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

 

 

Programming a 4D Systems Serial Display With an Arduino Board

I’ve just begun working on a new project and I’ve very briefly been playing with a 4D Systems serial display (the uLCD-32PTU to be precise), ordered from Sparkfun. I figured there was no way I was gonna drop any coin on their proprietary 4D Programming cable, because from what I read it just uses a standard FTDI chip. Fortunately I had my Arduino Duemilanove kicking around, which has the USB interface with a built in FTDI controller (as do most Arduino boards) .

This one’s dead simple, so long as you have a removable ATMega chip in your Arduino.

For Arduino’s with removable chips:

  1. Remove the ATMega chip
  2. Connect +5V, GND, Rx, Tx, and RESET straight from the serial display to the appropriate, matching pins of the Arduino’s header. You might mix the Rx and Tx up like I did the first time around; Rx on the display goes through the line marked Tx on the included 5-pin header cable and connects to Rx on the Arduino (so, ignoring the cable, Rx to Rx). Same idea for the Tx line.


If your chip isn’t removable, it’s more complicated (and might not work):

  1. Disable the ATMega chip by tying the RESET line to GND.
  2. Do the same as step 2 above, but do not connect the RESET line.
  3. The 4D Serial Display requires a momentary RESET pulse before the code can be loaded onto it (this is the DTR leg of the FTDI controller). Unfortunately, the DTR leg was tied to GND in step 1. You’ll have to manually trigger the RESET on the serial display right before it’s programmed. To do that you have to connect the display’s RESET to GND momentarily, right before the code download is initiated. It’s a matter of good timing (and would really, really suck for development purposes).

 

Of course, this could be applied to any board that is programmed through an FTDI controller. Hope it helps someone.

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.]