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Scratch Build – In Progress Project: Aperture Science Laboratories Workstation v.o² Update 30 Sept 11

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by confusis, 5 Aug 2010.

  1. confusis

    confusis Kiwi-modder

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    [This worklog is written in the persona of an Aperture Labs employee, I have no connection to Valve Software or any subsidiaries, this is just a mod! Apologies for any time/info inconsistancies with the 'real' Portal timelines. All updates will be posted as normal in the thread, but also in this main post, to ensure a contigous storyline]

    [08:45-1997-10-05]
    All has been quiet recently since the [CLASSIFIED] events. Our team leader has designated a new project to our team. The project is a replacement for the aging Aperture Labs Personal Access Computer - Alpha (ALPACA). Recent and future upgrades to the GlaDOS systems have necessitated a replacement terminal.

    We have been provided with the following CAD image to work from:
    [​IMG]

    Planning and design work will commence based on given dimensions.

    [16:54-2010-08-01]
    After years of delays, due to [CLASSIFIED] the hardware configuration has finally been agreed upon.
    [​IMG]
    For some reason the components were sourced from outside Aperture but I digress.
    2x AMD Dual-Core Opteron 275 @ 2.2ghz 'Italy' Core
    1x ASUS K8N-DRE mainboard
    4x 512MB DDR400 RAM
    1x Gigabyte nVidia GT240 512MB
    1x T-Win 1U 400w Power Supply Unit
    The sound card has yet to be finalised.

    [15:27-2010-08-05]
    Chassis manufacturing has begun! Due to this product still being a prototype all chassis components will be hand made from 3mm acrylic.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The lines may look shoddy but I assure you (and my superiors!) that this is the masking tape making it appear this way.

    I attach my to do list:
    Code:
    -Cut side viewing window from orange transparent acrylic
    -Manufacture Top, Rear and base Panels
    -Install standoffs
    -Source a replacement Hard Disk Drive
    -Source replacement sound card
    -Sleeve 1U Power Supply Unit
    -Source 2x 100mm fans and 2x80mm fans
    The to do list may not be complete but it has satisfied my superiors so is listed as such.

    [11:58-2010-08-06]
    Progress has been made. Testing the new hardware to ensure correct fitment has commenced. Please see below:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As you can see we may have to machine a groove in the side Aperture Viewing Window to ensure Graphics Processing Unit stability. The hardware fits like a [CLASSIFIED] in a [CLASSIFIED]

    On a side note - How are we going to get these retail units out to Aperture Customers when the Labs are locked down due to [CLASSIFIED]? Seems a pointless exercise but if it's what GlaDOS wishes I suppose.

    [12:18-2010-08-07]
    More progress has been made! We're pushing through this quite nicely.

    The base panel has been completed. Just need to design a PSU mount. Unfortunately the PSU is a different form factor to the original ALPACA unit. Everything has to be custom! More work for me..
    [​IMG]

    Side viewing 'aperture' has been mostly completed, just need to devise a mounting mechanism to hold the piece in place. This window needs to be removable to access the hardware, however.
    [​IMG]

    That's my shift over - afternoon lockdown has commenced, the party escort robots are standing at the door advising me to leave. NOW.

    [14:17-2010-08-12]
    Been a hectic week with other projects taking up the team's time. Issues with recently obtained test subjects, the works! Although from one test subject we did obtain this normal size "M-ATX" cabinet with which to do 'X86/X64' testing for optimising o².

    The size difference is amazing considering the circuit board dimensions!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here's a board size comparison. The Blue is the size board we are using for o². The orange is the comparison unit.
    [​IMG]

    [Initialise]
    >Initialisation complete, begin GlaDOS client terminal boot test
    >CPU1 OK
    >CPU2 OK
    >MEMORY OK
    >HARD DISK OK
    >GPU OK

    >GCTBT RESULT OK
    ...
    ...
    +Begin GlaDOS installation

    >Installation complete

    -Welcome back test subject, shall we begin testing?


