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Old 11-18-2012, 11:38 AM   #1
Sleepingforest
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Default ~$1300 mATX build

I wanted to start by saying this will be my first every build, which is exciting for me. I have been lurking here for a long time and I figure that this is as good as a reason as any to join.

I want to play games such as Assassin's Creed III on this rig at 1080p for about $1300. I'm located in the United States and plan to buy sometime this week (preferably before Black Friday only to avoid the rush. That, and I have no experience in the kind of sales I'll be seeing and I don't want to count on them.) I don't have any particular brand preferences, but I am aiming for an mATX build that overclocks (CPU to about 4.2 GHz, GPU up to whatever I can get).

This is what I was thinking:
CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Scythe SCMG-3100 88.1 CFM CPU Cooler ($45.00 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-M PRO Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Samsung 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Plextor M5S Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($104.35 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($289.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Silverstone TJ08B-E MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($100.98 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Silverstone Strider Plus 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($77.17 @ Amazon)
Monitor: BenQ GW2250 21.5" Monitor ($120.00 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Keyboard: Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Rapid Wired Gaming Keyboard ($78.00 @ Mechanical Keyboards)
Mouse: Microsoft JUD-00001 Wired Optical Mouse ($6.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $1253.43 (plus some thermal paste, which I just realized I forgot)
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-18 00:59 EST-0500)


I'm not fully committed to the monitor, motherboard, keyboard, CPU cooler, SSD, or GPU. In fact, any advice on which GPU is best would be appreciated. I am, however, pretty set on getting some kind of 7950 or 660ti because of the price point. I am avoiding the 660ti because of the memory issues.

Additionally, because this will be my first build, I had a few questions about the cooling setup.
  • Will my CPU cooler fit the case?
  • Do I have enough room for push/pull?
  • Should I get aftermarket fans, like Yate Loons for either the case or the cooler?
  • Do I even get fans with the cooler?

In the Temjin, the arrangement of fans and parts goes something like this, right?

The GPU sits up here
Intake (huge fan) -> HDD rack -> CPU Cooler -> Out (small fan)

And it comes with a 180mm Silverstone Air Penetrator up front, and up to 140mm for my own fan in the back?

I just don't want to mess up and totally destroy the parts on my first try.
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:56 PM   #2
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First, realize that Micro Center will give you an extra $40 discount if you bundle a 3570K with a motherboard. Now, if you like Asus, you can get that board for $105 after $40 bundle savings. Or you could get an ASRock Pro4-m for $35 less.

Your power supply choice is a little expensive. You can get my favorite Seasonic M12II-520 for $70 at Newegg. Higher power but non-modular XFX and Corsair PSUs can be had for even a little less.

I'd definitely go with a 7950 over a 660ti for overclocking.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:02 PM   #3
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You can PM for specific questions about the case. It's excellent other than the fairly loud intake fan. I have some detailed pictures and a review of the Temjin on Amazon, and on this forum as well. Going push pull is impossible using the hard drive cage and 3.5" drives. You have none listed, which seems like an oversight in your build, by the way. You will want to add an exhaust fan (120mm, because 140mm will not fit). The Mugen may be too tall, I'm not sure, but honestly it's bigger than you need for your overclock. Try a cooler master 212 Evo.

Here's my forum review: http://forums.anandtech.com/showthre...ghlight=temjin

I agree with your choice of the 7950, but I do not like NCIX. They do not seem honest about pricing and availability.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:16 PM   #4
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In response to the Microcenter idea, I realize now that I should probably mention that I live 6 to seven hours away from the nearest Microcenter, which is problematic. I don't particularly like Asus, but from what I've heard the extra money I'm paying for Asus is for certain extra features, like fan management. Is it worthwhile to go for the cheaper option? Additionally, I chose the power supply because of its size; I'm not sure anything else would fit.

Termie, it's funny that you linked that because that review was actually what pushed me towards mATX rather than full sized. In regards to my storage choice, I don't have a hard drive because I figure that if there is extra money left over, it is easier to install the OS on the SSD and then add the HDD later than to start on the HDD and have to shift the OS over. I will, on the other hand, look on Newegg for the 7950 and drop to a 212 Evo.
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:38 PM   #5
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Definitely makes sense to start with an SSD for your OS, but 128GB will run out fast, so eventually you'll need to add some other type of storage.

The Temjin will fit standard power supplies. I have a Seasonic, which is 6.3in, while the shorter PSUs are 5.5in, I believe. Either will work, but I would suggest modular if you can fit it in the budget.
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Old 11-18-2012, 04:50 PM   #6
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Well, from what I've heard, I've revised the build slightly (and highlighted the changes to the CPU cooler, motherboard, storage, PSU, and fans):

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/oeS4
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/oeS4/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/oeS4/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($219.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte G1 Sniper M3 mATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Samsung 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.22 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card ($299.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Silverstone TJ08B-E MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($100.98 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 520W M12II ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: BenQ GW2250 21.5" Monitor ($120.00 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Keyboard: Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Rapid Wired Gaming Keyboard ($78.00 @ Mechanical Keyboards)
Mouse: Microsoft JUD-00001 Wired Optical Mouse ($6.98 @ Outlet PC)
Other: Scythe Slipstream 120mm ($6.99)
Total: $1353.09
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-18 17:46 EST-0500)

Better? It's certainly more expensive than before thanks to the extra HDD, but I figure I might as well just buy it in one go. Windows 7 should take up about 20GB right?

I switched motherboards because the Gigabyte board gives more power phases (not necessarily important, but I figured it might matter) and an Intel Ethernet controller (an appreciable improvement, right?)

Oh yeah, before I forget: are Newegg and Amazon as bad as B&M stores on Black Friday? I figure that the massive spike in traffic might make it hard to visit. That, and I'll need lighting loading speed to outrace everyone to the parts.

Last edited by Sleepingforest; 11-18-2012 at 05:07 PM. Reason: Thought of another question and wanted to change motherboards
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:04 PM   #7
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Great build. It's only more expensive because you added a storage hard drive, but honestly, you were going to need that anyway. Yes, W7 uses about 20GB, but most games nowadays take about 10-20GB, which is why 128GB is not going to last long, especially if you have any data files.

The only area I see where you could save some money is in the motherboard. Asus does have better fan controls than others, but you can get by with other boards. You only have two fans case fans, after all. Consider some of the AsRock boards, like the Pro4-M, for instance: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157306

I'm not an expert on mechanical keyboards, but you're definitely dropping a lot on the one you've picked - if that's something you're familiar with, then go ahead. It's just much more than your average keyboard (I use Logitech). Considering you're buying a $7 mouse, I'd say the balance is a bit off there, as a good mouse makes a difference in gaming.
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:36 PM   #8
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I don't think that I recommend a first time builder go with a case that has a whacked-out design like the Temjin. You can get something slightly larger and less expensive that doesn't involve mental contortions. The Fractal Design Arc Mini for example.

As for the rest,
- I'm in agreement with Termie regarding the mobo. You're still spending too much relative to something like the ASRock Z77 Pro4-M.
- The PSU is also too expensive for what it is, check out the Corsair TX650 for $50 AR AP
- The case, mobo, and PSU save you $55, which puts you only $5 shy of the GTX 670. The GTX 670 is faster than the 7950 3GB, but more importantly for you is cooler and less power hungry.
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:33 PM   #9
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I'm just worried that with the cheaper motherboard that there will be problems once I start to overclock. Is that a valid concern? Or does the motherboard not matter terribly much as long as its a reputable brand (as in, not Biostar)?

I'm dropping extra on the keyboard and not the mouse primarily because I've had to use cheap, non-mechanical keyboards at times and it is geniunely awful. I'm just going with the cheapest mechanical keyboard with the switch-type I like. Mice, on the other hand, have never bothered me (I suppose this might change after I use a better one, but who knows).

Unfortunately, I think that the Arc Mini and the Temjin come out to the same once shipping is factored in on Newegg/Amazon. I do realize that Silverstone enjoys a reputation as complex but well engineered. I am confident in my ability to assemble in small spaces and think spatially and logically, but if you insist, I could switch.

If I were to make the switches mfenn and Termie suggest in the motherboard and PSU... I drop to my original goal. At this point, I think I have to make a decision between the keyboard and the GPU. I'm leaning towards splurging for the GPU because it's far easier to hook up a new keyboard than a new GPU.

I have done some research into GTX 670s and from what I know, it's probably best, in a small case, to get something like the EVGA FTW 670 because it should blow the hot air out of the case, right? What is the best option between a what looks like a stock blower-style Galaxy 670 for $340, a blower-style EVGA 670 with a 680's PCB for $370, and the one mfenn recommends in the sticky, the triple-fan Gigabyte 670 for the small case?

Last edited by Sleepingforest; 11-18-2012 at 06:42 PM. Reason: more questions... sigh
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:20 PM   #10
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I like that Silverstone case much better than the Fractal. The Fractal is basically the same size as a normal ATX tower, whats the point?

