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Thread: Project: Spork

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    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    Cool Project: Spork

    Project: Spork aka the bargin-bucket-build

    I've made a couple of post on this already
    http://forums.hexus.net/chassis-syst...od-advice.html
    http://forums.hexus.net/hexus-hardwa...ild-200-a.html
    So here's a condensed version, a friend of mine wanted a new pc he asked me if I'd help him spec one (dell or simular) so I offered to help him build one instead.
    Unfortunately the recession has hit and the original budget is gone and what the new one will be is still up in the air.
    However it's going to be low, so wave bye bye to the nice high end cases.

    Now he did say and was looking at an alienware system because he likes the case and I found a el-cheapo alienware look-a-like on ebuyer for £20
    So while I'm still waiting to hear back from him on final totals I said to heck with it I'll buy the case and mod it, it can be a birthday pressent

    Well it arrived today and here it is (please excuse any panel gaps, my doing as I'd taken all the screws out already )
    I've thumbnailed all pics to keep the size sane


    Inital impression, black and shiny!

    There were no instructions in the box, how much do you need for a case?*see below
    What I did spy was a small box tied inside (opps! no pic's of this box but you all know what a small cardboard box looks like?)
    So I tried to open the case to get at it, two things struck me at once

    yep one of the cheap plastice thumb screws is missing a chunk, no biggy as I'd replace them with decent metal ones anyway
    Also the corner of the side panel wasn't in correctly
    *Now in attempting to get the side panel off I did find some instructions would be of been handy.
    Because it took me a while to figure out you have to unscrew the plastic side bits, there's 3 screws on the side and a fourth at the front (which you can see in the first pic and took me a while to find)
    Once I had the side panel off I found the reason it wasn't on correctly

    Yep a rivet is not in correctly and the frame has been bent slightly I assume when they tried to put the case panel on, great quality control there

    I also found this

    While the panels are thin steel (as expected from an El-Cheapo case) I wasn't expecting the insides to be painted too, a nice surprise the top panel is also black on the inside too.
    The top plastic detail and front panel are also screwed on, which was nice as I was expecting easy to damage plastic clips.

    And here she is stripped down


    Nice to see the front bays are not covered by "snap" out plates but unfortunately the rear IO plate and card slots are.
    I don't like "snap" out plates much as they never snap out correctly, then tend to be more "twist, bend and rip" out plates, even on more expensive cases with thicker steel.
    The resault of removeing them tends to be a few sharp jagged points to catch unwary hands and worst situation distorting the drive bay frame.

    Also you may of noticed from the pics as I did from the case that most of the edges are rolled and the ones that aren't don't feel anyware as near as sharp as I expected.

    However on closer inspection

    Not all the rolling is well executed

    And most of the tapped screw holes have nasty burrs

    Inspecting the plastic parts I found that they are not painted on the inside and are Beige, good job they are painted shiny black where it matters.
    The plastic it self is fairly ridged, not massively thick but hard.
    I also found someone had been a bit over enthusiastic with the old glue gun when putting in the case LEDs


    Inside the cardboard box which was tied inside the case I found the normal bag of screws and 4 of the most ugly case feet it's been my displeasure to see


    The case has places for 1x 120mm rear fan (it came with an 80mm fna looking very lost and out of place behind that big grill) and 2x 80mm fans at the front, led to glow out of the open front.

    As cheap cases go it's not that bad, a reasonable size for a mid tower, looks very nice from the outside and better internal edges than I was expecting.
    The weakpoints are the thin steel and plastic with large gaps behind it make the whole thing very hollow sounding, worse still are the bad lapses in quality control that let the duff rivet and glued up power switch connector get past.

