Hello everyone! This is not my first case mod (link to other systems), but it is my first work-log. Here's what I'm planning. Enjoy! Update 1 - Background and Design - x Update 2 - Hardware - x Update 3 - Back-plane, enclosures, and fan/temp controller mod - x Update 4 - Cable sleeving, preliminary assembly Update 5 - Finishing touches, lighting Update 6 - The money shot Background and Design My old computer, Scorch, has served me well since before the introduction of the LGA1366 motherboards and chips that it got upgraded to. It's currently an EVGA Classified system, with shiny red fans and grills, red cold-cathode lighting, and a modified NZXT Lexa Blackline case. When I first started designing what has now become Empire nearly two years ago, the concept was for another upgrade to Scorch rather than a full system build. Hence, the coloration and specifications of the gear on these Google Sketchup renders: You can see that it's an inside-out design with a regular radiator cooling actively along with an extreme radiator cooling passively. The design is partly inspired by: Level 10 by Pius Giger and Level 11 and and Level 12 by Jeffrey Stephenson Although to call my design and amateur construction efforts Level 13 would be more than a little presumptuous! Since I first started the design, the X79 platform has been introduced! The components going into the system have changed, and so has the design and color scheme. Hardware I am sooo excited for the new gear going into this guy! When SSD's first came out I was amazed at how much snappier applications loaded up, the system booted, and even at how much better it ran under load. It's all about reducing that information bottleneck. If your processor can crunch 1 petaflop of information but is sitting there waiting on a few bits of info before it can even get out of the gate. This time, with a quad-channel memory controller with huge bandwidth and 32Gb capacity, I'm going to run a 24Gb RAM-disk along with 8Gb of system memory on top of an already fast SSD RAID-0 array. Here's the water-cooling gear: I love the way the extreme radiator looks. https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-D3tiKPte10U/T0brqGqh54I/AAAAAAAAAaE/l0j3HnmK-zo/s512/DSC_0280.JPG I'm still not sure I'll be going with clear tubing. I've had fun with black tubing on Scorch. Black is the new black, after all, and you can't have too much dark bling! Next up is the serious business. Thank you to my wife for being so understanding of these large and taxing purchases. I've already gotten the memory, cpu and water block put together. This sucker is going to eat up some power. The Seasonic Platinum had an awesome benchmark review that included all sorts of power fluctuation measurements, response times, and other oscilliscope work. It rated well, and the review in and of itself was an interesting read. If I track it down I'll link it. PS. Custom cable sleeving takes for-ev-er! Here's the rundown: Case: Custom hand-built steel and aluminum Motherboard: ASRock X79 Extreme9 CPU: Pending... probably i7-3930k CPU Waterblock: EK Supreme HF Cooling Block, nickel plated edition, R3 Memory: 32Gb (8x4 DIMMs) Patriot Viper Xtreme 1866Hz, 1.65V, 9-11-9-27 CAS PSU: SeaSonic Platinum 1000W fully modular, w/ custom sleeving GPU: 2xGTX 590, EVGA HydroCopper 3Gb edition, in four-way SLI SSD: 2x120Gb OCZ Vertex 3 in RAID 0 on the SATA 6 Intel controller Pump: Swiftech MCP35X, inline with 120x360mm radiator Radiator 1 (Active): Swiftech MCR-320 120x360mm radiator with integrated pump and reservoir Radiator 2 (Passive): Watercool MO-RA3 360x360mm radiator Fans: 3xEnermax T.B. Silence 120x25mm on the active radiator Fittings: Bitspower Black Shining 1/2" ID barbs Tubing: Tygon DVD/BD: Samsung BD Fan/Temp Control: NZXT 5-channel 2x5.25" Back-plane, enclosures, and fan/temp controller mod Now for some actual real modding. First off, let me just say that when I see some of the beautiful CNC machining, water cutting, and welding going on on other cases I have a two-stage response. First, I'm filled with awe and admiration for the work people are doing. Then, I get really annoyed that my stuff comes out looking so rough. I'm working with a total of two power tools: a Dremel 100 and a cheap drill. To round out my capabilities, I have a hacksaw, ruler, file, sand-paper, thread taps, c-clamps, and screw drivers. Oh, and a heat gun and soldering iron. I'm painfully aware of some of the blemishes I can't file out from a dremel disc getting away from me or a stray file scrape. Oh well. Here's the back-plane. I started out with a 50x60cm sheet of 1/8" stainless steel and went from there. By the way, that's 5 gallons of Saison-style Ale in the background. It may finish it's secondary fermentation and carboy conditioning around the same time as Empire is finished. You know what that means! You can see the mobo-mounts better from this angle. They're a standard ATX form factor. The cable-routing grommet is for the temp and fan sensor. You can see the cut-up motherboard I/O bracket. It's been chopped down from a 10-slot to the minimal number I need to keep things nice and compact. Some thinner bent aluminum and some nice U-channel molding make the housing over the PCI-e lane cables. Here's a close-up of how the base, 'feet', and back-plane fit together. I've got some smoked acrylic and white LED's in the works for the base for later, but probably won't worry about that until I have the core pieces up and running at 100%. 6mm metric screws are plenty heavy duty. You can also see the bracket for the triple radiator, which is pop-riveted onto the backplane. There's no magic to this construction. It's just many many reinforced cutting discs and a whole lot of time, and then filing to smooth out any imperfections to the best of my abilities. Now for a housing! I first tried to make the black anodized metal box at right, but then ended up going with a thinner easier-to-work aluminum once I realized the kinds of clearance issues I'd have with the heat sinks on the motherboard. Again, U-channel molding cleans it up a bit, and pop rivets plus some M3 screws hold it all together. The fan controller is also chopped down to size. There's the back side. The second housing will cover the PSU and Blu-ray, and I may or may not be able to cram in the SSD's too. I haven't yet added the power and secondary switch. Making these boxes involved scoring the inner edge with the trusty dremel, clamping it over a scrap piece of steel to the dining table (so as not to damage the wood as well as provide a harder edge) and then pushing hard until I eyeballed it at around 90*. Drill holes, insert aluminum L bracket, pop-rivet together. I'm happy with the boxes. The only thing that got pretty roughed up was the front plate that includes the Blu-ray slot. That's just too tiny of a cut for me to get done cleanly.