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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:35   #1
craigbru
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Project: Rogue (NZXT Rogue SFF) It lives! Aug 13, '08

Hello all! This may be my first post, but I've been a long time reader and fan of this site. There are many mods on this site that have inspired me to take on a few projects of my own. The following log, is my current project based on the NZXT Rogue. I started it last fall, but have another month or two's worth of work before completion. I'm not sure why I didn't start a log here when I started the project, but it's not too late to make up for lost time, right?

I'll post my progress from the beginning for the sake of continuity, and add the appropriate dates. I won't edit my comments much, so you'll see that a few things have changed since I started work. Anyway, please feel free to contribute, or ask if you have questions about anything!

So, it begins...

November 5, 2007

Well guys, the dust has barely begun to settle on project L.O.S.I.A.S and I'm at it again. This time around of got a little help from NZXT, and lead designer Johnny Hou. As of three weeks ago, they supplied me with one of only two Rogues in the US, in hopes that I could create something pretty kick-ass. Well, who am I to turn down a challenge? I've got a thing for small form factor cases, and you can guarantee I'll use up every bit of room in this case when given the chance. Although I've got free reign with this project, there were specific goals that I set out to achieve. Let's see... for starters...

Watercooling - Oh, without a doubt. This thing must be watercooled. How does dual loops and dual 240.2 radiators sound? A loop for the CPU, and a loop for the GPU's.

LCD - I don't think I could build a case without one. How does a 10.2" widescreen sound?

ATX motherboard - Been there, done that? Well, there have no doubt been mods before this that incorporated an ATX motherboard in a mATX case. However, due to the size of the Rogue, it's possible to fit one in the case a little easier than in others. The biggest difference here, is that all connections will be routed to the rear of the case. That's one thing most other ATX -> mATX mods haven't been able to achieve.

Everything else - Well, this is a big category. Lots of little things that add up quickly. How about a hard drive rack that's removable without opening that case, integrated fan and lighting controls, custom plexi side panels, automotive digital gauges, and the list goes on.

Other hardware specs are still up in the air, but the design goal will remain, regardless of the components used. That being said, would quad Crossfire be overkill? Nah, didn't think so... I've got big plans here, so I'll do my best not to let all of you down!

Now that I've got the preliminaries out of the way, how about a few pics? Here is the case as it arrived to me.







Like a kid on Christmas morning, let's rip this thing open!





Most of you have probably seen the stock photos, but here are a few shots that you haven't seen before. I've started to disassemble the case. You can see shots with the face removed, followed by the hard drive and CD/DVD trays.
















More coming shortly!

Last edited by craigbru; 13th Aug 2008 at 15:40. Reason: Update title
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:36   #2
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November 6, 2007

Everyone that has seen this case, wants to know about watercooling. Is it possible? Of course! This case does have plenty of room for expansion if you're willing to get a little creative.

My little red beauties...



So, what do they look like in the case? Well, this is where we run into a minor clearance problem. As configured, one of the hard drive racks prevents the radiator from sitting any further forward than pictured. However, you could simply mount the radiator as is, or remove the rack on one side of the case for clearance. You would still have the rack on the other side of the case, and the 3.5" bay to utilize if so desired. Of course, with my plans, I could ditch both drive racks completely.





Oh yeah, now that's a little better!



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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:37   #3
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November 6, 2007

Here comes the fun part... It's also the most work. I mentioned custom plexi side panels earlier. Well, let's get on with it!

The side panels are easily removable with two screws. These things are very solid, and are the perfect foundation for what's coming next.









What would we do without masking tape? I've marked out the pattern and everything looks ready for the dremel.





Time to cut. Man, this stuff is thick!









Okay, what now? The hole is cut, but I'm nowhere near finished. I've got to nix those ribs. The plexi panel will sit in a recess in the side panel. What I wouldn't do for a machine shop and some CAD/CAM equipment. For now it's just a dremel and a file. This might take a while...





Well, it's back to work for me guys. More updates coming soon...
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:39   #4
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November 14, 2007

For all of you patiently waiting... I've got another update here.

