait until I get home to see them as they're blocked from work. Grrrr...

So on to the update. After safely getting the wife and children to bed last night, I tore into my system again. I took off the Zalman HSF and cleaned up the CPU heat spreader and HSF contact surface with sterile alcohol wipes, as the arctic silver website recommended using isopropyl alcohol if you didn't buy their cleaner. Did a real nice job of cleaning off the goop. Then, per arctic's instructions, I applied a thin line of thermal paste down the center of the chip, carefully set the HSF back onto the CPU, rotated a few degrees counterclockwise, then a few degrees clockwise, then bolted her down. Oh, I also moved that darn dual channel memory into the right slots to utilize its dual-channelness.

Leaving the side of the case off, I fired it up. With a small, light piece of paper, I checked fans to see which way they were blowing. The PSU fan yea verily sucks air from the case and blows it out the back. The rear fan does the same. The front fan... oops! I had it also sucking from the case and blowing out the front! :oops:  I unbolted it and reversed it so that it would pull cool air in from the front and blow it into the case. Secure in the knowledge that I now had everything assembled exactly right and that I would see a corresponding 10C drop in temps, I closed up the case and put it back under the desk.

Opening my fan utility, I was pleased to see that the CPU temp was now a pleasant 33C. So I set to work updating a few software packages with the latest patches and also installing Speedfan to double check my temps. By the time I had updated and installed, there it was again -- 38C at idle. :? Speedfan confirmed that temp. Interestingly enough, while the CPU was at 38C, the motherboard temp was about 2* higher -- this continued during light work when the CPU temps increased to 40C; the MB increased to 42C. I can only conclude that the temps inside of my case are too high due to lack of fresh air, though I find it interesting that the CPU is running a couple of degrees cooler than the MB at all times. Perhaps that Zalman is doing its job? Is it normal for the CPU to run cooler than the MB?

I guess it's time to take off that side panel and cut some holes. I think I'll put in a 120mm fan at the front, then move the 80mm to a new hole in the side so that it blows directly onto the CPU. Oh well. At least it won't melt down at 40C, or even 55C if it gets that high during gaming. On an interesting side note, I tried to get TAT to run (per the fabulous Core 2 Duo Temperature Guide by CompuTronix) to get an idea of how much it would heat up under load, but got a weird error that prevented it from starting. Anyone have insight on this? I'm afraid I can't remember the error message now, so the actual message will have to wait until this evening.
May 9, 2007 8:30:29 PM

Quote:
Excuse the dust. Not the best, and I could probably get it a little better, but I think this is about as good as it gets for me.

I cut three holes in the motherboard tray, and stuffed any cables I didn't need behind, then I routed all other cables through the holes to their device. I wish I could turn the hard drives around, but there's a metal lip on the back of the hard drive cage that makes it impossible to plug the IDE cable in if they were to be turned around. Also, notice my homemade round cables. Increases air flow a bunch if you don't have those wide, flat cables hanging around.

Just checked out your pictures from home, and ... wow! Nicely done! The interior of the case looks exactly the same type as mine. The exterior is nearly the same, but I lack the upper silver door covering the drive bays. I'm guessing you just dremeled out the holes for the fans, first in the metal interior, and then on the plastic exterior? Any issues with cutting through that plastic and keeping it looking nice?

On the hard drive cage, I didn't look at mine to see if I could turn the drives around, but isn't that thing removable as well with just a couple of screws? You could always pull it out and dremel that metal lip off.

As for the flat IDE cable, I'm going to copy all of the files off of that drive onto the new SATA, then eventually remove it, so that will go bye-bye. Floppy's not connected, so there are no other legacy flat cables in there. Just gotta wait until momma and kids go to visit grandparents, then perhaps I'll gut it out again and redo. Did you have any issues getting the thick cable from the PSU sandwiched between the outside of the metal box and the inside of the plastic cover?
May 10, 2007 3:42:21 PM

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I'm guessing you just dremeled out the holes for the fans, first in the metal interior, and then on the plastic exterior?
Yup, that's what I did. In the front, I connected the fan to the metal chasis, so there's a huge gap from the front of the chasis to the plastic front bezel (if that makes sense). I then cut a whole in the plastic front bezil, which allows for tons of air intake. I'm not positive, but a 120mm fan would probably fit nicely there, and would have a lot of air to breathe in too. All I had were 80mm fans, so that's what I have. On the side, I basically cut a big rectangle out of the metal, so the fans could attach directly to the plastic.

Any issues with cutting through that plastic and keeping it looking nice?
Not really. The dremel cuts through the plastic like butter. The only minor issue is, when I ground down the rough edges, it'll melt the plastic in globs if you press too hard for too long. Just be light with it, and take your time and it should turn out nice and clean.

On the hard drive cage, I didn't look at mine to see if I could turn the drives around, but isn't that thing removable as well with just a couple of screws? You could always pull it out and dremel that metal lip off.
Yup, you're right. It's only two screws. That's a good idea, I might do that in the future.

