Monday, 1 August 2011

Intel DQ67EP and Antec ISK 300-150 or 300-65 Integration Notes

We have been building a number of Mini-ITX desktop systems in the Antec ISK 300-150 case. The unit is a great value for the money with good quality and construction built into the unit.

Protect The Finish

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One of the things that we noticed right away was that the black finish scuffed _very_ easily relative to other Antec cases we have used in the past.

So, we make sure to take one of the box’s foam pads and use it as a pad to keep the case on while installing the system’s components. We use the other pad to store the case lid while building the system and installing the motherboard sticker on the lid.

Drive Height Caveat

Seagate’s new Constellation.2 1TB SATA drive is a lot taller (15.0mm) than a laptop standard height 2.5” drive (9.5mm). This must be kept in mind when integrating any enterprise class 2.5” drive at 15.0mm into a consumer class case or even USB enclosure.

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Note that the drive tray has a lip on one side of it where the Intel 320 Series SSD is installed. So, we need to make sure to install the drive on the side of the tray that does not have a lip.

Also, the drive sits a little high relative to the case cover by about ~1.0mm. Given that some care needs to be taken to set the cover back in place. Once installed though, everything fits well together.

Intel DQ67EP and USB 3

We have had our fair share of struggles with the new USB 3.0 chipset made by Renesas found on the Intel motherboards.

In this case we had a Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate 3.0 (DTU30G2/16GB) plugged into the USB 3.0 port on the Intel Desktop Board DQ67EPB3 (BOXDQ67EP) with all of the needed OS and driver files on it.

We managed to boot to the Kingston, though we had to change USB 3.0 ports once or twice during our initial run through to get it to be recognized as a boot device in the BIOS, load the Renesas driver as requested by WinPE, and try to move forward from there.

As soon as we clicked on the SSD for the OS to install to create a partition and move forward the setup routine failed with an error stating that it could not create a System Partition.

We ended up needing to use a USB 2.0 flash drive to install the Windows OS. In our opinion USB 3.0 has a ways to go before it will be “mainstream” and foolproof.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*Our original iMac was stolen (previous blog post). We now have a new MacBook Pro courtesy of Vlad Mazek, owner of OWN.

Windows Live Writer

6 comments:

Ulrich Bauer said...

Hi there!

We use the same enclosure and motherboard combination. We have severe problems that about every 10th time you connect a USB key to the front panel header of the Antec enclosure, the screen goes mad (showing flashing colors in full screen for about 1 sec) and then the device reboots. We have six PCs of this configuration and all show the behaviour described. One motherboard now is even damaged (does not boot any more, reflashing, resetting CMOS, nothing helps).


My questions: Did you experience this behaviour and do you have any idea how to solve it?

Kind regards
Ulrich Bauer
Miray Software AG, Germany

PS: We are not a competitor ;-)

Philip Elder SBS MVP said...

Ulrich,

No worries. ;)

We see this behaviour on a regular basis most winters.

Between the air being quite dry, polyester and wool combinations worn by users, and carpets folks get pretty charged up.

We warn all users to touch the side of the case with the metal tip of the USB drive _before_ plugging it in to discharge any latent static.

Another option for those more inclined to killing machines (we have a few users that act like super capacitors) we install a ground strip for them to stay in touch with.

Thanks,

Philip

Ulrich Bauer said...

Hi Philip,

thanks for the speedy reply!

Seems as if there is not a real solution. We will try to fix it by a 150micron steel plate which we want to attach over the header area and connect to the enclosure's metal skeleton. I will let you know how it works out.

Kind regards
Ulrich

Philip Elder SBS MVP said...

Ulrich,

And as a result of your last comment I remembered something one of our system builder vendors told us that they have been doing.

The front USB panels are _not_ grounded properly.

So, they have been running a wire across the USB metal brackets to the chassis cage providing a path for the static discharge.

Philip

Ulrich Bauer said...

We now have made metal shields for the Antec enclosure. They have a screw going through to the back (of the front header) where it is connected to a second grounding.

Hope this solves it. I can report as soon as we have some experience.

If you give me your email, I can send you photos.

Kind regards
Ulrich

Philip Elder SBS MVP said...

Ulrich,

blog@mpecsinc.ca is the address to reach me at.

Thanks,

Philip