    My next stage my be a while, as now I've got the case I can take a good look at what is possible in the way of modding it to improve the air flow and overall looks/feel.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    Re: Project: Spork

    First update: Still planing and plotting

    I'm kicking about ideas on how to mod this case, two main ideas so far
    1 - Lower the psu
    This will involve removing the back panel cutting it up and some how putting it back together again.
    All without weakening a none to sturdy case frame, as the back panel forms part of the frame of the case.
    The reason for this is so I can stick some nice 120mm/140mm/180mm fans in the top to really improve the cooling.
    2 - Positive pressure design
    As this case has very little in the way of air vents (ie holes to let air in and out)
    I'm considering turning it into a down to up positive pressure design, like the old xclio windtunnel
    this would involve cutting some fan holes in the bottom of the case, and some holes in the top which I back with metal mesh.
    Air gets sucked in from under the case and pushed out of the top, will need to come up with some form eaisly removeable of dust filters.


    The first of my fleabay purchases turned up today (yes I got sick of seeing bargins slip through my fingures while still waiting on my friend to contact me )

    For the grand total of £20.40p (inc p&p) I got myself this

    Unused and complete, it even has the front 3.5" bay fan controller with led speed readout

    Only a 92mm based fan, wonder if I can work out a way to mount a 120mm?


    And that base is just calling out for a spot of lapping


    EDIT: Arrrgh just realised I missed a Coolermaster 700w modular psu for 99p +£10 p&p yesterday

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    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Re: Project: Spork

    Ambitious. Let's see if I can help out with some ideas.

    As always the best place to look is Overclockers B grade.

    This might be worth considering, althrough it does limit your motherboard options, and you might be able to find faster for cheaper. Althrough a quick search found this motherboard.

    Then there is this graphics card, but again, you might find better for cheaper.

    Not sure if this helps, but good lucky, and keep the posts coming!
    Desktop (Cy): Intel Core i7 920 D0 @ 3.6GHz, Prolimatech Megahalems, Gigabyte X58-UD5, Patriot Viper DDR3 6GiB @ 1440MHz 7-7-7-20 2T, EVGA NVIDIA GTX 295 Co-Op, Asus Xonar D2X, Hauppauge WinTV Nova TD-500, 2x WD Caviar Black 1TB in RAID 0, 4x Samsung EcoDrive 1.5TB F2s in RAID 5, Corsair HX 750W PSU, Coolermaster RC-1100 Cosmos Sport (Custom), 4x Noctua P12s, 6x Noctua S12Bs, Sony Optiarc DVD+/-RW, Windows 7 Professional Edition, Dell 2408WFP, Mirai 22" HDTV

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spock
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  4. Received thanks from:

    Pob255 (07-08-2009)

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    Re: Project: Spork

    Thoes are not too bad, however fleabay 2nd hand can beat it, although it requires a lot of hunting and careful bidding (just don't look at "buy it now" only unless you fancy being ripped off at least as far as pc bits are concerned)
    I won a AM2 Athlon 64 X2 5600+ for £32 and from Novatech returns a Asus M3A78-T 790GX motherboard for £44
    www.novatech.co.uk sell all there Grade B stuff on fleabay http://stores.shop.ebay.co.uk/Novate...__W0QQ_armrsZ1

    Back to todays update, which is slightly delayed because of a power cut spent the last 7-8 hours without any power due to a fault in the mains.
    it must of been the cables because we have workmen in the street turning it into swiss cheese trying to sort it out.
    All told it ment I couldn't get as much done as I wanted to however I don't have much in the way of power tools so I could get on with some stuff.
    To start with I'm moveing back towards my original idea of a lower PSU mod, so I got out my hand drill and attacked the rivets holding the back and motherboard tray on.
    Once I had the back off it gave me a very good idea of how weak and flimisy the case is, answer, very.
    So I poped down to a local builders supply shop that specialises in metal and bought a single 4 meter length of 1/2" by 1/2" by 1/16" thick Aluminium angle section
    Don't you just love UK building for useing both imperial and metric at the same time

    Here's a section being worked on, with some of my vast array of tools.

    Welcome to my trusty workshop (the balcony) and my trusty workbench (a chair and a bit of old chipboard)
    Yes that's how budget this build is.

