I’m always happy to learn my articles are helping people, and it was nice to receive this correspondence with a reader building his first system.  I’m sharing this here because it’s good to show that someone with no experience can build their own system, and because Carsten was kind enough to share his experiences and even sent in a few really well taken photographs for illustration.  Thank you Carsten!

Hi Steve,

Thanks again for all your info on this great machine!

I bought the parts, waited 2 weeks for the case and finally got it. Unfortunately in Black (I wanted red). But never mind.

Since I was not so firm I googled for days about the wiring, which seemed to be the most difficult but I managed, its running. Although

that was not so easy, the case is "small" and the ATX Power cable (Corsair 850) is stubbornly thick and once the board on the right alu-plate is installed and screwed to the case it is difficult to change any cables.. Guess you know.

 

that was not so easy, the case is "small" and the ATX Power cable (Corsair 850) is stubbornly thick and once the board on the right alu-plate is installed and screwed to the case it is difficult to change any cables.. Guess you know.

 

Got the Led's wrong first time, forgot the beeper; finally found that adapter in the Rampage box... and so forth.

Not sure how all could possibly fit without removing the lower case though.

 

Got the Led's wrong first time, forgot the beeper; finally found that adapter in the Rampage box... and so forth.

 

Look at this "semiprofessional" fifth fan which I suspended with foam between the CD and, very softly, down on the RAMs. No other way to get decent cooling.

Have you put the CPU Fan between Cooler and upper Outlet; sucking air with two fans? Didn’t seem proper enough for me, but lets wait till it falls down.... Or I just detach the CPU Fan electric and wait for 85 Degrees, for a moment only, so the fan case will melt and be stuck with the heat sink..

Might get really expensive if the CPU goes.....

This is how Builders attach a 2.5 Seagate Hybrid without the upper case. As you know in Thailand Cable binders and double-sided sticky tape is always handy. And working! Under the CD, leaving better air intake, and right now I don’t need the case.

 

Have you put the CPU Fan between Cooler and upper Outlet; sucking air with two fans? Didn’t seem proper enough for me, but lets wait till it falls down.... Or I just detach the CPU Fan electric and wait for 85 Degrees, for a moment only, so the fan case will melt and be stuck with the heat sink..

 

The Revodrive was a headache but finally I could install the drivers and then windows. Interestingly it shows in the Device manager some win driver from 2006; but in system 32 I could locate the "more up to date" ones.. So I hope the Revo is using them.

One important thing: You have to tick "Turn off windows write cache buffer" under Device Manager, Disk Drive, Properties, Policies.

The windows experience index went from 5,9 to 7,9 for the Hard disk after this!

Great machine I have now, thanks again, and take care,

Regards, Carsten

 

Carsten –

I was smiling the entire time I read this.  It’s great that you built your own machine and were able to sort things out for yourself.  This is how experience is born.

Yes, you supported your CPU cooler fan in much the same way I supported mine.  There isn’t a lot of room in the case and even a low profile CPU cooler (I tried 8 of them) doesn’t have much room for a fan, so I figured why not use the biggest cooler and simply suspend the fan to the side.

Your case has four areas to screw 2.5” drives directly to the cages.  You’ll see the holes are perfectly spaced for this. Double sided tape works well too.

As I mentioned in my article, routing the cabling/wires properly can make or break your cooling results.  If you don’t get super good cooling (40-50c at least) then you’ll need to work with your cables making sure to route them as close to the sides of the case and out of the way as possible.  You should be able to keep the top drive cage at a minimum, and the bottom one too if you route the cables ideally.

I noticed you mounted a top venting power supply.  You’ll notice in the article I recommended a rear venting supply like the PCPOWERANDCOOLING Silencer 900.  This one allows venting to the rear as your side panel doesn’t allow venting.  An option.. would be to take your case side panel to a skilled metal worker and have them either cut in a grill (a water jet machine would be ideal, but good luck finding one in Thailand) or press in louvers.  It would have been a lot easier to mount the recommended power supply.  Without venting heat and noise will be extreme.. though there ‘might’ be enough of a gap between the supply and side panel to pull air.. you just don’t know without trying.

