Scytche Gentle Typhoon (1800RPM)

As far as computer fans are concerned, I’ve always had a soft spot for Nidec, so getting a silent Nidec was something I had to try. I’ve never seen a Nidec fan fail catastrophically, they just seem to grow louder when they grow old.

As with the power supply, quite scarce packaging. Wonderful!

There really isn’t much to say about the contents of the package. You get a grey fan with a totally radical looking motor, a MOLEX adapter with an RPM connector, and four rather generic fan screws.

Manufacturer, model and model number. I'd never ask for anything more.

The point of this gif is to illustrate how well-balanced it is. I exposed this for several seconds, yet it remained very, very sharp. This is the most vibration-free computer fan that I've ever seen.

The noise level of the fan is very low, even at full speed. Since it simply doesn’t vibrate, it doesn’t resonate with the case, either. The air flow is plentiful, especially for the level of noise, and a surprise awaited when I put it up against my twice-as-expensive Noctua NF-P12 in a very scientific test:

You can see where this is going.

First up, the Noctua.

The results are quite clear from this test.

Both runs were at 12V, and the 11€ Scytche completely dominated the 23€ Noctua. Even the noise levels are comparable by ear, albeit different: The Noctua has considerably more turbulence noise than the Scytche, while as the Scytche predominantly emits a 500-1000-ish Hz motor whine.

Conclusions to be drawn? The Scytche Gentle Typhoon 1800RPM certainly offers very, very good performance for the money. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that it offers very, very good performance even if it would cost twice as much. If I were presented with a choice between this and a Noctua NF-P12 today, at their current price points I’d definitely go with the Scytche. However, if I was looking for a case fan, I’d probably go with a Noctua NF-S12B, as that fan is in a different league of noise.


Super Flower Golden Green Pro 550W – Part 1

The fan is just sitting there.It is not often that I purchase new goods, but this is one of those rare occasions. However, I did make sure that the things that I purchased were at least semi-unusual: A Golden Green-brand power supply, and a Scytche Gentle Typhoon fan. In this post, we’ll look at the power supply.

The box, as seen above, looks pretty much like every other semi-expensive PSU box you’ll find. The wrap-around butterfly is a nice touch, I think.

Oh god where did the rest of the butterfly go?

Do you over-clock the switch chip?

The front (or top) of the box has some marketing on it. The “overclock version” graphics is a sticker that’s obviously been added later on. I like how you supposedly get one Japanese capacitor and save energy whilst still getting not only 20% more power, but 20% more ULTRA POWER!

You aren't going to let us forget that you're Taiwanese, are you?

They forgot the specifications.

Around the back, we find that a marketing executive has built a nest. He has, however, built it quite well; most of the marketing on there is quite relevant. There are no flawed diagrams or comparisons to nameless competitors.

If you add all those together, you get 80+ unobtanium.

Not quite Corsair-level of extras.

Inside of the box, they’ve been very conservative. What you see in the image is pretty much what you get. I, for one, think this is a big plus to Super Flower, for not jumping on the bandwagon and filling the box with pointless extras; I can’t remember using the cloth bag that I got my Corsair PSU in for anything but taking the PSU out of it. While such things may feel like “nice extras”, they really aren’t much more than an unnecessary cash overhead, as well as a burden on the environment.


If it wasn't for those kids and that blasted "Warranty void if removed" sticker...!

The fan is semi-transparent.

The casing on the unit has a matte feel to it, very similar to Corsair units I’ve installed in the past. The 140mm fan is… larger than what I am used to. I was expecting it to be more silent than it is; the 120mm fan on my old Corsair HX520 was considerably more quiet, and it wasn’t even an 80+ unit. I haven’t been able to find its brand out without taking the unit apart, but since Super Flower do brag about “dual NMB bearings”, I can imagine it out-living the rest of the unit.

I want more round, yellow capacitors.

No lack of filtering components!

Looking through the grille, we see a nice, big mains filter lined up.


Couldn't mistake those for anything!

Looking in through the fan grille, we’re greeted by a row of large Chemi-Con KZE capacitors. Every electrolytic cap I could spot inside was KZE, which is very nice indeed. The big ones (which are the ones most common to fail) are rated to last for at least 5000 hours at 105°C, which is more than you typically see in PC components. I have high hopes for the reliability and longevity of this unit.

Plenty of power to go around.

Looking at the quoted specifications for the unit, the fact that it is in fact a unit with a step-down converter for the other voltages running off of the 12V rail becomes obvious. This is a good thing, as it allows for great flexibility in how the unit can be loaded; if you need to, you can essentially draw all of the unit’s (ultra) power from the 12V rail alone.

Stay tuned for part 2, where I’ll be putting this thing into use! I’m afraid that I can’t show more of the inside, as my computers have a tendency to consumer power supplies, and I don’t want to void my warranty.

