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Old 06-06-12, 08:53 AM
airdeano airdeano is offline
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Welcome,

While in between projects, i've decided to upgrade/update the family computer. The design is starting off a new case purchase the
Fractal Design Arc Midi. I'm moving parts from the stand alone to this case. but, i'd like to track some performance in different areas.

I've downed the PC and here is what we will start with:
Fractal Design Arc Midi case
Intel i5-2550k processor/CPU
Stock Intel heatsink cooling fan/HSF
EVGA P67 SLI motherboard/MOBO
2 x 4gb G Skill Sniper 1600 RAM
Apricorn PCI-e SSD adapter
Kingston vNOW SSD 64gb drive
nVidia GTS 450 video card/GPU
Corsair HX 650 power supply/PSU
Windows XP/Windows 7/OS

What i'd like to do is make several projects out one build.

A stock minimal buy build with some upgrades with measures of
improvement for beginners to use and improve on as their skills
mature.

An air cooling build, again showing temp and performance improvements
with overclocking and cooler differences (prolly been done to death) with
an emphasis on air-flow within a case.

A water cooling build with a Corsair H-series and custom loop for novice
builders to explore.



The box of delight



The body of design



Skeleton

Yeah, i couldn't wait to strip it down and ripping parts out, drilling rivets,
fitting coolers, radiators, pumps, and fans. None of the removed parts
were damaged in the removal and can be re-installed easily (what i prolly
be doing tomorrow) for testing in stock form, but i had to! Really, i had a
fresh charge on the battery and had to fire up the drill! Anyway, hope you
enjoy, ask questions, comment on the build and maybe suggest ways to
mod for the fresh on-lookers..

airdeano

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Old 06-06-12, 08:53 AM
airdeano airdeano is offline
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airdeano
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Old 06-06-12, 08:53 AM
airdeano airdeano is offline
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airdeano
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Old 06-06-12, 08:54 AM
airdeano airdeano is offline
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airdeano
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Old 06-06-12, 10:33 AM
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sheroo sheroo is offline
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Any idea what cooler you're going to use for the air cooling part?
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Old 06-06-12, 12:39 PM
The Orange One The Orange One is offline
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Can't wait for MOAR Updates
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Old 08-06-12, 03:26 AM
airdeano airdeano is offline
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Day 3

Alrighty then,

I've got the build parts ready and then some. I had changed my mind on the motherboard due to the missing PCI-e x4 at the top of the lane i/o (crap!). I’d rather have taken an arrow to the knee than swap them, but you know, with this case layout, I was done in 15-20min...

Ok, the case is back in stock condition (I had removed the HDD cages completely earlier, so I re-riveted them back) so all testing and functions can be from a stock point (but those HDD cages will be coming back out). The build went way too easy in that the case had a great layout, easy access to subsystems and cable management. Currently reloading OS (and updates) and then we will commence to thrashing.

I'd like to assume I have not built a computer and this is what forums and friends had recommended I get for a game and application PC. We will test and upgrade according to what sounds the quietest, performs the best (benchmark and applications) and looks the part (this one I like.. hehe with a TTL twist, more on that later).

The build will start with a simple basic P67 motherboard and i5 processor. The motherboard will SLI 2 video cards easy enough with access to a PCI-e x4 for my Apricom SSD adapter and Kingston vNOW 64gb SSD. With this I can hold the SSD off a SATA II channel and RAID 0 some mechanicals if need be on the open P67 controller. What is missing is an optical drive. I, like TTL, don't use them (flash drives and internet w/network support). Once the system is updated and ready for testing, I’ll perform the backup .ISO so if there is a SNAFU or is FUBAR, I can return to baseline stock easy enough.



Fractal Design Arc Midi case
Intel i5-2550k processor/CPU
Stock Intel heat sink and cooling fan/HSF
EVGA P67 SLI motherboard
2 x 4gb G Skill Sniper 1600 RAM
Kingston vNOW SSD 64gb drive
NVidia GTS 450 video card/GPU
Corsair HX 650 power supply/PSU
Windows 7/OS
The extras are for cooling:
Case
Stock Fractal Design Silent Series 140MM Ultra Quiet
Fractal Design Silent Series R2 140MM Quiet
Bitfenix Spectre 140 white and LED white
Artic Cooling AP14 PWM (if i can find them here in the states)

Air
Stock heat sink and fan
Cooler Master 212+
Noctua NH-D14
Assorted fans (f12, p12, ap12, A12, Blade Master, Cougar...)

