Let's build a new Custom Switch 810 . . . . .
It seems that most build log start off with a ceremonial unboxing, . . . . . So absent a better idea, I'll continue the tradition.
This thing is huge relative to most of what I'd been used to previously . . . .
I've added a couple pics of the Switch with the regular Phantom side by side for comparison.
My new S810 arrived from Outlet PC in just a few days with the box in unexpectedly good condition for having come via USPS Priority Mail:
I can still recall the excitement I felt removing the case from the box and seeing it up close for the first time:
It arrived in pristine condition, a most pleasant relief as I've had some "shipping issues" on previous occasions:
So here you can see by comparison to the phantom, how big it really is:
That pic group was the last time my new 810 was assembled and in stock form.
It was now time to disassemble the beast, take some reference pics, and contemplate what I wanted to do to infuse my own creative vision:
Since this build was planned with an Asus ROG motherboard, with its black / gray / red color scheme, I wanted to use red as an accent color where possible.
Here you can see the little metal mesh bits from the top, bottom, and lower front filter panels, getting a coat of red that matches the phantom red:
The next thing that sort of jumped out at me that just screamed "Mod Me, Mod Me" was the louvered top panel and the front filter panel.
I had several pieces of NZXT mesh that I'd saved from previous phantom window installs, so I looked for a good way to make use of it.
Pieced together nicely, it would do both panels.
I wanted to paint it red to match the other metal mesh, but the tiny hole size was prohibitive, as they would have easly plugged. Even if I'd pin cleared all the plugged holes, the reduced diameter would have added too much restriction overall, so I opted to leave them as original.
Doing some layout to see how to make them fit up top:
and fitted ready to epoxy in place:
and the finished top panel mod:
Fitting the front panel mesh pieces:
Epoxying them into place:
And the final result:
Here's how they look together with the case assembled:
And here's a hint of things to come:
I modded the side window shape to show off the lower rad and planned PSU cover.
Here it is with a new acrylic panel installed:
I was really liking my new window a lot, and the idea hit me . . . . . .
Why not add a matching window in the back side made from some dark red translucent acrylic . . . . .
Here it is cut to fit in the cut out side panel:
And here's how it looks: I'll do a more detailed "custom window how-to" in a subsequent post with some of the other more detailed breakdowns.
As the case cosmetics were taking shape, new parts had arrived and it was time to start integrating the internal components with the case.
Here's the first of the new parts that had come in:
Let's fit in some new parts:
The lower rad is a Hardware Labs, Black Ice GT-Extreme 240.
Since all rads for 120mm fans use the same 15mm fan to fan hole spacing, it will be a drop in fit, with no modding required.
If I had opted for a HWL 280 rad, then I would have had to mod the bottom panel to accomodate the 20mm fan spacings that are found on HWL rads made for 140mm fans.
Here are a few pics of the lower rad with the 38mm tall Koolance, 184cfm, 4000rpm fans, installed with the 20mm tall shrouds to maximise efficiency in a push only setup:
Notice too that I've used stainless steel M4 threaded rod to make studs to secure the shrouds and fans to the rad, since screws of this length are not available. Close examination of the shrouds will show that the holes have been relieved at the bottom to accomodate locking nuts to hold the studs securely in the rad, so that putting the nuts on does not turn the stud and force it into the rad causing damage.
The lower rad was easy, the top rad is going to turn into a lot more work, with a lot more modding, than "NZXT's claim of 420 rad support" would have you imagine.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I'm taking a little break in the picture sequence here to break down the meaning of "420 rad support" for the S810.
I started this build when the S810 first came out, and while there were several build logs already in progress to see what had worked for others, there were none with a HWL 420 up top.
As it turns out, HWL seems to be the only rad that uses 20mm fan to fan spacing for rads using 140mm fans.
Everyone else uses 15mm spacings for their 140mm fan sized rads, the same as is standard for rads using 120mm fans.
NZXT opted to use 20mm fan to fan spacings in the top panel for 140mm fan sized rads.
Now think for a moment, . . . . if you line up three 140mm fans next to each other, such that the spacing between the mounting holes of each fan are 15mm from the mounting holes of the nex fan . . .
And now line up three more 140mm fans next to each other, such that the holes are 20mm apart instead of 15, and measure the total length of each group.
