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PlanetSmasher

The Building of GARGANTUA

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Here's my new build, GARGANTUA. Here's what's in it now:

 

ASROCK P67 Extreme 4 GEN 3 mobo

 

EVGA Geforce GTX 560 Ti (384 cores / factory OC'd) graphics card

 

G.Skill Sniper series DDR3 PC3-12800 4096MB x 2 model # F3-12800CL7D-8GBSR memory

 

Intel i5 2500K (Sandy Bridge) cpu

 

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO heatsink/fan

 

Cooler Master SilentPro M 850 watt (modular) power supply

 

Cooler Master HAF 932 Advanced (HUGE) case

 

Samsung 12x BD (read only) / DVD (read/write) / CD (read/write) / Lightscribe / SATA connectors

 

Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" (only 1) hdd

 

Windows XP Pro 32bit os

 

Future upgrades include:

 

Add Solid State HDD/s Install OS and apps on it / them. Convert the Seagate to storage only.

 

Windows 7 (undecided which flavor) 64bit os.

 

Second EVGA Geforce GTX 560 Ti graphics card.

 

Second pair G.Skill Sniper series memory.

 

Intel i7 Ivy Bridge (when it comes out, to take advantage of mobo's GEN 3 capabilities).

 

Maybe replace PSU with a 950 watt model?

 

Add second optical drive.

 

The Building of GARGANTUA

 

Prepping the case.

 

I started by making a few changes to the case. I reversed the top and front fans. The top fan now draws air in, down past the CPU/heatsink/fan, and the front fan pulls air out. I did this so that the warm EVGA exhaust air is drawn out through the front and not get drawn up through the top, past the CPU cooler. I realize that means the warm air will flow past the HDDs, but I think warm air will impact a CPU more than the HDD's, and as such, I've decided to exhaust the air through the front fan.

 

I swapped out the case's default "feet" in preference for the rolling casters that came with the case. At first, you'd think the wheels look and feel cheap. That's because they look and feel cheap. However, in my situation, once they were attached, they performed quite well. The case rolls smoothly on my concrete floor, and (as I had hoped) provides a good deal of clearance from the floor. I felt it was necessary to give the case more clearance for the sake of the bottom-air-feeding PSU - to reduce the dust that would get sucked in from the floor under the case. It also proved quite useful, as I had to turn the case around to do the cable management on both sides of the case, it made turning the case very easy - no heavy lifting.

 

I removed the bottom PSU tray/shelf because I could see from its narrow slits that air flow would be greatly restricted into the PSU. Separating the shelf proved unhelpful, because when it was mounted back in its place, it was loose (only one screw hole to support it in the case) and did not provide any support for the PSU (psu hung over the seperated shelf, and did not rest on it).

 

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Of coarse that means that the PSU is being supported purely by it's four mounting screws at the back of the case. However, the PSU is not so heavy that, I think, it would present a problem. With that PSU shelf/tray in place, it would just end up suffocating my PSU. So, it's worth removing. (Notice the wheels? Two of them come with locking mechanisms (like parking brakes) I recommend you mount those at the front of the case. Easier to reach.)

 

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As a matter of building, you have to remove the graphics card shroud from the case. It gets in the way of routing cables and wires. Also, when connecting the power connectors to the back of the graphics card/s you can't get your hands in there to actually make the connections.

 

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I decided not to add it back in. I couldn't see how the shroud was suppose to help things with air flow. The big side fan would have it's air flow into the case and through the front blocked by the shroud. With the fans in the original configuration of drawing air from the front and blowing it to the top, with the shroud in place, the warm graphics card exaust would get blown back to the gpu's fans, recycling the warm exhaust air through the graphics cards' heatsinks.... Besides, after the cable management was done, I figured I wouldn't be able to put the shroud back on anyway. I'd have to unplug stuff and then - somehow - plug it all back in with the shroud blocking the cables and connectors.... Perhaps by cutting the back of the shroud out, but.... whatever.... I went with no shroud. Perhaps Cooler Master can demonstrate how they solved those problems when using the shroud...

 

The Motherboard.

 

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That's one very nice looking mobo!

 

With the case prepped, I next worked on attaching the heatsink backplate to the motherboard. I've read reviews that stated the "convenient" hole in the back of the mobo tray turned out not to be so convenient after all. Yep, true as rain, you can't install or remove the heatsink backplate while the mobo is mounted to the mobo tray. It's certainly not possible with the Intel CPU heatsink backplate configuration. I don't know if the same issue would present itself with the AMD CPU heatsink backplate configuration. However, I think the same issue would arise with either CPU heatsink backplate configuration.

 

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That means complete disassembly when it comes time to upgrade the CPU....

 

The Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO ended up in a most advantageous position. With the fan drawing the cool air (drawn in from the top fan), and exhausting the heated air directly to the rear fan, which in turn exhausts the warmed air out the rear of the case. Perfect.

