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Thread: Project: Blue on Black

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  1. #1
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    Project: Blue on Black

    I've decided that I need to upgrade my desktop computer. When you look at this highly customized piece of precision machinery, I'm sure you will be asking yourself, why? Why upgrade that?!? It's perfect, it just needs a little cleaning and it's as good as new.

    Here's the old Alienware. Eight years old, from the year 2002. I bet you just love that sweet side fan grill with the alien head!



    Inside the front panel, we see the nice 3.5" floppy drive and the DVD reader. Note the fingerprints in the ten years of dust. And the Intel Inside, Pentium 4 sticker.

    I even thought about putting my Iomega ZIP drive into this machine, but I didn't have the heart to ask my wife to give it back.



    The back panel ports could use some work, as I have accidentally damaged one of the USB ports. But hey, at least I upgraded the graphics card and now have DVI out!



    Now we get to what you are all dying to see... the inside of this beauty! Note the custom side mounted intake fan blowing directly on the gpu to keep it cool. Observe the flawless cabling with the neat and tidy cable ties. I know, you are jealous, it's OK.



    Here's a close-up view of the massive cpu heat sink and fan. I'm just glad it was able to clear the nearby components! That heat sink (with included fan!) is covering up a powerful Pentium 4 processor, the latest and greatest from Intel.

    You'll note that I've upgraded the memory to four sticks, for a full 1GB of desktop memory. It's so much snappier now. If your computer seems a bit sluggish, you might also want to think about upgrading to the full 1GB of memory.



    Now for the graphics card detail... it's a 4x AGP card, so you KNOW it's good. A blazing-fast Radeon 9600XT with a whopping 128MB of GDDR memory. Yep, I upgraded that myself when my old memory card blew out some graphics memory... a good modder isn't afraid to upgrade the parts of his rig, after all, even if it's something as complex as replacing the stock gpu with another gpu card.



    I bet you are asking yourself... what could possibly power this monstrosity?!? Well, let me tell you. Nothing other than a massive Chieftec power supply! With up to 315W of power, it's enough for any setup you could ever want. Get one of these babies and you'll never have to buy another power supply again!



    But how to interface with this beauty? Why not a timeless classic that never goes out of style. I give you.. the IBM PS/2 Keyboard! I've also done a few "custom mods" here as well. I've removed, via the "rip out" method, the pesky windows keys that can tab you out of Starcraft when you're doing nothing more than trying to make a dozen zerglings into a control group by hitting CTRL-1. Your days of accidentally tabbing out of a game when you bump the windows key are over with this highly customized keyboard interface!!



    Now I know you are asking yourself, where's the display? I've actually upgraded the display a few times... from a 15 inch CRT to a 17 inch CRT to a massive 22 inch CRT! But I didn't stop there, oh no! I went all the way and upgraded the 22 inch CRT to a 20 inch flat panel monitor, the Samsung SyncMaster 204B.



    Hmmm... guess I might need to clean the screen a bit...

    I hear you. It's just dusty and needs a cleaning and it'll be as good as new. Why build another computer yourself when you've already got THIS BEAUTY?!?

    Well I'll tell you why. Because I'm an xtreme modder, and that's what we modders do. We build stuff. We're not ever happy with "good enough", we're always pushing the envelope, whether it's by customizing a boutique computer, like my Alienware, or building something special from scratch, like I'm doing with this build log.

    That's just how I roll.

    -Bolas
    Last edited by Bolas; 04-28-2012 at 11:39 PM.

  2. #2
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    So I started ordering parts, with the initial order of three NEC LCD3090WQXi monitors on January 25, 2010. I ordered refurbished monitors when they didn't have any in stock, so I had some waiting to do. I went away on a business trip on March 22nd. While I was gone, my wonderful wife sent me a photo that there was something in our garage.



    Hmm.. what could that be? Looks like it might be... the monitors?!?