Pioneer DEQ-9200 backlight fix

My car stereo is built around a Pioneer DEQ-9200. It’s a quite high-end, late 90’s sound processor with some nice features like auto-equalisation, a remote control and a three-group internal crossover. I like it a lot as it’s very seriously laid out, and aside from some pre-programmed EQ curves, it doesn’t try to be more “noob-friendly” than it needs to be.

There’s only one problem with it:


It wasn't like this when it was new.

It’s hard to demonstrate the problem with pictures, as the level of light emitted from the display was so low in comparison to the buttons; it was hard to read even in a completely darkened room.

Upon taking the backside of the front panel off, one is greeted by two ICs, some passive components, two lightbulbs (the next thing to fail) and the solder blobs that supply power to the EL sheet that illuminates the display, as well as the “bendies” that hold the display assembly in place.

Lovely, Pioneer-branded ICs.

That's a quite nice-looking board.

On the other side of the board, there’s an LCD display, some LEDs, an IR receiver (top right corner) and a whole bunch of buttons.


Ooh! White!

Underneath the LCD assembly, the white EL sheet is easily accessed. It’s merely taped onto the white piece of plastic with double-sided tape.


The sun has left its mark in less than a year!

Everybody tell me that I've got womanly hands.

There's not much light emanating from that EL sheet.

I’m going to use an EL sheet that I ordered from Electro-Luminescence Incorporated. They didn’t have anything that’d fit perfectly (22x108mm), but their 18x122mm sheet was the closest I could find anywhere.

Isn't that a nice roll of tape?

The EL sheet can't be soldered, so the connection is pressure-based.

I made the pressure connector by soldering two component leads onto the pads on the PCB, and simply bending them in under the sheet. It works a charm, as the LCD assembly presses it down quite snugly.

That's thermally safe tape from Dealextreme.

It's not beautiful, but it's at least... reasonably usable.

Since the sheet was just a little bit too small, I had to strategically place it to illuminate the most important part of the display. I chose the upper part, which houses the graphic and numerical displays, Auto EQ and posistion indicators. The lower part houses the pre-programmed EQ indicators and functions for the F keys.

The interior of my car is kind of rackety.

It works!

Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn! It works! The above picture was taken in broad daylight, even!


PS/2: Floppy drive water damage!

Catastrophe! It wouldn’t read floppies! Without a floppy drive, the only method of data input is the keyboard, and that’s not a good way to get drivers onto the system!
Oh, no!

That's not the colour copper is supposed to have.

Luckily, I do have a donor system saved up for just this sort of thing, and thus, the testing commenceth! Unfortunately, it wasn’t as easy as just swapping floppy drives. While the donor system’s drive was compatible, the computer wouldn’t read it, despite it working in the donor.

Oh, yeah.

This is how they reproduce.

The first thing to get tested was the floppy cable. It’s routed under the motherboard, so I had to get reasonably creative to test it.

It wasn’t the problem. The actual problem was that the moisture-damaged floppy drive somehow had damaged the motherboard. I replaced the motherboard in my computer (I forgot to take pictures of the process, sorry!) with the one from the donor machine, and then it was all fine. I may or may not try to fix the original motherboard, the thought of having the same everything as much as possible in this computer is quite appealing, I think.

Until then, drivers!

Cruisin' in overdriver

16 colours, here I come!

IBM PS/2 nostalgia

You aren’t going to believe it when I tell you, but I had at least as much fun with this as all the other kids had with their Sony PS2 systems. I picked this up from my dad’s cellar the other day, in hopes of playing the Mario clone, Monster Bash and TD2 on it again.

It was only lightly brushed off before I put it in the car. It doesn't look too bad, considering that it's been lying under a sawing bench for the last eight or so years.

Only slight sawdust leakage around the front panel.

I like the power-to-size ratio of the power supply.

30MB, that's less than the RAM in most cell phones these days, yet it's got two operating systems inside, with over 20MB to spare.

You don't see that on new diskette drives.

A proper motherboard, that is. Not a single BGA package to be seen!

Nor any heatsinks, for that matter. 10MHz of raw, 16-bit power.

1MB of RAM, in 256kB modules. If I were to have 1/30th of my HDD in RAM today, I'd have 30GB of RAM.

My PS/2 has got 2 PS/2 ports.

Those are all the pictures that I took before I hooked it up for the first time. The question is, of course, after all these years of neglect, will it still run?

Oh, yes!

That’s the original keyboard that came with it. I scavenged it from the same basement about a year ago. It’s been cleaned up, and aside from one broken spring, it’s in great condition.

It’s awfully tempting to try and get my hands on a fitting monitor for this set-up. I think I’ve got a mouse for it somewhere (I also know that I turned the original one into a camera remote control. Stupid, stupid, stupid!). I’d love to play all my childhood games in their original, flickery EGA/VGA glory.