    Because the back forms part of the frame of the case my idea is to make up a frame with the aluminium, then drill holes into it to rivet the back onto the aluminium frame

    If you look carfully you can see I've marked the sections of the back that will have to be cut off to refit it.
    I had two minor disasters duering this, one I snaped off the tip of a drill bit and I don't have a 2nd bit of that size
    the second was to temporarily fit the frame I used screws, I was planning to borrow a tapping bit from work but couldn't find it and as I'm now on holiday . . .
    Luckly I had a self-tapping screw of the correct size so I used that to tap the holes, only to snap the end of the screw off when tapping the last hole
    I tried and failed to get the broken end out, so I had to recut, file and drill a whole new length, but as I've got 4m of this aluminium and I calculated I'd need only 1.5m it's not a major worry.

    Not much more will be happening for a week while I wait on stuff to arrive, so may be a time before more updates.

    Pob's new mod, Soviet Pob Propaganda style Laptop.
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    Re: Project: Spork

    Whoops sorry ( Didnt mean to click thanks)
    Quote Originally Posted by snootyjim View Post

    with 29 minutes to go the watford dude saved the day!


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    Re: Project: Spork

    Quote Originally Posted by watforddude View Post
    Whoops sorry ( Didnt mean to click thanks)
    Don't be sorry! lol
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    Re: Project: Spork

    wow, this is looking really good. Cant wait to see the end product (but dont rush it tho)

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    Pob255 (07-08-2009)

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    Re: Project: Spork

    Lookin good so far mate, are you planning to cut out holes on that front grill and fit a number of fans? Oh and btw i feel your pain with those feet, my dad has a case out of this range, i didnt even kno what they things were until about a month later, their ridiculous.

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    Re: Project: Spork

    Quote Originally Posted by madmanjj View Post
    Lookin good so far mate, are you planning to cut out holes on that front grill and fit a number of fans? Oh and btw i feel your pain with those feet, my dad has a case out of this range, i didnt even kno what they things were until about a month later, their ridiculous.
    Yep I fully agree, but it's ok as I have no plan on using them in any way, what I do have is 4 nice rubber case feet from my Sharkoon case sliencing kit which I plan to use.

    On cooling and fans what I'm planning to do after lowering the PSU is to stick a fan in the top, ether a single 180mm (if I can find one) or 2 x 120mm
    I'll then fit ether a 120mm LED or maybe another 180mm fan in the front


    Another mini-update

    While trying to figure out what 4xxx series ati card is comparable to the 3870 I caught the Generic14 virus off a pop up advert on a review website (I'll try to figure out which website it was)
    it's taken me over 4hours to get it all cleaned off my pc
    I missed an auction but as it was for a 8800gt that went over £50 I'm not that put off.

    So while the virus and anti spyware scans were running I decided to lap the Asus cooler.
    Sorry I forgot to take pic's at each stage, I used 400 grit, then 800 grit and 1200 grit, all taped to a mirror.
    As a test I used a bit of wd40 with another strip of 1200grit, it worked quite well.
    Then after cleaning it off with rubbing alcohol I finished it of with a buffing pad.

    Before


    after

    a good finish if I do say so myself.
    Last edited by Pob255; 26-07-2009 at 08:09 PM.

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    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Re: Project: Spork

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    a good finish if I do say so myself.
    Too quote my friend when he lapped his TRUE and was told:

    You only need to make it flat, not shiny.
    He replied.

    I just spend six hours maxing it flat, I might as well spend another hour making it shiny.
    Desktop (Cy): Intel Core i7 920 D0 @ 3.6GHz, Prolimatech Megahalems, Gigabyte X58-UD5, Patriot Viper DDR3 6GiB @ 1440MHz 7-7-7-20 2T, EVGA NVIDIA GTX 295 Co-Op, Asus Xonar D2X, Hauppauge WinTV Nova TD-500, 2x WD Caviar Black 1TB in RAID 0, 4x Samsung EcoDrive 1.5TB F2s in RAID 5, Corsair HX 750W PSU, Coolermaster RC-1100 Cosmos Sport (Custom), 4x Noctua P12s, 6x Noctua S12Bs, Sony Optiarc DVD+/-RW, Windows 7 Professional Edition, Dell 2408WFP, Mirai 22" HDTV

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  16. #11
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    Re: Project: Spork

    Todays Update: the keyboard
    some pic's I've just reduced to smaller size and not thumb nailed, the very small pics are thumb nails, just click on them for full size.

