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Asus Z8NA-D6 watercooled hotswapable in a G5 case


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#1
peach-os

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A couple of months ago I decided to plan a new machine with an Asus Z8NA-D6 dual cpu server board.
Inspired by a few beautiful G5 mods I decided to use this case and to keep it as original as possible with one (almost) invisible exception. Planning a few hours I have found my very own way to manage that.
A must was that the disks are hot swapable - and I need five of them!

still looks like the original

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also the back

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and the backpanel

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inside

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leo running flawless

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So let´see what happened :(

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1. The empty case
2. Marking the wholes for the new hot swap cages at the bottom where usually the power supply is located 3. The wholes in the apple case - please don´t damn me for that sin - you will like the result! :wacko:

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1. My construction for the hotswapable disks using a 35mm aluminium U
2. Cutted also wholes into the apple power supply cage to use the fans
3. Here you can see the finished cage from outside - let´s proceed to the inside

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1. The Silverstone SST-CP05 Hot-Swap SATA II Modul that I used for it
2. Inside the cage isolation for the disks
3. This is how it should work - don´t worry - won´t use the adhesive tape for it :(

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1. Close up of the hot swap preparing to fix the new low noise 40mm fans
2. The whole construction inside
3. My new be quiet power supply fits in perfectly where it should be in an atx case. It has unfortunately no cable-managment, but was unbelievable cheap.

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1. Closing the new hd cage
2. Testing the new aluminium cover of the cage
3. Fixing the new standoffs with JB Weld. Fortunately it´s available now in Europe

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1. First test with my old amd board
2. Wiring/soldering of the original back panel, which I did cut off the old logic board. I decided not to connect the optical connections because I will use later on an usb sound stick and a firewire interface. The biggest succes was soldering the firewire 800 pins with a lot of patience and a magnifying glass. Looking for the right wire, the solution was straight ahead, using the old ide cable of the dvd drive.
3. Making it possible to remove everything was very tricky(to have the option to remove the hd cage easy in case I have to replace the fans). Therefore I made the lowest standoffs in two parts and made this part to close the end of the bottom and to protect the power cable in the corner.

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1. The cover and the standoffs
2. The standoffs without the extensions
3. As you can see you it´s possible to cut the frame that you can see in the first pic inside the apple case and use it for a standoff construction. An advantage is the bigger surface to glue them and to use regular atx standoffs as extensions.

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1. Marking the whole for the dvi plugs - because I will rotate the mainboard 90 degrees to the left and fit it in like a regular server board I need more space for the plugs
2. An other trick to clamp the rad later at the bottom. on top there will be an angle that holds it.
3. Because i will use an other two hd´s inside the case I decided to make an other hot swap cage construction. Primarily I wanted to use the apple hd cage - but I noticed that it will take too much place in that build.

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1. Glueing the holder for the tank with jb weld.
2. Be careful wit the frontpanel hd/led connector. as you can see here it was damaged and torn off. later I soldered it again.
3. This will be the holder for the pci cards in upright position.

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1. Because for some reason the backpanel rj-45 network connectors didn´t work, I bought this very sipmle connector (ususally to connect two network cables). if you twist it in the middle it seperates in two parts.
2. I made the connections a little bit longer to have enough tolerance to plug them into the mainboard.
3. The finished top cover

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1. The wiring behind the board
2. The dvi connectors for the back
3. Later I had to change the wiring like this

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1. The connected manboard in the case - below the watercool heatkiller.
2. To install the heatkiller I had to reduce the screw threads from m4 to m3. the 1366 serverboards have a backplate that has only m3 wholes instead of standard m4 as other 1366 boards - for no reason......ooohh...excuse me - makin more money with the intel xeon coolers :(
3.Fixed the two rear silenX 92mm fans - amazing quiet!

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The baby in action with two Heatkillers, a Danger Den CX pro, MagiCool slim dual rad and two Scythes. Because it is pretty sure that the chipsets will get some heat problems in this config, I´m working now on a watercooling solution.
looks like one manufacturer is willing to make a prototype for the Asus Z8NA.

My shoemaker nextdoor is making the straps for the hotswaps :)

The next days I will add how to install snow leo on this board. First of all - it was the easiest install I did ever. if you consider to buy this board - do it! it works flawless :)

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#2
animani

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Awesome setup. I was thinking on doing this as well but first I need to fix "something" in my installation then I will thnk about it.

But deffo this is very inspiring....

Thanks man.

#3
peach-os

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of course - first fix your first install. this is a lot of more work -_-

I disassambled the machine again to work on a cooling solution for the chipset. it was hard , but Marc from Liquid Extasy - http://www.liquid-extasy.de/ - did it !

look at this baby:

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this guy is top notch! he created this fantastic prototype for me and the first availble watercooling solution for the Asus Z8NA series / X58

tomorrow I will assamble it again and share more pics :)

#4
manual123

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This is excellent man!!

#5
Master Chief

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Nice work. What about a geekbench score? And are you using i7 920's on it or the 5520's?

#6
peach-os

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Nice work. What about a geekbench score? And are you using i7 920's on it or the 5520's?


you have to use xeon´s - 5520 in this case

the first geekbenchs have been around 11000 with some slow disks. let´s see the next days after setting up a raid
and some fine tuning. will post the final pics and more results.

#7
Master Chief

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you have to use xeon´s - 5520 in this case

Too bad. Probably just a missing option in the BIOS. I wonder if we can fix this, with or without help from Asus, because that would instantly change my mind about this board.

Now. I had a quick look at the on-line manual and I can't find anything related to overclocking. I take it that can't be done in the BIOS. Can it?

the first geekbenchs have been around 11000 with some slow disks. let´s see the next days after setting up a raid
and some fine tuning. will post the final pics and more results.

