NOTE: This mod has been running for about 9 months already. I have been viewing bit-tech for some time and have decided to start a worklog on this site (original worklog on The Best Case Scenario under the same name). Also the first 10 or so posts include small thumbnail pics, after that they are all 800x600.
Welcome one and all to Project: Lexa. This is my first major mod and computer build so first I’ll tell you about what’s gonna happen.
This mod will revolve around a standard NZXT Lexa midi tower (www.nzxt.com/products/lexa). I intend to keep the sleek, black look of the outside of the case and move it into the interior. Keeping with the overall case theme and design there will be very little exterior structural work done. The whole interior will be painted with either a matte or gloss black paint to match the outside. There will be extensive use of mesh (AC Ryan MeshX Panels or equivalent) and Perspex to hide all of the drive bays (including Hard Drives and CD drives) and to give the case a sense of simplicity, class and cleanliness (I mean cleanliness because the viewer will only be able to see a few cables, the case interior will be dominated by the Water Cooling and UV reactive components).
I have chosen all of my hardware to reflect the overall case mod. The motherboard, graphics card and RAM are all based around a blue and black colour scheme with UV reactive parts involved. The motherboard (DFI LANParty UT NF680iLT SLI-T2R) will be a big feature of this mod due to its UV reactive plugs and components that seem to jump out at the viewer (under UV light). Along with the motherboard there will also be UV reactive cables, fans and a UV reactive Water Cooling kit to complete the mod. The UV green coolant that I will use will off set the blue glow from the case fans and will grow brightly providing perfect contrast to the black case paint and other UV reactive components.
As you can see this mod won’t be overly difficult but may take some time due to water cooling.
(Colours indicate status) Previous Build, New and Have Ordered or Need to Order
Note: Not all components showed in picture.
Case – NZXT Lexa (No PSU) x1
PSU – Antec Neo HE 550 x1
Motherboard – DFI LANParty UT NF680iLT SLI-T2R x1
CPU – Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 x1
RAM – G.Skill F2-6400CL4D-2GBHK (1GB x 2) DDR2 RAM x2
GPU – ASUS EN8800GTX x1
HDD – Western Digital Caviar WD3200KS 320GB HDD x1
Maxtor 250GB IDE HDD x1 (in Cooler Master X-Craft external enclosure)
Monitor – AOC LM925 19” LCD Monitor x1
Speakers – Altec Lansing VS.2120 Speakers x1
Keyboard – Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard x1
Mouse – Logitech G7 Gaming Mouse (2007 Edition) x1
Operating System – Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit OEM x1
Other – Microsoft Office 2003 Student and Teacher Edition x1
CPU Block – Swiftech Apogee GTX Waterblock x1
GPU Block – Swiftech MCW-60 (With 8800 Adaptor Plate) x1
Radiators – Black Ice GTX 120mm Radiator x1
Alphacool NexXxos Pro II - Rev. 2 x1
Pump – Danger Den Mag II LE 12V Pump x1
Reservoir – Danger Den Bay Reservoir x1
Coolant – AlphaCool UV Green Coolant x2
Heatsinks (For GPU) – Swiftech MC-14 (8 Pack) x1
Swiftech MC-21 (4 Pack) x1
Fittings – Danger Den Fillport (Black) x1
Danger Den 1/2" Polly 90 Degree x4
Danger Den 3/8" to 1/2" Fitting Kit x1
Tubing – 3 meters of ½” ID tubing
Too many things to list here. I will show you when I use them. Parts include fans, HDD enclosure, CCFL’s, cables, cable ties and mounts,…well you get the picture.
Well that’s enough talking, on to the modding.
Well first of all I’ve stripped the case and have removed the front panel to allow me to sleeve the cables from the switches and LCD etc.
Here is a picture of the mass of cables:
The first thing I have to do is free all of the cables from their ties and measure the sleeving. I am going to do this in stages as to allow me to join individual cables into one big one (you’ll get what I mean when you see it). If I stuff up and cut a cable I have a whole new set along with a whole fascia. Yes I have two case fascias. On the first one the door hinge broke and NZXT sent me a whole new fascia free of charge. I am currently using the one NZXT sent me but am considering transferring the polished aluminium panels of the old fascia to the new one because they are shinier.
Here’s a picture of the two fascias together. (The one on the left is the older one)
I removed the Brushed aluminium panels to protect them from scratches as I sleeve the cables. I also removed the USB, Audio and Firewire card to help protect the circuit board from damage.
I then removed the Power LED and the HDD activity LED because these are the two I would be sleeving first.
Well that’s all I have for tonight. I will have more to show you tomorrow including the completed cable sleeving. Until Then...
Ok as promised you shall have the pictures of the completed cable sleeving.
