case mod http://www.maximumpc.com/taxonomy/term/1639/ en Rig of the Month: Visible Contrast http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_visible_contrast_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><span style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="/files/u162579/mosquito_nzxt_h230_primochill_lrt_liquid_dsc00693-w1600.jpg" alt="Visible Contrast" title="Visible Contrast" width="250" height="188" style="float: right;" />The slickest side panel you've ever seen</span></h3> <p>If you look closely at the thumbnail, you'll see what looks like the Windows Start Menu overlaid on some computer parts. Your eyes aren't deceiving you. This month's <strong><a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_roundup_2014#slide-0" target="_blank">Rig of the Month</a></strong> is centered around an incredibly basic, but undeniably awesome idea.&nbsp;Chris “Mosquito” Albee from <a href="http://themodzoo.com" target="_blank">TheModZoo.com</a>&nbsp;installed an LCD panel—minus the backlight—into the side of a white NZXT H230 case. The result is simply incredible.</p> <p>It's not the most practical idea, but it looks spectacular and makes us want OEM cases with embedded LCD screens. Chris says that the modded display is transparent when displaying white pixels and can act as a regular case window if needed. Lighter colors are still slightly see-through and the combination of light and dark creates a stunning effect. This contrast between opaque and transparent was the inspiration for the mod's name: Visible Contrast.</p> <p>"One fun use for the transparent LCD panel is the ability to use a utility like Rainmeter to overlay usage and temperature data directly over the various components of the case," Chris says. "It’s also a pretty cool conversation piece as well in its own right; especially when you have a black and white video looping on it."</p> <p>Inside the case, an Intel Core i7-4770K running at 4.8GHz sits alongside 16GB of G.Skill Sniper RAM, an MSI GTX 650 Ti Boost, and a terabyte of total storage. After some internal modifications, Chris also managed to stick a 240mm radiator inside to support a custom water cooling loop for the CPU.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Have a case mod of your own that you would like to submit to our monthly feature? Make sure to read the rules/tips&nbsp;<a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none; background: transparent;" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_roundup_2014" target="_blank">here</a>&nbsp;and email us at&nbsp;<a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none; background: transparent;" href="mailto:mpcrigofthemonth@gmail.com" target="_blank">mpcrigofthemonth@gmail.com</a>&nbsp;with your submissions.</em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_visible_contrast_2014#comments case mod Chris Albee lcd ModZoo Mosquito nzxt Rig of the Month rig of the month Visible Contrast Features Fri, 24 Oct 2014 22:46:43 +0000 Ben Kim 28735 at http://www.maximumpc.com Rig of the Month: Toaster PC http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_toaster_pc_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><span style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="/files/u162579/9gkc19u.jpg" alt="Toaster PC" title="Toaster PC" width="250" height="141" style="float: right;" />This is no joke; toasters are PCs too</span></h3> <p>This month's <strong><a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_roundup_2014" target="_blank">Rig of the Month</a></strong> is a bit of an oddball. It's no <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/bit.ly/1mVCGQ4" target="_blank">DotaBox</a>&nbsp;or <a href="http://bit.ly/1h3LcHG" target="_blank">Weighted Companion Cube</a>, but we still think it's pretty awesome. Anthony Febre was inspired when someone asked if he was running a toaster. It's not the most original insult, but it makes for an amazingly original case mod.&nbsp;</p> <p>There's honestly not that much to it. Anthony says that the whole setup cost a measly $20 (minus all of the actual components) since all it required was a toaster. Inside the Proctor Silex toaster sits an Intel Core i3-530 on top of an Intel DH55TC mATX motherboard. It's not exactly a powerhouse, but it'll do the job with 4GB of Crucial DDR3-1333 and an XFX Radeon HD 7750.&nbsp;</p> <p>All we know is that he's got an amazing comeback to potential toaster jokes. Anothony apologizes for the less-than-stellar photos and blames his phone's camera.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Have a case mod of your own that you would like to submit to our monthly feature? Make sure to read the rules/tips&nbsp;<a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none; background: transparent;" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_roundup_2014" target="_blank">here</a>&nbsp;and email us at&nbsp;<a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none; background: transparent;" href="mailto:mpcrigofthemonth@gmail.com" target="_blank">mpcrigofthemonth@gmail.com</a>&nbsp;with your submissions.</em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_toaster_pc_2014#comments Anthony Febre case mod computer maximum pc Rig of the Month rig of the month toaster Toaster PC Features Tue, 30 Sep 2014 17:34:54 +0000 Ben Kim 28573 at http://www.maximumpc.com Rig of the Month: Watermod Gold 24k http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_watermod_gold_24k_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><span style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="/files/u162579/10_0.jpg" alt="Gold 24k Perspective" title="Gold 24k Perspective" width="250" height="201" style="float: right;" />Stand back Gucci and Prada, Watermod's latest is a crocodile-skinned masterpiece</span></h3> <p>Last month's <strong><a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_roundup_2014" target="_blank">Rig of the Month</a>&nbsp;</strong>may have been gold and black, but&nbsp;Mathieu Heredia's submission takes it a step further with a high-fashion inspired case mod complete with crocodile skin. Mathieu calls it the Watermod Gold 24k after the case's styling and the name of his <a href="http://www.watermod.net" target="_blank">modding team</a>.</p> <p>It may not be actual crocodile skin, but the gold and black crocodile vinyl covers most of the case's exterior as well as key bits of the interior. The promimant Watermod logo gives it that extra bit of flair that makes it stand right up there with the flashiest of Prada merchandise.&nbsp;</p> <p>Based on the Cooler Master Cosmos SE, the Gold 24k features a rotated motherboard tray to better display the dual GTX 780s packed inside. Mathieu fabricated shrouds to cover the less interesting parts and even custom built a gold-colored front panel. Oh, and did we mention that the side panel is a custom creation? Those gold bolts aren't just for show, they're what keep the side panel affixed to the case along with a pair of hinges.</p> <p>Hidden inside the case is a powerful rig. An Intel Core i7 3970X on an Asus X79 Deluxe with a whopping 32GB of DDR3 Kingston Beast memory, two Kingston HyperX 3K SSDs in Raid 0, and the two Zotac GTX 780s we mentioned earlier. It's all powered by a Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 PSU with the Neptune 280L all-in-one cooling loop for the CPU and matching Prolimatech MK26 Black Edition GPU coolers with customized Corsair Static Pressure fans.</p> <p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;"><em>Have a case mod of your own that you would like to submit to our monthly feature? Make sure to read the rules/tips&nbsp;<a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_roundup_2014" target="_blank">here</a>&nbsp;and email us at&nbsp;<a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none;" href="mailto:mpcrigofthemonth@gmail.com" target="_blank">mpcrigofthemonth@gmail.com</a>&nbsp;with your submissions.</em></p> <p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;"><em>Follow Ben on&nbsp;<a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none;" href="http://twitter.com/benjkim" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none;" href="https://plus.google.com/+BenKimJ/" target="_blank">Google+</a>.</em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_watermod_gold_24k_2014#comments case mod designer gold mod Rig of the Month rig of the month Watermod Watermod Gold 24k Features Wed, 25 Jun 2014 23:17:01 +0000 Ben Kim 28013 at http://www.maximumpc.com Rig of the Month: Black Gold http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_black_gold_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><span style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="/files/u162579/dscf1004.jpg" alt="Black Gold" title="Black Gold" width="250" height="188" style="float: right;" />It’s not black and yellow, but we think we know what it is</span></h3> <p>Some rigs are built to stand out. Others are purely functional with little to no attention given to aesthetics or design. Adam Birli’s Black Gold stands somewhere in between the two extremes. It’s sexy, but understated; flashy, and stealthy at the same time. It’s no <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.maximumpc.com%2Frig_month_orogenesis&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNG-4lKriSzcR3xSwZ-j5KrJaw_E1g" target="_blank">Orogenesis</a>, but it’s beautiful in its own way. Beautiful enough, that it’s worthy of being this month’s <strong><a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.maximumpc.com%2Frig_month_roundup_2014&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNE34so73zghC5WCXZxiQ1btjQCumg" target="_blank">Rig of the Month</a></strong>.</p> <p>For some, the inspiration behind Black Gold will be obvious. Adam even admits that the idea for his rig came from Charles Hardwood’s <a href="http://www.million-dollar-pc.com/systems-2013/murderbox-mkii-gold/murderbox-mk2-gold.htm" target="_blank">Murderbox MK II Gold</a>. The resemblance is undeniable, but we think that Adam has done a great job of imitating and innovating in his own way.</p> <p>Adam says that his overarching goal for the “build was to make a computer so clean that people would stop and think it came from the factory that way.” His initial instinct was to keep the gold highlights to a minimum, but in the end, he was inspired by the splashes of gold in the Asus Z87-DELUXE motherboard and went all-out. Adam painted fans, grills, and PCI brackets gold to match the theme. The attention to detail is obvious; every single cable in the build is sleeved in alternating black and gold and it's all housed in a Corsair Air 540 case.&nbsp;</p> <p>Under the hood, Black Gold is no slouch. In fact, it’s a well-powered machine with an Intel i5-4670K and two Titans. It’s intended to be a showpiece, but Adam says that he wanted to make sure it was fast enough to run a triple monitor setup for racing sims. &nbsp;</p> <p><em>Have a case mod of your own that you would like to submit to our monthly feature? Make sure to read the rules/tips <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_roundup_2014" target="_blank">here</a> and email us at <a href="mailto:mpcrigofthemonth@gmail.com" target="_blank">mpcrigofthemonth@gmail.com</a> with your submissions.</em></p> <p><em>Follow Ben on <a href="http://twitter.com/benjkim" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/+BenKimJ/" target="_blank">Google+</a>.