Computers and Mods

It’s been a year

I can’t believe that Plague has been churning away for a year, hosting! In a totally unintentional celebration of that event, I’ve replaced the storage on this drive with something a bit more modern, replacing the LVD-80 drives with Ultra-160 drives and adding a ton more storage. I’ve also taken the opportunity to ditch Windows Server 2000 and replaced it with Windows Server 2003.

Currently the drives are set up with two 18 gig drives in RAID-1 storing the main system files, applications and data, a 9 gig drive to hold the Windows 2003 CD-ROM image, the swap file and temp directories. The last 80 gig drive will be used purely for storage and ftp access for replaceable data like patches and other sharable data.

There’s still a ton of work to be done to get this server back where it was before the upgrade, but it should shake itself out over the next couple of days.

Current Specs/Stats:

Supermicro SC822I-400RC 2U Server case with 400w PSU
AMD Athlon XP 1600+ (1.4GHz) Processor
Thermaltake Slim Volcano 8 SE Heatsink
Soyo K7v EM-PRO Motherboard (with integrated Video, LAN, Audio)

768 MB PC133 Crucial RAM (1x 256, 1x 512)
Adaptec SCSI RAID 2100s controller
2x Quantum Atlas II U-160 10,000rpm 18gb SCSI drives in RAID-1
Quantum Atlas II U-160 10,000rpm 9gb SCSI drive
Quantum Atlas V 10kII 10,000rpm U160 80gb SCSI Drive
Slimline 56x CD-ROM

A machine for my mom using an acrylic PC case

My mom asked me to build her a new PC and I decided to put it into an acrylic PC case to liven things up.

Where I rock

Once upon a time there was a “Where I rock” thread on [H]ardOCP, so I took these pictures of my manland.


LAN Party Time!

I’m prepping manland to have the fellas over so the five of us can drink beer and shoot each other in the comfort of my own home. Two PCs and three laptops over low latency gigE to my local Devastation Quake server will give us the gibs goodness…


My humble network.



My DSL connection to the outside world.



The gigabit “core”.



Additional ports for the laptops.


Manland set up and ready to go.

Locust water cooling

A while ago I was messing around with some unused water cooling parts and decided to build a poor man’s Koolance Exos. One the one hand, it cost me less than $5 to build (since I had the water cooling parts handy) so the “poor man” bit was correct, but as far as performing like the Exos, Heh heh heh…


The $5 reservoir. Made from a plastic jar from Tap Plastic, two 1/2″ OD PVC barbs with threads for two PVC nuts. Add some silicone sealant and let dry.



The radiator – an oil cooler from an Acura, I think it was.



View from the side. I took out the elbow joints because they restrict flow. I originally had placed them to avoid kinking, but when I get this hardware (or something like it) into a rig, I’ll probably use some Swiftech coolsleeves to prevent kinking instead.


The ad-hoc setup.




The poor-man’s Exos in operation. What a waste. Heh. It’s quiet and keeps things cold. That’s about it.

Headcrash Hardware

Current Specs/Stats:

MSI K7D Master-L Motherboard
Dual AMD MP 2000+ (1.67GHz) Processors
Kingston 512MB PC2100 ECC Registered DDR
Diamond Viper v770 Ultra TNT2 32mb Video Card
4x Quantum Atlas IV Ultra-160 9.1 GB 7200 RPM SCSI HD
2x Quantum Atlas 10kII Ultra-160 9GB 10,000 RPM SCSI HD
Compaq 5304-128 Smart Array Controller with 128mb Cache
Aopen HX08 Full Tower Case
Enermax 465W Power Supply
20x CD-ROM
3 120mm Vantec Stealth fans
1 120mm Global fan
2 80mm Panaflo L1A fans
4-port Baybus

New hardware for Headcrash

Headcrash received some new hardware and a system wipe so I could install a fresh copy of Windows 2003 Server on it. It’s now serving as a test bed for various applications and experiments, like running IIS and Apache on two IP addresses on the same box with Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and MySQL databases on the back end.

It will also be running Quake ][ Devastation, Quake ]|[ Urban Terror and Counter Strike when the fellas come over…

I ran another benchmark series on the RAID-5 array connected to the 5304 RAID Controller that’s now running at 64-bit 66MHz goodness in its extended PCI slot on the new motherboard:

The thing runs 25% faster than it did on the other motherboard. It hauls ass, I tell ya.

The Dually PIII system was getting a little long in the tooth, so I decided to replace it with a dually AMD system. I had a minimal budget for this setup so I had to do it on the cheap, which included many weeks getting outbid on eBay in order to collect the parts.


Headcrash as it existed before the upgrade, with the Tyan Tiger PIII Dually motherboard and six U-160 SCSI drives on two channels.




Pulling out the motherboard tray. The Compaq 5304 board fits into a regular 32-bit 33MHz PCI slot, but really dangles off the end, doesn’t it?


The old Tyan motherboard, stripped of everything except RAM and the processors prior to sale.




