Cheap case reborn

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
Thanks for checking out this worklog, just wanted to document what ive done in case it helps someone answer a question or get and idea for their own project.

My last PC was a typical ATX type housed in the great antec 900 case. Good airflow and plenty of room for everything i needed, but the case was very big and after looking at the other mATX projects here I decided I could build the PC I needed in a much smaller package

So step 1 was to get a list of parts including the case. I picked a cheap mATX case from Gigabyte, its called the GZ-M1. Didnt want to start experimenting on a 100euro case and find out I need to go back to standard ATX

here's the case
http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=341864


The PC will be for gaming and general use and will be located in the living room where it needs to be silent enough to watch movies on. Ill go into sound reduction later on.

So bought the mobo: Gigabyte GA-33m S2L
and a Saphire HD4850, OCZ 550watt psu
reused my core2 duo E6300, 2Gb cruical value DDR2, and samsung 500gb hdd
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
Onto modifying the case.
The airflow had to be changed to cool the components so the plan is to install 2 120mm fans on the front of the case. I dont want them to be seen so they are being installed on the metal chassis and using the sides of the front plastic cover for air intakes. This should leave a nice clean front to the case.

here is the case being taken apart into every individual part:


this idea for a single intake fan was scrapped in favour of two





Now ready for cutting and paintingThe 3.5" caddy was in the way of the airflow so the hard drives will be mounted in the 5.5" slots, this also allows me to test an anti vibration damper to mount them and hopefully reduce noise
http://specialtech.co.uk/spshop/customer/product.php?productid=6041&cat=413&page=1
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
A dremel was used to cut out the hdd caddy, the lowest caddy was screwed on so it was easy to remove. Then the front of the chassis got some work to fit the two 120mm fans. These were mounted with cable ties just to see if they were any good at the job, they work fine so no metal adaptor was needed to be fabricated

The case front/back/mobotray were then pop rivetted back together

Then with all the cutting out of the way it was time for painting. The black was just too normal so I got some aerosol cans of automotive paint. The clour was a graphite metallic which turned out just as I had hoped.

here is the bare chassis after all the work:



the front pic gives a good idea of the straight forward airflow and the space for the two hdds.

Since there will not be any room for an optical drive when both hdds are installed a different approach had to be used: A slim slot loading dvd burner was the solution, it is a sony/nec 7633A drive with lablefish. It is just the right size to mount at the very top of the case above the hdds. Here is a link for the drive

http://specialtech.co.uk/spshop/customer/product.php?productid=6613&cat=64&page=1

but they are out of stock so it will be next week before I can order it:(:(:(:(


Next post will be installing the hardware and making sure everything fits.............
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
Thanks for the comments guys

Started installing the hardware and here's a pic of the new motherboard in place:



Then installed the geforce 7900gt, and all the other bits and installed a fresh copy of Vista.
This is my first time using vista and so far im very happy with it, it is a slimed down version that has alot of the crap removed. Dont see myself using XP anymore.
When I have time I will be installing ubuntu for everyday use(internet, movies) and having vista for playing games



The case still doesnt have the side panel installed and everest is showing cpu and gpu temps under 50degrees celcius



My normal dvd drive is being used untill the slim one is ordered

Next part to go under the dremel is the front of the case. Firstly I cut away the plastic that housed the usb and audio ports behind the silver door at the bottom of the case. This made an extra place for air to be sucked in to the lower fan. Then the two external 3.5" bay covers were flushed using car body filler. When this was allowed to dry and sanded correctly it is like they never existed.



As I dont know what to do with the 5.5" bay covers yet, they are being left alone till later. The power switch was then removed and the clear plastic around it was masked off prior to painting. A quick spray of satin black paint sorted the front panel untill the final finish will be applied

Going loading my software and playing with vista tonite so I hope to get more of the case sorted tommorow.............stay tuned
 

colinstu

2[H]4U
Joined
Oct 11, 2007
Messages
3,563
Looking very nice! Nice paint job and looks sweet with that little gigabyte board.

And OC options for that CPU? (333x7?)
 

illuminate

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
1,895
The motherboard looks great!

One thing i would do differently is get some black sata cables, or paint those black so that really only the MOBO and fans glow/stand out. That would be beast in my mind.
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
The best thing about the board is when a UV light shines on it some of the sockets glow.

Will be checking what OC the syetm can handle when everything is installed and running right.

Thanks for the feedback on sata cables`illuminate`, i have black ones ordered with 90degree bends to tidy things up. Cable management will be a top priority when all the hardware is in.

