It's been a few months since I lasted posted about my LAN rig, codenamed Project Gryphon. It's been a ongoing process of selecting, building, and using a budget gaming rig meant for LAN parties, MAYA work, and group projects (defined as meetings where we bring in rigs to do work together). Since I started the project back in early May of 2010, I've already run into several snags, from lack of budget funds to hardware failures.

Now with the influx of a bit more cash, I've finalized a list of more parts to replace the ones in the original build. Namely they are as follows:


Original: Linkworld MicroATX Case --- $10 @ Micro Center
New One: Rosewill Destroyer --- $50 @ NewEgg

What's there to say about the old case? It's was still a pain to work with. And I still despise mATX cases for gaming rigs. Too little room to move around in.

New case? It's sweet. Search it up at NewEgg. This is on a short list of future cases for my next home rig build. At $50, it's a grand slam given build quality and design is about 90% of what Antec has done with their own 900/1200 cases.

Power Supply

Original: HEC 500W --- $25 @ NewEgg
New One: Antec Neo 400C 400W --- $45 @ NewEgg

A few months in after some light usage, system started powering on from a cold state randomly. Typically this means, bad PSU and could lead to a bad oversurge thus the chance of frying every component within the case. Obviously first step was to replace the generic PSU with something far more reliable (and more expensive).

Lesson relearned: Still can't trust generic PSUs even to light duty rigs. They probably still can't push more than 350W.


Original: Zotac G41 mATX (DDR2) --- $35 @ Amazon
New One: ASUS G41 mATX (DDR3) --- $60 @ NewEgg

I'm waiting on the above new PSU before I completely finalize my ruling that the motherboard died. On the off chance it hasn't, then I'd have another board and some RAM to rebuild my dad's desktop down the road (it's noisy, hot, and waiting to die).

This is my first Zotac board and perhaps last one. We'll see if I buy another from this young startup company.


Original: Crucial Rendition, 2 GB, DDR2 800 --- $35 @ NewEgg
New One: Wintec AMPX, 4 GB (2x2), DDR3 1333 --- $40 @ NewEgg

Obviously with the new board only taking DDR3, I went with new RAM. Old RAM will see usage in another later in the year.

CPU Cooler

Original: Cooler Master Vortex 752 (low profile) --- $25 @ Amazon
New One: Cooler Master Hyper 212 (large 6 heatpipe sink, 120mm fan) --- $30 @ NewEgg

Here, the original Vortex was meant to replace the stock Intel cooler and offer a little better cooling for the hot Core 2 Duo. In the end, it felt like a waste of $25 as the cooler didn't cool all that well given load temps still hit 68 C. Yes, it did cool about 10 degrees lower, but that's not enough if I intend and lugging my rig around. Not every room will have air conditioning.

The new cooler is a departure from the two AC Freezer Pro 7 Rev. 2s I've bought in the past for my home rig and my brother's rig. In the end, it's going to cool better given a higher TDP processor largely due to the better airflow provided by the 120mm fan vs. the 92mm fan on the Freezer. Unfortunately, setup is a bit more complicated and nerve-wracking. Fortunately, I won't have to remove any boards this time around.

Fan Controller, Fans

Original Controller: Vantec Nexus 4-Channel, Analog --- $20 @ NewEgg
New Controller: NZXT Sentry 2, 5-Channel, Digital --- $25 @ NewEgg

Simply put, that old controller was a holdover from my third gaming rig (circa 2005). It still works, but most of the blue LEDs have died out and it simply sticks out too much on the surface of the case to make using my case harness effective (might even break the controller).

This particular NZXT controller was going to go into my next rig and thus this will be a trial-and-error sort of case. Great that it controls five fans and ability to deliver 10W down each channel. The plus is that it will remain flush with my case.

Original Fans: Vantec TF9225, 92mm, x2, --- $9 each @ NewEgg
New Fans: Xigmatek XSF-F1251, 120mm, x2 --- $9 each @ NewEgg

Original fans are going to be used on the side panel intake duct on the new case. Both new and old are roughly the same noise level, aka quiet. One of the new Xigmas will replace the default blue LED sleeve front fan on the new case, the other goes up top. Ideally I wanted to replace the other two fans as well. Alas, I ran into cost. I simply CANNOT go any further beyond my hard limit (which I already crossed by $30).

My plan is the hook both the Vantecs up to the same channel on the NZXT controller panel. Either that or hook the top two fans up to the same channel.


Yeah right! Maybe in the summer assuming I get this QA job/internship. That's going to be another $150. No cash, no dice (atm). Will be sticking with my old 15" Sys (that's right that newbie company from circa 2003 that had these awesome gaming LCDs - this was their entry model).

So in the coming week or so I'll have pre and post pictures for everyone to feast their eyes upon! :madsmile: