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MIPS Computer GMBH


This is my first real desktop mod, and it's been long in planning. Now that most of my components have arrived and some progress has been made I've decided to share what I've created so far.

The concept behind this case is to design a simple elegant case jam packed with technology, toys, and a powerful watercooling setup.

The idea for the design was directly inspired by the case I started with, a 10th Anniversary Lian-Li PC-a60c: *click for big*

First I'll outline the system components I'll be using:

Main System
Lian-Li PC-A60C 10th Anniversary #294 of 300
Silverstone Strider 1200W Modular ATX
AMD Phenom X4 9850 BE Quad Core AM2 2.5GHZ
Corsair Dominator PC2-8500 5-5-5-15 8GB (4x2GB)
ASUS AM2+ M3N-HT Deluxe Mempipe 3-way SLI
2x EVGA E-geForce GTX 280 SSC 648MHZ 1024MB 2.322GHZ

Secondary System
OCZ 1GB DDR2 SODIMM PC2 PC-5400 667Mhz
Fujitsu 2.5" IDE 5400RPM 120GB
XDX 7" VGA Touch Screen TFT LCD 1024x768

PCEngines ALIX.2C1 Kit 3x10/100LAN
SparkLAN WMIA-207GN WLAN 802.11n Mini PCI
1GB Type 6 Compact Flash

Pioneer Slim 8X DVD+/-RW Slot Load
Slim CD/DVD-ROM to SATA Adapter
4x Hitachi 3.5" SATA 7200RPM 750GB
3x LaCie Neil Poulton eSATA 7200RPM 750GB External
Lian-Li Aluminum 50-in-1 Card Reader

Mini Nova USB Bluetooth Adapter
Zalman Plus Multi Fan Controller
Matrix Orbital GX Typhoon USB TRI-LED LCD 240x64
2xNexxtech mini 4 Port USB Hub
AquaComputer multiswitch USB 1.41
AquaComputer aquaero 4.00 USB

Air Cooling
6xScythe Ultra Kaze 120mm x 25mm 133.60CFM
1xScythe Kama-Flex 80mm x 25mm 34.0CFM
9xScythe Mini Kaze Ultra 40mm x 20mm 4.86CFM

Aqua Computer Aquastream XT Ultra USB Eheim 12 V
Feser XChanger Triple 120mm Xtreme
D-TEK FuZion V2 Socket AM2 Waterblock
D-TEK FuZion v2 Quad Core Mid Chamber Insert
Mips Ram Freezer 4 Ram Waterblock Nickel Edition
2xAquaComputer G200 waterblock for GX280
AquaComputer Durchflusssensor (Flow Sensor)
6xAquaComputer Rotary elbow adapter G1/4]AquaComputer aquaero/aquastream XT temperature sensor 70 cm
Danger Den Cooling System Fillport Black
Primochill Primoflex Pro LRT Black 1/2IN ID 3/4IN OD Tubing
20x Bitspower G1/4 High Flow 1/2IN Dark Nickel Plated Barb Fittings

Here is a rough concept of the design plans: *click for big*

I'm sorry I diddn't take any progess pics so-far but I'll be doing so from here on out.

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After a few hours with the dremel and jigsaw... then many more with a set of hand files I turned my lian-li case into the below:

The details:
First I cut out some material from the drive bay area

I then mounted the Alix 2c1 embedded linux firewall after installing the mini-PCI wifi-n card and the 1GB compact flash

A cutout was made to allow space for the lan ports on the motherboard tray. Also a box was cut from the drive bay to allow for the pump to be mounted.

I haven't yet built the pieces that will guide the airflow; but i have installed the fans that will cool the Alix board.

1/4inch slots will be milled on the panel and dividers will be constructed to guide the air out the slots. Until then, this is how it stands.

Here is the Pump

And the mounting bracket put into place

Two 120mm fan holes were cut from the top of the case

A large rectangle was removed from the front panel to make space for the 7" touch panel LCD


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I then built another temporary bracket to hold the PSU in place. This too will be replaced with a CNC machined bracket.

After cutting a piece of copper plate that will 'compression' fit into place. I used double sided foam tape to afix the slot load dvd-rw.

I then installed the slim-DVD to SATA adapter.

The drive is then squished into place, and holds suprisingly well

Then the pump is mounted to the bracket, this foam is also temporary and will be replaced with black neoprene

We then come to the Pico-ITX unit that will live in the drive bay

Here is is installed

I then cut apart the Corsair Dominator fan assembly and made some temporary mounting brackets, the final brackets will be CNCd as well.

