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26 posts in this topic

checkmate_header1.png

Completed Log - Sept. 2009

Final Photos


Time has come again for a new project log! I'm retiring my prior LAN rig, "Building Better Worlds", and putting it out to pasture. Hardware is getting a bit long in the tooth, but mostly I'm just bored with it. ;)/>

I've decided I'm going to go to liquid in this LAN rig. I have an abundance of liquid cooling gear laying around that I hadn't even touched yet, so I figured I'd use it up before it rusts away into nothing. The chassis I decided on for this project is the Lian Li A05. I chose this particular case for a few reasons; there's a plethora of room inside due to the design and orientation of the tray, and it was bloody cheap at the time that I nabbed it.

Oh, I should also state right now that the case has nothing to do with Chess, in case you're wondering about the name. ;)/> It's just a name that I was using when I was thinking stuff up a while back, and it just seemed to stick for some reason.

This project really began, at least pre-planning, color-scheme, ideas, designing, etc. about 6 months ago (Nov. '08, I believe?) when I was hard at work on a commissioned build that used this very same chassis, and really enjoyed working with it at the time. It's getting the typical treatment of full powder coating, etc. But here's the funny thing; since I've been AFK for a couple months or so dealing with IRL stuff as well as other issues and have finally gotten around to getting back on the forums and actually starting this build, I've come to realize there's quite a few new projects on B-T that utilize the same exact bloody color-scheme! :hehe: So, I guess I'm going to get the usual, "ah, another white & black theme, huh?" etc. comments. Oh well. :sigh: What can I do, right? ;)/>

In all seriousness, let's get right to it, shall we? Here's a mock-up of how things will look when finished...

concept.jpg

Here's some of the gear going in the rig...

stuff1.jpg

The system, at this time, will consist of:

Mobo: Asus P5Q-E P45
CPU: C2D e6750 CPU
GPU: XFX 8800GTS G80
HDD: Western Digital 640gb
OS: ? Probably XP though

Not exactly cutting-edge stuff, I know...but it's a LAN rig; not worried about it! It'll be plenty zippy for what I'm going to use it for. The GPU is my old (admittedly ancient) XFX 8800GTS G80 from an old Noire rig. It's going in the loop because I still have a EK water block for it. I've also replaced the original delrin top for it with a new acrylic top, as well as replacing the o-ring in it after a thorough cleaning that it probably needs. The CPU's block will be my old EK-Wave, but the delrin top has also been replaced with a new acrylic one as well as the o-ring. It's going to be fun cleaning these! :rolleyes:/>

The typical mods will be performed on this chassis. I will be installing a triple rad up top with custom acrylic grills; a custom side panel with fan intakes; and I'll be modifying the chassis itself to enhance airflow because this chassis stock really suffers from awful airflow.

I love these new Gelid fans. Well, they don't seem to be new anymore, but they're nice. I've been playing around with them. Pretty decent airflow for the noise level too. Frames seem kinda chintzy though. ;)/>

gelidfans1.jpg

The top rad will get some low-speed Akasa white LED pearl fans.

akasafans1.jpg

I just loved how they looked. They may not move much air, but they don't really need to in order for them to do their jobs.

akasafans2.jpg

Let's start to strip this thing down for sanding. Augh, sanding... :sigh:

chassis_inside1.jpg

I need to yank literally everything off the case.

chassis_stripdown1.jpg

Removing the rear fan is a breeze, at least!

backfan_remove1.jpg

And the little rubber silencers too.

backfan_remove2.jpg

Now, I'm only putting one HDD in this rig (that's all it needs), so I'm removing the entire stock HDD rack from the case. You'll see why in the near future! ;)/>

chassis_stripdown2.jpg

Let's drill out those rivets, now...

chassis_stripdown3.jpg

There. Easy! I love working on this chassis.

chassis_stripdown4.jpg

Originally, I was going to install the HDD into the 3.5" bay, but I decided on a fan controller to go there. This one...

scythe_fancontrol1.jpg

So in order to mount the HDD, I acquired a little Lian Li HDD kit to mount onto the 3.5" bay's mount-holes. Perfect, and cheap too.

hdd_mount1.jpg

The HDD will go in the top-most slot, and the DDC pump with Alphacool top will go in the bottom-most slot with mount-screws for it. Should work great and have just enough room for the hosing to be run without issue. I hope.

A quick test-install of the Lian Li bracket along with a dead HDD I keep around just for this reason; testing!

hdd_mount2.jpg

On to the liquid loop itself, I had an entirely untouched Swiftech MCR-320 sitting in my parts closet, so I figured what the hell.

mcr320_stock.jpg

After a lot of measuring and re-measuring, instead of one of the handful of XSPC RX rads I've really been wanting to use, I decided to use this rad because it's thinner, lighter, and **ahem** cheaper **ahem**, so in the event of screwing up the rad I wouldn't be too upset.

Why would I screw up the rad? Oh, I should probably show you then, right? ;)/>

After a through cleaning with lacquer thinner and completely masking off the fins with some special high-temp tape...

mcr320_masked1.jpg

There we are....

mcr320_masked2.jpg

And presto! :D/>

mcr320_white1.jpg

Just to make sure I didn't bake the thing so bad that the plenum chambers and all the tubes inside have been ruined, I hooked up a quick little test-loop to check the rad's health out.

mcr320_testloop1.jpg

After 24 hours of running the loop there wasn't a single leak, so it was a successful experiment!

-------------
Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Alright, the first update to the log. Let's get right to it!

I continued to strip down the case to the essentials to allow future sanding/coating. I drilled out the rivets holding the top panel on the case; two in the front and two in the back. 1/8" drillbit and go slow and easy; it'll take it out in no time!

drillout_rivet1.jpg

drillout_rivet2.jpg

drillout_rivet3.jpg

All done!

top_remove1.jpg

As I was looking at the case during stripdown, I noticed the stock 'slots' for the rear mobo tray for access to the CPU's cooler mountpoints seemed kind of...off for some reason. So I decided I'd just cut out the whole area to make sure just in case I want to swap CPUs or blocks or whatever and not have to remove the whole bloody install to get at it.

mobo_backplate1.jpg

I'll get to that shortly, but not right now.

