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Laminar's MDD G4 Funtimes
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Laminar
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Feb 27, 2023, 11:24 AM
 
Time for a new build! My 10 year old i5-2500k build was showing its age. It got an SSD at some point and an RTX 3060 last year that I bought off a miner, but it was definitely CPU limited. I grabbed an i7-3770 off of eBay last year, which is the fastest processor I could get for this socket. It did help reduce stuttering in some games, but I'm not pushing anywhere near the FPS the 3060 should be able to do.

I had my eye on a new i5 - the 13400F combined with the cheapest micro ATX motherboard is about $310, so that was my baseline. It looks like the used market hasn't gotten used to that performance at that price because everyone is still asking $300 for i7s from 2018. I kept my eyes peeled and saw a combo pop up on Marketplace - i7-11700F with an ASUS gaming motherboard for $150. I grabbed it that evening - the guy had just upgraded to the new i7-13700k and had reused his memory, SSD, cooler, and everything else and was just trying to get rid of the combo.

To finished out the rest of the components I'd need for the build, I scoured the used market but again everyone is asking new prices for used junk, so I ordered a 1TB Western Digital M.2 SSD and 2x16GB G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series RAM for another $150. The board and 11th gen processor support PCIe 4.0 x4 so this SSD should be a real screamer.

I did find a modular SFX power supply on /r/hardwareswap for $75 shipped. I went with SFX due to the likely case constraints of using a very special case.



I bought this MDD at Goodwill for $30 a bunch of years ago. Dual 867MHz processors, dual DVD writers, dual 60GB hard drives, maxed 2GB of RAM. Ran 9.2 and Leopard. Played with it for a bit then tried to resell it, but all I got were people trying to buy it for their kids to do schoolwork on. This thing can barely handle a YouTube video, I wouldn't want to saddle some poor kid with it, so I pulled it off the market and threw it in a closet.

Until now.



See where I'm going with this? I loved the Yosemite and G4 tower design where the motherboard is on the door and everything is super easy to get to. Actually, the MDD is the worst G4 to convert - the PCI slots and motherboard connections are reversed compared to a standard ATX configuration. The better solution is to get a door assembly from a Sawtooth or Quicksilver and use that. Well honestly, I like the Quicksilver case better (or I'd even go for a G5) but there was absolutely nothing within several hours of me and even then it was $100+ for the cheapest G4 or G5. The upside to the MDD is huge cooling flow from the front to the back panel. This thing wasn't nicknamed "wind tunnel" for nothing.

So I pulled off the plastic covers and started hacking away. Well, not quite hacking (yet), but more drilling out tons of little rivets.







A couple of weeks ago I transitioned the old PC into a home-theater style case my BIL bought for me. It will live on in the theater as a media player or server of some kind. Then I took the case the PC was in and hacked off the backplane and trimmed everything down to size. I set it in place on the door:



And then confirmed closure fitment:



Okay, this might actually work. I fixed the backplane in place and began rebuilding the rear door, combining pieces of the original door with pieces of the PC case.

Test fit with the motherboard in place:





It took a couple of iterations, but once I was happy with everything I replaced the screws with rivets and hit it with some black paint:



At this point things got a bit hacky as I had to repurpose some of the G4 plastic cover in places where it didn't used to be. You know things are getting good when I break out the hot glue gun.



Then on the front of the case, the four airflow ports beneath the optical drive slots have a mirrored blocker behind them, presumably to stop people from shoving pencils or fingers or...other things in the case. That just seemed like a detriment to airflow, so I cut that out and mounted a 120mm case fan directly to it.



I'm planning on just using the M.2 storage for now, but I wanted to keep the option open to use a 2.5" or 3.5" drive in the future. In the MDD, there are two drive carriages, each capable of holding two hard drives. One mounts under the optical drive cage, the other mounts vertically to the back wall. My optical cage is gone, and the back wall location would end up getting hit by the CPU cooler, so I had to come up with a new location. I decided to mount it to the top of the case. I riveted the carriage slide in place and the stock release lever and everything still work - the whole carriage slides out for easy drive installation.





Speaking of ease-of-use, I noticed in looking at some other higher-end cases that they had access beneath the motherboard around the processor to swap out cooling components without pulling the motherboard. I decided to replicate that, which ended up costing me quite a bit of time as I had three layers of steel to hack through. The PC case backplane cut like butter, but the two thicker stainless layers of the G4 case were a BEAR to make my way through. Cost me a jigsaw blade and probably an hour. I had to leave the center section of the outer layer as that's where the plastic cover snaps in.





