PC update

Well, the entrails have been transferred from one case to the other now. I’ve still got to replace the motherboard chipset fan with one which isn’t out of ballance so as to stop that buzzing and I’ve as usual connected the LED plugs for the hard disk and power lights the wrong way around.

I still need to check out the ZIP drive as I think I might have pulled its IDE cable out.

As for the case itself, wiring all those fans was a bit of a nightmare. I need to build a proper wiring loom as some point so that the wrens nest can be cleaned up. Also, the tool-less PCI card system is a bit of a no-hoper. I needed to use screws in the end due to PCI cards having their PCBs higher than the top of the metal shield, preventing the clips on the securing mechanism from moving into position.

I’ve got the USB and firewire ports on the top of the case wired up. However, I have no way of testing the IEEE port. Oh well.

A case in point

(Reminder to self… stop trying to make puns for Subject line.)

Well, let’s see. What unexciting things have I been up to this week?

Well, work’s mostly involved dull and boring things purely getting things ready for the new term such as spending 2 days trying to get quotes for consumables. Yes, it took 2 days to get proper prices out of 3 firms, all because they wanted to beat the others on price. Maybe it is a good idea to find the cheapest supplier, but I could have saved a whole load of time, and hence to the department almost as much money they’ve been paying me for that time, as I saved on cheaper prices by merely going to the first supplier.

Oh, and the rest of the week was spent creating new accounts and updating software. On that front I’ve still got KDE to update in the next week.

Other than this, I’ve had a couple of nights of extremely poor sleep patterns and met Kat and her boyfriend Stu in the King’s Arms last night.

Yesterday, I finally decided that I needed to replace my current PC case with one which is better at removing heat and is quieter. So, in the afternoon I went onto the Scan web site where I’d seen the Thermaltake Xaser III models which had had good reviews. Amongst other things they have a front panel with a temperature read-out and fan speed control knobs. As always, I looked on the “Today Only” page and saw that they were selling off SCSI CDROM drives stupidly cheap. eg. The Toshiba 32x one I went for was £11.16 (yes, that’s not a typo!).

Anyway, to cut a long story short, ‘cos I couldn’t find a way to get special delivery (to get Saturday delivery) on the items using the web interface I phoned them up and ordered those two items and 256MB of PC100 memory for the iMac.

At 8:15am this morning the whole lot arrived in a yellow and green Initial City Link van. Pretty good service, I’d say. Still, I did pay £15 extra for the priviledge.

My first impressions of the PC case are as follows:-

Good points

  • Looks pretty good.
  • Has lots of fans which are controllable.
  • IDE cable management buit in.
  • Nifty no-screw PCI card fixings.
  • Nice, screwless drive fixing mounts.

Bad points

  • The aluminium is rather thin and flimsy. I’d have expected sturdier stuff from an expensive case.
  • The fans are fitted but each has a big power connector on their cables and all the connections are left dangling so that the purchaser has to do all the wiring up. I’d have thought that Thermaltake would have kitted the case out with a wiring loom with all the fans attached to their fan control front panel. It wouldn’t have taken much to do.
  • The side panel is a sod to get off. There’s been no real thought in the engineering concerning this.

In Thermaltake’s defence, the basic chassis is one they’ve bought in and modified. Still, for such an expensive case, £111, I would have thought they would have at least connected up all the equipment they put into it rather than leaving all the wires dangling horribly. I’m going to have to get some cable tie pads to stick around the thing. I may even get some sound deadening matterials for the sides and top so as to stop the thin aluminium from drumming.