Here's a (growing) pile of stock crap removed so far.

stock_casecrap1.jpg

I got to thinking... I didn't like the idea of solid PCI slot covers, and didn't want to use the stock 'slotted' ones that now come with the latest version of the A05.

stock_pcislots1.jpg

I've decided, in order to keep in the theme of the white mesh, I'll use these instead for the PCI slot covers.

nexus_pcislots1.jpg

Here's a test-install to see somewhat how they'll look. Nice, I think. They're very flimsy, obviously, but that's okay. It's not like it needs to stop a bullet. Right? :worried:

nexus_pci_testinstall1.jpg

With a quick little fill-in order placed with Performance-PCs, I obtained some fan mesh inserts.

fanmesh1.jpg

I also had one 8800 series single-slot PCI bracket left laying around from previous ventures into the modding realm that I never used. This will be used for the the GPU mounted in one slot instead of the annoying dual-slot stock brackets many of these cards come with. I have a mild pet-peeve about those things, lol.

Now to cut some mesh to go in the front panel. I measured it out quickly using a master template I created to size, and took it over to my scroll-saw. Personally, I don't like using a scroll-saw, but it's a necessary evil.

scroll_mesh1.jpg

A quick couple of passes, and I have my piece to size.

scroll_mesh2.jpg

A quick mark-out and drill-press love for the four holes for mounting behind the front panel.

drill_mesh1.jpg

Here's everything all cut and ready to be coated. Of course, after a thorough bath of lacquer thinner and tack-cloth treatment.

mesh_coatingstuff1.jpg

And all coated now.

mesh_coated1.jpg

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Update time! *Insert Sarcastic Comment Here*

Alright, right to it. Last we left off, I needed to cut out the backtray area behind the mobo to allow eventual easy access to the backplate for CPU removal and replacement...assuming I'll even need to. But that's beside the point. :)/>

backplate_cutprep1.jpg

I'm marking the areas out that I'm going to remove, and where I'm going to make my cuts...

backplate_cutprep2.jpg

If I were installing an AM2 setup, the backplate would clear it fine. But I'm not installing an AM2 setup, so I suppose that was pointless. :D/>

backplate_cutprep3.jpg

Since I'm installing a 775 setup, it clears fine as well. So I suppose that does, in fact, make a little sense. :P/>

backplate_cutprep4.jpg

And I begin cutting with my rotary tool. I'm a big fan of the Flex-Shaft for it, since I hate holding the bulky tool itself in my hand.... Alright, you sick gits just keep those foul thoughts to yourselves! I should know; I'm a kindred spirit! ;)/>

I also tend to use the reinforced cutoff discs, because my close friends will tell you I'm really hard on rotary tools!

backplate_cut1.jpg

Slow and easy, not pressing hard...allowing the tool to do its job. It's always good to be gentle with them, because they can be your friend! :D/>

backplate_cut2.jpg

And all done! A big metal M for "MOD"! :eyebrow: Yeah, that was stupid, sorry.

backplate_cut_done1.jpg

And I begin to clean up the edges by filing with a flat-file carefully, followed by a pass with the sanding drum attachment for the rotary tool.

backplate_file1.jpg

dremel_sand1.jpg

And completed. I really didn't need to spend that much time and attention on that, because it's being hidden by the mobo, but it's merely for the sake of completion.

backplate_done1.jpg

Alright, moving on...

I laid out my custom template for all the cuts and holes, etc. going on the top of the chassis.

top_cutout_stencil1.jpg

And to make sure it's clearing all rivets, etc., I checked the frame as well. All good.

top_cutout_stencil2.jpg

The handles I chose are the typical hardware store fare. I've used these before on "Building Better Worlds", but I chose the longer units this time. I would've chosen the really long ones, but they wouldn't clear the rivets on the frame. Err on the side of caution, sometimes.

handles1.jpg

And the top stencil adhered with double-sided tape to hold it in place as I mark the holes out. Handles to show where they're going.

handles_prep1.jpg

This is funny. I'm a freak about my measurements. I mean, insane. If they're even a little off, I go ape-turd.gif. Looks like Lian Li made their machining cuts just a hair off here, lol. And yes, it's aligned on the opposite side though. It may be just this particular chassis. I just found that funny. It's such a small amount, that no one would notice it, short of fruitcakes like me.

lianlicut_off1.jpg

Alright, should get around to the cuts soon. I need to go home and unwind from the week!

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Alright, update time. I was able to get a few more things done today. Let's get right to it.

I wanted to drop something in here that's not really log-related, but that some of you may find humor in. See, E.E.L.'s family is full of a bunch of deviant, disgusting and hilarious people, with an equally twisted sense of humor. This is just one small portion of said humor...

My younger brother had told me that he was sending a belated birthday gift for me, but that it'd take a few weeks to show up in the mail. Well, it showed up yesterday. ;)/>

judge_judy1.jpg

And as I opened the envelope, I was accosted with this...

judge_judy2.jpg

Nothing like a personalized autograph from Judge Judy. :lol:/> Man, we're both certifiable! :D/> Apparently, he has one for himself that he framed in an expensive frame and it's hanging on the wall at home. LOL.

*Note: This post is in no way affiliated with CBS Broadcasting Inc. or it's parent company, Viacom. All rights reserved. :D/>

Anyways, on to the update proper.

Last we left off, I needed to mark out and drill the top holes for the rad's fans. Let's get to that. First off, I switched my custom stencil to the underside of the top panel so allow easy fit on my drillpress. I marked off the holes needed to be drilled in it with an exacto knife. Anything would probably work, but I'm an artist with artist's tools, and that happens to be exacto knives. ;)/>

markoff_top1.jpg

After I removed the stencil I was left with marks in the aluminum which is sufficient for me to be able to drill out. Everyone has their own methods.

markoff_top2.jpg

Before going to press with the top, I flipped around and taped off all the aluminum. Sometimes I skip this step since I've done it a hundred times at this point, but it's a good idea to do so, so you're not running the risk of the drill and/or hole saw jumping up and skittering across your new panel ruining the finish. If you're painting it's not as much of a deal, but it's still good practice. I taped this off since that's the side laying down on my drill-press and I don't want to deeply score the aluminum with shavings, etc. It's just a good habit to develop.

top_tape1.jpg

One-Two-Three-Four! I like drilling holes in aluminum more! :hehe:

drillpresstop1.jpg

After I hit it three times with the hole saw, I removed it and cleaned off the majority of shavings from the work. I prefer drilling the fans' mount holes with a regular drill, but again it's personal preference.