Final fit-up with the motherboard and the CPU cooler. I had a CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO lying around that was (fortunately) still compatible with the LGA1200 processor socket, so I got some new thermal paste and installed that onto the board.



The cooler is a tall SOB. I actually had to cut holes in the cover of my last case to let those copper pins stick through. In this case, there's less than 1/4" clearance between the pins and the other side of the case, but it fits.

I threw an R7-265 graphics card in there for now.



The RAM, SSD, and power supply should show up today. I also need to solder some wires onto the front panel power switch, LED, and audio port to connect up to the motherboard. Cable routing will be important for keeping the build looking clean.

I ordered some power supply connection extensions, but those won't be here tonight so I'll have to do the cables up temporarily. The 8-pin CPU connector is on the far end of the motherboard, which may prove challenging. With the extension, I'll be able to run the cable behind the backplane inside of the plastic cover.

Fortunately, with only M.2 storage right now I don't need any SATA data or power cables going anywhere, so it's just ATX power, CPU power, GPU power, fans, and front panel connections. More to come.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Feb 28, 2023, 09:47 AM
 
Power supply showed up last night, but the other stuff got delayed a day. Went to fit up the power supply and was faced with some mild disaster, but that's to be expected.

The stock power supply is tall, wide, but very shallow. It sits along the back wall of the case, nearly as long as the case itself. I went with an SFX power supply, which is a small form factor that a standard ATX. But, as it turns out, not thin enough to fit in the same area.

At this point I think I'm going to have to cut a rectangle out of the back of the case so I can inset the power supply into the gap between the metal case and the plastic cover. Ideally it would be mounted at the bottom of the case to minimize wire lengths required, but that means the PCI cards would butt right up against it. The current card I have in there for test fitting has copper cooling tubes protruding above the top of the card, which make putting anything there impossible. My 3060 is more low profile, which could fit.

I tried it up here, which might be doable. It clears the PCI cards and the cooler, though the wiring might be a struggle to get around the cooler.





     
Laminar  (op)
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Feb 28, 2023, 10:16 AM
 
Two other possibilities I see. One would be to mount the power supply somewhere in the case other than the rear, and then run an extension cable to it internally, using a bulkhead cable like this:



I could attach the cable directly to the stock power input location to prevent further hackery of the back panel.

Another option would be to go with an AIO liquid cooler, which would eliminate the giant heatsink, and make the motherboard mount very low profile and let me put the fans somewhere more convenient. This would open up the center rear of the case for the power supply and associated wiring.

     
subego
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Feb 28, 2023, 11:52 AM
 
Both seem like good options.

Awesome build!
     
Laminar  (op)
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Feb 28, 2023, 12:14 PM
 
I think I'm going with the extension cable. I think I'll mount it at the bottom of the case with the output cables pointing toward the motherboard. This should give me clearance in case I ever go with a longer graphics card.

Now the question is do I point the ps fan upwards or downwards? The fan is an intake fan and the exhaust goes out where the 120V comes in. I think my best bet is to cut a hole in the bottom of the case and let the PS draw in fresh air from outside of the case. The G4 feet keep the bottom of the case up off the floor. I should still probably run a filter there to keep all of the dust and dog fur out. It might also be useful to drill a grid in the side panel where the power supply outlet is pointing to let the hot air out easily instead of just mixing around inside of the case.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Feb 28, 2023, 12:30 PM
 
This also has me thinking about total case airflow. Based on these results, if I'm running a single fan, the pull configuration is ideal. I have to mount the fan to the heatsink opposite the IO shield due to interference with the IO shield heatsink thing, so that kind of cements my airflow direction from the rear of the case to the front. The rear is nice and wide open due to the MDD cheesegrater rear so there should be little restriction there. I'll have the CPU fan drawing fresh air in and pushing it toward the front of the case. The power supply fan will be drawing air in from the bottom and exhausting it into the case (I suppose I could shroud the rear of the power supply so that the PS has its own closed circuit in and out). So I'll need to set up the fan at the front of the case as an exhaust fan to keep the air moving out. I found a couple of cheap fans on clearance that are on their way, so if I wanted to I could set up an inlet fan at the back of the case and another exhaust fan where the optical doors are. If I really wanted to get wild I could drill the optical doors for airflow, or even fab an insert to go in place of them, maybe make an aluminum panel and polish it up so it matches the mirror finish.
     
