dolores: A Home Computer

Table of Contents



This machine was constructed in August 2011 to replace a 2007-era Intel Core Duo system build. The old machine was still running well, although the Antec P150 case was having a lot of plastic wear and tear. The DVD trays were starting to stick on eject and I worried about wearing out the optical and hard drives.





Silverstone Temjin TJ02 Glacier

This was given to me by a friend. It's several years old but was never used. It came with a front fan installed.

  • price: free!

Power supply

Antec Neo HE 430 High Efficiency 430W PSU

This was left over from a 2007 build. It was an RMA replacement from Antec for a PS bundled with a case that I couldn't get to work. Never used, it was still in the shrink wrap.



Micro-ATX, h67 chipset, VGA and DVI-D video ports, USB 2.0: 8 internal, 6 rear ports, SATA: 2 6Gbs and 4 3Gb/s, serial and LPT headers.

It came with a manual, two SATA data cables (1 3Gb/s, 1 6Gb/s), and I/O shield and a support DVD, but no other hardware.

  • from: Amazon
  • price: $88.99
  • manual: [local]
  • Serial no: B3M0AB099605
  • Part no: 90-MIBEQR-G0AAYOGZ
  • Rev 3.0
  • installed firmware: 0603


Intel Core i3-2100

Sandy Bridge, socket LGA 1155, 2 cores, 3.1GHz, 65 watts.

  • from: Newegg
  • price: $124.99
  • datasheet vol 1: [online]
  • datasheet vol 2: [online]
  • design guide: [online]
  • spec update: [online]


Crucial 8GB Kit (4GBx2), 240-pin DIMM, DDR3 PC3-10600 memory module (CT2KIT51264BA1339)

As recommended by the online Crucial memory configurator. 8GB is vastly more than I need for home office Linux.

  • from: Newegg
  • price: $49.99

Hard drive

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 SATA 6Gb/s 1 TB Internal Hard Drive with 32MB Cache (ST31000524AS)

  • from: Amazon
  • qty: 2
  • price: $59.99 * 2 = $119.98
  • data sheet: [local] [online]
  • manual: [local] [online]
    • 1:
      • S/N: 9VPCA5SS
      • Date code: 11433
    • 2:
      • S/N: 9VPCAGAP
      • Date code: 11434
  • Both drives are labeled:
    • ST31000524AS
    • P/N: 9YP154-303
    • Firmware: JC45
    • Site code: TK
    • Product of Thailand

Blu-ray reader


Blu-ray read-only, writes DVD/CD.

  • from: Newegg
  • price: $68.99

DVD burner


  • from: Newegg
  • price: $20.99


Assembly notes

Although it is not shown in the docs, the top and "fixed" side of the case come off by removing a few screws. Benefits:

  • you can hide cables in the narrow empty space behind the motherboard panel
  • you can get your fingers in from both sides for tight fittings
  • the other side of the 5.25" bay is accessible if you want to add screws in addition to the plastic snap locks
  • you can install the power supply from the top

The drive positions, from top to bottom:

  • 5.25-inch external (non-removeable) bay:
    • Blu-ray
    • DVD
    • (empty) (to provide cooling for the HD dock just below)
    • HD dock
  • 3.5-inch external (non-removeable) bay:
    • (empty)
    • (empty)
  • 3.5-inch internal (removeable) bay:
    • HD
    • (empty)
    • HD
    • (empty)

The plastic snap locks on the drive bays seem to work well. I added a screw on the exposed side of each drive just to be sure.

The HD dock is an exception: the rails don't provide enough metal for the snap locks to grip and I added a screw on both sides. That firms it up, although I will always treat this gizmo delicately.

I didn't add a screw to the far side of the optical drives because that would mean removing the "fixed" side of the case if I needed to replace them. They seem solidly mounted.

One Seagate TB drive was DOA. They do beep when they won't spin up; people doubt that and there is nothing I can find on the Seagate support site or in the manual. I returned it to Amazon for exchange and substituted an unused identical unit I already had.

The CoolerMaster Sickleflow exhaust fan does not have threaded mounting holes; you have to cut them with the screws (it's plastic). The airflow direction is not indicated so I had to do it twice. The fan has a green LED which reflects off the spinning blades which would be a cool effect if anyone were looking at it, which they won't be. It does not flash or strobe.

The standoffs on the motherboard tray are strange on this case. Some are screwed in but round so it is impossible to remove them. Others are sheet metal gizmos easy to mangle. I'm using only five of six mounting points but it seems firm.

The micro-ATX mounting points are a subset of full ATX.

I did not connect the front panel firewire or audio cables.

The power supply has a 4 pin +12v connector, but the motherboard accepts an 8 pin connector. It seems to be backward compatible (the manual doesn't say) and I inserted the plug in the only possible orientation.

The front panel USB connectors are 4 separate pins for 4 sockets = 16 pins total (bundled into groups). The correct mapping:

wire color pin label motherboard doc
red vbus(+5v) +5V
white D- P-
green D+ P+
black GND GND

That leaves 4 internal USB sockets unused.

