Topic Title: Project: Stockpile
Topic Summary: here we go again...
Created On: 09/24/2012 09:16 PM
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 09/24/2012 09:16 PM
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Mime
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I have a laptop, an HTPC, and a desktop gaming PC.  I don't need a NAS/media server, but lets build one anyway.

My previous project was a departure for me since it took place in and around a mid-tower case.  All of my previous desktops in recent years had lived in small form factor cases.  I've had both over the years, but when it came time to upgrade I always came back around to something shoe-boxed inspired by Shuttle, Silverstone, Lian Li, and others.  Suffice it to say, I'm no stranger to small form factor systems, and when Bitfenix released the Prodigy I was a goner.

Working in a bad small form factor case makes you think it must have been designed by the Marquis de Sade, but working in a good one is a beautiful thing.  Another project might help with that rusty feeling I had throughout the last one.  Like any geek I have plenty of spare parts from past upgrades, and this machine wouldn't need high powered hardware anyway.  I also have spare materials left over from previous projects.  In addition to being awesome this machine could be relatively cheap as well.  Those are all the things I told myself.  Honestly, I just wanted one.  I wonder if this is how those people who stand in line for iPhones feel.  Hmmm...


In person, I'm still a goner.



The grill inset into the top of the case comes right out after unlocking it.  Into the spare parts pile it goes... time to take it apart and see for myself how things are put together.

Much of the case is put together with screws instead of rivets which makes it totally modder-friendly.

Look away kids.  It's nekked!



Despite the case being awesome overall, these plastic mounting brackets were kind of a disappointment.  You can see here after about 5 minutes of tinkering I had already snapped off one of the little plastic tabs.  I was also sure they wouldn't do good things for noise and vibration once I had filled these cages with hard drives that were spinning away.  Fortunately, that was an easy problem to fix.

The 5.25" drive bays and both fans join the plastic mounting brackets in the spare parts pile.  The upper drive cage remains for later hackery.

I dub thee: Stockpile.



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 09/28/2012 10:37 PM
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Mime
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Now that I had the case, I had to decide on the hardware to go in it.

New stuff:

Motherboard + CPU:
Asus C60M1-I

Memory:
2 x 4GB Corsair Vengeance

Storage:
2 x 2TB Seagate Barracuda Green

Power Supply:
Mini-Box picoPSU-160-XT

Other stuff:

Storage:
2 x 320GB Samsung Spinpoint F4... swiped from the desktop.

Display:
Lilliput 869GL-80NP/C/T-HB 8" Touch Screen monitor... Yes I had a spare touch screen. 

Power Supply:
144W 12V power brick... I didn’t know I had this, but I did, so I used it.

This machine could probably function just as well without a monitor, but I had an idea for it, and I wanted to use it in something.  With the innards decided on, fabrication begins...

The handles on the bottom also were consigned to the spare parts pile.  They made the case a little wobbly, so off they went.



I filled the mounting holes and sanded it flush, then drilled a few holes for replacement case feet I had in the spare parts bin.  I spent some time ogling the case feet available at MNPCTech, but I couldn't bring myself to spend $30 on feet.

Next was to modify the upper drive cage after ditching the plastic mounting brackets that came with the Prodigy along with other bits and pieces.

Step 1: Drill holes.
Step 2: Apply rubber washers to help dampen vibration(also from the spare parts bin).



Step 3: Finish with hex cap nuts when done.

Step 4: Paint I/O plate to match the case.
Step 5: Drill a hole for the power brick.
Step 6: Pull a 120mm Noiseblocker out of the spare parts bin.



Step 7: Cut out most of the side panel for a window.



There's more to do still, but for now... Let the assembly begin!

This is the first window I've done without some kind of edge molding.  I used the Tape of the Casemod Gods to stick it to the case.  The stuff is surprisingly strong.  When testing it's sticking power with spare acrylic I had the feeling that something bad might happen to the acrylic before the tape became unstuck. 

But... Where's the power supply you might ask?  It's plugged into the board.



Pico-PSUs are one of the most awesome things to happen in PC hardware in quite some time.  Usually they're used in systems physically smaller than this one, but for machines that can forgo power hungry hardware they're often a very good fit.  With the CPU having a TDP of just 9 watts, plus motherboard, memory, and a few hard drives I should have plenty of room to spare in the 144 watt power brick I had among the spare parts.

Add a pair of SATA power splitters(spare parts), plus the requisite data cables(more spare parts), and we can finish initial assembly.  Time to install Windows.



41 watts... nice.

More next time. 



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 09/28/2012 11:47 PM
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Canis-X
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I'm liking this one Mime!  You should post some links up for that power supply....I'm interested.



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 09/29/2012 11:41 PM
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They've actually been around for quite some time, but have never really made it into the spotlight.  The one I'm using can provide 160watts sustained, 200watts peak.  The 144watt power brick puts a cap on it slightly below that, but that's still more than the machine will probably ever need.  I use one in the HTPC also, and subjected it to some fairly brutal treatment while stress testing the system... no problems.

