Also considered: Where's the 3.5" Floppy Drive?
Good question. But first, what in the Wide World of Sports is going on here? Well, I got one of those cool Intel 8086k chips and, like anyone in my situation, I immediately thought, "That has got to go in a 20-year-old Pavilion." With that settled, I knew from experience that these unlocked Intel chips are tough to keep cool. Even after resealing with liquid metal, that's just a fact. So, the obvious solution was...what's that? No! Not build in another case, silly. It was to install a custom loop in a 20-year old steel case.
Okay, there's also my somewhat pathological obsession with Pavilions. Or so I've been told. See my previous Pavilion builds, if you have time to kill and you're a glutton for punishment.
As with any Pavilion, space is at a premium. Fortunately, the a305w has very roomy bezels, both front and top. The top bezel allowed me to cut a nice big hole for reservoir refilling, without worrying about a lid. The front bezel space allowed me to install the radiator in the front and still have room to install and cable some USB 3.0 ports and audio jacks. I did have to shear off its mounting frame and much of the plastic connector cable insulation to include it. I had to add some audio jacks, though, because in a nod to their future cheapness, HP inexplicably did not include them. This despite the fact that the USB connector module was designed to hold them. They actually had to design a special, lop-sided face plate for the module to avoid including them. (See pictures.) Just bizarre.
Wait a second. What's that? This little Pavilion talks. It says, "I can count to 5. That's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 GHz!"
It was really tricky mounting the radiator in this thing. The bezel connects to and mounts directly against the front of the case in a bunch of places, so I had to be careful not to cut off or block it. I also had to find a way to mount the reservoir/pump assembly in between the motherboard and the radiator. Fortunately, because of the pattern the case was cut from, the 5.25" drive bay cage folded down nicely to form a back wall, and I mounted the assembly to that. This was before PC makers got too cheap...I mean, economical...to make both sides of the case removable, so I couldn't mount it to the back side of the case. The back side actually comes off to allow some cable management. A luxury in the world of Pavilion rebuilding, as I'm sure you're aware.
Neighbor Relations Tip! People often say to me, "Dude! You work on ancient Pavilions with power tools, and they're basically hazardous waste. How come the neighbors don't string you up or at least narc you out to the proper authorities?" I have a simple, 5-point response to this question. 1) I need to live in close quarters with these people and it's important that we get along, but it's more important that I do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it. 2) They're going to die of something, no matter what I do. 3) You literally can't hear them complain if you're running a Dremel cutting wheel through old case metal. 4) I wear an N95 approved particulate respirator. I'm not stopping them from doing the same thing. 5) I make it a point to do other things that are worse, so that clouding the air with toxic metal dust seems relatively minor.
This is a very talkative Pavilion. What's that? No, I don't think it's appropriate to say, "Enthoo this. Eat my 5.1 GHz exhaust" at this time.
Pavilion a305w History: There isn't much information out there on this little guy. The HP site just says they no longer support it, implying that maybe it's time for you to buy a newer PC. I was reading the specs at CNET and getting frustrated that they didn't list what generation DDR it has when I realized, if you listed the specs when it was DDR1, there would be no reason to say 1.
As usual, no other PCs were harmed in the making of this build. Where I added a case part, for example, the top radiator mounting bracket, I fashioned it out of other removed or unneeded case parts. I did use the end of an old power supply cord to create the back feet. This became necessary because I added the 170mm intake fan to the bottom of the case. Hopefully no one plugs them in, as I'm guessing that would short out the system.
Where's the 3.5" Floppy Drive? I'm sad to report that I just couldn't find a way to keep it. With the radiator forced flat against the front of the case by the graphics card, I couldn't keep anything deeper than the bezel itself. It's not for lack of effort. I found an adaptor card that converted the signal to USB 2.0, so all I needed was an internal USB port to hook it up to the motherboard. Until I found that adapter card on eBay, the only other option was the KryoFlux forensic floppy controller https://www.kryoflux.com, which runs about $150. You may say, "Why not just buy a native USB 2.0 floppy drive for $20?" To which I say, "Next question."
Mounting a 280mm Radiator in the Front of a Pavilion a305w Mini Tower Case
Mounting a 280mm Radiator in the front of a Pavilion a305w Mini Tower Case is a cinch! Simply do the following:
- Ignore the unsettling feeling that you've bitten off more than you can chew.
- Pick an early morning weekend time to begin cutting and drilling the case. Sleepy neighbors are slow to react.
- Stare blankly at the case.
- Buy another unrelated power tool. I recommend a circular saw or laser etcher. Now you're in action!
- Leverage your desire to do something, anything else to do another chore you've been putting off. Try unpacking from your Christmas trip, for instance.
- Get out, then put away, your power drill.
- Get out your Dremel tool, and then attach the cutting wheel. Always start with the cutting wheel.
- Cut off any case pieces whose use you don't understand.
- Create a cardboard pattern for mounting holes using precision digital calipers, then cover one eye and use a center punch to roughly replicate it on the case.
- Drill. Re-drill. Drill again.
- Put on particulate respirator.
- Force screws into radiator mounting wings.