PC Rebuild – Part 2

All the parts have finally arrived, including one or two things I forgot about. I had to order a few extra connectors as the 1/2″ ID tubing was slightly less easy to route as I expected (coming from 3/8″ ID tubing currently). Also worth mentioning that neither Aqua Computer’s D5 pumps or XSPC’s twin D5 dual bay reservoir include O-rings for the pumps (they are usually included with pump tops though by the looks of things) so they had to be ordered separately but are easy enough to find.

A small amount of initial assembly is required. Firstly, mounting the fans to the radiator:

Then the pumps to the reservoir:

Finally the Aquaero block:

Fitting the Aquaero block is a little more complicated. You have to remove the circuit board, take the screws out holding the heat sink in place, add new thermal pads and then attach the block with the different screws provided. As the block is quite small it’s also a bit of a pain to attach the compression fittings, I used a 10mm extender on the left and a 45 degree angled fitting on the right to give clearance from the block.

I’ve got a fried ASUS P9X79 board that I’ve not got round to getting an RMA for yet which is a handy way to mount the CPU block in the right place. This case is so big that the full ATX board looks tiny:

This is a full height radiator plus fans and there is still room above the board to see the cable management, a huge improvement over my current case.

Finally it’s time to put everything in and add the tubing. At this point after I’ve fiddled around getting everything in and my hands start to get sore from tightening up the compression fittings, removing bits and adding them again to make things easier, I get a bit slack with the pictures and just want to get things finished!

Here are a few during and after photos:

Fill with distilled water and away we go!

At the time of writing I’ve had the system running for about 48 hours, I only ordered 1 litre of coolant and it took 1.5 litres to fill it with distilled water. I’m waiting on a new order of Mayhems Aurora fluid which will arrive on Tuesday!


PC Rebuild – Part 1

Lately I’ve been trying to reduce noise in my desktop PC, but the knock on effect of this has been at the expense of cooling performance. I’m also bored of the case (which looks pretty grubby now) and the system colours as well as being fed up with the mess of cables inside (no cable management back then). As the case and complete water loop are in their 6th year of use the’ve had a good run and it’s time for a change.

Initially I’ve decided against pulling my brand new GTX 670 card apart to add a water block to it, it also runs very quietly anyway. For now I’ll cool the CPU and Aquaero fan controller with water, with a nice big rad that can support a GPU later and run fans at lower RPM and noise. I’m sticking with BitFenix fans because they look great and don’t make too much noise and a bay res with integrated pump to save space.

Parts list
Corsair 800D full tower case

Cooling components

XSPC RX360 radiator

XSPC twin D5 dual bay reservoir

Aqua Computer D5 pumps with USB/Aquabus

EK Supremacy CPU block

Aquaero 5 block

Aqua Computer inline temperature sensors

1/2″ ID compression fittings and various other G1/4″ fittings

Mayhem X1 red fluid


Gobi 2000 WWAN (VAIO S, etc) on Fedora

There are a lot of long explanations on how to make this mobile broadband model work correctly with Linux, most of which are Ubuntu based, but it’s actually really simple.

The modem is recognised but the key is that it requires the firmware to be loaded after every cold boot.

$ lsusb
Bus 001 Device 007: ID 05c6:9224 Qualcomm, Inc. Sony Gobi 2000 Wireless Modem

Simply download and install gobi_loader either from http://www.codon.org.uk/~mjg59/gobi_loader/download/ or clone the git repository from git://cavan.codon.org.uk/gobi_loader.git

sudo make install

Copy the firmware files from a Windows install (or Wine) to /lib/firmware/gobi

# cp /media/0646579646578579/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/QUALCOMM/Images/Sony/UMTS/* /lib/firmware/gobi/

Reboot! Mobile broadband will now be available from the Gnome networking menu.


Which RAID is best?

There are many sites with various RAID comparisons on and many more making various claims as to which RAID type is the best for various purposes/fastest/etc.

The 2.5Tb storage partition on my Xen box decided to pack up recently (or at least Xen decided it no longer wanted to read the partition) so after backing up the data decided to run some tests.

Drives: 4x Western Digital RE 1Tb


This was the original configuration of the array, despite having fast drives in my desktop and 1Gbit network the read speeds were slower than expected (around 35Mb/sec).

The hdparm results were inconsistent:

Timing cached reads: 10118 MB in 2.00 seconds = 5064.59 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 224 MB in 3.02 seconds = 74.24 MB/sec

Timing cached reads: 10020 MB in 2.00 seconds = 5016.71 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 148 MB in 3.03 seconds = 48.83 MB/sec

Timing cached reads: 10126 MB in 2.00 seconds = 5068.86 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 200 MB in 3.03 seconds = 65.94 MB/sec

Timing cached reads: 10086 MB in 2.00 seconds = 5049.90 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 234 MB in 3.02 seconds = 77.55 MB/sec

Timing cached reads: 10042 MB in 2.00 seconds = 5027.45 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 210 MB in 3.01 seconds = 69.80 MB/sec

Average over the 5 tests: 67.27 Mb/sec

RAID 10:

As an alternative I switched the array to RAID 10, the downside of this configuration is that there is 1Tb less space than RAID 5.

Timing cached reads: 10170 MB in 2.00 seconds = 5091.34 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 320 MB in 3.01 seconds = 106.46 MB/sec

Timing cached reads: 10094 MB in 2.00 seconds = 5052.71 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 316 MB in 3.02 seconds = 104.59 MB/sec

Timing cached reads: 10072 MB in 2.00 seconds = 5041.96 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 314 MB in 3.01 seconds = 104.29 MB/sec

RAID 10 results are much more consistent.
Average over the 3 tests: 105.11 Mb/sec


Another configuration offering 2 disk redundancy.

Timing cached reads: 10172 MB in 2.00 seconds = 5091.87 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 202 MB in 3.01 seconds = 67.06 MB/sec

Timing cached reads: 10052 MB in 2.00 seconds = 5031.76 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 202 MB in 3.01 seconds = 67.18 MB/sec

Timing cached reads: 10102 MB in 2.00 seconds = 5057.17 MB/sec
Timing buffered disk reads: 206 MB in 3.00 seconds = 68.59 MB/sec

RAID 6 results are also fairly consistent.
Average over the 3 tests: 67.61 Mb/sec

It seams that with this configuration that RAID 5/6 perform at roughly the same speed, however RAID 10 seams to win out on the speed test with over 50% improvement over RAID 5/6.