Liquid
Corsair H50
Corsair H70
Corsair H80
Corsair H100
XSPC RX240/RX360 (if feesible)
Assorted fans (f12, p12, ap12, A12, Blade Master, Cougar...)

because this is all i have in stock i'm trying to locate a couple 570 cards to include for some
play time.

Ok, more to the story tomorrow as the OS will need to be installed, updated and backed up.

Tata For Now (TTFN)

airdeano
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  #8  
Old 08-06-12, 03:27 AM
airdeano airdeano is offline
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Build the Beast

There are a couple of main critical topics that concern the beginner PC builder. There are millions of websites, videos, and blogs with valuable information on the following topics. I, personally would not take any of the information as the pinnacle of being correct, but use many of them as guides for your installation. Not everyone has the same rig you do, same outcome, or same idea of what you want to do. So heed the information as a tool as you start and complete your build.

The first is installing a CPU into the MOBO. Both Intel and AMD sockets and pins are fragile. Sometimes they can be repaired; sometimes they break, and sometimes are beyond repair. Patients, careful handling and knowledge of what you are doing only better the chances of a successful build.

Second is thermal compound application. Too much and it is like a tire ran over a toothpaste tube the TIM oozes over the spreader and makes a mess that you have to carefully clean up or too little and the temperatures are through the roof. To keep an extra tube of TIM is a good measure, in case you need to change something. I prefer a non-metallic compound like NT-H1 or MX-4 in case of too much applied; the metallic substance will not short out the tiny leads of an Intel processor.

Power supply wattage is a neglected concern as most do not know what to get or why for that fact. Hopefully if you don’t have a reference to go by, a helpful salesperson or just confused, consult any PSU manufacturers website as they will have a calculator on hand to give you an estimated size-rating for your build. You may want to lean towards a name-branded PSU as the cost-cutter PSUs do not have specific features you may need in your build and this might cause problems or equipment failures.

Get It Together, Already!

I situated the motherboard on the box it came in (without the anti-static bag) to give it support. Installing the 2 4 GB G Skill Sniper 1600mhx modules into the motherboard (MOBO) was fairly easy; just remember to align the notch of the module with the pin in the memory module holder. Press downward firmly, to seat the module. Read your motherboard manual for proper location, size and type of modules, and the correct placement in the DIMM slots.

Next, the Intel i5-2550k processor, opening the CPU retainer, carefully removing the socket protector cap, align and indexing the notches and lightly place the CPU in the socket; then followed by fastening the retaining assembly to secure the processor to the MOBO. If the CPU does not align in the recess of the socket, carefully remove the chip upwards and try again. Do not slide the processor side-ways or press downward to seat. This can cause damage to the fragile pressure pins in the socket. Although the 1155 socket has redundant pins, some have an explicit function and if damaged and not recoverable, your MOBO is a fail and will not be covered under any warranty, RMA process or crying towel experience.

The next step would not be necessary if the parts were being installed the first time. I had placed a semi-pea sized application of Noctua NT-H1 thermal interface material (TIM) on to the CPU heat spreader. You know if I didn’t know what size the TIM drop had to be, I could always apply a small drop, spread it out across the processor heat spreader with a cardboard edge. If I needed more I can drop another small amount and finish spreading as a thin transparent film. Not so thick, as the pressure of the heat sink clips will apply downward force to squeeze any over-coat from under the heat sink. That is why I use the Noctua NT-H1 because it has no metallic ingredients to short anything out, in case of over application.

I then clocked the Intel stock heat sink and fan as to align the fan harness with the CPU fan header connector on the MOBO, placed the heat sink on top of CPU with even downward pressure, pressed the retainer clips down in a round-torque pattern. I then pried up on the heat sink to test all the retainer clips were completely engaged. Lastly, I plugged the fan harness to the fan header (CPU FAN) and ready for the next step. This assembly is ready for the case.