 

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Next, came the RAM installation.

 

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As you can see, that first stick of RAM was a little tricky to install. The heatsink fan is JUST clear of where the RAM needs to be. It was a very snug fit. The module was a little hard to get in, mostly from my fingers getting in each others way trying to get the RAM aligned properly before pushing it down in place. But once in place, I found that the fan was not wedged against the memory module. It was an exact fit....

 

The HDD.

 

Installing the HDD was not complicated at all. I really like the fact that you don't have to screw anything anymore. In place of screws, pins are used. Just pull out the HDD tray, pop in the HDD - ensuring the pins slide into the HDD screw holes, and slide the HDD tray back in its rack space. However, once the HDD was in place in the HDD tray, the HDD tray was slightly bulged, and as such was an exceeding tight fit in the rack. It did not slide in as easily as it slid out. Having said that, I just KNOW that HDD ain't gonna slide out by accident...

 

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Edited by PlanetSmasher

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Wiring, Connections, & Cable Management

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See how I ran the top case fan wire through them power regulator heatsinks down behind the CPU cooler to the fan header? As for the rear fan wire, I just tucked it under the graphics card when I installed the card. I removed the molex power connectors from all of the case fans (except for the side panel fan) and used their three pin connectors to connect them to the mobo's fan headers. Three case fans, three mobo case fan headers and one PSU fan monitor / case fan header. The PSU fan monitor is unused - for now. The side panel fan is connected to a molex power connector. In fact, for now anyway, it is the only item in the build that is connected to power via a molex power connector.

 

Everything is wired and connected to not only power, but to data, and them little skinny case wires too. Now to complete the cable management and tidy everything up.

 

BEFORE.

 

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AFTER.

 

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This is my first time working with a case that has cable management designed into it. It's one of the most awesome things about this case and other cases like this. In the past, cable management meant that you sleeved your wires, bundled them as tightly as you could and crammed them into any available crevices within the case. This case, and others like it, have made it possible to move the cables completely out of the way. Now THAT'S cable management! What was amazing, to me anyway, was that it was so easy to figure out where to run which cables to where, and which cables to bundle together. It seemed like the case 'told' me where to put what cables, and where and how to bundle and tie them down. In other words, it seemed intuitive. O.K. I looked at a few youtube videos and did not actually see them go through the cable management process, but they showed off their cases, and I looked at what theirs looked like. With that in mind, it was easy to see where things belonged. I really have to say that is, in part, because of the case's design. Someone who understands cable management is likely responsible for helping to design this case.

 

As you can also see, the interior of the HAF 932 Advance, is as spacious as a 747 jet hanger! Exaggerations aside, not once did I think I did not have room to work.... Well, except for when I was trying to fit the RAM next to that heatsink, but that's not the case's fault, the fault belongs to the heatsink/fan, it being so huge that it butts up into RAM territory.

 

There were other issues...

 

I already spoke about the issues with the PSU shelf, and the graphics card shroud, but there were a few others.

 

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If you look carefully, you'll see that the card retention clip (second from the right - second from the top) is not quite seated in the fully secured position.

 

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Here, you can see it more clearly. The second tab at the far end is the back of that retention clip. See how it sticks out? That's because the graphics card is blocking that clip from closing all the way back. There are two clips holding that card down, but only one of them is securely locked in place. Fortunately there is also a retention slide on the ePCI slot that also helps to keep the card in place. I don't know if it's the card design that is at fault or if it's a fault of the retention clip design. In the future, I'll be adding a second graphics card - the exact same model. So, I expect a repeat of that issue.

 

The other issue is that the air flow out of the front fan is very weak. Look at the HDD rack and notice the air holes on the side.

 

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The problem is that the center column is too wide. The air holes could have been widened a bit more for better air flow in or out past the HDD's, but that's not all. Take a look at what's in front of the front case fan.

 

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If that grill were replaced with a fine mesh like what's on the decorative grill...

 

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... then air flow would improve quite a lot, even with the HDD rack air holes the size that they are. Not right now, but in the future... When I take the machine apart to install the Clarkdale CPU, I'm gonna take metal sheers and cut out that grill in front of the front case fan. I think that will also work to increase the amount of red light coming out from the fan's LED's.....

 

O.K.. One last thought on the fans that came pre-installed on this case and the heatsink fan. The fans are SO quiet, I have to lean in close to hear them over the noise my refrigerator is making. My old P4 machine? I can hear those fans fine, but I still think they're quieter than my fridge is, too.

 

The OS (Operating System)

 

Everything is built, with the connections double-tripple checked. The side panels are both secured in place, with the side panel fan connected to a molex power connector... Now it's time to install the OS and other software.

