Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Personal PC build, part 3.

Hello again. Since the last part I have changed a few things in my main PC so this post will update you all on what I've done. First up a picture of the inside as of now.

Bit of a mess still I know but to be fair this case doesn't really have any cable management holes at all, Need to get a better case...

So the first thing I did was add a 120GB 2.5" hard drive that I upgraded my old PS3 with but then the PS3 died so I pulled it out of there and stuck it in my PC as I needed more room for the VirtualBox VMs I have. It's mainly been used as a storage drive at the moment but I still need to upgrade my main hard drive as it's only 80GB And I only have about 15GB free on it. The 2.5" drive currently sat in a Akasa 3.5" to 2.5" HDD/SSD adapter.

As you may know I was using a Intel Pentium 4 630 overclocked to 3.6GHz however I finally upgraded to a Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 which I currently have overclocked to 3GHz. As you can imagine the performance has improved quite a bit and it runs a lot cooler as well. At the same time I also replaced the 80mm Arctic F fan with a 92mm Zaward Golf Blue LED Fan so now the back of my PC glows blue.

After those upgrades the component that was slowing me down the most in terms of gaming was the graphics card (A Nvidia GeForce GT 610) so I decided that was the next upgrade I should do when I could afford it. I managed to get a Gigabyte GTX 650 1GB card that is factory overclocked and that increased performance in games a lot. It also runs cooler than my old GT 610 too. Here are the results from the Unigine Valley Benchmark using this graphics card:

I also have removed a couple of fans (The 120mm blue LED fan on the side panel and the 120mm Arctic F fan) as I'm trying to figure out where most of the noise is coming from and I've narrowed it down to either the front 120mm CoolerMaster SickleFlow fan or the fan on the Arctic cooling freezer 7 pro CPU heatsink. The fans will probably get moved around a bit more yet. Oh and I did actually win a 140mm Noctua NF-A15 PWM fan with 120mm mounting holes which is still in it's box as I'm not sure what to do with it yet.

The final thing I've done is add a 3 pin fan extension cable so the front 120mm CoolerMaster SickleFlow fan can be plugged into the motherboard as the 120mm Arctic F fan was connected there before I took it out. I also changed the female connector of the extension cable from a white one to a black Phobya one as it will blend in a bit better with the rest of my hardware. I will probably do a Quick Tech Tip on how to replace fan connectors so look out for that soon.

And that wraps up part 3. The next upgrades I would like to do are the case, hard drive and RAM so hopefully it won't be too long until I get some of those done and I can post part 4.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Review: Novatech Vulcan V2 ATX PC case

Today I will be reviewing the Novatech Vulcan V2 Midi ATX PC case which is the case I'm currently using for my main PC. First I'll give you some of the specifications and them we'll get on with the review.


Dimensions: 43.8cm (H) x 47cm (D) x 18.5cm (W)
Weight: 6.2kg
5.25" Drive Bays: 3
3.5" Drive Bays: 5
Expansion Slots: 7
Top mounted PSU

Cooling Options
Front: 1 x 120mm Blue LED fan (Installed).
Rear: 1 x 80mm fan (Installed) or 1 x 92mm fan (Optional).
Side: 1 x 120mm fan or 1 x 140mm fan (optional).

Front Panel Ports
USB3.0 x 1 (Has a internal USB 3.0 motherboard header connector)
USB2.0 x 2
1 x Headphone
1 x Mic

Motherboard Support
Standard ATX
Micro ATX
Mini ITX

Link to product:

Main review:

As you can see it's a fairly standard ATX case which you can get for £18.98 from and as this is a own brand case you can't get it anywhere else. Considering it's only £19 you get a 80mm fan, A 120mm blue LED fan, The usual motherboard standoffs and motherboard screws, optical and HDD drive screws and the PCI screws and a small motherboard speaker. However you don't get any proper PCI slot covers, The ones it has once you take them off you can't put them back on again.

The build quality is good considering the price however the side panels do bend a bit diagonally so that makes it a little harder when trying to put them back on. Both side panels use two thumb screws each at the back to fasten on to the case however they will stay on fairly well without them.

The one thing I don't get about the left side panel is there is mounting holes for one fan at the top and the mesh continues further down but there isn't another set of fan mounting holes yet there is enough room for another 120mm or 140mm fan. I thought it would make more sense to put either two sets of fan mounting holes on the side panel or at least put one set at the bottom to help cool your graphics card.