After I drilled out the four holes for the two handles, I did a test install. There we are!

drilltopdone1.jpg

Now I have a convenient way to get the top panel up off my bench for easier drilling! :)/>

Drilled holes for one fan, and quick test-install of a crap fan laying around...

top_faninstall1.jpg

And again for the next one...

top_faninstall2.jpg

And of course for the third one...

top_faninstall3.jpg

And flipping the panel around, we find this...

top_faninstall_done.jpg

All done! Now I just need to clean up the edges of the cuts with a sanding drum attachment for the rotary tool.

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Alright, I have another update! Let's jump right in, shall we? Everyone have their swimsuits? Good.

Last we left off, I needed to mark out and drill the four holes going into the chassis frame itself for the top handles. This is great because it creates even more stability and reinforcement for the case overall when it's being carried.

I dropped the top panel onto the chassis and slipped in a pop-rivet into the holes where the panel is fitted to the case, that way I know I'm aligned properly.

front_rivet_tophandles1.jpg

After that, I mark off with a simple marker and remove the top panel again.

mark_top_handles1.jpg

I drill the holes out and test things again. Eureka. Moving on!

drill_handle_chassis.jpg

I decided when I was compiling to start this mod, one of the first things I would do is actually mod the chassis itself; namely the fan up front. I do not like the way it's cantered to the right as you at the front of the case. So I decided I'm going to fix that. This way it will align with the eventual custom front exhaust grill the case is getting, as well as looking more tidy to me, not to mention increasing the flow-rate of the hot air coming out of the rig. One thing this chassis suffers from stock is terrible temps!

Here's my custom stencil that corresponds to the front acrylic as well.

front_fan_stencil1.jpg

With a simple piece of scrap aluminum from a side panel I think (?), I marked out the holes and cuts I'm going to make to the aluminum. Mind you, I'm not totally worried how this is going to look, because the bottom line is it's getting covered by the front panel anyways.

front_fan_stencil2.jpg

After a quick bit of work with my jigsaw and drilling pilot holes for the jigsaw again, I have this.

front_fan_panel1.jpg

Now, after a few mins. of struggling with keeping the thing clamped down, I finish it off. Now comes the fun part....if you enjoy this sort of thing, anyways... Filing the edges straight and clean. I was at it for 1.5 hrs. or so until I was happy with the results.

front_fan_panel_sand1.jpg

The holes I drilled along the sides actually correspond to the previously-drilled out rivets that held the stock HDD cage. No sense in drilling more holes if you already have a perfectly good set of them already available!

Wait-- that came out wrong... :worried:

Anyways, here's a quick test-fit to make sure I'm on the right track.

front_fan_panel_test1.jpg

front_fan_panel_test2.jpg

The holes for the fan itself was actually drilled out for the rubber grommets that was in the stock holes on the case. Might as well use them, right? I had to figure out the right hole-size for the grommets, so I simply measured the stock holes, and figured out the approx. size hole I needed to drill.

caliper_measure1.jpg

Since the holes are approx. .3", that means the grommets are probably .4" in outside width. So I simply drilled holes using a 5/16" drillbit. You'd think I'd use a 3/8" bit, since that's .375 in decimal size, but nope. I wanted it snug, so the grommets don't just push through with the fan installed. .3125" works great!

Let's drill out the two holes to the left for the plate mounting really quick...

rivet_drill1.jpg

Now, let's cut out the stock metal to allow a place for the new plate, shall we?

After marking out using my stencil, I began cutting with the rotary tool.

front_fan_cuts1.jpg

Frequent breaks are good for both you and your rotary tool. Don't want to kill it before its time, right?

And here we are after a bit of cleanup and sanding with a flat-file...

front_fan_cuts2.jpg

Now, if you look here, I had attempted to keep some small strands of metal connecting across the chassis to try to allow a bit more stability, but there's a small problem; the fan's grommets themselves.

front_fan_cuts3.jpg

I attempted to sand out little areas for the grommets, but realized I'm running out of room thickness-wise between the chassis and the front panel. Considering a layer of modders mesh is going in front of the fan, I'm going to have to do something else. Granted, I chose to use a 20mm "thin" Yate Loon up front to try to gain back some space, but still not enough.

So I decided to mount the new panel on the inside of the case. This way I gain back a few millimeters of space to account for any mishaps, etc.

I went ahead and finished the work on the plate itself, including drilling the hole for the power switch to run through, as well as additional filing.

front_fan_panel_switch1.jpg

And after some sanding, I have this...

front_fan_panel_donesand.jpg

I'm not totally worried about finishing everything silky smooth. I'm going to media-blast the chassis before I coat it, so sanding is irrelevant at this point. LOL.

And a test install of the plate showed additional problems...

front_fan_panel_test3.jpg

Now I can't use my grommets because of the very same lips I decided to leave on the chassis, even after I attempted to clear the area. Oh well. Let's get rid of them. That should fix the problem!

front_fan_panel_test4.jpg

There we go. I was just paranoid. It's plenty strong.

And after final riveting...

front_fan_panel_rivet1.jpg

Now, because I was using the previous rivet holes for some of these, I decided to drill out the other two. Why not, right? More structural integrity!

front_fan_panel_rivet2.jpg

And now let's slip in those grommets...

front_fan_grommets.jpg

Perfect fit! Yes... Now let's install the Yate really quick and see where we are.

front_fan_testinstall1.jpg

Great. Seems fine! Now let's slap the front panel on and see how things look...

front_panel_install1.jpg

Seems to clear fine! Let's have a look down the back side here...

front_fan_panel_space1.jpg

Yay! Everything's fine. I could've saved myself the trouble and just ditched the grommets, but I wanted to use them, dammit! :D/>

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Just a quick lil' update here since I had a moment to waste...

