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About LitusSaxonicum

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  1. Among the builds I have done I sometimes want to put a new board in an old case. Now by old, I mean really old, not something that simply saw service once. I’m talking (for example) of a case that has had 4 or more generations of motherboard in it, some of them for 5 years each, and in a particular example, one bought in 1995 and in the last ‘incarnation’ since 2011. What you find with those old cases is that they definitely don’t have front panel audio, and no USB typically. That’s OK, as front panel units provide for both. The really big bugbear is that the old case will usually have drive bays in the way of a long GPU, and certainly nothing in the drive bay line that takes a 2.5 inch device. Also, old cases have very few places to fit fans. The converse situation, of putting an old motherboard in a new case is that the new case will have front panel audio and USB, although cheap cases tend to have single USB2 and USB3 ports. Nevertheless, the cables take up a whole header each – which is wasteful, especially with motherboards that only have one USB3 header. If you buy a front panel unit that happens to duplicate the audio ports, you need a Y cable. The price of those is obscene! Otherwise you can guarantee that one day you will plug headphones into the unconnected ports and wonder why there’s no sound. The other problem that I have is that the useful gadgets become unavailable. Take for example the Silverstone FP56 front panel unit with card readers and USB3 ports, plus brackets for 2 SSDs. It’s brilliant, and has 3 coloured fronts, but is now hard to find. Or the Silverstone PCIe card with two internal USB3 headers – again, hard to find whereas PCIe cards with yet more rear ports and only one internal header are plentiful. Aren’t there usually enough rear USB ports? Are 2 more really useful? Old cases usually have loads of drive bay openings – too many, probably, now that FDD, Zip drives, 5.25 inch floppies, tape drives for backup and even these days optical drives are going out of fashion. Blanking plates are sold, but they are extortionate, and often don’t fit. New cases reflect the fact that floppy drives are rarely supported on motherboards, and don’t have the opening for them. In some cases, there is only one drive bay opening or none.
  2. I worked in a University where the Dean of Faculty bought for himself a GBP6000 laptop. He couldn't even produce a spreadsheet that worked, and had a secretary to do his typing.
  3. Yep. Lenovo S20-30 small laptop. I took up slack in the mouse wire by running it along the base of the screen. Unfortunately the battery sticks up and the screen straddles it to close. This neatly guillotined the wire in 2 places.
  4. Buy a cheap SSD and boot from that. It may not help your gaming benchmarks, but it will improve your general experience (especially on boot up and loading big programs) dramatically. Apart from that, your rig does what your rig does. Don't be put off by the folks who have faster CPUs and GPUs than you do looking down their noses.
  5. I had an old system, based on an Asus M4A88T-M motherboard and an AMD 965 Phenom II. This gave great service, and was progressively 'upgraded', twice to increase the RAM, once to install Windows 10 as the free upgrade from Windows 7, and then later a fresh install when I switched to using a SSD as the boot drive. Finally, I added a nice USB front panel driven by a PCIe USB3 card, bought from the internet rather cheaply. All had been fine with Windows updates until it came to 1903. This wouldn't update because of what it called a 'driver error'. I automatically assumed that the CPU or board was the problem, and built a new system. I transferred my stuff over, but the new system for some reason wouldn't take my e mail. So I just connected up the old one for e mail only, and put up with the 'Update-won't work-rollback' procedure. Until one day it wouldn't rollback. I think that it had to be a problem with the repeated overwriting of a particular location on the SSD, and there's no repair. But I did strip out the motherboard etc, cleaned it up and re-assembled it, just with the onboard video (the video card went into my new system and works there) and without the USB card. With a new SSD it works fine. Lesson 1: cheap PCIe expansion cards won't necessarily have good drivers Lesson 2: you can't allow MS Win updates to go on ad infinitum if you boot from a SSD because the update and rollback eventually won't work Lesson 3: old hardware is still often as good as new, depending on what you want to use it for. Lesson 3? Well of course. The old system boots faster than the new one. Single-threaded applications run at more or less the same speed and having 6 cores and 12 threads instead of 4 cores doesn't matter if you only use one of them..
  6. I just built a mATX system in a tiny AvP Hyperion EV33B case. The are about £25-£30. Sure, it’s flimsy, but it was to sit on the bottom shelf of a ‘ladder’ desk, so the front-to-back dimension was important. You can have 2x120mm and 1x80mm fans in the front, and an 80mm fan with a 92mm OR second 80mm fan at the back. The side panels allow for a 120mm fan each. Enough fans? Oh, and if you have a GPU card, there will be exhaust fans associated with that! The case is flimsy, sure. It is divided into 2 chambers. One is for the motherboard etc. That is behind the two 120mm front fans. It is roomy enough, and I fitted an nVidia 970 GPU in it no problem. The other chamber has a removable front panel drive bay that you could get an optical drive in with a struggle and it would be on its side. If you can dispense with an optical drive (or have a USB one for the odd occasion) then there will be more room. There’s just enough space for a standard ATX psu. I used a Seasonic modular to have fewer cables. The PSU sucks air in through the vents in the side panel, and with a full size PSU there isn’t room to fit the 120mm fan on that side, but there would be with a small form factor PSU Then there is an internal drive bay that will take one 2.5” and one 3.5” drive. I used an SSD as the boot drive and a 3.5” drive for bulk storage.They are right in front of the 80-or-92 mm fan on the back of the case that can draw air past them. You might get 3 SSDs in there with a bracket and/or more SSDs in the big optical drive bay, and/or use M2 drives. . Instead of fitting a front panel with USB ports and a multiformat card reader, I brought the rear USB ports up to the physical desk top with StarTech cables. I did wonder if I should buy a remote power switch, but the machine is configured to start with a key press. The innards are an Asrock A320-DVS board, a Ryzen 2600 and 16Gb of RAM in 2 sticks. The build is compact and not at all flashy, and with quiet fans isn't noisy. There aren't enough fan headers on the motherboard so most of the fans are connected to the PSU and run at full power. To summarise: 3x120mm, 2x80mm, 1x92mm, plus PSU exhaust and GPU exhaust.