I never seem to get as much done as I would like, but I'm always making progress. With this update, you can get an idea of how the radiators are going to be placed in the case. It may not be what you were expecting...

Let's start this off with one of my new toys. It's an 18" metal brake! I'll be using this for all of the fabrication work on the case. It's not huge, but then again, it doesn't need to be. The thickest material I need to bend, will be 1mm aluminum.







Here I've got a picture of one side panel almost completed. There's a little filing to do, on a few rough edges, but it is 95% completed. It's enough for me to move on to the next step. I'll come back to the side panels later.





Here are a couple of shots with the side panel placed on the case. You should clearly be able to see the recess in the panel where an acrylic panel will be fitted.







Finally, I've started test fitting cardboard inside the case. These are approximate representations of the aluminum radiator mounts. A hole will be cut in the mount to match the radiator, and the radiator will be mounted on the inside of this panel. Once the case is assembled, there should be about 1cm or so, between the mounts and the side panel. There is a certain look I'm going for here, and when finished, there will be CCFL's located on both the top and the bottom of the panel. This should add a nice glow to the acrylic and radiator, without being over the top.





More coming soon...
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:40   #5
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November 15, 2007

I should have a decent updated posted by tomorrow. In the meantime, I've been pulling in and finalizing a few more ideas. The more I plan, the more I realize, that I'm gonna have this case packed! It may have twice the volume of the Sugo in my previous project, but it's still a SFF case. The radiators and fans are taking up a fair chunk of space all by themselves. I've already had to do some behind-the-scenes re-envisioning to make sure I have room for all my components. In order to fit a full size ATX motherboard in this case, it's simply not feasible to have the fans mounted directly on the radiators. However, in order to achieve airflow through them, there will be six 120 mm fans exhausting air from the case. The case will be sealed, with the only air inlet being though the radiators. This will ensure that the coolest air possible, finds its way in to the case. In addition, I should now have room for 6 hard drives. As started earlier, these will be on a custom removable rack. The rack will sit forward of where the current rear 120mm fan sits. With the removal of a couple of screws, the entire hard drive assembly should slide right out the back of the case. I hope to give more details when I get a little closer to that part of the mod.

Other notes here...

The case will have a slightly automotive type theme. As such, the case is going to have a pair of these Dakota Digital gauges to measure the water temps for each loop.



I'm also going to incorporate one of these Griffin Powermates...



I've got my LCD choices narrowed down. I'm going to be using one of the following. Which one, will be determined on available space left after gauge placement is decided.

10.2" 4:3 ratio 800x600



10.2" 16:9 ratio 800x480



9" 16:9 ratio 800x480

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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:41   #6
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November 16, 2007

I needed a short break from modding while my drill charges, so I thought I'd upload a few pics of what I've been working on tonight. I decided to get one of the radiator mounts made. In order to do so, I needed a guide to make sure my bends were accurate.



Here is the 1mm brushed black aluminum I'll be using for the mounts. This stuff looks great!



I've started to mark where I need to make the bends. Tape was used to prevent scratching.



All clamped in...



2 bends down, 2 more to go.





Perfect! I couldn't ask for better results. The brake performs as expected, and I couldn't be happier.



Next up, I'll test fit the mount inside the case. Assuming all is well, I'll mark out, and cut the hole for the radiator.
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:42   #7
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November 21, 2007

Another day, another update... It seems that no matter how hard I try to get away from it, all of my projects seem to involve insane amounts of filing. In fact, that's what I've been doing for the past couple of days. I guess I shouldn't complain too much though, as I've always been happy with the results. All of that filing, leads to the following update.

When I left off with the last update, I had just finished making the bends in the radiator mount. Next up, was the hole for the radiator. I used a template and careful measurements, to make sure everything was where I wanted it to be.



I didn't get any pictures of the cutting process, but a dremel and a reinforced cutting wheel made pretty quick work of the aluminum. At that point, I had to file and straighten the cuts, followed by a light sanding of the edges. The work and patience paid off, and I was left with the results below.