</em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_black_gold_2014#comments Adam Birli black and gold Black Gold case mod maximum pc Rig of the Month rig of the month Features Fri, 23 May 2014 17:14:40 +0000 Ben Kim 27811 at http://www.maximumpc.com How to Create Cool Custom Case Mods http://www.maximumpc.com/how_create_cool_custom_case_mods2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3>Modding tips from the masters</h3> <p>&nbsp;A truly custom computer case is a work of art (See our awesome reader submitted rigs <a title="rig of the month" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_roundup_2014" target="_blank">here</a> for more proof). It is a one-of-a-kind unique statement that stands out among mass-market boxes, and pushes the aesthetic of the creative ‘case mod’ (adapting an existing case with paint and trim) to the edge.</p> <h3><img src="/files/u154082/case_mod_2.png" alt="case mod" title="case mod" width="620" height="277" /></h3> <p>Most importantly, a custom case can be as different as its builder desires. Take the Cor Leonis built by Attila Lukas: Its sleek lines and polished grills are more sports car than computer case. The uber-thin Tenius2 case by Peter Husar is again quite different: Its tall finished wood and black metal shell looks more like a top-end Bang &amp; Olufsen audio component, rather than a PC.&nbsp;</p> <p>Blowing them both out of the water – at least when it comes to radical design -- is Mohamed Metwally’s Project Performer. With its flexed metal robotic legs, hydraulic rams and swivelling machine gun, Metwally’s Project Performer looks like a weapons droid from some futuristic war videogame.</p> <p>Despite the substantial differences between all of these custom cases, they all share some qualities in common. First, each case was built within the limits of each builder’s skills and available tools. Second, each one houses a functioning PC with sufficient room for all components and cooling; plus ways to easily access the controls and I/O jacks as needed. Third, each of these custom cases highlights the particular taste of each builder, and expresses it in a way that demands attention. Here’s how they did it.</p> <h4>Project Performer</h4> <p><img src="/files/u154082/img_1400.jpg" alt="project performer" title="project performer" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p>We start with Mohamed Metwally’s Project Performer; a case whose shape was inspired by “a <span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>pic I saw on the Internet,” he says. Known as “Momed,” Metwally is an accomplished case modder who has won numerous awards (you can see his various creations at <a href="http://www.ModsCases.com" target="_blank">www.ModsCases.com</a>). Motwally started by using the onscreen image to work up a design on paper. He then made the central part of the design large enough to accommodate the guts of a high-powered PC, and scaled all of his other parts from there.</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/img_1276.jpg" alt="project performer paper" title="project performer paper" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p>Despite its apparently complex metal design, Project Performer’s case is actually made from lightweight foamboard. This is a readily available, easy-to-cut material that Matwally was able to fashion into all the parts he needed. He just worked out the design on paper, then cut the foamboard to match his drawings.</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/img_1320_0.jpg" alt="project performer" title="project performer" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p>“I used ½-inch foamboard for the legs, and put it together with hot glue, with strips of wood added for support” he says. This created legs that were stout enough to hold Project Performer up. The rest of the case uses slightly thick 3/16" foamboard, cut into whatever shapes suited Matwally’s design.</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/img_1393.jpg" alt="project performer" title="project performer" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p>The CPU and all other components are housed with Project Performer’s central case, which measures 14x13x5-inches. “I cut the front of the case and added three clear acrylic pieces for showing the hardware inside,” Matwally says. It contains an Intel Core i7 2600K processor, 4GB of G.Skill RAM and two Kingston SSDs. The cooling is achieved using a ThermalTake Water 3.0 Pro Water/Liquid CPU Cooler. &nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/img_1430.jpg" alt="project performer" title="project performer" width="620" height="827" /></p> <p>The upper section was built from foamboard and eight pieces of PVC pipe cut into 7-inch lengths to form the hydraulic rams; again held together by hot glue. Once assembled, Matwally painted Project Performer with gray spray paint, and used an airbrush with black paint to texturize and bring out the details of his 3D design. He added plastic bullets in the units’ side-mounted ‘carrying pockets’, and his case was done.</p> <p><strong>Click the next page to read about the Tenius2.</strong></p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4>Tenius2</h4> <p><img src="/files/u154082/2_0.jpg" alt="Tenius2" title="Tenius2" width="533" height="800" /></p> <p>Peter Husar is another accomplished case builder, as can be seen by his work at <a href="http://www.gtek-computerdesign.com/projects.html" target="_blank">www.gtek-computerdesign.com/projects.html</a>. Unlike Matwally, Husar’s tastes are geared towards the elegant and understated. His PC cases are literally works of art sculpted in fine varnished walnut and hand-brushed, black hard anodized aluminium.</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/hw.jpg" alt="Tenius2" title="Tenius2" width="620" height="413" /></p> <p>Husar’s Tenius2 fits this mold. On the outside, Tenius2 appears to be a tall (2.5 feet), impossibly thin case that could sit discreetly beside a desk, or serve as a media center. Yet it can be packed with a decent amount of firepower. Tenius2's case can hold a Thin-ITX motherboard, a range of CPUs from i3 to i7 with up to 16GB RAM, a dedicated sound card (or TV tuner), an SSD, a full-size HDD and a Blu-ray/DVD optical drive. The motherboard is attached to Tenius2's black aluminum side (the other is aluminium with walnut attached to its exterior) to provide semi-passive cooling.</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/fan1.jpg" alt="Tenius2" title="Tenius2" width="620" height="414" /></p> <p>“The overall design of case was dictated by the components I was planning to use,” says Husar. &nbsp;“For example, the case is less than two inches thick, because it was designed specifically for an Intel Thin-ITX motherboard and Intel cooling solution.”</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/internalsforalex.jpg" alt="Tenius2" title="Tenius2" width="620" height="414" /></p> <p>Husar made the Tenius2 case out of aluminum sheeting. “It's relatively easy to work with, even with a few basic tools like a bench drill, jig saw, tapping kit and screw drives,” he says. “As well aluminum is durable, strong enough for something like a PC case and can be painted easily.”</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/ten3.jpg" alt="Tenius2" title="Tenius2" width="720" height="480" /></p> <p>To get the dimensions right. Peter Husar laid out his components on a large measuring square. Using the dimensions he found there, Husar determined the size and shape of case parts he needed to cut from the aluminum sheeting.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/ten7.jpg" alt="Tenius2" title="Tenius2" width="620" height="413" /></p> <p>“The next stage was manufacturing all of the aluminium parts,” he says. “The easier ones I had laser-cut. The more complicated parts I cut out, machined, drilled and tapped by myself.” Husar tapped (drilled holes into) the case so that he could countersink the screws flush with its exterior surface; both to assemble it cleanly and attach the components on the inside. &nbsp;(The only visible exterior screws are on the back of the case.) He also sanded and brushed the aluminum, before sending them to a finishing shop for black anodizing.</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/ten15.jpg" alt="Tenius2" title="Tenius2" width="620" height="413" /></p> <p>As for the wood? “I bought all of the walnut panels at the right thickness, so I just cut them to sizes I needed, glued them together using high adhesion glue, then sanded them down and finished the walnut with seven layers of clear satin wood lacquer,” says Husar. The finished wood shell was then glued to the appropriate aluminum side panel.</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/ten16.jpg" alt="Tenius2" title="Tenius2" width="620" height="413" /></p> <p>The other side panel serves as the plate onto which all components are bolted. Husar attached the CPU cooler directly to the side panel, adding lots of thermal paste to draw as much heat from the CPU and into the case for passive heat dissipation. Husar also reworked the CPU’s blower so that it blows heat out of the case. “I covered the blower with a custom-made cover to create low pressure chamber, which forces air through the heat sink and out,” he says. “The whole set-up resulted in absolutely quiet operation even under full load.”</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/3.jpg" alt="Tenius2" title="Tenius2" width="533" height="800" /></p> <p>Because he built his case using actual component measurements and layout, Peter Husar had a simple and easy assembly process. Once everything was in place, he hit the ‘On’ button and Tenius2 fired up without a hitch. Loading the O/S and software went without any serious problems. Today, his first Tenius2 runs at 62 C at full load, without any issues.</p> <p><strong>Click the next page to read about the Cor Leonis.</strong></p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4>Cor Leonis</h4> <p><img src="/files/u154082/cor_leonis_2.jpg" alt="cor leonis" title="cor leonis" width="620" height="923" /></p> <p>Of the three cases profiled here, Attila Lukacs’ Cor Leonis (<a href="http://www.stillthinking.com.au" target="_blank">www.stillthinking.com.au</a>) looks the most like a conventional PC case. However, it is anything but: This case was built from the ground up using hand-machined aluminum pieces and sheets, in an attempt to create something as stylish and sleek as a luxury automobile.</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/026_1.jpg" alt="cor leonis" title="cor leonis" width="533" height="800" /></p> <p>“Very basically, I wanted to build a case with super car styling,” Lukacs says. “The original idea was to have a 'flat' shape, with the top opening a la auto hood, to reveal the 'engine' ... Looking at lots and lots of photos of many types of cars, various design ideas were used and adapted to suit my needs. So, in the end, the front and rear grilles, the curving and flared out top, the side panels and the support struts and feet all have the flavor I was looking for.”</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/026.jpg" alt="cor leonis" title="cor leonis" width="620" height="413" /></p> <p>Lukacs has detailed his construction process at forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=204512&amp;viewmode=author. He began by creating a computer-generated layout for his ‘engine’; namely an Intel i7, GTX 480 graphics, 650 watt PSU, 128GB SSD and a 500GB hard drive. From there, he built the case around the computer; designing and specifying every single part that he made from rough aluminum slabs and sheets.