The zalman fan controller that I'll be using

Here is the fan contoller installed

The final fan assembly and some glamour shots

I also got a Lian-Li card reader, it will be stripped of its case by the end of this mod


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Here is the radiator I'll be using:

The cutout I made, where it will live. I still have to make mounting brackets for it.

This is where the hard drive bay will mount

But first these need to be installed. Again these are only temporary, for fitting purposes, the final peices will be made from copper plate and will be CNC machined.

Now we can suspend the drive cage

And finally we come to the below images. This is how Project PrometheusCU sits right now, waiting on delivery of some of my watercooling components.

As it stands I'm at about 30% complete.

Hope you all enjoy the work... I've poured pretty much everything I have into this case - in terms of both skillsets and money.

Please feel free to leave comments, crits, suggestions.

Tune in soon for more!

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Let us begin.

I've finished the rad mount prototype.

I started with a 40"x40"x1/8" sheet of used aluminum.
This panel was once used in the fabrication of Carbon Fiber sheets - the aluminum panel are used to help form the carbon panel. The carbon is cooked in a heated press at ~40,000tonnes. After a short while, about 100 carbon panels, the aluminum develops imperfections and heat stains - It's then thrown away. My Dad runs the Carbon Fiber plant so over the years I have developed a rather large collection of these aluminum sheets.

After a bit of rough cutting with the trusty jigsaw I did some light filing to clean the cuts.

Then onto bending

The final product, minus the holes.

Once that was complete I checked the fit - luckily the "measure 5-times cut once" methodology continues to work for me.

A side view, note also that the final bends will be much more precise. I plan on having 'V' shaped groves milled into the copper plate where bends are needed to ensure accuracy.

Then I had to drill precise holes in the the chassis.

From there I did a test fit. (Note that the final design will include slots for airflow, I'll post an illustration later today.)
Almost perfect, I eyeballed the holes in the rad mount prototype and a couple were off slightly. No big loss though because the final product will be machined precisely.

Thanks for reading! More to come.

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Another update for you guys, but there will be more to come this weekend.

I've finished the tray prototype that will both house the radiator, and lift Prometheus 3.5" off the ground.

We again start with some aluminum plate. As you can see I've marked out the areas to be cut.

Like the above post, I've put the jigsaw to work.

After using the dremel to crudely score the bending lines I put the piece in my bending brake.
This is what I came up with

A close-up of the joints.

Then a test. Perfect Fit!

And here is how it sits right now.
In fabricating these parts I've realized that the final design will need to seat the radiator about 1/4" lower. As you can see from the pics, I haven't left enough room for the front rad fan to breathe.
But that's why I made these prototypes... to narrow in on design flaws such as that.

That's all the fabricating I'll be doing today, tune in later I'll have some illustrations posted.

Thanks for reading!

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A small update for the masses.
Here is an idea of what a couple of the copper components will look like.
From left to right - Front Facade Panel, Top Exhaust Fan Grill, Radiator Grill/Mount. I'll post the designs for the rest of the pieced some time tomorrow; along with some of the illustrations that I'm going to have engraved throughout the case.

black = cut
grey = engrave
dashed = bend
*click for supersize*

Added a a 'jagged edge' to the front facade. Since the touch panel LCD covers the traditional front air intake I will need to mill slots in the side of the front panel to act as air intake. The jagged edge will make space for these intake slots. The slots can be seen in the initial design concept illustration
Small update

Black lines = cut
Grey lines = engraved
Dashed lines = bend

Here is my concept for the plaque replacement on the back of the chassis

I've also completed the concept for the drive bay enclosure (the piece seen taped into place in this image).

I modified the original design to encase the lower 3.5" drive bays, and allow for a fill point (nearly forgot about that).
*click for supersize*

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Here is the accumulation of all the final part concepts that I'm going to be milling from Copper plate.
(as always, click for supersize)

1: Drive Bay Enclosure - Left Side

2: Drive Bay Enclosure - Right Side

3: Authenticity Plaque

4: Front Facade

5: Bottom Tray/Radiator Housing

6: Parts List Plaque

7: Radiator Fan Grill/Mount

8: Top Fan Grill

9: Front Lower Tray/LCD housing

A small text update:
I've ordered a number of small aesthetic copper bits off eBay - everything from copper ribbon wire to fishing rod parts. I may have gotten a bit carried away because I've started bidding on a 1987 Buick Grand National, we'll see if I win tomorrow afternoon.

