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[Build Log] EXLR - mATX Portable Zero Halliburton BRIEFCASE PC Mod

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Hey there, everyone at OCN,
After more than a year since I've built my first computer, a strong enthusiasm has built up inside me to start on another build- and it's something I've always wanted to create. Never owned a laptop that could do more than mere simple tasks, and I've only had a real taste of powerful computing within the last couple years...and I'm still refraining from getting a smartphone as long as I can... but here's where that's going to change, portable-computing-wise. I've been thinking/researching/devoting my mind to this for months, determination building up inside me to the point which I just decided that I was going to make it... a computer inside a briefcase.

Months ago, a friend gave me his moderately old computer from 2011, rocking a broken P67 motherboard, a lightly used i7 2600k, and an old CX500 power supply. As this is meant to be somewhat of a budget build, I figured I'd use the dated LGA 1155 chipset in my briefcase build to take advantage of the perfectly good 2600k. He also left some nice HyperX Blu DDR3 DIMMs in there, which I'm using in my normal desktop tower as a (completely unnecessary) bump from 16 GB to 24.

(broken motherboard with i7 2600k in the socket)

Next, I wanted to find a case. I'd scoured the internet for projects that others had done with similar vision to mine, and drafted a list of what I wanted out of my build... the main inspiration was surely the February 2012 MOTM Winner "Lando": http://www.overclock.net/t/1206406/feb-2012-motm-winner-lando-a-suitcase-briefcase-computer-done-right

And I was off to eBay. Actually, first it was briefcase.com... but as I quickly discovered, nice quality cases are expensive- especially for something that I'm going to trash the insides of. Amazon yielded similar results, the only affordable ones being low quality and worrisome for something supposed to house a computer.

I quickly learned my priorities were actually:
1. Dimensions
2. Cost
3. Looks/Quality

That's about when I turned to searching eBay for weeks on end until I found this:

(image from the eBay listing)

It was a Zero Halliburton case, a notable high-end briefcase manufacturer, and it was selling for $115... way more than I wanted to pay. But every other decent briefcase on the entire site was 18x13x6... way too gargantuan to be practical as a portable desktop computer. I was aiming for a size closer to the Dr. Zaber Sentry Case, with a height of 2.5 inches. This case was 16x11.25x3.5... what seemed to be a godsend given the beautiful appearance and solid aluminum construction. It hit every checkbox. Again, as the build is intended to compete with a laptop in terms of price-to-performance, I figured $115 on what was the signature component wasn't too terrible. This would be the most expensive part in the entire build, unless I were to opt for a GTX 1060 6GB or higher.

Second was the motherboard. I had 16x11in to work with, roughly, so size wasn't too much of an issue at first. Knew I wanted to overclock, or at least potentially, so I went with the Z77 series of motherboards. Again, this took probably three-plus weeks of searching and gathering motivation to go and buy one of these, but after I made the final decision on the case, I knew I couldn't go wrong...

I wanted USB 3.0, PCIe Gen 3, 6-way Analog Back Panel audio, and general decent reviews altogether...in a mATX LGA 1155 Z77 board. Mini-ITX would have been fine, but they were all a) really expensive and b) either had some sort of issue, or the general annoyance of only 1 PCIe slot.
The decision was made rather quickly when I found a "Buy-It-Now" listing for $80 on an Asus P8Z77M-PRO... as it met all the criteria for under $100. Purchased, shipped, arrived- and it is beautiful. It looks untouched, as if it's never been used an hour- and it just fits in my briefcase, which arrived later the same night.



(my own pictures taken after it arrived)

And the P8Z77M-Pro:


A few days later, I ordered the Silverstone 450 Watt SFX power supply, a Corsair H50 water cooler (for Sandy Bridge overclocking purposes), and a couple laptop screen controller boards.

So there I have it: a motherboard, a processor, and a briefcase. It's been months of dreaming about such a possibility being actuality. I'm ready to start this project... for real.
Edited by furdieur - 3/29/17 at 9:16am
post #2 of 34
Thread Starter 
Anyway, moving forward with the mod- I stopped by Micro Center yesterday (first time), and picked up some various things:
  • An anti-static mat
  • An anti-static wristband
  • Two magnetic parts trays
  • USB Bluetooth Adapter
  • USB WiFi Adapter
  • And an impulse purchase on some Asus Aura Magnetic CableMod LEDs that I will hopefully be returning shortly.




The first three things are for my general work area, the consecutive two are for WiFi and Bluetooth in my briefcase...and as for the last thing on the list..?
I wanted light strips because I'm planning to create a glowing logo on the outside of the case- however I was an idiot and bought LEDs that require both Asus Aura headers and a magnetic case... neither of which I have. Still blown away by my lack of common sense to check for something like that...

