Project Monolith Classification: UNCLASSIFIED Caveats: NONE Having ten other "project Monolith" titled logs on this forum, I must establish my reasons for choosing such a name. This is directly inspired by the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. As one who remembers playing Atari when Mt. St. Helens erupted, I can confidently say I've played a lot of games... Today, the gaming market is sadly dominated by consumer electronics- consoles, that is- by brute force. The sheer numerical disparity between PC gamers and console gamers has shifted favoritism for developers to write for Xbox first, PC last. The way that console owners are multiplying in hordes and inexorably forcing the direction of video gaming away from fine quality and into high-volume production would make Stalin proud. The problem is, cross-platform games are inferior products. The kludgy interfaces made for thumb controllers can ruin otherwise outstanding games- like Bioshock or Fallout3, where the twitch element of the first person shooter is lost to the slow target acquisition and imprecise aiming that is inherent in a handheld controller. Because of this "thumb lag", the AI is dumbed down so that the player can locate, aim, and fire without being unfairly hosed by AI that would respond as quickly as a player wielding a keyboard and mouse. The low resolution of TV sets (not all consoleers have 1080p) makes for big, stupid-looking icon-based menus, and requires interactable objects to be highlighted... I could go on and on, this is turning into Orwell's "Morning Hate" here. I want to commemorate S.T.A.L.K.E.R. because it embodies anything I could ever want in a PC game. It is intelligent, realistic, beautiful, and exceptionally challenging. Like my mod project, it is also overly demanding with respect to hardware, a tad unstable, and full of bugs. And so, we have Monolith. The Wish-granter. The C-Consciousness. The center of Reaktor#4, deep within the "sarcophagus" at Chernobyl. Behold. Objectives: 1.) Make it dark... the "Borg" color theme of toxic green highlighted over black featured in my last three projects has lost its luster. I'm tired of the overpowering glow of CCFLs and LEDs, and the phosphorescence of cooling fluid under 420nm lights. Like an over-adorned icon of Lady Guadalupe in a Mexico cathedral, the blips and flashies of color and light have become garish, gauche, and gaudy. Black is universal. Black is the absence of light. 2.) Make it BIG... I'm not interested in reaching into my case with a pair of hemostats to plug in a connector or removing the guts just to check a fitting. There must be room for all my water equipment and drives, plus some finger room to manage it all. 3.) Turn it down... I'm sooo over air. I haven't used an air-cooled heatsink since the P3. Water is the best thing going... but it takes fans, too... so I'm placing fans in the less-efficient push position, so that their whirr inside the case is more of a soft woosh through the radiators on the outside. HDDs (especially those noisy 10k ones) will be living an isolated life inside a silenced sarcophagus of steel, copper, asphalt matting, and POM, twice decoupled from the chassis. Then I'll line it all out with some acoustic dampening mats. 4.) Speaking of water... this is my biggest water setup yet. I've stepped through the phases, beginning with 1/4" then 3/8" tube, gone through five successively larger pumps, strapped extra rads to the top of the case with velcro, and now I have arrived at the big-daddy stage- 1/2x3/4" tube and dual loops fed by a pair D5's. I've doubled my radiator area to 8x120mm to chill the SLI cards, CPU, RAM (yes I need it), and HDDs. Discussing system specs later, I'll just declare I'm going for the brass ring after finally winning my luck of the bin draw with my current hardware. I'm achieving excellent clocks, and hope to do even better. This water system will get me there... And I've got something else up my sleeve (pic teaser soon) to cool even further for those late-night overvolted hardware flogging sessions. So, what to start with? Well, over a year ago I got in line and grabbed up one of these babies- A nice looking home for this sprawl... I figured it was a good starting point... but room had to be made. The lovely HDD rack had to go. It works really well, and is a great design, so I've put it aside for use later in a stacker module for an external RAID or something. I'll come back to this stacker module thing... but for now, I needed room for pumps and rads. Strip down. Really a well-built case. Now, it's unfortunate that a year passed between that photo and the next. Life gets busy sometimes. I ended up drilling all the rivets out and painting the chassis black (paint it paint it paint it black) and reassembling it with some fine black rivets from Nils at MDPC-X. I also cut a hole at the bottom of the 5-1/4" bays to route tubing through. I then cut a pair of aluminum mounts for the pair of 2x120 rads that will keep the video and HDD rack cool. It is quite a jump, so I'll post some detail shots in the morning. I think I've met the moderators' requirements for a first post on a log... More to follow, and if you've made it this far, thanks for reading!