A8-3870K APU (Got 'K' chip so I'd have something hopefully fun to tinker with, wasn't necessary)
Scythe Big Shuriken 2
Biostar TA75M+ motherboard
Mushkin Enhanced Redline 2x4GB 1600 7-8-7-24-31-1T
2 Maxtor 160GB SATA II Drives - RAID 0 (Meh)
Apevia X-QPACK2-PK/500 (PK is for Pink, front bezel has brushed / anodized aluminum pink detail on black)
Apevia-supplied 400 Watt PSU that came with the case - nothing special, yet....
AMD's stock cooler - not gonna cut it
Up and running with the Scythe Big Shuriken 2 cooler installed - that white Phanteks 140mm fan will go on the Scythe! This mATX case has a removable motherboard tray. You can see below I've already painted it white. Most of the metal will receive a flat white paint so the red led fans make it look pinkish. We'll have to see how it all turns out.
If pink isn't your thing, think of it as a white build so any color LED will make it what you like, or go HERE for something a little more masculine.
The Phanteks fan is meant to replace the cooler's 10mm thick 120mm fan. Seen here...
Even in its default configuration, I'm really happy with this Scythe Big Shuriken 2 cooler. It's super quiet, effective, and should fit any low profile setup. The Phanteks fan is some aesthetics obviously, because its white to go with the theme. The cooling efficiency compared to the Scythe's 10mm fan is very similar. It has the added benefit of providing additional cooling to the VRMs and RAM due its 140mm size and overhang. I was lucky to find a white 140mm fan with 120mm mounting holes so it snapped right into place. I had a max cooler height of about 76MM and I'm just a few MM under that even with this 25mm thick fan. There can be a bit of an issue with the tips of the heatpipes contacting your RAM's heat spreaders. You cannot just lop those tips off, and the RAM won't look nearly as nice w/o its spreader. So for me, only one tip of a heatpipe contacted the RAM (installed in 2nd and 4th slots). I simply grabbed my needle-nose pliers and squeezed it a tiny bit to get that extra 1 or 2 millimeters of clearance I needed.
The big shuriken has a half height fan to keep the profile as low as possible in HTPC cases . Using a bigger , wider fan could increase air flow [ and cooling ] while lowering noise even further .
This is a pink OCing beast ;-)
I was hopeful. The bigger fan didn't allow for any better overclocking when looking at just the raw cpu and gpu speeds. I do believe its a bit quieter, but again, the scythe was really impressive all around. I expected its fan to be a screamer, but its really not. I'm still tweaking the voltage settings, so I still expect the overall system cooling to be well improved.
Build logs are a funny thing. For me, they come about as a request by one or two people, and so the easy (lazy) thing to do is just make a build log rather than address any individual questions directly. Then from there, its just fun to share, and see who stumbles across it and likes what I'm doing.
I dropped the RAID 0 configuration. I'm going to do a simpler setup to dual boot Win7 and linux, each from their own drive. Right now linux is giving me headaches. I started out with ubuntu 11.10 and tried the 12.04. There's a lot of crashes, reinstalls, and fixing grub/bcd/etc. Awhile ago I experimented with about every flavor of linux on my old laptop and never had this much trouble with linux. I just need stable and all of the free educational software / tux typing / tux math etc.
Now I'm downloading a couple more live cd flavors to play with. I almost want to pick up another cheap usb stick just to have more than one iso ready to go.
Nothing too exciting to add but I'll edit this post shortly with a few photos of the rest of the case painted, and where I stalled while customizing the PSU. I haven't finalized the decision on how to cover the 24 pin, 4 pin cpu, and sata power cables coming from it, so that's where its stalled, all masked off, painted, and waiting for me to make a decision...lol