I've also ordered 100x5000mcd White LEDs and 100xLED chrome holders/mounts.
With those comes the need to convert the chrome mounts to copper, so I got my hands on a case of 6x8oz cans of Krylon Premium Metallic Copper Brilliance spray paint - it too has yet to arrive but I've read that it looks just like copper plating.

This weekend I also spent a few hours in Rhino, modifying my CAD drawings to incorporate some of the revisions suggested to me by the machinist. Hopefully I'll have some precision aluminum prototypes cut this week.

I expect delivery #2 of 4 of my watercooling parts tomorrow, along with the GTX 280ssc cards - upgrade compliments of eVGA.
The AquaComputer components will be sent out to me Monday (hopefully).

I'm in the middle of correspondence with an Indian manufacturer of Copper Braided Sleeving for the tubes and wires. I hope I've finally found a supplier in the form of Sree Lal Guru Industries, despite their reluctance to provide such a small quantity.
If anyone knows of a NorthAmerican source for "Bare Copper Braided Sleeving" willing to sell small quantities, please link me.

The last remaining unordered component will be the MIPs 4 RAM Cooler.

I can see light at the end of the tunnel now.

I'm on the lookout for a several LED controllers that will support 100 LEDs, something that will allow me to create a custom light show in and on Prometheus... if anyone knows of a source for such a product please let me know... it's proving -like so many of the parts for this project- very elusive.

Tune in soon, and Thanks for reading.

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Parts update for the masses:
I recieved a package of watercooling supplies today.
First up - a D-Tek Fuzion rev 2 with quad core nozel insert (insert not installed in below images).

FeserOne Orange non-conductive coolant, I'd have preferred black but since I'll be using black tubing and no reservoir I don't see the difference... and neither will anyone else, hehehe.

20x Bitspower Hig Flow 1/2 barbs - dark nickel plated edition.

Here you can see the difference between the Bitspower fittings and the stock DangerDen and D-Tek ones.

A Black DangerDen Fillport

Last but most certainly not least... 15' of Opaque Black Primochill Primoflex 1/2ID tubing.

I was quite surprised by the width of the wall, I guess I don't have to worry about puncture leaks... too much.

Yet another update for you all, I got a package in the mail form eVGA today. My -free- upgrade from the 9800GTXssc cards.

To go with this will be two of these:

Only they wont be shipping for another 10-days.

Clearly nothing is sacred:

Naked GTX280's, and I must say that I have a new appreciation for nVidia engineering... the heatsink on these babies was nothing short of a work of art - engineering at it's best.

They are considerably lighter now only about 245grams

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A small teaser for you all. I took delivery of my secret weapon today:

Don't bother asking where, some of, this will be used... that's a surprise.

A small, bummer, update:
UPS just delivered my Acrylic Copper Colour 2-way Mirror... but I'm totally pissed! The colour is all wrong. It's more of a 'burnt copper' instead of the 'red copper' colour I'm using. I may still find a use for it, but it's 'mystery purpose' will likely be replaced with carbon fiber pieces. (You can't see though the acrylic here because I've not yet removed it's protective backing).


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Some great news.

A User by the name of xtreme0915 over at the nVidia SLi-Zone forums has volunteered to donate his old Aquagate Viva Duo Watercooling kit for the benefit or Prometheus. With this comes a cemented decision to watercool the Pico-ITX unit as well as the main system. I'll be purchasing a 40.2 radiator, and using the Aquagate's waterblock/pump to cool the Pico board.

Another big thanks shout-out goes out to xtreme0915!

In anticipation of this new generous, unprovoked, donation. I've started making the necessary modifications to the Pico-ITX heatsink.
Modifications that will allow me to mount the waterblock/pump from the Aquagave Viva unit to the Pico-ITX board.

This is Part-1 and it is still unacceptably rough. when its finished the edges will be square and it'll sport a mirror shine.

Here is what I started with:

Then after a couple hours of Dremel grinding followed by hand filing I came up with this:


Here you can see the amount of material that needed to be removed, because Via had a recessed spot in the middle of the three screw holes where the fan sat. So I had to bring down the whole surface to be flush.

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Some more great news!