To prepare the case, a couple of things need to be done. First make sure you have a work area to work in without trips, falls or tipping your favorite libation. Remove both side panels from the chassis and place them in an area they could not get damaged. I tipped the case back onto cable management side. Nest, take the MOBO I/O shield and snap it in place on the back panel cutout. Finally, I took 9 tray stand offs and threaded them into the MOBO tray following the schematic for the ATX-sized pattern. Tighten them down firmly, not so much as they can strip the hole easily. Now that the case has a way to hold the MOBO, carefully lay the board on top of the stand offs, aligning the rear I/O of the board with the shield installed in the back of the case. You should see the stand offs through the holes in the board. I started 9 screws in the MOBO hold-downs and then again, slight firm pressure to hold it in place. The MOBO is installed. Locate the fan harnesses and connect them to the rest of the fan headers on the board, if needed.

I placed the Corsair HX650 power supply (PSU) onto the floor of the case, with the fan orientation up and allow the case air feed the PSU and in turn the PSU will vent the air. Then, I bolted the PSU to the case with the 4 supplied PSU screws. I then routed the power 24-pin cable through the rubber pass-through grommet for now. Next to route the 8-pin EPS cable through the pass-through grommets and up to the 8-pin socket on the MOBO. I plugged the 8-pin connector into the socket.

Let’s see, we have to mount the SSD adapter and SSD, so we need a 4x PCI-e slot and it happens to be the first slot in the MOBO array. Next, the NVidia 450 GTS video card (GPU) will go into the slot under the SSD adapter. Plug the power harness into the HX650 for the PCI-e video card and plug the other end into the GPU card. If not using an Apricorn SSD adapter, then a mechanical drive or SSD would be placed in one of the HDD racks, a SATA data cable routed to the drive and to the MOBO. Then, the SATA power harness from the PSU attaches to the drive.

Now I’m very close to the end of the build. It is mainly loose ends to finish. Route and terminate the front I/O panel harness with the MOBO. Lastly, to arrange the cables in a tidy fashion and anchor to the tray with zip ties. Anything that is not going anywhere needs to be coiled, tied and attached to the mobo tray.

Now, it is customary to either close the case up with both side panels and hope the build functions correctly from the front panel and no errors in installation or start the PC with no side panel to access the internals upon an error. It is a choice to make of how good your build really is…











Ok, the OS is loaded and updating.. geeze.. so till next time we should be able to get

some baseline in temperature, performance and sound.

airdeano

if someone could PM me about my preview pix to be larger (800x600) on the forum

that'd be helpful for yous guys...
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Old 15-06-12, 08:05 AM
airdeano airdeano is offline
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alright. an update.

the OS is fully updated and ive been busy "flow" chacking my case for temperature values.
first with no fans at all (except CPU - stock and PSU) in a static environment.
then installed one fan, tested, moved to another position, teseted and so on.. till i got the
stock amount of fans. then once all that was done, added more, took some out, replaced
with another fan... anyway, should have the data ready sunday/monday.
im trying to map out the flow path of this case to show what is necessary and whats "fluff"
or decoration. there are different routes of thinking and im trying to settle on one or two..

airdeano
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Old 01-07-12, 08:17 AM
airdeano airdeano is offline
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Posts: 2,900
Update #4

ohhh noooo!

I saw a great test case review on a Fractal Design Define R3 ATX Mid-tower case. I had thought this would be a great time to do a similar test on the Fractal Design Arc Midi. I thought I would like to do different testing with different brands of fans and location of fans within the case. While testing case fans in an Arc Midi I replaced the OE Fractal Design fans (because I like the theme involved) with Bitfenix Spectre (I had frankensteined this one) 140mm fans. I had combined black LED housing with white blade from the same series of 140mm fans. The effect was meah... The LED is too deep in the frame to "shine" on the blades so I removed them and replaced them with the BGears b-blaster 140 fans after I had painted the fan blades white. Going from 38.6cfm (unknown static) 800rpm (9-10dBA) fans to 103cfm (3.5mm/h20) 1800rpm (36dBA) was different, the noise is not that mechanical, but more windy loud. So, once I got the fan blades painted and installed I had to “trial fit” this assembly for appeal. On a side note, if you want to move some air around and through any hard drive (HDD) cages, I would recommend that you would get you some high static pressure fans with more than 2.0mm/h20.

