Zalman HD501 Build Thread: Pics & Impressions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 07-14-2011, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
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This thread will detail my build in a Zalman HD501 HTPC case. The entire photostream can be found here and specific images will be posted into the thread. I will be coming back to the first posts to update them as progress is made.

I will respond to any and all questions regarding any of the hardware used in this build and take measurements/photos per request.
I'd like to pass along thanks to both renethx and assassin as the mass of content in their threads along with their guides is a huge help to this community.

Component list:
  • Case: Zalman HD501
  • CPU: Intel Core-i5 2500k SNB 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost)
  • Heatsink: Noctua NH-C12P SE14 140mm SSO CPU Cooler
  • Mobo: Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD4 LGA1155 Intel Z68 HDMI, SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.0 ATX Motherboard
  • RAM: G.Skill Ripjaw X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 (PC12800) (Model: F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM)
  • PSU: Seasonic SS-560KM Active PFC F3, 560W ATX12V, Modular, 80Plus Gold Certified
  • Boot: Crucial m4 64GB SATA III MLC Internal SSD (Model: CTO64M4SSD2)
  • Media: Samsung EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gp/s Bare Drive
  • Media: Samsung Spinpoint F4EG HD155UI 1.5 TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Bare Drive (2x)
  • Control: Logitech Mini Controller, Thumb-sized keyboard controller for Logitech Revue/Google TV
I’ll jump right into the build because you can probably find all the info on the above at Newegg/Amazon etc. If you have any questions though feel free to ask.


Started by taking everything out of the case. The front panel leads for USB/Audio are incredibly long, enough to go out the back of the PSU slot!


Went to remove the plastic side panels which are required to install the fans (unless you have a dual-arrowhead soft-mount from Acousti or similar, then you could mount from the inside of the case). In removing the side panels I broke off one clip as many state they do and THEN found two (2) screws in the back holding the panels on….which of course is in the manual, but who reads those


Test-fitting the heatsink onto the mobo with RAM installed proved one orientation would NOT work. There is not enough clearance between the heatpipes on the C12P and the taller heat spreaders on the X’s.


If you go to the Picasa web album linked above you can see all of the orientations available in images. I selected the following with the heat pipes facing the top of the mobo (also directly in front of a 12cm exhaust fan).



There are alternate angles of this install showing more than ample clearance between RAM heat spreaders and heatsink fins.

Everything went into the empty case easily, as one would expect. PSU slipped in and I mounted it both possible ways; fan facing the outside case intake or fan facing the inside expansion card area. Per one snippet in the PSU instructions (“In some cases proper orientation will result in the top vented cover of the PSU facing the motherboard”) I decided to install it this way. Do you think it's ok facing inward or should I flip it around?


I taped off the intake vents behind the ODD as they would be covered anyway and thought this might help with airflow control. There is a hot-swap drive bay there but with no room for a fan I’m not sure what help this opening would be for that drive anyway.


There is a VERY tight fit for the main 24 pin ATX power connection to the mobo. I had to pre-bend the wires around the connector and then hold them down while I reinserted the ODD/Hot-swap drive cage. There are no sharp edges to worry about but there is a bit more pressure here then I would like to have.


Slapped the cover back on (had to call it a night) and the fan on the Noctua almost perfectly lines up with the top vent in the case, should provide very nice cool air to blow onto CPU and surrounding components


I took the drive cage to work with me today to modify it slightly. The SATA connections on my mobo are in-plane to the mobo itself which makes all of the cables stick out and requires a nasty kink in the cabling to achieve the bend. I did find and order some left-angle SATA cables which will assist the top-port connection but wanted to allow more room for the bottom which will have to be a straight connector.


That’s it so far, I’m excited to get home and slap a few more things together and install the OS.


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post #2 of 19 Old 07-19-2011, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Updates on the build:
Slower than I would have liked it to progress but it's moving none the less. I also had to re-wire my entire A/V setup last night instead of finishing the HTPC due to wifely feedback about the mess I've been making

The drive cage modification I posted before was not quite enough. I cut more (about tangent to the vent holes in the previous image) which can be seen here, installed with drives. It might be a little hard to see but the lower SATA connection (straight cable) now has bend allowance and is not as tightly kinked as before:


You can see the power hookups for the hot-swap bay in the front. These are VERY tight with this large CPU cooler. Getting the loop of cable between the two molex connectors to NOT swing into the heatsink fins was a lot of workpleased with the result though:



Removed the 2x rear 80mm fans as reviews state they are very loud and with this CPU cooler I thought unnecessary. Best cable routing for the 8 pin CPU power was near those 80mm grills and over the PCIE slots. Overall cable routing ended up like this:


My soft mounts from Acousti just arrived so I'm going to swap out the 1200rpm fans for the 800rpm versions (intake & exhaust), soft mount them, and fill the bare optical drive with some foam I have around for air control. I'm also planning to remount the SSD (in the 2.5 adapter) to the side of the optical drive cage shown in the above image with Velcro to free up another internal drive bay


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post #3 of 19 Old 07-19-2011, 02:46 PM
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Hi Efotonik

nice build

how do you like the Noctua CPU cooler?
noise?
did you try with with straight connection or use the L.N.A or U.L.N.A?

i hope you like the zalman case
but i see something on your picture
you dont use the fan controller on the back of the hotswap rack
if you dont use it you on ly need to connect one Molex connector, the one with "SATA-POWER"
the other is for the fan control

and for the noise with the rear fan
i use mine on fan controller and i put the switch to 5V and ther are very quiet
maybe we dont have the same fan?????

i will follow this post for sure


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post #4 of 19 Old 07-19-2011, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snef View Post

Hi Efotonik

nice build

how do you like the Noctua CPU cooler?
noise?
did you try with with straight connection or use the L.N.A or U.L.N.A?

i hope you like the zalman case
but i see something on your picture
you dont use the fan controller on the back of the hotswap rack
if you dont use it you on ly need to connect one Molex connector, the one with "SATA-POWER"
the other is for the fan control

and for the noise with the rear fan
i use mine on fan controller and i put the switch to 5V and ther are very quiet
maybe we dont have the same fan?????

i will follow this post for sure

Thanks for the nice words snef

I'm really like the Noctua cooler, it's a monster but it's doing its job it seems as tweaking the OS and farting around (basically idle) I'm sitting around 22º-24º C. I'm currently using the straight connection (LNA/ULNA on standby pending stress results).

I have two (2) low speed Scythe fans on top of my AVR to help keep it cool and since they are in the open they are notable louder than the entire HTPC. Living in a condo, w/ a dog, there is plenty of ambient noise....I don't hear the HTPC at all.

Nice catch on the fan controller.
I'm not currently utilizing it, no, but I wanted to power it simply so that I don't have to if I decide to use it later. My final cable routing felt pretty intense and I don't want to have to go through it again if I can avoid it

I never even powered up the 8cm fans on the back so I cannot comment on their noise. I'm using intake by the HDD's and exhaust by the CPU (as well as down-draft CPU cooler). Current idle temps are fantastic and if it loads up just as well I won't add any additional fans.

I'll post a few more final pics tomorrow, soft-mounts for the fans arrived today as well as a few other goodies and my SSD mount.


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post #5 of 19 Old 07-19-2011, 07:53 PM
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Looks like a great build!

Glad I could help you out. Can't wait to see the final pics!!!


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post #6 of 19 Old 07-20-2011, 05:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Looks like a great build!

Glad I could help you out. Can't wait to see the final pics!!!

Thanks for the comments assassin! I definitely appreciate your thread and the number of replies you've given me there while I was deciding on hardware, ordering, and starting to build, thanks!


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post #7 of 19 Old 07-20-2011, 05:50 AM - Thread Starter
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I decided to take the SSD out of the internal drive cage and mount it above the cage instead. I left it in the 2.5” adapter so that I can add a second SSD down the road if I choose w/o having to change the mounting solution.

Hook Velcro on the bottom of the 2.5” plate and loop Velcro on the side of the plate (spacer) and top of the drive cage in the case:





Finished SSD mounting solution:



System in its (current) final state; it’s hard to see but the fan above the CPU now has silicon soft-mounts attaching it to the case. I also added some slab-foam I had around to the empty ODD bay (see above SSD) as an airflow control, possible fringe benefit of some sound absorption but it’s not specific sound foam.

Case looks pretty clean from this angle:



I left the side casing off until I complete stress testing and heat measurements just in case I need to put the 1200rpm fans back in there (800’s in there now for testing, I *think* they should be ok).



Final resting place on the stand, I think it looks good!



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post #8 of 19 Old 07-20-2011, 06:23 AM
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Clean looking case and build! I like it!
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post #9 of 19 Old 07-20-2011, 08:22 AM
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Does that intake you taped up have holes for mounting a 120mm fan?

