Yes, I'm taking the plunge
January 25, 2008 9:58 AM   Subscribe

I'll be building a computer in a few months, and I have a few questions about aesthetics, case mods, and power supplies.

1.) Is it possible to find a motherboard with a floppy controller (especially a 5.25 floppy controller)? If not, is there a PCI card or USB adapter that would add this functionality?

2.) What cool stuff, other than this should I add to the front of my case? Do they have analog meters / gauges anywhere, for example? Or devices that aren't generally found in computers, like, say, an EZ-Bake Oven?

3.) Is there a way to elegantly dye things black so that they match? I know you can get optical drives that are already black, but if I realize my dream of having a 5.25 floppy in this ultra-modern gaming rig, I'll want to dye it black, since none of the early-90's drives were black.

4.) How do I decide how big my power supply needs to be? I'm going to have a dual-core intel processor, 2 or 3 NVIDIA 8800 GTXs in SLI configuration, 8GB of ram, 2 Hard Drives, a couple of cold-cathode lights, a couple of extra fans... you get the idea. Do I really need a whole kilowatt of power? Or will 750w cover me?
posted by fvox13 to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Most motherboards still have floppy connectors. The ones I've seen still support 5.25" drives. And you can get black 5.25" floppy drives on eBay. The one I linked to supports 1.2MB disks; it seems that most of the other black ones on eBay only suport 360KB!
posted by zsazsa at 10:24 AM on January 25, 2008

I hope you're planning to run a 64 bit OS, else that 8GB of ram is completely wasted. I put together a Photoshop box with 8GB in it about a month ago, and *still* haven't got some things running just right.
posted by notsnot at 10:26 AM on January 25, 2008

Is there a way to elegantly dye things black so that they match?

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:26 AM on January 25, 2008

I'm going to have a dual-core intel processor

All that other hotshit stuff and you're not going quad?;-)

750w should be okay, though three 8800 cards is getting up there.

2 or 3 NVIDIA 8800 GTXs in SLI configuration, 8GB of ram

You will also need to purchase a 64-bit OS if you're going to make use of all that memory. 32-bit OSes max out around 3.5GB and the onboard memory on your video cards counts towards that. Dunno if there are any 64-bit OSes that are ready for prime-time in a gaming machine (still a lot of missing drivers and game compatibility issues.

Also: Vinyl dye (which is basically just spray paint with some extra additives).
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:33 AM on January 25, 2008

1. Like zsazsa said, most motherboards still have floppy controllers.
2. Fan controllers are nice (i'm a silent PC guy)
3. Like Blazecock Pileon said, spray paint.
posted by escher at 10:57 AM on January 25, 2008

If you're going to pay for 3 8800 gtxs, then you probably want to kick it up a notch to a 45nm quadcore. The only one available at the moment, I think, is the Q9650. With respect to power, a single 8800gtx draws about 150w at full load, so 3 will require 450w. Depending on your other components, I'd say a 750w or 1Kw should be fine, although if you are going to be overclocking (and, why wouldn't you?) than higher is better. Make sure to get a case with a lot of room inside, because things will get toasty in the chassis with specs like that.
posted by tracert at 11:02 AM on January 25, 2008

Actually, doing a little bit of searching, it seems that the 790i chipset can eat 50w on it's own. That being the case, then 750w total is cutting a bit close at full load.
posted by tracert at 11:08 AM on January 25, 2008

Holy cow 750w is a lot of juice for one guy's computer.

Maybe there's a way to recycle the waste heat?
posted by notyou at 11:10 AM on January 25, 2008

  • Those graphics cards can max out at about 180watts each.
  • Hard drives use next to nothing, 10w or less generally.
  • Intel Dual cores are less then 100w
  • Fans again, use next to nothing.
So, 2 Gfx cards-- 750w PSU, 3 go for the 1kw.

If in the addition to the case and lights, you're after more tacky stuff, check out Thermaltake-- they do all sorts of flashing light and dial based inserts.
posted by Static Vagabond at 11:15 AM on January 25, 2008

Is there a way to elegantly dye things black so that they match?

Seriously, I used to just take off the plastic front panel of the device (often 3 1/2 drives or CD drives) and spray paint them black. I'm looking at one right now that I did seven years ago and you'd never know it wasn't black to begin with. And I have no spray paint talent whatsoever.
posted by furtive at 11:19 AM on January 25, 2008

1) Motherboards generally still have FDD connectors, but you may face problems getting them to work with a 5.25" drive (you'll probably have to set it in the BIOS, and I've heard anecdotal evidence of BIOSes that don't allow it.)

2) There are lots of things to put in the bays. Card readers, fan controllers, ridiculous all-in-one devices. Google front panel devices. (Sadly, the EZ Bake Oven was a joke.) The various casemod sites would offer endless fodder.

3) Krylon Fusion (or something specifically intended for plastic)

4) On preview, other people have useful answers and I didn't, so I'll just shut up now.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:22 AM on January 25, 2008

Thanks folks! I didn't know about the whole 64-bit thing, and would have wasted a few extra dollars getting way more RAM than I needed, and I think I have a better handle on everything else now.
posted by fvox13 at 9:16 PM on January 25, 2008

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