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Tuesday, 1 February 2005

Antec P160 [Lurks]

I thought I was being clever. How unlike me, I hear you all cry. Bastards. Anyhow, I was being clever because I had a Reserator as previously mentioned and a small mini tower Lian-Li case. The problem is because the pipes coming off the monster water block were one thing but mini towers have the PSU annoying over the CPU and there wasn't enough space. So I had to demolish the PSU and remove the inner cover and the second fan.
This worked well enough but the PSU got hot enough that it really ramped up the single remaining fan speed until it made quite a racket. Then, a few months later, it died completely. Doubless due to dust and overheating. Dammit, said I, I'm going to have to get a full tower case and a new PSU!
I was chatting to a tech ed on one of the UK mags and he said the Antec P160 is the dogs and we both agreed that propably a Zalman 400W quiet fan-based PSU is a better bet than one of the uber expensive completely fanless ones. He also recommended overclock.co.uk as opposed to those evil forum account deleting bastards at overclockers (no link for you, scumbags!). Both were in plenty of stock, placed order, turned up promptly and I rebuilt the machine last night.
Wow, what a superb case. Of course it would want to be for the ninja dosh it's worth but boy it's well made. Proper internal sideways drive bays with little rubber suspension feed made a good deal of impact on the noisy Raptor 74GB games drive. I love the twist lock handles on the side panel for easy access and the way all the screws and everything you need are provided. Sensibly it also has USB and Firewire ports up top on the front panel, which strikes me as much more sensible since you generally put PCs on the floor right?
The top bezel even has a dual temperature monitor (probes inside the case) that cycles both the temperatures, and it has audio jacks. The interesting thing is the entire bezel swivels to point either forwards or up for even better access. Having a couple of USB jacks exposed like that is great. There's a really big slow moving rear fan provided which is just the ticket for air cooled systems although I left it disconnected because you could still hear it (my rig is silent). There's some sort of naff looking chrome stuff going on with the front panel and some blue LEDs shining on the front vent (washable air filter) but the chrome doesn't look too bad and you can simply disconnect the blue lights.
It does strike me as silly that I have to go for such a large case just to get the damn CPU free of the power supply. I've only got an AGP card, one optical and two hard drives so there's a lot of air in there. The Zalman PSU is seriously inaudible even with a 3.8GHz P4 Prescott belting along with an X800XT in games.
One nifty thing; I took one of the thermal sensors and stuck it to the feed water pipe (flowing into the case) and wrapped a bit of foam about it. So my digital temp mon sensor nicely tells me the temperature of the water flowing from the reserator. The other one I taped to the north bridge where it shows off a hellishly toasty 65C or so (quite normal).
All in all, very nice case and amazingly light for the size. My gaming system is back to being essentially silent and I'm confident it'll go the distance this time around. Might need a bigger car for the next LAN though...

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