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(New Modder) Airflow Designs for Suitcase PC. Opinions wanted.

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi. I'm fairly new to case modding, my only previous mod was encasing an existing case in varnished pine ply, which only really involved making some minor changes to the existing case.
Anyway, I'm hoping to get more into real mods or 'from scratch' designs. This will really be my first attempt (Although, I've done a reasonable amount of woodwork, metalwork, electronics, lapidary and so on in the past).

So, if you wouldn't mind helping me with my design for a more portable desktop computer, let me get to it.

I've mocked up a design in Blender3D (I know its more of an art program than one for CAD but I've made sure its all to scale)

*Note that I have also excluded the Hard disks because they're not that big, I figure I can fit them around the place a bit, most likely at the foot of the GPU.
*I have also committed the case lid, it will be as shallow as I can make it. I'm not sure if I want it to hinge open or use a different method at this time.

What I'm really concerned by is the position of the fans (Shown in yellow). I want to have two on either side of the case. The two on the Motherboard and Power supply side will be intakes and the two behind the video card will be outtakes. I'm hoping this will cause good airflow through the case. I'm hoping that having strong airflow perpendicular to the CPU fan (aqua) won't negatively impact the CPU headsink's airflow.
I am also intending to remove the case of the power supply and forming a cowling around it so one of the intakes will blow directly over the heatsinks. Most of the motivation for this is that I don't want to put holes into the sides of the case of the PSU in/outtakes and I want to move the mains-in and power-switch to the same wall as the CPU and GPU sockets. If I'm lucky it'll also make it a little smaller but that's not important. (Just before anyone warns me about it, I'm aware of the risks and how to handle capacitors and potential electrocution and I'm probably past warranty anyway.)

The parts currently in my computer or that I'm intending to buy are
CPU: Intel i5 2500K
GPU: MSI 560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II
PSU: Antex Neo Eco 520c (520 Watts)
I'm looking at a few Micro ITX boards and a variety of fans (I assume cheap ones still work fine). The fans will be 92mm diameter to lessen the depth of the case.
I am planning on buying this motherboard: http://www.gigabyte.com.au/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4338#ov

So, to recap - Do you think this cooling setup will be sufficient, two fans at either end. Two in, two out.

(Also, if I get a motherboard with two wireless ariel outputs on it, I assume I can intercept on of these on the back of the plug and run a loop of wire somewhere to pick up signals. Does that sound right? As I write this I begin to wonder if it might be too effected by unshielded components inside the box)
(Speaking of shielding, if i make the case of of wood, do I need to construct some form of faraday cage on the inside to stop EM signals inside or out?)
post #2 of 4
If I were to do this, I'd fill both walls with fans for maximum airflow. If you don't want to see a big intake, do a very plain panel over top of the opening on standoffs so there is an intake all the way around the edge of the panel. You can also move the fans back into the case a little and open up more of a slot on the bottom of the case for intake. I would also make some interior baffles to control airflow to each device that needs it. The hard drives should be stacked in the direction of airflow and have good wire management so there is circulation past them. The GPU could use a second fan blowing across it to help keep it cool. Keep in mind the fan/cooler in use on the card you get. I'd get an ACX type cooler so it spills it's heat inside the case rather than ejecting it out the back panel. For the CPU, you may take a look at running a Kraken X60 or something similar as it will manage heat from the CPU better and it will have a much lower profile. There's room in your design to place it's radiator easily on the back for outflow.

For the PSU, you'll have to really look around for what's available, but the modular ones would be difficult to deal with for this particular mod. Most would have a top/bottom mounted intake fan and the exhaust on the back. The front would be where the connectors for the wiring are. You may consider using a non-modular PSU for this build. That will leave the front able to be opened up and the intake fan moved there. I wouldn't just leave the fan off in this case. I'd combine the airflow for the HDD racks and the PSU into the same baffle. The other part of the case would have airflow for the GPU and CPU/mobo.

The wireless connectors on the motherboards are usually screwed into a metal bracket on the back edge of the motherboard. They can be easily unscrewed and moved elsewhere in the case. If the majority of the case is metal, try to place the antennae behind a plastic cover outside of the part of the case that is metal.

No, you don't really need metal shielding your entire case. They build cases entirely from acrylic and they operate with no issues. Unlike someone I know's mod, you're not ballistic and EMP hardening your case.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Sorry, i should have replied to this sooner, I've been a little preoccupied.

Thank you so much for the info. I hadn't though of straight up ducting the fans over the components.
This build is going ahead, at least I just spent $200 on parts so I'm in the thick of it now. I'll probably start to document it on this site (I assume I should make a new thread. I don't know the etiquette)

One more question: A friend of mine recently had a laptop **** the bed and its got me thinking about buying an LCD Controller and putting a screen into the case. Does anyone know if graphics cards tend to have a secondary output somewhere directly on the circuit board that can be used to connect it to an internal monitor? It would seem sloppy to run a cable out of the card's normal output then back into the case to connect to the LCD controller.
post #4 of 4
No worries on the reply time. I get that way a lot lately.

A couple methods for hooking up an internal monitor:
1) Solder some wires to the contact points on the GPU where the video connector attaches to the board. Wire those to another plug. It's a bit more effort than most would do, and it'll obviously hose your warranty.
2) Use a smaller USB operated screen. Very simple to plug a cable onto a USB pin header on the motherboard.
3) Move the GPU a bit farther into the case. Plug the wire onto it and route it into the case. If you're going internal only, don't bother having the back plate extend to outside the case.
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