 

As stated earlier, I installed the WinXP Pro 32 bit OS. As a result I know I'm not getting this hardware's full potential, but I had a deadline to meet to get my machine up and running. 31 Dec 11 was the last day I could download the bonus game content from my pre-ordered Deus Ex Human Revolution game..... Anywho.... (After installing the game, I found it offered for sale for a couple of bucks on Steam. Man! I really busted my butt buying these parts over five or six months to get to this point, and I could have gotten the bonus download anyway - even if not for free. Two and a half bucks is nothing.... That's the last time I pre-order any game).

 

With WinXP Pro 32 bit, I get to use all 4 of my 3.30 GHz cores of my i5 2500K , but as you are all probably aware, I only get to use 4 GB of my 8GB of RAM..... And since it's 32 bits, I only get to use 32 bits of the hardware's 64 bit FSB (front side bus)...

 

However, despite all of the limitations.... It runs WAY hella better than my P4 machine. XP runs on my new machine WAY faster AND smoother than it ever did on my old P4 3.4 GHz Northwood veteran. I can hardly wait to upgrade the OS to Win7 (flavor?) 64 bit OS, to see what this hardware can do.

 

Since I was installing the OS, it was also time to make adjustments to the BIOS. I really liked the look, and the layout of Asrock's new BIOS interface. It would have been much easier to use, except that when I moved the mouse up and down on the mouse pad, the pointer moved left and right, and when I moved the mouse left and right, the pointer moved up and down. It was difficult moving the pointer to the icons and buttons I wanted to click on, but after a lot of frustration I was able to make the changes I wanted. I'm using a Logitech MX518 USB optical mouse.

 

To get both of my PC's working, BEHEMOTH and GARGANTUA, I hooked them up to a KVM switch. The KVM is an old one with PS/2 connectors for the keyboard and mouse. So, I switched to using an old PS/2 keyboard, and got a USB to PS/2 adapter for the mouse. With that, the crazy mouse and pointer problems, in the BIOS, went away.

 

Well. That's all for now. I hope you enjoyed the telling of my build experience as well as the pics I posted with it.

 

(Where ever, I talked about upgrading to Clarkdale, I really meant Ivy Bridge. I got the names mixed up. Sorry for the confusion.)

Edited by PlanetSmasher

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Nice build! :thumbsup:

I don't think you'll really need another psu, an i7 or more ram to be honest but I guess that's up to you :P DEFINITELY get 64bit windows asap, as you said 32bit xp will be massively limiting your system.

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Thanks! I didn't know if I would need to upgrade the PSU. The minimum requirement for one nVidia 560Ti graphics card is 500 watts. But I'm planning to install a lot of HDD's later on down the road, and when I get that second graphics card. Also, the new Clarkdale CPU, Intel is releasing, is going to unlock increased performance from the mobo. I was thinking of setting up virtual machines in this machine and give each machine one or more cores each. So, I thought an i7 with hyper-threading enabled would give me plenty of cores for that (actually, I have to study up on virtualization to determine if I really need a cpu core per virtual machine, or not)... As such, I thought I might have to upgrade the PSU too....

 

After your comment about not needing to upgrade my PSU, I looked around and found a review that agrees with you..., but then I remember all of them HDD's I'm thinking of adding down the road..... I don't know. I'll have to look into it more closely.

 

Thanks again for your thoughts!

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Nice little build man, but by the title, I was expecting some huge insane parts. lol2.gif

 

I name all of my machines with some kind of giant sounding name, and always in CAPS.... MONSTER, GIANT, MAMMOTH, BEHEMOTH, and now GARGANTUA, with TITAN having been put on the back burner... The first four were all Pentium IV's from the first one that came out with its 100MHz FSB, and the last one with its 800MHz FSB. I haven't built any machines since then. GARGANTUA was my re-entry into PC building starting with the i5 Sandybridge.

 

LOL! When I built MONSTER, that was bleeding edge technology. That was a bad-assed machine back in the day. BEHEMOTH has a few more years left in it as a really nice Linux box, to do all of my banking, online shopping, and any other mission critical tasks (downloading anime)... But sadly, it began showing it's age as games got more and more graphically intensive, and the new media file formats and codecs are starting to kick it's butt.; so, I had to build a new machine able to handle those tasks...

 

 

GARGANTUA is, in my estimation, a mid-tier gamer. When income improves, I'll build TITAN. LOL

 

Originally, I was gonna build TITAN, a machine based on the ASUS Rampage III Black Edition mobo, with an i7 900 series extreme cpu. I had already gotten the PSU, the Silverstone Strider Series 1500 watt psu. It's still in its box. I was gonna get the Level 10 case (the cheaper one, not that crazy expensive one. I think the cheaper one is better designed) for TITAN, and two nVidia 580's in SLI..... But it would have taken me 10 to 14 months to get all of the parts, including SS-HDD's... etc, etc, etc. I was gonna go with water cooling for that one, too. Budget, time, and real life forced me to nix that project however. : ^ (

Edited by PlanetSmasher

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