Cases Water Cooling

Water Cooling an Antec 300 – Q9550

So, I have decided to water cool my Antec 300 case….which acts as my 24/7 HTPC workhorse.

Specs :

Antec 300
2GBx4 DDR2
3 x 2TB Samsung HDD
2 x 2TB WD Drives (backups)
Asus P5N-D

I started with an RS240 XSPC kit, but found the pump to be far too loud and not adequate for my set up, so I am moving to the following build :

Water Cooling specs :

Reservoir : RS240 pump/res comboKoolance RP-402X2 Dual 5.25 Reservoir for 1-2 DDC Pumps + Swiftech MCP 350’s
Radiator : RS240 from the RS240 Kit/Combo
Tubing : rimoFlex Pro LRT UV Red Tubing – 1/2in. ID X 3/4in. OD
Barbs : What came with the kit
Fans : 4 x SCythe SFF21G
90 Degree Fitting : 4 x Koolance G1/4 Swivel 90° Angled Barb
45 Degree Fitting : 2 x Koolance Swiveling G1/4 Threaded 45 Degree Low Profile Angle Fitting
CPU Block : Came with the kit – XSPC CPU block
Northbridge block : Custom fabbed block from a guy on
PCI Tube G1/4 Slot : Koolance L-Bracket with Dual G 1/4 Socket Fittings (BKT-PCI-G)
Radblock Mount : Swiftech MCB-120™ “Radbox”

I have changed a few things from when I started,so I will post new pictures once completed again. The pumps will run serial, with that little koolance res kit.

Computer Hardware General Computing

Dell D630 – 8 beeps after post

I had this issue come across my desk, after pulling everything out, found out it was the keyboard.

symptom :

laptop beeped 8 times after post

troubleshooting :

pulled optical drive
swapped memory – tested memtest
pulled PCMIA card
swapped keyboard – winner!

hopefully this can help someone :).

Computer Hardware Gaming

How to unlock shaders on 6950

I recently purchased 2 XFX 6950’s. They are great cards, and doing some research, I found this forum post :

It talks on how to unlock the shaders on the reference 6950 cards. I have an XFX so I used this modified bios :

These are my personal numbers :

before :

[zp src=”xfx-stock.gif” album=”vivi/6950″ width=”500″]
[zp src=”xfx-stock2.gif” album=”vivi/6950″ width=”500″]

after (unlocked shaders, NO OC):

[zp src=”xfx-flashed6950-1.gif” album=”vivi/6950″ width=”500″]
[zp src=”xfx-flashed6950-2.gif” album=”vivi/6950″ width=”500″]

Now for fun, this is the spec of my new computer :

i5 2500k
Asus P8P67 Pro
Corsair 600T
Corsair 1000HX
2 x XFX 6950 2GB in xfire
2 x Asus DVD/CD/RW/R
Corsair H70
OCZ Solid 2 120GB SSD

[zp src=”P1000014.JPG” album=”vivi/600T” width=”500″]

Specific How To for XFX 6950 Shader unlock :

What you’ll need to download before we start :

ATI WinFlash :
VGA BiOS to unlock :

This is the one I used for my XFX :

They have other BIOS’s listed, for other manufacturers, but i’ve read that they should all work with the HIS BIOS.

1 – Grab ATI Winflash (32 & 64-bit).
2 – Download HD 6950 BIOS (we’ll be using the specific XFX bios). It should work with other vendor’s, but this one is specifically for XFX 6950 REFERENCE cards.
3 – Make sure the BIOS switch on the card is set to the 1 position (pictured further down if you don’t know where it is).
4 – Run ATI Winflash, click Save to save your BIOS, so you have a backup in case something goes wrong.
5 – Load the HD 6970 BIOS into Winflash by clicking Load Image, followed by Program.
6 – Let the flashing process complete and reboot your system.
7 – Check the shader count using GPU-Z, it should show 1536. Make sure you use version 0.5.0 or newer, the official 0.4.9 version does not support HD 6900 Series properly. If you see a shader count of 1600, your GPU-Z version is outdated.
8 – To ensure maximized performance open Catalyst Control Center, go to the Overdrive tab and set the PowerTune slider to the +20% setting. The “Testing” section of this article has more data on that.
9 – Check stability in Windows desktop applications and games, with an application like OCCT/Prime95

I modified the how-to a bit, but this is the article that helped me get started :

Hard Drives

OCZ Agility 2 OCZSSD2-2AGTE60G Benchmarks IDE vs AHCI

I just purchased an OCZ Agility 2 OCZSSD2-2AGTE60G for my server, and got rid of my 2x320GB RE3 WD drives. I made sure it had the latest 1.24 firmware on it.