Here’s a picture of what it looked like before I started.
I had to remove the door off the fascia to be able to reach the LED cables.
Here are the two completed cables just needing to be heat shrunk over the zip ties.
As you probably would have noticed the cables are sleeved only about halfway down the cable. You will find out why later on.
Ok, next up will be the power and reset switches. I start by removing them from the fascia and then following the same process as the LED’s.
Here’s a picture of the four semi-sleeved cables.
Next up is the power cable and thermal probes for the LCD screen.
I think I will leave these until I get my motherboard because the probes need to be measured to size. I am also waiting for my Molex de-pinning tool so I can remove the power connector for easy sleeving.
Well that’s about it for today. Over the next few days I will complete sleeving the cables completely and you will find out why I left them half sleeved ;) Until Then...
I have put the sleeving on hold for now so I can do this minor update.
I have decided to cover the air vents on the lower part of the front fascia with some old mesh I have from an old pair of speakers. This will help with the overall theme of the mod and dust management.
I start by getting my mesh and marking it for cutting. I didn’t need to mark the mesh for the two small vents near the USB ports because I will just use a few off cuts.
I then cut it to size and shaped it how I wanted it.
Insert picture of cut and shaped mesh
Now to install it. I think I will use some clear silicon or super glue to attach it to the plastic of the front fascia. I left about 1/2cm over hang either side of the mesh to allow it to be attached with ease.
I have decided to use the clear silicon because super glue makes everything go white. I apply the silicon and leave it to dry and now we have the finished product.
You can’t see the mesh really well in the picture but up close it looks pretty good. I considered using silver or plain aluminium mesh instead of the black because it would tie in with the front of the case but I didn’t have any laying around and don’t want to buy silver spray for this minimal amount of work.
Well that’s the end of this little side project. Only took me about 1-2 hours tops to complete. I will now try to complete the sleeving but I have some school assignments that need to be completed by the new term on Tuesday so my time is limited. Until Then...
Another really small update. Today I got my de-pinning tool. It is for the male Molex plugs only but I tried it with a female connector and guess what...it worked better than with the male connectors. It tends to snap the pins on the male connectors. This works out well for me because now I don't have to buy two haha.
Here's a pic:
This part of the mod needs to be completed before the rest of the cable sleeving can be completed properly.
I went to my local hardware store and bought a pair of 1/2” grommets.
I then mark the part of the case I need to drill out to install them.
These grommets will allow me to route the power and LED cables through the lowest possible part of the case so there will be very few viewable cables.
I’m gonna go do the drilling now so pics of that will be up later today. Until Then...
Ok onto the drilling.
Before I started I thought I should remove the plastic case feet and plastic “accents” to stop them getting scratched and to also keep the case flat.
Here are the drilled holes.
I didn’t have a big enough drill bit so I had to grind about another 60mm of with my Dremel like substitute. I also made the holes slightly larger than they had to be to allow the grommets to stretch to allow the Firewire and USB plugs to fit easily.
I inserted the grommets.
And with a cable to show you how it will look.
I will get started on the rest of the cable sleeving tomorrow. Until then…
Sorry there hasn't been a post in a while but school started last week and you know what that means...homework. I managed to finish the sleeving yesterday. Enjoy.
Ok, it’s now time to finish the sleeving.
First the power and HDD activity LED.
Well you can see the problem now from this pic; the zip ties don’t fit through the space allocated for the cables. I now have to remove the zip ties, thread the cables through and then re zip he sleeving.
Both LED’s threaded through.
Back to the way it was, but now it looks much better.
The power and reset switches went back in with out any problems at all.
A picture of all four cables.
I then sleeved the bundle together leaving enough room at the end of each cable for individual sleeving for more flexibility.
The remaining viewable cable is now sleeved.
The cables fit perfectly thought the grommets I just installed.
Well that’s all I have done at the moment. Next I will make a mesh shroud for one of my dust traps and later on try to make my fan blades UV reactive. Until then…
Four simple items right? Well yeah they are but that’s not the point. I’m still waiting for orders to come in so I decided to make a cover for the ugly stock NZXT dust trap that’s on the bottom of the case. This won’t have a fan on it due to limited space for the water pump but I just want to conceal it a bit, and anyway the white looks good under the black mesh.
Ok, I start by marking on the mesh where I want the whole for the screws that will hold this onto the floor of the case.
Now that I’ve got the mesh market I can drill out the mounting holes.
Because the mesh came from an old speaker there is about a 1cm over hang where they attached it to the speaker housing. I’m going to cut most of this away but I still want it to cover the side of the dust trap.
I stuffed up the cutting of the overhang so I cut it off completely to give me a simple square.