    Time to buy a cpu then. While I was at Microcenter in Milwaukee, WS, I spent way too much on a Core i7 980X. Guess I should have bought a 930 instead, for 1/5 the price. Oh well, I wanted some luxury comparable to my Alienware, so skimping on components wasn't going to do that.



    When I got back home on March 25th, I was too tired to do anything but look at the boxes and wonder how I was going to move them out of the way of my car.

    The next day, March 26th, I unwrapped the plastic and my wife helped me move them into the house. I had planned on sticking the boxes under my desk until I needed them. I guess that's a no-go.



    Comparing the boxes to the desk, I was now worried if the contents would even FIT on my desk.



    So we un-boxed one to check. It seemed to fit OK on the desk.



    Lesson learned here -- the little lever on the back of the monitor is not to allow the monitor to pivot -- it's to remove the monitor from the stand. I almost had the monitor fall off the stand, crash, and break. But I saw what was happening and managed to get it back onto the base in time. I tested out the pivot, swivel, tilt, and height adjust features. FANTASTIC! Love this monitor, and I haven't even powered it on yet.

    The next lesson to be learned is that empty monitor boxes are toddler property. Here's my wife supervising my daughter's play in the empty monitor box.



    Ok, done playing in the box daddy!



    March 27th saw the hard disk drive show up. I was surprised, I wasn't expecting it yet.



    Well, with the monitors, cpu, and hard drive stacking up on my desk, I was starting to get a bit anxious to power them up.



    Then on March 28th, another box showed up. This one had the power supply, the Blu-Ray burner, and the free promo blank Blu-Ray disk.



    March 29th brought another shipment, this time with a solid state drive and an operating system.



    On March 30th, I got the computer case.





    Hmm.. still missing a few things.

    On April 1st, I got the memory.



    I couldn't resist, I had to open them up and take a look.



    Beautiful RAM sticks! Now if the motherboard and the graphics card shows up tomorrow, I can try them out.
    Last edited by Bolas; 04-02-2010 at 03:25 PM.

  3. #3
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    Just read the first post, but man this is going to be epic. You just made my afternoon!
    Jadawgis's Golem

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  4. #4
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    Here's my ongoing photo album on photobucket.

    http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v4...%20on%20Black/

  5. #5
    Xtreme Member The Shooter's Avatar
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    Cant go wrong with chieftec cases. Nice hardware you got there!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Shooter View Post
    Cant go wrong with chieftec cases. Nice hardware you got there!
    Actually, it's a Chieftec power supply. Not sure who makes the case -- whoever Alienware hired, I suppose.

  7. #7
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    Wow this project looks set onto a winner, just look at all that hardware!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by m_jones_ View Post
    Wow this project looks set onto a winner, just look at all that hardware!
    That's only about half the hardware... I'm still waiting on the cable sleeving supplies and the water cooling supplies.

  9. #9
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    On April 2nd, I got another shipment with the graphics card.



    So now all I need to power up the basic system, with stock air cooling, is the motherboard. But where is the motherboard? Hmm... I bought it the same time as the graphics card. It shipped the same time as the graphics card and with the same delivery speed and company. It showed a due date of April 2nd. So what happened?

    Checking the tracking number shows...

    Ship date 03/30/2010 00:03:13
    Estimated delivery
    Destination LINCOLN, NE, US
    Service type GROUND
    Weight 9.00 LBS
    Status In Transit
    Date/Time Activity Location Details
    03/30/2010 14:29:00 MERCHANDISE RETURNED BECAUSE A DELIVERY LABEL IS MISSING. PLEASE ADD A LABEL AND RESHIP THE PACKAGE. / RETURNED TO SHIPPER[X] MEMPHIS, TN, US
    03/30/2010 00:03:13 BILLING INFORMATION RECEIVED[M]

    Oh no! NewEgg didn't label it properly, it was returned to sender!

    Time to get on chat with NewEgg and figure out what I have to do to get a motherboard. Sigh.