 

 

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post #10 of 19 Old 07-20-2011, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

Does that intake you taped up have holes for mounting a 120mm fan?

Nope, I could drill some easily enough but the ODD/Hot-swap cage sits too closely to the wall of the case to fit a fan in there (well a 25mm tall fan anyway).
Neither the venting near the PSU or near the ODD have holes for fans. They used the same side panels rotated 180 degrees

You thinking that area might have a use?


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post #11 of 19 Old 07-20-2011, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
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A few installation and temperature updates:

OS installed fine. I used the double-install method detailed in a number of threads here and it worked well. The only issue I ran into is that my mobo only has HDMI output and running to a HDTV (not HD monitor) the image was chopped pretty badly, made reading POST and initial CD selections quite difficult.

OS updated fine but developed the BSOD (black-screen version, not blue) and despite the Prevx fixshell file application. While this is slightly annoying I don't find it crippling, especially since after I get everything setup correctly the system will remain on almost indefinitely

Even with the slower/quieter 800rpm Scythe fans my temps appear to be fine.
Software being used is:
  • CoreTemp v0.99.8
  • IntelBurnTest v2.51
After roughly 30-40 minutes of repeated tests on Maximum (max RAM usage) I'm getting low/high readings as follows:
  • Core #0: 29ºC/55ºC
  • Core #1: 29ºC/59ºC
  • Core #2: 31ºC/60ºC
  • Core #3: 29ºC/56ºC
  • Idle varies 30º-32ºC for all cores

As soon as I get more software loaded and start configuring 7MC I'll slap the sides back on the case and be more or less done!

Any questions or pic requests just let me know.


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post #12 of 19 Old 07-20-2011, 08:33 PM
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Nice build. I do really like the looks of that case.

Will that case handle full height cards, or only low profile?

I'm not sure I fully understand why you needed to do metal surgery though.

That cooler looks like it would cool an overclocked i7-990X.
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post #13 of 19 Old 07-21-2011, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

Nice build. I do really like the looks of that case.

Will that case handle full height cards, or only low profile?

I'm not sure I fully understand why you needed to do metal surgery though.

That cooler looks like it would cool an overclocked i7-990X.

I went with the case almost completely based on looks so I'm certainly with you there

The case will handle full-height cards, max length is stated as 260mm on manufacturer's website.

I didn't end up doing any metal surgery as I had alluded I might earlier. The temps stated in my post above are with the roughly 40CFM fans running and I think they are adequate w/o going through the work of cutting the metal grills off. If noise becomes a concern then I still believe that the removal of the grills will decrease turbulence but it's nearly impossible to tell by how much (and ultimately if that's worth the effort or not).

The cooler is pretty beasty, royal PITA working around it once attached to the mobo.
With the front ODD drive cage removed it's not so bad (case exhaust fan was tough to place and plugin to header) but with the cage in my fingers felt like they were resting on razor blades! I survived...no cuts, just uncomfortable.


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post #14 of 19 Old 07-23-2011, 07:48 AM
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very impresive HTPC looks like you spared no expense.

? 1.do you mostly use a mouse to control it?

?.2. why such a gigantic CPU cooler?

?3.are those small silver boxs next to the earphones external HDDs? if yes how are these connected I see 3 SATA ccables connected to the mother broad I believe to be you'r internal HDDs just curious?

?4.are there 4 doors or covers on this case.

comment:
24 pin ATX power connection I would protect this power connection maybe some plastic cover like the vertical part of the case has just above the wire or at lest double up some good 3m eletrical tape.

STB

 

Samsung PN58C500/Amp: Yamaha RX-V465/Polk DSW1KProSub/DefTECH SM450/C1CC/Pro80/Sony BPX37 BD/Magnavox515HTPC-CPU: I3 550, 3.2 GHz/Mobo: Intel H57/RAM: 6GB DDR3 1333/HDD: 1TB/2TB Internal, 1TB external/Tuner: 1600-950 Haupague/W7 64 OS Remote: Harmony 700
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post #15 of 19 Old 07-24-2011, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevethebrain View Post

very impresive HTPC looks like you spared no expense.

? 1.do you mostly use a mouse to control it?

?.2. why such a gigantic CPU cooler?

?3.are those small silver boxs next to the earphones external HDDs? if yes how are these connected I see 3 SATA ccables connected to the mother broad I believe to be you'r internal HDDs just curious?