I used a permanent marker to colour in the raw aluminium of the cuts and the sides of the dust trap.
Note: That’s not raw metal it’s just the camera flash.
They fit perfectly on each other.
I won’t show you a picture of it installed because I haven’t got the correct screws for the job yet. I will be using a standard screw cut to size threaded in from the underside of the case and attached with a dome nut on top of the mesh. Until then...
Ok time to start my small fan mod.
Here is a pic of the 4 fans I will be modding.
The small fan is from my Thermaltake Extreme Spirit 2 North bridge cooler.
Making sure that they all still work.
A little off topic but here is my test PSU that I made a while ago thanks to Bucko’s work log. I am using this to power my fans and I will use it to test my water cooling.
To make the fans UV reactive I will be using a gel/liquid highlighter. Here is a pic with the heatsink fan UV CCFL and the highlighter.
Here is the first fan done.
Lit up and under UV light.
All of the finished fans under UV light.
Well that’s all for now. I don’t know what I will do next, probably the water cooling. Until then…
Motherboard came sooner than I expected, so here are the pics.
The box in all it's glory lol.
Here is the board and it's accessories.
And here it is under UV light.
Sorry the second and third pics are a bit blurry. The second one is through plastic and the third...well it's just really hard to take a good pic of UV light lol. I have to order the last of my water cooling and will start some more work on the weekend. Until then...
Well just a very minor update. When I got home from school today a nice package was waiting for me.
Yep that's right, my water cooling stuff.
I received my tubing, coolant, radiator, reservoir and pump along with some fittings. All I'm waiting on is the water blocks and they should come in tomorrow or early next week along with a few other bits and pieces. I'm going to try to get the etch design finished now so I can get it all done this weekend. Until then...
I needed to make a spacer to go between the radiator and the case so I could have enough room to the hoses after I pass it through the case wall. After trying various things with washes and nuts I got an idea.
Yes it's a case fan. I have decided that this will be the best and easiest way to do what I want. This is an old broken case fan that I was going to throw out anyway so it's not a huge loss if I stuff up ;)
Ok so here is the fan with the LED's and cable removed.
Here's the fan with the actual fan removed, just the housing left. As you can see I pretty much snapped the blades off and in the end got some tin snips to cut the supports. It's feels good to vent your anger on something breakable lol.
Here is the completed housing with all the sharp edges cut and filed.
Here it is installed on the radiator ready to go.
Here's a pic of the rear of the case marked and ready for the holes to be cut to pass the tube through to the radiator.
These are the cut and filed holes. You can see how the hole saw slipped and scraped the hole on the right but this doesn't matter because it's going to be painted over anyway.
This pic is how it will be installed. You can see how the tube fits perfectly through the hole and the old fan acts like one of those rad boxes which is an added bonus :)
Sorry about the blurry pic guys, the camera wouldn't focus. Well that's all I have done at the moment. It's slowly coming together and I hope to have it finished by next weekend. I still have to paint that rad box to match the case and start the etching after school. I am still waiting for my water blocks but should be receiving them within the next few days. Until then...
Well with a day off school today I thought I should really get my stuff together and do some modding.
First on my list are the PCI slots.
Due to an 8800GTX being extremely long (27cm) It is hard to get it into the case, you have to put it in diagonally and this will be hard with the water cooling attached and once you get it in there is about 2cm gap between the end of the PCB and the HDD cage. I have decided to trim some of the case towards the PCI slots to allow the card to slide in much more easily.
So here is the case all marked up, this cut should be fairly easy but due to it being aluminum it with warp a little.
Here is the case after I have cut it and filled it to the correct size, in all about 10 mins work ;)
I know at the moment it looks a bit tacky but I have ordered some fan hole molding to cover up the sharp ugly edges.
Well thats all for now, I have to copy he final copies of the etch design and then cut the plexi to fit. After that the fun can begin;). Until then...
Well today I cut most of the plastic I will need.
Here's a pic of all the cut plexi.
From left to right:
Support bar cover, Bottom of HDD bay cover
ODD cover (inside), FDD cover (inside), HDD cover top and bottom (inside)
ODD cover (outside), FDD cover (outside), HDD cover (outside)
By outside I mean facing the case window and by inside I mean facing the rear of the case (PSU).
Here is a pic of the support bar cover installed (sorry no screws today, only tape):
Sadly I did not have a long enough piece of plexi to cover the whole rail so I will need to use some mesh to cover up the ends.
Here is the rest of the plastic where it generally will be:
As you can see from the picture I didn't include the ODD covers, that's because they wont fit until I un-rivot the case.