There will be a third update out very soon as my Corsair H50 AIO water cooler and SilverStone SFX 450W are arriving momentarily. Then I can get to testing the components (yay!)
Edited by furdieur - 5/4/17 at 3:53am
post #3 of 34
I'm interested in seeing where this is going biggrin.gif
post #4 of 34
Subbing to this smile.gif

Looks great. Can't wait to see more!
RGB for days
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
[Intel] i7 7700K [5.0 GHz @ 1.##v] [Gigabyte] Z270MX Gaming 5 [MSI] 290X Lightning [####/#### @ 1.##v] [A-Data] XPG Dazzle [4*8GB - 3000/16] 
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[Samsung] 840 EVO 256GB [A-Data] SP900 256GB m.2 [Seagate] 4TB 2.5" ST4000LM016 [Alphacool] VP755 v1 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
[EKWB] Coolstream XE 360 [EKWB] Coolstream PE 360 [Alphacool] NexXxos XP3 Light Acetal [EKWB] FC 290X Lightning 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
[Frozen-Q] Resevoir [Mayhems] UV White tubing 3/8" x 5/8" [Alphacool] fittings all around [NZXT] Aer F 120mm (x6) 
OSKeyboardPowerCase
[Microsoft] Windows 10 [Professional x64] [G.Skill] Ripjaws KM570 [Seasonic] Prime 650W [80+Titanium] [Case Labs] SM5 [Matte White] 
MouseMouse PadOtherOther
[Nixeus] Revel [White] [Frozen-Q] ProMat [NZXT] Hue+ [CableMod] RGB [30cm] 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
[Intel] i5 7300U (ES) [ECS] KBLU-MINI [Intel] HD 620 [Kingston] Impact 2*4GB 2400/14 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
[Transcend] MTS400 128GB [Microsoft] Windows 10 [Professional x64]  [Toshiba] 39" LED TV 1080p [Logitech] K400 
PowerCaseAudio
[FSP] 19v 3.42A brick [ECS] Liva Z Plus [Simple Audio] Listen 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
[AMD] FX-8350 [Gigabyte] 78LMT-USB3 Rev 5 [XFX] HD 5450 One [G.Skill] Ares, 2*4GB, 2133/10 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingCooling
[Samsung] 750 EVO 250GB [Western Digital] Green 2TB [Jonsbo] FR-331 RGB fans [Jonsbo] FR-301 Red 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
[Jonsbo] FR-301 White (in PSU) [Microsoft] Windows 10 [Professional x64]  [Samsung] 19" Syncmaster 931BF [Samsung] 19" Syncmaster 931BF 
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[Microsoft] Comfort Curve 1000 [EVGA] 550 GS [Jonsbo] VR2 - Black [Microsoft] Optical Mouse 200 
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[CableMod] White Cable Set 
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RGB for days
(24 items)
 
 
The Lady Box
(17 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
[Intel] i7 7700K [5.0 GHz @ 1.##v] [Gigabyte] Z270MX Gaming 5 [MSI] 290X Lightning [####/#### @ 1.##v] [A-Data] XPG Dazzle [4*8GB - 3000/16] 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
[Samsung] 840 EVO 256GB [A-Data] SP900 256GB m.2 [Seagate] 4TB 2.5" ST4000LM016 [Alphacool] VP755 v1 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
[EKWB] Coolstream XE 360 [EKWB] Coolstream PE 360 [Alphacool] NexXxos XP3 Light Acetal [EKWB] FC 290X Lightning 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
[Frozen-Q] Resevoir [Mayhems] UV White tubing 3/8" x 5/8" [Alphacool] fittings all around [NZXT] Aer F 120mm (x6) 
OSKeyboardPowerCase
[Microsoft] Windows 10 [Professional x64] [G.Skill] Ripjaws KM570 [Seasonic] Prime 650W [80+Titanium] [Case Labs] SM5 [Matte White] 
MouseMouse PadOtherOther
[Nixeus] Revel [White] [Frozen-Q] ProMat [NZXT] Hue+ [CableMod] RGB [30cm] 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
[Intel] i5 7300U (ES) [ECS] KBLU-MINI [Intel] HD 620 [Kingston] Impact 2*4GB 2400/14 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
[Transcend] MTS400 128GB [Microsoft] Windows 10 [Professional x64]  [Toshiba] 39" LED TV 1080p [Logitech] K400 
PowerCaseAudio
[FSP] 19v 3.42A brick [ECS] Liva Z Plus [Simple Audio] Listen 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
[AMD] FX-8350 [Gigabyte] 78LMT-USB3 Rev 5 [XFX] HD 5450 One [G.Skill] Ares, 2*4GB, 2133/10 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingCooling
[Samsung] 750 EVO 250GB [Western Digital] Green 2TB [Jonsbo] FR-331 RGB fans [Jonsbo] FR-301 Red 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
[Jonsbo] FR-301 White (in PSU) [Microsoft] Windows 10 [Professional x64]  [Samsung] 19" Syncmaster 931BF [Samsung] 19" Syncmaster 931BF 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
[Microsoft] Comfort Curve 1000 [EVGA] 550 GS [Jonsbo] VR2 - Black [Microsoft] Optical Mouse 200 
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[CableMod] White Cable Set 
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post #5 of 34
Subbed i love the portable builds!
MOAWR!
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120gb kinston SDD (Boot) 500Gb Hypertech SSD (Game files) 2TB WD yellow HD (backup) Scythe big shuriken 2 REV B 
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120gb kinston SDD (Boot) 500Gb Hypertech SSD (Game files) 2TB WD yellow HD (backup) Scythe big shuriken 2 REV B 
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post #6 of 34
Thread Starter 
Alright, time for another update! Went back to Micro Center again today, this time to pick up some yes, actually compatible RGB lighting and return the other light strip (CableMod Magnetic RGB Light Strip with Asus Aura). Got a full refund, and this time I picked out some hybrid adhesive/magnetic lighting with a SATA power cable from CableMod (and a few motherboard standoffs).