I've been honored with a nomination for the "Mod Of The Month" competition over at the Bit-tech.net forums! So if it's your prerogative and you have the means - throw me a vote.

Exciting news from AquaComputer... in the form of some one-of-a-kind PrometheusCU special edition parts.

I just want to take a moment to thank everyone again, it's amazing to see how well the community has accepted this project. It started as a passion and has BOOMED into something so much more - sponsors, MOTM nomination, ~430,000 image views. All I can say is WOW.

The excitement has just begun, I still have many plans for this project so stay tuned for more.

Another small update for you all.

I just picked up a dozen BlinkM I2C contolled RGB LEDs - "BlinkM uses a high quality, high power RGB LED and a small AVR microcontroller to allow a user to digitally control an RGB LED over a simple I2C interface"

100 white 3mm LEDs, 100 resistors and 100 Chrome Holders to be copper plated.

and with these comes a USB Arduino Control Board that will allow me to write a control program for the lighting inside the case. I'll have the RGB LEDs change from blue to red depending on the water temperature. The other 100 white LEDs will slowly/randomly fade in and out (Mac style) when they are on.

More coming soon - Thanks for reading.

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A small overdue update for you all.

Unfortunately my hands are still very much tied, due to many delays (mostly shipping), so progress has been minimal.

I have complete a number of little things this week however:
1- I have completed the lighting design.
2- I've modified and uploaded my verison of pfSense to my Alix board, so it's working nicely now.
3- I think I've completed my arduino lighting software, but I haven't yet got my arduino controller delivered so I don't know if it works as planned just yet.
4- I began designing my front end software that will control my watercooling and run on the from 7" touch screen.
5- I've also ordered a new keyboard, I love my apple slim keyboard but I was unable to find black key replacements for it so I've ordered the bluetooth version.
It looks to me that the new macbooks and the slim bluetooth keyboard use the same keys at least I hope so because new replacement keys were about $2.50 a piece, so I ordered a complete set of black keys for the keyboard. I'll then make new copper housing for it to replace the stock apple aluminum. In theory this should make for a very sexy black/copper keyboard.

Some of the items that have arrived in the mail since my last posting:
Some of my lighting accessories:

The 3mm LED housings that I will paint to look Copper Plated:

White 3mm LEDs:

Resistors that will let me run the LEDs from a 12volt source:

And an assembly overview of what the LED holders look like:

I also got my Laptop WIFI antennas, I will be using 2x antennas for each of the antenna outputs on the WiFi card.

Lastly, my 40.2mm radiator has arrived, so once the aquagate gets here I'll be able to assemble my Pico-ITX watercooling system.
This thing is so bloody tiny, sorry for the bad picture, but keep in mind it's only 40mm wide... too cool.

I used the mill and a frighteningly precarious clamping technique to mill down the Pico's heat sink further

I decided to take some pics of my workshop, it's very dirty and the equipment is tired, but it all does the job well enough:



mill... strongarm style

enerpac press, and sandblaster

surface grinder

I forgot to take pics of the drillpress, but I assume you all know what those look like.

Here's the golden tool - 2.5axis router table

I decided to make an homage to Canadian modding out of some spare carbon panel I had laying around.

If the stars are aligned and my supplies arrive this week, expect HUGE progress over the next little while.

Thanks for reading, and tune in soon.

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Another parts update:

My parcel from SparkFun arrived this morning. As did my box from AquaComputer, only I won't be able to pick it up from the post office until later this evening.

So-far we have:
The BlinkM RGB LEDs

The Arduino control board

The Female serial plug that will allow me to convert the USB>Serial adapter from Male to Female.

Again many many thanks to my sponsor AquaComputer for generously providing the following:

For those of you who aren't aware of the power of the AquaComputer components.

is a small demonstration video showing the power of the AquaComputer system (aquaero display, aquastream pump, multiswitch, tubemeter water level sensor, aquasuite software).

Here you will find AquaCopmuter's explanation of the AquaComputer automated "monitoring" hardware.

Aquaero 4.00:

AquaComputer 90degree swivel elbows:

AquaComputer Flow Sensor:

Multiswitch 1.41:

And the center pieces of the system... PrometheusCU Edition G200 waterblocks. Aquacomputer was generous enough to build two of these fore this project. (Note that the Prometheus text appears 'burnt' in the images but this doesn't show up to the naked eye)

More assembly to come soon.

Thanks for reading!

