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Old 15th Aug 2012, 18:44   #1
Wissel
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RE-Define XL - Update 20th November

Hi, new here as only found this forum a few weeks ago.

I couldn't think of a good name so this will have to do.

I recently built a new PC and Iím just not happy with it so a few things are going to be changing soon. One thing I really donít like is the general layout of the PC and I cant find a case that I do like the layout of so I thought Iíd mod one and do this build log.

Here is the spec of my current PC:


Fractal Define XL, Corsair AX 750, Asus Sabertooth X79, I7 3820, 32 GB G.Skill RipJawsZ 2133MHz, 128 GB Crucial M4, 500GB WD Caviar Black (x2), Gainward Phantom GTX 670, GT 620, LG IPS 22Ē Monitor (x3), LG 22Ē Monitor (x1), Mackie u402 Firewire Audio, Behringer MS16 Speakers

Water Cooling:

XSPC Raystorm CPU Block, XSPC Raystorm GPU Block, XSPC RX 240 Rad, XSPC EX 360 Rad, EK Multi Tube Res

Hereís a picture of what it currently looks like:



I like most of the components in my build but will make the following changes:

Add another Gainward Phantom GTX 670
Replace the 2 500GB drives with a 1TB Caviar Black and a 2TB Caviar Green
Add XSPC GTX 670 water blocks
Add the Koolance motherboard blocks for the Sabertooth
Add 2x Hardware Labs Black ICE Radiator SR1 480 (at 517mm long they fit perfect)
Get a new Define XL case (the existing case & water cooling bits will house my other PC)
Bitspower fittings.

Iíve been at the beech for the last few days (love living in Cornwall) and have been designing all the case mods in a sketch pad. My free hand looks like a 2 year olds (no offence to 2 year olds) so Iím not going to post them here so I only have a quick mock up to show what I would like to achieve. I will post detailed pics of all the mods once Iíve drawn them.

Hereís the concept:



Thatís all for now, will hopefully get the other drawing online in the next few days.

PS Iím going to have to order several panels cut/milled and powder coated to my specs. I cant find anywhere local to get these done so if anyone can recommend somewhere thatís good Iíd really appreciate it (either in thread or message me if itís a company that shouldnít be mentioned on here)

Last edited by Wissel; 20th Nov 2012 at 16:24.
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Old 16th Aug 2012, 21:47   #2
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RE-Define XL - Update 30th October - Water Loop Complete

I found a local company to make my panels for me at a good price, here is what they are making:



Once I have these panels I'll cut the fan ducts/IO panel etc and paint, then add the existing Define XL top, bottom, front (modded) and sides (modded).

Should have them end of next week.

Last edited by Wissel; 30th Oct 2012 at 21:09.
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Old 17th Aug 2012, 13:44   #3
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wow, that`s look very interesting! can`t wait for pics of working! I`ll keep an eye on this
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Old 17th Aug 2012, 14:43   #4
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I do not like this project already. Mainly as you have planned it very well and I am looking at your previous work and its going to be very well done.. again making my wonky line cuts even more amature in appearance. Sub'd ... lol
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Old 18th Aug 2012, 01:11   #5
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Great idea!
I am subscribing to this one !
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Old 22nd Aug 2012, 22:45   #6
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Ok a small update as a lot of the parts have now arrived.



The new Define XL case, 2x Hardware Labs SR1 480's, a WD Caviar Black 1TB, another GTX 670 and a Lamptron FC9 Fan Controller.



... along with my new favourite toy, the Dremel 4000 - honestly it is fantastic, but not as fantastic as....



...Haribo
Now I feel special
(the mrs just said I am )


So first the case goes on a crash diet




Sides and cage removed



...then fans and other plastics removed



...then gutted. Probably should have moved my mouse mat first

Now to see if the rad will fit



....bugger it don't (but will with just a little bit of Dremeling)

Now for the Fan Controller





I'm really surprised by how high quality the Lamptron FC9 is. I almost feel guilty for stripping it down so it works how shown in the OP.





It comes apart really easy and will work great I think.

All the panels are on order and will be with me next week so that's it for now apart from this quick spoiler



This is the fan grill design being cut into the panels.
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Old 31st Aug 2012, 15:56   #7
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The new panels won't be with me until next Thursday now (taking a few extra days at the laser cutters) so I thought I'd get on with a job that I've been dreading - wiring.

I decided it would be a good idea to completely remake most of the cables in this build so they all match and are the right length etc. After spending half a day on this job I'm not so sure it was a good idea as its a pain in the arse.

Sure it will all be worth it in the end though

I've been ordering little bits and bobs for this job for a while now, here's a bit of a selection of them:















I've never touched the cables in a PC before, never soldered wires and never used heatshrink so did a little test piece first:



That went well so decided to start on the fan wires. I want all 4 fans on each 480 rad running of a single header on the fan controller



So fitted the fans and stripped the wires back



The blue wire wont be used so I cut this back out of the way



and started joining the new wires and heatshrinking. When I ordered the wire green was out of stock so using red as the green wire



Then added the braid up to the point of the next wires, melted a section to join the next wire, soldered and heat shrinked again



clamping the braid back made the job easier, as did pulling the wire back from the edge of the fans





repeated a few times







and its done



I finished the new cable with black paracord to match the other new wires and added the 3 pin connector to the end.