I've been pretty busy with other commitments, so I'm not back-burnering or neglecting the build or anything; just need some sufficient time to afford to it, is all.

Anyways, on to the lil' update!

I finally received my killer casters I'd decided on using for the build that I ordered *cough* two months ago *cough*, and here they are. A nice little pile of them! And they're definitely not a pile of turd.gif either. A little on the expensive side though.

casters1.jpg

casters2.jpg

casters3.jpg

I think they're gorgeous and fit the theme just fine. A little excessive maybe, but then again, has E.E.L. ever really done anything toned-down? :hehe: Oh, geez...did I just refer to myself in the 3rd-person again?

Here's a, uhhh, small bundle of white sleeving here... ;)/>

whitesleeving.jpg

Let's take care of the Gelid fans...

gelid_sleeve1.jpg

There we are! ...And the Akasas as well...

akasa_sleeve1.jpg

I'll have some more to show soon, but this slacker needs to get back to work! :worried:

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Well, here we are again. Another update. I'm going to take this opportunity to state that I will be doing this particular log update with a James Mason voice. :eyebrow:

Let's get to it shall we?

These Gelid fans look nice, but let's make them fit in a bit more with the theme than they already are...

Let's peel off the stock center-cap stickers, here.

gelid_sticker1.jpg

And a nice little swipe with some rubbing alcohol will get rid of the rest of the gooey sticky crap.

gelid_sticker2.jpg

And presto....we have an official CheckMate case-fan! :)/>

gelid_sticker3.jpg

I'm not sure you've noticed yet, but the white is actually a psuedo-carbon fiber white instead of plain white. Just wanted to 'jazz' things up a bit, is all. ;)/>

gelid_sticker4.jpg

Let's do something similar to the top rad fans...

akasa_sticker1.jpg

akasa_sticker2.jpg

I think I'm leaving these plain, since you really won't see the tops hardly at all through the radgrill and mesh. Trust me. With the light from the fans themselves running up through the openings will make the area glow a bit more, and any black in the area will probably retract from that.

akasa_sticker3.jpg

I cut a custom rad gasket out of sound-deadening material like I always do to make the fans seal a bit more to the rads, cutting down on possible pressure leak as well as rattling operating noise. Doesn't have to be perfect, but enough to do the job right.

radgasket1.jpg

And applied to the top of the rad...

radgasket2.jpg

I needed to tap the fanholes with a 6-32 tap to make sure the threads are right and clear of debris.

rad_tap1.jpg

I laid out the fans on the spots they're going to be installed at...

radfansinstall1.jpg

People have different methods for fan mounting on rads. I tend to use 3/8" length 6-32 socket-cap screws for open-cornered fans. It's just easy and I know the screws won't go into the rad's fins when I crank them down on the fan. Plus it's easy to stick the Allen wrench through the top of the fan to get at the socket-cap screw itself.

After a couple mins, the fans are all installed.

radfansinstall2.jpg

And a small test...

radfansinstall3.jpg

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Okay....another update. Not too much here, but a necessity regardless. I shall perform this update in a Peter Lorre voice. :eyebrow: (a little bit of funny trivia...Peter Lorre actually starred in one episode of the TV show "Checkmate" during the 60s, oddly enough!)

Let's get right to it, shall we?

Let's take care of the window cuts now. I've made my stencil using the acrylic's design to verify everything will mesh correctly. I've placed it on the side panel to figure out where the heck I want it, as well as making sure I have enough clearance to remove the panel correctly without it hitting the chassis itself with the 'pull back and lift' style panels.

sidewindow1.jpg

That looks about right. Let's mark out the holes and cuts now.

sidewindow2.jpg

There we are!

sidewindow3.jpg

Everyone has their own method for cutting panels, whether it's using a jigsaw, a rotary tool, or even a scroll saw. I tend to use a rotary tool on such thin materials, especially since I love using the EZ lock reinforced discs. :naughty:

sidewindow4.jpg

And after a couple mins, I have this. Normally, I'd mask everything off with masking tape, as I've mentioned previously, to cut down on marring the panel. Here, it's not really necessary since the whole panel's getting blasted and coated anyways. I've cut probably a hundred of these things, so it's not a big deal to worry about it, but you really should develop a habit of taping things off.

sidewindow5.jpg

And after three more cuts and hitting it with a flat-file to remove burs, I have this...

sidewindow7.jpg

Now, let's drill out the holes as well...

sidewindow6.jpg

And all done. Bravo.

sidewindow8.jpg

Now, let's toss it aside and prepare for the next stuff!

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Alrighty. Don't have a whole lot of time as I've been busy reflecting and enjoying this Memorial Day here in the States. Met with the parents and grand-parents for some 'red-neck cuisine' at the Cracker Barrel® at 9 am this morning, and many who know me personally know I'm a night-person; i.e. I went to bed at 4:30am, so I was a wee bit cranky. :hehe:

Anyways, didn't get a massive amount done as I've been working on other commitments. But I do have the acrylic done and did some test-installs and other stuff. So here's three pics for your viewing pleasure.

Front panel....still need to mark out and cut the panel for final install.

front_test1.jpg

Did a test-install of the side panel acrylic.... buttery-smooth! But I also found out I'm out of my longer #10 screws for the fan install, so I need to place an order with McMaster-Carr. :sigh: I only had some 1 1/8" 6-32's and some nuts so that's how one fan is hanging on there, lol.

sidewindow_test1.jpg

I think this system is really going to be rather cool-running and quiet when it's all done, considering I've added 5 fans over the two that the stock case has.

And finally, the top acrylic.

top_test1.jpg

I have some other stuff, but I didn't photograph it, lol. I apologize. I'll get some more stuff going soon though.

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Another update has coalesced. Let's get to it before it liquefies, shall we?

Last we left off, I needed to cut the front panel and drill to allow placement of mesh for opened airflow from the exhaust fan. Let's do that.

Marked for drilling...

front_mark_drill1.jpg

But first some removal of stock materials here.

Removal of the stock LED bevels is as easy as tapping it out with something pointy. I use an Exacto knife.

front_led_remove.jpg

Removal of the stock switches is as easy as a slight tap with a heavy hammer. What does that remind me of?.... :eyebrow:

front_stockswitch.jpg

There we go.

front_stockswitch2.jpg

And drilling holes for acrylic mounting, as well as the mesh attachment. All in one! ;)/>

front_mark_drill2.jpg

Using my little easy-to-read stencil...:rolleyes:/>

front_markoutcut1.jpg

...I begin to mark out where I need to make my cuts.

front_markoutcut2.jpg

Now, after digging around in my piles of tools for like 20 mins, I finally found my ole nibbler. I need this to cut away just a smidge of the metal inside the stock power switch hole, because one of the mount-screws goes right there. With the mesh behind it, the nut will be easy to mount on the back.

front_nibbler1.jpg

And after some temporarily-loud noise, I have this. Cuts don't have to be absolutely perfect or anything since it's behind the acrylic. But it's a good idea to clean up the cuts, etc. so you don't skin your knuckles....or something else that happens to be in the way. :eyebrow:

front_cut1.jpg

Now, let's do a little test-install of the mesh and stuff to see where we're at.

front_mesh1.jpg

In this case, simple 6-32 screws with nuts. Sturdy and easy to use.

front_mesh2.jpg

front_threading1.jpg

Flip her around, and we have this...

front_testassemble1.jpg

And now let's drop it on the front of the case really quick, shall we?

front_testassemble2.jpg

Perfect! Let's look at that mesh in there...

front_testassemble3.jpg

Nice.... I'm happy with it.

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Alrighty, here's a little mini-update, as I've been working on other commitments. Let's get to it, shall we?

Since I'm going to be running this loop as a 't-line style' setup, I won't be having a reservoir. But that doesn't mean I need to do it with an actual t-line, right? Let's put a fillport in.

I decided I'm going to put it on the back panel up towards to the top next to the PCI slots. Why? Well, here's the thing; I wasn't planning on having a truckload of expansion cards in this thing. I'm talking, like, well....one. The graphics card. :)/> So I don't really need to worry about clogging up the PCI slot area. Although, it really won't be a problem anyways. Check it out.

Here's what I'm going to be installing. I had it laying around collecting dust, so I figured I should use it up. I also made a simple little acrylic plate (two of them) for it to go on the back.

fillport1.jpg

I'm going to be putting it here.

fillport2.jpg

....er, well, here to be a bit more accurate! ;)/>

fillport3.jpg

After marking out roughly where I need to drill/cut/saw/chew...

fillport4.jpg

...I went to work on it. After a few minutes of doing the dance, here we are.

fillport5.jpg

Just a test-install. The screws are bit long, but it's what was close to me at the time. I'll probably swap them out with shorter ones, or even acorn nuts on the ends or something. Who knows.

fillport6.jpg

If you're still confused, I'll simply be running a bit of hose from this fillport curving down to the other fitting-hole on the GPU's waterblock that would normally have a stop-fitting on it (which because of the inverted-ATX setup, will be on the 'top' of the card here, and the GPU itself will be in the 'bottom-most' PCI slot). Problem solved. And it'll make it relatively easy to feed the loop when time comes to get it all set up!

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Here's another little one, but only because the work done was time-consuming. I'm tired and I'm building up a migraine, lol. I didn't get much sleep last evening, because I was helping Hank and the gang at Performance-PC's move over to their new (read: bigger by far) location, as well as build shelving & stocking product in the right places. Those poor folks are working like 3 weeks straight without a day off! And I mean 10-12+ hrs a day too. One day was grueling for me so I can only imagine what it's like. Ugh.

Anyways, here's the mini-update.

I kinda got the panels coated, finally, and began assembling stuff. I have something else planned for the front and side panel acrylic, so I'm holding off on finishing those. I did get the top done though. I began assembling the rad/fans onto it as well as the acrylic. I decided not to put in the modder's mesh inserts over the fans for the time being. It makes it not fit totally in with everything else, but I'll get a bit more airflow though (obviously). Who knows; maybe I'll put them in because looking at the pics it's beginning to bother me! :lol:/>

top_test1-1.jpg

And lights-on....

top_test2.jpg

top_test3.jpg

yes, even the socket screws are coated white. ;)/>

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Alright, first thing's first.

As some of you may have figured out already, CheckMate was nominated for MoTM for May. I'm going to state first that it's an absolute honor yet again. Among all the projects I've done since I began modding, I've only just recently began posting the then-current projects on the internet when I registered on Bit-Tech a couple years back, in which two of those projects logged on Bit-Tech were previously nominated for MoTM. As some may recall, I'm a bit of a 'modding hermit', and I've only just started to come out of my shell a bit by registering and posting, lol. It's Hank B. from PPC's that really started nudging me to post. So this is all still new to me. I just do what I do. So when I wake up to find something like this, it means a lot to me. And it's not something crude like stroking the ego or anything. Like a lonely housewife, it's just nice to be appreciated once in awhile! :hehe:

So once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart, Bit-Tech, for the nomination. I'm comfortable with my MoTM Loser-Status, and I've already updated my sig to reflect that. ;)/> But in all seriousness, it's a total honor, my friends. Thank you ever so much!

If you haven't already voted, get over here and place your vote (assuming you meet qualifications!) NOW. Please, vote for anyone, since all nominees are quite worthy of the status. Well, except for one. ;)/> Vote! It's your right!

----------------

Now, for the lil' update!

I've been busy with other commitments, as well as getting waaaaaaaay overdue cleaning out of the way. Man, it's quite nice being able to find a damn 3/8" barb fitting when I actually need one without having to clamber through mounds of crap to find it! Take it from me, don't clutter up your work-area. It sucks, and when you do it, God kills a little puppy.

Just to show I haven't been totally idle, here's a little peek into where things are at right now.