    [2010-08-15-21:16]
    >Continue stress testing
    >RUN "hyperpi /32M /4 cores"
    >Testing...
    >Testing...
    >20 Minute update, all cores ≤ 65 degrees
    >Test complete
    >SHUTDOWN

    The team seems to be happy with the hardware so far, less than teething issues than the ALPACA unit. My team leader seems to be happy.
    We have been warned by GlaDOS that one of our team may be selected for testing soon, so this project must be completed with haste!
     
    Last edited: 30 Sep 2011
  2. TheMusician

    TheMusician Audio/Tech Enthusiast/Historian

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    Oh... HL1. Still one of the scariest games ever. Looks good!
     
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  3. confusis

    confusis Kiwi-modder

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    Thanks.. Still a long way to go. Looking at sleeving stuff at the moment. The price though! ><
     
  4. void

    void New Member

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    Awesome project!

    Good luck.
     
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  5. Timlander

    Timlander Simm Saver

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    Pretty neat, I like where this is going. Subbed.
     
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  6. asura

    asura jack of all trades

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    I'm happy you've gone this way rather than trying to cram it all in to that dell case, and the running monologue's a bit of fun too. Keep up the goods.
     
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  7. G0oB

    G0oB Fresh made Modder

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    Looks amazing :) looking forward for new updates !
     
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  8. confusis

    confusis Kiwi-modder

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    [11:58-2010-08-06]
    Progress has been made. Testing the new hardware to ensure correct fitment has commenced. Please see below:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As you can see we may have to machine a groove in the side Aperture Viewing Window to ensure Graphics Processing Unit stability. The hardware fits like a [CLASSIFIED] in a [CLASSIFIED]

    On a side note - How are we going to get these retail units out to Aperture Customers when the Labs are locked down due to [CLASSIFIED]? Seems a pointless exercise but if it's what GlaDOS wishes I suppose.

    ...To be continued...

    OOC: Thanks for your comments guys - updates will be sporadic from here on as finances are difficult at times and I finish my weeks holiday on Saturday ><
     
  9. confusis

    confusis Kiwi-modder

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    [12:18-2010-08-07]
    More progress has been made! We're pushing through this quite nicely.

    The base panel has been completed. Just need to design a PSU mount. Unfortunately the PSU is a different form factor to the original ALPACA unit. Everything has to be custom! More work for me..
    [​IMG]

    Side viewing 'aperture' has been mostly completed, just need to devise a mounting mechanism to hold the piece in place. This window needs to be removable to access the hardware, however.
    [​IMG]

    That's my shift over - afternoon lockdown has commenced, the party escort robots are standing at the door advising me to leave. NOW.

    ...to be continued...
     
  10. falcongrey

    falcongrey Master of Nothing, Student of All.

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    As this is a project in work on a board and similar setup design I've done... I am not sure if you have fired this up or not yet and tested the heat of it. If not, you will want to put a fan on the northbridge heatsink. It will likely cause problems under long hours of use if you don't. In addition, I'm using the same heatsinks on the same processors. Under standard stress they average between 35c and 45c. Under heavy stress... 64c and higher. Monitoring programs would force down the CPU load before it could get much higher than 66c. I have just ordered new ones due to they were not cooling the CPUs fast enough under load.

    Outside of that, the whole thing looks AWESOME. :thumb:


    Side note: If the board has the 1004 bios, KEEP IT! From what I've read, it is a better bios than the 1005 due to they removal of RAID functions from IDE and no other real changes.
     
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  11. confusis

    confusis Kiwi-modder

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    Good things to know, thanks dude.

    I'm considering finding a pair of better HSF assemblies - these ones idle @ cpu1 55 degrees and cpu2 45 degrees in bios!
    I have a spare 40mm fan to put on the NB, but I am considering getting a dedicated NB active cooler - fan already attached, saves me making mounting brackets.

    Do you have specs/pics of your build?
     
  12. falcongrey

    falcongrey Master of Nothing, Student of All.

