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May 2016
 

The Bellinghman
Date: 2009-12-02 11:57
Subject: Invisibling
Security: Public
About a month ago, I decided that my home PC could probably do with a little more RAM. It was previously running a 32-bit variety of Windows, which meant that any more than its installed 3GB of RAM would have been pointless, but I had upgraded to 64-bit Windows 7.

So I decided that I'd up the amount to 8GB, which would be 4 sticks of 2GB each. I then went off to look for suitable memory, and settled on a pair of Crucial Ballistix Tracer 4GB kits (matched pairs of 2GB sticks, DDR2 800MHz). Why that particular memory? Well, a good brand, 4-4-4-12 timing rather than 5-5-5-15, and heat spreaders to help keep it a bit cooler.

Note to mention the price: £50 + VAT per kit from Novatech. (No, don't look, it's now £75 + VAT per kit). They didn't have it in stock, but never mind, I wasn't in a hurry, this was a luxury upgrade, not a required one.

It finally arrived yesterday, and I installed it. It's nice RAM, if a little underutilised, but it was going to be future proofing. There's just one feature ...

That 'Tracer' in the title?

It means that there are LEDs on the RAM packages. There are blue LEDs along the pin edges, nicely lighting up the circuit board, and red/green LEDs along the opposite edge, merrily chasing themselves in random patterns.

It's a shame my case cover is opaque and that whole effect is totally wasted.
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jon_a_five
User: jon_a_five
Date: 2009-12-02 09:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Is it a plain case? 'Cause maybe you can justify getting a funky one with a window in it ;-)
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-12-02 10:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's a Tsunami Dream case, which is actually really rather nice, except for a major design feature which means that graphics cards of over 9" in length will foul drives in the hard drive cage.

I'd have been just as happy without the LEDs to be honest, pretty though they may be. At (I guess) 4mW per LED, that's a few hundred milliwatts effectively wasted. Almost nothing compared to what the RAM itself eats, or the GPU, or the processor, I know, but the principle applies.
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Barry: 00 Bikkits
User: hobnobs
Date: 2009-12-02 11:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:00 Bikkits
Thermaltake make nice cases. I bought a Xaser many moons ago and have used Tt ever since. Given I prefer steel cases I currently use an Armor+ that I had to get imported.

Only "downside" is that, due to the steel frame, it's nowhere near lightweight. Almost every time I have to move it I hum "with a hernia built for two" to myself. :)
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-12-02 11:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, I have only one complaint about the case - which is that I have to leave one drive bay empty just so that my graphics card can fit. And it's an ATI 4850, so not exactly very long. I believe if I were to go for a current high end nVidia card (not that I would, I loathe nVidia kit with a passion, since every recent example I've encountered is buggy, including the one in the here work Dell), or one of the more interesting double thickness ATI ones, I'd have to take the entire drive cage out.

(My 9" card has an end power connector bringing its effective length to about 9.5", and I have to bend its end down under the drive above it. An 11" or 13" card is so not on.)
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Barry
User: hobnobs
Date: 2009-12-02 11:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hmmm, can't say that I've had problems with card length in my Tt cases. That said, I specifically go for cases that have large internal space so that I can have more airflow space for cooling.

( http://hobnobs.livejournal.com/98426.html for my current case. As you can see, there's a huge gap between GFX card and drive bays.)
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-12-02 12:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That looks like quite a short card.

Having said which, your drive cage is mounted crossways, not lengthways, and you don't seem to have quite such a great thick front fan in front of that cage, so I think you've lost 2" less than I do to start with.

(A 3.5" drive is, once cased, supposed to be 4" by 5.78" by 1.65" (max).)
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Barry: 03 GreenHalf
User: hobnobs
Date: 2009-12-02 19:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:03 GreenHalf
It's a full length GT8800, so about 9.5" or a smidge over... (The case makes it look small. There's about 14" of space to use from drive bays to backend... To get an idea of how big the case is, look at the gap between the motherboard and the drive bays. )
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-12-02 20:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ah, it really does look lost in there.

I'm rather tempted: what make/model is that?
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Barry: 12 Wizard Speed Time
User: hobnobs
Date: 2009-12-02 20:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:12 Wizard Speed Time
It's a ThermalTake Armor+.
http://uk.thermaltake.eu/product_overview.aspx?PARENT_CID=C_00000090

My one is the black steel framed version (VH6000BWS), and therefore heavy (18kg) but if you don't mind not having a black case then they do a silver aluminium framed version. (VH6000SWA)

They also have variants that have a liquid cooling system built in if that's more your thing. I was tempted, but couldn't justify the extra cost at the time.

They are fairly costly though. Between £130-170 depending on type and source. (Or more, if you want the LCS included.)


If you can live with a slightly smaller case, which should still give you enough play-space internally, they now do an "MX" version that is only slightly lesser spec'd.
http://uk.thermaltake.eu/product_overview.aspx?PARENT_CID=C_00000045

Costs around 100 quid, so is more affordable.

(You can compare the two side-by-side on the Thermaltake site.)

Edited at 2009-12-02 11:52 pm (UTC)
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-12-02 21:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Armor+ - 625 mm deep
Armor+ MX - 490 mm deep.
Tsunami Dream - 478 mm deep

Good grief, no wonder yours has so much space in it, it's half a foot longer from front to back than mine.

(And, mutter, mutter, the MX is noticeably shorter front to back, being barely longer than the Dream.)

On the other hand, the SopranoFx is 580 mm deep, and £80 + delivery
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User: pir
Date: 2009-12-02 13:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
If you want something that'll fit a longer graphics card I've got a Lian Li PC-V600 in nice aluminium kicking around that I'd sell cheap :)
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-12-02 13:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Checking on the specs, that looks a bit short on drive bays. But thanks for the offer.
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User: pir
Date: 2009-12-02 13:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Three internal 3.5" and four external 5.25" (with an adaptor for a floppy drive).

How many disks do you have? My games box has a sum total of... one (though two for mirroring would be nice). Fewer larger and newer disks pay for themselves in power costs, IMO.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-12-02 13:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ah, I have 5 x 3.5", 2 x 5.25", and a floppy. 4 of those 3.5s are a RAID 0+1 array, with the fifth being the boot. The 5.25" ones are twin DVD drives (one a DVD writer), which means I can really churn through CD ripping.

(And that reminds me, I have about 100 Mozart discs to do still.)

Yes, I agree, I could optimise the drive count, but I'm actually fine with what I've got right now.
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User: pir
Date: 2009-12-02 13:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I have a DVD reader and a separate DVD writer in my games box... 5x 3.5" does seem rather excessive.
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jon_a_five
User: jon_a_five
Date: 2009-12-02 14:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I don't have a problem with graphic card length but it's big, fat cooler covers up one of my PCIE slots and the pins that would enable me to connect my case USB ports :-/
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Barry: 12 Wizard Speed Time
User: hobnobs
Date: 2009-12-02 11:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:12 Wizard Speed Time
When I built the box I use now I went for Ballistix Tracer myself, and it's been solid since the day I got it.

Although the LEDs aren't random, strictly speaking. They have a defined order for the lighting order, and cycle through it according to how memory read/copy/write activity occurs - which is close enough.
(I have a case with a see through side, and have watched them many times whilst bored in a kind of "oooh, shiny" way. :) )
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2009-12-02 11:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The Tracers are definitely nice looking packages, and as I said, the price was good (I suspect Novatech underpriced them, and/or there's been a heck of a price jump in DDR2 in the last month). I'd have been plenty happy with straight Ballistix though. The concealed blue LEDs shining on black aluminium in my case door is quite sufficiently shiny for me.
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