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Beta Orionis – Part VIII: Delays

Contents: All articles in this series


Delays, delays and more delays. That is the one thing I really, really hate about places getting orders wrong. It easily turns what should’ve been only a few days wait for components into a week or longer, depending on how quickly they correct the situation. Performance-PCs was typically quick on the draw, often getting something out the same business day I e-mail them.

FrozenCPU? Not so much.

Granted there was a minor delay in negotiating the return of the fittings they did send me, plus figuring out whether a replacement with something else was possible. They offered to supply a different brand, which is great given that their system showed inventory not actually in stock. But that’s not where I have a problem.

The several times I’ve had issues with a Performance-PCs order, they’ve corrected it by 2-day Priority Mail. In arranging the fittings to be shipped to me from their supplier – their supplier actually being Koolance – FrozenCPU arranged for UPS Ground instead of UPS 2nd Day Air or 3-Day Select service. The original package was received on October 15. The new fittings shipped out almost a week later on the 21st with an anticipated delivery date of the 27th. Perhaps I should have been a little insistent on the courier service. I know FrozenCPU was merely trying to protect their bottom line in doing this, given they are likely taking a loss on the fittings I did request, but customer service is always considered an investment, regardless of the upfront costs.

I had ordered three additional Koolance fittings from Performance-PCs to be held on the 23rd along with the additional fittings FrozenCPU ordered to send to me. My original Koolance order with the second GTX 680 water block and bottle of coolant were set to be held for pickup on the 22nd.

But then, that’s not the only delay on this build. I also ordered a tubing straightener from KwixUK through their eBay store since they had explicitly listed having 1/2" OD straightener available. That order when in on the 11th. As of the time I write this, it has yet to ship despite attempt to contact the seller, or if it has shipped, they didn’t update the order status. Coming from the UK, when it does ship, it’ll likely take a week to 10 days to arrive.

When the first Koolance package was held for pickup, I debated on waiting till the next day to pick it up with the Performance-PCs package, but decided against it for one simple reason: the coolant. If the coolant bottle had been compromised, I wanted to know right away so I could get a replacement sent from Koolance. Despite a wet spot on the bottom of the box, thankfully the coolant was fine – Koolance vacuum seals their coolant in plastic before putting it in a box.

So that’s where I’ll leave that for now. The Performance-PCs package arrives on the 23rd with more fittings. I might start tearing apart the machine this weekend and using my laptop or possibly my tablet in the interim. We’ll see.


Beta Orionis – Part VII

Contents: All articles in this series

So much hardware in so little time… Four packages in one day with another due later in the week. The loner toward the end of the week were two UN Z2 brackets from Sidewinder Computers. One of the packages on Wednesday was the RMA from ThermalTake, which got set aside and wasn’t going to be used in this build.

And unfortunately one of the packages contained incorrect items, and this time it was the one from FrozenCPU. Instead of the Swiftech 90-degree single-rotary fittings I ordered, they sent me the dual-rotary fittings. Via e-mail I managed to negotiate with them to have their supplier send me the Koolance 90-degree single-rotary fittings as a substitute –  FrozenCPU carries the black fittings but not the silver, hence why I asked if their supplier could send them to me. It actually works out doing that, as well, given I’m using Koolance water blocks.

It just seems that no one has the Swiftech fittings in stock, not even Swiftech has them, while Performance-PCs carries the Koolance fittings for about a dollar less than Koolance’s website.

Speaking of Koolance…

Koolance again

Having two graphics cards means needing two water blocks for water cooling. So when I saw that Koolance had dropped its price on the GTX 680 waterblock, I decided to order one immediately rather than wait. They lowered the price on it by $20, which basically tells me it’s approaching end-of-life for that particular block. But still, a GTX 680 water block for only $90 initially, then $70 the second time around. That’s a pretty decent deal, especially since XS-PC’s block still retails for around $100, and the EK blocks are a little higher.

I also added a bottle of coolant to the order since I know I’ll need it. In filling up Absinthe, I touched into the second bottle I originally bought, meaning I know I’m not going to have enough for my loop. Hopefully having shy of two bottles will do the trick. Each bottle is 700mL.

I’m still not entirely sure what I’m going to do for connecting these two together. I’m thinking about using Bitspower Crystal Link, but I can also just use copper tubing as well with the PrimoChill fittings, provided I have enough. I may also go with Swiftech or Koolance’s SLI fittings.

Actually, I still have some EK 12mm ID acrylic tubing and a pair of 16mm HD fittings back from when I was experimenting before Absinthe started. I’ll order another pair of EK fittings and pick up a hacksaw and jig for cutting the tubing and just use that for SLI. I’ll figure out the lengths I’ll need when the time comes. It does mean the tubing will be going from a 3/8" ID to 12mm ID, but it shouldn’t create any major flow issues. If it appears to, I can certainly switch over to fittings or copper tubing.

Changing the order

In the previous section, I mentioned that I had a second GTX 770 on order. Installing it introduced a minor complication: the sound card had to be relocated to the first SLI slot, the one located conveniently in front of the northbridge chip, as I didn’t feel comfortable having it between the graphics cards. This basically cut off the back fan mount area from ever being able to have a radiator as the fitting end would be uncomfortably close to the sound card.

So with that in mind, I decided to turn the tanks around on the top 360mm radiator so they are toward the rear I/O side of the case, like they are in Absinthe. It does mean I’m likely going to need more 90-degree fittings than just the five I have on order. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

This also means the order of the loop is changing in that the flow will go from the graphics cards to the top radiator, then the CPU, again like in Absinthe. But differing from Absinthe is that the flow will go from the CPU to the memory water blocks, then back to the reservoir.

The minor concern is that the Koolance 90-degree fittings are 3.5mm shorter than the Swiftech fittings (24.5mm for Koolance, 28mm for the Swiftech) with the center of the thread being a little over 1.5mm lower (18.5mm for Swiftech, 16.8mm for Koolance). This could be a concern with regard to tubing up the radiator to the CPU block in that it may not line up straight enough to avoid a concern.