reader50
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Feb 28, 2023, 02:02 PM
 
For cleaner cuts on metal, I'd mark a line, then use a dremel with cutting disc. On the plastic, I'd try an oscillating saw with a half-round blade. Something like this:



These two tools have largely replaced my jigsaw for fine-detail work

On the power supply, I might have considered keeping the original PS if space allowed. Open it up, and solder in a standard harness. I don't remember about the G4 power supplies, but the G5 supplies were often rated up to 1,000W.

Nice looking build.
     
subego
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Feb 28, 2023, 02:55 PM
 
I assume water cooling is less of a hassle than it used to be, but don’t they still have a shorter lifespan than the heat sink?

Last time I played with one was in the aughts, and not the sealed kind.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Feb 28, 2023, 03:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
For cleaner cuts on metal, I'd mark a line, then use a dremel with cutting disc. On the plastic, I'd try an oscillating saw with a half-round blade. Something like this:

These two tools have largely replaced my jigsaw for fine-detail work
I don't have the budget for the vast number of Dremel wheels it would have taken to get through the thick G4 case layers. I went through 5-6 wheels just doing the finer trim work. They worked great with almost no wear on the plastic stuff. For anything portable enough I took it over to the bandsaw. Definitely spent a lot of time with the file taking down all of the burrs. I do have an oscillating saw (ironically it's a Dremel brand) but it's more bulky and awkward than the Dremel for plastic parts.

On the power supply, I might have considered keeping the original PS if space allowed. Open it up, and solder in a standard harness. I don't remember about the G4 power supplies, but the G5 supplies were often rated up to 1,000W.
I considered it, but the stock power supply is marked "360W" (too close for comfort to my estimated usage of 344W) and is the major source of the wind tunnel noise the MDD emits. My MacPro power supply dims the room lights when it fires up, so I believe its 1000W rating.

Nice looking build.
Thanks!
     
Laminar  (op)
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Feb 28, 2023, 03:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I assume water cooling is less of a hassle than it used to be, but don’t they still have a shorter lifespan than the heat sink?

Last time I played with one was in the aughts, and not the sealed kind.
I wouldn't touch it if it wasn't the sealed kind, and even then they have issues with hose permeation and occasional air bubble generation. The TDP of the 11700F processor is only 65W (vs. 125W of the 11700K), so I could probably get away with a single 120mm kit. I'd also have to get a bit creative with fan mounting since it would have to be within hose distance of the processor aka mounted to the door. It would probably take a little creative shrouding, but it'd be doable. Hopefully I don't have to go that route though.
     
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Feb 28, 2023, 04:30 PM
 
I seem to have misremembered the PS ratings. For the G5s, it's 400-450W for single-CPU, and 550-600W for dual-CPU models.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Mar 1, 2023, 10:50 AM
 
You guys.



Glad I sprung for the PCIe 4.0 x4.

RAM and M.2 showed up last night so I had to put everything together and try for POST.

M.2 went in place, then got covered up by the motherboard's heat sink. The previous owner definitely had cats, because there was quite a bit of cat hair in the nooks and crannies of the motherboard.



Weirdly, the recommended position for one pair of RAM sticks is slots A2 and B2. That's extremely fortunate, as the cooler is kind of blocking slot A1.





In my haste I hadn't yet integrated the G4 power button or light, so I quick wired up the old case's front panel to the power, light, reset button, and beeper and went for POST. Didn't get it. The motherboard has four LEDs that signal status - the CPU and RAM LEDs were out, but the VGA LED was lit up, indicating the motherboard couldn't find a display device. Weird, because the R7-265 I had installed was working for years with my old build, and has sat in a static bag since last summer, no reason it shouldn't be working. So I tried re-seating the card and updating the motherboard BIOS and switching power supply ports and everything else I could think of but no POST.

So I shut down the old computer and yanked the RTX3060 and put it in the new build.



Success! POST!



Now obviously the BIOS was in Chinese, the former owner was a student at the local university, so I had to look up how to switch the language to English without being able to read anything on the screen. Once that was done I confirmed the RAM was showing up, the M.2 was showing up, and everything looked good. I made a Windows 11 install USB this weekend and had it plugged in, and it booted right into the install.



Once that installed, I spent a good 45 minutes going through the Windows setup screens and then going back in and turning off allllll of the ads and all of the places Microsoft injects "recommendations." I had to uninstall Tic Toc, Instagram, Kindle, Spotify, and more bloatware that they install by default, and generally clean everything up. Then I ran the disk test from the top of this post - wow!!

Fans, power supply cable, and a couple of other things should be showing up this week, then I'll get the rest of it assembled. Hoping to do some graphics benchmarking tonight.
     
reader50
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Mar 1, 2023, 02:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Once that installed, I spent a good 45 minutes going through the Windows setup screens and then going back in and turning off allllll of the ads and all of the places Microsoft injects "recommendations." I had to uninstall Tic Toc, Instagram, Kindle, Spotify, and more bloatware that they install by default, and generally clean everything up.
Are the above steps posted anywhere? I'm not a Windows person, but keep an unactivated install around for compatibility. Removing the bloatware would significantly reduce the attack surface. Maybe disk space too.

If you have the spare power connections (and spare PCIe slot), suggest putting your R7-265 in as a 2nd GPU. It may have configured itself to its previous board, and just need to reach a booted state in the new board. If Win11 sees it after boot, it might just POST from then on.
     
andi*pandi
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Mar 1, 2023, 02:44 PM
 
I admire your patience. Cool build!
     
Laminar  (op)
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Mar 1, 2023, 03:09 PM
 
Did some more poking around and just discovered "Flex ATX" power supplies. Only 1.5" thick, it would fit perfectly along my back wall. A few downsides - thin case means small (LOUD) fan, no modular style so I'd have to deal with all of the extra cables lying around, and expensive ($130+ for 500W). They're mostly intended for servers where fan noise is of zero concern.

I'm working through a design for a combo wall mount + shroud for the power supply. I ordered a couple of magnetic filters so I can cut a hole in the bottom of the case but keep the fan protected from the elements (dog fur).
     
Laminar  (op)
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Mar 3, 2023, 08:54 AM
 
Got a couple care packages last night.



Also got my power supply extension cable, so I went ahead and marked out some cut guidelines for the power supply.



I had to mount up one of the RGB fans up front and mock up the front cover.



And my new monitor showed up - 32" 1080P 165Hz.
https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E1682402...82E16824026336



(My wife likes buying weird desks on Marketplace)
The difference 165Hz makes is MASSIVE. When my son first started getting good at Fortnite he started talking shit so I challenged him to 1v1, but the twist was I got to use his computer (RX 580 and 165Hz). I crushed him 6-0, and he was devastated. Then we switched computers so I was back on my R7-265 and 60Hz setup and he beat me 5-1. Now we're on more even ground, but he has far surpassed my abilities. We did play one round of duos and managed a crown victory royale on our first try with the new setup.
     
OreoCookie
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Mar 4, 2023, 09:11 PM
 
Hehe.
Yeah, that’s the power of youth with near infinite amounts of time at their disposal to hone their skills. My brother’s best friend used to be a really good Quake 3 player, he could easily beat all the bots in nightmare mode while completely stoned with a trackball. But that was a few decades ago.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Mar 6, 2023, 10:54 AM
 
Got everything assembled over the weekend, I'd call it 90% done. Started with getting the front panel control set up. I found a Microsoft Paint wiring diagram for the power button and LED but my controls didn't ring out like that. There is a chip on the board that I think futzes with some stuff so I can't use the factory ribbon cable connections. I soldered wires directly to the power button and LED.





Then I made room for the power supply.





To mount the PS to the case wall, I cut up and bent some flanges from the old PC case.



I bolted the extension cable flange to the back of the case and cut a slot for the grommet to pass the AC power wire outside of the case.



Fitment is nice. Eventually I slapped a magnetic filter over the fan for protection.


I decided to try a positive pressure system with two intake fans up front and a CPU fan pulling air through the heatsink moving air front to back. Ideally, the large open back of the case would let all of the hot air out (spoiler: It didn't). I continued to cut up the old PC case, this time cutting up the fan mount and attaching it where the 5.25" bay was on the front of the Mac Pro.



