Tuesday, January 16, 2007

MythTV box - Part 2 - Assembly

Once I finally had all the parts, assembling them all was relatively simple, and it was all done in a couple of hours.

The P150 is a nice little case, but it weighs quite a bit due to the steel plating used in its construction. The easily removed side and front panels enable good access to the interior, although things were bound to get a little cramped once the heatsink went in.

Fitting the Scythe Ninja was perhaps the scariest part of the operation. It requires quite a degree of force to get the clips to engage with the processor mount, and the motherboard was making ominous cracking noises as I struggled with it. This wasn't helped by the fact that the light had faded more than I realised, and I had to frantically grab my headtorch to see what I was doing!

The rest of the components went it smoothly. Although there was not a lot of room to spare between the passive heatsink on the graphics card and the nearby capture card, I figured it would be okay and so far hasn't been a problem.

One of the most unusual features of the case are the rubber band mounts for the hard disk. These are optional but as I was aiming for quiet operation I was eager to try them out. They work really well; even if I strain I really can't hear a peep out of the Western Digital disk (which is reputed to be very quiet anyway).

The P150 has some very handy cable management features, very helpful for keeping the interior free for unimpeded airflow.

The initial power-on in any system build is always a nervous experience, but there were no problems. The P150 doesn't have a case speaker (even though it's listed in all the specs and documentation, weird) so it was difficult to hear the usual POST beeps, I got around this issue by simply running the line-out to a stereo. The A8N-SLI actually has POST voice reporting (HAL here we come), so it was actually a pleasant female voice that first told me my new computer had booted successfully :-)

As a system, I am very pleased with the result. Even with the case fan set to it's lowest setting everything runs very cool, the processor typically at an acceptable 35C. I considered modding the case a bit, switching off the case fan altogether and relying solely on the PSUs' ultra-quiet fan, but it's really quiet enough already. Sometimes you just have to stop tinkering!

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