So yeah... it has been some time since an update! However, i hope the 57 images i have got for you make up for it!
I suppose i should explain whats been going on. As you probably guessed, i never had time to finish it before i left for christmas. In a mad rush to get it set up, i found out that the pump draws too many amps. It was too late however, it had already blown up the tracks on the PCB. At that point, i had 24 hours to finish the entire build before we left, and i needed to sleep at some point. I knew it was never going to happen so i gave up and just took my iMac with me on holiday.
Just before christmas, i sold my previous scratch build, The Bloo Box. This unfortunately got damaged by the blessed Royal Mail. The back acrylic panel got cracked and the 4870 1GB was damaged somehow. This kind of put a dampening on my modding spirits. Luckily the buyer was nice and we got it sorted out. I still have a borked 4870 sitting infront of me though...
After coming back from Devon, i had 2 weeks before school and exams. Even though i was still missing the powdercoated parts and white tubing for the build, i decided to assemble it and get it running. This went quite well and showed up a few issues that needed to be resolved for when i rebuilt it for the last time. There were issues with tubing kinking etc, i ended up having a loop of tube sticking out the motherboard I/O shield!
I should mention, during this time i blew up the cd drive by putting 12v through it instead of 5. Oops!
The rig ran well for 5 days, then one morning it wouldn't turn on properly. It would power up then instantly turn off. When i got home later that day i took the sides off and after much looking around , noticed Feser One all over the motherboard! I instantly ripped the rig apart and got everything out as carefully as i could. 4 hours, a whole box of cotton buds, some UV lights and alot of swearing, i got the mobo running again! I was incredibly lucky!
After the horror, i set up the Swiftech Apogee in a loop on its own. (for those who don't know, it is a pump/cpu block combo). After a few minutes, the top was really warm to touch. After 10 minutes, it was very hot, the tubing was soft and i burnt my finger on the CPU block! There was also a slow drip of coolant coming out of a join in the block. Obviously faulty.
I was then cleaning out the rad in the sink when i noticed water dripping out of the rad where it shouldn't. Upon further inspection, i noticed what looked like a dodgy braze on one corner. This hadn't actually caused the motherboard dampness, since the radiator was orientated so no coolant was coming out the hole. However, this has to be returned too now!
A week later after my first exam, my white tubing and Thermochill EC6 coolant turned up. Along with that came the powdercoated bits from Marcus! I was so chuffed with the job he had done i decided to put the rig back together but on air. This went well, until it decided to not post anymore...
So now for pictures!
They have been on two month journey from Hong Kong... during this time they fight fierce tiger, growling bear and evil iphone... ok i digress, either way they took ages to get here!
More of the fan control knobs
Got the switches wired up with white sleeving
Looks like some kind of weird snake! These are all the LED connections from the UV LED bar.
LED bar. This was scrapped due to it making the smoked acrylic go a horrible brown colour.
It lines up!
Here are the acrylic cubes drilled, tapped and glued into the corners. They measure 10mmx10mm!
Shmexy case feet from MNPCTech! They suite the build so perfectly!
Here you can see the Front designs showing through the smoked acrylic.
Got my knobs on!
Set up the PSU for a lighting test.
Believe it or not, there are only the LEDs from the fan and one LED on the custom PCB making all that light!
Really sets off the sponsor panel
Front fan grill designs
These are some dodgy pictures (and the only pictures) i took of the pc setup for the first time!
At this point i had the GPU out so i could get everything in easily. As you can see, it is VERY cramped!
Psu running without the top on. Managed to electrocute myself a fair few times!
All up and running! Here you can see it on my new Hi-Fi stand with my new audio setup. Cambridge Audio 640A V2, a pair of Q-Acoustic 1020i's and an Eltax Atomic A8 sub. Sounds amazing!
Puts a bit of scale on it doesn't it!
We now jump to after the leak. Here is the powdercoated stuff from Marcus! MASSIVE props to him, the powdercoat is brilliant! Here is the motherboard i/o, absolutely perfect fit.
Enermax Cluster with powdercoated white inner ring.
Thanks to Enermax for the keyboard and fans!
Motherboard all prepped for air cooling.
Power supply with the powdercoated top on. Looks brilliant! Sorry for the yellow tint, my white balance was set on shade for some reason...
4670 1gb with powdercoated white PCI backplate.
More of the powersupply
The powdercoat is thinner than i thought, all the details are still there.
Roccat Sponsorship arrived! (finally! Their post department put the wrong address on so it went back to them lol). This is the Roccat Arvo slimline gaming keyboard. The box is surprisingly small!
Inside we find a cardboard frame holding the keyboard in place. I thought there was more keyboard being hidden by the cardboard, but no...
... its so small! I was really surprised! (inb4 thats what she said). The arvo is only 17cm deep at the deepest part. It fits perfectly anywhere, particularly infront of a keyboard i found. The design has been considered carefully so it is not too over the top, but it still feels special. The cut corners and interesting Escape key add to the 'gaming' side of the keyboard, along with the illuminated arrow keys. One way space has been saved is buy combining the numpad with the arrow keys, delete home ins and page keys and two programmable macro keys. To change between the numbers and the other keys, you hit the mode button which is at the very top right of the keyboard. This works rather well. The first thing i checked was that it worked right when in the BIOS. It did, and had no hiccups whatsover. They have really pulled that feature off well.
A nice addition for any game really are these thumb buttons. They are positioned perfectly so you can hit them with your space-bar thumb easily and quickly. The middle one has a raised dot so you know which is which when you are being a hardcore gamer sitting in the dark at 3am in the morning high on coffee and smelling of... i digress again.