These first marks are AHCI
[zp src=”agility2-AHCI.jpg” album=”blog/OCZAgility2″ width=”500″]

These are IDE
[zp src=”agility2-IDE.jpg” album=”blog/OCZAgility2″ width=”500″]

you can definitely see an improvement over AHCI. As usual, short and sweet post, with raw numbers, enjoy. If you want me to test something else, let me know.

Hard Drives

Western Digital Elements 2TB/1TB USB 2.0 speed test

I had someone ask me to benchmark my WD 2TB elements drive. It might be useful to someone else, this is running on USB 2.0.

[zenphoto src=”1TBexternal.jpg” album=”blog/etc/” width=”500″ /]

Computer Hardware Hard Drives

ICH9R Fake Raid Failed when Reinstalling OS DISC?

Hello, if you’ve read anything on my blog, you’ll note that I had a 6 x 1 TB HDD SATA raid going through my ICH9R ABIT IP35 motherboard. I recently decided to reformat the ‘server’, and was told by a few that I should be able to reformat the OS drive (separate from the array), and I would not have any issues. So ahead I went … reinstalled OS, got into windows for the first time, and noticed the array was bjorked.

The array had gone into a failed state, and decided to pull 1 drive out of the array as well. I tried removing the 1 drive, re-adding it as a spare, but it would not take/rebuild. I used about 14 different recovery software applications (get data back, undelete, raid recovery, ubuntu live disc, R-Studio, etc) , over the span of 4 days and I could only recover 1/6 items I lost. I was hosed, as a last resort, I decided to rebuild the array, EXACTLY how it was prior to losing the data.

What I did was delete the entire 6 disk array, and re-built the array as I had done before this fiasco. My steps are a little more technical, these are assuming you know how to set up your own raid. If you need any more help, you can comment and i’ll respond.

Step 1 ) Remove array, via option 3 in CTRL – I
Step 2 ) Recreate array with the exact same HDD’s as before
Step 3 ) Use the exact same options as before, raid 5, 64KB strip, etc
Step 4 ) boot into windows
Step 5 ) Go to Disk Management
Step 6 ) It will ask you to specify the GPT or MBR, select the option you previously chose
Step 7 ) Go through the options, but do NOT format the disk
Step 8 ) Use Getdataback, or some other NTFS recovery software

It took about 5 minutes for GetDataBack to show me my entire file structure, and recover ALL of my data back, 100%.

This is all assuming you have NOT done the following :

1) formatted your hdd
2) raid 5, with ICH9R controller – fakeraid
3) you did NOT write any data to your hdd’s
4) technically, this should work with 5 out of 6 HDD’s, or 2 out of 4, etc for a raid 5

I did not think this would work, but boy was I happy I tried it.


Air Cards

Verizon Access Manager/US Cellular ERROR 720 – Cannot connect to server/remote server

I used to see this error constantly with some of our users who used Verizon Access Manager, and ANY type of Air Card; PC5750, PC5740, PC5220, tethering with Blackberries, etc. Using the VZAM software, or US Cellular sometimes you will not get an error, sometimes you will. The best way to test what error you are getting is to insert your air card, and use the Dial Up connection that is created by the software to attempt to connect (in Networks Connections). You will always get some sort of error. So far I have not seen this on Windows 7, only on Windows XP PRO SP2, or SP3, so I will write this up assuming you have Windows XP.

CAUSE: This issue may occur if the TCP/IP protocol has become unbound from the dial-up adapter, or if a conflict is created when a second WAN Miniport IP device driver loads. Back to the top Back to the top

RESOLUTION: To resolve this issue, uninstall the WAN Miniport IP and PPTP devices. To do so, follow these steps:

To be safe, uninstall the CISCO VPN (if you use it). You should also remove the BB, or Aircard from device manager.

Step 1:

1. Open Device Manager
2. Under the View menu click Show hidden devices.
3. Under Network adapters, you will see WAN Miniport IP devices. If a WAN Miniport IP device is listed, continue to the following step. If no WAN Miniport IP devices are listed, go directly to step 16.
4. Click Start, click Run, type regedit in the Open box, and then click OK.
5. Locate the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E972-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}
6. On the Registry menu, click Export Registry File, type backup-key in the File name box, and then click Save. (Note You can restore the changes that you make to this registry key. To do so, double-click the backup-key.reg file that you saved.)
7. Click each of the registry subkeys under this key, and then view the Data column of the DriverDesc value to determine which of the subkeys corresponds to WAN Miniport (IP). For example, the 0005 subkey.
8. Right-click the subkey whose DriverDesc value data is WAN Miniport (IP) or WAN Minport (PPTP); (for example, right-click 0005), and then click Delete. Click Yes to confirm that you want to delete the key.
9. Quit regedit
10. Open Device Manager
11. On the View menu, click Show hidden devices.
12. Under Network adapters, uninstall the WAN Miniport (IP) and the WAN Miniport (PPTP).