  10. #10
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    Well, NewEgg was acting like I received the package. There were two packages in the shipment though, the memory (1 lb., received it) and the motherboard (9 lb., didn't receive). I pointed out that the UPS web site shows that the package was returned to them. They're going to open a claim and it'll take 3 to 5 days for them to process the claim, after which time they will ship it to me overnight. Gotta love random delays that are out of your control.

  11. #11
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    On the bright side, it's likely that my sleeving, water cooling hardware, thermal interface material, and motherboard will now all arrive at the same time.

    Bummer that I still can't power up my monitor.

    The really funny part? My hard drive has a 5 day warranty for DOA's from the seller. I'm supposed to test it immediately, but I don't really want to plunk it into my old computer and see if it can read it or not -- that would probably only mess up both the drive and the computer. I'll just wait, and if it doesn't work, I'll take it up with the seller at that time.

  12. #12
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    Parts list (so far):

    3 NEC MultiSync LCD3090WQXi 29.8" monitor, 2560 x 1600 resolution, refurbished
    1 Intel Core i7 980X Extreme Edition 3.33 GHz Gulftown six-core 32nm cpu, lot 303A957
    1 SILVERSTONE ST1500 1500W ATX 12V 2.3 & EPS 12V SLI Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Active PFC Power Supply
    1 Pioneer Black 12X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 8X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA Internal Blu-ray Burner Blu-ray Disc/DVD/CD Writer Model BDR-205BKS - OEM
    1 Western Digital WD1002FAEX Caviar Black 1TB Serial ATA/600 Internal Hard Drive
    1 Intel X25-M MLC 160GB SATA 2.5" Internal Solid State Drive G2R5
    1 Obsidian 800D Chassis - Full-tower - 11 Bays - Black
    1 Windows 7 Professional - 64-bit - License and Media - OEM - 1 PC - PC - English
    1 Optical Quantum 25GB 4X BD-R Single Slim Case Logo Top Disc Model OQBDR04LTS
    1 Accell B087B-003J Ultraav Minidp/DVI-D DL Adapter
    12 GB Memory (2GB x 6) CORSAIR Dominator 1600MHz DDR3 8-8-8-24 CMD12GX3M6A1600C8
    1 Sapphire Radeon HD 5970 100280SR HD5970 RT
    CPU THERMPASTE|AS5-3.5G % - OEM
    CPU CLEAN|ARCTIC CLEAN ACN-60ML % - OEM
    1 GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD7 1366 R motherboard
    1 MDPC Tubing-Sleeve-Pack SL-TSP-BK
    1 MDPC Sleeve-Kit SL-K1-BK
    1 Pin-Remover by MOLEX - The Original PR-MOLEX
    1 Sleeve SMALL - AQUAMARINE-BLUE SL-S-AQ
    1 Sleeve SMALL - GRAND BLEU SL-S-DB
    1 Sleeve SATA - GRAND BLEU SL-SA-DB
    1 Swiftech MCR320-QP Quiet MCR-320 Choose your fittings = No Fittings, Power 3X120mm - Black
    1 KwikCut SS100 Stainless T100-OSS Steel Tube Cutter - Orange
    14 Bitspower 3/8in. BP-CPF-CC3 Compression Fittings for 5/8in. OD Tubing
    4 Bitspower Shining Silver BP-45R2D DUAL Rotary 45 G 1/4 Threads # BP-45R2D
    2 Logisys Dual UV 12 in. CLK12UV2 CCFL Light Kit
    1 x Case Arts UV Shakeproof Washer for Power Supply - UV Blue (WASHERPSU-UVB)
    2 x Bitspower UV Reactive O-rings for Fittings - UV Blue (BP-WTP-O10-UVBL)
    1 x XSPC Dual 5.25" Bay Reservoir for Single Laing DDC (DDCBAYONE)
    1 x Bitspower Laing DDC Series Pump Replacement O-Ring (DDC Series /Alphacool/ MCP350/355) - UV Blue (BP-WTP-ODDC-UVBL)
    1 x EK-FB KIT GA X58 (UD7) Full Board NB/SB Water Block - Nickel (EK-FB GA-X58A-UD7-NK) Fitting Size 3/8" Barb for 3/8" ID tube
    1 x Koolance Dual Ultra Bright LED Cable - 3mm, 4-pin - Blue (CBL-L4PBU)
    15 feet PrimoFlex Pro LRT UV Blue Tubing -3/8in. ID X 5/8in. OD (PFLEXP-58-B) = $30.00
    1 x EK-FC5970 - AMD/ATI Radeon HD 5970 Series Reference Design - Nickel (EK-FC5970 - Nickel)
    1 x EK-Supreme HF High Flow - Highest Performance CPU Water Block - Nickel (EK-Supreme-HF-NK)
    1 x Danger Den/Laing DDC 3.25 -12V 18 Watt Version (DD-DDC325)
    1 x Swiftech Radiator - MCR120 Quiet Power Series 120mm Heat Exchanger - Black (MCR120-QP-K)
    4 x Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilentFan XL2 120mmx25mm Ultra Quiet Fan-1500 RPM-21 dBA - Sleeved (XL2)
    1 x Dual LED - Pre-wired with Connector - 5mm - UV (BP-PW-LED5-DUAL-UV) = $3.99
    2 x Alphacool EuroLub Premium Distilled Water - 1000ml (17313)
    4 x UV Shakeproof Washer for 120mm Case Fan - UV Blue (WASHER120-UVB)
    10 x Zip Tie Mount, 0.75 in X 0.75 in - Black (TIE-MOUNT-75)
    1 x Filling Syringe (SYRINGE)
    1 x Heavy Duty Zip Ties 4" (ZIPTIE-4) Zip Tie Color Black, qty 20
    1 x Auzen X-Fi Forte 7.1 PCI-E Sound Card
    1 x Audio-Technica ATH-A9000 Headphones
    Last edited by Bolas; 04-20-2010 at 07:43 PM.