Placing the reservoir

One of the problems with a purely bottom-fill reservoir like the Phobya Balancer is figuring out where to place it, as you need to get the flow back to the bottom of the reservoir. Since I mentioned that I plan to go from the memory water blocks back to the reservoir, this presents a little bit of a challenge. Looking around for other builds that used the Phobya Balancer reservoir with my case, though, is coming up with a dead end.

There are several ways I can do this. Along with the reservoir, I ordered a set of EK-UNI Holders. One mechanism for mounting it is to use those to hang the reservoir from the 5 1/4" drive bays, but that puts the reservoir too far toward the window side of the case and too high up. Another option is to mount it to the motherboard tray. The "Gold Rush" build on the Hardware Canucks forum shows the 250 version of the Balancer reservoir in 750D mounted to the motherboard tray. Doing this just requires offsetting the reservoir mounts from the back of the case using nuts or spacers.

Another option that I briefly entertained is mounting the reservoir to the back of the rear 140mm fan outside the case. I also considered mounting it to the rear 140mm fan, but inside the case. The complication there is it could interfere with the fans on the top radiator, which would make it difficult to fill the reservoir for bleeding the system. Plus the initial tubing to get to the pump would cross in front of everything else.

So I’m currently resting on having the reservoir mounted on the motherboard tray. It means I need to plan the loop around that, so we’ll see what happens there.

Flushing radiators

When I initially started a loop in my wife’s computer, I used a technique I saw online with a whole-house water filter to flush the single 360mm radiator that was in my wife’s machine at the time. When I needed to flush the coolant out of that radiator, along with flushing a 240mm radiator that would be added under project Absinthe, I didn’t use a similar technique, initially.

Instead I set things up in a fashion similar to this:



As you can tell, this isn’t a loop. It’s a one-way flow from the reservoir through the pump and through the radiator and into the sink. I used something similar when flushing out the GTX 660 water blocks. So this was the setup I chose to initially flush about a gallon of distilled water through each of the radiators – two through the 360mm radiator. This wasn’t the entirety of the radiator flushing, but only an initial flush. This allowed me to rinse most of the gunk out of the radiators, and the pump was used to push the water through with a pretty good amount of pressure, thus assisting in flushing the radiators out.

The only thing I had to do was keep up with the pump, which is a lot easier than it sounds. There wasn’t a lid on the reservoir so I was pouring directly into it.

After the initial flushing, I gave each radiator about a 15-20 minute run connected through the filter to get the last of whatever is inside them.


I had the line running back to the bottom of the reservoir mainly because trying to push through this filter and through the Bitspower tube was sometimes difficult, and if a large air bubble got in the way, it could completely stop the flow. But this is what could happen if in your loop you went from 1/2" ID tubing down to 1/4" ID tubing – the latter is necessary for the water filter, though with some extra plumbing fixtures I might have been able to make it so the run through the 1/4" tubing wasn’t nearly as long. This is why all the tubing between components should be the same if possible – now if you’re tubing up multiple motherboard blocks, then this may not be possible, but you don’t want to go from 1/2" to 1/4" ID, but only a slight deviation, say 1/2" to 3/8".

Installing radiators

Once the radiators were flushed, it was time to get the fans and fittings and install them into the case, after testing the new 140mm fans (spoiler: they work fine).


Here’s something about the ST30 radiators that I also learned in the process: if you are using fans like the Spectre Pro, which are 120mm square all around, you will need to use extension fittings to clear the fans in order to use the PrimoChill fittings if you have the fans on the same side as the inlet and outlet. In my case, that is how I have them mounted: push on the top, pull on the bottom. For the front radiator, no extension fittings are necessary as the fans are mounted to the case on the opposite side.



Those are 40mm Bitspower extension fittings. I’m going to swap them for 30mm fittings. On the lower radiator, 40mm fittings are going to be required to clear the fan plus the UN Z2 bracket holding the pump. I have 00 rubber washers not only holding the pump to the bracket, but the bracket to the fan and radiator.


There’s only 1x40mm extension fitting on this radiator because I only had three altogether. The other two are, currently, on the top radiator. This picture also shows the bottom of the reservoir in relation to the pump. The reservoir is going to feed via a 90-degree fitting into the T-fitting on the front of the pump. The T-fitting is going to have the drain valve on it once I get another male-to-male rotary fitting. The outlet on the pump will feed to the bottom radiator to the 40mm fitting currently on it. Then the front-most outlet will feed up to the graphics cards.

The front radiator will feed back to the reservoir.

Next order and next steps

With recent discoveries with the radiator and pump installation, I brought up Performance-PCs and FrozenCPU to compare prices for things I would need. So far the list includes:

  • Male-to-male rotary fitting
  • 2xEK-HD 12/16mm adapter
  • 2xBitspower Shining Silver 30mm extension fittings
  • 3xKoolance 90-degree single-rotary fittings

I don’t anticipate needing anything else at this point, and I hope I won’t need much else. Later this week I’ll likely start taking apart everything from the Zalman case. I need to get the mainboard back into the 750D along with the graphics cards so I can see how it’ll all relate to the reservoir and radiators. It means I’m without my primary system while that is going on, but I do have my laptop along with a tablet.

The order from Koolance containing the second GTX 680 water block plus the coolant will be arriving on Wednesday. The new order of the above fittings will likely arrive on Thursday, making the latter part of the week a fun one to anticipate.


The argument from history doesn’t jive with history

It seems when arguing about our legal system, two things will hold true: a person arguing against capital punishment will bring up the cost associated with it, and a person arguing against the private ownership of firearms will bring up the historical interpretation of the Second Amendment. The former I’ve already tackled, twice, and the second is today’s topic.

The most recent example I’ve seen is Saul Cornell’s article on the Daily Beast called "Gun-rights advocates should fear history of Second Amendment".

Which also brings up a third notion that always holds true whenever someone argues about the Constitution: they blatantly ignore the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments when they prove inconvenient. Quoting Cornell’s article:

Up until the 1980s, there was no “individual-rights” theory of the Second Amendment. Many states had adopted provisions protecting an individual right to own guns, but this tradition was distinct from the Amendment.

Now the history argument regarding the Second Amendment is quite easy to break down. To say that a modern interpretation of an Amendment is incorrect because it is substantially different from previous interpretations, and that we should prefer the historical interpretation merely because it’s the historical interpretation, regardless of the justifications behind the historical interpretation, is an easy notion to demonstrate as fallacious with just one Supreme Court decision.

In the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 US 537 (1896), the Supreme Court upheld state-prescribed segregation under the fallacious doctrine of "separate but equal". For the history argument to stand, the interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment as permitting segregation must be allowed, yet no one today would support such an idea unless they happen to enjoy being labeled a racist. Under Earl Warren, in the also infamous Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, KS, 347 US 483 (1954), the "separate but equal" doctrine was struck down, unanimously.

What really opened the floodgates for the expansions of liberty was the "incorporation doctrine". And the Earl Warren and Warren Burger courts saw massive expansions in individual freedoms and protection of individuals from the government.

Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966), also under Earl Warren, saw the introduction of the requirement, citing the Fifth Amendment and the incorporation doctrine, that an individual be informed of their Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination before being interrogated by law enforcement. Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 US 335 (1963), again under Earl Warren, introduced the requirement, citing the Sixth Amendment, that the government must provide an attorney to someone who cannot afford one, something of which virtually every jurisdiction will also inform persons to be interrogated.

There are numerous instances of the Bill of Rights being applied in ways they previously were not, and, again, the most striking example of it, in my opinion, being the Plessy and Brown decisions. One could argue that those who drafted the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause would never have dreamed of it actually allowing segregation, yet that is how the Court interpreted it.

Christian conservatives love to use the history argument as well, and also with regard to the Equal Protection Clause. They will say things along the lines that those who drafted the Clause would never have dreamed of it allowing abortion, gay or interracial marriage, homosexual sexual activity, or even birth control. Basically they will assert that today’s interpretations of the Bill of Rights are not correct and that past interpretations or some unspoken intention regarding how the Amendments should be interpreted must actually be correct.

And the history of birth control is also a very striking example of how the Constitution has been interpreted by the Courts as protecting individual liberty. The landmark Supreme Court case on that mark is Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 US 479 (1965), again under Earl Warren. In a 7-2 decision the Court struck down a Connecticut law that criminalized birth control. It was one of the first cases, if not the first, that introduced the right to privacy. In that case it was marital privacy, but it was one hell of a jump in individual liberty jurisprudence. Never before had the idea of a right of privacy been considered at the highest Court in the land.

All of those cases rest on a concept called "substantive due process", an interpretation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments in which Courts will declare a right to be fundamental if it is specifically enumerated in the Constitution or seen to be related or stemming from an enumerated right. From substantive due process we get the test of strict scrutiny, which, if applied, requires the government to justify the law according to a three-pronged test.

Most laws challenged under substantive due process and strict scrutiny fail the test.

Yet these ideas didn’t exist in case law until the 1930s. And they are the foundation for the massive expansions in individual liberties and protections against the government that are still happening even today.

And yet, with regard to the Second Amendment, completely ignoring the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments and the jurisprudence that has stemmed from them, liberals are wanting to "reverse the clock" on the Second Amendment. True that the Supreme Court was largely silent on the Second Amendment until District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 US 570 (2008), and McDonald v. Chicago, 561 US 742 (2010). The former declared there to be a fundamental right to own a firearm unconnected to any service in the military or a militia. The latter applied the Supreme Court’s reasoning to the city of Chicago, Illinois, through the incorporation doctrine.

But the Court only in recent years recognizing the individual right to own firearms does not mean such a right never existed. Indeed if one were to interpret the Ninth Amendment as it written, such a right has always existed and has only recently been recognized and protected by the Court against infringement by the government. I said this in a YouTube comment back in April regarding Justice Stevens’ desires for amendment the Constitution with regard to the Second Amendment:

Repealing or modifying the Second Amendment would not eliminate the right to keep and bear arms as the Ninth Amendment clearly says that the rights enumerated in the Constitution are not to be construed to be the only rights a person has. Modifying the Second Amendment in the way Justice Stevens desires would just mean that he’s declaring that a person has a right to keep and bear arms while serving in a militia. But the Ninth Amendment means that just because the Constitution would then be silent on the right of a private citizen to keep firearms does not mean the private citizen does not have a right to keep firearms. And the Fourteenth Amendment would then mean that I cannot be denied the right to have firearms without there have been some kind of preceding legal process — a felony conviction being the most common example.

As such, taking away the Second Amendment, completely nullifying it, does not mean no one can own firearms because the Ninth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment would still control. As such the only way a ban on firearms can go through is if we have an Eighteenth Amendment equivalent with regard to firearms — and imagine how well that would go over.

This is the one thing that few seem to take into consideration: the Ninth Amendment still controls in all debates with regard to rights. And the Ninth Amendment says that just because a right has not been enumerated does not mean it does not exist. The fact that the right is only recently being recognized does not mean it did not exist until that point. To say otherwise is to say that a particular species of crab didn’t exist until it was discovered. No the species of crab had to exist in order to be discovered, just as rights have to exist to be protected by the Court.

And so it is the same with the individual right to bear arms. And under strict scrutiny and substantive due process, you have to have one hell of a reason to restrict that right in order for it to fly under the Constitution.


Beta Orionis Part VI

Contents: All articles in this series

Two RMAs going out the door and one coming in is how things started after posting the last section. Corsair sent back a full retail packaged CX750M, which is good as it virtually guarantees a working unit. And the RMAs to ThermalTake and Performance-PCs went out through USPS the following Saturday and were delivered the next Monday – one of the things I love about USPS Priority 2-day.

The next order from Performance-PCs was put on hold pending the RMA as I wanted to use the store credit toward the next purchase, which was looking to be an expensive one. In the mean time, I ordered the water blocks directly from Koolance: the CPU-380A, VIDNX680 and 2xRAM-33 (refurbished), plus a U-fitting.

Speaking of the fittings, I ultimately decided to go with the PrimoChill fittings. They are more expensive than the AlphaCool fittings, about 50 cents more per fitting when buying a 10-pack of the PrimoChill fittings. But they are easier to work with, as that internal O-ring on the AlphaCool fittings is just going to hinder things when trying to do test fits on the copper tubing – the need to constantly push the tubing in and pull it back out while getting the lengths just right is probably going to ruin the internal O-rings. As the PrimoChill fittings don’t have an internal O-ring, test fits while sizing will also be easier.

The AlphaCool fittings are certainly intriguing, but I think those are more suited for acrylic tube, specifically their 13mm tubing, than for copper. And the EK and Bitspower fittings I also would not recommend for copper tubing. Use acrylic or PETG only for those. Use only the PrimoChill fittings for copper.

Parts start rolling in

There were several orders placed in close proximity to each other. The Koolance order arrived on the same day I placed an order from Performance-PCs (paying the rush order fee as well), FrozenCPU and TigerDirect (more on that in a little bit). The Performance-PCs order included:

  • Bitspower mini-valve
  • Bitspower anti-twist adapter – essentially a male-to-female rotary extension adapter
  • AlphaCool ST30 240mm radiator
  • AlphaCool HF D5 top
  • Phobya Balancer 150 Silver Nickel
  • EK UNI Holder 50/70
  • PrimoChill Revolver fittings – Anodized Silver – 2×10 packs

The in-store credit from the RMA made a little dent in that order, as did the coupon code. Together they knocked over $50 off what would have been the total. From FrozenCPU, I ordered:

  • 5xSwiftech 90-degree single-rotary fittings
  • 2xBitspower Spectre Pro 140mm

The fans I originally intended to order from Performance-PCs, then forgot about it as they weren’t on the wishlist. Both of these orders should be arriving about mid-week, the Performance-PCs order via FedEx, FrozenCPU via UPS.

Then there’s the order from TigerDirect. Let’s just say that when you see a good deal, you take it.


Plus TigerDirect had a Columbus Day special going on where you could get $15 off any order of $100 or more. So I was able to get this graphics card for $260 plus shipping. I’d been keeping an eye on prices through PCPartPicker, and when I noticed this I just had to jump on it. It was too good a deal to pass up, especially when everyone else still has this card for over $300 – typical price I’ve seen is over $350 as of the time I write this. And with the $30 rebate, it’ll come out to $230 plus shipping in the end.

Certainly one hell of a deal.

It does mean I now need a second Koolance GTX 680 waterblock, but I still come out pretty well ahead on that. I still need to order coolant, so I’ll likely get both direct from Koolance. And for the SLI I’ll probably use the Swiftech SLI fitting, running it in parallel.

I was originally planning on waiting to do SLI in my build, waiting for the price to come down to, actually, about what I paid. I wasn’t expecting it to happen this quickly after the GTX 900 series was introduced, though. I expected the prices to remain higher for at least another month or two, and in most venues they still are. As of the time I write this, Amazon lists it for $370, and Microcenter for $350 (plus about another $30 for sales tax for me). NewEgg is the only other place I’ve seen that is listing it for $300, but they’ve only just recently got it back into stock. Even PNY’s online store lists it for $395 right now – which is odd since they list the OC2 version of the card for $320, though it’s out of stock. And there are other retailers listing the card for over $400.

So again I definitely got lucky on my timing in finding a good deal.

For now, though, it’s all about playing the waiting game. Here’s the components of the loop thus far.



Protesting in a Courthouse

Hands up if you believe you have your free speech rights in a Courthouse. Those of you who rose your hands, you’re not correct.

Courthouses have routinely restricted the speech rights of spectators who arrive to watch court proceedings. So it is quite incredulous for a constitutional law attorney named James Whitehead to say this:

The right to protest is under attack. The government is attempting to squelch expression even in such public places as the plaza fronting the U.S. Supreme Court.

This quote is from an article describing how an 83 year-old woman was removed from a courthouse for wearing a t-shirt that says "Shut down Guantanamo".

Here’s the down and dirty: the Court has every right to restrict the activities of others within the courthouse, including manner of dress and manner of expression. All courthouses I’ve been to have done this, and there are several reasons for it, the most obvious of which is to maintain order and limit the potential for outside influence on any juror or witness to a trial.

Courthouses are about hearing controversies and cases. The right of the parties involved to have their side heard trumps your right to free speech. This means the Court has the right and, indeed, the responsibility to restrict the manner of dress of all persons who may enter a courthouse, and to direct the bailiffs and deputies to enforce that dress code, including removing persons who are found to have violated the dress code or, in the case of the 83 year-old woman, ignored the order of an officer to remain covered with a jacket.

And this has been upheld by appellate Courts and has been the rule for decades. Quoting an article on the matter written by Michael Crowell, UNC Chapel Hill School of Government:

Given the court’s inherent authority to maintain order and protect the fairness, dignity and integrity of the judicial process, it was held reasonable for the judge to bar a defendant from wearing a T-shirt with a political message. People v. Aleem, 149 P3d 765 (Colo 2007). The ban served to protect the right to a fair trial.

Rules of this nature are about protecting the rights of those who have business before the Court. Your rights take a back seat to that business when you are in the courthouse when that business is taking place and, as such, your rights can and will be legitimately restricted within that venue. This is not to say free speech is under attack, or whatever you want to say about it. It is, again, about respecting the rights of those who have business before the Court, who have cases and controversies to be heard, and the right to have those cases and controversies heard without undue influence on the trier of fact, including by people who will be sitting in the gallery.


Manufacturing a controversy

One thing that I despise is this portrayal of atheists, without evidence, as being “outraged” over every little thing. The latest example I’ve encountered is from

In the song, Underwood sings about baptism and “being washed in blood,” which refers to the blood of Christ. The whole message of the song is that we humans are lost without God.

Atheists are outraged that such a hit-maker as Underwood would dare to sing about Christianity, but Carrie doesn’t seem to care.

and the Conservative Tribune (right-click and copy the link and paste it into a new tab):

You can almost hear the atheists throwing temper tantrums every time this song comes across the radio…

With the current state of pop culture being radically opposed to religion, especially Christianity, and traditional values, its refreshing and uplifting to see someone as popular as Carrie Underwood take a bold stand on her convictions and refuse to be silenced by atheist bullies.

Okay who has been trying to silence Carrie Underwood? And again:

Atheists have a new target in their sights and it’s country music star Carrie Underwood, who recently released a new song expressing her Christian faith and values.


Question: how many country songs invoke God or Jesus? If your answer is not “a lot”, then you really need to pay attention.

Carrie Underwood has invoked Jesus, God and Christianity before. Numerous, numerous times. Her famous song “Jesus Take the Wheel” ring any bells? And in the last stanza of “Don’t Forget to Remember Me”, she describes herself praying. The song “Temporary Home” also invokes God in describing an old man facing death. The song “Crazy Dreams” ends with “Thank God even crazy dreams come true”. “Wheel of the World” invokes God, as does “Mama’s Song”, “Change”, “Good in Goodbye”, and the very openly named “Thank God for Hometowns”. And the song “Who Are You” could be interpreted to be talking about Jesus as well.

I don’t recall atheists being portrayed as “throwing temper tantrums” or becoming “outraged” with those songs.

Kenny Chesney’s song “Down the Road” has these lyrics, yet I wasn’t offended by the song: “Her momma wants to know/Is he washed in the blood or just in the water.” No atheist outrage there. The song has a somewhat catchy melody, in that it is really only catchy for a while in my opinion. Kind of like Adele’s songs, actually.

So where is all this atheist outrage over, well, the entirety of country music?

This dishonest portrayal of atheists by Christians isn’t anything new, and this is just one more example.

Christians, rather than just saying we are outraged, out of an assumption that we will become outraged or offended, how about waiting till someone actually does state offense at the song. And even then, unless that offense can be shown to be commonplace, don’t publish an article saying that “atheists” are outraged, portraying all atheists as outraged over this.

And with regard to country music and Christianity, Brad Paisley summed it up nicely in his song “This is Country Music”:

You’re not supposed to say the word “cancer” in a song.
And tellin’ folks Jesus is the answer can rub ‘em wrong.
It ain’t hip to sing about tractors, trucks, little towns, and mama, yeah that might be true.
But this is country music and we do

Christianity is all over country music. If you aren’t aware of that, you need to find some country music to listen to. Even Taylor Swift has invoked God in her songs, namely in her song “Our Song”: “And when I got home … ‘fore I said amen/Asking God if he could play it again”.

Christians, get over yourselves and stop lying about us. After all, kind of hard to claim the moral high ground when doing the very immoral act of lying through your teeth. What do you think God or Jesus would have to say about that?


Beta Orionis – Part V

Contents: All articles in this series

Where I last left off in Part IV, I mentioned that I would have preferred to have two 140mm radiators side by side instead of a 140mm and a 120mm, as is currently planned. Along these lines, I did discover that Koolance’s 140mm single-fan radiators are 140mm wide according to their specifications. However I’m not going to switch to using those for three reasons:

  1. they have M4 threads, and I really don’t want to drill out holes in my case to accommodate different screws if I can avoid it
  2. they have a high-FPI, meaning I’d need to use high RPM fans to have effective cooling, and
  3. they are more expensive than the XSPC radiators I am considering

These have the potential to fit the way I had hoped two XSPC 140mm radiators would fit, but being more expensive and a higher FPI, I’m not going to go with them.

Changes at Performance-PCs

Since posting Part 4 of this build log, Performance-PCs has made some changes to their website and business operations. The former I welcome – and will even more when they get all the kinks worked out – but the latter, not so much.

In the past, virtually every order I’ve placed through Performance-PCs has shipped the same business day as it was placed. If the order was placed at night after their business hours, it went out the next day. And I cannot think of a single instance where this did not happen. Now, however, you have to pay an additional $2.99 for "Rush Order" service to have it go out the same day. In other words, they’re now charging for what they used to do for free.


So the order I placed on an early Friday morning didn’t ship that Friday, which is what would’ve happened in the past. I understand that they may be getting a ton more business, thereby impacting their ability to get orders shipped out the same day, but they could’ve at least sent out an e-mail to the customers letting us know about the change in business practice rather than springing it on us. A quick e-mail saying "due to an increase in business, we can no longer guarantee same-day shipping, but for a rush order fee, we will prioritize your order."

I may opt to pay the fee in the future – they’ll refund it if they don’t ship it same business day – but we’ll see.

One thing they definitely need to change is making overnight orders priority orders by default. I shouldn’t have to pay an additional $3 to have something overnighted.

They’ve been quick to handle mistakes and RMAs whenever I’ve had issues, so they’ll continue to receive my business – plus they tend to have some of the lowest prices. They also now have an explicit price match option, so that’s a plus, and I may have to exercise that in the future. They also have a new wishlist feature as well, which is where I’ve got listed everything I’m planning to purchase for this build – well everything short of the fittings.

Second GTX 770 or a GTX 970/980?

With all the fervor going on right now about the new 900 series of graphics cards, I’m not going to be upgrading to that. Instead I’ll be adding a second GTX 770 to my mix sometime down the road. And it’ll be the PNY board as well.

For Absinthe, though, a GTX 970 will be in order, especially given the current price tag on them. Absinthe is currently running a GTX 660 SLI pair. PNY’s board is apparently built onto the GTX 670 reference board, meaning water blocks already exist for it according to EK’s cooling configurator, and that’s likely the path I’m taking. I’ll start with one, and eventually I’ll get her the second.

That’ll be a few months down the road though. She doesn’t need them right now. Her 660 SLI pair can handle everything she currently plays without difficulty, and that’ll likely remain true for the foreseeable future.

Test fit #3 and change of plans

But their changes to practice meant I had to wait an additional day to do the test fitting on everything to plan future orders accordingly. The next test fit, however, was not for the radiator that was on the way. I found an XS-PC EX240 radiator at my local Microcenter and decided to pick it up for a different test fit to see whether it could fit mounted to the fan screw holes. It was then that I made a discovery that I wish I’d made while building Absinthe.


See those holes with 140 and 120 next to them? Those are the mounting holes that are recommended for a radiator. In building Absinthe, those were the holes I used for mounting the front radiator. Notice the other lines of holes on the case? Those are vent holes for the 140mm fans that come with the fan. The glints in the picture are two of the mounting screws for the radiator, so I’m using the vent holes to mount the radiator. The only downside to this is that you can only mount the 4 corner screws instead of all 8 of the screw holes on the radiator.

That is what I wish I’d noticed when building Absinthe. A little more test fitting by front-mounting the AlphaCool 240mm radiator I already have and putting the XSPC radiator on the bottom with a fan shows what I’m going to be doing for B. Ori and is the next loop upgrade for Absinthe.


So as you can see, the radiator with fan fits neatly under the front-mounted 240mm radiator. The holes labeled "120" wouldn’t make allow for this. The EX240 is also slightly thicker than the ST30 – 35mm for the EX240 vs 30mm for the ST30 – so this picture guarantees the fit for another ST30 where the XSPC radiator lays in this picture. It also means that I can use another ST30 for Absinthe instead of an XT45.

This is why you need to order your parts in phases, and you should start with the radiators so you can do test fits. And it helps to fully investigate what you’ve got to determine the full range of options.

So I returned the EX240 to Microcenter. I requested an RMA on the EX120 as well, citing a change of plans, and requesting a store credit which will be used toward the next batch, which will include an ST30 240mm. The EX140 I can’t return to FrozenCPU as it’s too long past the return period, but I can use it in a future project.

But that’ll make the radiator configuration two dual 120mm radiators and a triple 120mm radiator, a total of 7x120mm of surface area.

Next order

As mentioned the order that arrived after making the above-mentioned test fit included the EX120, but also the ST30 360mm. I don’t need to do a test fit on it as I already know it’ll fit without an issue. I’m considering turning the radiator so the fittings are toward the front instead of the back, the way I originally had it in the original water cooling build that preceded Absinthe.

Only if I do this, I’ll be taking the tubing through the 5 1/4" drive bay with a pass-through fitting. The reason for that is quite simple: the top and front radiator should be in line with each other, both centered in the case, meaning the fittings line up with each other. Dropping one of the tubing holes through the bottom of the 5 1/4" bay should provide for a simple mechanism for tubing it up.

The order also had the pump. Originally I said I was going with the AlphaCool VPP655. I ultimately went with the Koolance PMP-450. They’re basically the same pump, and the Koolance offering was less expensive than the AlphaCool pump on Performance-PCs website. The AlphaCool pump housing I plan to buy should still work with it without any problem, though, or I could just use the Bitspower housing I currently have, but I think I’ll use that elsewhere. I just think the Bitspower mod tops are ugly, and I like the AlphaCool HF D5 clear top better.

The next order for Performance-PCs is going for the pump top and some small parts along with another ST30 240mm radiator. For the water blocks, since I’m going Koolance on everything, I may just order those direct from Koolance, especially since Performance-PCs recently jumped their price of the GTX 680 water block. But having the pump top and a few other things should give me enough parts to start physically planning the loop.


Project Absinthe – Part XVI

Contents: All articles in this series

A bit has happened since the last part of the build log.

Let’s start off with what’s been in the news, and that’s the release of the GTX 970 and 980 chips from nVidia. Absinthe will be getting upgraded to that as well. Likely that’ll happen later this year, to give time for water block support to completely catch up. Currently I’m looking at PNY’s offering, mainly because EK’s Cooling Configurator says the GTX 670 water blocks should work with it. So that’ll come in a later part of the build log.

And eventually it’ll be two GTX 970s as well.

Another planned upgrade is adding a 1x120mm radiator, which will likely be put on the bottom of the case, whether below the fan for a pull configuration or above it for a push I’ve not yet determined. I’m not expecting a lot more temperature performance by adding the new radiator, but just adding it to give a little extra headroom to the loop. After all ambient temperature is the coolest the coolant can get in the loop, and your components will always be warmer than the coolant.

* * * * *

As I wrote previously, I wanted to pull the hard drives out of the case and put them into an external eSATA enclosure. This is for two reasons: 1. to free airflow in the case, since all intake fans except the rear have some kind of obstruction, and 2. to reduce cable bulk in the case.

And thankfully I didn’t need to drain the loop to do this. I was able to maneuver a screwdriver to the various spots and get everything loose. Then it was just a matter of lifting the hard drive cage out and getting the screws back into place for holding the fan.



Looks a lot cleaner, right?

The enclosure in this round is the MediaSonic ProRaid 2-bay enclosure, model no. HUR3-SU3S3. Before putting the drives in the enclosure, though, I actually needed to buy another hard drive. The two 1TB WD Blacks that were originally in Absinthe were two different models: a WD1001FALS and WD1003FZEX model. And for RAID 1, it is always recommended to have two of the exact same drive. So that was today’s trip to Microcenter.

Along with the hard drive, I managed to find another NZXT Grid for when I pull out the fan controller. I thought about hooking all the fans up to the mainboard, but that wouldn’t get rid of any extra power cables since I still need one for the pump and lighting. For monitoring the coolant temperature, I’m just going to connect it to an XSPC screen. Right now, it’s just a bit much of a hassle to pull it all out.

Anyway, for some reason Macrium Reflect did not want to detect the enclosure when it was on a USB 3.0 plug or plugged into the eSATA port. Plug it into a USB 2.0 port and it found it without a problem. That meant writing out the image to the hard drive took forever since USB 2.0 is about 1/10th the bandwidth of USB 3.0. Cloning everything from the WD1001FALS drive took a little shy of 2 hours for a little under 200 GB of data. I was running an outdated version of Reflect, so the issue may already be resolved.

But when I plugged it up into the eSATA port, making sure external SATA ports were enabled in the BIOS, the system recognized it and booted from it without any problem.

So moving your hard drives to an external enclosure is a great way to free up cable bulk, as I’ve talked about in another article. Whether you’re using SSDs or the standard platter drives, it’s worth it, in my opinion. Not only does it free up cable bulk, but it’s a lot more cable efficient overall if you have any kind of a RAID setup, even JBOD.

* * * * *

I’ll leave you with some more pictures of the build now that the hard drive cage is out of the picture. Yes it’s a little dusty as I didn’t bother dusting before taking pictures. The red glow is the LED on the sound card – I’m going to figure out how to disable or remove that at a later time as well.





Beta Orionis – Part IV

Contents: All articles in this series

First order of business for the build was getting it out of the 750D case and into the Zalman.

That started with getting fans put back in, as I originally pulled all the fans out of the Zalman to max out the fan space in the 750D. I installed three 140mm fans where I could, two in the top for exhaust and one in the front for, obviously, intake. I also added two 120mm fans at the bottom and rear, both as intakes. The Mountain Mods fan bracket would be going in the Zalman case, to be used for mounting the radiator for the Corsair H60 if I could make it fit. If not, I would be putting that in the rear 120mm fan position and just have a fan on the fan mount.

Then there was getting the power supply installed as well. The spare GS800 will be powering things for the time being. When the CX750M comes back from Corsair, it’ll tag out the GS800.

That was Thursday night. The package came on Friday. My wife’s birthday. We went out for dinner, so there wasn’t much use in trying to move everything over, as I wouldn’t have a lot of time to function. Plus she collapsed into bed not long after getting home from the restaurant, and I didn’t want to disturb her.

With Saturday came a full-time shift for my wife, so plenty of time for me to move everything into the Zalman case and start with the test fits to find out if I was out of my mind with doing a single 140mm and single 120mm radiator in the front.

Test fit #1

First was the test fit on the 140mm radiator in the front, just to make sure it’ll fit the way I was originally thinking. It does.


Now this radiator is actually going to go over the bottom 140mm fan. I had it over the top fan to make sure it would clear the rivets that are a couple millimeters above it. But that is the intended orientation.

One question still outstanding is whether I can fit two 140mm radiators side by side in the configuration shown above. I’m currently under the assumption that I cannot. I know from this test fit that at least one will fit where I want it. And I know from doing a test with the short screws I bought – #6-32 x 1/2" – that it will raise the Bitfenix fans up by about a millimeter or two, basically pushing the fan clear of any potential interference. This means that if I use a 120mm radiator in the position the picture currently shows the 140mm that it’ll fit without any problem.

The only concern is just that I’d probably have to pack out the radiator with some washers to ensure the screws will not go too far through and risk puncturing the radiator, or just use the XSPC radiator gasket.

So my next radiator order is actually two more single-fan radiators: a 120mm and a 140mm radiator. If the 140mm fits where I hope it will, then the 120mm will either go in the rear mount position, or I may add it to Absinthe. If it won’t fit, then the 140mm will likely get returned, unless test fitting it in the fan position on the back of the case turns out well.

Test fit #2

Now for the 240mm radiator I bought. I had no reason to believe it wouldn’t fit. My concern was how it’d fit with the 140mm radiator in the lower position. Everything told me that it should work without any problem, but I wanted to be certain, as these test fits govern my future planning.


This was also part of my concern: would the cable for the lighting fit between the fans when mounted on the radiator. As can be clearly seen, the answer is Yes.


And with the 140mm radiator mounted in the lower position, there is little concern here as well with the fit. As you can see I have the fans mounted for a pull configuration as opposed to a push configuration. With low FPI radiators and lower RPM fans, there is little difference between the two. With how the radiator is mounted in the 750D, you can see there is a small gap with some vent holes exposed. I’ll need to think of something I can do to cover that. Just not sure what at this point.

But this still leaves outstanding the question of whether a second 140mm radiator would fit above where it is mounted here. I know I have plenty of clearance for a 120mm radiator and I’ve been leaning toward just buying the 120mm radiator and foregoing the possibility a 140mm radiator would fit.


So let’s do a little math to find out if it’ll be worth the trouble, or whether I should just go for something that I know is guaranteed. Now each 120mm of radiator space provides for 14,400mm2 of surface area. Each 140mm of radiator space provides for 19,600mm2 of surface area. This means that the two configurations I’m considering each provide for:

5x120mm + 2x140mm = 111,200mm2 surface area
6x120mm + 1x140mm = 106,000mm2 surface area

A difference of 5,200mm2 of surface area. But what’s that compared to the overall surface area of the smaller configuration? Only a 4.9% improvement. I think I’ll go with what’s guaranteed and save myself the trouble.


Now some would probably question why I’m going through the trouble of trying to fit two single-fan mounts on the front. And the answer is quite simple: to maximize radiator capacity.

If I put a 240mm or 280mm radiator on the front, I can only put a single 120mm radiator on the bottom, meaning maximizing radiator space would require putting another 120mm or 140mm radiator on the back. If that front radiator is a 280mm, I also lose a 120mm fan mount at the bottom, as the 280mm radiator would interfere.

If I went with the maximum size supported, that would mean a triple 120mm in the top, a single 120mm in the bottom, a dual 140mm in the front and single 140mm in the back. That’s 4x120mm and 3x140mm, for a total surface area of 116,400mm2, a 9.8% increase in surface area over what I have planned currently. But, again, I lose a 120mm fan mount position doing that. I don’t consider that a good trade-off.

Plus with my current plan, if I add another 120mm radiator to the back, I increase the total surface area to 120,400mm2, a 3.5% improvement. If I make it a 140mm radiator, that goes up to 125,600mm2, a 7.9% improvement in surface area. Both obviously surpass in surface area what would arguably be a less complicated solution. So my current plan leaves me with the option of that additional level of expansion if I want to use it. It’s also why the 240mm radiator is the ST30 instead of something wider like the XT45, giving room to mount two single-fan radiators on the front.

It’s an unusual setup, and I look forward to planning out the loop. Ideally we would have side-flow radiators that can flow similar to what I’ve got planned here, only as one unit. The closest I’ve found to that is the Aquacomputer Airplex Modularity System. But the single 140mm fan option is 146mm wide, making it useless for my needs. Plus it’s three times the cost of the XSPC radiator.

Next phase

So that’s it for this iteration. The next order will be the two remaining radiators: the AlphaCool ST30 360mm and XSPC EX120. This will allow me to have all the radiators mounted for test fits, along with starting some of the planning on the loop.

The drain is currently planned to come off a T-fitting on the lower radiator. The water blocks are in a fixed location, while the pump and reservoir will be mounted atop the 120mm fan closes to the fittings on the bottom radiator. But having the other radiators will allow me to finish the test fits and start determining how the loop will be tubed up.


What unconstitutional actually means

Let’s clear something up since I’ve seen way too many people confuse this concept: what does it mean when a Court declares a law to be unconstitutional? What must happen once the Court declares a law unconstitutional?

Here’s what many seem to think must happen: the legislature must promptly modify or repeal the law in question.

Here’s what actually happens: nothing.

The decision declaring a law unconstitutional just means said law is now unenforceable. Accompanying the declaration is an implicit injunction on the Executive Branch against enforcement of that law. There’s still little stopping the law from being enforced despite being declared unconstitutional, though.

The legislature can pass any law it wants, but whether that law will be enforced is entirely a different matter. Because the law is still actually on the books, a person may become subject to arrest and/or civil penalty for violating it. And in Court they may raise the challenge that the law has been declared unconstitutional, presenting the necessary citations, and the judge will dismiss the charges or lawsuit with prejudice. If the law is being actively enforced, in a manner suggesting the Executive Branch was basically ignoring the Court’s declaration, then the Court may explicitly bar enforcement by direct Court order – but rarely is that necessary, because attempting to press charges on a law that cannot be enforced through the Court is just a waste of time and money.

Let’s look at the sodomy bans that existed prior to Lawrence v. Texas, 539 US 558 (2003), arguably the largest demonstration of the misunderstanding of the "unconstitutional" concept. Many States still have such bans on the books. I would add that given the breadth of the decision in Lawrence, that fornication laws are also unconstitutional1, but many States still have those. As those bans are not enforceable, any person arrested under those laws would find the charges dismissed, either before pleading "not guilty" as the judge would just throw them out without even considering them, or when the challenge is made.

But the legislature is under no obligation to remove the law from its books. It just cannot be enforced.

If the text of the law is problematic, rather than what it seeks to pre- or proscribe – Courts have declared laws to be "unconstitutionally vague" – then the Court may give the legislature a set amount of time to update the law. If the law is not updated in that time frame, the challenged law then becomes unenforceable, because the Court will take their failure to act as a sign that they’re not interested in updating, and by extension enforcing that law. Even if they are attempting to draft new legislation in that time frame, the expiration date determines when the ex post facto prohibitions kick in – see Article I, Sections 9 and 10 of the Constitution of the United States.

Let’s look at Chicago, where the Court struck down their law that essentially forbids the establishment of gun shops within city limits. Because the Court recognized the city still has an interest in regulating gun shops – just as cities like to regulate any commercial establishment through their zoning ordinances among other ordinances – the city was given a time frame by which to establish new zoning laws. If they failed to act in that time frame, then gun shops would’ve been subject to the standard commercial zoning ordinances and could not be specially zoned until new zoning laws were written. Yet the new laws would probably not withstand Court challenge, meaning Chicago just wasted more time and money.

Basically it all comes down to this: whether a law is enforced is on the judicial and executive branches. Whether the law exists is up to the legislature. Declaring a law "unconstitutional" just means it cannot be enforced. But the Courts in the United States do not have the authority to order the legislature to repeal a law and, to the best of my knowledge, have never done so.

Whether the legislature repeals or modifies a law that is declared unconstitutional is entirely on them, but they are under no obligation to do so.

  1. Lawrence v. Texas, 539 US 558 at 567: "To say that the issue in Bowers was simply the right to engage in certain sexual conduct demeans the claim the individual put forward, just as it would demean a married couple were it to be said marriage is simply about the right to have sexual intercourse. The laws involved in Bowers and here are, to be sure, statutes that purport to do no more than prohibit a particular sexual act. Their penalties and purposes, though, have more far reaching consequences, touching upon the most private human conduct, sexual behavior, and in the most private of places, the home. The statutes do seek to control a personal relationship that, whether or not entitled to formal recognition in the law, is within the liberty of persons to choose without being punished as criminals.

    This, as a general rule, should counsel against attempts by the State, or a court, to define the meaning of the relationship or to set its boundaries absent injury to a person or abuse of an institution the law protects. It suffices for us to acknowledge that adults may choose to enter upon this relationship in the confines of their homes and their own private lives and still retain their dignity as free persons. When sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring. The liberty protected by the Constitution allows homosexual persons the right to make this choice." []