</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/028.jpg" alt="cor leonis" title="cor leonis" width="620" height="415" /></p> <p>As the photos show, Attila Lukacs cut, ground/sanded, and polished every element of this PC’s case by hand. This meant that he had to work out every single element of his case beforehand, and then keep comparing his work against that design to ensure that he was indeed making the parts properly.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/090.jpg" alt="cor leonis" title="cor leonis" width="620" height="413" /></p> <p>For folded pieces, Lukacs ground v-shaped grooves in the fold lines, so that the aluminum could be folded by hand. He then assembled the parts as he went along – inside first, then the outside. In some cases, Lukacs sent the metal out for professional; finishing, using black anodizing&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/091.jpg" alt="cor leonis" title="cor leonis" width="620" height="413" /></p> <p>For the gun metal case exterior, Attila Lukacs did everything he could to create a surface worthy of a luxury car’s glasslike skin. To achieve this effect, “body filler was used to smooth everything off,” he says. “The trim is polished aluminium ... Power and reset switches are incorporated into the ‘headlights’ at the top front.”</p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/cor_leonis_4.jpg" alt="cor leonis" title="cor leonis" width="620" height="923" /></p> <p>Clearly, the work involved in making Cor Leonis means that this is not a beginner casemaker’s project. But you can’t argue with the results; Cor Leonis is as smooth and elegant as custom cases come.</p> <h4>The Bottom Line</h4> <p>The three custom cases represent a range of skill levels, with the Project Performer design being the most accessible to case-building newbies.&nbsp;</p> <p>The good news is that custom case building is within the reach of the average computer aficionado, as long as they figure out the component layout and requirements first, and then create enclosures that meet those needs while delivering true ‘Wow!' appeal.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/how_create_cool_custom_case_mods2014#comments attila lukacs Build case mod cor leonis custom how to maximum pc modding Mohamed Metwally peter husar project performer Rig Tenius2 tips News Features Mon, 12 May 2014 22:07:08 +0000 James Careless 27797 at http://www.maximumpc.com Rig of the Month: Orogenesis http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_orogenesis <!--paging_filter--><h3><span style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="/files/u162579/sn852155_small_0.jpg" alt="Orogenesis" title="Orogenesis" width="250" height="188" style="float: right;" />It's heavy, huge, and incredibly handsome</span></h3> <p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">It always impresses us when free time translates into something amazing. Sean Stebor had some free time, and decided to create something different. His vision was for something "bigger than an average ATX case," and something that "would make a statement." Either way, it's badass enough for us to crown it this month's <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_roundup_2014" target="_blank">Rig of the Month</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">Sean calls it Orogenesis after the Greek word 'oros' (mountain) and 'genesis' (creation). His coworkers think 'Thunder-dome' is more fitting—and we're inclined to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHU6K47qgc8" target="_blank">agree</a>. It's made from steel rods welded into 12 mesh-covered pentagons. A motherboard tray from an old ATX case serves as the basis of the computer-portion and after getting all of the parts mounted inside, Orogenesis was complete.</p> <p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;">Each corner of the case is lit with full-spectrum LEDs with cheap plastic tubing serving as an easy way to diffuse the light. One of the pentagons is removable to allow access to the parts inside and a 250mm Rosewill fan keeps air moving across the system.&nbsp;</p> <p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;"><em>Have a case mod of your own that you would like to submit to our monthly feature? Make sure to read the rules/tips <a title="rig rules" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_roundup_2014" target="_blank">here</a> and email us at&nbsp;</em><span style="font-family: Arial, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><em><a title="mpcrigofthemonth@gmail.com" href="mailto:mpcrigofthemonth@gmail.com" target="_blank">mpcrigofthemonth@gmail.com</a>&nbsp;with your submissions.</em></span></span></p> <p style="margin: 0px 0px 10px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: Arial, sans-serif;"><em>Follow Ben on&nbsp;<a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none;" href="http://twitter.com/benjkim" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none;" href="https://plus.google.com/+BenKimJ/" target="_blank">Google+</a>.</em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/rig_month_orogenesis#comments case case mod maximum pc Orogenesis Rig of the Month rig of the month RoTM Sean Stebor Thunderdome Features Wed, 23 Apr 2014 22:50:42 +0000 Ben Kim 27619 at http://www.maximumpc.com Red Harbinger Cross Desk: A PC Desk That Doubles as a Case http://www.maximumpc.com/red_harbinger_cross_desk_pc_desk_doubles_case910 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u46168/meas_side1.png" alt="Red Harbinger Cross Desk" title="Red Harbinger Cross Desk" width="228" height="217" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Inspired by the award winning&nbsp; l3p d3sk case mod, Cross is now available for pre-order</h3> <p>From smartphones to smart TVs, convergence is everywhere. Often, it can even be found in places where we least expect it. Take Red Harbinger’s Cross Desk, for instance. It’s a desk and a PC case rolled into one.</p> <p>Inspired by the <strong><a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/l3p_d3sk_case_mod_not_your_average_computer_desk" target="_blank">l3p d3sk case mod</a></strong> that we covered here a couple of years ago, the Cross Desk has been designed and developed by Red Harbinger, a small outfit that has on board, as its Director of Design, l3p d3sk sire Peter Brands. Red Harbinger was, in fact, conceived with the sole aim of commercialising the Dutchman’s creation. </p> <p>“Our goal with Cross was to bring to market the most ultimate and all-encompassing PC case ever created,” reads a page on the <a href="http://www.redharbinger.com/press/" target="_blank">Red Harbinger website</a>. “The desk itself doubles as the case and completely integrates all hardware, liquid and air cooling systems, lighting systems, and pretty much anything else that you may want to throw at it.”</p> <p>PC enthusiasts from Australia, North America and Europe can now <a href="http://www.redharbinger.com/shop/">pre-order the Cross Desk from the company’s online store</a> and have it delivered to them on November 15. And if they act fast enough, they can snag the Cross for $1,699 instead of the usual $1,999. That’s not all, as Red Harbinger is also offering a number of other goodies with each order: “shelving and headset mount accessories, a limited edition case badge, a certificate of ownership signed by the Red Harbinger team, limited edition artwork of La Croix (the Cross Desk mascot), and tons of perks around the Red Harbinger forums and website at no additional charge.”</p> <p>Here are the Cross Desk’s complete specs:</p> <ul> <li>Material: Steel and Aluminum, Powder Coated</li> <li>PSU Mount: 1 standard</li> <li>Max PSU Mounts: 2*</li> <li>Motherboard Compatibility: mITX, ITX, mATX, ATX, E-ATX†, XL-ATX†, SSI-EEB†, HPTX†</li> <li>Standard Expansion Slots: 8, 10†</li> <li>Maximum Expansion Slots:&nbsp; 8+8*, 10†+8*</li> <li>5.25” Drive Bays: 4 (2×2)</li> <li>3.5” Drive Locations: 8 (left side) + 12 (right side)</li> <li>2.5” Drive Locations: 6 (right side) + 12 (center, hidden)</li> <li>Glass Type: Scratch Resistant, Tempered with Frosted Border, 10mm</li> <li>Front Ports: USB 3.0 x 2, Audio, Mic, 22mm Power and Switch x 2</li> <li>Max Front Ports: USB 3.0 x 4, Audio x 2, Mic x 2, 22mm Power and Switch x 4*</li> <li>Cooling Fan Locations: 120mm x 3 (left), 120mm x 3 (right), 120mm x 8 (back)</li> <li>Radiator capacity: 2 x 480 mm rad (back), 1 x 360 (right), 1 x 360 (left)</li> <li>Physical Dimensions (L x W x H): 59.1” x 28.6” x 30.1” (1502mm x 726mm x 765mm)</li> <li>Package Dimensions (LxWxH): 65″x 33.5″ x 25″ (1650 mm x 850 mm x 635 mm)</li> </ul> <p><em>*Available with the Dual PC upgrade kit&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br />†Available with the XL-Motherboard Kit</em></p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on&nbsp;<a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none;" href="https://plus.google.com/107395408525066230351?rel=author">Google+</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/red_harbinger_cross_desk_pc_desk_doubles_case910#comments Build a PC case mod cooler master 2011 case mod competition Desktop l3p d3sk pc pc case red harbinger News Thu, 22 Aug 2013 02:13:27 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 26165 at http://www.maximumpc.com MyBadOmen's Mass Effect 3 Case Mod Will Rock Your Intergalactic Socks http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/mybadomens_mass_effect_3_case_mod_will_rock_your_intergalactic_socks <!--paging_filter--><p>Usually, just tossing around the words "Mass Effect 3 mod" is enough to get you banned from Origin's multiplayer servers before you can blink a Batarian's eyes. Not in this case; rather than whipping together some modified code to gain XP at an advanced rate, David Lane (a.k.a. MyBadOmen) has instead whipped together a kick-ass ME3-inspired case mod that's sure to send a shiver down the robotic spines of Reapers galaxy-wide.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/me3_mod_big_finish.jpg" width="400" height="509" /></p> <p>Lane based the ME3 mod around a NZXT Switch 810, and its craftsmanship earned him<a href="http://nzxtcorp.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/thanks-to-all-the-modders/"> a shout out from company founder Johnny Hou in a blog post</a>. A bevy of sponsors helped Lane build the Normandy SR2 homage from his fortress of solitude (aka an RV in the woods of New Hampshire), including Plextor, EK Waterblocks and NZXT itself.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/me3_mod_14_big.jpg" width="373" height="535" /></p> <p>The interior keeps up the red, white and black ME3 color scheme with a pair of Powercolor Radeon HD 6970s in Crossfire, red fans, and a red- and white-tinged Fatal1ty Professional Series mobo from ASRock. The liquid coursing through the cooling system is a nice red and white mix, too, while the exterior of the case is a mixture of hand-painting and di-noc carbon fiber sheets. There's even a little Normandy recreation on the liquid cooling reservoir.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/me3_mod_side.jpg" width="523" height="479" /></p> <p>Making this masterpiece took a lot of work. You can retrace David's steps in his <a href="http://www.overclock.net/t/1222200/sponsored-mass-effect-3-nzxt-switch-810-build-log">epic 100 page-plus build log</a>, which thankfully has an index for quickly jumping to specific updates. A few final touches should be posted soon. Like what you see? We've recently <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/modders_toolkit_everything_you_need_make_kick-ass_custom_case_mods">outlined all the tools you need to start modding yourself</a>; David's ME3 build log shows you how to use them.