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Case Mod - In Progress Project: MediaHAL - Low Cost HTPC

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Buck_Rogers25, 5 Feb 2012.

  1. Buck_Rogers25

    Buck_Rogers25 What's a Dremel?

    6 Feb 2002
    Likes Received:
    Hey all,

    I've been meaning to post this for quite some time, but due to lots of things just haven't got around to it. So apologies in advance for this post being a bit all over the place!

    I have had an HTPC box for quite some time, but it was never anything I was happy with, and was thrown together from sub standard spares and salvage. So for a while I have been planning an HTPC at very low cost, that would utilise spares and fit into our Ivar shelving units in our lounge. When I say spares, I do mean spares.


    Intel q6600
    2x Nvidia GTX 8800
    4gb DDR2
    Asus P5N32-E SLI PLUS
    120gb 2.5" Vertex SSD (First Gen)
    500gb WD Caviar Black
    850w Coolermaster Silent Pro
    Samsung External DVD-RW (USB)

    Cooling Spec:

    3x120mm Thermochill Rad (can't remember the exact type now H120.3 I think)
    2x Swiftech GTX 8800 VGA blocks (bargain, originally £90, bought for £10 each, brand new)
    1x EK Supreme HF CPU block
    3x120mm Akasa Apache Silent
    Laing D5 Pump
    1/2" ID Barbs
    1/2" ID L Connectors (black nickel plating and two spare nylon)
    Lots of Jubilee Clips
    An old rheobus
    Dual Bay 5.25" Resevoir with flow indicator

    Modding Bits:

    1/2" ID Blue UV PVC Hose
    Little bit of Tygon 1/2" ID Hose
    Red UV Cable Sleeving in Various Sizes
    4 Red Cathodes
    4 UV Cathodes

    Total cost came to £135 for parts, plus about £10 for a piece of plywood which I will explain about in a minute. I also need to get some black window tint film which should cost about the same. As I said, most of it is spares I had laying around. I still have about 30 metres of the blue UV hose which I got ridiculously cheap at about 60p per metre I think it was and bought 50 metres. Shouldn't need to buy hose for a long time!

    I had originaly meant to post a full ongoing log, including my original sketches and plans. But since I'm past that point already, and my scanner/printer died during a house move, going to post a pic of the machine in place inside the shelving unit beneath the TV and work backwards.


    The aim here is to stealth the machine completely, so it's not an eyesore in the shelving, and is as silent as possible. I have a piece of plywood I am going to use to fill in the hole and completely hide the machine, plus a section of plexi I will use to create a window in the ply for the motherboard area only, hiding all the nasty cables. The cathodes cover all 4 sides of this area, and will be recessed just far enough back so that they aren't visible. The plexi will then have black window tint film double layered, so that when the cathodes are off it will appear the same black finish as the samsung TV above it, and when on the area will be bathed red and the hoses glow UV blue.

    The chassis is an old Lian-Li PC60 I have had for about 10 years. I started by taking a dremel to it and cutting off a section from the top and removing parts of the frame. Then I put it back together minus the top section I removed, and cut some alluminium strip to make a holder for the radiator. I also cut two small sections out of the front two fan holes to slide the radiator into, instead of using another alluminium strip along the bottom.

    Here is a before pic, taken a few years back of the chassis, and an after pic.


    I then glued the drive cage inside. Course that was a mistake, I realised as soon as I'd done it I would not be able to get the drives in and out when the hoses were in!


    Luckily the glue I used was a fairly brittle epoxy, night out in the cold and I could just pull it off. I then drill mounted it instead.


    Few more pictures of mounting bits and in place in the shelves.


    Overall I'm pretty happy with it so far. It's whisper quiet, quite happily plays NFS The Run and most other up to date games, tested skyrim and bf3 out on it but doubt I will play them often. And so far it's not really cost me much at all.

    I still have to finish the board to go in place, and mount some L shaped rails to the shelf it sits on so that everything slides in an out nicely when needed and locks in place, the plexi window, and make up a switch block to sit recessed on the left hand side.

    It will be a few weeks at least before I get round to it, but I will post up some pics when the last bits are done. At some point I will also get round to posting a log for MediaHALs eldest brother ServerHAL, which is a passive cooled server in a Coolermaster Cosmos S case with a stand alone aquacomputer 1800 rad and a beefy RAID 6 12TB Array :). I take my servers VERY seriously :).

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