Uhhh, Ohhhh . . . . The group with the 20mm fan to fan spacing is 10mm longer than the group with the 15mm fan to fan spacing.
This not so little issue turns out to be a really big deal when it comes to putting a 420 rad in the top of a S810.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Here's what it all comes down to when installing 60 mm thick 420 rads in the 810:
If you use anything but a HWL rad, you will have to drill 8 new mounting holes.Use the original front 4 holes
, and drill new ones for the center and rear fans. (this applies even to thin rads other than HWL)
Your rad will fit in with enough clearance at the rear of the case to allow connections to the rad, with the rad's fittings at the rear of the case, the usual way to mount longer rads.
The HWL rads will bolt into place without drilling any new holes, which while it seems nice, really just tears you a new one if it's ~60mm thick one
That extra 10mm of overall length, places the rad's fittings 10mm closer to the back end of the case, and they do not clear the I/O shield box.Unless you attempt something really risky or stupid, you have to mount a full thickness HWL rad with the fittings to the front.
Trust me on this gang, it took a lot of trial and error to get it figured out exactly, but a whole lot of guys have since built new rigs with 420's following my advice, and they come out right every time.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Now we can get back to the picture sequence where it picks up with all the fun I had learning about how to get a HWL, GT-X 420 rad in the top of my S810 and set up for a quick switch interchangable fan setup.
One thing I wanted to design into my system, was the ability to quickly change out the fans on the top of the upper rad, so that I could run either fairly quiet 25mm thick 140's which would fit properly under the newly modded top trim panel, or maximum performance 120mm, 38mm tall, 184cfm fans with shouds and 120 X 140 adapters, with a modified top trim panel.
To accomplish that, I needed to have the rad mount securely to the top frame panel, even with all the fans removed.
Back to the pic sequence:
This pic shows the 3 possible fan setup combinations, but the center option lacks any real practicality, so it's the left option for "normal operation" and the right option for maximum performance.
It is worth noting, that these were early pics, taken while I was working out my fan setup, but before I had really gotten to the nitty-gritty of setting up the rad plumbing.
I used 20mm tall standoffs with flat washer to mount the rad, which each fan option can then attach to easily.
The next pics show my early mods to the top panel, where I slotted the mounting holes, cut out the webbing, and if you look carefully, can see that I ground off all the rolled edging which gives another 2 to 3mm clearance above the mobo.
Also visible are the initial cutting mods to the top optical bay side panels and top of the main drive cage to allow for the width of the 420 rad and better airflow to the front fan.
Here's the interference at the I/O box . . . .
Note that the rad has been slid forward in the slots just enough to clear, and that you can see where the rolled edges have been ground away above the rad, giving a bit more clearance for the I/O box problem.
The problem here is that even with the rad slid forward just minimally enough to get to barb fittings at the rear, and using tight 90's as well, the front fan has clearance issues with the top plastic, and needs to be notched for the top trim panel:Bottom line here is that for all practical purposes, trying to put a full thickness HWL 420 in the S810 with the fittings to the rear is a total fail.
Time to bite the bullet on some serious modding to the optical drive cage to make enough clearance for sweeping 90's and 1/2" X 3/4" compression fittings, and then turn the rad around, placing the fittings to the front.
Actually, one last thing I did before rotating the rad, was to make an access port from the interior of the case thru to the back side, cable management area, located right below the rectangular opening in the top panel, to make it easy to route fan cables from the top fans, as well as bottom rad fans, to the cable management area for connecting them cleanly without adding cables and clutter to the inside of the case.
Here's the rad setup with the fittings to the front, with sweeping, low restriction 90's and plenty of clearance to tighten the compression fittings.
Notice that the optical drive cage has had its final mods completed with the sides cut down at the top, the rear top corners cut back, the back edge with the thumbscrew storage cut off, the tooless locking bits removed, all for a cleaner look and the top panel relieved farther forward for airflow.
Also visible are the final mods to the shape of the top bay side panels to allow clearance, while still being able to have a fan controller in that bay area.
With all the physical infrastucture now pretty much in place, we can move on to some cosmetic enhancements and component setup in the next panel.
Hope you like it so far and find it helpful and informative,