I began assembling the chassis proper and getting things wired up. I also installed the castors on the case. Wow, it's weird having a case that can move with literally a fingertip.

assembly_test1.jpg

Some of you eagle-eyed folk will notice the 'butthole' is a little bit too high, because with a fitting there it runs right into the bloody rad. :duh: That's one mistake that sucks, and I hardly ever make any when it comes to measurements. I know what happened though; I forgot to zero out my caliper. Stupid. Absolutely stupid. Don't just rely on numbers, also eyeball things! But it's okay; it's fixable. I'll just make new plates to cover all those rear holes on the chassis instead, with the fillport lower. Problem solved!

I also began work on prepping the motherboard...

mobo_1.jpg

Pop off the socket protector...

mobo_2.jpg

CPU dropped in, and was about to push out the TIM, when something occurred to me...

mobo_3.jpg

I don't want to use the stock EK-Wave I was going to use. It's too.....stock. So I started messing around, after some measurements taken, etc. And I came up with this...

cpublock_concept1.jpg

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Alrighty, time for another infusion of me mod. ;)/> Let's get to it now, shall we?

Here's all the fittings' compressors in a pile.

fittings1.jpg

They have that kind of black chrome look to them, which is fine.....but not for me. :D/> I'ms a gunna expearamint! :naughty:

Here's an older version of the same compressor... let's see here...

fitting_coattest1.jpg

Kablowie!!

fitting_coattest2.jpg

Hey, it worked! :D/> Possibly the world's first custom-coated compressor fittings! :)/> And they're textured for easy gripping-action!

I needed to modify some washers for the handles to be installed correctly. Normally, it's not needed, but this case has some 'reinforcement' rails up top that the handles go right through, so I needed to slim down the washers a tad to allow that to fit flush. Nothing really exciting here.

washers1.jpg

Where I need to hack these things up...

washers2.jpg

And speaking of handles.... here they are. All coated in my favorite 'textured' black for some grip. I've said before it feels kinda like really old 80-grit sandpaper that has no more bite to it. Kinda like that.

handles_coated1.jpg

And installed on the chassis...

handles_installed1.jpg

I began to install the mobo and getting things ready, and I was just checking out the I/O plate that comes with this board. I really like it. Don't know why, I guess I'm so used to looking at a plain tin POS or something, lol. It's nice, and it fits this build too!

io_plate1.jpg

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Here we are again. I apologize; I've been a bit under-the-weather lately, as they say. So it's a been a little while since I've bumped this build. I also wished to thank all of you who actually voted for this build for MoTM. It's a lost vote, as always, lol, but it means a lot to me regardless. So I prostrate myself before you in gratitude. Thank you!

Plus, I want to apologize in advance, as some of these photos aren't up to my usual standards. Again, due to the aforementioned under-the-weatherness. Let's get to the update anyways, shall we?

First off, I've been wanting to start work on the PSU modification I was going to do for this build. The PSU in question is one of my Corsair HX520s.... this one...

psu_1.jpg

...but it was going to get some sleeving on it. "Uni-sleeving", to be precise, as well as some cable modifications.

Let's open her up, like a pair of gentle hands holding a sparrow. :eyebrow:

What's this?....

psu_warranty1.jpg

:hehe: I laugh at thee!

Alright, all splayed open on the surgical table.

psu_mod3.jpg

Now, since I won't be using a 4-pin mobo with this PSU, let's trim off some excess fat here, shall we? Snip! Of course, heatshrinked the ends for safety's sake.

4pin_snip1.jpg

I don't care what all you 'l33t' fruit modders out there say, using staples now is just an uphill battle. Buy some of these for a few bucks and save your fingertips. It hurts! And the staple method is so outdated!

psu_modtools1.jpg

As I remove the pins, I tend to mark them with a little sticker or something so I can easily know where they go back. Others have their own methods, of course. Whatever works!

psu_8pin1.jpg

psu_8pin2.jpg

And after a few minutes of easy sleeving, I have this. I needed to fix one of the shrinks on it though, but it's good to go.

8pin_sleeve1.jpg

And after a half-hour or so, I have this.

24pin_sleeve1.jpg

24pin_sleeve2.jpg

It's not all done though; I...well...I kinda ran out of sleeving. :rolleyes:/> So that's getting remedied soon.

Now, next up, I'm going to start work on the cables themselves. Namely, the SATA power cables. Corsair's PSU is really designed with the understanding that you're most likely placing said PSU in the upper part of a case. But in this case (get it? :rolleyes:/> Alright, I hate puns too), the PSU's obviously on the bottom. So the way the low-pro SATA connectors are designed on these cables makes it so there will be a 'loop' of wires because of the orientation of the connectors relative the HDD's connector. Let me show you if I just confused the hell out of ya's.

sata_mod1.jpg

On the left there, is my modded cable, which will plug in to eliminate that 'loop' of cabling that would otherwise be there. On the right is the stock orientation of the connector coming off the PSU.

Here's a test HDD showing how it would be oriented inside the case...

hdd_1.jpg

Modded plug plugged in as a test showing the HDD in it's upright orientation...

sata_mod2.jpg

And stock plug plugged in showing what it would normally look like...

sata_mod3.jpg

I'm going to go relax a bit and continue playing Assassin's Creed on Noire finally--- er, I mean, relaxing and trying to kick this weird fever. :D/>

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Here we are again. I guess it isn't your lucky day, eh? Let's get right to it. Last we left off, I was in the midst of modding this PSU. Let's continue with that.

After finishing up the lonely few cables left on the PSU that was still nekked, I needed to open up the port on the PSU's side a bit to accommodate the now-wider cables going through it.

I figured I'd just mirror the little u-shaped port around the corner of the PSU, since that's where the wires are. Makes sense, right?

psu_cutside1.jpg

And after a couple minutes with the rotary tool and some filing and u-channel application, I'm left with this.

psu_cutside2.jpg

I'm in the middle of testing the PSU here to make sure everything went together fine. That crap throwaway Antec 140mm fan that Bill sent me for something else is running off the PSU here. Nothing blew up so it looks like it's okay! ;)/>

Moving on, I finished modification of the SATA cable specifically taylored for the HDD. I cut off about half the length of the cables since the HDD is literally right above the PSU inside the chassis, and just didn't think routing cables for that would be justifiable.

sata_cablemod1.jpg

And testing a SATA HDD...

sata_cablemodtest1.jpg

Everything seems to be working just fine.