A test fit with the radiator, and all looked well!



The only thing to do at this point, was take a look and see how the mount and radiator fit into the case.









Finally, with the side panel on.





I've got get the mount fastened into the case yet, and before I do, all exposed edges will get a touch of black paint. I've also got to get low profile mounting screws for the radiator. These will be black as well. There is a little work to be done on the case side panel yet, but I'll try and get the other radiator mount finished first, then worry about finishing the panels. Stay tuned!
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:43   #8
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December 4, 2007

I've got a small update here. I'm currently waiting for a few parts and the guages to arrive, but in the meantime, I'm close to finishing the second side panel. Unfortunately, until the missing parts arrive, they're won't be much in the way of huge progress. I can tell you this, Summit Racing sure isn't Newegg or FrozenCPU...

Who doesn't love new tools? I've been meaning to get taps for a while, this project was just the push I needed.







A little panel prep...





Here you can see where one of the CCFL's will fit. There will be an identical one on the bottom.





More to come...
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:46   #9
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December 10, 2007

Sometimes I just can't help myself... I get these ideas in my head, and think I need to find a way to follow through. Just like my L.O.S.I.A.S. project, it seems I want to find room for one more component. Well, today I've found two more items that I want to cram into this case.

The first is a fairly new Matrix Orbital display. The GX Typhoon to be specific. The only problem I see at this point, is the very limited availability. It's currently backordered until the 31st of January...


Here is a video of the display in action.

The second item is a barebones Pico-ITX system courtesy of Via. The sheer number of possibilities with this thing is a little crazy to think about. It could easily make use of the LCD that will be on the case. It would also be networked, and could allow 'offline' downloading of files even when the main machine is off. Just dump the data on a shared network drive, and you're good to go.

December 13, 2007

I've got a small update here. The past week has been pretty hectic for me, but I've managed to get some work done on the motherboard tray. I'm also still waiting on a few parts that have yet to ship. I'll blame it on the holiday season...

The tray will be cut out of 2mm brushed aluminum. Frankly, it's a shame this won't be visible to anyone. I really do love the look of this stuff. Below I've marked and cut the tray.







Pretty simple, huh? Now I need to find a way to secure the tray in the case. I'm basically making brackets that will slide in to the old motherboard tray's original position. This will allow for the tray to be easily removed from the rear of the case.





Time to put the metal brake to work... The two brackets were taped together during the bending. This ensures matching bends on both pieces.







Here we have the brackets sitting in their approximate positions on the upside down tray. The brackets will be bolted to the tray shortly...

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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:47   #10
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December 30, 2007

Who's ready for an update? Things have finally gotten a little slower for me. Most of the holiday season has passed, and I've finally been able to get a little work done. Actually, the work's never really stopped. It's just been awfully sporadic with everything else that has been going on. That being said, I've now got a self imposed deadline. My goal is to have the project completed by the next Netwar in Omaha. That gives me a little less than two months. Wish me luck!

One of the things I really needed to get done in order to move forward, was to finally finish the second radiator mount. Here we see the bending in progress. This looks kind of familiar...



It's a perfect match...



A test fit inside the case shows that everything lines up perfectly.



Due to the positioning of the front USB and sound ports, I need to notch the radiator mount.





A little help from the dremel and a file got the result I wanted.





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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:47   #11
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December 31, 2007

With the panel bent, and the notch cut, now I need to get the radiator hole cut.



After the dremel...



I couldn't ask for anything better.



I used my radiator template to mark the mounting holes.



Woohoo! Another one done! This is what it's all about!

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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:48   #12
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December 31, 2007

Just before Christmas, the UPS guy left me a little present.





A free hat...



Such a little box. Is this what I waited over a month to get?







Pictures can't do this thing justice. It's absolutely amazing to look at in person. This thing may not have been cheap, but it certainly doesn't look like it is either. I think it's really going to set this case off.

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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:49   #13
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December 31, 2007

Well, now that I've got the second radiator mount done, what does it look like on the case? I'll let the pictures do the talking.