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/me3_mod_reservoir.jpg" width="523" height="519" /></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/mybadomens_mass_effect_3_case_mod_will_rock_your_intergalactic_socks#comments case mod case mods computer modding cool Mass Effect 3 modding News Mon, 09 Jul 2012 18:44:41 +0000 Brad Chacos 23732 at http://www.maximumpc.com Modders Toolkit: Everything You Need to Make Kick-Ass Custom Case Mods http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/modders_toolkit_everything_you_need_make_kick-ass_custom_case_mods <!--paging_filter--><p>If you're in the habit of giving credence to tired clichés, you're probably aware that a good chef never blames a mistake on his tools. That's not quite true when it comes to case modding. Anybody who's ever tried molding metal (or anything else) into newfound shapes knows that skill is definitely a factor, but even Modderati masters can't turn ducks into swans if their tools aren't up to snuff. On the flip side, solid tools can help novices pump out professional-looking mods.</p> <p>But just what tools does a modder need in his toolkit? We're glad you asked. If you found yourself flipping through our <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/pc_pr0n_25_new_kick-ass_case_mods">kick-ass case mods gallery</a> and wondering how you -- yes, <em>you</em> -- could craft such beautiful works with your own hands, this handy-dandy guide will get you going in the right direction. Everything from beginning tools to advanced tools to sources for super-advanced services can be found in this lengthy tome… and most of the basic tools could already be sitting in your garage.</p> <h3>Expert Modders Drop Knowledge Bombs</h3> <p>None of this would have been possible without the help of three Modderati maestros whose innovative builds have been blazing trails and wowing onlookers for years:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/bill_dirt_showdown_0.jpg" width="400" height="497" /></p> <p><strong>Bill Owen of <a href="http://www.mnpctech.com/index.html">Mnpctech</a></strong> rose to fame on the back of his mod-making prowess but he's since expanded Mnpctech into a true resource for case craftsmen, selling tools and custom-made modding accessories. Mnpctech has an extensive series of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/MonsterMawd?feature=watch">video tutorials covering basic modding techniques</a> and Bill's <a href="http://www.mnpctech.com/casemodblog/">Case Mod Blog</a> is a frequently updated resource. Above is the "<a href="http://www.mnpctech.com/casemodblog/2012/06/20/ready-to-race-dirt-showdown-fx-8150-gaming-pc-for-amd-giveaway/">DiRT Showdown</a>" mod he recently made for an AMD giveaway.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/iron_man_4.jpg" width="576" height="324" /></p> <p><strong>Ron Lee Christianson of <a href="http://bluehorsestudios.blogspot.com/">BHSTECH</a></strong> created the <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/iron_man_pc_mod_kicks_bionic_ass_creator_explains_how_it_happened">awesome Iron Man mod</a> that was on display at ThermalTake's booth at Computex. He's currently working on a Captain America-themed mod and provided a lot of the pictures of basic modding tools.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/asphiax_at_at.jpg" width="600" height="364" /></p> <p><strong>Sander van der Velden (a.k.a. <a href="http://asphiax.wordpress.com/">Asphiax</a>)</strong> recently took Tatooine by (sand)storm with his Imperial AT-AT mod. His current work-in-progress, the <a href="http://www.overclock.net/t/1271532/asphiax-venator-class-republic-star-destroyer-scratch-build">VENATOR Class Republic Star Destroyer</a>, is gearing up to be just as impressive. Sander's a scratch build fanatic who dropped a lot of knowledge about advanced techniques.</p> <p>Thanks for the assist, guys. Now on to the show!</p> <h3>Safety First, Kids</h3> <p>Before you pick up your first file or plug in a drill press, make sure you're dressed up in gear that'll keep you safe. Work gloves are a must, as are latex gloves and a respirator if you're working with paint or other chemicals. Doing some heavy machining? Wear some ear plugs. Anti-static straps are a good idea if you're poking around electronics. Then, there are safety glasses, which should be a mainstay on every modder's face.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/smith.wesson.safety.glasses.ansiz87.1_0.jpg" width="450" height="157" /></p> <p>"My most important tool is my safety glasses!" Bill says. His favorite pair is the "stylish and comfortable" Smith and Wesson Elite safety glasses, which <a href="http://www.mnpctech.com/Safetyglasses.html">he sells through Mnpctech</a>. But what if stylish and comfortable isn't your thing? "No matter what brand or type of safety glasses you use, your safety glasses should meet the High Impact level of the ANSI Z87.1+ safety standards."</p> <p>Got it? Good! Now let's crack open this toolkit.</p> <hr /> <h3>Before You Mod: Planning Out Your Build</h3> <p>Most modders recommend formally planning out your build in some way, especially if it requires a lot of precision work. Even a simple drawing on the back of a napkin provides a solid guideline to a basic build. Our Modderati experts go for more intricate planning, however.</p> <p>"A computer program like Adobe Illustrator or <a href="http://sketchup.google.com/">SketchUp</a> is great for R&amp;D to get your ideas on a visual scope before to hit the workbench," Ron says.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/asphiax_audi_idea.jpg" width="550" height="257" /></p> <p>Sander takes a different approach. "I like to build my computers like the Russians built their spacecraft: Trial and error. Try something: if it works, continue, and if it doesn't, go back to the drawing board and start again. That's why I always build a mockup of the object first from MDF or EPS foam to visualize the work I need to do and get paper design impossibilities out of the way."</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/asphiax_concept_build.jpg" width="600" height="409" /></p> <p>Finally, if you're going to be building anything from scratch -- be it a case window or snakes slithering out of a hard drive bay -- decide which materials you'll want to use for the job, as some materials require special tooling. Sander the scratch modder started out using MDF on his wholly custom builds, but has since converted to aluminum, while Ron prefers using ABS styrene plastic for his home-made accents to premade cases.</p> <p>"It's rigid, durable and it'll stand up to much abuse," he explains. "You can sand, drill, shape and mold it to most any shape, and all ranges of paint -- from water based to urethanes -- will adhere to the surface."</p> <p>Acrylic or Plexiglas is another very popular modding material. It's a bit finicky, though; if your saw blade is too coarse or moving too fast, Plexi cracks and melts like nobody's business. Check out this <a href="http://www.bit-tech.net/modding/2008/03/14/a_modders_guide_to_acrylic/1">insanely in-depth article about working with acrylics</a> if there's a new window in your case mod's future.</p> <h3>Basic Tools Do Most Of The Work</h3> <p>"I don't want to discourage up-and-coming modders into thinking that they need a shop full of high end tools and machines to mod," Ron says. "Ninety percent of the Iron Man and Biohazard builds were made from a straight edge, an X-Acto blade and the Dremel multi-tool."</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/dremel.jpg" width="600" height="376" /></p> <p><strong>Rotary tools</strong> are widely considered the most-used tool of the modding trade; they're relatively inexpensive, with swappable accessories that are perfect for drilling, sanding, cutting, polishing and a whole, whole lot more. Most modders love their trusty Dremel -- in fact, "Dremel" is pretty much a verb when it comes to modding -- but it isn't the only rotary tool out there.</p> <p>"Don't be predictable and list Dremel!" Bill Owen says. "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-RTX-6-3-Speed-Accessories/dp/B0001GUDRI">Black &amp; Decker's RTX Rotary Tool</a> is equally as good as Dremel -- for less money -- and it accepts all Dremel brand attachments, including Dremel's #225-01 Flex Shaft Attachment." Don't bother buying a cordless rotary tool, either; Bill says they aren't worth the money. </p> <p><img src="/files/u138055/cordless_drill_0.jpg" width="200" height="208" style="float: right;" />Whether or not your <strong>power drill</strong> -- another must-have case modding tool, perfect for making small, clean holes in computer cases and other things -- needs a cord is up for debate. Some people prefer the consistent, hassle free oomph a cord provides, while others like the flexibility of a battery-powered cordless model. Sander van der Velden falls firmly in the former camp.</p> <p>"(With cordless drills) I always run out of power when I need it and forget to unplug the charging battery, causing it to go lazy," he says. "So I use a wired power tool/screwdriver. Always enough power at your service." Either way, don't forget to buy bits!</p> <p>Here are some other basic, fairly low-cost tools that belong in a modder's toolkit:</p> <p><strong>Squares, straight edges, measuring tape, markers and pencils</strong> - Squares and straight edges are a must-have for lining up straight cuts, while measuring tape and writing utensils to mark measurements off with help with that whole "cutting once" thing. </p> <p>Basic varieties of all of the above will do, but Mnpctech offers an interesting little straight edge called the "<a href="http://www.mnpctech.com/PC_Modder_Ruler.html">PC Modder Ruler</a>." It includes thickness gauges, template locations for both 2.5, 3.5 and 5.25-inch drives, and references and templates for common fan sizes, screw threads, vandal switches, and water cooling barbs and tubes. There's a tap and drill size chart as well as a list of common fraction/metric/inches conversions, too. The ruler's available in either aluminum or an eye-catching copper, though the copper version costs twice as much.</p> <p>Bill sent us one to play around with and we have to say, this handy tool could save modders some time and measurement-related headaches. The amount of information on the 12-inch body is kind of amazing, actually. Plus, it's hefty enough to deter would-be robbers if you swing it at them.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/mnpctech_mod_ruler.jpg" width="400" height="431" /></p> <p><strong>Center punch</strong> - Punches a guiding dent into metal so that your drill bit doesn't jerk around crazily like your Grandma doing the chicken dance.</p> <p><strong>Hand files</strong> - Good for quickly deburring the edges of said cut when you don't want to bust out your rotary tool's sanding attachment, especially in small areas.</p> <p><strong>Hobby knives with miter box</strong> - For fine detail work, nothing beats the precision of small hobby knives. The miter boxes found in many hobby knife sets have carved channels for 45-degree and 90-degree cuts.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/hobby_knife_miter_box.jpg" width="600" height="366" /></p> <p><strong>Glues, hot glue gun, epoxy</strong> - For, um, gluing two things into one thing. Hot glue should be good enough for most things, while Gorilla Glue ensures a more permanent bond. Epoxy is good for gluing plastic to metal. Acrylic glue actually fuses separate pieces of acrylic (like Plexiglas) into a single piece.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/glues.jpg" width="600" height="333" /></p> <p><strong>Table clamps and vises</strong> - These allow you to secure materials to your workbench, ensuring things won't go screwy at the last second when you're making a critical cut.