Cool. I also like the water cooling. Maybe I go for this board for my next project. First a few more questions, if you don't mind me asking:

1) Both LAN ports work?
2) Audio also works?
3) What kexts are you using?
4) How many revs do you see at boot time (under the Apple logo)?
5) What power supply are you using?
- I have a spare Corsair 850 (80 Silver edition)
6) OS X still works when you remove one CPU?

p.s. I take it this is the number 3 machine – missing in your signature.

#8
peach-os

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afaik only the xeon cpus are able to coop with an other cpu, hence no way to change that with bios mods.
also there are no dual cpu boards (serverboards) that are overclockable. I guess that´s because of a possible instability.

1.both LAN are working after editing the Device ID´s
2.there is no audio onboard if you don´t buy the extra Asus MIO soundcard. I don´t need it because I´m using a firewire interface.
3. fakesmc, evoreboot, IOAHCINlockstorageinjector - at the moment working on dsdt to get rid of some more
4. funny question. 7-10 - but that´s not a good measure. with dsdt the boot time is long. trying to find a solution for that.
5. using a be quiet 650W PS
6. I didn´try, but according to other posts os x doesn´t work with only one cpu.

no - it´s my my fifth machine, beside a toshiba qosmio f45 and an acer 6292. the forum rules don´t allow that much lines in the signature ;)

@manual123: thanks - it was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun :)

#9
Master Chief

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afaik only the xeon cpus are able to coop with an other cpu, hence no way to change that with bios mods.

Sure. You need to use two of the same kind, but the thing is that some of the Xeon CPU's are pretty much the same. Exceopt for the frequency. I mean have a look at the 5530 (for example). And the BIOS settings are performed, automatically, based on the CPU id thus I am going to have a go with one and change this with a BIOS modification. Which brings me to the next question: Is the BIOS soldered onto the motherboard? If yes I'll have it removed and placed into a socket first.

also there are no dual cpu boards (serverboards) that are overclockable. I guess that´s because of a possible instability.

Intel might expect companies to be able to cough up the more expensive CPU variants – when they need them. I mean I don't think that Intel expects ordinary / average home consumers to even use Xeon CPU's.

p.s. The board is currently out of stock and thus I have to wait a week or two, but the order is out.

#10
peach-os

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Sure. You need to use two of the same kind, but the thing is that some of the Xeon CPU's are pretty much the same. Exceopt for the frequency. I mean have a look at the 5530 (for example)


I noticed that - because of that I thought about using two different cpus ( could have bought a 5530 very cheap)
but decided to go the safe way. the bios is soldered - couldn´t see any socket.

#11
Kizaru

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Nice!
I have to admit that this is one of the cleanest and most powerful G5 mod I've ever seen.

Good job!

#12
Photograph

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That is seriously a monster of a machine, very nicely done :D

#13
peach-os

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thanks for your comments :)

unfortunately the charger of my old cam is damaged. will buy a new one the next days.

#14
render^

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Um... the i7 chips do not have the capability of running with other cpus. This is disabled on the chip by design, meaning it won't work. Also, the Xeon 5520 IS an i7. They both have the Nehalem architecture, which means it's the "same" chip. But not. At the same time. If you know what I mean. Get it?
This computer is pretty much twice as fast as the i7, (in multiple threaded programs, at least) because you're running two i7s in parallel. I can't imagine this beast being OC'ed. (I'm not too sure OC'ing a Xeon is a good idea)
Also, putting two different CPU's would never work. Even same CPUs with different stepping revisions can give problems.

P.S.. It's possible to put a Nehalem Xeon CPU on an i7 mobo and OC it, but not two i7 CPUs on a Xeon dual CPU server mobo.

#15
Master Chief

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Um... the i7 chips do not have the capability of running with other cpus. This is disabled on the chip by design, meaning it won't work. Also, the Xeon 5520 IS an i7. They both have the Nehalem architecture, which means it's the "same" chip. But not. At the same time. If you know what I mean. Get it?
This computer is pretty much twice as fast as the i7, (in multiple threaded programs, at least) because you're running two i7s in parallel. I can't imagine this beast being OC'ed. (I'm not too sure OC'ing a Xeon is a good idea)
Also, putting two different CPU's would never work. Even same CPUs with different stepping revisions can give problems.

P.S.. It's possible to put a Nehalem Xeon CPU on an i7 mobo and OC it, but not two i7 CPUs on a Xeon dual CPU server mobo.

Just for the record: I OC'ed my good old Mac Pro (Dual Xeon 2.8 GHz) which ran @3.2 GHz for almost two years, without a hitch, when I sold it. And using a single Core i7 should have work 'out of the box' with this board, but it requires a BIOS modification.

And now the good news... Xeons are the better performer (compared to the normal Core i7) and they are very capable CPU's running at a much higher clock speed here. BTW I am using two corsair CPU water coolers for now, but will soon replace these with one big radiator and specially designed GPU and chip set blocks.

#16
peach-os

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a modified overclockable bios would be very interesting - especially with a watercooled machine like mine. where to get it from? how did you OC the macpro? I remember reading about some apps that could do that....

#17
Master Chief

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a modified overclockable bios would be very interesting - especially with a watercooled machine like mine. where to get it from?

No download link. Home made mod. Still working on it.

how did you OC the macpro? I remember reading about some apps that could do that....

I think I used this tool.

#18
peach-os

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yes - that´s exactly the one I was thinking of - how could we make it work on a hac pro ? :rolleyes:

#19
Guava

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Peach-OS,

Can you share your MacOSX installation procedures? Thank you.

#20
peach-os

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Peach-OS,

Can you share your MacOSX installation procedures? Thank you.


I´m very busy at the moment - more next weekend





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