Last, I decided to sleeve the internal power patch cable that runs from the PSU up front to the back of the chassis. Leaving it black would've been fine, but that's too easy, right?

powercable1.jpg

After some desoldering and some sleeving, I'm left with this...

powercable2.jpg

powercable3.jpg

I'll have some more soon!

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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And another one rises to the surface. Let's get right to it, shall we?

I needed to finish up on some additional wires for the PSU. I finished up on the single PCI-E cable, a molex cable with the additional cables snipped off to keep things clean, and built a molex to floppy molex connector for the optical drive's power needs.

additonal_wires1.jpg

I also finished up on the compression fittings...

fittings_finished1.jpg

The PSU's final coat of "candiness" was added as well. I dressed it up some additional vinyl trim on the top and sides.

psu_sticker1.jpg

psu_sticker2.jpg

psu_sticker3.jpg

And in it's final home...

psu_sticker4.jpg

And moving on to other things...

I needed a light-weight yet decent reliable keyboard to go along with this build, but really needed to make it personalized for this particular mod. Well, I kept looking back at a keyboard I've modded before. The Hiper aluminum alloy keyboard.

keyboard_box1.jpg

keyboard_2.jpg

A very good quality solid-feeling board!

keyboard_3.jpg

But...it's stock. :D/> So let's rectify that.

Wait-- what's this?

keyboard_4.jpg

Bah! Are you kidding me?! :hehe:

keyboard_5.jpg

And with the frame off, I spent some time de-anodizing, sanding, and coating.... in white, of course. Needed to match the project's color-scheme, right? Only, with a twist. ;)/>

I designed some simple little icons for the buttons that were previously wiped out from the initial sanding, and applied them in vinyl to the board! After a coat of white and some careful juggling of temps with a couple layers of power clear over the decals, here's the results. It's all about experimenting. What works and what doesn't work. I thought the results were pretty good! :)/>

keyboard_done1.jpg

keyboard_done2.jpg

keyboard_done3.jpg

keyboard_done4.jpg

I'll have some more soon!

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Ugh. That is my statement. I have been absolutely swamped with school stuff; i.e. P.E. uniforms, etc., and it's driving me insane. Actually, I'm already insane, so it's driving me ininsane. ;)/>

Alright, all excuses aside, let's get to this little update. I had enough time to put together the side panel window/fan assembly, and get it slapped on the case for a test. Let's get to that.

panel_acrylic_assemb1.jpg

And a little secret of mine that I use with acrylic to minimize smudges and crud on acrylic when working with it. Well, not much of a secret or anything, I mean...it's kind of common-sense, right? Anyways, I use these...

panel_acrylic_assemb2.jpg

Simple vinyl gloves. Like safe-sex with your hands! :naughty:

And me mits.

panel_acrylic_assemb3.jpg

panel_acrylic_assemb4.jpg

Removing acrylic's paper covering...

panel_acrylic_assemb5.jpg

panel_acrylic_assemb6.jpg

I love transparent gray. I mean, I've used it soooo sparingly in the past, right? :rolleyes:/> :lol:/>

panel_acrylic_assemb7.jpg

And some button-head socket caps to hold it permanently on the panel...

panel_acrylic_assemb8.jpg

And with some 6-32 1.5" button-heads through the acrylic and fans, along with some nuts on the backside holding them on makes it finished.

panel_acrylic_assemb9.jpg

A little peak inside the case with the panel on.

Oh, and I sleeved the USB cable on the CM keyboard as well. Looks nice!

kb_sleeve1.jpg

Hopefully I can finish this damn thing soon, because the next one's going to be.... well, I'll wait for that log. In due time. :)/>

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Alrighty. I apologize for being under a massive stinking pile of turd.gif-worth of work, which is why I haven't had time to 'play' lately. And a modder that doesn't have time to play tends to feel homicidal tendencies toward his co-workers. That's....a problem. Yeah. :worried: So, anyways....

Here I am with another update infusion, distilled, percolated, and filtered just for your fine viewing pleasure. Let's get to it, shall we?

Block-time! CPU waterblock time, to be exact. :)/> Here's a little pile of another type.

cpu_block1.jpg

A quick pre-assembly to make sure everything looks good. All lined up perfect.

cpu_block2.jpg

Now, let's do a little drop-in on the CPU itself to see if it clears everything correctly...

cpu_block3_test.jpg

Alright. Looks fine. Now, let's tap some holes! I need to thread these holes for G1/4 mount fittings.

cpu_block4.jpg

cpu_block5.jpg

A couple mins. later of careful threading to make sure the threads are, well, straight. ;)/>

cpu_block6.jpg

And dropping the dress-top to make sure the compression fittings will clear like it was designed to do...

cpu_block7.jpg

Perfect! I also drilled a hole in the side for a 5mm LED to be installed for lighting action. Now, let's peel off some paper backing and thread in the button-head socket caps...

cpu_block8.jpg

And dropping the fittings back in...

cpu_block9.jpg

And lights out!

cpu_block10.jpg

Nice. Should look great when it's in it's final home inside the chassis. I'm only going to have two LED's lighting everything inside the chassis because I don't want a light-fest this time around. I even contemplated not using LED fans on the top, but figured....what the hell. :D/>

A quick little loop with water to make sure the block will actually hold water inside it without spilling it all over the bloody place.

cpu_block11.jpg

Generally, if it's going to leak, it will leak right away. Kind of like having prostate issues!facepalm.gif :lol:/>

Anyways, no water anywhere, yet. I guess that's good, right? ;)/>

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Alright, yet another update. I figured I should keep the momentum rolling. Actually, I just want to finish this thing because I'm tired of looking at it! :lol:/>

Let's get to the update now, shall we?