The connectors on the System Panel:

  • System power LED
  • HDD activity LED
  • Power/Soft-off button
  • Reset Button

...were not keyed so I guessed the white wire of each pair was GND. Will correct as needed.

I left out the I/O shield. Maybe someday someone will explain what that is for and how it is supposed to work.

The Power Supply has sockets for 5 modular cables. I use two types:

  • 1 cable with 3 4-pin molex connectors. One connector goes to the exhaust fan which has an extension that goes to the HD dock, leaving 2 connectors unused.
  • 2 cables with 2 SATA power connections each:
    1. for the two optical drives
    2. for the two internal hard drives

Which leaves 2 Power Supply sockets unused.

The two 6Gb/s SATA ports are connected to the internal HD.

First power up: all OK so far. CPU, memory, internal SATA HD, PS2 keyboard and USB mouse all recognized according to the BIOS. The CPU and front fans were loud until I made a fan speed BIOS adjustment. Will revisit this. The exhaust fan is not connected to the motherboard, but is quiet at its fixed speed. (LATER: it's louder than the other components, so I will probably add a manual speed control).

The CPU fan seemed a bit noisy; I believe the power wires wrapped around the housing might have been rattlling. I loosened those and it seems better.

Linux boots using a Fedora 15 live disc.

Newer motherboard firmware is available, but common wisdom is not to update it unless there are problems. If problems I should also check the Seagate HD firmware levels.

Using the live disc, I verified that all front and back USB ports work.

Linux shows 4 CPUS: two physical cores, two threads on each.

By default, SATA mode is IDE (not AHCI). According to the BIOS the SATA port assignments are:

BIOS notes
SATA6G_1 (Grey) ST31000524AS (1000.2 GB) S/N: 9VPCAGAP, /dev/sda, upper disc
SATA6G_2 (Grey) ST31000524AS (1000.2 GB) S/N: 9VPCA5SS, /dev/sdb, lower disc
SATA3G_1 (Blue) ASUS BC-12B1ST Blu-ray
SATA4G_3 (Blue) not present eSATA port, will show a loaded device
SATA4G_4 (Blue) not present HD dock, will show a loaded device

According to the manual, the two 6Gb/s SATA ports are IDE by default, and the four 3Gb/s are AHCI by default. However, in the BIOS the setting seems to apply to all six ports.

SATA hotplugging is available only in AHCI mode, so I turned that on. System boots as expected. With that option the BIOS does allow hotplugging to be enabled/disabled for each port (not shown in the manual), so I turned it on for the last two and left it off for the first four. I verified that SATA hotplugging works for both devices in Linux.

The exhaust fan is not connected to the motherboard and runs at full speed, which is a bit noisy. More than it needs to be, at least. The motherboard has only one chassis fan connector, which the front fans uses. I tried switching them, but the front fan became the noisy spot then.

There are fan connector Y-cables, but the descriptions indicate that only one connector has speed control, which would defeat the purpose in this case. Instead I use a Zalman Fan Mate 2 speed controller on the exhaust fan. Works great. It's a variable adjustment and the lowest setting is just about silent. I'll turn it up a bit from that and keep an eye on the temperatures.


Fedora 15

After using SuSE for many years, I decided to give Fedora a try. I downloaded a Live CD and verified the system would boot with it and that all the devices were supported.

Since I have slow internet, I ordered an Install DVD and 8-disc repository collection from

This is Fedora 15 (

I wanted to use LVM to stripe /tmp across two discs, for media file performance reasons as described in Effect of Striping on Raw Disk Device Performance with Linux Logical Volumes. I couldn't see how to do this with the disc utility on the Live and Install discs, so I did it partly by hand.

I did use the graphical utilty to partition the discs:

sda1 197MB /boot
sda2 60GB /
sda3 940GB (to be half of /tmp)
sdb1 10GB swap
sdb2 50GB /home
sdb3 940GB (to be the other half of /tmp)

Then, identify the two /tmp partitions to LVM:

pvcreate /dev/sda3 /dev/sdb3

Create a Volume Group:

vgcreate vg1 /dev/sda3 /dev/sdb3

Stripe a Logical Volume across both partitions:

lvcreate -i 2 -l 448192 vg1

This creates a Logical Volume called "lvol0", 1.9TB in size, 340MB free. Getting the "448192" extent count correct took a little fiddling. The utility tells you how much you need if you go over.

During the installation I chose "Custom" partitioning and just assigned the mount points shown above.

Without an internet connection, yum was complaining about not finding metafile information for two default repositories. I edited these files in /etc/yum.repos.d to have enabled=0:

  • fedora.repo
  • fedora.update

The repository collection came with an install script that copied all files to /usr/repos and created .repo files in /etc/yum.repos.d. I verified that this collection is a superset of the the packages on the install disc, so I do not mount it as a repository.

The graphical PackageKit application will find packages with "search", but does not display package groups from the selection listed. I couldn't get to work, but yumex, a graphical front-end to yum, does show the groups. (Later: No, it doesn't).

Ran sensors-detect and accepted all the defaults.