These motherboard standoffs should do the trick. Very inexpensive but will be of great use.

Hybrid Mag/Adhesive RGB (going to use as back lighting for the logo and other external holes on the case.)

the one I got had a longer LED strip

It cost more, but to avail- I plugged it into my desktop and it works like a charm. With the original lights, I would have needed to power it with my own cables and use ASUS Aura, neither of which I have, but this new LED set comes with a remote control and an included SATA power adapter. Hopefully it will prove to be of worth when I use it for the mod.

Here are a few images of it in action inside of my ThermalTake Commander Epic:




(new screw containers are beautiful too)


As for the SilverStone 450W SFX power supply and Corsair H50 Cooler... they didn't arrive today. Tomorrow marks 7 days from when I placed the orders, so hopefully by this weekend there will be a functional rig (gotta make sure all the stuff works).

Soon the time will come to put it into the briefcase.

that's actually an old motherboard that doesn't work anymore rip
post #7 of 34
Subbed specool.gif

That case looks amazing btw. Hope to see more updates soon!
post #8 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone who's subbed, I really appreciate it. ;D

This may or may not be the only update for today: but the Corsair H50 Hydro Series Liquid Cooler arrived today. Can't do anything without a power supply, sadly.

Here are some pictures:



It does fit in the briefcase: however to be fully sure of the size constraints I'm going to have to start tearing the case apart. A shame, I know... does anyone have any suggestions for the removal of leather?
I took a pair of scissors to it just for the sake of knowing just how tough this stuff is, and it's really bound in there. Looking it up online proves useless, as really nobody tries to remove the leather from their expensive briefcases.
This is the main issue at the moment, there is a leather divider attached to the inside wall of the briefcase and with it in there it is impossible to install any components. Please help- I'm new to this and right now I'm just planning on hacking it out with a saw, attempting to get as clean a job as possible.


again, may be an update later today...
post #9 of 34
You might wanna use a dremel or a rotary saw with a sharp blade, but then I'd be worried about cutting the actual metallic part of the case...
post #10 of 34
Thread Starter 
I'm been hoping to avoid a dremel (they're expensive)... but my pal Matthew came over and discovered that leather can just be torn out with bare hands and paper scissors; something I was needlessly afraid to try due to, well, sentimental feelings:




Also, we grabbed some 70% alcohol and gently rubbed the thermal paste off the 2600k, good as new! Installed into the P8Z77M-Pro- can't do anything with that until tomorrow when the power supply arrives.


Matt's going to help me with the rest of the build, at least that's the plan currently. One thing I did the day before, however; was salvage a small 2.5 inch HDD (WD Scorpio Blue 500GB) from an old Dell laptop I had lying around (broken WiFi card). I found a LOT of old things on there... it's surreal, like discovering a time capsule.

image from amazon.com
Surprisingly to me, the hard drives in laptops of this type use standard SATA connections- meaning that my worries about throwing a hundred bucks on some short-lived TLC SSD were gone. This drive holds 500GB at 5400 RPM speeds and it's tiny, meaning it will be easy to cushion inside the briefcase. I plugged it into my computer, and it worked seamlessly (that shouldn't have surprised me as much as it did), so that's what I'm going to use until I can find a cheaper SSD (maybe one of those QLC NAND drives by Toshiba when they eventually come out)...

So far, everything is going decently. Case is pretty much nothing but a metal hull, processor is cleaned and installed, everything critical to make the computer actually work is here, minus the power supply.
Update tomorrow.
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