Today the parts arrived I order last week to upgrade the Blue-Dragon. They included a new power supply, additional 2 TB hard drive, and 4 more GB of RAM. It is significantly less then the upgrade I had planned on doing, but I just couldn't make up my mind on what to do with the "old" parts.
The power new supply replaces a slightly smaller power supply. The old supply was a 600 watt Thermaltake, which wasn't a bad supply. It's problem was a having 4x 12 VDC rails. The Blue Dragon has (had) 9 hard drives, and a rather demanding video card. When I added a second video card, the supply couldn't keep up. My guess is one of the rails was failing due to over-current. While the power existed, I couldn't get it distributed in such a way to utilize it all. So I ordered a new 750 watt Corsair supply. While I don't really need the additional wattage, it does have a single 12 volt rail rated for 60 amps (as opposed to the 4x 18 amp rails on my
Thermaltake). I have not worked with Corsair products before, but the supply received a lot of good reviews. It also sports a 140 mm fan, and a
modular cable setup. This new supply is also has a 80 PLUS Silver
rating, which is nice for a PC that runs almost 24/7.
Installation wasn't trivial. The Blue-Dragon has 9 hard drives, 8 cooling fans, a huge CPU heat-sink, and RAM with tall head-sinks. Getting the old supply out meant removing two bays of hard drives, RAM, and a cooling fan. The picture today has the new supply just installed. On the edge of the bench are two of the hard drive bays. Each bay has 3 drives, and a 120 mm cooling fan. There are 3 bays (the last bay is still installed) full of drives. There is a 4th bay that is installed by the power supply, and it will contain the new 2 GB drive.
After the power supply was installed, I put everything back together. I included my new 2 GB drive, which brings our total online storage in the Blue Dragon to 6.25 TB. It is interesting to note that before this upgrade I had around 5% free space. So the new storage is much needed.
The additional RAM was something I didn't expect to need when I speced the Blue-Dragon. The Red-Dragon had just 1 GB of RAM, and it never caused a problem. So when I quadrupled it in the Blue-Dragon, I expected a lot of room for the future. But with rendering, 18 megapixel pictures, and virtual machines all competing for RAM, I have for the first time since the DOS days run out of memory due to something other then a program bug.
With this new installation I also reinstalled a video card given to us by Pluvius several months ago—the one that caused problems with my other power supply. I decided I'd go for broke and boot with all the upgrades installed at once. Aside from needing to update BIOS so it picked the correct boot device (because of the drive addition) everything worked. That doesn't happen often, but I'll take it!