  13. #13
    Xtreme Guru millertime359's Avatar
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    Loving the build log so far bud.

    Hope you get that MB soon. Might need a bigger desk though. It looking a little tiny with those monitors.
    Project Millertime: The Core I5 build

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by millertime359 View Post
    Loving the build log so far bud.

    Hope you get that MB soon. Might need a bigger desk though. It looking a little tiny with those monitors.
    The desk size is the reason that I didn't go with 6-way Eyefinity and a 4GB Radeon HD 5970 gpu.

    I will put the computer on the back ledge and the monitors across the front. It will definitely be a tight fit. It'll be nice to have the computer off the floor and away from the toddler though -- show off the goods without worrying so much about random issues caused by cheerios getting caught in the water blocks.

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    I suspect I'm in for some "pixel shock" with the new setup. Going from 1600 x 1200 display to 4800 x 2560 might take some getting used to -- three times wider and over twice as tall.

  16. #16
    Xtreme Member H2O's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bolas View Post
    I suspect I'm in for some "pixel shock" with the new setup. Going from 1600 x 1200 display to 4800 x 2560 might take some getting used to -- three times wider and over twice as tall.
    Gotta love it! I experienced the same thing going from 1024x768 to 1680x1050 and then to 3360x1050. It is a great feeling!

    Great log so far!
    Regards,
    Chris



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    sub'd

    Is that the acrylic or delrin top on the EK ud7 block?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wezly View Post
    sub'd

    Is that the acrylic or delrin top on the EK ud7 block?
    i would like to know too, i sow that there is a little problem with the 8 pin connector.?

    sweet rig.. good luck!


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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by arkadur View Post
    i would like to know too, i sow that there is a little problem with the 8 pin connector.?

    sweet rig.. good luck!
    I'm pretty sure it's the one that you can see through. Not sure what it is exactly, it's whatever performance-pcs.com had in stock at the time I ordered. I only saw one water block option for EK there, perhaps I should have researched it more.

