Cowboy's Acrylic PC - It's finally HERE!
After about 2 months of waiting, my custom acrylic cases have arrived! :bananafunky:
I started planning this build in November '08 and started buying parts for it soon after. The original plan was to have a water cooled rig that incorporated the most powerful parts from the AMD Dragon platform, crammed into the smallest space available.
My part list (in November):
Phenom II x4 940BE (non released yet)
Asus M3A78-EM (780G mATX w/ single x16 pci-e 2.0)
4x 1gb corsair dominator ram
single 4870 512mb
swiftech 320 rad
swifech gpu block
swiftech gtz cpu block
600w modular power supply (silverstone strider)
swiftech mcp355 pump (stock top)
Seagate 1.5TB HDD
and a small-ass case
So this rig would have been built around the time that the phenom II was available from NCIX... EXCEPT:
1. All of the cases I looked at that were small, weren't cool enough for what I wanted to do.
2. The motherboard was DOA... and ASUS denied my RMA (WTF:angry2:)
3. 1 of the 4 sticks was DOA, so I had to RMA 2 sticks
4. The 4870 was DOA, so I had to wait 2 months for a powercolor RMA (never buying powercolor EVER again)
5. I found out later that the swiftech 320 rad was too big to fit inside (or outside) anything, so I traded it for 2 120mm rads and a 3.5" bay res.
Damn... some luck I've got 'eh?
Since I don't have a case for my stuff, I go out and design and build one out of wood. That didn't work out so well. Failed miserably actually. Months go by, I am motherboard-less, and getting frustrated...
Bought the DFI board in my sig, sold a few parts, bought a few parts, rma'ed a few parts and mostly waited for the parts I needed to come back so that I could use my computer again. Months go by, and sometime in May, I contact the guys at clearpc.ca and see if they can make me a custom case (or a good deal on 2). Turns out they could, on both counts, and I paid an arm and a leg for them. I ordered 2 custom built acrylic cases, both mATX form factor. The mods I wanted done started to rack up quite a total: fitting for atx psu, 120mm fan holes, trimming the drive bays so that the PSU will fit.
All in all, these cases do not accomodate for a DVD drive (no room) and only have space for a single hard drive and a single floppy drive.
Final parts list:
phenom 2 940be
dfi board in sig
2x 1gb corsair dominator
2 x 4870 512 (asus top)
2 gpu blocks for my cards
1 120mm rad
1 220mm rad
swiftech mcp355 pump with xspc top
1.5 TB hard drive
So, I get the cases on the day (actually the hour) before I leave for a few days to visit my parents... So I'm itching to play with them [the cases] for the whole time I'm there. I finally get home, and unpack my big box of bubble wrapped goodness!
Removed my cases, and its time to get to work!
I take out my dremel and do stuff:
1. Proper mounting holes for the PSU
2. Proper mountings for the Boreas
3. Mountings for the pump
4. another 120mm fan hole right above the first one on the front
5. hole for fillport
6. holes for tubing to the external rad
7. trimming the IO part of the case for easier removal of graphics cards.
Then I enter 4 hours of trial and error of trying to put all of my computer crap inside. I think a modular power supply would have helped the wire management a bit, but I think I did a fairly good job of it, seeing as though space was really at a premium and there is NO place to hide these cables.
4 hours of cable management later, I have to undo an hour of work because I forgot to attach my tubing first. 2 hours later (I started working at like 10 AM and finished at 11 PM) and tubing is finally connected, my single hard drive is finally attached, and I've started filling it with water. :clap:
Alright so this morning, I start to turn it on and stuff, and fill it with water via the fillport. Nice.
Too bad I plugged the USB header from the boreas the wrong way and I'd have to take out my cards to get to it:doh: Damn you DFI for putting your on-board USB headers right under the primary graphics card slot!!
Ok so I fixed that (had to take out the second card in order to get to the first). Sigh.
Lo and behold ! my swiftech 220 rad has sprung a leak. One of the screws I used to mount a fan went too far and punctured the innards of my poor rad. It was leaking water all over the place, killed only the nearest fan (thank god).
Special Thanks to MpG and Wall86 for providing me with the rads I needed.
After drilling a few more holes and spending a good 2 hours thoroughly cleaning the case from fingerprints and lucite shavings, I managed to finally mount all of the components that I wanted to cram into this case.
During the time I didn't have rads, I took a can of Krylon Fusion (matte black) and started painting a few of the silver-coloured parts in my build. I didn't care much for shiny silver IO brackets and things like that, so I painted those black as well.
I also took my Boreas out of my build and listed it for sale.
But WHY?? You may ask.
Well, I upgraded, sort of.
You see, I figured: If I want to overclock, "Go BIG or go home". So I picked up a phase change cooler. Keeps my phenom @ 1.6v and 4.3ghz stable and stays near -40C under full load and -60C under no load.
Obviously, I won't be taking my phase cooler with me when I go to a lan party or something (its HUGE, bigger than my whole case), so I picked up a cheap apogee gtz from a friend to hold me over whenever I take my PC anywhere.
Oh and I'm fairly pleased with myself because I managed to fit my slim-form factor slot loading dvd drive (which I previously thought would not fit) near the top of the case, right above the only 5.25" bay.
Oh I almost forgot to mention that I did some modding of the 3.5" bays to accommodate for an internal 120.2 Rad. The only bad news is that I had to mount the hard drive to to top of the case (originally under my boreas) and rout the cables externally.
No biggie, if no one bites on the Boreas, I'll just mod the hell out of it and fit it into my loop somehow.
Still To Do:
Come up with a name for my build/case
Come up with a name for my phase cooler (I painted it to give it a more badass look)
Finish Vmodding my 4870's (soldering is HARD)
Route tubing to all the parts
Fire it up, and pray to god I didn't fry anything.
Sell my Boreas, or mod it.
TO BE CONTINUED
Next update should be on wednesday.
Hmm, I wonder what's inside?
Oh right! Those cases I ordered like 2 months ago!
Here they are in all their glory
A LOT of wrapping was used, and good thing too. These babies are prone to scratches.
My rig BEFORE having to cram it into a little teeny space.
Gotta cram all that into that tiny case:shok:
After a bit (30 seconds) of dremel work, the PSU fits!
Mobo fits no problem with the included acrylic standoffs.
Didn't count on having a Boreas when I ordered these, so I put it on top of the case and mounted it there using 4 screws. I figure most cases can't fit a Boreas, so its no big deal.
Cards fit snugly... notice the warranty-voiding mod I've done on them...
2 Holes on the bottom + Petras gel stuff and My pump fits nicely into the corner. I hope its darn silent for the trouble it was getting the gel stuff.
first attempt at hard drive mounting. Not bad. Routing Boreas cables through the empty floppy bay.
Rad mounted... fits REALLY snugly (its bigger than your average 120mm rad).
Other rad mounted. Note the crappy cut 120mm fan hole (more like lopsided octagon).
Had to take out the Hard drive for that :doh:.
2 hours of Routing tubing later...
2 hours of cable management later...
Aaaand guess what? It flexes the side panel a bit, but it fits!
Case review (worksmanship/quality)
We want pictures, we want pictures! :clap::clap:
Pictures or it does not exist. :thumb:
PIIIIICS! Can't wait. :thumb:
pics finally uploaded, enjoy. More to come so stick around!
where did u get that case?
good looking there cowboy hope it didn't cost your pocket book too much.
My brother works at a plastics factory and works with acrylic all day long. Maybe I should do this too :).
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