Step 2: Reinstall the WAN Miniports

1. Find netrasa.inf in c:\windows\inf
2. Make a copy of the file and name it
3. Open the original copy of netrasa.inf
4. Under the [ControlFlags] section: place a semicolon in front of the line that starts with Excludefromselect=\
5. Continue to add semicolons to all the lines beneath until coming to the line: MS_NdisWanNbfIn,MS_NdisWanNbfOut

Step 3:

1. Start the Add New Hardware wizard from the Control Panel
2. Select the hardware is already installed.
3. Select “Add a new hardware device” from the end of the list.
4. Select Install the hardware that I manually select from a list. (Advanced)
5. Select “Network Adapters” followed by “Microsoft” and then both the PPTP and the IP Wan miniport one at a time. (NO need to reboot between these steps)
6. Reboot after running through the wizard for both the PPTP and IP miniport.
7. Select Start -> Run and type: netsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt (For details, see KB299357)
8. Reboot and try your connection. This worked for me and has worked for others.

Hopefully this helps some people, Verizon has no idea what’s going on, so I had to find this on my own.

update July 26th 2010 : This also fixes the US Cellular’s error 720 with a UM175, or 185.

Computer Hardware

Poor laptop

This is what happens when you run over a Dell D620 with a Caterpillar D9N. I feel bad for the dell tech that has to fix this, got to love Dell’s CompleteCare warranty :).

This is a D9N :

[zenphoto src=”d9n.jpg” album=”blog/bad_laptop” width=”500″ /]

This is the poor aftermath :

[zenphoto src=”runover1.jpg” album=”blog/bad_laptop” width=”500″ /]
[zenphoto src=”runover2.jpg” album=”blog/bad_laptop” width=”500″ /]

Computer Hardware Hard Drives

ICH9 + 6 1TB Seagate (ST31000528AS) in a RAID 5

Hardware :
Motherboard : Abit IP35+ICH9
CPU : E8400
Memory : 2GB x 4 OCZ DDR2 running @ 399MHZ (5-5-5-18)
OS Hard Drive : 1 x Seagate ST31000528AS
Raid Hard Drives : 6 x Seagate ST31000528AS
Raid info : RAID 5 64KB strip
PSU : Antec Basiq BP430 430W

Software :
OS : Windows Server 2008 Data Center Edition R2 x64
Intel Matrix Storage Manager Driver Version : v.
Benchmark : ATTO Bench32 v2.41

Here are some photos of the box, not the best quality (iPhone), but you get the idea :
[zenphoto src=”1.jpg” album=”blog/nas” width=”500″ /]
[zenphoto src=”2.jpg” album=”blog/nas” width=”500″ /]

Here are the benchmarks with write back-cache on

[zenphoto src=”bench1.jpg” album=”blog/nas” width=”500″ /]
[zenphoto src=”bench2.jpg” album=”blog/nas” width=”500″ /]

Now here they are with benchmarks with the write back-cache off

[zenphoto src=”bench3.jpg” album=”blog/nas” width=”500″ /]
[zenphoto src=”bench4.jpg” album=”blog/nas” width=”500″ /]

Overall, a great little set up, where I did not have to purchase a RAID card, the ICH9 was plenty fast for my home storage. I run it with write-back cache on, for the obvious reason. I would see sustained copy (When I want to write a file from my Windows 7 box to my NAS box) speeds of around 120MB/s, bursting to about 170MB/s. I have played 48GB movies off the NAS streamed to my PS3 with no hitch (via Ehternet).

I have been running this set up for a little over 5 months now with the 430W Antec PSU in an Antec 300 case. No drives have dropped from the array, I have not had to rebuild at all. I have zero errors in the read/write area as well so all is well. I have been adding/removing movies/media/files/storage/backups from that array since it was set up and running. I have a 7th ST31000528AS running as my main OS Hard Drive, so the NAS is purely for storage.

For reference, you can get ICH9 beta software/drivers from this website :

Computer Hardware Hard Drives

oczssd2-2sld120g – benchmarks

[zenphoto src=”as-ssd-bench.png” album=”blog/OCZSSD2″ width=”500″ /]

[zenphoto src=”as-copy-bench.png” album=”blog/OCZSSD2″ width=”500″ /]

[zenphoto src=”attossdocz.JPG” album=”blog/OCZSSD2″ width=”500″ /]

Very fast drive, very comparable to the INTEL X25-M G2 80gb