Alx9r's Hybrid Core Hardware Setup

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Alx9r's Sample Setup
System Diagram


With all of the parts in hand except for the SPDIF-OUT/OPT I tackled the build. Assembly took about 3 1/2 hours. It probably would have been quicker, but those hours were around midnight. There was enough room for all the ports on the backpanel -- I'm using 7 of 8 slots in the case, and both PCI slots on the motherboard (2nd ethernet, tv tuner). I was surprised at how good the optical drive looks in the case. The finished look is achieved by a piece of aluminum extrusion that is brushed and anodized to match the front panel that is double-face-taped to the drive tray. I was expecting a struggle to get the door to align with the case well enough to look good, but it looks pretty nice on the first try. Maybe I just got lucky. Regardless, I'm happy with the front panel.

There were only two things that I didn't like about this kit:

  1. The Scythe Mini Ninja Heatsink is so big that it obstructs access to much of the motherboard (put this guy in last). The real problem is that one of the clips that hold the heat sink in place is adjacent the side of the case and underneath the heatsink. This makes it a bit of a challenge to get the heat sink clipped in place. The clips themselves don't provide nearly as positive retention as the stock AMD heatsink. It does seem to be providing adequate cooling although I haven't stress tested this setup yet.
  2. The ATX12V 4-pin socket is on the corner of the motherboard furthest from the power supply. The power supply is barely long enough to reach, which eliminates the possibility of doing a nice routing job with that cable.

The Lascala case is very nice. I'm sure there are even nicer-looking cases out there, but I picked mine up for only $130 so I am very happy with it.

With the case open the noise from the case and power supply fans is definitely noticeable. On the other hand, at about 4 feet they were quieter than my refrigerator at 20 feet. I don't suspect this will be an issue, but the fans were louder than I was expecting from the various case and power supply reviews I had read.

The other thing I liked was that the Silverstone Lascala case and M2NPV-VN motherboard seemed to be made for one another. All of the frontpanel ports had a place to plug into on the motherboard, and there were just enough slots in the case to accomodate all of the breakout boards. The CPU socket located perfectly so that the two quiet 80mm case fans draw air directly over the heat sink.

I was happy to see room for 6 hard drives in the Lascala case.

Hardware Testing

Once the kit was assembled, I connected a mouse, keyboard, and an old Dell CRT via a VGA cable and pressed the power button. Nothing happened. I narrowed the problem down in a few minutes to the power button on the case. I swapped the power and reset cables and it fired up when I pressed the reset button. I'll investigate the DOA power button later.

The system hung during POST complaining of a failed CPU fan. I have no CPU fan, so it took a quick trip into the BIOS to disable that warning.

I ran the Memtest 86+ tool on the stresslinux boot disk for 7 hours with no errors. The "stress" option would not boot, so I haven't performed a processor stress test yet. I also ran the Hitachi Drive Fitness Test from its own boot disk. It also produced no errors. So far so good.

BIOS Tweaks

I made the following adjustments to the BIOS:

  • set Power=>HardWare Monitor=>CPU Fan Speed Warning to disabled (otherwise the system hung at boot complaining that the CPU fan isn't spinning)
  • set Advanced=>Chipset=>frame buffer size 128MB RAM (otherwise the system seems to bog down in some configurations)
  • set Power=>APM Configuration=>HPET Support to disabled (otherwise I got endless "rtc: lost some interrupts at 1024Hz" in the kernel's message buffer)


Alx9r's Sample Setup
Materials Network Gear · Hybrid Core (living room) · AV Gear (living room) · Orbiters · Glue
Preparation Router Setup · Aquos TV Power-on
Hybrid Core pre-LinuxMCE Setup Assembly · BIOS Tweaks · Hardware Testing · NAS Media Drive Setup
Hybrid Core LinuxMCE Installation Bare-metal Install · AV Wizard · Sarah (Setup Wizard) · Special Steps · PVR-150 Remote · Aquos TV · Denon Receiver · Media Drive Setup · Laptop Orbiter · Webpad Orbiter
Hybrid Core Additional Software Bittorrent · Synergy
Toolkit Laptop · telnet/ssh client · Remote Mouse and Keyboard · Partition Tools
Design Rationale Network Topology · NAS