Yes, the Revo is different to install.  I put the drivers from OCZ’s site on a SD memory card and put it in the card reader.. the card reader (as a drive) is available at the Windows level for loading drivers. If you use the drivers from OCZ’s site you’ll be using the most current drivers.  If you are, don’t worry about the dates.  Sometimes that date indicates when they were granted their WHL certification and not when the driver was actually built.

Once installed it really screams! I love that drive.

On the power supply I used, the cables aren’t modular.. which means they stay attached and you need to be able to do something with them.  I was able to keep both drive cages and I carefully and neatly folded the unused or extra length cables.. and tucked them under the bottom drive cage. I spent a lot of time carefully bending and routing cables.

This is a really powerful system with a full 1366 CPU, six RAM slots, etc, etc, in a very small case.. as you saw when ordering parts, there is only one Micro-ATX motherboard with these specs made.. and it’s a bonus you can use a full size power supply and full size video card.. so you’re putting a lot of full size power in a Micro size case.  And then to have it cool so well is a bonus.

Let me know how it goes after you use it a while.

Steve

 

Hi Steve,

Yes, experience is something. I am learning.

Some thoughts:

- the Power supply is exactly made for this box. There is a lot of misunderstanding, (check the link below; it’s a page from an Engineer who should know ... the fan of the Power Supply SUCKS air, it does not blow it to the side!) a Power supply like you suggested with a rear vent would have been perfect.

Now there wasn’t one, so I bought this one anyway, figuring I would twist it and turn it to fit, a Corsair 850 Gold.

When you attach it like I did, facing the side cover there is still 2 cm space or so for it to breathe in. And the way out is through the PS to the back of the case. That’s how it was meant, not to be turned around sucking in warm air from the CPU or whatever is there in the way.

 In German though, it has 48 pictures, mentioning he would not want to face the power supply towards a closed side of the case. Which I think is nonsense.

When starting the new system I noticed that the PS fan hardly ever started. After all that’s why we have 850 Watts. In a few years that might be different but for now it is sufficient, cool and quiet.

Now we have 2 Fans for AIR IN Front. (That might be not enough?! still testing..) One for out on Top, the largest one. One extra out on the back above the power supply (Mr. Compute & More gave me two fans, now I know why, maybe he was anticipating this, or he remembered some people buying this box?! ) One out through Power Supply

One out through the Graphic card. Little, but it adds up. So maybe more fan power out than in??

So far quite good. But I have not not run the Processor at full power for a prolonged time. Hmm, its like driving a Ferrari in HongKong...

I installed a few temperature measuring programs plus I have the one from Asus. Have you noticed how high the temp gets at the ICH and IOH (Southbridge)? 60c to 70c is "normal?! Maybe that needs a little better cooling.

There is a Heat sink from Asus already in place but rather small. Google says a notebook CPU is made for 100 degrees, aha, so maybe this board is just "warming up..." Hmm.

Pic is from the aforementioned link

 

Not clear for me, there was no space to put 2 x 2,5 Drives down there (Graphic Card is in the way plus the two fans I have came with another speed control that just fitted with the Graphic Card, (needs two slots), not to mention a few cables/motherboards in that area) or maybe I didn’t see it. And you can never reach them again once installed..

 

Not clear for me, there was no space to put 2 x 2,5 Drives down there (Graphic Card is in the way plus the two fans I have came with another speed control that just fitted with the Graphic Card, (needs two slots), not to mention a few cables/motherboards in that area) or maybe I didn’t see it. And you can never reach them again once installed..

Forgot to mention, got the Logitech Performance Mouse MX 950 and Keyboard K 800, how could I have done the last 15 years without it? Very good recommendation.