Ah, the motherboard. Of the two possible orientations, both have their pros and cons. Check out the second pic though. If I'm willing to lose a bottom slot on a motherboard, I'll gain a ton of space and not have to deal with routing extension cables to the rear of the case. I'll also not be limited by the length of my video cards. So many possibilities...





Now, finally, I thought I'd throw up a couple shots of the CCFL's lighting the radiators. It looks amazing in person. Perfectly subtle. It's exactly what I wanted.





More coming soon!
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:52   #14
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January 10, 2008

I've got a quick update here... I've got some cool little accessories for my dremel. I was walking through a hardware store the other day, when I spotted the box in the picture below. It's a quick-release mandrel kit for cut-off wheels. I seem to burn through quite a few wheels with all the cutting I do, and thought this would be a great way to make the changes easier. Not to mention, the wheels are a larger diameter than what I was using.



Closed...



Open...



Push on, twist, and release! It doesn't get any easier.



As cool as the new cut-off wheels were, I also had something else show up on my doorstep today.



That's a whole lot of air moving potential there. These are all 120mm x 35mm Sanyo Denki San Ace 1011's. According to this review at xtremesystems, they can kick some serious ass.

Quote:
I'll spoil one result for all of you upfront: the Sanyo Denki San Ace 1011 is king of the hill. And by hill I mean universe. It's really, really good. In addition to its insane empirical results (see below), it makes NO extraneous noises and undervolts like a champ. I have five and they all perform like this and they all start at 4V or lower. They could kick Chuck Norris's ass....silently.

They're ball bearings as well, so you don't have to worry about the sleeve bearing inconvenience. They also perform past their listed specs--something that's exceedingly rare in these SilenX days. Good luck finding any though...and when you do, they're $25 a pop.
Don't let the quoted price scare you though, they are currently available at FrozenCPU for about $14 apiece.







These fans are freaking solid, as well as heavy. High quality stuff indeed. Once I throw a good fan controller on these, I'll have the best of both worlds. A fan that is inaudible, yet can move some serious CFM's when it's warranted.

So, you might be wondering where these things are going to find a home in the case. Well, they all will reside in a custom panel on top of the case. I may not have the specifics figured out yet, but they will tie in with the slightly automotive engine theme. In fact, I'd like them to look something like valve covers. Two rows of three fans, slightly angled to the left and the right...
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:53   #15
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January 20, 2008

Oh, the irony... As I type this update, DFI has announced the possibility of SLI and Crossfire capable mATX motherboards. It's something that I've wanted for quite some time now. Especially since my current eVGA SLI board is showing it's age. At this point, it's come a little too late to change the course of this project. I've got the perfect case in the Rogue, and it's ATX or nothing at this point. So, that brings me to the following update.

Here I've got the motherboard tray finished. The mounting studs are in place, and it's almost ready to be placed in the case. There is very little room for error at this point. The clearances are very tight between the radiator mounts.







As you can see from the above pics, I need to come up with the rear panel for the case. As luck would have it, I've got the perfect donor. (Yes, it is purple...) I happened to have an old case left over from a mod I had done for my daughter.







With the panel removed from it's donor, it's time to find it a new home. Here you can see it sitting inside the case. It actually fits quite well. You can see that I will need to do a little cutting on the rear of the case, but all in all, it shouldn't be so bad.







Next up, will be to get the panel fitted in place, and repainted of course...
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:56   #16
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January 23, 2008

I briefly mentioned this earlier, but now I've got a few more specifics. This case is also going to have a Via Artigo pico-itx PC inside. It will be wirelessly networked to the Rogue, as well as my home network. It will run independently of the Rogue, and have access to it's own large capacity drive. It will be used for downloading files and data, and will dump that info on to a shared network drive. The Artigo will make primary use of the touchscreen on the front of the computer. Although it will be two separate systems, I will use Synergy to allow seamless transition between the PC's. Sounds like fun, huh?

January 30, 2008

Well, I know you all are eagerly waiting, and this isn't all my progress to date, but I think now is great time to post a few pics.

