Thursday, November 30, 2006


Computer Case Transplant

In my quest to make my Windows PC quieter, I decided to try a new case. A Fry's just opened a mile away from me, and they had the Antec Solo "quiet mini-tower case" on sale, so I figured I'd give it a try.

(Unfortunately, I lost my receipt, so I couldn't apply for the rebate by the deadline, so I ended up paying full price. Oh, well...)

Removing all the components from my old case and installing them in the new case should have only taken a couple of hours, but it turned into a three-evening project for me. The first evening, I got the motherboard installed in the new case, but was so frustrated after messing with all those little screws and poor lighting on my living-room floor that I decided to call it a night. On Night Two, I didn't touch it. So, it wasn't until Night Three that I moved all the drives to the new case and got all the wires plugged in.

I spent a very long time getting the floppy drive aligned flush with the front of the case. The whole time, I kept asking myself when the last time was that I used a floppy. I may never, ever need it, but since this is the only floppy drive I own, I figured I should keep it functional. (If I had a reel-to-reel tape drive, I'd be keeping that functional too.)

The case is pretty nice. Full reviews are easily findable for those who are interested, so I won't go into any detail here. My impressions are as generally positive as those of the reviewers I read.

The result is a noticeably quieter PC, but it's still not as quiet as I'd like. The Solo seems to have good sound-proofing on its sides, but the back of the case is just a thin layer of metal with a lot of vents, so there's still a lot of sound getting out. There is a high-pitched whine that really bugs me. I think the next step is to try replacing the CPU fan. (Fry's has those too.)

The only outstanding issue is that the power LED on the front doesn't light. The disk I/O light is fine, and all the front-panel switches work. I'm pretty sure I have the power LED cable plugged in to the right place, and it worked on the old case. Maybe I have a bad LED or a bad wire. I can certainly live without the light, but I may spend some time troubleshooting this.

After replacing the case, I think the only original equipment in this PC (which was my first Windows machine) is the CD-ROM drive and a few cables and screws. Is this really the same PC? As far as Windows OEM licensing goes, my answer is "Yes."

Re: Floppy Drive.

I've got three words for you: External Floppy Drive.

Get a USB floppy drive and be done with it. Stick it in your gear drawer and pull it out whenever you need one.
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