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My First Build (Mis)adventures

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July 30, 2011 4:01:21 AM

I just wanted to share my first build experience with anyone interested. Moderator, please feel free to move/remove this post if it is in the wrong forum and/or considered inappropriate.

I just finished my very first build after a month’s time. Last thing I need to look at is the SATA power cable routing to the optical drives. The wire is currently being a little stressed reaching the other side of the case. Overall, though, I’m quite happy with it. The ‘journey’ was rather enriching and quite enjoyable with a few hair pulling antics along the way.

Initially I was going to settle with this final build posted here

(Un)fortunately, things didn’t go according to plan...

As a human being :pt1cable: , I ended up changing things around at the last minute. I ended up getting most of the parts listed, but swapped some others in the process. I mainly dropped the GTX560ti, CM 212+ and WD Caviar Black version from the list. I opted for the GTX570, Scythe Mugen 2 Rev.B and WD Caviar Blue version instead. Got all the parts within the day I went shopping (at the beginning of June) and was excited and enthusiastic in getting this build up and running.

But weather forecasts predicted a storm to hit. So I decided to patiently wait until the storm blew over before setting up to do the task. I guess it was a good thing too, because water was seeping into the basement from the heavy downpour. And this area that got wet was where my new rig was going to be setup. After mopping and cleaning up the mess, I waited for the floor and throw rugs to completely dry before working on the new build. :pfff: 

Well the time came and I started by checking out the Silverstone Raven 3 case (I have to admit, I kind of liked the champagne coloured stripes on the side). The problem was there was no accessory box included. So just to be sure, I ripped apart the entire case to see if it was hiding anywhere and also to get familiar with it. Well, to my disappointment, there was nothing. No screws, manual, brackets, etc. [:lectrocrew:1]

That prompted a quick email to Silverstone Technical Services and a call to the store I got it from. The store offered me either an exchange or a refund. Joel from Silverstone offered to send the missing manual and parts to me. I decided to bring the case in for an exchange as I really didn’t want to wait a few days or weeks to get the missing manual or parts. Well, it turns out the store didn’t have any Raven 3 cases available except in another province and would take 2-3 weeks to get it here if I really wanted it.

So, I decided to get a refund instead and settle with the Raven 2 Evolution (White Ltd Ed). Okay, I’m hitting the higher end of my budget, but I really wanted to get my build going...

Well, now comes the fun part. I took the case out and nothing was missing (YAY!). I also inspected all the other components to make sure nothing was amiss. Whew, everything was present and accounted for. So I began the task of mounting the PSU (with the help of my brother) and prepping the case. I also had help from my brother when mounting the Mugen (that proved to be interesting, challenging and frustrating at the same time).

While stripping/salvaging gear from my old prebuilt computer and transplanting it, I hit a big [:lorbat:6]. I forgot that my ROM drives are old IDEs, not SATA. Also the SATA ‘L-shaped’ cables I have (that was in the old system and came with the MoBo as well) doesn’t work well in this case. I needed the straight ones; which I didn’t have at my disposal.

Well, it’s back to the store to hunt for cables and another drive. I settled with a BD ROM drive instead. I had some Blu-ray discs that didn’t play well with the newer PS3 slim firmware releases and no fix either. Now I really pushed the upper limit of my budget with this, but still manageable.

Got home and slapped the remaining stuff in and began working on the cabling. I have to be honest, it took some time, patience and some creative thinking to get the cabling done. But it was FINISHED. I was nervous and excited at the same time. Just praying everything’s fine once I hit the POWER button.

The rig roared to life (okay more like a whisper quiet fan going off) and BIOS recognized the hardware (HDDs, SSD, etc.). Only hiccup was the new EFI BIOS is buggy with my wireless mouse and keyboard. Now it came down to installing the OS and software in the system.

Everything went smoothly. Memtest checked fine with no errors. But stress testing in P95 showed very high temps without OC. I decided to get a better outtake fan for the case and another fan for a push/pull config to see if there would be any improvements. Unfortunately temps were still high (only down a few degrees). So I came back to the forums looking for help. At first, I didn’t have a proper push/pull config setup as I had 2 different types of fans running (at different RPMs). It also appeared that I had to reseat the HSF to see if there was any improvement. Well, as it turns out, it looks like me and my brother didn’t properly secure it to the motherboard on the first go. Lucky it didn’t fall off and did any real damage. :ouch: 

So, I ended up going back to the store for some TIM as I threw out the stock one (that came with the Mugen). I cleaned up the old gunk from the CPU and HSF with some denatured ethanol, q-tips, paper towel and finished it off with a lint free cloth wipe down. Slapped the new paste down as per the instructions it came with and installed the HSF the second time (by myself as my brother wasn’t around at the time).