Making me want to pickup a matx mobo and rebuild! I wonder if a liquid cooler like my H50 would fit well in that Temjin?
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Old 11-18-2012, 11:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepingforest View Post
I'm just worried that with the cheaper motherboard that there will be problems once I start to overclock. Is that a valid concern? Or does the motherboard not matter terribly much as long as its a reputable brand (as in, not Biostar)?
It matters, but probably not as much as you thought. For instance, chipset matters. Intel limits overclocking to certain chipsets. Also, sometimes there's an oddball board that somehow limits overclocking. Example would be BITD with the Asus P67 chipset boards. Lowest end version could only overclock if you installed the Asus software in Windows - no BIOS overclocking. A big WTF?!?!

The other thing is that traditionally higher end boards allowed for more extreme overclocking. That helped in the past when overclocking was a black art requiring one to sacrifice chickens and utter esoteric phrases.

These days with Ivy Bridge CPUs, you are most likely going to be limited by cooling. Thus, just about any motherboard that has halfway decent BIOS settings can bring your CPU to the edge of your personal thermal limit (which for most people is way below what Intel says the CPU can run at).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepingforest View Post
I have done some research into GTX 670s and from what I know, it's probably best, in a small case, to get something like the EVGA FTW 670 because it should blow the hot air out of the case, right? What is the best option between a what looks like a stock blower-style Galaxy 670 for $340, a blower-style EVGA 670 with a 680's PCB for $370, and the one mfenn recommends in the sticky, the triple-fan Gigabyte 670 for the small case?
What does "small case" have to do with cooling? For instance take the Silverstone SG05. It is tiny! It also has a 120mm fan which is a good percentage of the entire front of the computer.



Compare that to a typical tower case that has two fans in front, but a lot of frontal area without fans.

I think the SG05 has a bigger fan-to-fascia ratio than many tower cases.

My real message, however, is that case airflow has to do with intelligent design and not with physical size of case.

Regarding a rear-exhausting blower fan versus normal fans, unless the case was pretty much completely sealed I think the ones with normal fans will outperform the blower fans at the same fan RPM. Blower fans usually end up performing okay, but only when spinning at a higher speed and thus making more noise.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:51 AM   #12
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Well, I was thinking like this: in a small case, the warm air from an open design will reach more of the other components, whereas a blower's more focused airstream allows the hot air to go in a specific direction (hopefully, straight outside the case).

On the other hand, I do enjoy the fact that overclocking is much easier now and does not require pagan sacrifice.
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:53 PM   #13
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Zap is right on the money with his comments. With an Ivy Bridge, you're going to be limited by thermals long before you're limited by power delivery. You'd have to nearly double the heat output of an i5 3570K (that's a lot of volts) before you even got to the stock power draw of an old Nehalem i7.

As for cooling, yeah an open cooler will exhaust more hot air into the case, but so what? You're not going to increase the internal temperatures of any other components enough to matter unless you have an SLI/CFX setup or have next to no airflow inside the case. A blower is a smaller single fan, which means it has to work much harder (read: louder) to get the same cooling performance as a dual-fan setup. I would happily trade 5 inconsequential degrees of internal temperature for 9dBA of load noise.

Oh yeah, and the GB GTX 670 I am recommending is the dual-fan version. I dunno if the triple-fan would fit in your case.

EDIT: Oh yeah part 2, Biostar is a perfectly reputable brand. They make great no-frills, low-cost boards.
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:59 PM   #14
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I have built two machines with the asrock z77 Pro4-M and its a solid, solid board, don't let the price and any past talk about asrock fool you into thinking its junk.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:13 PM   #15
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Thanks for the advice. I'll probably end up going with the Asrock board then and whatever non-reference card is cheapest (although I heard MSI was cheating on the voltages). Any particular preferences? (I'm pretty sure the Temjin has four expansion slots, but I'll check a maximum width). What's the width of the triple fan? Would it be worth the cost?
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:52 PM   #16
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I have a friend who is willing to sell the Powercolor PCS+ Radeon 7970 to me for $315. Should I choose that over a 670? I assume that their performance out of the box is approximately similar (or the 7970 ekes out a little extra speed). It's a dual fan, dual slot card, if you don't want to look it up.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepingforest View Post
Thanks for the advice. I'll probably end up going with the Asrock board then and whatever non-reference card is cheapest (although I heard MSI was cheating on the voltages). Any particular preferences? (I'm pretty sure the Temjin has four expansion slots, but I'll check a maximum width). What's the width of the triple fan? Would it be worth the cost?
The card is 2 slots wide and the standard height. You mean the length? Somewhere around 11" for the 3-fan version, the two fan is much shorter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepingforest View Post
I have a friend who is willing to sell the Powercolor PCS+ Radeon 7970 to me for $315. Should I choose that over a 670? I assume that their performance out of the box is approximately similar (or the 7970 ekes out a little extra speed). It's a dual fan, dual slot card, if you don't want to look it up.
The 7970 is a little faster than the GTX 670 and is definitely a good deal at $315.
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:00 AM   #18
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Fortunately, I think getting the 7970 from my friend gets me to my original budget. I never thought going up in part quality would cost less.

