Coolermaster Hardware Water Cooling

AIO Water Cooling – Nepton 120XL

I have had a number of disappointing experiences with all in one water coolers over the years, but I have decided to give the CoolerMaster Nepton 120XL a go for my AMD 4350 server. There is a review here.

The Nepton 120XL looks like a nicely engineered unit unlike the Corsair H60i it replaces which neither felt quality nor delivered a quality end result. I’ll report back on temperature figures in due course, but I am hopeful of an improvement over the stop-gap Artic Freezer Pro 13 I have in the case currently. I’m also adding a couple of quiet Corsair 120mm fans to assist airflow should it be required. To be fair to the Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 13 it does a perfectly fine job of cooling – but it can get pretty loud under load and isn’t exactly quiet at idle.

I am not planning to overclock the box significantly but I’d like the extra cooling headroom to do so and water cooling is generally quieter in my experience provided the pump isn’t noisy (I’m looking at you H60i!). I’ve not yet decided on whether I should invest in a dedicated fan controller like the NZXT Sentry 3. I doubt I would use it to be honest, but it is an option. I like the look – it would go well in the Corsair SPEC-03 Blue LED case.

Hardware Linux Utilities

Hardware Monitoring on Linux

There are a few graphical applets that show hardware status on Linux, but I really like the Python based curses interface of glances. Check it out – a really clean interface, remote monitoring via the web. Obligatory screenshot:



Acorn Atom Hardware

My Computing Journey

Early Years and the 6502

As a teenager I developed a strong interest in computing. I badgered my late father to buy me the Acorn Atom – the predecessor of the BBC micro. That was a major expense for him at the time and led to some significant sacrifices for him – something I absolutely did not fully appreciate at the the time and something for which I will be eternally grateful. I remember him spending all day on the bus to Cambridge and back just to get me some additional memory chips to expand the Acorn Atom. It’s been nearly 25 years since he died – still seems like yesterday. RIP Dad.

The Acorn Atom was a decent machine but not without it’s faults. It had a tendency to overheat – something that I solved through the judicious placement of ice cold cans of Coke above the heatsink. I taught myself a variety of programming languages on the Atom: Basic, Forth and 6502 assembler to name but a few.

Antec Cases Hardware

Antec 1080 AMG – RIP

After over 10 years this monster of a tower case has gone to the recycling centre. It’s been replaced by a cheap (but surprisingly good) Corsair SPEC-03 gaming case. Whilst the Corsair is positively flimsy in comparison to the Antec, it offers some decent features at a great price point. It is surprisingly quiet too. My AMD FX-4350 idles at 20 degrees in this case even with a very average CPU cooler – the Artic Cooling Freezer 13 Pro. I’m planning to replace the cooler in due course – probably with another Noctua as in my other builds.

My main reason for moving away from the Antec case was space considerations, although the better cooling, front mounted USB 3.0 ports and reduced noise have all been positives as well. Recommended.


Gigabyte Hardware

DIMM slots!

Even the most experienced PC builder can easily forget the importance of RTFM. When I built my FX-4350 based server (albeit in a bit of a hurry), I forgot to check which motherboard DIMM slots should be populated in a two-DIMM scenario. My motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 990FX Socket AM3+ – it has four DIMM slots but I only wanted to populate two with 16 Gb in total. Needless to say I picked the wrong ones – and the performance was noticeably slower than expected.

RTFM! Or even easier … look at the colour of the DIMM sockets! Well … if your motherboard has different colours for each bank – only on Rev 4.0 and later did my motherboard have different coloured socket pairs.



I have just been reading and watching the reviews on the new Intel 750 and Samsung XS1715 NVMe SSDs. Very impressive benchmarks indeed. I run mostly AMD kit at home and as there are very few AMD motherboards with PCIe 3.0 x4 slots (the ASUS 990FX Sabertooth Gen 3 Rev 2.0 is the only one that comes to mind) I suspect I will have to wait a while. The motherboards for the next generation AMD Zen processors should include PCIe 3.0 x4 as standard by then and hopefully the price will have come down 😉

In truth, I find my AMD FX4350, FX6300 and Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition processors still meet my needs admirably for both general productivity and VM hosting under VirtualBox and VMWare. Overclock any of those processors, give them 16 or 32 gigabytes of RAM and use SSD for the operating system and the performance is really quite fabulous for what I do. None of my machines are going to win any gaming FPS awards but then I never play games on them anyway.