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After nearly 2 years, I'm finally retiring my Dell M5010 (AMD Phenom II P920/1GB Radeon 4650), it was very reliable up until a few months ago, but for the price (~$700) back in September 2010 I had expected more, especially in the build quality department. Fast forward to now, I had been waiting for the new line of APUs from AMD to come out, codenamed "Trinity" for quite some time, skipping over the llano series and hoping for a nice notebook for under $1000. The HP DV7 thus far is delivering on that. With a 1600x900 17.3" screen, Island style (not the annoying to type on "Chicklet"), pretty nice sounding speakers/subwoofer (Beats Audio) and the A10-4600/7660G Radeon it's pretty speedy. The build quality is also much higher than I was even expecting, it's not an EliteBook level, but pretty close. [caption id="attachment_1247" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="HP DV7-7010US Box"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_1249" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="HP DV7-7010US Metal Looking Finish"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_1254" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="HP DV7-7010US running Windows 8"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_1239" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="HP DV7-7010US Keyboard and Touchpad"][/caption] Before even turning it on for the first time I swapped out the 6GB of DDR3 for 16GB (2x8GB) Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 ram and a 240GB Sandisk Extreme SSD. Something that had been annoying me to death on my Acer AO522 AMD C-50 Netbook and my Dell Laptop was the fact I had basically take apart the whole machine to upgrade the ram or hard disk. I am happy to say, one screw off the bottom plastic plate and a total of 6 screws for the harddrive you can accomplish the entire swap. [caption id="attachment_1241" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="16GB of Corsair DDR3-1600 Vengeance RAM"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_1252" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="SanDisk Extreme 240GB SSD"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_1245" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="HP DV7-7010US Bottom Panel Removed"][/caption] I installed the Windows 8 x64 Release Preview and Visual Studio 2012 RC on it thus far, still looking for Windows 8 drivers for the 7660G...
I recently got a Rackable Systems 2U Dual Dual Core Opteron system off eBay for dirt cheap.  The problem however though as I noted previously was the noise, Antec .  Got 3 Antec fans and had my Antec 500w ATX power supply connected externally, much quieter, but I didn't feel comfortable leaving my ESXi server opened like that so I scrambled.  Found my original 4U file server case I purchased back in 2009 and started the migration. [caption id="attachment_4001" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Old 4U File Server case on the left, 2U Rackable Systems Case on the right"][/caption]


[caption id="attachment_4002" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Motherboard inside 4U File Server Case"][/caption]


[caption id="attachment_4003" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Transplant powered on"][/caption]


[caption id="attachment_4004" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Revised Server Stack"][/caption]


I bought a Rackable Systems 2U Dual Opteron 2214 HE server for my VMWare ESXi playground.  For $125 it was a steal.  I brought it home to find out the sound was defeaning.  Not satisfied with the level of noise especially considering the Master Bedroom is 20-30 feet away from my Office.   Opening the case I found a 1U 70mm "leafblower" heatsink/fan on the front CPU and a 2U 60mm "leafblower" heatsink/fan on the back CPU.   Disconnecting those 2 fans along with the rear 3 80mm fans it was much better, but still had a ridiculously loud noise.  Looking at the PSU, it has a 40mm fan on the front.  Noting the motherboard had standard ATX connections, I hooked up my spare Antec EarthWatt 500w power supply.  Nearly silent.   Now onto the CPUs.  I attempted to take the Dynatron 1U heatsink's fan off, but was unable to, the screws are pretty much stuck.  The rear 2U fan however was easy to pull off, put a 70mm fan I took off a spare AMD AM3 Stock Heatsink.  Booting up to the bios and monitoring the temperatures, the 2U with the new fan was hovering around 38'C, while the 1U was hovering at 65'C.  Knowing that was under no load, I would need to do something.   Thus the ultra ghetto 120mm blowing air onto the 1U:     While not the prettiest sight, it is very quiet.  A little bit more than my 4U SAN sitting below it, but no where near the 50+ decibels it was before.