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Old May 27, 2011, 08:50 AM
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I love unconventional mods. Bring on the duct tape and dry vents!

Anyway, I'm a little confused about the power supply. It's going to be mounted at the bottom but in which orientation; exhausting air out the front or the back?

Modern power supplies pull air in with the fan and then exhaust it through the back where the power cable is connected. If it's exhausting air out the back or towards the back of the case, won't the 140mm intake fan on the bottom just suck it in? On the flip side, if it's exhausting air out the front, you'll have the power cable sticking out or have to route it sharply.

Or I could just be completely clueless. That's quite likely.

Last edited by Optix; May 27, 2011 at 08:59 AM.
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Old May 27, 2011, 08:51 PM
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I'm actually posting this reply from a set of nice computer parts (see "My system specs") barbarically crammed into this case.

Thanks for the reply Optix. Due to me grossly underestimating how much room the PSU and HDD cables actually took to route, it's not pretty! Now I can see why OEM small form factor PCs have gimped power cables on their PSUs and cords that just barely reach where they need to go. There's no way this thing can have a side panel because the SATA cables cannot properly fit in the sides. With the LAN this weekend I obviously didn't have time to do this thing properly, so the amount of duct tape and nails is going up...

You are correct in the bottom 140mm drawing exhaust air from the PSU and putting it into the case, but most of that is just incidental airflow because the bottom area is so open. Out of all the air coming into the 140mm fan, I'd guess less than 1/4 of it is coming from the PSU. It also helps that the PSU is taking fresh air from underneath the case, given that the PSU intake is about 3/4" off the ground. Also the Seasonic unit I have is decently efficient for a 2.75 year old PSU - my cheap IR thermometer says it takes in air a 23 Celsius, and exhausts it at 27 Celsius (full F@H load).

I just took pictures but I'll put them here only after my LAN party is over, so I can get the "Oh my #$@$@#" / "What the %$@#$@" in their full glory
What I will tell you about the "finished" build is - I apologize to Western Digital, Kingston, Intel, Asus, G-skill, and Seasonic for putting their products in such jeopardy with this thing.
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Old May 29, 2011, 03:22 PM
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Hello all! This will be the final "blog" post describing the build, as the case in question was decommissioned after 32 hours of use.

First of all, the finished build is shown in the picture below:

It successfully completed a night's worth of F@H and WCG work units, and it survived a LAN party. At the LAN, the case definitely turned heads for mixed reasons When I was setting up, my friends were afraid to be at the same table as that thing
There were a few things I liked about the case though - despite how horrible it looked (yes, as its creator I give you all permission to comment / insult as much as you like as well), I liked how it sounded. It was (the lack of) music to my ears - the fact that the metal was broken up in so many places by plastic and wood byproducts allowed the case to have virtually no metallic sound. I simply heard the "woosh" of the air passing around the case, mainly from the GPU fan, rather than the buzz of fans vibrating metal that is orders of magnitude more annoying to me. Additionally it was a lot easier to lug up and down the stairs, compared to a larger mid tower. The 140mm fan pointing straight at the GPU also helped temperatures. Even with the fan pulling some PSU exhaust in, it still dropped my GPU temp by about 2 degrees on F@H loads compared to my CoolerMaster 330 case with a relatively unimpeded front 120mm intake.

Why am I canceling the build rather than fixing the ugliness? Essentially it's because some usability and reliability issues cannot be solved with simple mods. The pic below of the inside of the case shows what I'm talking about:
  • The SATA power and data cables protrude past where the side panel must go
  • Even with a minimal amount of PSU modules, the front of the case is still a giant cable blob
  • The PSU's top screws blocked by the 140mm fan
  • To remove the 140mm fan, you must remove the motherboard

To me, this case mod wasn't a failure by any means - I wouldn't even call it a waste if the "pros" list was absolutely empty, because of what I learned about modding. It was barely a "waste" of money either - I scrounged most of it from stuff lying around in the house, so I spent a total of about 4 dollars on materials. Despite the outright disgusting aesthetics, I modded an HP case that initially had no intake fans to have two intakes larger than the 92mm fan it was designed for. That in turn allowed me to put a folding mid-high end (in terms of power consumption) GPU and mid-high end CPU in there with good thermals. I also found that the tools I used to make mini robots is a little bit lacking for case modding - if I were to repeat this, a good pack of hole saws and something that can cut panels straight is definitely in order.

The components shown in that pic are back in my (also modded) CoolerMaster Elite 330 case, and I'm waiting for the Lian-Li PC-A04 to be available at decent prices because it seems to deliver what I tried to accomplish with this case mod. However, the modder in me wants instead to buy up a ThermalTake Armor A30 - with all those modular components it's a template for a custom mATX case! I'm definitely up for suggestions on other modular cases or inexpensive but not cheaply made cases that could be modded to make something awesome.
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