Well in between waiting on parts, RMA and general horsecrap I’ve kind of made some head-way progress on the build. Upon testing, the stock Intel fan assembly was not acting correctly, so through Intel tech we replaced the fan, but to no real better outcome. So I went forward with the testing of Heat sinks and fan combinations that I have available. The first was stock (blah), next was the Cooler Master 212+, then the Noctua NH-C14 and then the Noctua NH-D14. Last was an installation of Corsair H-series (more on that later) performance liquid cooling solutions. Tweaking and thrashing this poor little Intel i5-2550K CPU, with high temperatures and VCORE volts too shill at, the CPU came through very well.



I had replaced the Corsair HX650 with a Silverstone ST70F-ES Strider Essential 700W (fully modular) really for no reason other than the PSU lent itself to some “customization” so out with the Corsair and in with the Silverstone PSU (sleeved cables, soon). I disassembled the PSU, pulled the fan from the PSU and disassembled the fan, painted the blade white and re-assembled the fan system. I had wrapped the PSU case in a black 3D textured vinyl wrap. This was looking pretty slick. The wrap went pretty straight-forward as the panels were all flat. Put the PSU back together and started the system up and all was good! Swirling white blade in a black 3D carbon wrap PSU, nice…




Modification to the front and roof panels was fun. Removing the mesh and filter was easy enough. Then I had to remove the ribs that support the filter to remove a restriction. Once the ribs were removed, the panels were sanded and contoured flat. A quick wipe of cleaner and a wipe of a tack rag to remove dust and we are painting.

I’d painted a front panel and top panel gloss white. And then I had gone ahead and wrapped the front panel in white 3D carbon fiber textured vinyl wrap days afterward to allow the paint to cure and harden. This was a friggin' nightmare. A lot of compound curves and termination planes. There are still some "spots" that need attention but, I’ll get to that at another time.









Testing CPU cooling systems was going pretty well as expected. Until I was base lining the OE cooler assembly in a 4.0GHz over-clock and this thing had no ramp up in fan speed. I had checked the motherboard SpeedFan and it was 100%, but this damn thing will not ramp up to meet the load (the OE cooler has a TCase of 72.4°which should make more speed). In the past I have other Intel sockets with “LOUD” Intel fans under an extreme load condition. Not this one, so with a couple of technical emails and calls, an RMA ensued. So, I motored on with other HSF combinations. The 212+ and a plethora of fans and overclocks later, I moved on to the NH-C14 and again with 8 different fans and data with overclocks, then here comes the D14. A baseline test with the stock fans and more fans to test with I had to see where the Corsair H-series fell into on cooling this overclock. First was the H50 single fan.. Push/pull, different fans, and radiator relocation. Next was the H60, then H70, wait there is more. The H80 and then H100 were the last to test.
Honestly, unless your case cannot support the dual 120mm fan/radiator, getting into anything else (H50/60/70/80) is a waste of your time and money. On my system test, I showed minimal temperature decreases or no decrease in temperatures over an air-cooled HSF using the H50/60/70/80. One thing to note is using Push/pull fans on the H100 is worth 2°-4° delta temperature decrease depending on fans used, ambient and VCORE voltage. It too has a limit of what it can safely handle and what is pure showboating. If you are contemplating a Corsair H-series performance liquid cooling kit to control extreme temperatures from an overclock and run it 24/7, consider a custom water-cooling loop. Don’t get me wrong, for a starter introduction to water-cooling, it is great, but it is not the end-all cooling woes. The H100 took a bested overclock of 4.8GHz on a 1.390VCORE 51° delta temperature NH-D14 to a delta temperature of 45.5°. I was aligning a bigger overclock of 5.1GHz on a 1.490VCORE and the pump/controller pooped out. Contacted Corsair and a RMA request has been started.

I’ve got a couple of standard 240 radiators to test with in the coming weeks. Just would like to complete the air-cooling testing and result all of the findings. But for now, this is airdeano “Happy motoring and I’m outta here…”

airdeano
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