    Another work donated item an old Logitech Internet keyboard model Y-ST39

    One of the small computer rooms was rather tight on space so these were replaced with mini-keyboards
    It's a good 5 years old and has a good 5 years of crud on it


    puts on Berk voice "Oh globbits! will you look at that Scunge!"

    for thoes who don't know what I'm on about The TrapDoor probably one of the greatest kid's tv shows you can get the whole 2 series on DVD.
    Why are you still here? go and buy it then come back!



    Now my plan here is to clean it, prep the outer frame and paint it black.

    Time to clean a keyboard and here are some of the tools which shall be used

    yep real advanced stuff,

    After takeing out the screws out of the back and opening it up, I found a slight problem

    While the wire into the pcb looks like it's an easy to remove connection it actually seems to be soldered in.
    I tried to lift up the tabs of the connector to get the wires out, like you would on a motherboard or fan connector but it's no good
    Unscrewing the PCB does remove it from the top half of the keyboard, however the wire with PS2 plug on one end and pcb on the other end cannot be seperated from the lower half.
    I'll just have to be careful when I wash and paint it, so I kept removeing screws to get the rubber domed layer and the acetate conductive layes out.

    into the sink with the top half a quick scrub with hot water and washing up liquid and it's Scunge free

    Some of the keys seem to still be discoloured and there's still Scunge under them, so lets get the keys out.
    Very simple to do with the keyboard in bits, just flip it over and pop them out by pressing on the back of each key connector.


    Then I went over everthing with a tooth brush (an old or cheap tooth brush is a very handy tool, just don't use it to clean your teeth after )

    I also gave the rubber domed layer a quick wash (don't scrub this you may damage it)
    Now waiting for it to dry off before preping and painting it.

    One Issue is the keys, I thought the yellowing was just filth and hand grease, but it seems some of the keys are stained/disscoloured, not sure what to do about that.
    I cannot paint them as I'd paint over the markings so I may look into dyeing them somehow, ether red or purple or blue depends on what colours I go for with this pc
    Last edited by Pob255; 27-07-2009 at 03:57 PM.

    Pob's new mod, Soviet Pob Propaganda style Laptop.
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    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Re: Project: Spork

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    I cannot paint them as I'd paint over the markings so I may look into dyeing them somehow, ether red or purple or blue depends on what colours I go for with this pc
    Dude you're not thinking cool enough. I have the following idea:

    1. Cover up the PCB with something like a plastic bag and secure it. Make sure it has an airtight seal.
    2. Now, spray paint the enter keyboard, and keys, white matte.
    3. Once you have done this, use some tape to form the various keyboard symbols and then paste them onto the relevent keys.
    4. Paint the keyboard, using idecesent paint if you can afford it, the relevent colour.
    5. Remove the tape from all they keys.
    6. Post pics and gloat about how frelling cool it looks.
    Desktop (Cy): Intel Core i7 920 D0 @ 3.6GHz, Prolimatech Megahalems, Gigabyte X58-UD5, Patriot Viper DDR3 6GiB @ 1440MHz 7-7-7-20 2T, EVGA NVIDIA GTX 295 Co-Op, Asus Xonar D2X, Hauppauge WinTV Nova TD-500, 2x WD Caviar Black 1TB in RAID 0, 4x Samsung EcoDrive 1.5TB F2s in RAID 5, Corsair HX 750W PSU, Coolermaster RC-1100 Cosmos Sport (Custom), 4x Noctua P12s, 6x Noctua S12Bs, Sony Optiarc DVD+/-RW, Windows 7 Professional Edition, Dell 2408WFP, Mirai 22" HDTV

    MacBook Pro (Voyager): Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.6GHz, 4GiB DDR2 RAM, 200GB 7200RPM HDD, NVIDIA 8600GTM 512MB, SuperDrive, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, 15.4" Matte Display

    HTPC (Delta-Flyer): Intel Core 2 Q8200 @ 2.33GHz, Zotec GeForce 9300-ITX, 2GiB of DDR2 Corsair XMS2 RAM, KWorld PE355-2T, Samsung EcoDrive F2 1.5TB, In-Win BP655, Noctua NF-R8, LiteOn BluRay ROM Drive, Windows 7 Home Premium, 42" Sony 1080p Television

    i7 (Bloomfield) Overclocking Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Spock
    I am not our father.