Block-time....GPU block-time, that is. :)/> To match the same style and look of the CPU block, I decided I didn't want to keep the stock GPU block the same either. The block is an EK-8800GTS on my old 'vintage' XFX-brand G80 8800GTS card. Yeah, I know... I'm broke, though. That's why there's no new card here. It's fine for what I'd need it for; at least for now.

Anyways... the block. Yes, the block. The stock block was the acetal version, which would've been fine as it was. But again, I wanted things to match! Can you blame me? :lol:/>

We start out with the results of my work...

gpu_block1.jpg

Just like the CPU block, I need to tap the two openings for g1/4 fittings.

gpu_block2.jpg

...Tap-tap-tappy.....tap-tap-tap-a-roo...

gpu_block3.jpg

Quick little threading in of the fittings... Good enough.

gpu_block4.jpg

Here's the GPU with (what's left of) the block already on it, where it's been sitting for...well...quite a while. It was the GPU in a previous Noire build. :)/>

gpu_block5.jpg

Quick lining up on the block to make sure everything's going to clear and it lines up fine. Golden!

gpu_block6.jpg

And removing the paper backing and installing on the card. Well, mostly, anyways. I kinda ran out of M4 socket-cap screws... :lol:/> I'll get some more and take care of it. So, right now I can't test the block for leaks, but it's probably going to be just fine.

I also threaded in the fittings to make sure everything clears the fitting area. As with the CPU block, I went for a 'recessed' look to the fittings dropping in the lower area of the layered acrylic to give it a cool look. Also like the CPU block, I drilled a hole for a 5mm white LED; the only other LED inside the chassis. Should have a subdued cool look.

gpu_block7.jpg

...And lights out again!

gpu_block8.jpg

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Well well well. Here we are again. I guess it's not your lucky day, eh? Let's get right to it, so I can get to my grocery shopping. :)/>

I haven't had a whole lot of time to do much of anything lately, since we're in season at work and I'm swamped. School's back in, so I'm handling a majority of the local public and private school's apparel. Ugh.

Oh, I apologize in advance for the bad pics; i.e. heavenly glowing crap. My camera doesn't handle contrasty dynamic stuff like white. LOL.

First off, I needed to snag some more m4 x 12 screws for the GPU block. I did that, and took her apart again for cleaning and finally finished her up. She's ready to go now.

gpu_block_finished.jpg

I spent some time doing some more sleeving to finish up the stragglers/etc. that needed to be done. I may actually have to build some more wires and sleeve them as well, but I won't be positive until I go to finish up cable-management.

wires_sleeved1.jpg

I put together the pump, snipped off the tac wire (annoying to me) and sleeved her as well.

pump_done1.jpg

Previously, I was going to coat all the screws in white, which I did actually do on the top rad, but to be honest I wasn't happy with it. It looks great, until you actually go to....you know....use the screws, and they get scratched up a bit inside the screw's head. Just didn't work for me. :(/> So I decided to use snap-caps instead. Easy to use and looks great to me.

I'm putting together the side panel again with the snap-caps.

sidepanel_window_snap1.jpg

They look good to me.

sidepanel_window_snap2.jpg

I put together the front panel as well.

frontsofar1.jpg

Cut a piece of white acrylic for the rear fillport and installed it.

fillport_done1.jpg

And an inside shot of it...

fillport_done2.jpg

I also installed the CPU block in it's final place. Here's where I'm at so far. Not much to go!

situationsofar1.jpg

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Alright, sorry for the double-post...again. I'm going to go ahead and drop this in here. I've been diligent in assembling this rig with the spare time I actually do have. Although, I've spent plenty of it catching up on sleep. This is a good thing for me, because I haven't been getting a whole lot of it at all.

This will be a tease-post. Let's get to the titillation, shall we? :naughty:

Hard drive of choice...

hdd1.jpg

DDR2 of choice...

ram1.jpg

Ooh, E.E.L.'s been plumbing the system...

tease1.jpg

Uh-oh, fluids are present now too!

tease2.jpg

I promise to have a real update coming soon.

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Alrighty, here's another small update. I've been swamped, as usual. But I've been finishing up on her. I just want to get her done and off the block so I can start work on the next TWO. Yes, two projects in the works for the next insanity, lol. Anyways, here's where I'm at.

After spending some time running all the tubing and filling her up with fluids *queue Cheap's dirty comment(s)* :D/>, she seems to be fine. Oh, decided to ditch the Feser One in favor of my tried-and-true distilled with some pentosin only. Just can't help it, you know? ;)/> No leaks, no anything. Although, admittedly I really miss a res. I haven't put together a t-line type loop in probably 3-4 years at this point, and I really remember why I prefer res systems. LOL. Anyways, she's slowly working her bubbles out with a little help from E.E.L. twisting her in mid-air as she's running. ;)/>

I decided to install Win 7 Home Premium x64 RTM on this rig, since I have Technet access. Quick little 15 min. OS install off USB drive, and she's purring like a kitten (minus the aforementioned bubbly gurgles inherent of a new water-cooling loop). After some minor driver issues, I've been tweaking the system to how I want it. Hell, I OCed her right off the bat before I even got the OS installed. :hehe: Nothing major, but stable is all I care about. It's just a LAN system.

system_specs1.jpg :)/>

Here's some shots of her as she's priming to check temps and stability...

alldone1.jpg

alldone2.jpg

alldone3.jpg

I'll have more when I clean her and wrap up her like a neat little present.

-------------

Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:

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Final Photos

Alright, I just haven't had much time lately, but I've finished cleaning and polishing the rig and I feel comfortable enough to call her done. I shot some photos of her but I may shoot more before I take her home, so I may edit this post with more photos. Who knows. Here she is in all her shininess.

Now for some digital legacy...

Project CheckMate

Final Photos

Thumbs are clickable for large photos

1_thumb.jpg 2_thumb.jpg 3_thumb.jpg

4_thumb.jpg 5_thumb.jpg 6_thumb.jpg

7_thumb.jpg 8_thumb.jpg 9_thumb.jpg

10_thumb.jpg 11_thumb.jpg

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No more updates, so I got nuthin' else. :thumb:

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