It’s a totally new experience, just perfect! And I get 14 days battery performance, I don’t even switch them off anymore, great stuff, and that tiny USB stick works.. (worked even when installing windows/revodrive)

All these improvements happened because I read your reviews, thanks again.

Regards, Carsten

 

Carsten

This is worth a lot.  Many are afraid to even try and I do my best to encourage them to make the attempt.  Others are busy working and would just rather pay to have me build one and I respect this too.

Yes, the power supply is a standard ATX power supply so in that respect it meets the specs for the case, but due to the case design it isn’t set up to exhaust the air..  Almost every review on the case mentions this and Lian-li acknowledges this is an issue and hopefully will offer a replacement side pant with a filter covered vent soon.. at least if they followed my suggestion.  They asked, so maybe.

As you said, the fan side is the exhaust. But since it can be flipped over either way this is immaterial.  What’s important is that the exhaust has a place to go, to exit the case, and not be recirculated back through the case.  You might not be pulling enough power from it at this time for the venting to be an issue, but if you run it up to full spec I’d guess you’ll start seeing problems.

This power supply vents the air out the back:  They don’t make many with this design anymore, everyone has moved to the new top/bottom fan style because the bigger fan makes less noise.  It’s an option, but an option which produces a bit more noise.

Bottom line:  I hope Lian-li offers a replacement panel soon. If not, it’s a fairly easy task to cut a vent hole, or slats, and cover it with a filter screen.  You can find them anywhere.  OR, just use it as is and hope your specific use doesn’t tax the system enough to cause an issue.

I think.. if you face the exhaust near the other exhaust fans (in the center near the CPU where the top/back fan pulls air out), then in a closed system you create a thermal loop consistent with the system.  This might be what he’s trying to say.

I have the two front fans, the top fan, CPU cooler fan, and I added the extra one for the rear like you did. My system in Bangkok on a 33-35c day ran at 40-45c.. at night it would drop down to 37-39c.

Small cases must flow air more efficiently than large cases and subsequently are more particular about placement.  Keep the ‘thermal loop’ in mind when running cables, adding fans, and orientating your components and you’ll be fine.

60-70c isn’t bad.. and it certainly won’t hurt anything, but keep in mind heat reduces the lifespan of an electronic component.  Even if they’re rated for say 100c, running it at 70c will help it last longer. So, it’s all a tradeoff with design and component selection. My ICH/IOH runs at 50c pretty regular.  I would look for blocked airflow across these components, if there’s a cable or something impeding flow..

These are two spaces, but there are also two more sets of holes on the drive bays themselves.  A good quality double sided tape is just as good, especially if it allows you to locate the drive where you have lower temperatures or to relocate a cable blocking air flow. Mounting method aside, just mount them where it makes the most sense for thermal flow.

I love both of these too.  In fact, I just ordered an extra set. I tend to wear out keyboards and mice every 2-3 years so I like to have a new set ready to go when I start having issues. If you watch, you’ll find some great sales on these items.  I just paid $52 for the mouse through Logitech.. $60 for the K800.

I’m glad you found the review useful.  Of course we can apply the basics to any number of cases and components and that’s usually why I publish a build every 18 months or so.   But this particular build was special because everything came together so nicely.   I’m happy you were able to build your own.

Take care

Steve

 

Steve,

Thanks for your answer, let me give you just a quick thought.

Every review mentions this "problem" with PS air ventilation... None of them had a look at a Power supply it seems (or at this one). It has a sucking fan on the left side, means it takes air from wherever inside the case. All other sides are solidly closed except the side at the back where the switch/cable is, there is the exit for the air should the fan move. Intake from inside the PC case, out at the back of the PS case, not blowing anything inside the case. That’s what I got from looking at it. And LianLi has a small space between the side-cover and the fan grid, not perfect but should do. I hope.

So do most graphic cards.

A side vent/opening in the case makes only sense with limited controlled air streaming in as we have to consider the rest of the flows.