  18. Received thanks from:

    OilSheikh (18-09-2009)

  19. #13
    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    • Pob255's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus M5A99X EVO
      • CPU:
      • PhenomII x4 955 & CM Hyper 212+
      • Memory:
      • 2x 4gb Corsair Vengence 1600mhz cas9
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      • 250gb SATA Westerndigital + 500gb samsung +1tb Samsung
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      • W7 Pro
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      • Acer P223w 22" TFT DVI

    Re: Project: Spork

    Intresting idea, it'll be a bit of very fiddly work makeing masks for every key, but possible, I'll think about it.
    I was thinking along the same lines in that I bagged up the pcb and plug, before spraying the frame black.


    Yep you've guessed it,


    Todays update Part 2: Stage 1 Keyboard painting

    My weapons of choise (because I happen to have them)

    One cheap air compressor, air brush and a pot of high quality matte black acrylic artist paint.
    This paint is left over from my last mod, I bought way too much, so it's going to use.
    Artist acrylic is not the most hardy of paint, esp for something that gets as handled as much as a keyboard, so I may have to buy some varnish to seal it.
    However it is very easy to use and clean up (before it dries) and is touch dry in 10min or less

    I do have a decent filter mask some place, however I cannot find it (think it's in storage around my parents house) so I'm just using a basic dust mask.
    Not the best of things, but I'm not doing a whole lot of air brushing and it's all outside.

    This is also a test of this air brush and compressor, which I also picked up cheap on Fleabay but for another reason, being able to use it for this project is just a happy coincidence.

    To start with I did a light sand to half the base of the keyboard to test the finish.
    I watered down the acrylic about 3 parts paint to 2 parts water, here is the resault of two thin coats.

    I't worked very well both the paint, on the both sanded and unsanded sections and the air brush has proved very good
    Granted a spray can of paint or a spray gun may be better than an airbrush for such large areas but this is total budget and every little thing will add to the end costs.

    So next I decided to with the top half of the keyboard frame a go.
    Again after two thin coats

    If you look carefully you can see the cotton I've used to hang this up, not a good solution, it's a bit windy and the force of the air brush caused it to spin.
    I really should of thought about that, but using one hand to steady it from behind it worked and my hand only got a bit of black on it.

    You may of noticed a couple of other things, the paint around the numberpad area (at the top of the pic) is a little uneven.
    I got too close when trying to get in around it and ended up with a couple of thick uneven buildup's of paint on the out side. I'll have have to lightly sand it and go over it again.

    The other bad area is around the extra buttons across the top.
    I was going to mask them, but my masking fluid has dried up solid (shows when I last did air brushing work)
    So I tried to mask them off with some vaseline, it looks like it worked very well, unfortunately I seem to have got some on the frame around the buttons as well (another clean and touch up there)

    EDIT: Has anyone had any issues with the thumbnails? for some reason some times one or two have not shown up in a post and I've had to refresh the page before they do.

    Pob's new mod, Soviet Pob Propaganda style Laptop.
    "Are you suggesting that I can't punch an entire dimension into submission?" - Flying squirrel - The Red Panda Adventures

  20. #14
    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Re: Project: Spork

    Looks like a good start.
    Desktop (Cy): Intel Core i7 920 D0 @ 3.6GHz, Prolimatech Megahalems, Gigabyte X58-UD5, Patriot Viper DDR3 6GiB @ 1440MHz 7-7-7-20 2T, EVGA NVIDIA GTX 295 Co-Op, Asus Xonar D2X, Hauppauge WinTV Nova TD-500, 2x WD Caviar Black 1TB in RAID 0, 4x Samsung EcoDrive 1.5TB F2s in RAID 5, Corsair HX 750W PSU, Coolermaster RC-1100 Cosmos Sport (Custom), 4x Noctua P12s, 6x Noctua S12Bs, Sony Optiarc DVD+/-RW, Windows 7 Professional Edition, Dell 2408WFP, Mirai 22" HDTV

