Hi guys thought i would post my Project Log for a PC mod thats been in planning for a while now and is on some other forums, so i thought i would bring it here and see what you guys think. Without any further adue, heres the log
Hey guys i thought id start this Project log rolling seeing as some revived an old project. Instead of carrying on from a project log used for another project which i have put on hold i decided to start this so everyone knows that all that i post in this thread is related to this mod. First off i would like to say that this is my first mod that i will be working on, apart from the odd bit of dremel action on other chassis's
A lot of people that start mods have a clear theme that is normally visually represented through the mod, be it from the smallest detail or the case as a whole. My theme however is slightly more different and rest firmly within the Hardware side of things. I want a small custom case that can house a Mini-ITX gaming system. Sadly within the SFF community, which tends to be quite a mod enthusiastic sub culture there are no cases out there that can accomodate what i want, let alone looking the part aswell.
I know i will alienate quite a lot of the Mini-ITX enthusiats out there as with previous mini-itx mods they have been dead small fitting inside Toasters
, Windows XP Box
or in a case made out of Knex
. Whilst all of these mods have inspired me to have a small more compact PC there are just so many limitations that stop a mini-itx gaming system. That said, it doesnt mean it cannot be done, and further more cannot be quiet either.
Over the past months this mod has gone through various different design stages, yet they all have one thing in common and that is the perforated front grill which will take up the majority of the front. This will be very much akin to the Lian Li and Apple G5 case style. I have also grown fond of it as it is practical as its stylish if used correctly and also ideal for cooling (especialliy if the whole front of the case is going to be backed by a Dual 120mm Radiator).
The case will be using a ATX power supply to accomodate for the power consumption of high end graphics cards, i have been asked if this is a waste of space and the short answer would be no. With the ATX PSU removed i only shorten the height of the case by about 5mm. This is due to the depth of the case being determined by the length of the graphics card and the Radiator and Fans. The Width of the case is determined by the height of the graphics card with a watercooling block attached. The Height of the case is determined primarily by the height of the radiator and also the Slimline slot loading optical drive. So i decided to stick with the ATX PSU as if i go for more powerful upgrades further down the line all i have to do is buy an off the shelf PSU rather then wait around for a SFF PSU to be released that can power the system.
Aswell as this, the case will also accomodate 4 Hard Drives that will be in the PC as i need a lot of storage. these will be interfaced via Sata2 connections. Depending on which board i go for, the board will either have 4 Sata2 & 1 IDE or 6 Sata2. So the board is more than capable of handling this amount of Hard Drives. The hard drives will be housed in a custom made caddy that i have designed that can be removed from the case easily so there is more space for myself to tinker with things further down the line. I have also designed the caddy to make the most of the fresh air that will pumped in by the 120mm Fans that sit right next to it (as you can see in the picture below)
With this i didnt want to use the normal HDD caddy which you see in your average case which restricts airflow quite considerably. With my design i wanted it to be very minimalistic yet not so much so that it was unstable. The aluminium is used only where needed and this means that i can have large open gaps in between the hard drives which allows plenty of fresh cool air to flow over every hard drive.
As you can see from the pictures on this post, the majority of the design has been planned for, though there are still things that i am unsure about. For example im not sure which way to put the radiator, either with the barbs at the bottom where the tubing can conflict with the graphics card, or at the top where it takes space away from where i will be hiding excess cables that i dont use from my S12-600w Seasonic. This also means that i dont know where to put the HDD Caddy, it will be in the same space but could be higher or lower in the case. Luckily enough it doesnt really matter as i dont have to accomodate this too much into my design, all i have to do is make sure that there is space there for me to test which is better.
My other problem i have is the Logo. I have no idea what to have for my logo and where to put it. I dont want it to ruin the minimalistic front, though thats where i would prefer it if it can work. I was toying with the idea of doing something that Bill from MNPCTech
had done over at The Mod Nation
(cant remember specifically which mod it was) but he created a logo for the case which he used on the front and bent it around the front and it overlapped parts of the sides. When ive thought about the logo ive only really had one idea for the design. What do you think of when you hear the term 'Little Rascal' and i think of a Dennis the Menace type kid that caused mayhem. So i was thinking of incorporating that into the name Little Rascal where the first A would be made up of a silouette of a kid with his arms folded and his legs to make up sides of the A.