Here you can see the interesting escape key and the even more innovative function keys. Roccat has positioned them so that they 'hang' off the back. This may ring alarm bells of 'unstable keys', but they work really well. They are in the exact same position as normal, but are just adapted to use the space better. It also makes the keyboard look much nicer and more modern.
The only other key features are the flip out feet which feel nice and solid unlike other keyboards and the rubber pads. These are really grippy and they even have them on the flip out feet, something alot of keyboards lack. It also helps reduce noise when typing.
Overall i give the Roccat Arvo a 10/10!
Here we have the Roccat Sota granulated mouse mat. It was a lot larger than i imagined!
An interesting, although not very useful feature is the ability to see what the surface and base of the mat feel like. I don't really see the point in this, since i have never seen Roccat products on the shelf, and on the internet you can't actually touch things... if only you could... it would make certain things much more 'interactive'... i digress again!
My main issue with the Sota and i have thought this the moment i opened the box from Roccat is the packaging. The mat is encased in a plastic shell which has been heated around the edges to make one of those horrible plastic cases that you can only open with scissors and ends up cuttting your hands to bits the more you cut it open. It also means the Sota takes up an unprescedented amount of space during shipping. It measures nearly 50cm x 30cm with the packaging! I just don't understand their choice in this packaging. The mat is flexible, so why not roll it up in a tube? The last issue with the packaging is the proximity of the glued edge where you have to cut to the mouse mat. It took me a few minutes to get it open because i was so anxious about cutting into the mouse mat. You can just imagine it... little Timmy gets a Sota for his birthday. He hurriedly opens it up with scissors when disaster strikes! The sota has been decapitated due to dodgy packaging!
Anyway, back to the real world. Roccat needs to do something about that. It is the only thing letting it down!
The actual mat itself is brilliant. The surface is perfect, it grips well, it is the perfect size and it even has funky corners that match the Arvo keyboard.
Here you can see that it is flexible (hint to Roccat: put it in a tube!)
Overall i give the Sota an 8/10, due to the bad packaging.
We now move onto the Roccat Kone. I have always admired this mouse, and was really pleased when Roccat agreed to it. The box is minimalist in comparison to some companies like Razer. It gives you the facts about it and shows off a bit at the same time with a HUGE list of awards it has won!
They have included one of those silly flaps on the front which, again, seem like something more appropriate for on-the-shelf products, not non-touchable internet products. They might have well has sent it in plain brown box, it would make no difference to me in the long run. Still, its makes for a nice photo :p
Inside the inner box we have an inner plastic box inside an inner plastic bag... yeah everything is inside of something. We also have some software and some useless bits of paper telling me about some case study of a place at some coordinates... come on... i'm not 12...
A REALLY nice addition to the product is this intriguing box.
Inside we have a set of weights for the mouse ranging from 5g (preinstalled) up to 25g. We also have a driver cd in the other half, although i can't stand mini cds. The amount of times my mum tries to put them in her laptop's slotloading drive and i have to get it out...
Then we move on to the stunning piece of craftmanship itself. It really is gorgeous to look at. It is the only mouse i find more attractive than my iMac's mouse, the Logitech MX Revolution.
The lighting is so nice, much nicer than the Razer alternatives. The software allows you to change the colour of every LED, set them to flashing, change colour, pulsate etc. You can turn them off individually too, or all off.
My current light setting.
The mouse is a dream to use. It runs amazingly well on the Roccat Sota mouse mat. I always find it interesting to see if companies can make other products that compliment existing ones they make, and they have pulled it off well here. I have personally settled on the 5g weight, although i may change to 10g.
The software for the Kone is absolutely brilliant. It is easy to navigate, bug-free and doesn't look like some illegal satanic control panel designed to carefully and precisely torture people like the Razer software.
I give the Kone a 9.5/10, losing the 0.5 due to the few things in the packaging and also the weird diagonal line in the palm rest.
The last few photos were taken with my late christmas present from my godfather. It is a Manfrotto tripod
In particular, the Manfrotto Modo. For those of you who aren't photographers/who are photographers who are both blind and deaf, Manfrotto make some of the best and most respected tripod in the industry. They are renowned for sturdiness, but also have a VERY sturdy price tag. Unlike normal Manfrotto tripods however, the Manfrotto Modo doesn't cost you your future babies. Infact, it only cost £60! It also has so many little features it keeps you entertained for days! In this picture you see it in the 'floorstanding' position.
If you twist the middle grey ring, it puts it into a different position mode. This allow you to splay the legs more of less. For example, it is now in the 'flat' position which allows you to get right under something (skirts?!)
It is now in the table top mode.
This is the ring for adjusting the position.
One of the nicest features is the tripod head. The dial that points to 'video' controls how much the head can turn. On video mode it can move left, right, up and down. If you put it into photo it moves 360 degrees. To lock/unlock the head you flick the trigger on the handle.
Thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking for a tri-pod!
Now we get on to the part you have been waiting for! Pictures of it in a working state! Admittedly it is only air cooling, but who cares!
I'm really pleased with the lighting, it is very subtle and is just what i wanted. I am glad i scrapped the UV!
A little squashed in there! I replaced the UV led in the board with a white LED to match the rest of the build.
Top of the box with the MNPCTech fan grill.
Front panel with the switches and dials. Looks perfect in my opinion!
This is my favourite photo so far! This has had NO editing except cropping! It just shows what a decent tri-pod, cheap softbox, table and bed sheet can do! Please don't be fooled by the perspective, it hasn't grown!
Well, that is it for a while until i get my watercooling bits back! I'm tired now after typing all that...