Then the moment of truth - see if it works



BOOM! (in a good way) it works great!

One set of wires done, only a few million more to do.

I'm going to spend the weekend getting most of the wires finished and making the LED's up, the final water cooling parts will be here Tuesday (hopefully) so will post another update once the motherboard is bench fitted.
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Old 31st Aug 2012, 16:12   #8
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Looks like a wonderful project subbed. It kinda hurt my feelings to see that beautiful brand new case loose weight like that but it has to happen some times i guess. Great progress so far i look forward to seeing more.

best of luck
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Old 5th Sep 2012, 18:06   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechh69 View Post
Looks like a wonderful project subbed. It kinda hurt my feelings to see that beautiful brand new case loose weight like that but it has to happen some times i guess. Great progress so far i look forward to seeing more.

best of luck
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Thanks for the comments, needs must and all that.

Quick update - well actually just a couple of spoilers :eek:


Most of the bits are now here but I'm shattered so will do a big update over the weekend. For now here's a few pics:


Motherboard with the new blocks sort of fitted


A few of the new panels (back and fan shrouds)


The new internal panel


....which thankfully fits

Now to pass out for a while....... byeeeeeee
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Old 5th Sep 2012, 20:22   #10
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got the same mobo with the same block sadly for the moment i am stuck with my antec p190 which is not the best case for water cooling
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Old 6th Sep 2012, 05:15   #11
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Defo a huge undertaking there, with all the modding to fit 2x480mm rads. All the best Wissel!

I was also looking at your picture of the ASUS Sabertooth X79 - it's one of my favourite mobos but I was always wary of the fact that the military colour highlights would stand out too much - but it seems if you put enough parts in it the colours only come out subtly.
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Old 6th Sep 2012, 15:26   #12
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Cheers dr- and Yaka

Another quick update as its now "kind of" together







Just really pleased it all fits together (after a lot of cuts with the dremel).
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Old 6th Sep 2012, 16:35   #13
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Like the idea of grouping fan cables together like that, never seen that before. Looking forward to seeing the end result, lots of kit in that case!
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Old 7th Sep 2012, 00:18   #14
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Nice work coming along now !
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Old 7th Sep 2012, 00:28   #15
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you shouldnt had those fans at the back so close to the motherboards, you should have let some clearance so that eaven a third graphics cardr could be fitted for an example
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Old 8th Sep 2012, 02:02   #16
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Cheers for the comments guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KoSoVaR^ View Post
you shouldnt had those fans at the back so close to the motherboards, you should have let some clearance so that eaven a third graphics cardr could be fitted for an example
Yeah it would be nice to have a little more room, its a tight fit though unfortunately.

This is the first time I've ever modded a PC case (unless you count cutting a window out ) and its quite a steep learning curve. I'm already thinking I should have done a scratch build.

Still I'm enjoying it and learning loads and I'm optimistic about the finished piece.
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Old 8th Sep 2012, 17:12   #17
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Started fitting the board today:



This section is nowhere near finished yet by the way and will be very neat when its done (I hope)

Also most of the fittings are now here so board is now plumbed in:





There will be another acrylic tube going from the VRM block straight down into the bottom chamber and a tube going into the top chamber between the graphics cards.



hopefully the other little fittings will be here middle of the week.

I'm tempted to paint the Koolance motherboard blocks black to match the ram and swap the Raystorm CPU block for the copper one purely for looks to finish the board off. Would appreciate thoughts on this?
(...and a great believable story to tell the missus on why I need another block )

Last edited by Wissel; 8th Sep 2012 at 17:51.
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Old 9th Sep 2012, 17:20   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wissel View Post
Cheers for the comments guys.



Yeah it would be nice to have a little more room, its a tight fit though unfortunately.

This is the first time I've ever modded a PC case (unless you count cutting a window out ) and its quite a steep learning curve. I'm already thinking I should have done a scratch build.

Still I'm enjoying it and learning loads and I'm optimistic about the finished piece.
Yeah you are right
Keep on modding get inspiration of other modders and theese thing will fall into place

The new update looks great !
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Old 9th Sep 2012, 17:29   #19
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Thought of changing the SLI bridge for a black one?

It kinda sticks out like a sore thumb, good looking project though.
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Old 9th Sep 2012, 17:37   #20
Wissel
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Cheers for the comments KoSoVaR^

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrapBag View Post
Thought of changing the SLI bridge for a black one?

It kinda sticks out like a sore thumb, good looking project though.
Thanks CrapBag I'm trying

Yeah I'm going to cover the bridge with black aluminium, also have matt black plugs to replace the black nickel stock ones.

Has anyone painted over nickel?

I have some acid etch primer and black enamel paint, would this give a good finish?

(any tips welcome please)
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