Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Windows 7 RC 1 can have my baby


No, I am not a windows fan boy, ok yes I am, but windows 7 is pretty sextastic. I have been using it since beta, and boy oh boy, is it ever awesome. If you haven't been trying it out I pity the fool. Yes, I did just say that.

Windows 7 just feels smarter, and leaves you with a much fuller experience. When I first installed it I expected that most of my devices would not work. Not so, my GTX 285 displayed the wallpaper perfectly.

Do not get me wrong, I did have to install drivers, and hell, I know better than to just use the default ones. I will not even use the drivers that come with my video card in the box, but just having it appear like that from the get go was really nice.

The windows 7 task bar is epically useful. When minimized I am able to preview the window by simply placing the cursor over the icon.

If there is more than one window open in Firefox for example, the minimized view will pop open however many previews are needed to see them all! It gets better, place the cursor over a minimized preview and it will open that select window. Click on it, and it open only that window. Windows' IQ just went up a standard deviation.

The windows themselves are even smarter as well. I hate having to re-size windows in order to either fill a screen or move or to a different monitor. Now all you have to do to maximize a screen to fit the monitor it place it at the top of the screen and it will auto-fill. If I need to move a window I just grab it from the top with my cursor and throw it over without having to re-size it first. What the hell was the point of locking the screen anways?

It really is all the little things that have delighted me. Of course there are a ton of improvements, but honestly nothing will substitute first hand experience. Windows 7 RC 1 has left me asking, were the hell was this OS hiding? It may be based off of Vista, but is feels like a whole different animal, and I don't mean a leopard.

Clearing the Cobb Webs, with a RAID

It has been an eternity since my last posts, and yes I know shame on me. I am working on some projects right now, most currently, a raid 0 with windows 7 RC 1. The configuration consist of 2 750gb caviar green Western Digital drives. They combine to make one 1.36 TB drive. I have dubbed such drive "The VOID". Hopefully I will fill it with awesomeness soon enough. The other drive is a Seagate 320gb drive which is near filled. So at the moment I have two windows 7 RC OS one on each drive. I was surprised to see a boot menu appear, that allows me to choose which hard drive I want to boot from. I am used to seeing that with windows Vista, as it will list "earlier version of windows". I don't really understand the logistics of not just saying what OS it is, but whatever. One issue with having two windows 7 OSs is that it is impossible to know which is which unless you just know that the first is the raid and the other is the 320. Ideally I would just transfer everything I want from the 320, to the RAID, clear the 320 and then back up the really good stuff on it. This way it would be sans OS, which saves room for....yes.....awesomeness. Setting up the RAID was as easy as people would lead you to believe, and particularly easy on my motherboard (EVGA 780i).

First step was to enable the RAID on the SATA ports

Second step was to press F10 on boot up and set it up

Here I was presented with a bios like screen. All that needed to be done was to move over the 2 drives to the compile selection box, and select "striped" which I wanted cause I am looking for performance. Then it asks if all the crap can be deleted, which I pressed 'Y' to. I found I also needed to delete the master boot sector for windows to be able to install on the raid. You may or may not get the prompt.

The installation of windows 7 RC 1 took about 20 minutes, which was pretty impressive. I am used to a good 40-45 min for it to complete. I am getting pretty used to this whole RAID thing.
It is pretty effing awesome actually.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Dun..Da..Dun..Dun

video

Here is my VERY hard work and sweat in action. The 1.8mm white diffused LEDS are not exactly the right size, so I had to modify the button gap to accommodate the ever so slightly larger kick me in the nuts LED. I just laughed to myself, as my girlfriend looked on with a look of bewilderment, when I first tried to fit the LED in its "home". COME ON LED, ARE YOU TO GOOD FOR YOUR HOME? Maybe it was...but I fixed that. The UV LED is really hard to see in this video, I suppose the camera I was using did not pick up the UV very well. The UV is not overwhelming to begin with so it is not surprising. I have said this before, but I will say it once more. If there are any requests to see anything specific, or how I did any of what you see, just let me know!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Last stages before phase II...