Jonnyguru did a Pico-PSU roundup in 2010, and SPCR did a review as well which is even older.

http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story&reid=207

http://www.silentpcreview.com/article601-page1.html



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 10/05/2012 12:36 AM
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The question now was... what to do with that space the power supply would normally be using.  To leave it alone would simply not do. 

The idea was to create my own EL panels... or at least something that looked like EL panels.  Frosted acrylic plus a string of white LEDs should do the trick.  However, that made me nervous.  These days acrylic often does.  My past experience with it has been full of scratches, chips, cracks, warping, burning, bloodshed and misery.  I've become suspicious of the stuff whenever I have to do something more complicated than a window.

The pieces to be cut were thin and fairly small with no curved edges.  The "score and snap" method looked good here especially since the edges wouldn’t be visible.



Score the piece along a straight edge, then apply sharp downward force along the edge...



... and the piece should snap in a nice clean line.  Repeat for each side of the PSU enclosure.  After drilling a few holes for cabling it was time to get out the sander and starting frosting.



This piece would go on the back of the case, so I drilled and tapped some holes to make it more easily removable.  The rest were stuck on with more of the same uber-tape I used for the window.  Next, we're ready for the LEDs.



5 meters, or a little over 16 feet of white surface mounted LEDs.  I got the LEDs from Amazon for less than half what what you’ll usually pay for a ready-made string of LEDs made for case mods.  The strip can be cut every three LEDs without harm.  After this I'll have spare LEDs also. 



Add one dimmer switch, removed from its plastic casing.



Plus one spare fan controller, canabalized for its knobs.



Combined with one set of 4pin molex connectors.



The molex wires are the inputs.  The LED wires outputs.  A quick test...



Wheeee..... 

And we're ready to start cutting LED strips for the case... almost.  I'm going to need to put the switch farther away from its PCB than that tiny little cable will allow.



Time to break out the soldering iron.  That's half the drive cage from my Define R3 serving as the base for my improvised soldering station. 

A quick splicing, and into the case it goes...





A little more cable management is in store.  More next time. 



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Edited: 10/05/2012 at 12:44 AM by Mime
 10/06/2012 11:43 AM
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Slayerx
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Very sharp Mime Besides those three wire's it looks very very clean.



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FX 8320// Asus Sabertooth R2.0 // HIS R9 280x //8Gb of 1866Mhz ram, H50 cooling, HX850W psu all stuffed into a NZXT Phantom case.


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 10/07/2012 11:41 AM
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ViPeR
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I like this build alot!!



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 10/12/2012 05:29 AM
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Mime
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Thanks guys...

Next in store was the obligatory day of fail... And here I thought I was going to finish this project without one. 

One of the last things to do here was to find a place for the monitor.  I had an idea for it, and I had a spare, tiny touch screen which was begging to be used in something.

I figured that spot in the top of the case where the grill was inset was the spot to put it.  That meant I had to do some de-riveting after all.



The hole in the top of the case wasn't quite big enough, so I made it bigger.







Workable... but the cuts there honestly weren't the best, and those little flaps left over from the grill placement were already getting annoying.  Time to get rid of those...



Better... here you can see the initial placement of the dimmer switch as well.

The idea was to take the back off the plastic casing of the monitor, shrinking it down a bit and making it easier to inset into the case.



Hmm... just two tiny screws... This shouldn't be so bad.



A little masking tape to help stabilize the PCB while working with it.  Add one more piece of frosted acrylic with a monitor-PCB-shaped hole in it...



... and the result looks pretty good... until I put everything back together and try to actually turn it on.  Whacko vertical lines everywhere... monitor is toast. 



Either it was old and close to death anyway, or something got in there and killed it.  More next time...



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 11/12/2012 10:44 PM
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Mime
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I wasn't inclined to buy another tiny touchscreen after the monitor fail, so I said to hell with the monitor altogether. Unfortunately I had to wait a while until I had a chance to actually finish the little bugger.



Here we are a month later... in the backyard again with a headless Prodigy.

The only thing the case needed was a new top since I whacked a big hole in the original.



Step one involved a little aluminum mesh, to help with airflow. A few cuts and bends later...



Now for the actual top of the case...



The corners of the prodigy are rounded.  They're not perfect right angles, so I placed the holding plate a little farther away from the bend line to allow for a more gradual curve.





The bends look good... Time to make another big hole.







A little paint, and...





Stockpile is finished. 



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 11/13/2012 12:39 AM
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Canis-X
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Nice job Mime!  I really like that build!  How much did you sink into it?



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 11/13/2012 01:06 AM
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Mime
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The two 2TB drives were the biggest cost.  Since I had so many spare parts, the total cost was about the same as if I had bought a 4-bay NAS at stock.  That's not usually the way these things work out, but I'll take it. 



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 11/13/2012 11:18 AM
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Canis-X
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Nice! 



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Please don't PM me with questions, instead create a thread so that everyone can assist and benefit from the knowledge provided. Thanks in advance!

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