I'll probably order the parts tomorrow (possibly the monitor on Black Friday).
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:35 PM   #19
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Let us know how the build goes.
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:01 AM   #20
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Talking In the End

I know I'm necroing this thread, but I just realized that I finished my build and need to post pictures. Here it is:

The reality of what I was doing hadn't really sunk into until I got all the boxes:


Here's the motherboard, the first component I opened the box for other than the case. I remember feeling super nervous the whole time because I was afraid static electricity would fry all my parts:


In the end, this is how it looks from the front:


And behind:


Because the PSU is modular, there aren't many extra cables. How's my cable management? It was really difficult to get all the cables hooked up, particularly the PSU ones. Are ribbon cables always so stiff?

I have it all set up now, with older speakers, from Creative and a crappy mouse I salvaged.


Ultimately, I found a few more deals and steals. I switched to a 670 because my friend was obligated to sell the 7970 to someone else (I got it from Newegg during a pre-Black Friday deal; it was, after a rebate, about the same price it is right now (I should have waited a little longer, but whatever. You can play the waiting game with computers indefinitely if you're not careful). My mobo came from Gigabyte (the Sniper M3). The same friend felt bad that he sold the 7970 to someone else, so he bought the RAM that came free with the board, bringing it down to $110 after rebate. I got a Rosewill mechanical keyboard, ironically from Amazon, for $50 less than it was on Newegg. I have a 256GB SSD, and as promised by many posters, it filled up FAST. I am contemplating getting a HDD right now.

Thanks for the help guys! I never thought I would jump into the community and be welcomed so well, although it helps that I didn't start in ATOT. (Early) Happy New Year!

Last edited by Sleepingforest; 12-28-2012 at 02:08 AM.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:07 AM   #21
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Awesome build, but boy, it looks strangely familiar!

On a more serious note, it's great to hear that you've felt welcomed here and now are able to provide feedback and advice to others. That's the magic of tech forums at work.

By the way, one observation regarding your setup. You have the SSD mounted on top of the 3.5" drive bay. Did you know that there is a slot inside that bay for a 2.5" drive? It's one of the secret, or at least poorly documented, features, of the Temjin.

Again, congrats on the new build. Now save up for a real mouse!
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:07 PM   #22
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I did see that slot but I couldn't get the PSU or SATA connector to connect, even with the helpfully provided slot. Both connectors had some awkward cabling (read: L shaped in the wrong direction) that didn't allow for it. I figure with an SSD it won't matter much, but I'll have to try again if I get an HDD. How did you make use of the slot?I remember people telling me that this case would be hard to assemble, but this one connector issue was honestly the biggest difficulty I had. Are other cases substantially easier? Or is it because I'm not used to how other cases are laid out in comparison to the Temjin?

Also, I'm a little worried about the GPU because it doesn't have any support at the end. Should I put the drive cage back in to prop it up?

Last edited by Sleepingforest; 12-28-2012 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:39 PM   #23
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What you need is a straight SATA connector. For some reason most new motherboards only come with 90 degree connectors. The psu cable probably would have bent into shape if you'd tried hard enough, although your PSU has the the new flat ribbon cables, so perhaps they aren't as pliable.

The GPU support isn't necessary as long as you have the card securely screwed down using two screws on the other end (where it exhausts).
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:46 PM   #24
Sleepingforest
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The bend of the ribbon cables made it physically unlikely, if not impossible (although the motherboard came with a single straight connector). I'll look into brute force for next time. How much space does that slot have? I may use a rubber pad to elevate the HDD if they both fit.
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Old 12-29-2012, 01:25 PM   #25
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Nice feet!

Your cabling looks OK. It's not the neatest job I've ever seen but it's certainly not obstructing anything (which is what really matters).
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