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Has anyone ever converted a BTX case to an ATX case?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Update (6/30/2011): See Images and explanation below initial post.

I've got an IBM Lenovo desktop computer which a local university gave me. I like the case, but the motherboard is terrible. It only supports a 32-bit operating system and 3 GB of memory. The maximum chip it can support is a Pentium D. You can only use small, single slot video cards with it due to the position of the main power connector and the capacitors, which crowds the PCI-express slot. It also sometimes just decides that it is not going to start.

I'd like to convert it to an ATX case. I'm wondering what procedure and tools would be needed to neatly cut the back of the case so that an ATX motherboard could actually fit, and I'm wondering if the micro ATX board being upside down would have any serious consequences for air flow or performance.

Thanks in advance.

Update (6/30/2011): Images and brief explanation.


The reason that I did this is that this computer was given to me by my college upon earning a degree. I want to keep it for sentimental reasons, but only if I can actually use it. However, the computer sucks. Sometimes it boots, sometimes it doesn't. It can only use 32 bit operating systems and will not even boot with more than 3 GB of memory. It overheats. The fastest chip you can use in it is a Pentium D 950. It can only take small form factor video cards and they must be single slot.

So, I converted it to a case that can use a standard micro-ATX motherboard. It was not as easy as you might think. I actually had to remove the motherboard stands with a Dremel. Then I had to carefully drill holes to put in conventional ATX spaced stands. I also had to rip the ATX case switch off of an old case and attach it to this one. The USB ports were originally designed to go in a PCI slot, but were mounted to the front panel. Finally, I had to completely saw out most of the back of the case with a dremel, then flip it upside down and screw it back in. To make the video cards and other expansion cards hold their position I had to screw a strip of metal to the inside of the case. This strip of metal was originally part of the cover to an older ATX case.

I'm happy with the finished product. It went from being a Pentium 4 with a 9800 GT EE, to being a Q9550 with a GTX295 i7 940 with a GTX 480. It now boots every single time I start the computer and I can put any micro ATX board that I want to in the ATX case. Everything is firm and rock solid. It even gets great air flow. I think the chip idles at like 26 C and the card idles at around 45 C (its overclocked too).

I was even able to save the original motherboard, CPU, card, and memory. They now reside in a GATEWAY BTX case that I fished out of a dumpster two years ago and had in storage. Strangely, now that the school motherboard is in the Gateway case, it now boots every time and does not overheat.
Edited by Majestic_Lizard - 11/8/11 at 10:40pm
    
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post #2 of 20
you'd have to change around where the io shield and pci express slots go then...
post #3 of 20
I think as long as you drill holes in the tray in the right places, it should work. I don't know about the spacing of the PCI slots and other items, but it may work. Maybe some else will have done it around here and can give you a difinitive answer.

And I see no problems with having the mobo upside down. Mine is upside down and it's just fine.

EDIT: I'm a dummy, the I/O ports are on the wrong end. It's be quite a task to convert such a case. Better to just buy a new one.
Edited by AutoItKing - 12/25/10 at 4:58pm
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post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morizuno View Post
you'd have to change around where the io shield and pci express slots go then...
Right.

What I'm wondering is what procedure and tools I would need to use to safely cut the back of the case so that I can do that. When I say "the back" I am referring to where the IO shield goes.

This way I could secure the ATX board in the case and the IO ports would be accessible.

Another question would be how would I make a replacement backing to the case?
    
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post #5 of 20
You might as well buy a cheap ATX case and call it done, if you're willing to do that...this would be less than the cost of supplies fr making a backplate, and better than a modded BTX case:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811154095


That's actually not a terrible design for $20...there appears to be a bit of cable management potential, which is more than any BTX case would offer.

edit: Heck, sell the BTX case afterward and you might even recoup the costs!
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post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drenlin View Post
You might as well buy a cheap ATX case and call it done, if you're willing to do that...this would be less than the cost of supplies fr making a backplate, and better than a modded BTX case:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811154095


That's actually not a terrible design for $20...there appears to be a bit of cable management potential, which is more than any BTX case would offer.

edit: Heck, sell the BTX case afterward and you might even recoup the costs!
I appreciate that you are trying to help. Take no offense. I think I may not have made my intentions clear when I posted this thread and that is my fault.

The object of this thread is to get advice on how to modify this BTX case to an ATX case. I already have several ATX cases just sitting in storage (including an imitation alienware type case). My main computer is in an Antec 900.

My goal is to find out how to cut the back of the BTX case out. Here are some basic questions:

What kind of instrument would I use? Cutting torch?
What type of protection should I use for my eyes?
Are their fabrication businesses that could do this for me at a cheap price?
etc.

To recoup the costs I'm going to stick the original BTX-Lenovo board in a Gateway BTX case and sell that.
Edited by Majestic_Lizard - 12/26/10 at 11:09am
    
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post #7 of 20
it depends on the case and whether or not it can be flipped

like the tj07 from silverstone can be flipped the other way to a btx all you have to do is drill out a few rivets, flip, then rivet it again

i have also seen someone turn a lian li a05 which was naturally btx to atx by the same procedure of riveting, removing the top, flipping, drilling a few holes for the top, and then it was atx
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post #8 of 20
tools are more or less from my knowledge or what i have seen

screw driver, rivet gun, drill
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post #9 of 20
Ah...so this is more a boredom/fun thing, then?

In that case, a dremel and a rivet gun should take care of most of your needs. That and the raw material, should anything need to be replaced or filled in. Some .8mm steel would do the job nicely.
Edited by Drenlin - 12/26/10 at 2:32pm
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post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drenlin View Post
Ah...so this is more a boredom/fun thing, then?

In that case, a dremel and a rivet gun should take care of most of your needs. That and the raw material, should anything need to be replaced or filled in. Some .8mm steel would do the job nicely.
Yeah. However, I prefer not to lose any fingers or eyes in the attempt. LOL.

That is why I'm thinking I might talk to a professional welder about it next week.
    
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