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Need opinions on custom case.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello fellow PC enthusiasts! I'm in need of some opinions and guidance during the early stages of my custom case design.

The concept started while shopping for an mATX case which would allow me to fit multiple graphics cards. Obviously almost any mATX case will fit two cards but most don't provide adequate cooling which means lots of heat and noise .

The lead candidate was the Silverstone Temjin TJ08-E:



After looking at a few builds done in this case I realized that it just has too much wasted space for what I'm trying to accomplish!

Goal: Fabricate a custom PC case that is easily portable and has a small footprint, while still allowing me to install standard ATX motherboards, power supplies, and long graphics cards. The case must also allow for adequate cooling for extreme builds.

The first thing I did was work on the layout of required components. Initially I had planned on using air cooling, but the tall profile of the best air coolers would mean that I sacrifice space behind the motherboard, or I increase the dimensions. Water cooling takes up valuable space, but fitting a radiator in the front allowed me to keep the footprint small and provide superior cooling.

Here is what I came up with:



I've included a Corsair 800D for a simple size comparison. A lot of saved space comes from eliminating 5.25" bays and HDD's. I have no real use for huge amounts of storage since most files are stored on a file server, and I don't think I use the optical drives on my PC more than once per month.

I added some components in google sketchup just to help give people an idea of how it should look. The top and front rads are 280mm radiators which I believe should provide adequate cooling for a processor and GPU's. I went with 140mm radiators mostly because they do a better job of filling the case. There is also the possibility that I alter a few things to fit a third rad if it seems necessary.

Once I'm satisfied with the layout I'm going to design a frame and look to have it fabricated with some very interesting features!

If people have comments, criticism, or suggestions please feel free to post!
post #2 of 8
1) Those cards would get really hot butted up against each other like that.
2) If you're intake has a rad on it your bringing hot-air into the case to "cool" components, and then exhaust hot air out the top rad to "cool" something else.
3) You'll most likely want a very mesh-heavy side panel, or use some good intake fans, which means you'll have to make the case wider.
4) You could mount the hard drive on the face of the case between the two radiators.

If it were me, I would do single radiators, so you can ultimately do:
gpu-rad-gpu-rad-gpu-rad-cpu-rad and everything will keep cool. Doing this will make you have to leave a little more space between rad mounts to butt them up against each others. You won't get a crazy-high OC for most hardware, but it will keep everything cool, quiet, allow for decent OC capability, and not make it much larger.
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
I probably should have been more clear!

I plan on water cooling the graphics cards as well as the CPU so there shouldn't be any problems with running three cards. I guess I could fit a larger radiator in the front, or turn the top rad on it's side and do a radiator sandwich.



Something like that maybe? I might fit the PSU in the bottom so that I can have a case window.

I can understand the concern with pushing hot air into a case, but there are a lot of water cooled cases that use a front mounted rad.
post #4 of 8
I don't think there is such a thing as "wasted space" in a case. If you have open space, that will allow better free flow of air me thinks. If you're trying to build a case for the "extreme", you'd be best off seeking a fulltower case with PLENTY of room. Be cautious of cable management options with the case as well. Cable management can be a pain, especially when you're working in tight spaces. You want it to look clean too, no?

Unless you're going to watercool those GPUs, I think you're going to have some temp issues on all of them, as you are blocking the intake for the fans. I personally wouldn't do any more SLI/Xfire than my mobo will allow, leaving one space between each GPU, unless I'm watercooling. As for using a front mounted rad, once again I think this depends on whether or not you're going to watercool your GPUs. Be wary of case temps in regards to your hard drives, especially SSDs. Some drives naturally run hotter than others.

Have you looked at the HAF X case? I'm not sure if you care for the design (as some do not), but I can personally vouch for the case having awesome airflow and plenty of room, plus really great cable management options.

Edit: Sorry, I guess I was typing this as you clarified you are in fact watercooling your GPUs. Looks good so far, but I don't see where you plan on mounting the hdd in your last pic. I'm not sure how those thermals would effect your ram and hdd temps. I'd be curious to see it myself. Another thing. I see a lot of intake from the rads/psu, but where are your exhaust fans going to be located? That's an aweful lot of hot air getting trapped, and you need to make sure you have fair exhaust for that case, otherwise the fans for your rads wont be able to move as much air as you think. Too much positive pressure, in this case, would be a very bad thing.
Edited by Arimis5226 - 10/4/11 at 12:52pm
post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by cokenbeer View Post
I probably should have been more clear!

I plan on water cooling the graphics cards as well as the CPU so there shouldn't be any problems with running three cards. I guess I could fit a larger radiator in the front, or turn the top rad on it's side and do a radiator sandwich.