</p> <p><strong>Pliers, screwdrivers, Allen wrenches, normal wrenches, tweezers, etc</strong>. - All the tools you'll need to fiddle around with cases, drive bays and the like. A set of precision screwdrivers is a worthwhile investment as many cases use smaller screws.</p> <p><strong>Wire strippers and cutters and a soldering iron</strong> - Plan on installing LED lights or any other electrical work? You'll almost definitely need these tools. Some Molex tools probably couldn't hurt, either.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/wire_snippers_etc.jpg" width="500" height="375" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Image credit via <a href="http://www.mignonette-game.com/assembly.php">mignonette-game.com</a></em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Tin snips and a nibbler</strong> - Rotary tools are wondrous things, but their rapidly spinning heads cause metal to heat up and possibly warp if you're not careful. Tin snips and nibblers also make solid cuts, only without the thermal effects. Tin snips work as expected; nibblers (both manual and powered version are available) take small, circular bites out of metal and require a starting hole. Both leave cuts that often need to be filed down for smoothness.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/nibbler.jpg" width="542" height="308" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Now on to bigger tools that make bigger cuts!</p> <hr /> <h3>Banging out holes</h3> <p>Whether you're making a new exhaust fan or the open mouth of a fiery demon, poking a hole through a case is almost inevitable during case modding. There are several options available for making said holes, however, starting with a <strong>bi-metal hole saw set</strong>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/hole_saw_and_arbor.png" width="558" height="261" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>Bi-metal hole saw sets are specialized attachments that turn everyday power drills into badass machines capable of cutting holes of various sizes, though you'll need an arbor that fits your drill in order to use them. Most can also be used for cutting wood or plastic. "I use these to cut out fan holes and scratch-build pieces like the arc-reactor on the Iron Man build," Ron says.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/iron_man_6.jpg" width="576" height="324" /></p> <p>That's right -- that badass Arc Reactor above was built using a simple hole saw set. (And some additional techniques, of course.) Bill Owen's actually made a <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wGlWZ24QsE">video guide to using hole saw sets for case modding</a>. He also supplied us with this handy-dandy list of conversions:</p> <ul> <li>80mm = 3-inch hole saw</li> <li>92mm = 3.5-inch hole saw</li> <li>120mm = 4.5-inch hole saw</li> <li>140mm = 5.5-inch hole saw</li> </ul> <p>For fan screw holes, Bill suggests using a <a href="http://roperwhitney.com/punching/2-45.cfm">Roper Whitney No. 5 Jr. Hand Punch</a>. It works fast and comes out clean.</p> <p>If you're super-serious about making clean holes and have a lot of money to throw at modding, Bill recommends investing in <strong>knockout punches</strong>, specifically knockout punches made by Greenlee. "No need to deburr the edges of a hole saw or jigsaw cut anymore!" he says.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/knockout_punch.jpg" width="600" height="371" /></p> <p>Knockout punches use elbow grease and the slow, steady pressure of tightening the punch using a screw to knock holes through metal. Various-sized sets and stand-alone punches can be found online, but be warned: they often cost several hundred dollars. You'll also need a socket wrench to use a knockout punch, and Bill recommends a wrench at least 19 inches long. (It takes a lot of oomph to punch through metal!) He's also made a <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCkKnk6yqbM">video guide for using knockout punches</a>.</p> <p><img src="/files/u138055/drill_press.jpg" width="200" height="278" style="float: right;" />Ultra-precise holes need a <strong>drill press</strong>. Drill presses remove any chance of either the drill or the material shifting, and they also work with the same accessories as a standard drill, including hole saw sets. Small, basic models can be found&nbsp; for less than $100 online.</p> <p>"To make sure the holes are perfectly perpendicular to the material I use a drill press," Sander says. "Not a professional one, but a low end one, which is more than enough for this kind of work. Also, drilling a fan hole into a piece of Plexi is so much easier when you use a drill press as it stabilizes the drill, which stops the blade from biting into the Plexi and causing it to crack."</p> <h3>Cutting Things</h3> <p>Rotary tools are nice, but sometimes their cutting attachments just won't do the trick. When you've got a big, long cut lined up, saws are the best way to go. Modders tend to use band saws and jigsaws. Note that different materials require different cutting speeds and saw tooth density; Plexi requires a slower, finer cut than metals, for example.</p> <p><strong>Bandsaw</strong> - "I find myself using the band saw for long straight cuts into various materials, and use a 14tpi (teeth per inch) blade for most my work," Ron says. He, like most modders, considers the tool a must-have.</p> <p><strong><img src="/files/u138055/black_and_decker_jigsaw.jpg" width="228" height="185" style="float: right;" />Jigsaw</strong> - Jigsaws use thin, fast moving stroke-action blades. A jigsaw can cut straight, sure, but its real advantage lies in its ability to handle curved lines and scrolls as well as its overall versatility; jigsaws work well on almost any case as well as Plexi. They're also much more portable than bandsaws.</p> <p><a href="http://www.proxxon-tools.com/tools/Proxxon-DSH-2-Speed-Fretsaw-240V--783.html"><strong>Proxxon DSH Electrical Fret Saw</strong></a> - Scratch modders take note: "This thing is its weight worth in GOLD!" Sander says. "It's my most used and versatile tool. I use it to cut MDF up to 20mm, Plexi up to 12mm and aluminum up to 10mm.</p> <p>"The blades are detachable so you can drill a hole in a piece of material and saw from the inside. Brilliant for making fan holes, windows, ventilation slots, drive cages and what not. Also, the cuts are straight and clean and I can set two speeds, slow for Plexi and fast for aluminum."</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/proxxon_fretsaw.jpg" width="450" height="295" /></p> <p>We're almost there! The next page has even more advanced tools, links to modding-friendly service providers and some parting words by a couple of our Modderati experts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <h3>Advanced Tools</h3> <p><strong>Sander</strong> - No, not our scratch builder, an actual power sander, which can help you strip the paint off of cases (and other stuff) much faster and more efficiently than sandpaper alone. Lie the case panel flat on the table and let gravity guide the tool to ensure an even finish. Modders on a budget can stick to sanding blocks or sandpaper instead. The higher the grit, the finer the finish, with sub-100 grits working well for rough work like deburring.</p> <p><strong>Airbrush or paint sprayer</strong> - A solid paint job adds a lot to a mod. Paint sprayers are good for flat, solid coats while airbrushes offer a lot more versatility. Check out <a href="http://www.airbrushtutor.com/airbrush-tutorials.php">Airbrush Tutor</a> to brush up on your basic know-how. You'll need an air compressor to go along with a paint sprayer or air gun.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/airbrush.jpg" width="475" height="356" /></p> <p><strong>Hotwire or thermocutting devices</strong> - These sport a heated wire and are normally used for cutting through foam or plastic. Sander uses his <a href="http://www.globalindustrial.com/g/tools/Grinders-Sanders/Foam-Rubber-Cutter/proxxon-thermocutters-foam-plastic">Proxxon Thermocutter</a> "to cut EPS foam down to the right size and get organic shapes out of the blocks. You can bend the wire in any shape you like and it will cut through the foam like a warm knife through butter. Great for making fins or small extensions to whatever you are building."</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/proxxon_thermocutter.jpg" width="400" height="381" /></p> <p>He also uses a smaller hotwire device to create bends in Plexiglas up to 6mm thick. That's thinking outside the box! (If you don't have Sander's budget, a heat gun can accomplish the same thing, albeit with less precision.)</p> <p><strong>Aluminum bending table (a.k.a. a bending break)</strong> - This is <em>waaaaay</em> more than the average modder needs, but Sander just picked one up and he loves it for scratch builds. "It bends 63 cm strips of 1.5mm aluminum with ease and can be used to create almost everything. Custom eye candy that can take a beating!" Under the pic of the bending table is a pic of the VENATOR build's aluminum base.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/aluminum_bending_table.jpg" width="600" height="337" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/venator_aluminum.jpg" width="600" height="337" /></p> <h3>Service Providers For Even More Advanced Techniques</h3> <p>"Sometimes the arsenal of tools the garage won't help, especially when you need to make a truly unique part or creating a scratch built PC," Bill Owen says. "Here are the resources Mnpctech uses and recommends for helping you create a truly custom PC."</p> <p><strong>Karl'z Grafix</strong><br /><a href="http://karlzvinylgrafix.com/">http://karlzvinylgrafix.com/</a> <br />karlz.custom.graphics@gmail.com<br />612-412-1797</p> <p>"When we need specialty graphics made, we contact Karl Maser, at <strong>Karl'z Grafix</strong>. He can make any custom graphic or logo applique we need for PC window or panels. He specializes in small quantity orders and one of a kinds."</p> <p><strong>Custom CNC Machined Parts by Centerline Manufacturing Inc.</strong><br />Chris Croy (President)<br />Chris@CLmanufacturing.com <br />Ph.260-348-7400<br />Fax. 260-693-6356</p> <p><strong>Laser Cutting &amp; Eteching Services</strong><br />803 41st Street North<br />Birmingham, Alabama 35212<br />205-595-7070 FAX 205-595-7021<br /><a href="http://www.lasercuttingservice.net">http://www.lasercuttingservice.net </a></p> <p><strong>E-MachineShop</strong><br /><a href="http://www.emachineshop.com">http://www.emachineshop.com</a></p> <p>"Emachineshop is expensive, but gives you the ability to make any part using injection molding, milling, turning, laser cutting, waterjet cutting, bending. You can download free, easy-to-use software which they can use to design objects ranging from personal computer chassis and car parts to door knobs in metal, plastic or other materials."</p> <h3>Parting words</h3> <p>Whew! That was a lengthy journey. Hopefully you're just a bit wiser for sticking it out this long. If you put any of this knowledge to good use, we'd love if you shared the results in the <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=37&amp;sid=ec18fdb903a61013614f6b05e7bcba38">Modders' Workshop section of our forum</a>.