    MacBook Pro (Voyager): Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.6GHz, 4GiB DDR2 RAM, 200GB 7200RPM HDD, NVIDIA 8600GTM 512MB, SuperDrive, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, 15.4" Matte Display

    HTPC (Delta-Flyer): Intel Core 2 Q8200 @ 2.33GHz, Zotec GeForce 9300-ITX, 2GiB of DDR2 Corsair XMS2 RAM, KWorld PE355-2T, Samsung EcoDrive F2 1.5TB, In-Win BP655, Noctua NF-R8, LiteOn BluRay ROM Drive, Windows 7 Home Premium, 42" Sony 1080p Television

    i7 (Bloomfield) Overclocking Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Spock
    I am not our father.

  21. #15
    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    • Pob255's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus M5A99X EVO
      • CPU:
      • PhenomII x4 955 & CM Hyper 212+
      • Memory:
      • 2x 4gb Corsair Vengence 1600mhz cas9
      • Storage:
      • 250gb SATA Westerndigital + 500gb samsung +1tb Samsung
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Asus GTX560ti CuII
      • PSU:
      • Be Quiet E9 680w
      • Case:
      • HAF 912+
      • Operating System:
      • W7 Pro
      • Monitor(s):
      • Acer P223w 22" TFT DVI

    Re: Project: Spork

    Mini Update:

    The graphics card turned up today

    Palit 8800gt 512mb

    However when I got it out of the box I was a little annoyed

    The pic on the auction was of the older one, that still has the same cooler but on a reference design board.
    Also he'd not bothered cleaning out the dust


    Now the dust is not a major issue a quick going over with a paint brush and the air compressor will sort that out, what annoyed me was I was planning on swaping out the cooler.
    I've got a very good gigabyte V-Power cooler still on my old 7900gs which I was planning on using.

    It does look like there's enough clearence to fit it but it'll sit towards the back of the card.
    I think what I'll have to do for now is wait for the rest of the bits I've won then test out the current cooler or maybe look at getting a Zalmann one.

    Pob's new mod, Soviet Pob Propaganda style Laptop.
    "Are you suggesting that I can't punch an entire dimension into submission?" - Flying squirrel - The Red Panda Adventures

  22. #16
    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Re: Project: Spork

    That is annoying. Give him a bad rating for us!
    Desktop (Cy): Intel Core i7 920 D0 @ 3.6GHz, Prolimatech Megahalems, Gigabyte X58-UD5, Patriot Viper DDR3 6GiB @ 1440MHz 7-7-7-20 2T, EVGA NVIDIA GTX 295 Co-Op, Asus Xonar D2X, Hauppauge WinTV Nova TD-500, 2x WD Caviar Black 1TB in RAID 0, 4x Samsung EcoDrive 1.5TB F2s in RAID 5, Corsair HX 750W PSU, Coolermaster RC-1100 Cosmos Sport (Custom), 4x Noctua P12s, 6x Noctua S12Bs, Sony Optiarc DVD+/-RW, Windows 7 Professional Edition, Dell 2408WFP, Mirai 22" HDTV

    MacBook Pro (Voyager): Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.6GHz, 4GiB DDR2 RAM, 200GB 7200RPM HDD, NVIDIA 8600GTM 512MB, SuperDrive, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, 15.4" Matte Display

    HTPC (Delta-Flyer): Intel Core 2 Q8200 @ 2.33GHz, Zotec GeForce 9300-ITX, 2GiB of DDR2 Corsair XMS2 RAM, KWorld PE355-2T, Samsung EcoDrive F2 1.5TB, In-Win BP655, Noctua NF-R8, LiteOn BluRay ROM Drive, Windows 7 Home Premium, 42" Sony 1080p Television

    i7 (Bloomfield) Overclocking Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Spock
    I am not our father.

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