Both fans mounted:



Then I started wiring everything up. I have some cable management combs coming soon so everything is still very messy. I had to use extension cables for all three connections due to their distance from the power supply mounting location. The 4+4 pin CPU plug goes outside of the case and then back in as that plug is very far from the PS. I used 1" holes and grommets to get it there. The modular power supply came with 2 "VGA" 6+2 pin connections for a graphics card. Unfortunately, each "VGA" power cable has a split at the end and has connectors for two cards. So if you only have one graphics card (or your card only needs a single 6+2 input), you have to have a loose connection dangling around inside of the case.

I bundled all of the front panel connections together in some spiral wrap so they could flex together when the case is opened and closed.

And for the main ATX power connection I picked a rainbow extension cable because I like the connection to vintage Apple heritage. Like I said, this will all get cleaned up once I get my combs in.





Powered up:





I knew I needed to get more air in through the front, so in order to make my life harder than it needs to be, I made an aluminum insert where the drive doors were.







I still want to polish up the piece so it better matches the original mirrored finish, but I was very time constrained and needed to get supper started.



While supper cooked, I started getting the panels reinstalled.



All went well until I put on the side door panel. It turns out that when I slapped the m-ATX backplane on, I covered up one of the panel screw holes. So I'll either have to cut down a panel screw or drill and tap the backplane so that the screw can go through. For now the back corner is sticking out.





I have the RGB control set to change the color based on CPU temp - below 40C is green, 40-80C is yellow, above 80 is red.

Back to the cooling fail - I closed up the case and we fired up some Fortnite. I saw the colors go yellow and could hear some fans going. Eventually after about 20 minutes I saw it blip red. I knew from playing with the case open that it didn't go higher than 65C under full load, so hitting 80 with the case closed means I have airflow issues. Here are some contributing factors:
- Motherboard was used, so BIOS fan control had been set up for a different case and use. I went back in this morning and found one of the two inlet fans would run very slowly until nearly 90C when it would finally spin up, I corrected that and made the two inlet fans match.
- Cable management is a mess and is blocking the airflow path. Getting those organized and tied down will open up a lot more flow.
- I switched the CPU fan to the other side of the heatsink and configured it as a puller. When putting my hand around it, I could feel lots of air getting in in the cracks between the fan and heatsink, bypassing the heatsink fins and reducing the cooling effect. With car radiators, puller fans are significantly more efficient than pushers, but you have to have immaculate sealing. I'll try filling the fan gaps, but I may go back to a pusher.

I think best practice would be to have both inlet and outlet fans. Unfortunately, the split back panel makes fans in the back a near-impossibility. I could potentially mount one up top that covers both halves of the case when it's closed (I'd need some creative shrouding), but the power inlet blocks the way. I don't want to go with more smaller fans for fear of extra noise. I do have room for a fan at the top or bottom of the case pointing down or up. If I was pointing up, I'd probably want to make a cutout in the plastic panel to allow flow, but the bottom could work, considering the feet keep it elevated up off the ground.

The other issue is that my motherboard has three fan headers and one AIO water cooling pump header. My three fan headers are taken up, so if I want to add a fan, I'd have to use the AIO header. Mixed reports on if that will work - some people say the fan runs at full blast all the time, but some motherboards let you change the AIO header to PWM control so you can variably drive a fan. I'll have to poke around tonight and see what my options are.
     
reader50
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Mar 6, 2023, 02:04 PM
 
If your final fan connection doesn't offer controls, there are fans with their own temp management. They're pricier, but they only need a power connection and will ramp up/down as needed. Wouldn't even need a MB connector - it could connect to the PS.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Mar 7, 2023, 10:33 AM
 
Went back into the BIOS and made the case fans a bit more aggressive. Reconfigured a negative pressure setup with the case fans exhausting air and swapped the CPU fan to the other side, still in a puller configuration but sending air back to front. Sealed the top of the CPU fan to reduce air leakage. Tied down some of the cabling to let more air through.

Got over 90C on heavy loads, so...worse? Opened the case up and it sat at 65C under the heaviest loads.

I'm back to considering an AIO water cooler to get the CPU heat out. The 11700F has a lower base clock speed but still does 4.9GHz when boosted. The lower TDP is based on the clock frequency, but maybe I'm underestimating how much heat it generates when it's really spooled up.