That said i am not 100% set on that. If anyone has any ideas for a logo, feel free to post them. If i like the design i will use it and of course you will be credited for the artistic work done on the logo
Also if i have enough time and money i will be modding my current Mouse and Keyboard (Logitech G7
and a WolfKing/Wolfclaw Keyboard
)to fit in with the theme of the mod, one of which will also accomodate the logo. Im still not sure on the extent of the modifications i will be doing to them, but it will be at the very least a respray so that they fit in with the overall colour scheme of the case, which brings me onto the colour scheme.
The colour scheme of the mod is still slightly up in the air. I have a pretty firm idea of how it will be styled, which will be a mixture of either Black and Aluminium or Gun Metal and Aluminium, with a Black acrylic side panel which will only reveal the insides once the lighting on the inside is turned on. I am still unsure on whether or not to have a Acrylic Metal Mesh side window mod, so that the perforated aluminium which is so prominant on the front is continued along the side and also to the exhaust on the back.
The lights on the inside will be white, though i am not sure of how to go about getting the type of lighting i want without a load of cables running everywhere. Which is why ive been looking at EL Wire/Strips for quite some time. The reasoning here is that theyre not too bright that it makes your case appear like the holy spirit is in your case, yet not too dark that it doesnt illuminate the case enough that we can see through the window. Whatever i decide to use, the lights will be rigged to a button that will turn them on and off when i want them, and it will be next to the Power and Reset buttons which will be located on one of the side panels.
Case feet is something else im still undecided on. With the original Little Rascal mod on the v300 i was going to completely remake the feet so that it accomodated both the aluminium and the acrylic, whilst having a white LED in all the feet to illuminate them. Though im not sure if i should go with one huge footthat would go around the bottom of the case. Though i think this could be overpowering. Whatever i do i still want feet, as i can design them so that they dampen the vibrations of the case even more, let alone the HDDs and the PSU will have vibrational dampners built into their housing.
Since christmas has just past, i had my mum badgering me about what i wanted for christmas. There wasnt anything i really wanted so decided to get some tools that would help me along the way in creating the mod. Sadly ive just taken some photos to show you what i have, but realised that my cameras data cable is back home in Portsmouth, so i will have to upload them on Sunday.
The tools and other equipment I currently have are:
60mm Swivel Table Vice with Anvil
4x 3.5" Spring Clamps
3pc Steel File Set
12" Heavy Duty Combination Square
Hand Rivet Gun w/75 Rivets
Dremel (though need to cutting discs) :dremel:
Foldable Workbench with another Vice
Metal Bending Brake
I will also probably get a 300w single speed Jigsaw, for cutting the aluminium, and also a electric mouse sander to make sanding that little bit easier
Ive had this mod idea in my mind for quite some time, and since then some better hardware has come out since then, though the most important bit of hardware will be obviously the motherboard.
The 2 Motherboards that i am going to decide between are:
Portwells Wade 8656 LGA 775 PCI-E 16X Mini-Itx Motherboard
iBases MI900 LGA775 PCI-E 16x Mini-ITX Motherboard
People will notice some problems with these boards, such as they only support upto 1066Mhz FSB and 800Mhz Memory. That doesnt bother me too much, what i would of liked extra of would be memory slots, but then ive got to remember its a Mini-ITX board so there it will be cutting corners somewhere. Though my main gripe is emulated 5.1-7.1 over 3 audio jacks, which puts my 5.1 headset out of the window unless i lose one of the channels or the mic.
One of the things with this build is that i wont be buying these components until the case is near enough completed, which i plan to be in April so i can showcase it at my clans small 24 person LAN. I am hoping with any luck that there might be a updated board, which will incorporate those changes i would like, but if not ill be happy anyway
Im still somewhat undecided on which Hard Drives to go for. I am for the most part a capacity whore, so i doubt i will be having anything like Raptor drives in my system, though that might change over time.