&nbsp; </p> <p>Before we wrap things up, Sander van der Velden (who <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=37&amp;t=115435">showed off his USS Eurisko build in the Modders' Workshop</a>) has some parting words of wisdom:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/eurisko.png" width="576" height="324" /></p> <p>"The best tip I can give a modder is not to try to save on your tools. Good preparation is half the work and good tooling is another quarter of that work. For example, when I started with aluminum building I got my first tap from a DIY market. It cost 10 Euros, including the oil. I almost gave up aluminum modding right there as it needed Superman powers to work it! </p> <p>"The blade was dull, the rattler didn't fit properly and the oil was like glue. I went to a small hardware store and bought some good stuff; 30 Euros in total and it just flew! In the time I did one hole with the old setup I did three with the new one using one finger. So if it's possible, try to borrow good tools instead of buying cheap and useless ones -- you'll be happier for it!"</p> <p>Ron Christianson has something to say about a critical tool, too: "The most important tool is your imagination, any thing that you can dream up can be built. With a little hard work and creativity you can bring your ideas from concept to completion."</p> <p>With that, we bid you happy modding! Want to see more mod-related features here on MPC? Let us know in the comments.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/modders_toolkit_everything_you_need_make_kick-ass_custom_case_mods#comments case mod case mods computer modding diy guide feature features guide Hardware modding tools Features Wed, 27 Jun 2012 21:13:26 +0000 Brad Chacos 23666 at http://www.maximumpc.com This Scratch-Built, Desk-Based PC Mod Looks Great, Runs Cool And Rocks Three Monitors http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/scratch-built_desk-based_pc_mod_looks_great_runs_cool_and_rocks_three_monitors <!--paging_filter--><p>Something about case mods that build a PC into an actual desk are just plain <em>cool</em>. We loved Peter Brands' L3P Desk (featured in our <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/pc_pr0n_25_new_kick-ass_case_mods">kick-ass case mods gallery</a>) and a new mod by Shazim Mohammed continues on in the fine tradition by cramming a water-cooled, plenty powerful PC with a three monitor Eyefinity setup into a desk that was built completely from scratch. It might not be overly flashy, but it's impressive nonetheless.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/desk_mod_1.jpg" width="600" height="391" /></p> <p>The biggest challenge, Mohammed reports, was figuring out a way to get good air flow moving around the MDF-built desk. He enlisted the help of a Tom's Hardware forum-goer and planned a layout that includes three exhaust fans, two intake fans and a liquid cooling setup for the CPU and GPU. The final setup runs at 31 degrees Celcius.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/desk_mod_2.jpg" width="600" height="388" /></p> <p>Speaking of final setups, here's what Mohammed put into his desk, straight from the man himself:</p> <ul> <li><em>Asus Gene&nbsp; IV Motherboard</em></li> <li><em>i5-2500k Processor</em></li> <li><em>Radeon HD 7950 Graphics card with Water Cooling block (EK)</em></li> <li><em>3x Dell UltraSharp (U2312HM) Monitors (in Eyefinity setup) with a modded ergonomic mount.</em></li> <li><em>3x Gelid UV Reactive Green fans</em></li> <li><em>XSPC Raystorm CPU waterblock</em></li> <li><em>XSPC RX360 Radiator</em></li> <li><em>PrimoFlex UV Green tubinh</em></li> <li><em>Swiftech pump</em></li> </ul> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/desk_mod_3.jpg" width="600" height="392" /></p> <p>Head over to <a href="http://www.shazim-mohammad.com/portfolios/pc-deskcase-mod-2012-3/">Mohammed's build log</a> to see tons and tons of both in-progress and finished product pics. Seriously, there are a lot of them: just so you don't think your broadband connection's acting up, we'll warn you in advance that the website takes a long time to load. It's worth the wait, though.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/26/desk-case-pc-mod-ditches-glass-metal-for-wood/">Via Engadget</a> (suprisingly)</em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/scratch-built_desk-based_pc_mod_looks_great_runs_cool_and_rocks_three_monitors#comments case mod case mods cool Hardware News Tue, 26 Jun 2012 18:40:58 +0000 Brad Chacos 23655 at http://www.maximumpc.com Iron Man PC Mod Kicks Bionic Ass, Creator Explains How It Happened http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/iron_man_pc_mod_kicks_bionic_ass_creator_explains_how_it_happened <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u138055/iron_man_small.jpg" width="228" height="223" style="float: right;" />Ron Lee Christianson's known in modderati circles for the outstanding attention to detail in his case mods, and his latest project is no different: the Iron Man PC blows our mind. Commissioned by Thermaltake and built with Thermaltake's new Armor Revo case -- though you'd never know it just by looking at it -- this kick ass case contains the extra touches that make a difference, such as a replica of Iron Man's chest-bound Arc Reactor and a front-facing copy of Iron Man's helm that actually opens and closes. We spoke with Ron about the Iron Man mod and other things over the weekend. </p> <p>He told us that the Iron Man PC, which will show up in Thermaltake's booth at Computex next week, could be just the first of many Marvel-inspired cases; "Thermaltake and I are discussing the entire Avengers line of case mods," he writes. </p> <p>Thermaltake approached Ron with the Iron Man mod idea way back in January. "After discussing design ideas for weeks I got started on the build in early March. The greatest challenge was staying true to Marvel's design of the Iron Man suits and incorporating it into a PC case. I watched the movies over and over as I worked on the build trying to pick up on the fine details and personality of the suits."</p> <p>Ron keeps his skills honed by following the build logs of other in-progress case mods around the Internet. (You can see <a href="http://bluehorsestudios.blogspot.com/2012/03/iron-man-case-mod.html">the build log for the Iron Man PC</a> on Ron's BlueHorseStudios website, complete with a material list and dozens and dozens of pictures.) He also offers some tips and tricks for would-be modders:</p> <p>"The advice I'd give to anyone starting a build is to do a ton of research on your subject matter (and) document your work in work logs and free media outlets like Facebook and Youtube. Everyone has their own skill sets that they feel comfortable in, master those skills and don't be afraid to try new things... Attention to detail is everything."</p> <p>Click through the gallery below to see a bunch of pics of the final Iron Man build and two awesome in-progress pics of the Arc Reactor. More pics can be found in <a href="https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150588162285895.379366.24947585894&amp;type=3&amp;l=dac227452d">the worklog Thermaltake has up on its Facebook page</a>. Speaking of Facebook, if you like what you see, head over to <a href="http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150865248189886.424761.194326094885&amp;type=3">the May edition of Xoxide's "Build of the Month" competition</a>, where Ron's Iron Man PC is one of several finalists vying for the top spot.&nbsp; </p> <p><em>Follow Brad on <a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/114559883172848043224/posts">Google+</a> or <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/BradChacos">Twitter</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/iron_man_pc_mod_kicks_bionic_ass_creator_explains_how_it_happened#comments case mod case mods cool interview iron man thermaltake News Tue, 29 May 2012 17:14:57 +0000 Brad Chacos 23451 at http://www.maximumpc.com Top Case Modders, Manufacturers Collaborate On "John Hanlon Fundraiser PC" For Disabled Mentor http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/top_case_modders_manufacturers_collaborate_john_hanlon_fundraiser_pc_disabled_mentor <!--paging_filter--><p>Members of the case modding community have long looked up to John Hanlon, aka JohnHanlon303, as more than just a friendly face; many consider him a full-fledged mentor. Earlier this year, the community learned that Hanlon suffers from incurable asbestos poisoning that leaves him with 40 percent lung capacity and recently, left him permanently unable to work. Rather than simply sending social media condolences, the modderati, with the help of several sponsors, leaped into action to try and raise funds for Hanlon. The result -- the John Hanlon Fundraiser PC -- went <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&amp;item=320904584933#ht_1101wt_1139">up for auction on eBay this afternoon</a> and looks <em>amazing</em>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/hanlon_pc_big.jpg" width="600" height="595" /></p> <p>Several of the modders whose work was highlighted in our recent <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/pc_pr0n_25_new_kick-ass_case_mods">case mod gallery</a> had a hand in the John Hanlon Fundraiser PC, and members of the Bit-Tech modding forums contributed gear -- including water pumps, fan grills and the Windows 7 OS -- to the build. Zotac, Steel Series, <a href="http://www.xtremecomputing.co.uk/">XtremeComputing.co.uk</a>, Patriot Memory, Paslis, Lutro0 Customs, Prolimatech and Gigabyte all offered up various hardware components, which are housed in a Define R3 Case donated by Fractal Design. <a href="http://www.mnpctech.com/">Mnpctech</a> (of <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/star_trek_pc_boldly_go_where_no_pc_has_gone">Star Trek PC fame</a>) donated several other items and actually built the John Hanlon Fundraiser PC, complete with custom airbrush work by modding maestro Brad Galvin (whose work was highlighted in our <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/custom_cases_30_eye-popping_paint_jobs">eye-popping case mods feature</a>). Richard "DarthBeavis" Surroz of <a href="http://outoftheboxmods.com/">Out of the Box Mods</a> helped with the water cooling installation.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/hanlon_pc_interior.jpg" width="600" height="383" /></p> <p>This one-of-a-kind beaut's stacked with care, love, and all kinds of powerful components, so don't expect it to sell cheap. (In fact, it's already up at $1,025.) If <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&amp;item=320904584933#ht_1101wt_1139">the eBay auction's</a> a bit too rich for your blood, Alex Ftoulis (aka AnGEL) and Masbuskado Modding have also set up <a href="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&amp;hosted_button_id=6MMNWRFWJHJQ8">a Paypal donation fund for Hanlon's benefit</a>. If it isn't, you have 10 days (until May 21) to place a bid.</p> <p>Thirsting for more? Mnpctech's Bill Owen gives a walkthrough of the finished build in the video below, and you can <a href="http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?p=2976270#post2976270">find the worklog here</a>. I won't spam you with stuff like this too often but this one's for a good cause, folks.</p> <p><object style="height: 390px; width: 640px;"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/fcL820qFvPE?version=3&amp;feature=player_embedded" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/fcL820qFvPE?version=3&amp;feature=player_embedded" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always"></embed></object></p> <p><em>Follow Brad on <a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/114559883172848043224/posts">Google+</a> or <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/BradChacos">Twitter</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/top_case_modders_manufacturers_collaborate_john_hanlon_fundraiser_pc_disabled_mentor#comments case mod case mods charity cool donation Hardware mnpctech modder modding News Fri, 11 May 2012 18:55:05 +0000 Brad Chacos 23313 at http://www.maximumpc.com PC Pr0n: 25 New, Kick-Ass Case Mods http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/pc_pr0n_25_new_kick-ass_case_mods <!