MOMENT:

Just read again

Now I get it, of course that’s correct. But this corsair PS has no way out for the air but the back of its box which means exiting the case! Is this a new build? The fan is no exhaust but intake!

That was my thinking before, we have 4 fans exiting, (Top, additional back fan, PS, Graphic card) one CPU fan in the middle but only two fans for air in at the Front. There might be one intake missing unless we enjoy this whining noise when air gets sucked in from all edges, thru the CD and USBs, under full power of course.

Even turned to face the CPU it would probably help a little as it then would take warm air in to spew out backwards, noticing that it doesn’t cool well, thus speeding up the fan, then noise and turbulence would raise followed by cooling................ Romantic!

Conclusion: A PC is just producing warmth/heat. So what.

Keep me informed whenever you have a new review of something! Its very interesting to go beyond the usual "user" experience and to learn more. Are you going to update bangkokimages or is this over?

Regards, Carsten

 

Carsten –

Visualize the air flow.  As the case is designed, it’s blowing hot air out of the top and back fans and sucking it in via the front fans.  Mentally visualize the airflow..  If you’re sucking in air from the side of the power supply facing the center area of the case where the CPU is, then you’re sucking in the hot air and blowing it towards the side panel where it just recirculates back to the center because it has no where to go.

To properly fix this, you need one of two things.  A power supply that sucks in air from the same area but then vents it out the back (the power supply I linked you to), or a vent in the side to suck air in and then vents it to the center of the case to be exhausted through the top and side fans.

If you look at a regular case, the power supply is mounted in the bottom with the fan facing up, so it sucks in air from the bottom vent under where the power supply mounts.. and then exhausts the hot air into the center of the case where it’s picked up by the top and side fans.  A limited number of cases allow for the power supply to be mounted on top, but not many. In any case you need to maintain this flow.  If your power supply exhausts air from the fan side, then it’s backwards from what it should be if there was/wasn’t a vent on the side.  It may be working and not overheating, but it might give you problems if you fully tax your system (put it under full load), and it is for sure running more warm than it needs to be which will reduce the life.

If in doubt, call Lian-li and ask them which way the air flow is designed to flow. Scroll down:

I hope this clears things up.

"I think.. if you face the exhaust near the other exhaust fans (in the center near the CPU where the top/back fan pulls air out), then in a closed system you create a thermal loop consistent with the system. This might be what he’s trying to say."

Yes, this is the “new style” of power supply which is why I stressed in my review to use the PCPOWERANDCOOLING model..  I should have shown a picture of it, I failed the readers by not showing a picture. I apologize for this.

LOL!  Yes.. energy, watts, horsepower, is nothing more than producing heat at its most basic level.  Even humans.. when they measure how many watts it takes say for a pro bicycle rider to maintain a certain speed up a hill, what they’re really measuring is the heat produced.. this helps make a formula..

I get the feeling we’re just starting.  To be honest after three years of the weekly column on Stick’s site which I would break into 5-7 individual articles for my site..  I was getting burned out. Since I started my move I’ve received a lot of feedback from the readers asking to continue and sending in work of their own so we can keep the Thailand slant.

And then.. after 4-5 weeks of a break, I really started to miss it!  So, as soon as I finish hanging pictures, building shelves, and all the stuff my wife has me doing at our new place.. and I have free time again.. then we’ll start up with the column.  I already have 17 pieces of new equipment to review and manufacturers keep offering to send more. Look for the column to continue towards the end of the month.

I love the monsoon season.. I really miss it.  I’m not sure if you read my photography stuff, but I talked a lot about heading out during monsoon weather to get the best pictures.

I hope you have a good UPS.. at its best Thailand electricity is just plain terrible, lots of ripple, spikes, varying voltages.. but when it gets bad it’s just downright destructive. I’ll be reviewing three levels of UPS devices in the next few months.  I use them religiously.

Steve