I am looking at kitting out the 4 HDD spaces with either 750GB or 1Tb Drives. Yup you heard my correctly, that would mean i would have anywhere upto 4TB of storage in a gaming PC which is usually unheard of, let alone in a case thats roughly the size of one of my shoe boxes (size 13 feet so its big where shoeboxes are concerned). Im not sure which drives to go for, as im still having a look at reviews for a balance between overall speed and the ssssh factor that im looking for. All that i now for certain is, that these drives will not be horrible load break all the time Maxtors.
As the plan stands i will be using my lovely Seasonic s12-600w PSU. I love this thing, its more than powerful enough and its whisper quiet, whilst having strong rails. Though the one thing that i hate about it is the fact its got ridiculously long cables, cables that i will not use and will take up much valued space. So i might land up going for a Modular later on down the line and move this into a Media PC.
I will admit it, i am a ATI fan boy. Love the cards and stand by them. Sadly at this current moment in time, they are not the top dog of the graphics world. Sadly Nvidia are, but with a nice card. I wont be going for a 8800Ultra as i have more sense than money, so im currently looking at the 8800GTX. That said the rumour mill has started churning and supposedly there will be a new set of graphics cards that will be released quite soon that will fit in with my completion date. that said if it reaches April and the new cards are only a week or 2 away, then i will wait for them and carry on using my trusty ATI x1900XTX.
It being a small machine i want the most powerful card within reason, as there is never a hope for SLI in this case, let alone i dont think i would ever use SLI.
One thing i hate about big PC's are the horrible chunky oversized Optical drives, which tend to be quite loud whilst watching DVDs on. To conserve the space of the case i have opted for a Slimline Slot Loading optical drive which will interface with the motherboard via SATA2. Sadly i cant find any links for them as of yet, but i know where i used to work we were able to get them. It will be a DVD writer, though if i can find a HDDVD slimline player (not writer) and if its at a reasonable price i might be tempted to get it.
The most important set of components in this PC besides the Motherboard. For any watercooling experts out there, once youve seen the size of this case and what i need it to do, there is only 1 choice as far as the Radiator is concerned, and that would be the [url="http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=4537"]Black Ice Stealth GT II[/url]. Its not overly bloated where dimensions are concerned, and thickness width and length are all at the very minimum they can be. this is a no BS radiator that isnt bigger then it has to be, which makes it 100% ideal for this project. Plus it also offers upto something like 20% better cooling then other radiators on the market.
For pump i am looking for a CPU Block & Pump combo to save on the space within the case. I am still having a gander around the net to see which would be the best for waterflow and for cooling.
With this project, i want it to be dead quiet, even when it is at full load. This means i need fans that have a very low dbA and push a lot of Air (CFM). Originally i was going to only have the 2 120mm fans on the front, but in the past few days i have decided to go for a Push Pull configuration comprising of 2x 120mm Fans on the front as intake, and a single 92mm on the rear of the case as an outtake. Ive browsed the net for quite some time and there only seems to be one type of fan for this job (though im willing to be corrected on this if there are better fans), and the fans would be [url="http://silenx.com/ixtremaprofans.asp"]SilenX's iXtrema Pros[/url]. these fans are beasts for their audible level. Their specs are as follows:
At full load these fans are more then adequate to cool my case, whilst reminaing whisper quiet.
The other components arent really set in stone yet, as they dont need to be. Though for anyone that wants to know, i will be going for the fastest 4gb ram that this motherboard can accomodate for.
Anyway i shall wrap this introduction up now as ive been typing this up for quite some time now and im getting hungry.
Hope you all love the idea for the mod and are keen in keeping up with its process.
If you have any more questions, feel free to ask, or if you would like any more renders.
If you like to contact me personally regarding sponsorship or just anything related to this mod feel free to PM me on here or send me an email to:
Hope to hear back from you soon, and hope all of you had a good New Year