The obligatory goody stack shot. Motherboard, processors, heat sinks and RAM.




Mmmmm…. shiny.



Mmmmm… goodies.




The new MSI K7D Master-L motherboard with integrated AC97 audio, Intel 10/100 LAN and spiffy red PCB. The two long slots are the 64-bit/66MHz PCI slots, the new home to the 5304 RAID controller. Running that thing at full speed instead of on a 33MHz 32-bit PCI slot should do wonders for hard drive performance.




The two MP 2000+ processors, acquired for pennies on the dollar. Thank you eBay!



Processors in their sockets.



One stick of Kingston PC2100 Registered ECC DDR SDRAM. I’m not overclocking this rig (SCSI controllers don’t like to be overclocked) so I went for solid error-correcting RAM instead of overclockable PC2400 or PC2700.




The Speeze FalconRock CPU Cooler Model 5F286B. $25 a pair off of newegg.



The motherboard mounted in the HX08 motherboard tray with RAM, processors and heatsinks installed.



Adding the ASUS v770 TNT2 video card.



The full-length Compaq Smart Array 5304 controller with 128MB batter-backed cache. It takes full advantage of 66MHz 64-bit extended PCI slots for all kinds of disk I/O performance goodness.




The 5304 card installed in the full-length slot. It still hangs over the end…




Another shot of the 5304. It almost perfectly blocks access to the two IDE ports.




Adding the 4-port USB 2.0 expansion card.




A back shot of the motherboard tray installed in the case. I left the empty PCI slots coverless to allow air to flow past the cards and out of the case.



The new Headcrash. It still needs some wiring and ribbon routing work, but it’s up and running Wn2k3 server. two drives for system and swap files, four drives for RAID-5 storage.



December Devastation Monthly Summary

Although I haven’t been playing much due to real life constraints, it looks like the server still sees some action, which makes me happy. Kudos to 0megaMan[APE] for getting the highest cumulative score for December, and to Ent for maintaining the highest map average score.

Player Devs Des Grunts Frags Frags Frags Maps
Name Score Killed Killed Killed with Dev with Des with Grunt Played
0megaMan[APE] 77 8 0 49 39 0 38 11
Ent 52 3 0 47 37 0 15 4
OutCa$t[APE] 34 4 0 19 14 0 20 5
neon_24<VP> 25 3 0 10 10 0 15 5
USA_H_eckel 10 2 0 0 0 0 10 1
Ace Hole 5 0 0 5 5 0 0 1
Ent<VP> 5 1 0 0 0 0 5 1


Map Devs Des Grunts Frags Frags Frags
Averages Score Killed Killed Killed with Dev with Des with Grunt
Ent 13 1 0 12 9 0 4
USA_H_eckel 10 2 0 0 0 0 10
0megaMan[APE] 7 1 0 4 4 0 3
OutCa$t[APE] 7 1 0 4 3 0 4
neon_24<VP> 5 1 0 2 2 0 3
Ace Hole 5 0 0 5 5 0 0
Ent<VP> 5 1 0 0 0 0 5

Earthquake Current Hardware

I replaced the 60gb IDE Drive with a 10,000 rpm Quantum Atlas 10k II Ultra-160 SCSI drive to boost performance. The drive is a bit noisier, but the seek times and I/O on the thing more than make up for it.

I think the 60gb IDE drive will go into Locust, replacing the 15gb drive, which will go into a test box running FreeBSD. Details to follow (someday).

Current Hardware:

AMD Athlon XP 2000+
Asus A7v266-E Motherboard


ATI RADEON 8500LE 64mb video card
768MB Crucial PC2100 DDR RAM (1x 256 1x 512)
SoundBlaster Live! value sound card
Adaptec AHA-19160 SCSI Controller
2x Quantum Atlas 10000RPM 18GB Ultra-160 SCSI hard drives
Quantum Atlas 10k II Ultra-160 SCSI Hard Drive
Artec WRA-WA48 CD-RW
1.44″ Floppy drive
MIDIman/M-Audio Delta-44 PCI Analog Recording Interface
Custom Pine Full Tower Case
Zalman Copper Cooler HSF
Enermax 365w PSU
HP SureStore 12/24GB SCSI Tape Backup

Locust current hardware


Custom built laminated pine wood case
Antec 300w PSU
ASUS A7v266 Motherboard

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ processor
Zalman CNPS6000-Cu Heatsink (with 92mm fan)
256MB Generic PC2100 DDR RAM
Creative SoundBlaster PCI 16 sound card
Adaptec AHA2940U2 SCSI Controller
Intel PRO/100B NIC
56x Artec CD-ROM
ASUS 64mb v8200 GeForce3
IBM DDRS-39130D SCSI Drive 9GB 7200rpm ULTRA2-LVD
Seagate ST34502LW SCSI Drive 4.5gb 10k RPM
Western Digital WD200 20GB EIDE Hard Drive
2x 120mm Global Win fans (87 cfm)