Here are the ODD covers:
And here is where they will be installed:
The ODD cover situated on the window side of the case need to be installed before I reconstruct the case, There is a lip on the edge of the drive bays that the plastic will slip under and the whole front of the case needs to be off to allow me to do so.
In the third picture you may have noticed the big gaps in the plexi, this is for mesh to be installed to allow for better ventilation (especially on the inside HDD covers). Well that's about all I have at the moment. When I figure out where my pump will be mounted then I may design a plexi cover for it. I am also thinking of making one for the PSU. Until then...
Well some more plastics work done today. With some inspiration from Xperiment's mod (Reality Bytes) I decided to make a cover for my wireless LAN card.
Here is the victim, a D-Link Air Plus G54 Wireless LAN Card:
Here is the disassembled card, took all of 30 seconds lol:
Here is the cover I made this morning:
All of the part ready to go together:
A different view:
And here is a view of it inside my old computer, doesn't it look great:
Well that's the finished Wireless LAN cover.
Special thanks to Xperiment and has fantastic mod Reality Bytes for the inspiration for this mini mod.
Today I also started the work on my PSU cover.
Here is a pic of the cut plexi:
I cut the plexi and rounded the two edges you will see. Well that's all I have for you at the moment. Until then...
EDIT: Sorry about the blurry pictures, my camera doesn't like shiny objects or the glowing plexi lol
Well because I couldn't finish my PSU cover today I thought I would have a flip through my mobo manual. As I was reading I took a closer look at the Karajan Audio module that comes with the DFI boards. As I read on it had the usual stuff about which pins go where and stuff like that. During my boring afternoon of reading I found that if I connect me front audio and mic connectors to the mobo I lose access to them on the Karajan audio module. Now this means for me no front audio ports (don't care, don't use 'em anyway :)) but also an extra full length wire in my case doing nothing. So I got my pliers and started modding.
This is very basic stuff and took all of 1 min to do haha.
Here is the Victim:
The picture is of the cables for my to USB ports and the audio cable, as you can see they are joined together, but not for long.
Here is a pic of how the cables sit on the PCB in the front of my case:
Here is a close up of the cable:
The bundle of wires on the left are the ones being removed.
The job is done, the two separate cables:
I just got the pliers and pulled he wires straight out of the plastic housing.
A final pic of the Cable attached to the PCB:
With this done I now have one less cable to route and no hardware issues to worry about. Well that's all for now, I hope to get the new domed nuts by the weekend to continue with the overall mounting of the bay covers and PSU cover. Until then...
Sorry guys still no plastics work, still waiting for the domed nuts. As I have nothing to do after school today I thought I might get stuck into what little parts of the water cooling loop I can.
This is what I've done so far:
Not much really, just the res to the pump and dad to the res with a "T" for the fillport.
Here is a closer look at the res:
Should it be ok to have such a steep drop using the right angle's? or should I try to link the pump directly to the rad with out the right angles? it would be very tight doing it like that.
Here is a pic of the rear rad:
The lose bit of tube is going to connect to the GPU.
Well that's all at the moment. Enjoy and keep your eyes open for my new plastics work. Until then...
NOTE: This loop has changed, it isn't this crap at the moment lol.
Well I got bored of waiting for my water cooling stuff to arrive and not being able to play any games so I decided to construct my PC straight on to my desk.
Here are some pics:
I also mounted my Danger Den Fill Port
Marked and ready for drilling:
I attached a plastic bag to catch the metal shavings, saved me a lot of cleaning lol:
Here is the cut hole, almost perfect:
The mounted Danger Den Fill Port (from the top and side):
I have also done a bit more work with the water cooling tubing, can't do anything else until I receive my order. Until then...
Well guys today it finally came, that's right, the rest of my water cooling gear along with all the other bits and pieces I need to finish my mod...hopefully.
Well here is what was in the package:
There is also a 12V-10V fan cable that is not shown in the pics.
Before I received my order I primed my side panels ready for painting, sadly I have no paint but I will try to get some tomorrow.
Here is my side panel with the plexi, lock and all the shiny plastic bits removed and all taped up for painting:
And here is the primed side panel:
Onto the other side panel, same deal:
I have a little problem guys and mabye one of you could help me out.
I have two of these switches that will be connected to my CCFL's, unlike the stock switches these have 3 pins instead of two.
What's different about these switches is that they have a built in LED that will light up when the switch is in the on position. I know what pin is for the LED (gold looking one, the bottom one in the pic) but I don't know how to wire the switch so when in the on position the LED lights up and when in the off position it turns off. Due to the stock switch only having two terminals (with two matching wires) I don't know how to set this up. The LED will only power on when I use the red wire (12V?) so could I splice the red wire and have an extra spade connector running to the LED terminal, or will there be more involved?
Any help would be great. Until then...
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