Choco's Computer 2006
This page was last modified 2007-01-21 12:38:58 by Puchu.Net user WebPuchu. Based on work by Puchu.Net user(s) Choco. (Show history)

Knowing that our first baby will be arriving in a few weeks, I set out to build myself a new computer that will last me for a long time, maybe upgrading only the graphics card with DirectX 10 becomes mainstream. I also wanted a quiet computer that I can overclock.



  • Antec P180
  • SeaSonic SS-650HT
  • SilverStone SST-PP01, ATX power supply extension cable
  • Asus P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP
  • Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400C4
  • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi
  • Gigabyte GV-NX76T256D-RH
  • Intel E6600

I started out with Antec P180, because I read from this review several unconventional but interesting features, and believed that it has great potential to make my computer quiet without significant amount of modifications. This is a very nice case with good construction quality, there are no sharp metal edges to cut my fingers.

Have a look inside...
Have a look inside...

About the only thing I don't like with the case, is the door hinges are fragile, and I've already broken the front panel, as well as the doors covering the air intakes. I had to use super glue to attach the hinges back and now they are working. I'll have to remember to be more careful. But there are many good features, so I would still recommend this case. Just remember that it is not easy to work with, and be nice to the doors.

It comes with 3 120mm fans and silicone rubber grommets to reduce case vibration introduced by spinning drives. These fans have 3 speed settings, and in my build, only low-speed is sufficient to keep computer cool. Even under full load, the CPU/GPU temperatures remained well below their limits. And with the rubber grommets, I only hear seek noise coming from the hard disks.

It is also interesting in that power supply is mounted at bottom of case, rather than at the top like most cases. The lower drive cage and power supply are placed into lower chamber, with front-to-back air flow and a cover so that heat generated by these devices do not increase temperature in upper chamber.

This unconventional layout, coupled with the positioning of the ATX power connector on the mother board, meant that I had to buy an extension so that power can reach the motherboard.

The motherboard does not have any fans for its chipsets, is energy efficient with the 8 phase power design, exactly what I need for a quiet machine. The early BIOS revisions are not very good, but the one I am using (711) seems to work fine. I am a little disappointed to read that many people have trouble with the most recent one released. Other than the power connector (not really anybody's fault), its compatibility issues with certain brands of memory and the BIOS, it is a nice board. If you are really interested in extreme overlocking you should consider another chipset. I only wanted a modest 2.4 to 3.0 GHz overclock, and it did that easily. My memory from Corsair also worked fine with this motherboard.

Additional Cooling

  • Antec 75012, 120mm case fan with adjustable fan speed
  • Scythe SCNJ-1100P
  • Arctic Silver 5

The Scythe Ninja is a very big heatsink, and leaves very little room to work with since it is about 2cm away from the top and back of the case. I mounted the heatsink onto the motherboard first, before securing them to the motherboard tray. I brought the newer revision of the heatsink, and the mounting clips were very easy to work with. It is there as insurance, just in case if the fans stopped working.

There is no fan on my graphics card (it uses heatpipes and big heatsinks front and back), but it is overclocked. It is also positioned very close to the sound card. I wanted to introduce additional air flow directed at these cards, so I installed another fan, also running at low speed. This is the same 20 something decibel fan used everywhere else in the case.


  • NEC FD1231H-302, floppy drive
  • NEC ND-3550A, DVD burner.
  • Western Digital WD3200KS, hard disks for storage
  • Western Digital WD1500ADFD, hard disk for applications

The floppy drive was necessary because ICH8R chipset is not supported by original XP SP2 CD. While the BIOS can emulate USB flash devices as floppy drives, it doesn't work for Windows install.

At less than $30, the NEC DVD burner is a great deal. Reads and writes many formats, and is a little noisy when it spins up. Most of the time it isn't doing anything, but it is louder than the rest of the system.

The Western Digital hard disks have a soft clicking seek noise that I find easier to tolerate than the Seagate or Maxtor drives I've used at work. Other than the seek noise they are quiet most of the time.

Input Devices

  • MS Habu
  • Enermax Aurora

Habu is a new gaming mouse from Microsoft. It has a design similar to the original Wheel Mouse that I really liked. This one has extra buttons on the side that I've been using frequently. However it is difficult to install and update firmware.

The instructions are very confusing. Because keyboard macros are supported, the mouse is actually a HID keyboard device also. So to upgrade the drivers, you need to update the USB hub node first. Then you can write the firmware to the mouse, and Windows will finally detect it correctly.

The keyboard, types like Toshiba/Thinkpad laptop keyboards, with headphone/microphone jacks and USB hubs. Personally I like typing on Toshiba/Thinkpad laptops, and this one does not make so much clicky sounds like my old IBM keyboard. It is very solid, as it's made with machined aluminum.

Both devices are black, with blue glows so they go together very nicely.

Upgrade Path

  • 1 unused x16 PCI-E slot
  • 1 blocked x1 PCI-E slot
  • 2 unused PCI slots
  • 2 unused hard drive slots in lower drive cage
  • 1 unused hard drive slot in upper drive cage
  • 2 empty drive bays

Maybe if there is a fanless DirectX 10 video card, I'll replace or add another video card. Dual video card in CrossFire configuration is also possible, but I don't think I can afford it. Plus the noise and heat may give me trouble. If I reposition the current video card, I can use the x1 PCI-E slot. But there aren't that many devices right now for that.

Socket 775 will be around for a long time, and this board works with the quad-core CPU's also.

HD-DVD is something I am keeping an eye on. When the time is right, I'll add another optical drive to the system. It seems that I can use XBox 360's HD-DVD add-on also, but only to watch movie.

Product References


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