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Case Mod - In Progress Project Perspiration - all done! (March 29th)

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by pistol_pete, 1 Mar 2009.

  1. Waynio

    Waynio Relaxing

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    Very nice extreme mod :thumb:, misleading though as it's listed as a scratch build, but still I'm glad I checked this out, awesome modding so far bud keep it up :rock:.
     
    Last edited: 30 Aug 2010
  2. pistol_pete

    pistol_pete Air Cooled Fool

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    Cheers dudes.

    I decided to list it as a scratch build as it was more like something new and original than just a case mod. Compare, for instance a mod like ATCS 840 which is recognisable as the original case with some new improvments, in form, function etc versus a scratch build like Phinix Cube (which inspired a lot in my work) which really is from scratch. I wasn't sure where I fit in, as mine is nothing like the Lian Li PC-7 it spawned from. Infact the only original features I use from it is the motherboard mount and rear!
     
  3. pistol_pete

    pistol_pete Air Cooled Fool

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    Hello all.

    This mod grinds on slowly. I've been doing lots of little jobs like cable sleeving and mounting the res since August, and I took some photos along the way so will do an update on that seperately.

    With the externals complete, the last big job was to buy a new GPU and fit out the watercooling. I've had the pump, res, rad and CPU block for over a year but pushed back the GPU and accomanpying block as the last big spend in the project. When the dust settled on the GTX580/570 and 6970/6950 in mid decemeber, I knew the GTX 570 was about right for me. I'd long thought of getting an ATI/AMD card, purely because my previous card was an 8800GT and I dont want a monopoly in the graphics market. But when the benchmarks came in the GTX570 seemed to have the right performance, price and features for me.

    I'd been looking at budget brands and spotted the card for as little as £260, but I found evga will hold your warranty even if you fit a waterblock. Presume most other manufacturers don't and would try to wriggle out of a RMA if you had changed the cooler. A warranty is important to me, as I won't be upgrading for a few years and don't want to take a gamble on a ~£300 card not failing.

    So evga it was. I ordered a GTX570 superclocked version from scan in the week before christmas. If it worked fine I would order a block and fit it, but when I plugged it in a noticed a lot of coil buzz in games. No use really as the rest of the system is build to be as queit as possible. Dissapointed, I decided to bite the bullet and return it. However, all the evga cards were sold out so I asked for a plain old refund and eyed up a POV GTX570 Beast. This was new since I ordered the evga card, and came with a prefitted aquagraphics block for £323 - only £10 more than the evga! Bargain! That would save me the cost of a block and hassle of installation.

    Sadly it turned out to be too good to be true. I had a bad feeling, but thought they might just recognise it's a mistake and raise the price or just not send it. When the card arrived at my door yesterday ( a day late) the box felt a bit light and I knew what had happened - they'd listed the watercooled version (in the picture and description) but only stocked the air cooled card.
    This turned out to be a real pain in the ass. As the card was a day late, I'd decided to fit the rest of the watercooling gear in my system in the day between ordering and the card arriving (should have been next day) but with a GPU shaped hole in the loop there's nothing I can do. I can't fire it up as there's no coolant in the loop, no point filling it only to empty again when the GPU arrives soon. So it sits redundant on my desk while I use my old media pc to type this and not play starcraft 2.

    I phoned scan straight away (apparently I was the 3rd person to phone about the wrong POV card arriving that morning, and it was only 9:30), they arranged to pick it up and give me a refund but 'sorry' was all they could offer and that doesn't really cut it, I was pissed off.

    Sadly there's nothing else I can do. I wish I could give them two fingers and take my business elsewhere, but in our game of limited stock, high prices and delivery companies staffed (mostly) by apes I rarely find much choice between retailers. Yesterday afternoon I noticed both evga GTX570s came back in stock at scan (sold out everywhere else!) and I promptly ordered the vanilla version, as apposed to the Superclocked I'd originally gone with - apparently overclocking won't void evga's warranty, so why not.