  • standard repository:
    • abcde
    • bogofilter
    • claws-mail
    • context
    • fetchmail
    • flac
    • gnucash
    • id3v2
    • lxde
    • mkvtoolnix
    • netpbm
    • pdftex
    • python docs
    • texlive
    • windowmaker
    • wine
    • xmms2
  • unofficial respositories:
    • acroread (adobe site)
    • k9copy
    • lame
    • libdvdcss
    • mplayer
    • transcode
  • compiled from source:
    • dockapps:
      • wmbiff
      • wmtime
      • wmmon
      • wmSMPmon
      • wmnd
      • wmsystray
      • wmMoonClock -lat 43 -lon 91
      • wmgtemp -u 10 --graph=block
  • special installation:
    • DVDFab
  • verified:
    • DVD burning: both drives, DVD video
  • still to be checked:

openSuSE 11.4

Again, I ordered an Install DVD and 4-disc repository collection from

With the Custom Partition option I imported the existing /etc/fstab and reused the partitioning scheme created for Fedora, formatting each for a fresh start.

Using the OpenDNS servers:


The sound card was detected and functioned immediately.

The NFS client to montag worked the first time.

Installed the OS Disc repository to /usr/repo. DO NOT do this while Yast is running; it crashes at the end.


local repositories:

  • LXDE (default)
  • windowmaker (+ dockapps, themes)
  • emacs
  • w3m
  • additional wallpapers (various)
  • vobcopy
  • dvdbackup
  • lame
  • netpbm (default)
  • abcde
  • flac
  • bogofilter
  • claws-mail (default)
  • context (disable packman)
  • fetchmail
  • gnucash
  • id3v2
  • mkvtoolnix
  • units
  • docutils
  • pdftex (in context)
  • python docs
  • texlive
  • python yaml
  • findutils-locate
  • xmms2
  • xv
  • qinternet
  • tidy
  • gkrellm
  • sensors
  • libreoffice
  • gnuplot
  • mplayer2
  • wine (bad time until I enabled the install disc as a repository and installed it from there)
  • python-imaging
  • dockapps:
    • wmtime
    • wmsun
    • wmbiff (needs to be configured)
    • wmmon
    • wmnd
    • wmSMPmon
  • vlc (need packman online, not the OSDisc repo)
  • k9copy (same)
  • handbrake (same)
  • transcode (had to set "allow vendor change" for x2634 library)
  • libpng 32-bit (from packman, for tsmuxer)

In Yast, download list of Community Repositories. Added:

  • libdvdcss repo (installed libdvdcss2)

Compiled from source:

  • wmMoonClock dockapp

Separate download:

  • tsmuxer
  • BDSup2Sub400.jar

The packman dependencies for these are not right. Try again after packman updates the respository:

  • xine
  • mplayer

Still need to do:

  • acroread
  • xephem
  • twonky

Ran sensors-detect. On Fedora, ksensors showed disk temp; not working here. Using gkrellm instead (still doesn't have disc temp).

Configuration files:

  • LXDE session: .config/lxsession/LXDE/autostart
  • bash: .bashrc
alias ec="emacsclient --no-wait "
  • emacs: .gnu-emacs-custom
; start server for emacsclient

; turn off tool bar
(if (fboundp 'tool-bar-mode) (tool-bar-mode 0))

to do:

  • disable caps lock: xmodmap trick that worked on montag isn't
  • fetchmsttfonts runs but fails
  • qinternet sometimes does not dock into the panel


Just copied the accounts file directly.

To get help working (from the FAQ):

replace the symlink

    /usr/bin/gnome-help -> susehelp


    /usr/bin/gnome-help -> /usr/bin/yelp


  • 2011.09.27: system locked up while writing to DVD burner /dev/sr1. No longer on the network. Did a hardware reset.

  • 2011.09.29: system locked up while running yast online update. Was updating LXDE components.

  • 2012.03.07: locked up while running Handbrake.

  • 2012.10.26: satellite internet, no longer need dial-up or serial port

  • 2012.11.20: installed openSuSE 12.2, with LXDE as desktop

  • 2013.11.19:

    • No crashes for a long time. I've been keeping the system updated.
    • The case developed an irritating rattle, which I think was a plastic connector or stiff cable vibrating in the space behind the motherboard. That's the screwed down side of the case. Opening it up, I retucked the cables into place and put some peel-and-stick weatherstripping foam at some likely spots. Much improved so far.
  • 2015.09.15:

    • System would not boot, and no error message, just a cursor on the display. I believe the system disk must have developed a bad boot sector. I spent a brief time trying to recover it and then swapped in two spare 1TB drives, installed openSuSE 13.2 and restored from backup.

      I did not use LVM disk striping this time. Both drives have large storage areas I manage manually, each with it's own backup.

  • 2015.10.12:

    • The 1TB system drive failed. I verified this by removing it and trying it in a USB dock.

      I replaced it with a new "WD Purple 2TB Surveillence Hard Drive: 1 to 8-bay: 3.5-inch, SATA 6 Gb/s, Intellipower, 64MB Cache WD20PURX"

This document was generated on January 31, 2016 at 21:02 CST with docutils.