June 7th, 2005

New Toys

While I was back stateside this time I decommissioned a couple of old servers that were no longer needed. One of them was an old PC and it's still just barely usable, so I threw the motherboard, video, and network cards in my suitcase and brought it over. I've been wanting to play with Asterisk, so I figured I could use it for that. Except I wasn't about to haul the whole damn case over here. Which means I needed to buy a new one.

When doing computer upgrades, it's often most effective to upgrade your best computer and then use the hand me downs for the other system you wanted to build. I'd had my eyes on Lian Li (聯力) cases for a while, but I'd been too cheap to pay the extra markup for one. But I'd had to do a lot of work to get proper cooling in my old case, so I figured it was worth it to actual get something decently designed. Looking around, I figured that their PC-61 model was optimal for me:

It's an all-aluminum case with black exterior, a slideout motherboard tray, 4x5.25" drives, 3x3.5" drives accessible and 5x3.5" drives internal. Has 2 front panel fans that blow over the internal 5 disk hard drive tray, one rear exhaust fan, and one top exhaust fan. It has a lot of nice touches that make it easy to use, like thumbscrews for most things, a slideout hard disk tray, and a pigtail for the front panel switches/leds to make it easy to wire up the pigtail with the motherboard tray out of the case, and then just snap it on to the main cable once you put it together. It also looks really cool.

(I had drooled over the PC-V1000B a bit too, but that's expensive even by their standards.)

Lian Li cases don't come with power supplies like many other cases do. Probably a good thing too, because most power supplies included in cases are really really cheap crud. It's been a while since I looked at power supplies, but looking at locally available brands, the ones from Seasonic seem to get good reviews. I landed on the S12-430 as my choice:

It took a few hours to move everything over, but it's mostly done now. I need to get another drive cover since it only comes with one, and I have two optical drives, but otherwise it's pretty much set. Another minor problem is that the front panel audio cable is about 1.5 inches too short to reach the header on my motherboard. I blame my motherboard more than the case though. Who the hell thought it would be a good idea to put the *front* audio connector way at the top back of the motherboard? Duh! It's a standard IDC10 connector, so I should be able to cobble something up. The other problem is that the front panel Firewire cable is an IDC connector instead of the Firewire 6-pin connector, and my Firewire board only has the latter. Not sure what I'll do about that yet. But overall, very pleased with the new case. Seems like I'm only getting black computers these days though.