Did you have any issues getting the thick cable from the PSU sandwiched between the outside of the metal box and the inside of the plastic cover?
Yes. My PSU has A LOT of cables, which normally is a good thing, but trying to route them makes it very difficult. Once I taped everything down, I could get the side back on with a little effort, but I realized it's pushing the side outward (bending the plastic), so I can't screw that one screw in to attach the side to the chasis. I had been working on it all day, so I gave up, but I think if I took a little more time and spread the cables out more, it'd be better. It's a hassle, but it's worth it to keep my overclocked Presc-hott sitting at 35C or under.
May 10, 2007 8:02:40 PM

I was gonna send you a PM, but I'll keep asking questions here in case there are more Gateway converts that need ideas on case modding. :D 

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I'm not positive, but a 120mm fan would probably fit nicely there, and would have a lot of air to breathe in too.

I checked with my rear 120mm fan, and it fits in the front quite nicely. Looks like I have some more metal to remove.

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On the side, I basically cut a big rectangle out of the metal, so the fans could attach directly to the plastic.

You getting any annoying vibrations from fans attached to plastic vs. metal? Did you use screws, silicon pins or something else to attach them to the plastic?

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The only minor issue is, when I ground down the rough edges, it'll melt the plastic in globs if you press too hard for too long.

Good to know. I'm guessing you used a cut off wheel for the big hole. What did you use for the final touches?
May 11, 2007 1:48:36 AM

Quote:

You getting any annoying vibrations from fans attached to plastic vs. metal? Did you use screws, silicon pins or something else to attach them to the plastic?
Just used regular screws. The drill bit I used was slightly smaller in diameter than the diameter of the screws, so when I screwed in the screws into the soft plastic, they created their own threads in the soft plastic. Nice and secure and doesn't rattle.

Good to know. I'm guessing you used a cut off wheel for the big hole. What did you use for the final touches?
I used a grinding wheel that came with my Dremel kit, something like this:
http://www.dremel.com/en-us/attachments-and-accessories...

Not really meant for plastic, but it's all I had.

May 11, 2007 2:23:56 AM

That is one sharp case you got there son.
May 11, 2007 2:37:00 AM

where did you get the fans from thats in the side panel
May 12, 2007 6:33:19 PM

Well, I solved that little heat problem, and it wasn't that complex. I took the side panel off and pointed a fan into the system. Temps dropped to 26C. I figure with a couple of well-positioned intake fans, I should be able to get it to idle around 30C with the side back on. Maybe even lower. I've already got 2x120mm fans serving exhaust plus the blower on the graphics card. Time will tell.
May 13, 2007 4:15:47 AM

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where did you get the fans from thats in the side panel

eBay, they're loud but they push a lot of air.
May 14, 2007 2:02:30 AM

you wouldnt happen to know know where i can find these standoffs would you,when i took my old board out ihave misplaced mine
or is there another way to mount the motherboard thanks
May 19, 2007 4:29:26 AM

can you tell me the name of theses fans or manufaturer so i can find them quicker on ebay
May 19, 2007 9:25:35 PM

hey guys are those atx or micro boards in your gatewat case
did you have anytrouble fitting them in
or have to do any cutting or modifiying your case thanks
May 21, 2007 6:58:37 AM

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hey guys are those atx or micro boards in your gatewat case
did you have anytrouble fitting them in
or have to do any cutting or modifiying your case thanks

ATX board, just like the original. If you've never taken your original out of the case, Gateway used a pretty handy method of securing them in. From the center of the board, look down and right a bit, and you'll see a screw -- mine was a thumb screw. Take this out, then slide the whole board to the right then pull straight out -- it comes right out. The standoffs that they use on the board basically all line up with a hole in the case, then slide left (during install). The thumbscrew then keeps the whole board from sliding right and falling out. It's actually a really great system. I wish I had a photo of one of the standoffs. I had one or two left over, perhaps I can get a shot of one of them. The holes for the main cluster of I/O connections coming out the back of the computer is proprietary to the board Gateway used. Er... was proprietary. I took a Dremel and cut that area out (after some careful measuring) into a rectangle to accomodate the faceplate that came with the new board. That was by far the most difficult part of this mod.

As for those fans, you can use any ol' 80mm fan, and I'd recommend getting something that doesn't sound like a C-130 taking off. I've read good things about the Scythe fans, and will probably be ordering two of them to put into my system. I'll be sure to knock the RPMs down a bit just to keep them quiet. I can't see the pic from Gary_Busey here at work, but if I recall correctly these are the fan grills that he had on his machine. Basically, the fan and the grill are separate parts and can be mix-and-match as long as you stay with 80mm. You can probably get the Scythe fans cheaper on newegg, but they don't have any selection for fan grills, so I've given you links to performance-pc.
May 21, 2007 3:43:08 PM

Actually, the board I put in my Gateway is a micro-atx, and it fit fine, even lined up with the thumbscrew hole.
May 21, 2007 3:44:24 PM

The brand I have are Logisys, but I just searched for led case fans and that returned a bunch of results.
May 21, 2007 9:45:52 PM

Heh -- I just had a look at Gary's fan grills now that I'm home where I can see his pics. I guess I missed the boat on that link, but you get the general idea now... :D 
May 22, 2007 3:19:38 PM

Quote:
Heh -- I just had a look at Gary's fan grills now that I'm home where I can see his pics. I guess I missed the boat on that link, but you get the general idea now... :D 


I got these ones: http://www.directron.com/grillhurri.html

Directron is a good place for case supplies and mod stuff, they have a million different fan grills. I got these because, at the time, they were on sale for dirt cheap. When I finally put them on, the black went really well with the black trim on the case, so I was pretty happy.
May 24, 2007 9:54:07 AM

hey guys thanks for the info
!