?4.are there 4 doors or covers on this case.

comment:
24 pin ATX power connection I would protect this power connection maybe some plastic cover like the vertical part of the case has just above the wire or at lest double up some good 3m eletrical tape.

STB

Thank you, slightly more money this go around compared to college (perhaps more than brains )

a1 - I'm using the Logitech Mini Controller to control the system. I have found it to be extremely useful and functional.

a2 - Why not?
In all honesty I was somewhat limited by the top-down blower style requirement and I wanted a massive fan that turned slowly (quietly). The reviews on this one were good and I talked myself up an additional $10 so consider it a "splurge" I guess. My numbers above at all 4 cores loaded 100% seem pretty good so I'm happy

a3 - I assume you mean in the picture of my A/V stand?
If so yes, they are external HDDs. One is connected through FW and the other through USB as they are older enclosure and those are the ports offered. When I build up a bit more cash I may upgrade to some enclosures supporting USB 3 and/or eSATA.

a4 - I'm a little confused by your question. This case has a removable top lid and the side panels are removable from inside (tabs come through the steel sidewalls). The front fascia is not intended to be removed and there are fixed perimeter walls and floor (only removable wall is "ceiling").

I was initially concerned with this as well but I pre-stressed the cable quite a bit before plugging it in as well as verifying, in the neighborhood of 3-4 times, that the metal has been folded over w/ a decent radius and is quite smooth.
At this point in time I don't see a need to protect this part any further but if I'm missing something please point it out.

Thanks for the questions and comments STB


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post #16 of 19 Old 07-27-2011, 06:35 AM - Thread Starter
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After additional testing with a Kill-A-Watt inline to the wall I've decided to RMA the otherwise lovely X-560. I spoke with Newegg and they are very kindly going to not charge me restocking as long as I buy another Seasonic of equal value (they said give or take a few bucks).

My consumption barely hit 20% even during an Intel Burn Test (which isn't even a representation of real-world usage, it's a lot higher!). I don't have my personal laptop w/ me that had the file on it but I recall idle in the neighborhood of 50W and IBT full load of about 98W.

Edit: Idle on HTPC was 57W after 45 minutes stand-still on desktop, full load was indeed 98W after 30 min IBT.

Interestingly as reference I checked my PS3 (most recent generation w/ 45nm cpu & 40nm gpu) during idle/netflix/gaming and had the following results:
66W Idle
65W Netflix (seriously)
122W gaming

I realize my build isn't nearly as power-efficient as it could be but you still have to hand it to Sony for a pretty solid idle/streaming system.

I'm leaning towards the SS-400FL to maintain excellent efficiency, silence, and quality. With 400W I should still have headroom to install a low/mid-end graphics card down the road if I want to do a little more gaming too.


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post #17 of 19 Old 08-05-2011, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
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PSU Update - I RMA'd the X-560 and "downgraded" to the X-400FL fanless by Seasonic. Same quality, sans fan, 2 fewer SATA power connectors.

When the new unit arrived I was a little stumped on the best orientation to mount the PSU so I shot a note to Seasonic tech assistance and they replied within a minute, literally, asking for my specific case so they could investigate. I forwarded a link to the case at the manufacturer's website and Seasonic again promptly replied telling me to face the vented top cover inwards towards the other components of the case, not outwards where it would face a 12cm fan grill location.
I was a bit surprised by this but the tech said that the air currents created by the fans will be helpful in pulling hot air away from the PSU and any positive air pressure will force it out the back so it was the smarter direction....ok

I also installed a cheap ASUS DVD-R drive instead of the foam block and reinstalled Win 7 to start anew.

I'll take more specific wattage measures once everything is back up and running.


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post #18 of 19 Old 08-05-2011, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by efotonik View Post

Nope, I could drill some easily enough but the ODD/Hot-swap cage sits too closely to the wall of the case to fit a fan in there (well a 25mm tall fan anyway).
Neither the venting near the PSU or near the ODD have holes for fans. They used the same side panels rotated 180 degrees

You thinking that area might have a use?

I make PSU opening covers and thought if it had hole for mounting a fan it'd be pretty easy for me to fashion a 120mm fan cover. It'd look better than the tape.

 

 

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post #19 of 19 Old 08-07-2011, 06:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

I make PSU opening covers and thought if it had hole for mounting a fan it'd be pretty easy for me to fashion a 120mm fan cover. It'd look better than the tape.

I am noticing the tape from the side-view of the case....I think a bit of black paint may solve this particular issue....what kind of cover do you mean?


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