Powered it back on and checked. Great results! My temps were ‘normal’. Ran a P95 Blend test for about 8 hours afterwards to check stability and everything went fine with no errors. Great, now I’m in business. Only other issue was that one of the Power LEDs was out in the case. So I emailed Silverstone Technical Support and received a prompt reply from Joel. Turns out I’ll need to wait for the part to be shipped, as the case is a limited edition and the parts are rather scarce to find. Overall (on a side note), I’m very pleased with the service I received from Joel at Silverstone. Kudos to him for helping me out! [:bilbat:5] [:briovaz:2]

BUT (and there’s always a but ;) ), that wasn’t the end of it. I decided to do some OC now to see what I can squeeze out of it. I mean, that was the whole point of getting an unlocked processor right? So I went to work reading a bunch of stuff and learning about it. As for goals, I really looked at temps and voltages. I wanted to keep it within stock voltage with low temps. I was only able to push it to 4.0GHz at 1.190v and going as high as 55-57’c on all cores. This was my happy medium and to date have stuck with it.

Started to install the older drives into my system now and working on the wiring. Found 2 old IDE drives (40GB each) and decided to see what data I can salvage from it. So I went back to the store to find some IDE HDD enclosures. I ended up getting an enclosure and another DVD burner. I planned on dual burning a bunch of data off my HDDs as they were getting jammed full to the ‘red’ indicator. [:isamuelson]

Again, cable routing proved to be bothersome as I was constantly fiddling with it. There was a slight ‘bulge’ in the case behind the MoBo because of the spacing with the thicker power cables. Went to work trying different things and setups to see how I can get rid of the slight ‘bulge’. Eventually, I got rid of the ‘bulge’ and the side panel is now flat on. But my only gripe is to get a SATA power extension wire and/or a y-splitter (with the reason being mentioned in the beginning of my post).

Started experiencing some light flickers and a brown out in the area. Got a bit worried as the temps were hot outside and brown outs tend to occur when that happens. So I went looking for a UPS just in case. I eventually settled with the Cyber Power CP1350PFCLCD. It's the only one I could afford that can handle the CPU and monitor hookup providing adequate time to power down.

Again, here’s another BUT. The case looked rather ‘dead’ and ‘lifeless’. All the parts I purchased had no LED lighting and I really didn’t like having Blue or Red. I actually liked Green more than anything else. Maybe it’s because it looked good to me after seeing it on the ‘Borg’. So I looked up LEDs and cold cathode lighting solutions. I ended up getting a dual 12” LED tube lighting to light the rig. I’m actually quite happy with it so far now.

Then there was an old DVD Home Theatre System I dug up when cleaning a bit of the basement. It got me wondering if I could hook this up to the PC and not use the Monitor Speakers. I initially had an Altec Lansing 2.1 speaker system, but gave it to my brother when his 5.1 speaker system blew out. Funny how the older Altec Lansing (I think it’s greater than 8 years old now) still works great. Of course, I didn’t have the proper audio cable for the home theatre system. It’s an old unit and only has an analog L/R audio input. Oh well, just went out and picked up a 3.5mm to L/R RCA adapter cable. Hooked it up and got nice 5.0 sound (the subwoofer won’t work because it’s passive).

Well, that’s all folks. I know I added stuff that probably wasn’t relevant, but it did add to the ’build’ indirectly. But that’s just my thoughts. It was a great experience, and I’ll most likely do it again. I just feel very proud about it. The accomplishment of actually doing it gives it a most satisfying achievement and feeling.

Sorry for the extra long post and hopefully I didn’t put anyone to sleep! :p 

Happy building to anyone out there! You won’t regret it, I know I didn’t. :D 

More about : build mis adventures

July 30, 2011 4:10:04 AM

Here are the pics (also posted some in the Member Gallery) I took of my rig:

The wiring:


The 'guts':


The front view:


The windowed view:


LED placement on side panel:


LED wiring from case to side panel:


Part of my work desk with the 5.0 speakers and monitor:


And finally in the dark:
July 30, 2011 6:33:25 AM

Nice looking setup. Sounds like you had some fun :)  Still freaks me out every time looking inside a Raven and seeing the MOBO mounted that way. Just a pity about the black optical drives against the white case. Oh well looks awesome anyhow. You wont regret the 570.
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July 30, 2011 8:03:24 AM

Nice rig you got there.
July 30, 2011 5:22:09 PM

Thanks guys. Funny, it was kind of theurapeutic keeping my mind off the stressful days I encounter at work. ;) 

Ended up calling my rig the 'Panda'.

Once I get the SATA extension cables I'm going to try and rearrange the drives alternating between black and white. Hopefully get it to look a littlr more aesthetically pleasing.
August 1, 2011 1:54:10 AM

Haha. Love it. Only its like a flying Panda (Raven & fast machine = flying).

It's funny... you talk to some people and they can't imagine anything more frustrating and annoying than building their own system.. but yeah I guess it's like Lego for for big kids.
August 1, 2011 8:16:59 PM

Yeah, lego for big kids involving heavy lifting (moving the Panda around is a chore in itself). And of course the 'some (very loosely used) assembly required' fits the bill.

Well here's an updated look of my Panda:








I think that just about does it. I'm beat. Don't think I can do much better than this. Until I get the replacement part for the Power LED (going to be a while as Joel from Sivlerstone said getting the part is scarce due to the case being a limited edition). Then I'll need to gut it again.

Oh well, it does look much better now (at least for me). :sarcastic: 
!