    Unfortunately it won't be here until tuesday the 4th, when I'm back at work. Relistically I might not get it untill friday morning when I'm off. I ordered an EK copper and black acetal block to go with it too.

    The bizzarest thing is I currently have 2 GTX 570s sitting in my dining room waiting to be collected.

    At the moment I'm pondering removing the CPU block and fitting my old TRUE120 and 8800GT so I can atelast use the system in the meantime. Hassle and a waste of effort, but I'm curious to have a look at the thermal paste on the bottom of the CPU block and see if I can improve the application for next time.

    I think that's my rant over? I'd hoped this mod would be done by 2011 but I'm now staring down the barrel of a 2 year project. Really I'm fed up with the whole thing and just want it over with. That said, I'm itching to start my next mod, which if the prototype works will be a blinder.

    Back to the modding.


    Here she is as she stands:

    [​IMG]

    Notice lack of GPU. The white pipe at the top runs from the fill port to the res. The T block infront of the pump connects a drain port in the bottom.

    [​IMG]

    Atleast it looks good.

    Hopefully my next update will be my last!
     
  4. pistol_pete

    pistol_pete Air Cooled Fool

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    Something occurred to me – this project is now 2 years old! It started back at the end of Feb 2009 when I bought a second hand Lian Li PC-60 on eBay, which is now cut in half and upturned to form the bottom section. I planned on being done by September that year! Two years is far too long for any project, so why’s it taken so long?

    Progress was fairly quick at first. I suppose it’s been a mix of exhausting all the stuff I could do easily, needing new tools/skills to proceed, and re-working stuff that wasn’t good enough first time round. A lot has changed in my personal life too – I hadn’t even met my now fiancée when I started this! I think the scope of the project swelled a bit as I refined designs and added new things, but having all the time to think about it gave me new ideas and time to think through problems when they came up. I’d have had to have been better planned if I was to complete it quicker, but not knowing the cases or WC hardware I was using beforehand, or many of the Perspex cutting skills I needed would have made that tough.

    So what still needs to be done? After my last update the waterloop is now installed and running away quietly, which feels really good after 2 years work, I’d looked forward to this from the start. The cables round the back need to be tidied. It’s a real mess of unbraided, diy cables that are mostly too long. A proper session is needed.

    [​IMG]

    On the cable sleeving front however, I have to admit I’ve cheated. I’m a bad modder – I bought pre-braided.
    I did try myself – all the fans and smaller cables are done by me – but I had a shot at the 24 pin and it was simply crap; I had to extended it a bit and couldn’t get the pins out with my ghetto tools so cut each wire, extended and added sleeve to groups of 6, leaving 4 thick cables. I tried to be a bit different from the usual indivually sleeve all! mantra, but the thick cables left gaps at the connect and it looked rubbish. Shame, took ages. So I shelled out and bought some NZXT pre-sleeved cables, which are very slick and very well made, but I feel a bit of a fraud as all the top projects out there do their own, often with multicoloured braid combos. Why can’t I find the inspiration/skill to do that?

    There’s definitely a fashion that runs through modding – and it changes with time as new products come onto the market and people come up with new ideas. Back in the day anything with cold cathodes was a mod, now the standards are a lot higher. Whilst I feel this isn’t a shining beacon of top quality workmanship, I atleast hope there’s a few new ideas in it. For anyone reading this and thinking of starting a mod, I say go for it. Coming up with new ways of doing things and neat solutions to problems has to be the most rewarding bit.

    [​IMG]

    Back to the modding. There’s also a DIY ram cooler sitting in little pieces in my garage (since October…) but now the weather’s a it warmer I’m trying to complete it. Very fiddly – small and complicated! I suppose that’s kind of optional, and I’m not even sure it’ll work. It’s an example of how ideas get added on as you go along… Hopefully I can get it finished this weekend – no, wait: that’s another example of being too ambitious on timescales…

    That's all the photos for now! I need to find our proper camera before I do any proper shots... But the full loop is installed and you can enjoy a sneaky peak.
     