--paging_filter--><p>A kick-ass case mod makes for a kick-ass PC. It's that simple. No matter whether you're rocking a Sandy Bridge-E or a Celeron, a water-cooled, LED-lit, hand-tailored and custom milled chassis stops traffic and sets lips a-whistlin' like nobody's business, proverbs about books and their covers be damned.</p> <p>The past six months have seen a flood of truly outstanding case mods hit the Interwebz. So we decided to take the time to showcase the best of the best in (mostly) recent memory -- with a little extra help from master modder Bill Owen of <a href="http://www.mnpctech.com/">MNPCTech</a>, <a href="http://www.mnpctech.com/casemodblog/">Case Mod Blog</a>, <a href="http://www.modmenshow.com/">Mod Men</a> and <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/star_trek_pc_boldly_go_where_no_pc_has_gone">Maximum PC Star Trek PC</a> fame.&nbsp; Because who knows the cream of the crop better than one of the cream of the crop?</p> <p>The first 10 mods come hand-picked from Bill himself, while we rounded out the rest of the gallery with even more eye-catching case mods, including six that were chronicled in our very own <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=37">Maximum PC Modder's Workshop forum</a>. Click on a pic to get an expanded view of it, or hit the links underneath the images to see in-progress work logs of the builds. Enjoy the eye candy!</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/pc_pr0n_25_new_kick-ass_case_mods#comments case case mod case mods chassis cool feature features Hardware kick ass kick-ass kickass modder modder's workshop modding Modding Features Thu, 26 Apr 2012 01:01:51 +0000 Brad Chacos 23205 at http://www.maximumpc.com MNPCTECH Creates Awesome Battlefield 3 Case Mod http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/mnpctech_creates_awesome_battlefield_3_case_mod <!--paging_filter--><p>Yeah, some of EA’s recent actions might have some of us scratching our heads, but c’mon – Battlefield 3 is Battlefield 3. You can’t deny that it’s going to be huge. To commemorate the game’s launch on October 25th, Bill Owen and the crew at MNPCTech – the very same folks who made <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/star_trek_pc_boldly_go_where_no_pc_has_gone">the super-spiffy Star Trek PC</a> earlier this year – slapped together a badass BF3 case mod.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u138055/bf3_case_mod.jpg" width="600" height="512" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">You can see a step-by-step log of the build over at <a href="http://www.mnpctech.com/casemodblog/2011/10/04/the-battlefield-3-case-mod/">the Case Mod Blog</a>, but here’s a quick rundown: the guys started with one of Fractal Design’s Arc Mid tower cases, then stripped it down and covered every in of it in camouflage paint – even the interior. They added some recessed handles accented by chrome diamond plate to make it both portable and rugged looking, then got down to the fun stuff. Airbrush master Brad Galvin created a “peeled-back” look on the side of the rig, then painted BF3’s glowing soldier image coming out of it. They then finished things up to using a Dremel to add bullet holes to the acrylic panel on one side of the machine.</p> <p> It came out awesome. Again, check out <a href="http://www.mnpctech.com/casemodblog/2011/10/04/the-battlefield-3-case-mod/">the Case Mod Blog</a> for a ton of step-by-step pics.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/mnpctech_creates_awesome_battlefield_3_case_mod#comments Battlefield 3 case mod case mods custom mnpctech News Wed, 05 Oct 2011 17:19:40 +0000 Brad Chacos 20683 at http://www.maximumpc.com The Star Trek PC: To Boldly Go Where No PC Has Gone Before http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/star_trek_pc_boldly_go_where_no_pc_has_gone <!--paging_filter--><h3>To Boldly Go Where No PC Has Gone Before</h3> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-banner620.jpg" width="620" height="117" /></p> <p>Every year, Maximum PC does outreach at the annual nerdathon known as Comic-Con. For the 2011 convention, we wanted to make a big splash by combining two subjects dear to our hearts: Star Trek and PCs.</p> <p>But just how do you do that? We decided to enlist the aid of MaximumPC.com columnist and former Star Trek writer David Gerrold, creator of the beloved episode "The Trouble with Tribbles." Gerrold's vision of the ultimate PC served as the foundation for our Comic-Con creation.</p> <p>Crafting such a PC wasn't something we could do entirely in-house, though, so we tasked legendary Star Trek designer Michael Okuda with creating a blueprint for the custom case, and we had MNPCTech.com fabricate a machine worthy of representing the best TV series of all time. Read on to learn how it all came together.</p> <h3>Getting the Insides Right</h3> <p><strong>THE MAN WHO BROUGHT US THE TRIBBLE IS ALSO A COMPUTER ENTHUSIAST</strong></p> <p>MaximumPC.com columnist David Gerrold has written more than 50 books, won the coveted Hugo and Nebula awards for science fiction writing, and penned scripts for The Twilight Zone, Sliders, and Babylon 5. Despite his extensive portfolio, David will likely always be remembered as the man who invented the tribble with his script for the original series episode "The Trouble with Tribbles."</p> <p>Given his association with Maximum PC, it stands to reason that David doesn't need just a typewriter on steroids—he wants a badass rig.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u139222/gerroldshatner2.jpg" width="222" height="250" /><br /><strong>A young David Gerrold alongside William Shatner on the set of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.</strong></p> <p>For processor and chipset, David requested Intel's Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz Core i7-2600K using an LGA1155 motherboard. Although David initially seemed like a good candidate for Intel's six-core Core i7-990X, he decided that the better upgrade path of LGA1155 and comparable performance in apps that aren't optimized for six cores was worth the trade-off. This gives him a machine that's compatible with Intel's Ivy Bridge CPUs when they're available early next year. By using a Sandy Bridge part and a Z68 motherboard, David also gets access to Intel's superior native SATA 6Gb/s interface—something the aging LGA1366 platform sorely lacks.</p> <p>David's storage needs were also particular. "I want to run Windows 7 (Professional or Ultimate) as fast as possible. A 240GB SSD looks like the sweet spot to me, but my experience with hard drives is that they fill up fast. I want the largest and fastest SSD that's cost-effective. This is one place where bleeding edge, bragging rights, and overall usefulness are congruent," David said. "Inboard, I want two 3TB hard drives for data storage. I have more than 2TB of music in my collection and another 1TB of video files I'm editing. I'm tired of having them scattered across four or five smaller drives. With the hot-swappable drive bays, I can pop in a 3TB drive and back up/clone each of the inboard drives."</p> <p>To fit those requirements, we grabbed a pair of the same 3TB Seagate 7,200rpm hard drives that we used in this year's Dream Machine (September 2011 issue), along with a 240GB OCZ Vertex 3 SSD.</p> <p>RAM was also an important factor. "Ninety percent of what I do is research, so it's not unusual for me to have over 100 tabs open in Chrome. At the same time, i might be puttering around in Photoshop with six or eight large multilayered files. And I have several Excel spreadsheets I need to refer to during the day, at least three Filemaker Pro databases, and multiple files open in Word. My current machine is a 2.66GHz Core i7-920 with 9GB of RAM, but more than once, this machine has stuttered, hesitated, or simply frozen for a bit while it accessed the page-file on the hard drive," David said. "Obviously, 9GB of RAM is not enough and I suspect I could fill up 12GB just as easily. Ideally, I'd shoot for at least 16GB of the fastest RAM I could find—more if possible. There's no such thing as too much RAM. My ideal is to max out the motherboard."</p> <p>For the LGA1155 platform, the max today is 16GB, simply because no one (at press time) was producing 8GB DIMMs that aren't registered. Elsewhere in the rig, we opted to install a single GeForce GTX 580 instead of a GTX 590 (for thermal reasons), and a Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty Titanium to run David's 5.1 audio system. But what about the case?</p> <p>"So when I accepted this challenge/invitation, I said that this dream machine ought to look like it belongs on the Enterprise. It should evoke that same sense of simple but futuristic design, like the classic tricorder. For me, the original series is the real Star Trek. That's the starship I grew up on."</p> <h3>Conceiving the Star Trek Look and Feel</h3> <p><strong>LEGENDARY GRAPHIC DESIGNER MICHAEL OKUDA CREATED A CASE THAT'S 'TRICORDER CHIC'</strong></p> <p>Once we nailed down our hardware, we needed a proper enclosure for David's Star Trek-themed PC. We decided to mod a stock case to fit our needs, and we tapped graphic designer Michael Okuda to conceive it. Okuda wore many hats during his tenure with Star Trek, including lead graphic designer and technical consultant to the staff, but he's probably best known for his work creating the LCARS computer interface on Star Trek: The Next Generation.</p> <p>After accepting the task, Okuda said he started roughing out a few different designs, which he ultimately trashed because they started looking like big Star Trek toys.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-schematic-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-schematic-620.jpg" width="620" height="388" /></a><br /><strong>The original sketch (not shown) called for a slot-fed optical drive and twin video screens to mimic the tricorder's look and feel, but deadlines and budget constraints quashed those plans.</strong></p> <p>"At a certain point, I thought 'this isn't doing Star Trek a service,'" Okuda said. Okuda never worked on the original series, but it's always held a special place in his heart. He grew up watching the show and admired the "genius" designs of Star Trek's original art director Matt Jefferies. Taking inspiration from the original tricorder, Okuda decided to apply a similar look and feel to the PC. That didn't mean just plastering Trek artifacts on the case, though.</p> <p>"There's elegance to what Jefferies did. He didn't cram every surface with details. There are accents and nice, smooth things to offset the busier areas. That gave his work a wonderful sense of functionality that I'm hoping comes across in the tricorder chic case."</p> <p>With his extensive production work on the Star Trek movies and all of the Star Trek sequel series, Okuda is all too familiar with the constraints of budgets and deadlines. That meant some design ideas had to go out the airlock. On top of the case, for instance, Okuda wanted to embed two functional touch screens that used Star Trek GUIs from the original show. But those fell by the wayside for practical reasons, as someone would have had to write the custom interface software from scratch. The original design also didn't anticipate the cooling needs of a modern PC, so a newer design featured a mesh grill in front.