Thanks so much everybody for all the nice comments. It may only be the basic framework for the prototype, but I’m glad you like it. It’s good to have a decent bit of real physical progress to report for once.
With regards to using the Phase 3 Test Frame
rather than the 900D
as a basis of the final build, that is one of the options I’m considering. My priority for the moment is to get the hardware mounting points ready, get the cooling loop built, tested, and finally get an operational prototype to prove this mad idea works. The biggest problem that is currently looming will be what to do if circumstances force me to give up on my custom heat sink design for the X99-E WS
. The most likely choice will simply be to modify the pipework, connect the CPU-side feed to bulkhead port 4 (rather than 6) and then cap ports 5 and 6 from the offside. This effectively cuts the motherboard cooling section out of the loop, but leaves the redundant nearside pipework in place – giving the illusion that the cooler is still there. Frankly I feel that would be a rather cheap con, but it would at least preserve the intended look.
Anyway, once the prototype is built and proven I will have a number of choices as to what to do - at which point I will (obviously) be looking to you all for your opinions.
In brief, my options are:
- A: Proceed as planned, use the prototype as a proof-of-concept and temporary rig. Attempt to do the metalwork modifications to the 900D with all the time, complexity and potential unforeseen problems that that entails, but with the chance of getting Ironbeast the way (or close to the way) I originally designed it. This means the test frame eventually becomes redundant and largely unusable for anything else (at least not without significant alterations).
- B: Use the prototype as the basis for the final build, creating a set of aluminium/glass/acrylic panels to convert the test frame into a proper case (effectively an ‘Ironclad-beast’). This would require a little more design work on my part, and either undertaking or commissioning quite a bit of metalwork (albeit far simpler stuff than is required for the 900D modifications). However this approach should hopefully preserve the planned Ironbeast aesthetic, if not the exact design, and result in a build that looks reasonably close to the way I said it would. This means the 900D becomes redundant, although completely unmodified and still usable for something else in future.
- C: Use the prototype as the final build. Retain the planned Ironbeast layout but abandon the metal look, instead constructing a set of high quality timber and glass panels to convert the test frame into a proper case. Designate it as a beta “Ironbeast Mk.0” and rename it something more appropriate. This choice would also require a little more design work on my part, but would probably be faster and easier to produce then Option B. However it means accepting the original CAD render designs will never be realised. This approach also means the 900D is redundant, but again ultimately still usable.
- D: Any other bright ideas…
As I said, lots more to do before we reach that decision. However the numerous delays in this project, the difficulties encountered in getting stuff made, the potential for complications with the modifications and the finite lifespan of the technology are definitely making me wonder about the wisdom of holding on to the original plan.