I didn't get a picture before I made all of my cuts, but here I've taped out where I need to do a little finish filing.



I need to take care of the open gap at the bottom of the case. This piece of aluminum should take care of it...





All clamped in, and cut for height.



Now finally, the back panel is riveted in to place. Just a little more detail work, and I'll have it!

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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:56   #17
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February 5, 2008

I was gone over the weekend, so I wasn't able to get any real modding done, but work still continued. I was able to get a few more miscellaneous parts ordered, including the elusive LCD screen. I had several sources fall through for different reasons, until I finally found this 10.2" wisdescreen LCD.



I've also got the grill designed for the fans on top of the case. There will be two banks, of three fans each. The grill will be mounted on each of them, with the addition of a hex mesh beneath...



More coming shortly.
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:58   #18
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February 6, 2008

Here is the most likely candidate for the side panel acrylic. I may revise it a little, but I doubt it will change much unless major inspiration strikes...



February 7, 2008

I love days like today... Not only is it Friday, but I had a long awaited package on my doorstep when I got home. My new Matrix Orbital display has arrived, after a several month backorder. It is the GX Typhoon MCE. Let's take a look at this thing...





Everything out of the box...



This thing is just begging to be modded...





Since this is the Media Center Edition, it comes with a remote. It can handle all MCE functions.



The model I received is the Tri-color unit. That basically means that I can change the display to any one of three colors, and any combination in between. I've taken a few shots to give you some idea of how cool that feature is.

Red





Green






Blue





Purple





I could go on, but you get the idea...

The LCD uses LcdStudio for it's interface and display design. The software is pretty slick. It's basically drag and drop. You can add and resize display components on the fly. The software supports a ton of additional plugins for displaying information. ATITool, Fraps, RivaTuner, Speedfan, iTunes, etc.



Here's a short video of me adding and dragging a few things around...

<a href="http://img531.imageshack.us/my.php?image=mvi3699sn1.flv"><img src="http://img531.imageshack.us/img531/2194/mvi3699sn1.flv.th.jpg"/></a>
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:59   #19
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February 9, 2008

Sometimes you just have to improvise... As (bad) luck would have it, the Via Artigo that I wanted to put in this case, seems to be out of stock everywhere I look. Most eta's put it's arrival at the end of February. Well, I'm way to impatient to wait almost a month before it arrives. I don't want it to hold up any work on the case, and that's where the improvisation comes in. As it turns out, you can buy the Via PX10000G Pico-ITX motherboard separately, so that's exactly what I did. So, I purchased that, along with a DC-DC power supply, hard drive, memory, and wireless adapter. The only thing I'm really missing is the small case to put all the parts in. Well, after thinking about it, I don't know if I really needed the case anyway. I can fab something of my own almost as easily. It's a little strange to think about the fact that I bought an entire 'computer' last night... just to put inside another computer... crazy!

February 9, 2008

Well, I just ordered some more parts. This time around, it was mostly for cooling. After much contemplation, I decided to go ahead and pull out the big guns here. If I truly want this case to be something amazing, plain old watercooling wasn’t going to be enough. That being said, I went ahead and ordered the Wintsch Labs Arctic Web TEC cooler, and a Meanwell auxiliary PSU. I also ordered the rest of the needed tubing, barbs, and fittings. At this point, I don’t know if I’m just really committed to being crazy, or crazy enough to be committed…
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 23:01   #20
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February 10, 2008

Who doesn't love parts? I had another package arrive from FrozenCPU. I sometimes feel like I single-handedly keep them in business. :cheese:

A few LED switches, shrink wrap, wire sleeving, and a laser LED light...



A little hex mesh...



Since the case is watercooled, I wanted a decent sized reservoir. This is designed to fill a 120mm fan hole.







You'll see here why I chose the reservoir that I did. I thought I'd take care of two issues at once. Not only did I need a reservoir, but I had a 120mm hole in the back of the case that I needed filled.

In order to fit the reservoir in place, I needed to do a little trimming.



A little work with a dremel, file, and sandpaper got me the following results.







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