A fan at the bottom of the case would be mostly blocked by the graphics card so I'm not convinced it would do much for getting good airflow into the case. I feel a little weird about cutting the top of the case open and venting the plastic cover for airflow, as that becomes a significant deviation from the stock chassis, but it might be my best option. Musing on that now.

In the meantime my addressable LED strips showed up.



Still haven't decided where to put them...maybe along the bottom of the case to light up underneath it? The other thing I realized is that the side covers are a bit translucent, as light bleeds through the holes in the metal case and is nicely diffused by the side cover:



That could make for some cool options.
     
reader50
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Mar 7, 2023, 01:58 PM
 
It seems like you have decent vent space on front and back - the problem may be the flow pattern inside the case. ie - air is flowing, but there are dead spots in one or more wrong places.

Perhaps try a circulating fan within the case, to correct the airflow to reach everything.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Mar 8, 2023, 09:55 AM
 
Put one of the LED strips under the tower, I like the effect.



ASUS's RGB software isn't super intuitive and it's taking some doing to figure it out. I might dig into some third party stuff to see if that's any better.

Ordered an AIO cooling setup, my brain is crunching through how to have it mounted to the door, I think I have some ideas.
     
subego
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Mar 8, 2023, 11:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Is the flask where you keep your “coolant”?
     
Laminar  (op)
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Mar 8, 2023, 12:13 PM
 
It's much more of a heating effect than a cooling one.

The cabinet there used to be where we kept our liquor and board games. Wife got a new table for the room, so board games and liquor had to be relocated and this cabinet came down to the basement and became nerf gun storage. Flask somehow didn't get rehomed with the liquor so it's here among the computer parts and toys.
     
subego
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Mar 8, 2023, 12:54 PM
 
You ever play Diplomacy drunk?
     
Laminar  (op)
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Mar 8, 2023, 01:35 PM
 
Usually just Rummikub.
     
subego
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Mar 8, 2023, 05:56 PM
 
Interesting… I had never heard of it until now.
     
OreoCookie
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Mar 8, 2023, 07:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Put one of the LED strips under the tower, I like the effect.
Is RGB lighting still a thing or is that so old that it is considered retro already?

Oh, and any reason you went for an Intel CPU in a thermally constrained enclosure? Seems like something like AMD’s 5800X3D (yes, last gen) might have been the better choice … 
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Laminar  (op)
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Mar 9, 2023, 10:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Is RGB lighting still a thing or is that so old that it is considered retro already?
Hardcore PC users for two decades: "Macs are brightly colored to appeal to CHILDREN and are GARBAGE TOYS my computer is BRUTALIST ARCHITECTURE for DOING IMPORTANT WORK. 😤

Hardcore PC users in the last 5 years: My computer is RAINBOW AND SPARKLES and it DELIGHTS me to look at and I LOVE IT. 😍

Oh, and any reason you went for an Intel CPU in a thermally constrained enclosure? Seems like something like AMD’s 5800X3D (yes, last gen) might have been the better choice … 
11700F and 5800X3D are basically neck and neck for performance (slight edge to AMD) and the 11700F has a much lower TDP.

My benchmark was actually the 13400F - processor and mobo for under $300. Same story - basically neck and neck with the AMD (slight edge to Intel) and the Intel has a much lower TDP. A 5800X3D and mobo and cooler is over $400. Is thermal management really that much better on the AMD?

In the end, I found my mobo and processor combo for $150, which I'd challenge anyone to beat for the price.
     
reader50
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Mar 9, 2023, 01:53 PM
 
Try removing the remaining 2 PCIe slot covers. Two of the hot components (PS, GPU) are near the bottom, applying supplemental heat to everything above them. Ideally, each has their own fans that exhaust out of the case. But maybe not 100% - and that would leave a hot corner at bottom rear with nowhere to go but up. Towards the CPU.

The loose cabling might also be restricting the air flows.

I'm still thinking that your venting in and out of the case looks sufficient.

Edit: - Do your PS and GPU exhaust outwards? A thought - if the GPU exhausts outwards, while the PS exhausts into the case - then whether you config negative or positive pressure in the case, you get a heat problem either way. Either PS or GPU would always be opposing the case fans.
( Last edited by reader50; Mar 9, 2023 at 03:09 PM. )
     
subego
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Mar 9, 2023, 02:12 PM
 
They make perforated PCI slot covers if you want some more airflow but don’t want that big of a hole.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Mar 9, 2023, 05:11 PM
 
I swear I have some perforated slot covers around here somewhere, I'll have to dig through my drawers and see if I can find them.

