My little ongoing project (lots of pictures)

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My little ongoing project (lots of pictures)

Postby ChronoDog » 04 Mar 2011 11:40

Update #3 (22/09/2012) - Case, Motherboard, Videocard, PSU, A rebuild

The updated Specs (22/09/2012):
- Jou-Jye NU-0528i-B case
- ASRock Z77E-ITX
- Zotac GeForce GTX 660Ti 2GB with AMP! Edition BIOS
   - ARC1-127R-X16 PCI-E Right Angle Riser Card
- HEC 300FE-2RX 300W 80+ TFX Power Supply (modded)

Update #2 (18/05/2012) - Motherboard, Memory, HDD, Airflow upgrade

The updated Specs (18/05/2012):
- Intel Core i5-2500K (3.3GHz 6MB L3 Cache) @ 4.3-4.7GHz
   - Scythe Kozuti
- Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe (Intel Z77 ITX)
- 2x 4GB Samsung DDR3-1600 CL11 @ 2133MHz 9-10-10-28 1T
- 2x Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB
- Noctua NF-B9-1600 92mm Fan

Update #1 (10/06/2011) - CPU, Memory, Motherboard, SSD upgrade

The updated Specs (10/06/2011):
- Intel Core i5-2500K (3.3GHz 6MB L3 Cache)
   - Zalman FC-ZV9 Fatal1ty VGA Cooler @ 5V
- ASRock H61M-VS (Intel H61 mATX)
- 2x 2GB G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1600 CL6 @ 1333MHz 6-7-6-20 1T
- Corsair Force F120 SSD 120GB (SandForce-1200)


I've started making this little gaming machine around the end of 2009 and have been adding bits and pieces here-and-there since. Never really had any sort of "Project Diary" of sorts, as this is the machine that I use most of the time and hardly had the time to make one.
This weekend I had to take it apart for dust cleaning, so I thought what the hell, let's take some shots 8-)


The specs:
- Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 (2.83GHz 12MB L2 Cache) @ 3.06GHz
   - Zalman FC-ZV9 Fatal1ty VGA Cooler @ 5V
- Zotac GeForce 9300-ITX-WiFi (GF9300-D-E)
- 2x 2GB Transcend DDR2-800 @ 866MHz 4-5-5-12 2T
   - Custom heatsinks from old elite DDR modules
- HIS Radeon HD 5770 1GB @ 960/1200
   - Arctic Cooling Accelero L2 Pro
- Intel X25-M 80GB G1 (w/ Trim)
- FSP 300-60GHS 300W 80+ SFX Power Supply
- Frontier Elf EL-261-Black ITX case
   - 2x Noctua NF-B9-1600 92mm Fans @ 5V


The case's original structure:
Image

The Case:
Everything taken apart:
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- This is everything the computer consists of, up to the last screw.

The power supply was much less dusty on the inside than I've expected:
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- Cut the fan grill out.
- Mounted the PSU fan using Zalman silicone fan mounts.
- Reversed the fan to act as an air intake for the CPU and VRMs.
- Added heatsinks and thermal grease for better PSU VRM heat dissipation.

The power supply, put back together:
Image

The back, this is where the PSU is mounted:
Image
- Cut the 60mm fans' grills out into an SFX PSU air intake opening.

The back continued, this is where the videocard's outputs reside:
Image
- Cut part the original PSU mounting structure to allow access to the 2nd DVI port of the HD 5770.

The bottom:
Image
- Replaced the original plastic feet with the Zalman silicone fan mounts for better vibration dampening.
- Planning to cut out an opening for a 120mm fan for better airflow to the videocard.

The back and top, inside view:
Image
- Added silicone stripes along the edge of the PSU opening to prevent dust accumulation and dampen vibration.
- Cut an opening in the original 3.5" HDD cage to fit the two NF-B9s, cut mounting holes for said fans.
- Mounted the fans using Zalman silicone fan mounts, connected to each other using zip ties.

The front cage, bottom:
Image
- Cut an opening in the front case structure to fit longer-than-7-inch videocards.
- Cut out part of the original front 80mm fan grill for the front USB header.

The front plastic panel wasn't spared:
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- Carved openings for a USB bracket in the silver decorative bezel piece and painted it black.
- Cut out part of the USB/Audio assembly to fit the videocard.

The front plastic panel, underside:
Image
- Tidied up the wires, attached to the panel using hot glue and locking clips and zip-tied into a single connector.


The Hardware:
The motherboard:
Image
- Mounted the WiFi module in a perpendicular orientation to allow access to the USB headers beneath.
- Attached a heatsink onto the Realtek HD Audio chip. Seemed like a good idea at the time.
- Covered most of the unused headers with plastic caps to prevent corrosion.

The motherboard, backside:
Image
- The AMD Sempron sticker prevents the WiFi module from short-circuiting against the case's stiffening bar.
- Covered all of the ports I could find covers for to prevent corrosion and dust accumulation.
- Attached the Zalman FC-ZV9 to the CPUFAN header using a 12V to 7V resistor adapter.

The VRMs:
Image
- Carved a custom VRM heatsink out of an old GeForce 6800 VRM heatsink, attached with push-pins.