These pieces of plastic were the old base for the case. (ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US!)
Anyhow, they need to be modified HEAVILY for the bottom mounted fan and casters to fit. Out came the dremel and my trusty Daisy safety glasses that I got with my pellet gun. Funny thing, I was 99.99 percent done and I noticed that I miss a bit to dremel, so I figure this will take one sec, no need for safety glasses, and just as I was mid thought saying that in my head a molten piece of plastic flew into the corner of my eye. IT DID NOT FEEL AWESOME. Wear the stupid glasses, unless you want to look like a pirate one day...

Here you can see that putting the original base on make a big difference ascetically. It was worth the extra work to get it to fit back on there.

This is the serendipitous part of the build were I ordered the wrong size fan, but ended up being a great idea starer for another mod. I meant to order a 120mm fan from xoxide.com but instead ordered a 80mm fan. I was very confused when I opened the package when it had arrived. I figured what the hell I might use it on something in the build, and I was right...



I really do not like keeping accessories in the the accessories box, so I was determined to make this one vestigial part of my case into a feature of the build as well.

The exposed nut securing the fan needed to be dressed up a bit. That is were some spay painted contact paper came in..


Here are some shots of it all put together. I really was happy with the outcome overall.


Not really mentioned in detail at all, is the toggle switch I mounted in the box as well. This will control the cold cathode lights.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Coming together....

Here the caster were held in place temporary with these weird bolts I had found in my stash. I have lots of screws and nuts that I will probably never use, but then again I probably thought that of these very nuts/bolts.


That black and white nexus fan look downright tasty! I am really liking the look of the black and white. I really is giving the case a certain level of chicness not commonly found in a computer case. On that note, why is it that so many of out everyday items are made without any soul? Like TV, cell phones, computers so on and so forth. This has never been brought us anyway that I can tell, but computer modding is a craft. It encompasses both the realms of function and art. I suppose that is why it is so badass.


I know a lot of people would have me cut out the fan grill, but I really like the way it contrasts with the white fan, and gives a deeper level of detail to an otherwise straight forward black and white case. Now that I am putting it together, the case looks like it should have been this way from the start. It looks so natural, that some people that do not know what I started with would never have thought that I had done anything at all to it. I think that is the pinnacle of what I am trying to accomplish here with my modding, and will be my calling card so to speak. I hope down the road, many many build from now, people will be able to recognize my work on sight.

The casters now have proper non-weird ass bolts and nuts. I just have a few concerns with the new caster mounting spots interfering with the hard drive cage mounting points. I guess I will deal with that when it comes.


video

This video is just a quick walk around the case. The last shot is of the hole I drilled for the bottom mounted fan, and the grommet I inserted for the wire.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Grommet Edging ( I know it is a shitty title)


Just found a source for grommet striping. It is the same thing as "u-channel" or "c-stripping". Being as I will need a lot of this stuff for modding, I did not want to pay the premium for getting it in 6 foot lengths. I can get 100 feet for about 32 bucks. It is the difference of paying $1.50 a foot from mnpctech not including shipping, and paying 32 freaking cents a foot, including shipping! If anyone wants the source, just let me know. I do not think mnpctech is ripping people off, but if I want to still have money for parts I have to buy smart.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Moving on to more technological pastures

During my move to my new apartment, working on my project won't be really possible, but I do not want to leave you hanging. I am going to try and post ideas, links, and some of my favorite sources for parts.

Since LEDs are the current topic, I will share my source for them. Unfortunately, they kinda dropped the ball on having the 1.8mm white diffused LED, but they have most anything you will need in the LED department. Great thing about them, it they sell individually, and have price breaks at higher quantities that are reasonable. It can really save you some cash, if you avoid radio shack at all costs. A white LED at the shack will set you back like 5 bucks!! That is just stupid. I am sure there are more good sources for LEDs, but this is what I use most.

http://www.unique-leds.com/

If you could not tell already, case fans get me pretty randy. So far, most of the build I have used xoxide.com. They have decent pricing, and since they are local, they don't rape me on shipping charges. I had an issue with one of there sleaving kits, and their customer service refunded me in full! I did not even have to ship it back. That is what I call excellent customer service, and becasue they are so great I am a retuning customer.

Funny enough, most of my sourcing is done at Home Depot or Loews. They have tons of usefull modding stuff. The coolest find, I think was liquid tape. It is awesome for protecting bare wires, and is a great tool in my arsenel. Just make sure you pick up the black kind, casue they have red as well. That is, unless that is the look your going for.