2013 Computer Build

Decided to build myself a new computer. I’ve upgraded everything less the keyboard and mouse. I’ve tried to go with top-end parts.

Monitors (x3): Dell Ultrasharp U2412M 24″ 16:10 IPS
Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K Haswell
Liquid Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H110
Video Card: EVGA GTX780 Superclocked w/ ACX Cooler
Motherboard: Asus Z87-Pro
Memory: Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB (8GBx2) DDR3-1600 CL9
System Drive: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB SSD
Game Drives: Crucial M4 128GB x 2 (256GB raid 0)
Storage Drives: Seagate Barracudas 3TB x 4  (6TB raid 1)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional Series Gold AX850
Case: Corsair Obsidian 550D Quiet Mid-Tower
Speakers: Logitech Z906 5.1 THX Speaker System
Headset: Sennheiser HD280 Pro
Mouse: Logitech G700s
Keyboard: MaxKeyboard Nighthawk X8 Cherry MX Brown

 

Here are a few shitty pictures in case you don’t know what computers look like.

IMG_1359

The computer is hidden behind the desk.

IMG_1375

 

 

August 2006 – Modding my computer case

[Back when I was 16, I guess I had nothing better to do than modify how my computer case looked. Here is a forum post I made.]

In the past 2 weeks or so,  I’ve been messing around modding my computer case and improving the things that I just didnt like. 

My case is (was?) an Aspire X-plorer ATX mid tower case. Here are pics with possible brief descriptions of what I’ve done.

First, here are some pics of my case before I did any modding to it:

Now here are quite a few shots of what it looks like now after many hours in the garage =P:

Here you can see how I stealthed the DVD drive. (among other things)
This pic shows the switches (in the 3.25" bay) I put in to turn off certain fans and the cathode lights so I can actually sleep at night. Also seen here is the 120mm fan I cut in (with a wholesaw, of course...) and the new mesh i made because the old thing was just fugly, IMO.
Another shot of the custom mesh cover I made, with the fans and light switches off ('Cause c'mon, I gotta show off the craftmanship here =P)

To make the mesh into the exact spot it belongs it took several steps. First i traced the outline of the old mesh with a pencil. Then i scanned the piece of paper to my computer. After a half hour of work, I finished the template. I took a peice of wax paper, taped wide masking tape to it, cut it to 8.5x11, put it in the printer, and printed off a template. I pasted it to the new mesh I needed to cut out. The black outside edge is what I needed to cut, and the red line was where i needed to meticulously bend the mesh.
Onto the side panel: I cut a much larger window out as you can see. For window trim i took 14awg wire and stripped the insulation off in a clean motion, and put it on the edges. It worked out quite nicely. It is held on just by the pressure of the screws holding the window on. In the inside I put a case temp display in the top right corner. I painted the chassis white to glow nicely and contrast the black case. I added a Zalmon CPU cooler. I painted the handle (w/e it is?) of the door white to add contrast.

I cut the top window out to match the side panel (notice the side window near the handle and the top window near the fan). You can see how I also windowed my dvd drive and I also took my Aspire PSU (I know you guys hate these PSU’s – jeez they’re fine IMO…) and slightly modified it so i could make it face up, so that you can see its clear case through the top window. The 80 mm fan I cut in couldnt have fit any better since there is little room between the PSU and DVD drive to fit a fan.

Here's a better picture of the top.

[Sidestepping a bit,  here is a different post I made about the DVD drive]

To the right is a picture of my DVD drive. This morning I woke up with ambitions. I decided to hack up my drive, wire some LEDs into it, window it, paint it, and hope it still works.

This is a blurry pic of my wiring for the LEDs, seen from the underside of the drive (without the cover on).
From the top view, you can see how I arranged the LEDs.
For the covers, I cut the inside cover (underneath the very outer top cover) to a allow for a lot of exposure of the disc. I cut the outer cover to a large rectangular shape.
I then cut, placed, and riveted some acrylic plexiglass to to the top. I painted all the covers white (my case chassis is white)

 [Now back to the original post…]

Here are a few before and after GIFs of my case.

A shot of the inside of the case.
Another shot of the inside.

Some mods worth mentioning that I never explained:

  •  removed the four lit corners on the front of the case and painted the clear plastic they were black.
  •  painted the power and reset buttons white to match the theme
  •  cut out the rear fan mesh and put a 120mm fan in

And finally… A shot of the entire finished product:

Suggestions, questions, and comments are extremely appreciated!

 

[The end. I was really proud of what I made and had a lot of fun. The computer is still being used today.]

Fixing My Mouse

I’ve owned the Microsoft|Razer Habu gaming mouse for about two years now. When I first received it, I discovered the firmware that shipped on the mouse was semi-corrupt and the Habu configurator would not recognize it. I had to flash it with a firmware from a different mouse with different software before I could change any of the DPI settings. It was a huge pain to say the least. Then, last year the USB cable frayed at the end that connects to the mouse and it would randomly disconnect when I moved. I fixed that. Soon after that the mouse began to double click when I would only be doing single clicks. After a quick Google search it seemed as though a lot of people had this issue. I took the mouse apart and cleaned the button mechanism with a contact cleaner. That did the trick. About five months ago the USB cable began to fray again, this time at the other end with the USB plug. About a month ago the ‘back’ button also began to double click when I would single click. Tonight I decided to fix these last few problems.

