Can't wait for my Spring Break at the end of this month so I can start wrapping up this project! Till then I am grading papers and staying up late after the wife and baby go to bed.
So today I started to do some minor mods with parts in the standard 5.25 bays just to see what I may need to alter or fix in my layout as well as to get a possible look at problems that might come around later.
Tools used today - Painters tape, Dremel with cutting wheel grinding wheel and soft grinding stone, black and red sharpie, a screwdriver and some safety glasses since I don't want to shoot an eye out
So my second SSD mounting bracket showed up yesterday and I decided to see how it would look in the case. As I had mentioned previously I had purchased 3 of them OEM so they came in a black plastic casing - I wish the vendor I purchased from would have had a 4th one because the black non-descript look is much sexier to me than the shiny metal of the consumer version you can see in the picture. Either way it will be hidden behind the other ones and even then my case door has this section of the case blacked out behind a solid panel portion.
*note* the silver screws used to screw in the SSD's are only temporary as I need to wait a few before I order them in Black Oxide... want to make sure I don't have other screws needed to purchase first - shipping one small detail item 2 times in a row SUCKS.
Now one of the things I like about the case is that when installing items in the front 5.25" Bay panel sections you don't have to have three hands. This is accomplished by all the guide pins that are on the inside of the case. The brackets to hold up the accessories have a set of holes that line up with these guide pins and then a separate set of holes for the thumb screws to hold the accessories into place in the bay slot.
Here is another picture showing these little guide pins lining up and down the inside of the case in the bay area.
I also like the fan accessory mount having these little rubber grommets to reduce metal to metal chatter. These fit through the guide pins as well making them a snap to line up properly.
If I forgot to mention before I want to mention it now. I love how this case has so many options to really create your own unique setups. In this picture you notice all the holes lining the edges of the case - their purpose is to allow you to install accessory bars and any other items you deem necessary in almost any location you would want to. Because of the way the doors and panels fit onto the frame of the case this portion is recessed allowing any mounting screws plenty of clearance from the door panels.
I had some old clear 1/2"ID 3/4"OD tubing from my old loop and decided I wanted to see how difficult it may be to route this sized tubing through the cable management holes found in the case. There was not a single location where I had to force or reshape the tube to make it fit - actually I had to TRY to actually create friction contact in any of the locations I tested it in. Now this is not to say that the holes are big enough for everyone - as I recognize there may be a need for multiple wires and tubing to go through these holes - but I am saving that mountain for later in the build!
Now here, this picture is the routing holes coming from the top outside portion of the case - for those who would need to route something externally.. like maybe you have picked up an aquarium water chiller or if for some reason you are running a single loop to include pedestal, or for some ungodly reason you need more external rad space! This shows how much extra space you would have - granted the accessories pack comes with grommets to place around the edges if you would like, but the metal has no sharp edge whatsoever in this hole.
I like how the cap for that hole has offset retainers.
I purchased a PSU bracket just for overkill purposes. I do not need it per say but I wanted it just in case I do in the future and to see if it might be useful for other purposes. It ended up fitting the Silverstone 1Kw PSU I have perfectly and will now provide a sectioned off area for hiding cables and tubing. With the slots it has at the top and bottom of the bracket it just provides even more wire management options so a definite bonus! Also as an accessory the bracket brought some anti vibration tape which I slapped on the side of my PSU that would be resting on the bracket - this way it absorbs any possible rattles.
Now I remember in a previous Case Labs build log it was mentioned that mounting fans in the hard drive cage was not readily intuitive. Here are some pictures explaining why. First you would have to remove 4 screws on the side of the cage. the screws facing us are the ones in question. Doing this will allow the vented FACE of the assembly to come off.
Now once you remove that front face there are 4 other screws holding the fan section to the hard drive cage. I haven't tested if those screws would need to be removed before installing a fan or not. Completely forgot to do so since it wasn't my main interest at the time.
Now here I decided to install one of the XSPC RX480's in order to see more clearly what clearance issues I may have with my 5.25" accessory bays. Notice in my first page mockup I was planning on mounting an intake fan in the highest bays. This was because I thought I did not have enough clearance for anything there. In actuality there is space for a short accessory like a fan controller BUT you will have to modify one of the mounting brackets.
Here is a shot of a Sunbeam Rheosmart 6 with the 5.25" mounting brackets attached.
Notice the extra length on the brackets as compared to the fan controller.
Now here is simply a shot showing how with the standard bracket it would not fit due to the radiator spacing - I am assuming this spacing issue should be extremely similar for the M8, M10, T10 and TH10 models.
So I pulled out some Painter's tape and a sharpie to get a quick measure of the bare minimum I would need to cut off the mounting bracket in order to make it fit.
Because of the slight offset on the radiator mounting I only needed to cut down one side of the mounting bracket. I could have done both sides but I decided I may find a use for the full bracket in the future or for the mounting hole that bracket may provide. Or at the minimum I wasn't interested in cutting a perfectly good bracket just for the sake of cutting it since visually this area and that bracket will not be seen through the panel window.
This was the end result after using a dremel with a cutting wheel, grinding the burs off it and then using some black sharpie to remove the bare metal appearance of the portion that was just cut. This just goes to show that even some with very little mechanical skills can undertake the minimal mods necessary.
Now I already knew the fan controller would be the only thing I could actually fit in one of the upper bays but I wanted to take some pictures just to provide visual proof. So I taped a spare fan to the radiator just to provide a mocked up clearance of what it will look like when complete and then attempted to install the DVD drive right below the fan controller.
I have no plans in sawing off the back end of a working DVD drive lol so I decided to use my measuring tape to provide exact measurement of what would fit. 4 inches is maximum clearance. 3 to 3.5 inches is the optimal though. One thing to remember is that the accessory is pushed OUT of the case slightly due to the way it is mounted, so this gains you a slight bit of clearance when taking into account the dimensions of any gear you purchase.
Time to mount the SSD brackets! Now do I need all these shock mounts for the SSD brackets considering how deadly silent SSD's are? Nope, but they looked good and I plan on adding at least one or two large mechanical drives later on in the build so decided to add them in for uniformity. Plus they were in the accessories bag and I figured why not! The rubber grommets snap easily into place and the screws go in with ease and give a definite response when you are at the end of the thread necessary so there is no guessing on if you turned it too hard and are smushing the shock mounts lol.
Nice understated black SSD's mounted just below the DVD drive.
This is a front shot with the front panel off so as you could see the order I installed the accessories. Fan Controller at top, mount for an intake fan, then DVD drive, then the HDD cage with an intake fan, and then 2 ventilated covers to round out the space. This should help anyone get a good visual for those who purchase one of the M series cases as they will have the exact same amount of bay slots. Note each fan mount takes up 3 panel slots.
Last but not least. The handle for the motherboard tray. Nice and sleek. Best part is that it looks great with or with out it and is easy to install and uninstall.
Well that is all for tonight's documentation of my journey. More to come later!