So I figured I would start a thread to help keep track of my work and for anyone else who is interested. The plan is to mod my old Chieftec/Antec/Chenming "Dragon" case (blue) and give it a facelift into the 21st century. It rocks 5 different places for measly 80mm fans (2 intake, 2 exhaust, 1 side-panel) and as long as you have decent fans can get the job done albeit a little noisier for the same performance of what a 120mm fan can provide at lower RPM's.
A little backstory - This case originally housed an old Alienware case (~1999) with a Pentium 4 1.7ghz and GeForce 3 Ti500. That computer actually lasted until I wanted to build a new computer in 2009 where the case went on to house my X58 ASUS P6T, i7 920, 6gb Corsair XMS3 and a monster in both size and power draw in the GTX 285.
After BFG closed its doors and the lifetime warranty went away with it I purchased the Arctic Cooling Accelero Extreme that was custom fit for the GTX 285 and turned the card into a 2 slot, extremely long behemoth into a... 3 slot extremely long behemoth albeit with much better cooling now that it rocked 3 direct 92mm fans blowing across a massive heatsink. That was as far as the upgrades went for this machine until I eventually purchased a GTX 970 at the end of the summer in 2015 - which has since moved into my new build (X99 6800k).
After the new build was complete I put some energy in sprucing up the old X58 which is when I found out you could run Xeon processors in these motherboards and they overclocked like champions (never would have built a new machine had I known this). Well I pulled out another old Chieftec/Antec/Chenming "Dragon" case (silver) that used to hold a different Alienware system with an AMD Athlon XP 1800+ and a Radeon 9700 Pro(the one was purchased by one parent and then the other a couple years later by another parent). I cleaned up the silver case and got it prepped to house my upgraded X58 system after recently purchasing;
- Xeon W3680 6 core w/ hyperthreading overclocked to 4.2 ghz
- Noctua NH-U14S
- 24gb KLEVV 2800mhz RAM (running at 1800mhz CL8 1.5v)
- Refurbished GTX 960
- PNY CS1311 240gb SSD
- Silverstone USB 3.0 PCIe x2 card w/ 2 19pin connectors
- Silverstone USB 3.0 x4 + Headphone/Microphone 3.5" bay
- A couple 2.5 and 3.5 to 5.25 mounting brackets to relocate some drives
- 4 SilenX Effizio 80mm Fluid Dynamic Fans (UPDATE: One went bad already - 11/7/2016)
- Evercool 5 fan splitter with Molex power connector
- BitFenix 1 Molex to 3 Molex splitter
It cost a little more than I planned but has revitalized that computer like never before in a freshly cleaned case, added cables for some actual wire management and USB 3.0/Audio front ports (board didn't support USB 3.0 and the case didn't have any front panels - 2 birds 1 stone). I actually ended up buying a used P6X58D-E motherboard for $100 and used my old P6T in another Xeon X5670 build I put together for a friend. The Xeon's can be bought for ~$65 right now (unreal) and pack a serious punch when overclocked.
This takes me back to my now uninhabited blue case which I have decided to try my luck at modding. The initial plan is to replace the 80mm fans and cut out space on the front panel to hold 2 120mm fans + cut out space on the back panel to hold 2 92mm fans. To do this I first removed the 3.5" drive bay supports and cut the top drive bay so the bottom portion is removed, leaving me with 2 3.5" drive bays accessible. This presents a separate problem since I'll need to add a place to support the front of the drive bay since the supports are removed. The plan is to weld a piece of steel to the top of the drive bay and slice out a place in the front panel for it to stick through so it can be supported. So far I've done the preliminary cuts to be able to better measure the front panel and mark the places I'll need to cut/drill. The other places I'll be cutting is the motherboard try and provide some space for some better wire management.
Once I finish cutting everything I plan on painting the entire case... Which I'm thinking I'll need to sand everything before applying some primer and then a coat of paint... This is where I have even less experience so any guidance on that part would be greatly appreciated.
Now for the pictures!
Here are the two cases side-by-side with the silver one currently housing my upgraded X58 system;
Here's a shameless plug with pictures of the X58 system running with all of it's new toys;
And here are some shots of the blue case after I cleaned it and finished some preliminary cuts;