I ‘jimmied’ the cable like that with a tie-wrap back in university because I didn’t have time to properly fix it. Wrapping it like that basically prevented the frayed part from breaking any further.

This is the end that is inside the Habu. This is the part I fixed last year. I just cut the frayed part off and soldered it back together. That piece of rubber to the left was the trickiest part. It was molded onto the old broken part of the cable, so I carefully cut it off with a razor blade and then slid it back onto the fresh cable.

I took a USB cable from an old mp3 player with some proprietary end and cut it off. I soldered it back onto the Habu’s internal plug as you can see in the picture above. That clear plastic covering on the wires is heat-shrink. It works just as it sounds; slide it over exposed cable, heat it up, and it shrinks.

The new USB cable is slightly thicker than the old one, so that plastic rubber doesn’t fit completely around it but oh well.

I also fixed the ‘back’ button afterwords. I’ve invested so much time into this mouse I am rather attached to it. I’m looking for a new mouse but nothing seems worthy. I wouldn’t mind if someone gave me a Razer Mamba though.

The sad thing is, it took me far longer to make this post than it did to fix the mouse.

2009 Computer Build

A few weeks ago I finally ordered the parts to build a new desktop computer. Here is the specs:
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Quad Core 2.83GHZ 1333FSB 12MB
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 280 Superclocked 621MHZ 1024MB 2.268GHZ GDDR3
Power Supply: Corsair TX750W 750W ATX 12V 60A Active PFC 140MM Fan
Memory: OCZ Gold 6GB DDR3 3X2GB DDR3-1600 PC3-12800 CL 8-8-8-24 Triple Channel
Hard Drive: Western Digital WD1001FALS Caviar Black 1TB SATA2 7200RPM 4.2MS 32MB 3.5IN
Motherboard: ASUS P5Q3 P45 DDR3 3XPCI-E1 SATA RAID eSATA GBLAN Audio 1394A
Case: Antec 300 ATX 3X5.25 6X3.5INT Front USB & Audio
Monitor x2: Samsung SyncMaster 2343BWX 23IN 2048X1152 5ms 20000:1DC
Fans: Arctic Cooling Arctic Fan PWM 120MM 400-1500RPM 56.3CFM FDB 3/4PIN Speed Controller
TV Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1600 MPEG NTSC ATSC QAM W/ Remote & IR Receiver

So far it has been running perfectly on Windows 7 Beta build 7264. Startup and shutdown speeds are around 20-30 seconds. I haven’t done any heavy “processing” yet, but I’ll just say the q9550 can extract a WinRAR archive much faster than my old desktop’s AMD 3500+. The “Windows Experience Index” rates my computer a 5.9 (not very good),  which is determined by the lowest subscore; in this case the Western Digital 1TB HDD. This makes me slightly sad, I bought the drive because it was touted as “the fastest 7200 rpm drive” a couple months ago.  All other major components were rated 7.3.

The Hauppauge TV tuner is pretty good. I spent about 3 hours making new cable wires all over my house (we have kind of a crazy setup with amplifiers and splitters and signal combiners) so that I could finally get a crisp image on the tuner. It’s not perfect though, my actual TV can pick up a much cleaner picture and sound, but this is adequate. The packaged WinTV feels like out dated piece of junk software, but luckily Windows Media Center does the trick for me. Now if only there was something good to watch on TV.

I have had some fun gaming thanks to the gtx280. I am about halfway through the Call of Duty 4 campaign. I can run the game on maximum settings at 2048×1150 resolution, and I get around 140fps on average. I gave FEAR 2 a try, and I can run this game on maximum settings also. I’m not sure of the fps rate but it’s darn smooth. I was expecting the game to flat out suck, but it’s actually pretty fun. Somehow, they still manage to scare the hell out of me every single time the creepy Grudge girl pops out. I also tried out Crysis Warhead. I’m not sure what to think of this game. I can run it on *almost* max settings and I get around 30 fps. The game looks pretty good, but nothing special. The single player game play is pretty intense but I’ve only just started playing. My favorite game right now is actually GRID, the racing game by CodeMasters. The game looks very good, and it runs smooth on maximum settings. I use an Xbox 360 controller to drive, it works well.

Enough with writing, I don’t feel like talking too much about it. It’s a computer. It does things computers do. We all know what new computers are like.

Here is a picture of my friend Benson playing on my old setup with my laptop. At this point I had given my old main computer to my dad, all I had was my laptop and a monitor for the PS3 (poor me..).

And here is my new comp all set up with my cleaner than usual room.

The pictures are kind of blurry because I took most of them without flash, I wanted to capture the color of my room.

I still have to post about:

-A kitchen renovation I did for my mom
-Minor reviews for some of these comp parts
-Another hiking trip in Waterton
-A project I am working on in the garage.

Hopefully they wont be as poorly done as this post. I’m just not motivated right now.