Project "Neige": A Lian Li PC-A71F conversion! - Overclock.net - An Overclocking Community

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Project "Neige": A Lian Li PC-A71F conversion!

 
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-20-2013, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
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The name

Being from Quebec, my first language is french. As many of you may know, Quebec (and pretty much all Canada) is the land of snow. Quebec's unofficial national anthem even says "My country isn't a country, it is winter." Considering that the build is going to be a mostly black theme with white accents, it seemed natural to associate it with snow. It's also a nice link with my username, "Snowmen". Obviously, naming it "Project Snow" would have been boring so I had to make it special. That's where my french heritage matters since "Neige" is french for snow. If some of you have absolutely no idea of how it is pronounced, the closest I can find is like "Nigel" without the "l" at the end and with a softer pronunciation of the "g".

The case

This build has been in the planning phase for about 2 years (ever since I completed my first build). Since the very beginning, the case I had chosen was the PC-A70F from Lian Li because I simply liked the look of it and the fact that it's a Lian Li. I would have a very simple case which provided tons of opportunities to mod. Sadly, Lian Li decided to discontinue this case as well as the PC-A71F (the same interior with the addition of a door). Luckily, I managed to grab the last Lian Li PC-A71F in Canada so the plan could still go on!

The mods

Ah, the part everyone is interested in! I'm intending to completely convert this case. The outside should stay roughly the same, with the addition of a side window and side vents. On the other hand, the inside will be completely modified. I plan on raising the motherboard tray to create a TJ-07 style basement where I will mount a sideways power supply aswell as pump(s) and a quadruple radiator. Speaking of radiators, all major components will be watercooled. On top of that, I will do a bunch of other smaller mods like sleeving and some metal pieces to hide things like my hard drives, etc.

The hardware

The hardware is not exactly decided since I'm waiting for the arrival of next generation CPUs and GPUs but so far, it should look like that:

  • Mostly black high-end motherboard (Gigabyte or MSI Mpower)
  • Core i7 Haswell CPU
  • SLI/CF Gefore GTX 770/Radeon HD 8950 caliber GPUs (Probably AMD unless Nvidia allows overvoltage with the next generation)
  • Corsair Dominator Platinum memory
  • Antec HCP-1000 power supply
  • Solid State Drives
  • Fully custom watercooling

Of course, I will update this list when parts are selected.

What I bought so far:

  • Lian Li PC-A71F

Other informations

For the time being, I am pretty much a novice in terms of photography. I will try to learn as much as I can throughout this project. The camera I will be using is a Pentax K20D that I borrowed from my godfather. I am current using a Pentax FA 1:1,8 31mm AL Limited lens. If you know a lot about photography, go ahead and give me tips since they will be need!

For now, the progess will be relatively slow since I still have school. This build is a gift to myself and a congratulation for finishing high school. Until the end of the school year (end of june), I will mostly be making small mods or sleeving and the build itself will start when Haswell and next generation GPUs are released. The Budget, including mods, is roughly 3000$ which I have spent the last 2 years accumulating.

Table of contents



Quote:
Originally Posted by ____ go_quote.gif
Toothpaste, it will also make your computer minty fresh.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warhaven go_quote.gif
Hire a big day-laborer for $40, rent an Italian suite for him, and then have him stand next to your PC all night frowning at passersby and shaking his head, "No."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradox me go_quote.gif
I think it's obvious humans weren't the lead platform. We got saddled with cat ports.


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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-23-2013, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
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It is finally time to add a little bit of meat to this thread! Sadly, there won't be any modding... frown.gif Instead, I'll lead you guys on a little tour around the case so as to see what can and will be done. I should be able to get some stuff done this week-end since I don't have school tomorrow and friday! I'm also currently trying to decide between shrink-less paracord and shrinked plastic sleeving (either MDPC or FTW PC sleeving). Plastic sleeving looks way better IMO and is more durable but it's very expensive...

First look at the case (Click to show)
First look at the case

Below, you can see how clean this case looks. This is the main reason why I went with a Lian Li: It's pretty much blank so you can do whatever you want!



The front has a very nice door that covers the 5,25" bays and the power/reset buttons. It still has some very subtile "pass-throughs" for the power and HDD activity LEDs. Interesting point, the door can be locked and the case comes with two keys.



Once you open this door, you can see the 5 5,25" drive bays, including one which is converted to a 3,5" drive bay. There also are vents for two 140mm intake fans. Finally, we have a large power on/off button and a smaller reset button aswell as all needed LEDs. These white stripes are rubber bands which keep the door from scratching the front panel.



Here's a close-up of these buttons and LEDs.



When you look at the top, you will quickly see a little aluminum door. This is a very elegant way to hide the I/O which consists of 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, eSATA aswell as the regular audio jacks.



Once you remove the side panel, you can take a good look at the interior. It is also very simple which will make raising the motherboard fairly easy. I'll need to make a new custom back panel and simply drill new holes in the side panel.



The motherboard tray is also compatible with true E-ATX (12,6"x13,0") which will give me a lot of extra space to hide cables and cut cable management holes.



At the bottom, you can see one of the two power supply mounts. This one has rubber to keep the power supply from vibrating and uses a bracket to secure the power supply without screws. Unfortunately, this is all going to waste because of the modifications I will be doing.



At the top, you see the other power supply mounts. This is also a hard drive cage which will, of course, need to be removed if you decide to install your power supply there. These drives are cooled by a 120mm exhaust.



In between, we have the I/O area and the PCI-E slots. The case only accomodates standart ATX motherboards in terms of length and therefore only has 7 slots. These have a tool-less system which truely facilitates installation. Very good idea Lian Li! There's also another 120mm exhaust.



Here's a close-up of the tool-less system. Simply pull the lever to install a card and then push it back to secure it.



Here we can see the 5,25" drive cage. The top two bays use the same tool-less mechanism that we see in most cases.



This is the main hard drive cage which will accomodate 7 hard drives. Two of the bays (the ones with the little metal plates) will be able to house SSDs or other 2,5" hard drives.



Returning to the outside, this is simply a picture of the back of the expansion area.



This is the outside of the mount for the bottom PSU. It uses a removable bracket which allows you to screw the power supply with it being outside of the case, should you decide not to use the tool-less system.



Finally, this is the top power supply spot. It's currently occupied by a vented piece which allows better airflow for the 120mm exhaust.




Quote:
Originally Posted by ____ go_quote.gif
Toothpaste, it will also make your computer minty fresh.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warhaven go_quote.gif
Hire a big day-laborer for $40, rent an Italian suite for him, and then have him stand next to your PC all night frowning at passersby and shaking his head, "No."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradox me go_quote.gif
I think it's obvious humans weren't the lead platform. We got saddled with cat ports.


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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-21-2013, 09:20 PM
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