So here we are again, starting another modding project! I built my first computer case in June 2009. At that point my only computer experience was an old Dell 2400 and my trusty aluminium iMac (which is still going strong today!) and I had absolutely no idea about how a computer really worked. This is now my 3rd project. Quite a lot considering I didn't even know what 'motherboard' meant this time last year! The first was The Bloo Box: LINK
The second was Project MiniMe - The World's Smallest Watercooled PC:
Those two projects were both acrylic scratch builds. I made them from the ground up, using a fair amount of CNC work alongside practical techniques.
The two scratch builds were all fun and games, but I kept on feeling after finishing each one that something wasn't quite right. I have finally that realised that they both lack functionality. This is going to be a key element to this new project. My main issue with Bloo Box is how difficult it is to add a hard drive/5.25" drive. With MiniMe, it is actually getting to any components inside! This is to be expected since it is only 20x20x20cm, but it that doesn't validate the issue.
My solution (or experimental solution) for this project is to go effectively go backwards and do a case mod, instead of a scratch build. I came to modding in a different direction to most people - I started with a scratch build, most people start by simple case modding. By going back to the beginning, I plan to teach myself the methods and tricks that make consumer computer cases so functional and easy to use, and then apply them to future scratch builds.
I have chosen the Silverstone TJ07 as the case to be modded. Originally I was going to go for a Corsair Obsidian 800D, but I felt that it was not a blank-enough canvas. The cable management is already done, hard drive issues sorted, radiator mounting accounted for. I need to go further back than that. The TJ07 is perfect in that it can adapt to anything I need. It is also one of the slickest looking cases out there!
I found with Project MiniMe that modelling the case accurately in Google SketchUp beforehand really works wonders and solves hundreds of issues that I would have come across when making, saving me money in the long run! I have done the same for this project. I owe credit for a few models such as the TJ07 shell, 5870, Enermax Revolution, RAM and hard drives.
The renders were done in Kerkythea.
Everything is 100% to scale.
Here you can see my pump configuration. The system is running on a single loop with dual Laing DDC 10W pumps connected in series by a white acetal EK Dual DDC Top.
The loop order is:
Dual DDC 10W -> Quad Rad -> GPU 1 -> (GPU 2) -> Southbridge/NF200 -> Triple Rad -> CPU -> MOSFETS -> Northbridge -> RAM -> IandH StealthRes 175
You can also see in this picture the solid floor. This is actually an illuminated floor. I am still deciding on the lighting to be used for this - it is either going to be an EL panel or a CCFL.
The case will be powdercoated gloss white. I am not sure what rad grill I will have on top yet. Most likely it will be a nice solid MNPCTech one.
I want to keep the front really clean. All the drive bay covers are replaced by a single sheet of aluminium. At the top there is a Lamptron FC-5 fan controller. Below that is a stealthed DVD drive. I have taken inspiration from Murdermod here, in that there is a cut out going up the front that operates the open/close button of the drive.
The color scheme for the build is White, Black and Blue. The blue comes from the motherboard and coolant. I'm hoping to use Bitspower Black fittings for the whole build if the budget will allow. It will help emphasise the colour scheme.
Here you can see one of the functional modifications. The front panel is easily removable to allow access to the hard drive bay. This takes 3 3.5" hard drives and 1 2.5" drive. I chose this number so i can have a RAID5 storage setup and an SSD for the operating system. The drive bay is made from acrylic. Each drive mounts on an acrylic tray that friction-fits into slots in the side supports. At the inside-end of the bay are two 80mm fans, one blowing in across two of the drives, one pulling out across the other two. There is a gap allowing the air to pass between the two.
I am still debating whether to have the two rear intakes. They may interfere with the top rad and they also make the back look more cluttered. The rear panel is being replaced with a clean plate (no annoying ugly squares!)
There are loads of things that have inspired be over my short time of modding, too many to mention here. However here are some that have directly influenced this project:
Project PURE - subset7 - LINK
Hulk V2 - dingdong555 - LINK
Dual Loop Phase Cooled Lian Li - RetroGamer1990 - LINK
Purple Rain - mrdbristol - LINK
PC Beto - p0pe - LINK
.:Filtration:. - Skorchio - LINK
Acronym - Achron - LINK
refleXion - Xion X2 - LINK
Silentium - Syrillian - LINK
6GB DDR3 Corsair Dominator 1600MHz
MSI Big Bang XPower
4x Samsung F3 1TB RAID10
1x Corsair Extreme 64GB SSD
Enermax Revolution 850W
HWLabs Black Ice Stealth 360
EK Coolstream 480 Rad
2x Laing DDC 10W
EK Dual DDC Top v2 - White
EK Supreme HF with white top
2x EK 5850 Nickel with white top
MIPS Corsair RAM Block
MIPS Motherboard Blocks
IandH StealthRes 175
White 3/4" OD Tubing
Matt Black Compressions
Order will be:
Pumps -> 480 -> GPU 1 -> GPU2 -> NB/Fets -> CPU -> RAM -> 360 -> Res
Here are links to all the updates:
- Update #1 - 07/03/2010 - First Cuts - LINK
- Update #2 - 08/03/2010 - Motherboard photos - LINK
- Update #3 - 11/03/2010 - Making the hard drive bay - LINK
- Update #4 - 20/03/2010 - Nickel party! - LINK
- Update #5 - 27/03/2010 - Bottom compartment work - LINK
- Update #6 - 29/03/2010 - Motherboard Blocks - LINK
- Update #7 - 2/04/2010 - Illuminated floor creation - LINK
- Update #8 - 13/04/2010 - Mounted rad stand and new feet - LINK
- Update #9 - 15/04/2010 - Arrival of some watercooling stuff - LINK
- Update #10 - 16/04/2010 - Mounted MNPCTech rad grill and top rad - LINK
- Update #11 - 19/04/2010 - New RAM cooler tops - LINK
- Update #12 - 21/04/2010 - Flush smoked acrylic window - LINK
- Update #13 - 06/05/2010 - This project is interrupted by the attack of the BP Dragon! - LINK
- Update #14 - 24/05/2010 - New hard drive trays, custom faceplate - LINK
- Update #15 - 06/06/2010 - Motherboard tray finished - LINK
- Update #16 - 06/06/2010 - JB Welding mistakes, revised hard drive bay - LINK
- Update #17 - 18/06/2010 - JB Weld sanded, sleeving spaghetti! - LINK
- Update #18 - 20/07/2010 - Moved house, new acrylic floor, fittings in the floor - LINK
- Update #19 - 23/07/2010 - MSI Big Bang Xpower arrives! - LINK
- Update #20 - 27/07/2010 - murderMod time! - LINK
- Update #21 - 28/07/2010 - Pump + CD drive painting, PSU raping! - LINK
- Update #22 - 29/07/2010 - Drive bay covers, pump mount, PSU work - LINK
- Update #23 - 06/08/2010 - Waterblocks mounted! - LINK
- Update #24 - 10/08/2010 - PSU plate, drain port, cable management - LINK
- Update #25 - 16/08/2010 - LEDs! - LINK
- Update #26 - 06/09/2010 - Prepping for powdercoating - LINK
- Update #27 - 18/09/2010 - Dyeing the connectors, first case assembly - LINK
- Update #28 - 22/09-2010 - Cable management, putting things together - LINK
- Update #29 - 18/06/2011 - I'm back! - LINK
- Update #30 - 23/06/2011 - Semi-final photos - LINK