Got the new GPU today, saphire radeon HD4850, its got the custom board and cooler so its slightly shorter than reference designs. This will take away any worries of getting at the sata ports when the card is in place


Having BSOD problems with the ATi card, memory dump issues. So going to spend some time getting this working,
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
ok so here is the harddrive adaptor in place, it holds two drives and has rubber dampers to stop vibrations, havent heard the drive since so i think it works well.



the air intakes for the front fans were made larger so more air can get sucked into the case, the front panel had air holes 1cm long in three grooves, these are on the side of the panel. I used a dremel to cut out most of the middle groove and doubled the size(2cm) of the outside grooves. Check out the pic to see what it looks like. The pic also shows the air hole hade behind the silver cover




One part of any computer I think could look better is the back of the graphics card, Its one of the most visible parts but the front side with the fancy heatsinks and fans is rarely seen. So I cut some black cardboard to the size of the card and stuck a pic of 'ruby' onto it. Maybe if the ATi logo is added above ruby it will give it a more finished feel

 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
Now that things are coming together lets get on with making that core 2 duo e6300 start sweating.

The fan was put back onto the cpu heatsink, an artic cooler 'frrezer 7 pro'. Temps dropped straight away as expected. So with a multiplier of 7 and FSB of 429 the cpu now runs at 3Ghz instead of 1.8Ghz. The Vcore was raised to 1.36volts and a slight increase of Vmem

Thats good news for me cause it means I wont have to buy a new cpu to cope with the 4850;);););)

Here the proof:
 

Power5

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 28, 2008
Messages
453
Why not turn the CPU HS and add a fan on the back, then the air will flow in the front straight through the CPU HS and out the rear exhaust. Your only exhaust at the moment is the PSU.
Sweet mod though. I would like a smaller case than the Antec 900 as well. Its a bit loud as well. What rocket dock is that?
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
power5 - Thats what id like to do but I must find a quiet 80mm fan first. I was hoping to use as little fans as possible so I can watch movies and not have the noise annoying me. If I wasnt overclocking I'd leave the cpu heatsink passive and let the psu exhaust the hot air. I know this is putting pressure on the psu but its a decent quality and still isnt audible when the fan is at full whack

The only other option is to make a large hole at the back of the case behind the cpu so the cpu fan will just blow the hot air out. That gets rid of the need for an exhaust fan and since air is moving out the hole there shouldnt be a problem with dust coming in.



officermartinez - Your dell was the first mod I saw on this forum, I really like your work. Seeing that case work out so well is what made me want to move to a smaller form factor and got me moving on this project..........so thanks!



Going ordering the new slim dvd drive today, the NEC one I wanted still isnt in stock so Im going with this one:
http://specialtech.co.uk/spshop/customer/product.php?productid=4974&cat=777&page=1
Anything I buy from samsung these days turns out to be a great product so I've no problem trying this.

Im also going to get a passive heatsink for the gpu, its the 'artic cooling accelero S2'
http://specialtech.co.uk/spshop/customer/product.php?productid=3939
It should just fit my case and hopefully there is enough airflow to keep it cool. Currently the gpu fan is the loudest part of the build so if that fan is taken out I might have the quiet system I want
 

illuminate

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 24, 2007
Messages
1,895
Thanks for the feedback on sata cables`illuminate`, i have black ones ordered with 90degree bends to tidy things up. Cable management will be a top priority when all the hardware is in.

Good man!! Cables are very very important! I'm excited to see the 100% finished product!!!!
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
A package arrived lastnite with some new parts to get things finished. The laptop dvd-rom is tiny!!! Here's a pic of it beside a normal sized drive:

Mounting it will take some imagination so I'll try and get it done over the weekend.

The fan controller is a great addition, there are only 2 fan headers on this mobo. Now I wont have to worry about that , also you have the option of 3 voltages to connect the fans to which is great to control noise. The cables for the fans can now be moved out of site to make the build even cleaner


Last but not least is the GPU heatsink

another step closer to a quiet pc

Now with the old dvd-rom out of the way I can use both HDD's, here they are mounted in the bracket, looks cool in my opinion anyway


Have to head to Dublin for a concert so it might be monday before anything gets installed and tested.
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
ok sorry for the late update, i have bad news to start off with, the wrong VGA cooler was ordered. I needed an artic cooling accelero S1 rev2 but I got the S2 cooler.
So I have to wait to see if I can replce it or Ill just sell it on ebay or something.

The DVD drive is physically installed, im still waiting on the IDE to E-IDE adaptor but there are the pics showing how I mounted it.


A piece of mild steel I had lying around the shed, I think it used to be a part of an old electric heater. Thats the cheapo dremel I use on the light cutting jobs.


Cut to the right lenght and sides folded over. A little padding was used to cusion the drive and stop any vibrations. One side of the drive has a step on it so its shallower than the main part of the unit, there wasnt a place for any screws there so instead I folded over a piece of the side of the mount to make a tab the drive can rest on


Voila!! A slot loading laptop drive mounted in its new desktop home, now just to connect it to the motherboard. The dremel was used to cut a slot in the drive bay cover for the disk to slide in. The eject button is right against the front cover and by pushing the cover it flexes enough to activtate the button and eject the disc.
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
I managed to get a day off work today so I can spend a little time on this. The plan is to mount the fan controller in its final location, it has to be out of view when the side panel is in place but still be accessible to change the fan connections. Check back later.