The PS is sealed to draw air in from below the case and exhaust it straight out the side, so it shouldn't contribute much beyond what the warm case radiates. Then again the PS only actually exhausts into the side cover, which is kind of sealed against the side except the holes that vent back into the case...might need to open that up a bit so I'm not just shoving hot air back in.



Noticed a couple of days ago that one of the front fans isn't spinning, saw in Hardware Monitor that it's only detecting two fans and not three, so I'll need to figure out if the fan is bad or if it's the fan port on the motherboard.
     
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Mar 9, 2023, 05:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
11700F and 5800X3D are basically neck and neck for performance (slight edge to AMD) and the 11700F has a much lower TDP.
AFAIK the 5800X3D’s power consumption at load is is significantly lower, about 50 % in fact. The 11700F consumes way more power at peak performance, 2x its TDP, peaks at about 250 W, whereas the 5800X3D tops out at 130 W, about 24 % above its TDP. Its TDP is lower, too, 105 W vs. 125 W, although TDP doesn’t mean much these days.

Edit: You can put Ryzen CPU in Eco Mode, too, where you can basically retain up to 90 % performance at the “65 W” setting (<= 90 W IRL) and essentially all of the performance at “105 W TDP” (<= 140 W). All numbers are for the Ryzen 7950X, but I reckon the results might be closer if your CPU has less cores as you can use the same thermal budget on fewer cores.
( Last edited by OreoCookie; Mar 9, 2023 at 06:46 PM. )
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Laminar  (op)
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Mar 10, 2023, 09:46 AM
 
Well I did a thing.





Loaded temps (previously 65C door open) are now about 41C.



Fitting the cooler into the case is going to be a monumental feat.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Mar 20, 2023, 01:09 PM
 
We're nearly there.

Made a vent in the top of the case to draw in air for the AIO cooler.



I fastened a ramp to the back wall of the case and put a bolt on the AIO cooler bracket so that once the door is almost closed, the assembly hinges upwards to end up horizontal.



Got everything wired back up and used the cable combs to straighten things out. There wasn't really a clean way to get the ATX out of the case and back in considering the thickness of the connector, bu I was able to get the graphics card wiring outside of the case.





I decided to put the RGB strips under the case.



Got all of the plastic covers put back on (and found my vented PCI slot blanks!).



Fired it up.







Stress testing now keeps the CPU under 60C, but the GPU still gets above 80C. It starts to throttle around 85C so I need to keep that temperature down.

Here's the current fan flow:



The only fresh air source for the GPU is the natural draw from the lower rear of the case. It partially exhausts back into that space so it's not getting great fresh air. I've ordered a couple of 50mm fans that I can fit down low to intake fresh air for the GPU. I've also ordered a couple of higher capacity exhaust fans to replace what's currently on the front to get more hot air out of the case. Even a full tilt the current ones are a bit weak. Here's what I'll end up with:



165 fps in Fortnite is fun, and I also just picked up Half Life: Alyx to play with the Oculus. Got No Man's Sky for my son to play, it's a nice combination of open world, building, crafting, and combat that he's really enjoying.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Mar 23, 2023, 11:18 AM
 
All my fans came yesterday, but the fan power splitters did not show up. So I replaced the front two fans with the new higher flow fans, but I didn't install the new little inlet fans yet. Instant 10C temperature decrease at the GPU - max load is about 73C now and it doesn't get up to throttling temperatures.

Side note, the new fans are addressable RGB vs. the unaddressable old ones, so I had to share motherboard aRGB pins with the RGB strip lights for one of the fans. The system didn't like it and none of the lights on that channel turned on. I unhooked the strip lights and the fan came on. Weird because the other aRGB channel has the two CPU fans plus one case fan and it has no issues. I'll have to dig a bit deeper.
     
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Mar 23, 2023, 12:04 PM
 
Why did you choose airflow out the front? I've long figured that carries more fan noise towards the user, and preferred airflow out the back. Were you concerned with mimimal space between the rear case and the wall?
     
Laminar  (op)
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Mar 23, 2023, 01:17 PM
 
There's no place on this picture you can draw a 120mm square:


So there's no way to mount good exhaust fans to the rear of the chassis. I could run the front fans as inlet but I'm already running the CPU fans as inlet and all I think that would do is create even more hot, stagnant air in the case.
     
