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How-To: A Better Test Bench
February 27, 2006
Author: Geno Manufacturer: BoxGods
Department: Modding Model: N/A
Article Type: How-To Time Spent: 2 days
 
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Introduction




Getting to tinker with thousands of dollars worth of high-end PC hardware has its pluses, but it also has a few downsides as well--one of them being the repetitive swapping in and out of parts during benchmarking. I often only have access to hardware items for a week or less, and if it's a round-up, there can be five systems worth of parts that have to be assembled in many different combinations.

Having looked around online for a test bench, the choices are slim at best.  I made some notes on what I would like from a test bench, and asked the rest of our review staff to do the same. I have consolidated the resulting lists for you below:

  1. Better access to the motherboard, and the components mounted to it.
  2. Simplified water cooling for OC testing including a universal CPU block.
  3. Easy HDD access for 2 to 4 drives.
  4. Low cost (so all review staff can have one).
  5. Simple construction with basic tools.
  6. Easy to maintain.
Well, that shouldn't be too hard--after all, I build modded PC's all the time...

A Quick Look


We will start with some pictures to show you what the test bench looks like overall.

Internals


A quick look at the inside of the case part way through construction. I was amazed at how much air these fans move without being loud. You can find them here at Xoxide. 90 CFM at 32dba--Nice!

Features


In the first image, you can see the built-in storage for AS5 thermal compound and the storage location for the ATX Control Kit--a very handy little set of connectors used to start/reset a PC that also has a speaker and power/HDD activity LED's. That first image also really shows how easily accessible the back I/O ports and add-in card connectors are.

The second image shows the temperature display LCD on the exceptional Sintek 500 SLI power supply. That opening serves as an air intake, and as a second handle.

The last image shows the excellent access to the entire motherboard--swapping CPU's, memory, add-in cards, etc. has never been easier. You can also see the Danger Den Universal Water Block. Everyone knows how well Danger Den blocks perform, but I am also thrilled with how easy it is to attach and remove the block.

The best way to see how easy to use this design is , is to download this video that shows how quick and painless it is to assemble a system.

On to the building =)


 
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