  20. #20
    Moderator shazza's Avatar
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    Very nice, Bolas. I believe the early Alienware cases were designed by Chieftec. This should be a nice upgrade for you. Love the shot of your daughter in the monitor box!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by shazza View Post
    Very nice, Bolas. I believe the early Alienware cases were designed by Chieftec. This should be a nice upgrade for you. Love the shot of your daughter in the monitor box!
    I realized that you are right, that's probably the case. I thought for a while and remembered that a lot of cases were "case including power supply" and thus, if the included power supply is Chieftec, then the case probably is Chieftec as well. Big duh for me, you are most likely correct. I hadn't heard of Chieftec before opening up the case, LOL.

  22. #22
    Registered User Red-5's Avatar
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    Wow! That's an impressive list of hardware you have there, especially the 980X extreme edition chip. It's certainly going to be a fast and powerful machine with that at it's heart. I'm also extremely jealous. Would love that processor but very expensive. Really looking forward to following your build.

  23. #23
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    Enjoyiing your build as well as your commentary, Bolas!
    Dig the parts (IBM PS/2 owns!)

    and this gave me a good hearty chuckle:
    Quote Originally Posted by Bolas View Post
    ...when you're doing nothing more than trying to make a dozen zerglings into a control group by hitting CTRL-1.
    Memories. *Misty water-colored memoires...*

    If I may make a suggestion...
    Keep buying bigger things that come in huge cardboard boxes. You can build your daughter a cardboard city to play in.
    She'll eventually outgrow those expensive Fisher-Price ones at Toy 'r Us anyway and cardboards are free to boot.

    Looking forward to more!
    Last edited by CptDreadFlint; 04-06-2010 at 02:25 AM. Reason: It really needed it.


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  24. #24
    Xtreme Enthusiast aka_GK's Avatar
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    gosh, that's gonna be crazy
    3x30" dispays, stunning

    subd and waiting for moar
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  25. #25
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    April 3rd, the thermal paste (Bird Poop) shows up.



    April 4th was a Sunday, so no deliveries.

    April 5th, no deliveries. WHAT?!? My streak of a new box to open every delivery day is broken!! I contact NewEgg immediately via their "live chat" feature. They again explain to me that it takes many business days to process a claim. I explain to them that it should take no more than 30 minutes and I copy and paste the proof of delivery that my motherboard was shipped back to Newegg. They promise to investigate and expedite it and they ask me to be patient.

    April 6th, I check on the NewEgg site... what's this?!? A new shipment for cost $0.00.... a motherboard! They have approved the claim and they are shipping it out by UPS next day saver. It is now showing as "shipped", but of course there is no tracking number... so I'm not quite sure when it will actually show up. However, NewEgg is back in my good graces again.

    Also on April 6th, a UPS package does show up late in the day, just before I get home. It's some new water cooling equipment from Sidewinder computers. Nice stuff! A triple radiator, a tubing cutter (yeah I know I could have just used scissors, but hey, the handles were orange... ORANGE!! How could I not buy them?), a pair of Logisys double CFL UV lights with inverters, and some gorgeous Bitspower fittings.



    I have to say... the first thing I immediately thought when I saw the fittings... and this is really what I thought... "I have to get them in Black also, so that I can change colors back and forth!". I guess I'm a sucker for lovely hardware.



    I'm not quite sure exactly what other fittings I will need, but these should be a nice start at least.

    It's starting to get to be a pretty nice pile.



    I'm expecting two or three more boxes tomorrow. One or two boxes from Performance-PCs and hopefully my motherboard from NewEgg.

    And if fate is especially kind to me, the shipment of sleeving from MDPC-X will show up this week. It shipped out on Wednesday, March 31st, so I shouldn't really be expecting it before April 15th, due to transit time and time to travel through customs from Europe to Nebraska USA. But I can still hope... I might be able to power it up before the sleeving gets here... but the bulk of the work to be done on this build is the precision sleeving, so I really want the sleeve!

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