    Last edited: 19 Feb 2011
  5. pistol_pete

    pistol_pete Air Cooled Fool

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    I stand at the end of long road today, having spliced the last cable and screwed in the last bolt. I can finally say it's done.

    In truth it feels like a little bit of an anticlimax. I've lived with the system in various stages of completeness for a while. The case has been 'functional' since 2009. The aesthetics took time. The watercooling took time and money, so I made reluctant progress there.

    But here it is! When I started my Antec Nine Hundred hummed away and my 8800GT wooshed as it struggled to keep under 100C. Now it's all quiet and nothing tops 45C under load. Still, my Q6600 grinds away, but I think it's lost some of the OC potential it once had.

    The case design hasn't changed much overall since I first planned it. It's very much the same colour and shape. But it's the little details that you don't plan from the start that add the time, money, and results at the end.
    What was most satisfying along the way? When things went well, or atleast better than I expected. The challenges in themselves weren't always rewarding and I was often glad to see the back of them, cable sleeving in particular, which I gave up on in the end. My favourite part is probably the top panel, which cut very well and is better than I dreamed of at the start.

    So, the last job was to tidy cables round the back.

    [​IMG]

    Done. I mostly screwed P-clips into the motherboard, using holes that weren't ocupied by standoffs. DONT DO THIS AT HOME - because if you screw to far you'll short your motherboard (that said I only screwed in a bit and I've been fine).

    [​IMG]

    This is the powerhouse of the cooling system. I run it on it's lowest setting and it's still awesome. It's pretty quite down low, but hums as you turn it up. Once it's at full power though the tone is too high to notice. I keep it low to save on power... :D

    [​IMG]

    The interior, before the side panel went on.

    [​IMG]

    And with the window in the way...


    So here stands two years of project. I think this calls for champagne?

    [​IMG]


    To close out the project I'm going to take some nice photos (ie, not camera-phone as above) so stay tuned over the next couple of weeks for the final update.

    The big question now though is how long can I hold of before starting my next project, which promises to be more epic than the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Star Wars put together...
     
  6. Waynio

    Waynio Relaxing

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    Nice extreme case mod Pete & congrats on getting it finished :rock::clap::thumb:. +rep
     
  7. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    That's just magical. The GTI-red accent totally makes it for me.
     
  8. AnG3L

    AnG3L Ultimate Modder

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    Really nice mod brother congrats!!!! :) +rep
     
  9. Dragonite

    Dragonite Member

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    Congrats of your finished project :D A really cool one aswell :D I know the feeling when it takes time especially when life comes in the way :( Had the same Lian Li PC71 for over 7 years now and the mod is still not done :( Haven't worked on it for about almost 5 years though appart from changing the hardware inside it and removed the W/C since it were no longer compatible with the new stuff I put in :(
    Congrats once again I just wish I can finish mine aswell :p Will see if I might do soem work on it before I start my planned scratch build as practice :D
     
  10. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    Wow, I almost forgot about this project. It turned out great mate, congrats on finishing it. +rep
     
  11. perplekks45

    perplekks45 LIKE AN ANIMAL!

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    Hot-damn! :rock:
     
  12. TonyL

    TonyL modding on welfare

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    Just found this build from MOTY,
    Nice work - very similar to what I intend to do one day, albeit with a triple rad on the front as well, and a fractal/p180 style door w/ side vents
     
  13. l3p

    l3p www.^.nl

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    Congratulations on your MOTY 2011 nomination!! :thumb:
     
  14. pistol_pete

    pistol_pete Air Cooled Fool

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    Thanks chaps, I was surprised to be nominated, there's so many good projects out there!
     
  15. Angel OD

    Angel OD Pump Killer

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    F the champagne, I'll have a beer while looking at this beauty! :thumb:
     

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