The front panel is fairly sturdy and provides good airflow as most of it is mesh with a thin layer of spongy like material that acts as a decent filter that does catch quite a bit of dust. The 5.25" bay covers and the 3.5" bay cover is also made of the same mesh and spongy stuff.

Moving on to the front I/O panel the power switch has a blue LED and feels quite nice to press. The two USB 2.0 ports feel a little bit loose when plugging in USB devices however I haven't had any issues with them yet. I haven't used the mic port that much yet however the headphone port has gotten a little dodgy so when I wiggle it a bit the sound can go crackly and can cut out. Clearly not a great quality port.

Also on my case the top right bit of silver trim can come away from the front panel. One last thing about the front panel is that it's a bit of a pain to pull off and the 5.25" and 3.5" bay covers are also quite difficult to get off as well although it is a bit easier to get them off when you have the front panel off.

Moving to the inside it's mostly straight forward. When putting in the PSU I did notice it is quite difficult to get the PSU lined up with the back so you can get all the screws in. Something clearly isn't quite lined up properly somewhere. Also there isn't much space around the motherboard area and while this didn't affect me as I have a Micro ATX board it may get a bit cramped in there if you was to use a full size ATX motherboard.

One thing this case is missing is a hole in the motherboard tray for getting to CPU cooler backplates. One thing I would have liked to have seen is a 120mm fan mount on the back as 92mm fans are harder to get and with all these new AIO CPU water coolers having 120mm radiators and fans there really isn't an option for using them with this case.

Because this is a fairly thin case at 18.5cm you don't have much room for CPU coolers. I currently have a Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev 2 cooler and it is 12.6cm tall so you would only be able to fit a cooler up to about 14cm tall which pretty much rules out all the CPU coolers that use 120mm fans and above.

Cable management wise there really isn't any however for wires with small connectors (aka fan wires and front I/O panel wires.) you can fit through the small holes that are there however pretty much all the cables from your PSU will have to stay on the motherboard side which makes it quite difficult to make it look tidy.

Modding it:

The first obvious mod that you could do to this case is a window in the left side panel as adding fans to the side panel isn't going to help much in terms of cooling and having holes in your side panel isn't going to help with dust either and well it just looks cool.

As there is actually a fourth 5.25" bay behind the front panel I/O ports you could cut that out and add either a blank 5.25" bay cover and replace the ports with some better quality ones or just have it as another 5.25" bay.

It is possible to fit a 240mm rad in the front with a bit of modding although you would lose two 5.25" bays and all the 3.5" HDD bays. There is enough room to fit a 120mm rad where the front 120mm fan mount is however you would need to remove the 3.5" HDD bays as only one 120mm fan will fit with them there.

It is also possible to put a 240mm rad on the floor if you cut out a couple of holes for the fans and again  remove the 3.5" HDD bays although you will not be able to use the bottom 3 PCI/PCIe slots on your motherboard if you use a thin radiator and one set of fans on the top or bottom of the rad.

Something else you might want to do is cut out a hole in the motherboard tray so you can get to the back of the motherboard to install/remove the CPU cooler backplate if you have one. Might make replacing you CPU cooler a bit easier.


Overall this is a fairly decent case considering the price however there are a few quality issues that could do with being sorted out. There is a few features it's lacking but nothing that important. While this is a great case for people on a small budget if you can go higher then go higher as you will get more features and a bit better quality as well.

Final score: 7/10

If you have any questions please leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer. Thanks for reading my first review and hopefully I will get another one out soon.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

News: Going to be doing some reviews plus other stuff you can expect.

Hello all. Just a short bit for news for today, I am going to start to do a few reviews and post them on this blog. There won't be that many for a start as well I don't have that much to review. They will mostly be computer related although there might be a few other random things dotted about as well.

I will also try to post a few more Quick Tech Tips as the last one was posted pretty much a year ago so yeah... I will be writing the third part to the "My first PC build" series of posts as I've changed quite a few things on my main PC since the last post and finally I've started to work on CMDQuest again. For anyone that doesn't know CMDQuest is a command line RPG/open world game I'm making and I will be posting updates on how thats coming along too.

Right I think thats everything, Oh and one last thing I'm interested to know how many people actually read this so if you have come here before or even if this is your first time on my blog please leave a comment below. This would be much appreciated so thanks. :)