Something like that maybe? I might fit the PSU in the bottom so that I can have a case window.

I can understand the concern with pushing hot air into a case, but there are a lot of water cooled cases that use a front mounted rad.
Well, my point was more of a single-fan rad per GPU, single fan for CPU if you wanted to make it compact.

You won't want to put the PSU there because cable routing will look like garbage unless you heavily modify each cable you're using to be the perfect length to each GPU, Mobo, etc.

Make sure you have clearance between the GPUs and the side door for your wiring.

You should flip the PSU around so it draws air out of the case and blows it out the back in lieu of a rear exhaust fan... possibly upgrade the fan in the PSU to be more powerful to compensate for this.

Where is your pump going? Hard drive mounting location? Res placement? I'm trying to be helpful and poke holes in your plan so you don't just run into horrible problems along the way.
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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm happy to get a some discussions going in this thread tbh!

HDD's are not part of this build. I haven't used a HDD in my main rig in 2 years and with SSD's being so easy to mount anywhere I was able to make more room for a radiator in the front.

The PSU mounting in the last picture was more of a way to keep dimensions small, mounting it in the bottom might still be an options though.

Quote:
Cable management can be a pain, especially when you're working in tight spaces. You want it to look clean too, no?
Quote:
You won't want to put the PSU there because cable routing will look like garbage unless you heavily modify each cable you're using to be the perfect length to each GPU, Mobo, etc.
Completely custom cables solve most of those issues. The problem with cables that come with power supplies is that they're difficult to fit anywhere. I'm working on a few plans that will allow me to hide every single cable while still allowing me to swap PSU's and upgrade relatively easy.

Quote:
Where is your pump going? Hard drive mounting location? Res placement? I'm trying to be helpful and poke holes in your plan so you don't just run into horrible problems along the way.
Pump and reservoir should be mounted in the top in the two radiators meet. The reservoir will be custom and I already have a few pumps and custom tops just sitting in a box, I don't foresee any real issues mounting it somewhere.

Quote:
Have you looked at the HAF X case? I'm not sure if you care for the design (as some do not), but I can personally vouch for the case having awesome airflow and plenty of room, plus really great cable management options.
Definitely a great case! I've built systems in the HAF cases for friends and they're very pleased with the final result. Before this I've had a Cosmos S, ATCS-840, Corsair 800D, and several Lian Li cases ranging from the PC-V351, V354, and a V1020. My favorite cases were the mATX Lian Li's because they're compact and lightweight. Dragging an 800D packed with water cooling components to a LAN is not fun at all!

I could potentially modify a Lian Li case, but fabricating my own case will allow for the use of more exotic lightweight materials and it's also fun!
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by cokenbeer View Post
Dragging an 800D packed with water cooling components to a LAN is not fun at all!

I could potentially modify a Lian Li case, but fabricating my own case will allow for the use of more exotic lightweight materials and it's also fun!
You realize you're making the computer physically smaller, but more dense. Weight will likely be within a couple pounds of what this build would have weighed in a bigger case. Smaller <> lighter.
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Win 7 Ultimate 3x 1920x1080 LG IPS displays. Razer Mass Effect 3 Blackwidow Ultimate Cooler Master Silent Pro M850 
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Maximum Dwarf
(15 items)
 
Density!
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-3570k ASUS MAXIMUS IV GENE HD7970 Gen 1 Ripjaws Z 2x8GB 2133MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
1TB RE4 2x3TB WD Red LG 10x BD-R Corsair H80i w/push pull 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Win 7 Ultimate 3x 1920x1080 LG IPS displays. Razer Mass Effect 3 Blackwidow Ultimate Cooler Master Silent Pro M850 
CaseMouseMouse Pad
Silverstone TJ08B-E R.A.T. 7 An ergonomic one 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i7 3770k Gigabyte Sniper M3 1155 mATX CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600MHz 1TB WD RE4 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
2TB WD Red 2TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 
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post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTRLurself [Knyte Custom] View Post
You realize you're making the computer physically smaller, but more dense. Weight will likely be within a couple pounds of what this build would have weighed in a bigger case. Smaller <> lighter.
The Corsair 800D is a full steel structure and mine weighed well over 50 lbs with the full water cooling setup and all installed components. It was also very bulky and difficult to carry. Dragging it to a LAN or between houses was a nightmare.

A more compact case is easier to carry even if it were the same weight, but building a case out of aluminum and carbon fiber should shave at least 20 lbs off of the weight of my 800D while keeping the same components.

I realize that I could save space and cut weight by eliminating radiators. Even adding 15 lbs of water cooling components isn't the end of the world when you cut back on a 2 lb air cooler and each individual gpu cooler.

I suppose I could build two PC's, but there's no challenge in that.
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