I wanted to add a memory card reader to make life a bit easier when adding photos etc from different cameras but dont know where to put it. I was going to mount it on the back of the case with the card slots facing the side of the case. The case is so small between the psu exhaust, cpu exhaust and PCI slots there isnt enough room on the back. So unless I think of something better today I might just leave it loose next to the computer



If anyone reading has a good idea dont hesitate to make a suggestion!!!!!!!!!!

Better order that vga cooler today so things dont get held up to much longer:mad::mad::mad:
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
Another part stashed away, here a pic of the fan controller in place. Its a tight fit but some double-sided tape is holding it in place. And the best part is its easy to change the fan plugs. The grey plastic holder covering the pcb has been painted black with a permenant marker to help it blend in a little better




Got an idea to cut a port hole in the bottom of the case and have a fan blowing air out the case taking heat away from the vga card. If it was right in front of the centre of the heatsink there should never be a problem with the vga card getting too hot. I'll wait till the new passive heatsink arrives and determine its temps before doing any cutting
 

The Jinx

Weaksauce
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
113
I like what I see, i plan to do a little case mod to a cheap gigabyte case i picked up at my local Microcenter as well. I like to see where the rest of this goes.
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
The local motor factors has run out of the paint I was using, been waiting about 3 weeks for it to come into stock again, disaster

If they dont get it soon I'll have to change to colour of the exterior of the case

The side panel now has a nice perspex window but I'll wait to take a pic of it untill everthing is painted and looking sweet
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
@darkz179 - I only used those aerosol spray paints you buy to do patch work on your car, cheap and cheerfull. Didnt use any primer cause the case had the factory paintjob. Just a quick sand to smooth it all down and give the new paint something to grip too.
 

PedroDaGr8

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Messages
489
Is there enough room to mount it below the slot loading drive (maybe if you removed the plastic case of the card reader)?

Just a thought.
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
@pedroDaGr8 - its a little to tight to fit it in there, good idea though. Im not bothered about it to much as I've had to use the memory card reader in ther girlfriends laptop so its handy to have it mobile for such occasions.

I got a can of the paint but unfortunatly my girlfriend knocked it off the table and the nozzel broke. Got the shop to ring for more paint and found out its not been made anymore!!!!!
So I'm going painting the outside of the case in a different colour and leaving the inside the way it is.

At last... here are the final pics, dont have the aftermarket passive GPU cooler yet as its tied up in the RMA process. Im really happy with how it has turned out, the case is clean looking from the outside and very tidy when viewed through the side window.
The temps are good, and the loudest part of the system is def the GPU. The front fans are only running on 7volts so they are barely audible. The blue LED around the power switch shows hard drive activity.













Thanks for all the helpfull comments along they way!!!

Its been an enjoyable experience building this system, and just shows that a little time and effort can help you get the case you want for a small amount of money. I hope everyone likes the final build
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
I got the accelero S1 rev2 back from specialtech just before christmas. I tought the RMA would take longer so thanks for the fast response!

Here is the cooler before installation


The 4850 with the stock cooler removed


GPU cleaned and ram heatsinks in place, they came in the package. I didnt replace the saphire voltage heatsinks as they looked well up for the job.


Heatsink installed



And finally its in the case


The loudest source of noise in the system has been removed!!!! Passive heatsinks really are great for a pc you watch movies on. The idle temp of the card are actually lower now and the cpu temps are lower by 1-2 degrees, this must be due to the better airflow through the case.
I will post full load temps tomorrow but after playing UT3 for a while the gpu temp was 47degrees. Thats not bad for a 4850 that doesnt have a fan attached. The intake fans are still on 7 volts so theres plenty room for more cooling
 

Elledan

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - April 2010
Joined
Oct 18, 2001
Messages
15,885
That's one huge GPU cooler. And I thought that the passive Zalman GPU cooler I used once was big :p
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
Its been a while since I did anything to this case, had been busy experimenting with 'project reservoir'. The original side panel has been removed because the window on the panel was touching the new gpu heatsink. Since I had some acrylic left over from previous work I decided to make the whole side panel from it. This opened up more ways to make the most of the little room in the case.

I wanted to add another hard drive that was lying around, a Maxtor diamondmax9 (so much louder than the newer samsung500GB). The was plenty room for it beside the intake fans, so brackets were made to hold the drive and these were then bolted onto the new side panel.

Take a look at the pics and let me know what ye think,






Mr Fibble was right when he said the heatsink looks nicer without the plastic cover.
Still have a few ideas floating around as to making the case look nicer so I'll update when they happen.
The maxtor drive is running win7 and I'm really starting to like it, damn I never tought I'd say that about microsoft, sorry ubuntu!!!
 
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