It must be that time of the year again. Iíve recently got very frustrated with my RAID card, it is ideal for a server environment (i.e. never shut down), but terrible for a heavily overclocked rig, which needs to be shut down every so often for driver reboots (ATI, Iím looking at you).
The RAID card is an Adaptec 5805, with 8 SAS ports, battery backup and 512MB cache. It runs in an 8x PCIe slot, which is great as I have those in abundance. However it takes about a minute to boot the kernel, and then 30 seconds to check the arrays, which is a long time for boot. In the end, I decided it was too painful to live with on my main rig, but the 5TB of disks it looks after was indispensible and the card would have to be rehoused.
I already run a DHCP server, which is between me and my university network connection (as our admin doesnít like us using more than one IP address per socket). On the face of it, this would be ideal, as it runs a 790i Ultra, with a 280GTX for folding, however it also houses all of my pumps and radiators for the other machine thus is rather full. I also donít really trust the motherboard as with a QX9770 it would blue screen and crash nigh constantly. With the Celeron in it at the mo, it is fine, but as that is heavily overclocked, I donít want to trust my RAID arrays to it.
As I had a 1500w toughpower PSU spare and a 9800GT from a failed foray into physx, I had a couple of bits at the start. I liked the look of the 890FX chipset, with ample PCIe lanes for expansion and a good layout (for a pretty low price by previous motherboard standards), and after the stellar write up in OC3D, I thought it was worth a punt.
As I didnít need out and out performance, the athlon X3 440 was chosen (£55 isnít bad), and 4GB of Gskill RipJaw RAM fitted the bill nicely (1600MHZ Cas9). Having seen the Gelid tranquilo in a few builds, I bought one, as they are almost silent, which is needed as the PC is on 24/7. The chip is stock clocked until I have more time, but never goes above 33C, so Iím pretty happy.
The RAID card is connected to the 5 bay ICY Box disk Caddy, (hot swap), and network is provided by a killer M1 network card I had kicking about. I had thought about a completely caseless build, but they are a nightmare with parents and pets, both of which I have. Therefore a cheap case was needed.
I bought a Xigmatek Asgard (try not to laugh) for a miserly £30. It only includes one 120mm fan, but as I have those in abundance, that wasnít a problem. Build quality is pretty good, especially considering the price. It survived the moderate load test (me sitting on it). The case is completely tool less for drives and expansion cards, and although it has pop out before use metal strips in the blanking plates and drive bays, its still pretty nice. Heck its even powder coated black inside, and the finish is pretty good. (Though not up to TTLís standard by any means).
The disks are a mixture of Spinpoint F1 and F3s, in RAID 5 and 0 respectively, with the boot disk being a reclaimed 80GB disk from the back of the cupboard.