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    One of the things I would look for is at least a dual heatpipe with copper core. If you are like me with crampt onfines, likely would want one of the higher dispersion ones with 4 heatpipes and larger than the standard 70mm fan. Perhaps one that has the fan on the side pushing the heat towards the back of the case.

    Hard part I've found is balancing the noise levels with efficiency. :eyebrow: Geeks.com had a fairly inexpensive and at the same time fairly impressive heatsink with dual heatpipes that I'm going to give a try. ETA 1 week through fedex. With my poor wiggle room, they should just fit within the space needed.

    For now, I have two 120mm fans positioned above the two smaller 70mm fans of the heatsinks keeping them around 45c average and barely keeping them below fatal temps when pushed... so I also installed TThrottle as a choke program until the new heatsinks are installed.

    I must say, that is a very impressive case and build you have. My solution was a bit more caveman... I took an old ATX case, cut away part of the 5.25 bay, pulled the 3.5bay out and spun it sideways. Drilled a few holes for screws and reinstalled it. Walla... it fits like a tight glove with no wiggle room! :D

    However, yours is making me rethink my design and if I should rebuild.... :duh: Works for now but it is very power hungry... even with the OSP opteron chips.

    I'll get some pics and specs up in another post. You already know the size of the board (he didn't) and will understand the :jawdrop: as he said "It's so big! It fits?!?"
     
  13. confusis

    confusis Kiwi-modder

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    Lol. Yeah my opteron chips are the 95w TDP ones!

    The whole system runs stable with a 400w server grade PSU so I'm happy.
    Unfortunately the design is too small for w/c (I highly doubt a 2x80mm rad would cool 2x 95w TDP processors!)

    When I first got the board (saw it on ebay and drooled.. didn't need it but GOD did I want it!) I thought of modding a standard atx case to fit, but a scratch build slowly took over the designs!
     
  14. falcongrey

    falcongrey Master of Nothing, Student of All.

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    I've moved my reply to its own thread as to not detract from this project with another. You can find it under Project Pheonix

    :read:
     
    Last edited: 9 Aug 2010
  15. confusis

    confusis Kiwi-modder

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    Cool rig! Yeah those boards are too damn tempting. Turns out if I had waited ~2 weeks i could have got the same cpus as you for the same price i bough my 95 watt ones ><

    Don't tell me your Duron beast was an 1800 Applebred?
     
  16. phenoptix

    phenoptix New Member

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    I'll be watching this too. About to head over to youtube to watch the end credits again.
    We do what we must, because we can.
     
  17. falcongrey

    falcongrey Master of Nothing, Student of All.

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    No, lol. It was small 750 old school. It did its job well as a guest computer or internet access while the main was occupied with tasks like rendering a dvd from avi files. I've started a thread on my project insted of taking up your space with pictures of my rig. I wish I had the resources and hand skill to work acrylic! Your's looks sweet.

    Yeah, I Ebayed my 2 processors for $20 total. Got a second set for my best friend who's mouth dropped when he saw what I did and how I destroied his 939 with my system's crippled abilities. :rock:

    I can't wait to finish this thing to see its full power!
     
  18. Jipa

    Jipa Avoiding the "I guess.." since 2004

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    Now that is a bizarre motherboard. Also I've been waiting for someone to finally make a case based on the HL/Portal/Aperture Science-case.

    Keeping an eye on this.
     
  19. Timlander

    Timlander Simm Saver

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    Lookin' really good, keep at it. =)
     
  20. confusis

    confusis Kiwi-modder

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    [14:17-2010-08-12]
    Been a hectic week with other projects taking up the team's time. Issues with recently obtained test subjects, the works! Although from one test subject we did obtain this normal size "M-ATX" cabinet with which to do 'X86/X64' testing for optimising o².

    The size difference is amazing considering the circuit board dimensions!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here's a board size comparison. The Blue is the size board we are using for o². The orange is the comparison unit.
    [​IMG]
     

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