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Mar 23, 2023, 01:56 PM
 
Understandable. How is the noise from a user perspective? If it doesn't distract from gaming, then it's all good.
     
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Mar 23, 2023, 02:07 PM
 
I'm not technical at all at this level but have to ask: do you have pets? Won't that upward vent just be full o dust and pet hair soon? (or is it propelling air out at sufficient speeds to prevent that?)
     
Laminar  (op)
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Mar 23, 2023, 02:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Understandable. How is the noise from a user perspective? If it doesn't distract from gaming, then it's all good.
I can definitely hear it spool up. I've only done VR with it since upgrading the front fans, so I'm not sitting right next to it. We'll see how distracting it is in that scenario. I think the GPU fans are the loudest part of the whole thing, so if I can get those to calm down a bit it should be much quieter.

Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
I'm not technical at all at this level but have to ask: do you have pets? Won't that upward vent just be full o dust and pet hair soon? (or is it propelling air out at sufficient speeds to prevent that?)
I do have a pet, one that sheds a lot.

The black square on the bottom of the case is a magnetic filter that can be easily removed and brushed off. Right now I keep the case sitting up on that flimsy TV tray, though I'm looking at a cart or stand to keep it up off the carpet, which would probably be worst case for collecting hair and dust.. Putting the fans right at ear level isn't the best idea for keeping noise down.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Mar 27, 2023, 10:34 AM
 
Tuned the fan control a little bit. Because I can't control the fans based on GPU temperature, I have to infer from CPU temperature that the GPU temp might be high. I have a weird behavior where the CPU temp will spike 10+ degC for a single update cycle of the temperature display. I have my case fans configured to come in pretty aggressively once CPU temps start to rise, so at random points I'll get a short burst of jet-taking-off behavior then it quiets down. I moved the speed control up a bit so that the case fans don't really ramp in hard until 55+ degC so that the spikes from 35-45 don't affect it. Peak GPU temps remain below 78C.

Did a round of Fortnite and found the sound entirely unobtrusive. I still haven't installed the little rear inlet fans, waiting on the fan plug splitter so I can wire it in properly.
     
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Mar 27, 2023, 11:10 PM
 
That went from a cool idea to a clusterfuck of complexity that snowballed out of control.

I love it!

Definitely makes me nostalgic for my old quicksilver..... I wonder if I still have pics?

I'm still at a loss as to what to do next for my machine, still have a 5.1 maxxed out. Don't game, runs imovie and FCP okay, but it's days are getting increasingly numbered. No idea what to do for a tower next. Building my own PC would be neat but I am locked into OSX for a lot of reasons, which is why the 5.1 was so great. Boot into whatever I want, whenever.
     
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Mar 27, 2023, 11:12 PM
 
     
OreoCookie
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Mar 28, 2023, 03:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by MacNNFamous View Post
That went from a cool idea to a clusterfuck of complexity that snowballed out of control.
There is no need to be negative. It is not about the goal, but the journey: sometimes you do things not because they are the best way to do something, but simply because they are fun. Laminar could have used basically any plain vanilla gamer PC case for this build.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Mar 28, 2023, 09:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by MacNNFamous View Post
That went from a cool idea to a clusterfuck of complexity that snowballed out of control.
Totally - starting with a Quicksilver or older G4 that didn't need a rear panel swap would have made things way easier. Or going with a G5 case with more room for adequate cooling would have helped, too.

Played Minecraft on Ultra settings for a while last night (a TRUE test of gaming PC muscle) and it was silent the whole time.
     
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Mar 28, 2023, 04:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
There is no need to be negative. It is not about the goal, but the journey: sometimes you do things not because they are the best way to do something, but simply because they are fun. Laminar could have used basically any plain vanilla gamer PC case for this build.
I wasn't being negative. That was a compliment.

Only thing I'd suggest would be cutting the rear tin, not from hole to hole, but smoother next to the holes, so it didn't have a sawn off/ripped out of a notebook aesthetic. That said... it is on the backside so who cares.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Mar 28, 2023, 04:35 PM
 
Yeah, I think I made a rough cut to get the shape close but then never did a finish cut. That whole area is so thin and fragile now I'm afraid to hack at in any further for fear it will snap apart.
     
   
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