The Norco RPC-4020 build - final part.
Part 1: Dealt with the arrival of the chassis, its unboxing, and documenting its nooks and crannies by way of digital photography using a Canon SD700IS camera. Thumbs and links to higher resolution shots were posted.
Part 2: Enumerated each piece of hardware which would go inside the chassis. No pics posted in this part.
Part 3 (this part): Details the construction, with appropriate along-the-way build steps.
ONWARD!Stage 1 - the slimline optical drive.
The slimline optical drive
to be installed in the 4020, along with the requisite notebook connection adapter
A somewhat blurry shot of the back of the optical drive, revealing why an adapter is needed.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...m_optical3.jpg
The other end of the adapter. It contains a 2-wire molex male part and a standard SATA connector.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...m_optical5.jpg
The optical drive clicks into place by way of the retention tabs.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...m_optical6.jpg
Fully installed and fastened with an eyeglass screw. Just needs to be connected to the PSU and motherboard.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...m_optical7.jpg
The optical drive cover plate when removed. Probably best to keep this stored someplace.Stage 2 - the power supply unit.
NOTE - I have since replaced this with the Corsair 1000HX. See pics on page 4 of this thread.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...llrez/PSU1.jpg
The Silverstone SST-ST75F modular 750 watt unit. Has already seen some action, so I know it's good.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...llrez/PSU2.jpg
The power rating of the unit. Should be able to tackle the Norco just fine.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...llrez/PSU3.jpg
Where all the power leads come together. I'll be using the EPS 8-pin, 24-pin main power, 10-pin SATA power, and all four 4-PIN IDE outs. I WON'T need the AUX 6-pin, ATX 4-pin, nor any of the PCI-E 6-pin outs.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...llrez/PSU4.jpg
The Silverstone is first attached to this mounting plate using a standard 4-screw set. The plate is keyed via the screwholes, so you can't make a mistake.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...llrez/PSU5.jpg
The entire assembly is then attached in this manner, with the PSU fan facing the bottom
And here is the unit fully screwed down.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...llrez/PSU7.jpg
Another shot of the Silverstone. You can see how incredibly beneficial it was to place the PSU here rather than the other side of the case, as this is the closest it will ever be to the molex cluster on the backplane.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...llrez/PSU8.jpg
However, note that the PSU is suspended a bit from the bottom of the chassis. Care should be taken to ensure that all screws are tightly wound, as those screws will be the only parts keeping the unit in-place and stable.
More shots of the attached power wiring to come. Until then...Stage 3 - the motherboard, memory, and videocard.
What's gonna run this puppy? A Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P, that's what!http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...oard_tray1.jpg
A shot of the full expanse of the motherboard area, with standoffs. I was a bit disappointed that the "default" standoffs weren't machined as part of the case. I had to tighten all of them and went ahead and added the three extra included with the accessory bundle.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...therboard2.jpg
The motherboard fully seated in the tray area (I/O shield already in place).http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...therboard3.jpg
A close-up of the screwed-down motherboard. Notice the extremely low-profile Dynatron CPU cooler. I originally had a bad-ass Tuniq Tower 120, but the weight of the thing coupled with its uncanny ability to slice and dice my fingers whenever I got near it led me to the Dynatron. Which can get very, VERY LOUD on its own, but can also be dialed back for a more sensible noise level.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ooler_CPU1.jpg
A close-up of the Dynatron CPU cooler. After using one of these, I don't think I'll ever go back to skyscraper-like coolers.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ez/memory1.jpg
The G.Skill PC2-8000 2x4 gig set (F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ).http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...videocard1.jpg
At this point, I should document the videocard which'll be used - a Gigabyte HD4670 w/1 Gig of GDDR3 RAM. I chose this card very carefully and deliberately, as it has a shortened design, which won't interfere with any DIMM slots. It also requires no PCI-E power lead (it's powered by the bus itself). And it's still plenty fast, even for today's graphic-intensive games.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...therboard4.jpg
Another shot of the motherboard installed, this time with the videocard inserted. If you look carefully, you can see that it does not impact with any of the DIMM slots.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...therboard5.jpg
A 3/4 shot of the motherboard. This pic yields a better angle of the videocard in relationship to the DIMM slots.Stage 4 - drives and final assembly.
My OS drive, a lowly Raptor X 150 gig (the one with the cool window for which I'll now have no use).http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...drives_os2.jpg
Going into the OS cage (front shot).http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...drives_os3.jpg
Another shot of the OS case (rear shot).http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...drives_os4.jpg
Installing the cage with the OS drive.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...drives_os5.jpg
A rear shot of the cage installed. The back of the drive is almost even with the backplane. One nice feature of this particular model Raptor is that it contains both SATA and molex power adapters.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...s_storage1.jpg
The first two 1 TB Caviar Blacks to be installed. I've since ordered six more.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...s_storage2.jpg
Inserting the drive into the tray.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...s_storage3.jpg
Screwing the drive down. I went ahead and used all four. I haven't counted them, but I believe Norco provides enough screws to use four per drive tray.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco..._replaced1.jpghttp://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco..._replaced2.jpghttp://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco..._replaced3.jpg
Several shots of the fan assembly installed and its spatial relation to the OS and slimline drives, the motherboard, and PSU. It's not very clear, but in the last shot you can see how short a run it'll be from the PSU to the backplane molex cluster. There are cutouts below each fan for cable threading (see unboxing pics).http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...therboard6.jpg
Beginning to wire to the motherboard. I tried something fancy with the fans, but that didn't really work out (remember, this was a late night build).http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ssembling2.jpg
ATTEMPT #1 at fully wiring everything. This turned out pretty disastrous. This is where I made the glaring errors mentioned in a subsequent post. I also didn't bother to bind any of the SATA cables together, so it wound-up looking like a spaghetti mess. Note, however, the extremely intelligent placement of the PSU relative to the molex cluster AND the motherboard connectors. This is part of what drove me away from the RPC-3116, since the PSU is positioned on the other side and would've required criss-crossing everything.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ssembling3.jpg
The spaghetti mess in glorious close-up. Ugh!http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ssembling4.jpg
A better shot of the fan assembly and backplane. Still not connected correctly, though. Learn from my mistakes!http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ssembling5.jpg
Ah, now THIS is more like it. The back fans are now connected correctly and I'm attaching molexes and SATA leads in a bottom-to-top fashion.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ssembling6.jpg
My ghetto attempt at multilane connectors. Hey, it worked!http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ssembling7.jpg
Another shot highlighting the fan assembly and backplane. The unpopulated molexes will be used via the previously documented molex-to-SATA adapters from Cool Drives. I fear, though, that I'll have to remove the fan in order to accommodate the adapters.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...ssembling8.jpg
Everything ready to rock. The unused front wires jammed between the optical and OS cage are for NIC activity (two total).http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco.../completed.jpg
A fuzzy shot of the completed build, in a tower-like orientation. The two blue activity lights are lit as the 1 TB Caviars are being long formatted.http://www.awfulbooks.com/eBay/Norco...screenshot.jpg
The Windows 7 disk management screen. The two Caviars are Disks 1 & 2 (14% and 13% formatted, respectively).
If there're any gripes I might have, it's with the cramped space between the fan assembly and the backplane. I think Norco needs to rethink that part of the design and provide a little more finger room. Even just a few millimeters further apart would help tremendously.
And that's it! I hope you enjoyed this pictorial odyssey. I think the 4020 is, generally speaking, well worth the almost $300 MSRP. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Now, go build one!