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The CoolerMaster Aquagate Duo generously donated by xtreme0915 of the SliZone forums has arrived today!

I will be using the Aquagate's clever little waterblock/pump assembly to cool the pico board.

Here is how the waterblock will be mounted to the Pico-ITX board. Note that I've yet to construct a proper bracket for mounting.

Here is a pic of the board next to the rad that will be cooling it.

Here's a quick glimpse of my desk right now, it's been sitting like this for about a month... I really need to pick up the pace.

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My machinist (who is doing all my work for free BTW) called me today declaring that he will work though the night if necessary, I'll have the prototype parts cut tomorrow. It's been a crazy time for him and I can't really hold anything against him considering the predicament, also he just moved his shop to a new building at the beginning of Sept.

I have a new dilemma however.

Corsair has been kind enough to provide 8GB(4x2gb) of Dominator 1066mhz RAM with no heat spreaders attached, only they've expressed a little caveat which has me thinking.

With these MIPS Computer GmbH has been very kind and has sponsored me with a RAM Freezer 4 memory waterblock:

However since Dominator ram has additional PCB height to aid in heat dissipation:

I'm concerned that the Dominator RAM may not work with the RAM Freezer 4.

Of course I could ask Corsair to provide a RAM from the XPS series that does not have the extra height, but I'm waiting for MIPS Computer to get back to me with measurement specifications.

I've also taken delivery of a couple other aesthetic items this week, I'll have pics up tomorrow or early weekend.

Sorry for the delays folks, but my metal is still not cut (don't get me started... I'm pissed) and until it's installed I cant really do a whole lot else.

I decided to try my hand at fabricating panels from my fabric. These were soaked in resin and pressed at an obesene pressure of several thousand tonnes.

You don't get this look from carbon decal!

The next one is the closest thing to a definition of "indestructible" as you'll ever find. I don't know how many layers there are in this - but it's about a 1/2" thick. It will be used for a few structural components.

I've also got a few yards of copper mesh, I have a few plans for this stuff it looks really cool when wrapped tightly around wires and cables.

Another generous donated product courtesy of Mach over at TheBestCaseScanario's forums. Some braided copper sleeve.

Lastly we've got 100' of 18gage copper flat wire to be wrapped around the black tubing for aesthetic reasons.

Also the metallic copper paint I ordered on July 27th is still not even shipped yet which is holding up some of my smaller mods.

I'm just playing the waiting game from now until when my metal is cut. I've done a few little things like lapping my GPU's and CPU, other than that noting big.

Thanks for reading... and waiting... see you all soon.

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I've got Watercool Germany on-board now. They've generously offered to provide some waterblocks from their new 'Heatkiller' V3.0 lineup coming at the end of October. With this addition I'll be removing the D-Tek Fuzion and perhaps cooling the motherboard as well.... which calls for another Aquastream XT pump IMO.

I'm very very excited about this - I have to give some credit to ModSquad as I've never heard of the Watercool Heatkiller before he posted the image of one of their blocks in his CopperHead mod. Suffice to say I fell in love and had to have them.

For those of you not familiar with the HeatKiller blocks, here's a tase:

More to come, thanks for reading.

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I spent two days learning Rhino/Visual Mill/ToolPath then I spent the last day cutting (actually I'd call it 'watching the machine cut').

I admittedly went though a couple of 1/8 bits but I expected to break a few. The machine took just over 10hrs to cut the parts out (damn grills!). I've not yet started cleaning the edges of these prototypes but I'm doing that soon.

I'll let these teaser pics speak for themselves.

HERE are the aluminum prototypes that once filed/bent/installed will be replaced with finely machined copper.

I started with some 1/2ply wood and a scrap 40"x40"x1/8" hunk of aluminum.

I then booted up rhino and prepared the parts for cutting.

Holes were drilled for screws to hold the aluminum down.

10 long boring hours later:
rad grill:

MatrixOrbital Typhoon enclosure/PSU mount/and Right side drive bay enclosure.

Left side drive bay enclosure:

Bottom rad housing - lower tray.

Top fan grill:

Front face plate:

Some of the cuts look a little wonky in the pics but all the cuts are straight and clean - they just have quite a bit of burrs that need filing down - which I should be done by this weekend.

Here is the keyboard - pre-modding:

A quick and dirty test fit, everything looks to be really well measured. They fit perfectly.


The MESS! (parts everywhere - on an under the desk)

Thanks for reading - tune in soon.
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