</p> <p>Since the PC was intended to showcase David Gerrold's most famous work for Star Trek, we requested that a tribble-bearing compartment be added.</p> <p>"I think the final vision does capture the spirit of Matt's original design. I hope it's something that David can look at and say it's a throwback to something that he's proud of."</p> <hr /> <h3>Taking It From Blueprint to Build</h3> <p><strong>MNPCTECH.COM, CREATORS OF THE WEB SERIES MOD MEN, SEEMED LIKE THE PERFECT CHOICE FOR TURNING OKUDA'S DESIGN INTO A FUNCTIONAL ENCLOSURE</strong></p> <p>To pull together David Gerrold's dream specs and Michael Okuda's enclosure design, Maximum PC turned to a professional mod shop. Bill Owen and his team at MNPCTech.com have been producing some of the coolest PC mods in their Minneapolis, Minnesota shop for more than 10 years. MNPCTech can do it all: mill it, paint it, design it—you name it. Some of the shop's mods are out-of-this-world impressive, but the Star Trek-themed PC presented particular challenges for the guys.</p> <p>"Given the short time frame we had in which to make two identical cases for Comic-Con, my biggest concern was making sure everything fit perfectly the first time, since there was no time to order material if we goofed," Owen said. Why two? We needed one to grace David Gerrold's man cave and the other to give away at Comic-Con. So they had to be functional and exactly the same, too.</p> <p>To fit our time and budget constraints, MNPCTech decided to mod an existing case—a LanCool PC-K58—rather than fashion an entire enclosure from scratch. The two cases took more than 150 hours to build, including the 3D modeling of the 25 individual parts used in each build. Our photo montage represents just a fraction of the work that went into the case.</p> <div style="float: left; width: 192px; margin: 15px 10px 15px auto;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build1-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build1-small.jpg" width="190" height="142" /></a><br />The massive H-frame that went into the case's front bezel was milled out of a solid 1.5-inch billet of 6061 aluminum. That makes the case a beast. Empty, it weighs 70 pounds.</div> <div style="float: left; width: 192px; margin: 15px 10px;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build2-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build2-small.jpg" width="190" height="142" /></a><br />The side bezel was also constructed out of a billet of 6061 aluminum. In fact, Owen said they had never used so much aluminum in a PC mod before.</div> <div style="float: left; width: 192px; margin: 15px auto 15px 10px;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build3-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build3-small.jpg" width="190" height="142" /></a><br />The smoked side windows were custom cut out of 1/8-inch-thick opaque red acrylic and 1/8-inch-thick gray cast acrylic. These were layered with the aluminum and the factory side panel.</div> <div style="float: left; width: 192px; clear: both; margin: 15px 10px 15px auto;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build4-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build4-small.jpg" width="190" height="142" /></a><br />The front grill was made with Modders' Mesh, which is 22-gauge perforated steel, and an Enterprise assignment patch was attached to the front. The mesh is functional—and retro, too.</div> <div style="float: left; width: 192px; margin: 15px 10px;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build5-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build5-small.jpg" width="190" height="142" /></a><br />The stock LanCool PC-K58's feet were removed in favor of beefier and cooler-looking machined case feet. The feet weren't custom made for this build, but are standard mod accessories.</div> <div style="float: left; width: 192px; margin: 15px auto 15px 10px;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build6-big.png" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build6-small.png" width="190" height="142" /></a><br />With the sides and front attached, the Star Trek-themed PC starts to take shape. This shot also gives you an idea of how much work and aluminum went into just one of the computers.</div> <div style="float: left; width: 192px; clear: both; margin: 15px 10px 15px auto;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build7-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build7-small.jpg" width="190" height="142" /></a><br />To class up the LanCool's internals, Owen integrated a Lian-Li toolless PCI holder into the design. The matte black slot covers were jazzed up by painting them a glossy red.</div> <div style="float: left; width: 192px; margin: 15px 10px;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build8-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build8-small.jpg" width="190" height="142" /></a><br />David requested a media reader in the machine, so a SilverStone FP34S was integrated into the case. It's mounted in the aluminum and placed at an angle.</div> <div style="float: left; width: 192px; margin: 15px auto 15px 10px;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build9-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build9-small.jpg" width="190" height="142" /></a><br />An aluminum compartment was milled out to house miniature tribbles for Comic-Con, but it can obviously be used to store PC detritus instead.</div> <div style="float: left; width: 192px; clear: both; margin: 15px 10px 15px auto;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build10-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build10-small.jpg" width="190" height="142" /></a><br />Like most of the case, chunks of aluminum were cut out and hand-sculpted or filed to create most of the latches and starship assignment patches.</div> <div style="float: left; width: 192px; margin: 15px 10px;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build11-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build11-small.jpg" width="190" height="142" /></a><br />The front panel sports a Bulgin orange-dot vandal-resistant power switch and a Sentey fan controller. The original plan of dual video screens got shelved for budgetary and deadline issues.</div> <div style="float: left; width: 192px; margin: 15px auto 15px 10px;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build12-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build12-small.jpg" width="190" height="142" /></a><br />A silhouette of the iconic USS Enterprise, NCC-1701—no bloody A, B, C, D, or E—was cut into aluminum, painted black, and layered over additional aluminum. Yes, there is a deflector dish, too.</div> <div style="float: left; width: 192px; clear: both; margin: 15px 10px 15px auto;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build13-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build13-small.jpg" width="190" height="142" /></a><br />When on, the Yate Loon fan gives a nice blue accent to the Enterprise assignment patches, which, in the 2250s, were specific to particular starships and not used fleetwide, as they would be decades later.</div> <div style="float: left; width: 192px; margin: 15px 10px;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build14-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build14-small.jpg" width="190" height="142" /></a><br />Two MB877Sk-B Icy Docks get the storage job done. Both are active-cooled and don't require the use of a tray to hold the hard drive.</div> <div style="float: left; width: 192px; margin: 15px auto 15px 10px;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build15-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-build15-small.jpg" width="190" height="142" /></a><br />The final touch: David Gerrold's signature was digitized and cut into an aluminum plate that was added to the front of the machine.</div> <h3 style="clear:both;">Behold: The Tricorder Chic PC!</h3> <p><strong>BEAMED STRAIGHT FROM THE 23RD CENTURY, THIS BABY IS FAST, FUNCTIONAL, AND RETRO-FUTURISTIC</strong><br /><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-guts-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-guts-small.jpg" width="332" height="350" style="float:left; margin-right: 10px;" /></a></p> <ol> <li><strong>16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3/1333</strong><br />If we could have found 8GB unregistered DIMMs we would have run those, but the next best thing is 16GB of RAM using four sets of 4GB DIMMs.</li> <li><strong>Asus P8Z68 Deluxe</strong><br />The LGA1155 socket gives us the best bang-for-the-buck processor available today and offers an upgrade path to Intel's 22nm chips with 3D transistors due out next year.</li> <li><strong>EVGA GeForce GTX 580 Superclocked</strong><br />We passed on the hotter GeForce GTX 590, since the machine will be primarily run in a warm environment and we had concerns about thermal issues on summer days.</li> <li><strong>OCZ Vertex 3</strong><br />OCZ's Vertex 3 is among the fastest SSDs using the second-gen SandForce controller available today. We actually configured the machine using Intel's SSD caching since David didn't want to live on a meager 240GB of storage space for his primary boot drive. That leaves 176GB for games and programs.</li> <li><strong>3TB Seagate Barracuda XT</strong><br />One of the 3TB drives is used for boot, with a big performance boost from Intel's Smart Response Technology SSD caching. The other is for backups of the first drive. The two hot-swap bays, believe it or not, are for additional backups and storage.</li> </ol> <p style="text-align:center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u139222/startrekpc-ext-big.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u139222/startrekpc-ext-480.jpg" width="547" height="480" /></a></p> <div class="module red-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Specifications</span><br /> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table red"> <table style="width: 690px; height: 171px;" border="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">CASE</td> <td class="item-light">Custom-modded LanCool PC-K58</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">MOTHERBOARD</td> <td class="item-light">Asus P8Z68 Deluxe</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">CPU</td> <td class="item-light">Intel 3.4GHz Core i7-2600K</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">COOLER</td> <td class="item-light">Cooler Master Hyper 212-Plus</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">RAM</td> <td class="item-light">16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3/1333</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">GPU</td> <td class="item-light">EVGA GeForce GTX 580 Superclocked</td> </tr> <tr> <td>SSD</td> <td>240GB OCZ Vertex 3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>ODD</td> <td>LG WH12LS30</td> </tr> <tr> <td>HDD</td> <td>Two 3TB Seagate Barracuda XT</td> </tr> <tr> <td>DRIVE DOCKS</td> <td>Two Icy Dock MB 877SK-B</td> </tr> <tr> <td>PSU</td> <td>Corsair TX850</td> </tr> <tr> <td>SOUNDCARD</td> <td>Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty</td> </tr> <tr> <td>OS</td> <td>64-bit Windows 7 Professional</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> </div> </div> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/star_trek_pc_boldly_go_where_no_pc_has_gone#comments Build case mod custom pc mnpctech Star Trek 2011 November 2011 Systems From the Magazine Features Mon, 26 Sep 2011 20:31:36 +0000 Gordon Mah Ung and Nathan Edwards 20326 at http://www.maximumpc.com