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Thread: Michael's Christmas Present The 5 day build

  1. #1

    Michael's Christmas Present The 5 day build

    I set out to build my son the best possible computer I could afford as his Christmas present.
    He, like me, has an insane curiousity for computers and their capability. So for his Christmas present I set out to build him a present he would get to enjoy and most likely would be the building block for the rest of his life. The only problem was I had gotten called back to work at the local refinery (thank goodness) and I was also getting a stream of computer repair jobs all at the same time.
    Some of the parts I had already purchased but where was I going to find time to build it? As luck would have it, I was able to manage the build in only 5 days with the help of a friend.
    Our work schedule was 10 hour days, 4 days a week. It sounds easy enough unless you're working construction and you come home feeling as though you were running the NY marathon every day.
    In 5 days I managed to build one of the most kick butt systems I've ever had the fortune to participate in.

    Because of the time constraint I didn't have time to make a worklog per say but I'll relay what i can as it happened in a somewhat timeline fashion.

  2. #2

    Michael's Christmas Present The 5 day build

    The case used was my first build using an Asus A8N32-SLI Deluxe mobo and an Opteron dual processor.

    Knowing that system was becoming long in the tooth I had to decide on something that was bigger, better and definitely faster.
    The motherboard would be another Asus but this time with a Quad-Core processor and why not go with what I deem as the best? The AMD 965 Black Edition!
    Motherboard was an Asus M4A785TD- V EVO.

    He wanted the Naruto theme which is a japanese Anime character. I wouldn't have time to do any detail work to it so it would at least be a starting point to set the theme colors and then move on from there later. Orange and blue are the most pronounced colors so that's how it began.

    The motherboard and processor were purchased on the same day from CompUSA and the CPU cooler was a CoolerMaster TX2 with dual fans in a push/pull configuration using Artic Silver thermalpaste.

  3. #3

    Michael's Christmas Present The 5 day build

    The fans would again be the same ones I used for my build because they're super efficient, cheap and are extremely quiet. CoolerMaster Sickle blade 2000 RPM @ 90 CFM, 4 of them. Two in front, one in the rear and one on the side window.

    Fans for the CPU cooler were a MassCool and the stock CoolerMaster black. The top fan recieved a small Crossbones and skeleton head which wasn't in the overall theme but a good quick bling item.

  4. #4

    Michael's Christmas Present The 5 day build

    Since I only had 5 days until Christmas I wasn't sure if I would be able to pull it off in time but i began working 14 hours a day on it in order to meet the timeline. The most difficult part of the deadline was the paint, the build would be another issue.

    Fortunately having some patience and skill to multi-task worked out. Along with a couple spray cans and a heat gun I was able to cure each part using heat and cold along with some wet sanding skills that are progressively getting better. The trick was to get the metal to heat up enough to cure the base coats but yet give it time to cure properly so the paint would adhere and not chip or peel from the top. It was very precarious but I managed it somehow.

  5. #5

    Michael's Christmas Present The 5 day build

    I was determined to leave some of the parts black because the trim effect would make the orange stand out better. Along with my buddy Joe, we had the interior built within a day but I still had to do at least some cable management. Not quite up to what I would have liked but functionality here was more important given the deadline.
    At first I thought about cutting out the whole left side window but the ability to have an extra exhaust fan far outweighed the aesthetics knowing this machine would also be overclocked.

    For those who think simply painting a box and building the insides is easy, think again. To be able to mod the top a little to make it more functional took two days in itself. I had to rewire the top fan strip the screen down some and find the two mystery screws and tabs in the front. The hotglue everythign so it stayed in place where it needed to be.

  6. #6

    Michael's Christmas Present The 5 day build

    The additional cooling would be useful without some variable functionality so an NZXT Sentry II was used to add some ownership control cooling factor. The RAM would be Corsair Dominator in blue so it did keep with the theme there as well.

    The surprise though would be my first attempt (thanks to Vashant) at installing an SSD to hold the OS. Joe and I overclocked the motherboard and processor from the stock 3.4 GHZ to a modest 4.17 Ghz on air and then got the SSD loaded up with Windows 7 Ultimate x64. To say it's fast is not doing it justice, this thing runs wicked! We got everything loaded on it including security programs and were amazed at how fast it handled startup, shutdown and running apps. From the time you press the start button (because of Express Gate) you can be on the Internet in just 4 seconds. Not 4 seconds after the OS loads, I mean 4 seconds after you press the button, period!

  7. #7

    Michael's Christmas Present The 5 day build

    The cable management leaves much to be desired but considering I had 5 days to build it in an area about 5' by 6', I was still excited about the results. And I was able to deliver it to him Christmas morning after working on it until 3 am and getting about 2 hours sleep in a 48 hours time period.
    It kicks my computers butt hands down in speed too.

    Whenever he gets some downtime (if ever) I will go back over the wiring to make it look a little more suitable. And I have plans to put the Naruto character on the right side at a later date when I get the time and money.
    It also features an Ati 5560 GPU, a 650W Corsair PSU and a 22.5" Asus HDMI monitor.

    To see the look on his face after we got it powered up was priceless and made my Christmas the most memorable ever.

  8. #8
    Wet Sanded XcaliburFX's Avatar
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    Michael's Christmas Present The 5 day build

    Good job buddy, heck of a nice Christmas present that I am sure he will enjoy and cherish for a long time.

  9. #9

    Michael's Christmas Present The 5 day build

    Thanks Xcal. He's usually very mild and low key but it was easy to see the excitement in him when he saw me carrying it into the house .
    I couldn't believe what a difference the SSD made. I also put in an Antec Hard Drive caddy to give him storage and portability on the HDD should he ever need to change it out or go bigger. The current HDD is a 320 Gb WD @7200RPM so that should get him by.

  10. #10

    Michael's Christmas Present The 5 day build

    Glad your son loved it as it looks great.

    As for the wire management, if your son is young enough ( 8 - 15yrs ) I wouldn't even worry about it as him and his friends would probably get more of a coolness kind of kick out of seeing the wires run everywhere and everything connected one way or another. It is usually the modders and system builders that take pleasure in a clean wiring job.

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