The CPU cooler assembly:
Image
Image
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The videocard, a reference HD 5770 with some custom cooling:
Image
Image
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Everything Else©:
Image


The Assembly:
The motherboard goes in:
Image

This is what that locking clip is there for:
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The power supply goes in:
Image

The narrowness of the case didn't allow any other cooler I know to fit in there:
Image

The metal stiffening bar connects the front and rear:
Image

The homemade front panel header adapter sits on top of the header:
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Connecting and attaching the front USB header:
Image
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Connecting the hard drive:
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The silicone knobs were used to dampen a 7200RPM drive's vibration, now they merely hold the SSD in place:
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The videocard goes in:
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This is how much longer the videocard is than the case itself:
Image

I had to mod the 6-pin connector for it to fit under the plastic front bezel:
Image

The front panel header is there to ease taking the front panel off:
Image

The front panel snaps on, and it's done!
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Now, the original case had one of these over-all metal covers, kind of like PCs used to have in the 90s. I've cut it apart and made two separate detachable sidewalls instead, but unfortunately I can't keep them both on during heavy gaming as the airflow to the videocard is still somewhat lackluster. I keep only the right one on most of the time, the other one goes on only when I take it out to work/friends/LAN parties.

Here's what it looks like with them on:
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And here it is next to a 2010 Mac Mini, just for size reference:
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That's all for now, till next time. Sincerely yours 8-)
Last edited by ChronoDog on 22 Sep 2012 18:11, edited 10 times in total.

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Re: My little ongoing project (lots of pictures)

Postby Remko » 04 Mar 2011 12:55

That a lot of modding, well done :geek: Modding stuff and making it work can be a lot of fun.

Did you anticipate all the modding when you bought the components, or would you perhaps choose an "easier" case next time?

Nice pics btw.
Intel SB I7-2600, Intel DH67CF, Corsair XM3 8GB, Corsair F120 SSD, AMD HD6950, Roccat Kova+, Roccat Arvo
Silverstone SG07, Dell U2311H

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Re: My little ongoing project (lots of pictures)

Postby ChronoDog » 04 Mar 2011 18:06

Thanks!

This particular case was one of very few ITX cases available locally and it was rather cheap, so I decided that in the worst case I'll just throw it away.

So on the 1st day I discovered that the v.card doesn't fit in. After fitting it in I had to think of a new place for the power supply, back then I was deciding between a TFX and an SFX one, ended up going with SFX. After fitting the PSU in, I've discovered that the stock Intel cooler was too tall... :? et cetera.

For the next one I'm aiming at a Z68/P67 ITX board, one of the high-end i7-Ks, probably a Sugo SG05, as it is finally available in stores here (06 and 07 are too big for my liking) and a 450W SFX power supply. I'll probably mod it to fit things like a Corsair H50/H70 on the CPU and one of the high-end videocards that'll be available by then (like the 6970 of today).

Not sure whether it'll be "easier", but at least I know that most of the basic stuff will fit from day one ;)

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Re: My little ongoing project (lots of pictures)

Postby Steve » 04 Mar 2011 19:32

Excellent job on the build, especially sneaking the video card in behind the front cover. Brilliant! I don't think we've had any serious mods posted on the site yet. Well done.

On another note, do you have any benchmarking numbers for this system? I's curious how it will compare to a build I am working on with similar specs and an HD5770.
"What we're dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law."
- Sheriff Buford T. Justice, 1977

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Re: My little ongoing project (lots of pictures)

Postby ChronoDog » 04 Mar 2011 21:06

Sure thing Steve, which ones would you like me to run?

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Re: My little ongoing project (lots of pictures)

Postby Steve » 04 Mar 2011 23:21

My standard benchmark sequence is:

    Benchmark Utils:

    3DMark06 (Default)
    3DMark11 (Default)
    Games (Highest Detail, 1920x1080, Full AA and AF):

    World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
    Battlefield: Bad Company 2
    S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat
    Just Cause 2 (Demo)
    DiRT 2 (Demo)

Numbers for any of these would be great if you have the games. If not, just the 3DMark06 score would be helpful. It's just for my own interest, but if you want to post them here, I'm sure others would be interested to see how well this system runs.

Thanks.
"What we're dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law."
- Sheriff Buford T. Justice, 1977

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Re: My little ongoing project (lots of pictures)

Postby ChronoDog » 05 Mar 2011 11:13

Out of those games I have BFBC2, Just Cause 2 and DiRT 2. I have to re-download them from Steam - so I will post the results sometime later on.

Here are the 3DMark06 and 3DMark11 results for now:
3DMark06 - 15,696
3DMark11 - P 2,813

I'm using the Catalyst 10.10e Hotfix drivers, which are not WHQL approved, so these results probably won't show up in the searches. I like those drivers for their messed-up colors :)

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Re: My little ongoing project (lots of pictures)

Postby ChronoDog » 20 May 2011 05:29

A 5870 doesn't seem to be as easy to sneak under the front panel as the 5770 was :(

Image

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Re: My little ongoing project (lots of pictures)

Postby Steve » 20 May 2011 22:44

No, I guess not. :o
"What we're dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law."
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Re: My little ongoing project (lots of pictures)

Postby ChronoDog » 21 May 2011 06:43

Can't wait for them Southern Islands cards, 6970 performance in a 5770 power envelope and size :D
Just a few more months... :?

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