The Shark Tank


Why do I call it the shark tank? Well it all started a long time ago, when I discovered that you could overclock microprocessors. Over the years, I have overclocked every computer I could, to extract a bit of extra performance out of the old hobby dollar. 

In the day, you used to have to set a jumper for the clock speed. If you bought a Pentium 166Mhz, a big fan, and a big heatsink, and a little luck, you could set the jumpers to 233Mhz, and be cruising in style. Even if you could not get 233, you could at least get 200 out of it. It was fun to extract extra performance, and cost effective, especially when the Pentium2's came out, and instead of plunking down $550 for a P2-450, you could buy a Celeron 300 for $125 and clock it up to 450Mhz. Needed bigger fans.

It's been almost 4 years since I bought a new case, having bought a Koolance PC2-C Mid Tower then. It never was an extreme overclockers case, but it was cool, and as soon as the Barton 2500+ came out, I put it in and set it to 3200+ speed, and never had another problem.

Being the kind of guy who forgets maintenance, about a year ago, after almost 3 years of running, I got a funny alarm, and discovered the Koolance had ran low on water. I filled it up with a little distilled water, and the problem went away. The Barton has always ran at about 47C according to bios, and 35C according to the Koolance probe. There is brown algae growing in the lines, starting about a year ago. I guess I should run some Hydrogen Peroxide through the lines to clean them out, then refill with more blue juice.

So, I wanted to build an A64 system, and went to the [H]ard|Forum to read up on things. Since I had such good luck with my previous Koolance, finding it's reliability outweighs its performance level, I started looking at their new lineup. I discovered that Koolance has upped their cooling specs from the 300 watt level to the 700 watt level with their new line, so I figure a 700 series should give me a better than average chance at clocking an SD 3700+ to the 2.7GHz level, and be stable for the next couple years, or until I get another wild hair.

Well I looked over their cases, and they were just not floating my boat. I went to Fry's and scoped out a bad ass Thermaltake Shark case (you either love them or you hate them), and I decided to look at other water cooling options. There was a nice Exos 2, but I wanted everything inside, and there was the Corsair setup, and the Big Water setup's too, but those just did not turn me on for some reason.

So I go home with the Shark case, dreaming ways I can turn it into a bad ass Shark Tank... ( A San Jose Thing) 

I looked over Koolance's site again, and they were uploading photo's of a new system at the time, called the INEX 2. Whoa... What's That Pimp Daddy?

So, I ordered one. I just came home from work, and found it here. It has 3/8" water lines, which is bigger than the 1/4" lines my old one has. I also bought their 3/8" waterblock, the CPU-300-V10 to go with it. The package has a bag of Blue Juice, a funnel, some hardware, a manual for their PC3-700 series cases (early adopter effect), and what I need most right now is missing, the cutting template so I can start my install.

I emailed Koolance, but it was after 4:00, so I might have to wait until tomorrow to continue. As is I missed Fedex, who arrived not 10 minutes before I got off work, so I have to wait until tomorrow or Friday to get my San Diego chip. Anyways, that will give me time to cut my box and leak check the thing.

Since I'm not too much into gaming, but want to be able to mess around sometimes, I choose the Abit AN8 Ultra and a Giggle Byte 6600, both with heatpipes. Tiny high speed fans really tweak me the wrong way. I also have a 74G Raptor boot/swap drive, and an 80G WD something or 7200r other for files and such. The DVD is the Plextor PX-716A and has both black or white faceplates. I also have 1G of Value Select PC3200 in my old system that I hope will work out. I picked up a Vantec Ion2 460W supply.

All the hardware I selected is far from the highest performance stuff available, but I have had good luck with all these manufacturers in the past, and I think I can get a decent box that pimps real nice and clean with this stuff. I'm not sure about the Value Select memory, but I will give it a go, since I don't know of any trade in programs and don't want to just toss it out.

I decided to go to Xoxide, and ended up buying $60 worth of Blue UV pimping supplies, since I want it to look clean, and still give me wood... 

Monday 22nd:

I got an email later Wednesday night that night from Koolance saying they will send me a cutting template and missing hardware, but by Friday Night, I could wait no longer, and took jigsaw in hand, then cut a hole in the Shark Case, and dropped the Koolance unit with Tank in, and made the Shark Tank:

I am happy with it's clean looks, but I still have pimping supplies on order. As is, the mobo is lit up quite heavily with red LED's, and the case fan is also lit with blue LED's, so things light up pretty good. The front "shark gills" are only lit with a fairly dim blue LED, so I will add more to brighten up the gills. The Koolance water tank is lit with 4 blue LED's, and it's control panel is well lit too.  I dressed the cables nice and clean to keep things from looking too busy, and for good airflow, and put a couple black-light tubes in to highlight the UV reactive stuff. I have UV rounded cables and other UV goodies on order to finish off the pimping. The waterblock and lines are 3/8" Inside Diameter, but look like 1/2 lines from the outside. The Koolance blue coolant looks Kool under UV.

Well, I remember from past overclocking ventures, that there is a limit to stable overclocks, and the key for me, is to not get too greedy. If I can get performance close to an FX chip, that is good enough, as I cannot really expect to exceed top of the line chip's performance and have it last for a couple years of heavy computing. So I just set things for a basic clocking of 2695Mhz out of this 2200Mhz chip. That's only 122% of normal, but enough for now. As you can see in the screenshot below, the CPU load is 100% while 29 minutes into Super Pi 32M, and although hard to see, the Core temp is 46 degrees with the Koolance fans at 100%

Here is a screenshot captures about 3 or 4 seconds after Super Pi finished it's calculations. It took 30 minutes exactly. Funny thing was, I had set an overclock target of anything less than 30 minutes for Super Pi, but what's a second amongst goals. So what are my settings? Well remember I have PC3200 Value Select memory, so I just set the memory to 166Mhz and kicked it up 2.65V, then the FSB to 245MHz, and kicked the CPU voltage up to 1.55volts, dropped the HT frequency to 4X and called it a clock. Not extreme, but acceptable. The core temp idles at 34, and peaks at 46-47 at 100%, yet the Koolance thermocouple, which is stuck to the bottom of the water block and just touching the CPU heat spreader never read over 29 degrees C. All in all, I probably don't need water cooling on this CPU, but in a couple years, I might throw a cheap Dual Core in this board, which might utilize the water cooling.

Here's the Pimpage:

And another night shot: