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Scratch Build – Complete Smoking-pipe Display Case ITX Build

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Patrick Williams, 31 Mar 2020.

  1. Patrick Williams

    Patrick Williams New Member

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    Hi everyone!
    This is my first project on bit-tech - completed this month:
    (I have some older projects I'll post soon, but this was my most recent)
    IMG_4097_01.jpg

    And here's how it came to be...

    I was working in Bristol and had some time to kill, so I went shopping. Browsing through a charity shop, I happened upon an old wooden display case with a glass front... no idea what it was!

    Now, my family is quite used to my penchant for boxes/cases/practically anything that can be molded into a new life as a PC! But this little box was - for once - a welcome addition to the house! It is tiny - and a pretty cute little antique!

    At about 20x25x15cm, it was a close call fitting even a mini ITX board, but I was determined to shoehorn in as much power as possible!

    Read on to see how it came together...
     
    adidan, Dot_Kappa, kim and 1 other person like this.
  2. Arboreal

    Arboreal Keeper of the Electric Currants

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    Welcome to Bit-Tech Patrick!

    That's a great looking old/new look, and ITX (SFF junkie here), so I'm in...pulls up a chair to await further details
     
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  3. Patrick Williams

    Patrick Williams New Member

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    Shoehorning power into a tiny box has its challenges. Firstly getting this little lot in the box:
    IMG_20200215_113129.jpg

    (having to do this in small posts as image uploads keep failing!)
     
  4. Patrick Williams

    Patrick Williams New Member

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    Compact GPU
    Now, I was never going to get a beefy GPU to drive AAA games into this tiny box, but you can get some pretty powerful workstation GPUs. I did some research and ended up with the (then) brand new AMD Radeon Pro WX 3200. It's a seriously powerful board for its size and TDP:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1LGpwvyhiZOtSnb8zeBhsBvCobUPN0POC

    Initial testing was great, but sadly MacOS doesn't recognise it (in case we want to Hackintosh this fella) so I went with the slightly older, but similarly powered WX 4100

    Donor case
    But to get either of these cards into the 'Pipe box' I'd need that single slot backplane. So my first step was sourcing a backplane from a low-profile ITX case, with a single PCIe slot for the GPU.
    This is the InWin BP655 M-ITX Case:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1adkeGG2ifq7eeLvWo8Nlca5rzLKRYOaw

    It features riveted panels, which are easy to drill out, and the single low-profile slot needed for the tiny build. Here it is cut to size and inserted into the pipe box:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cb3QcH1kCEzhIi86U8k9SXgsjumwBfK6

    As you can see, this will be a really snug fit! The ITX board will sit about 2mm from the far side!

    Modding the donor case & wooden display case
    With the fit-test complete, I went ahead and rough-cut out the base of the case, to offer access to the ports from the rear:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1dcwPh2diolqUyGLhGztVHxbyiwHRzgh0

    The edges finished with a curved router bit:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1DnOYU6u9CkKp8YB7RFgwTS5GbSwT2ol3

    Backplane cutouts for 2x Noctua NF-A4x20 40mm fans and inlet slots cut just under the flange on the top of the box:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1eYijrnWHkC-Ek9POli8UMgUPt_dxglM-
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=15_1pmcVGnqcQmqiqLL8l8lC5aj72danG

    Side cutout for twin USB3 ports, and painted & finished from the inside:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Y4z5oO3Bq6sYpS6BQQbZwZwBjbtqcp-b
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1hi61OvH9KqD9P2Ki2RQjpAHv1S8eCNKv

    I painted the inside of the box satin black and the metalwork in the same copper/bronze effect I use on steampunk keyboards I make:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1UXZV7t__pgPhNyAgKVu49Z1dpCA1bbWb
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1dGjAyiScNQio3nbVZqJCJdAyv9UbKfew

    Power Supply
    As this is a pretty compact build, there was no space for an integrated PSU so there's an external power brick, but I still wanted the option of fitting this out with a hefty CPU if needed (X570 + Ryzen 3600X anyone?) so it has a PSU board that can handle up to 300W. It's attached to the back of the door and tucks away nicely out of sight when the door's closed:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1KnqaeoQXLlJXdOKaY7dEWE7rcTGXM-lA
    (mounting posts for PSU board)
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=13XJnPnAngB9nnlLd2pUTNIcaRhpkUH0j
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1fRIaXAc7LfJuUZOLXklmHpIB1DJ0QYnO

    Final assembly
    So... you'll have seen a few teasers of the finished build in this post, but here's how the final finish came together:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1C7j3WRJMyF1Lvs391nrBJrxKMNM44pNE
    (Intel i5-4590s CPU on the Asus H81I-Plus m/b)
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1voU_b-ANioNc_X-HqO-Xc3ykognZHZcw
    (using heat-shrink tubing for cable management)
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1jGagDEL9jSjxUj-z0RHS8WZVBohd9CSO
    (no small task with this tiny space under the massive CoolerMaster CPU cooler!)
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1M2Rydv7BT-ftmZJW71c_XY1TyR_3UaSR
    (the 2.5in SSD fits perfectly down the side of the GPU and benefits from the GPUs cooler - a newer build with M.2 slots could still use this space for a larger SATA SSD, but probably not for a mechanical drive due to vibration)
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1QAwh5CgqxJYu8xP_vCBaGMLgJqVpnTvn
    (the base of the PC with the m/b installed)
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=13imsVNfZSRiYz5ryp8PCnS7CYuchgK6u
    (the view from the front with the m/b installed and the door open)
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1s0WSue6VqpzBTLdqpwLEEugfNP2A3CY3
    (the power switch takes the place of the knob on the drawer when you open the door)

    Pride of Place in the Living Room
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1s9oCsv53oYMo9wEU8seawutllLtD0RB_
     
  5. Patrick Williams

    Patrick Williams New Member

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