After having experienced some major difficulties with my pimpy case, I wanted some peace and quiet. Not only did I want my PC to be very quiet, I also wanted a maintenance-free case. I had always liked the Lian-Li cases, but could not understand why someone would want to pony up that amount of dough for a computer case. After some more research, and eventually buying one, I do. These cases are SO good, they cannot be compared to anything I've seen before. The detail is great, it's a complete package with fans, lots of screws, etc. The whole design is screwless, AND you can fit 8 3.5" devices. Just brilliant. Above all that, the case is light as a feather. When it was empty, and standing in my room, I asked people looking at it to pick it up. They expect it to weigh a lot, so they brace themselves... And then, everyone says 'wow'. That is, I believe, the best way to describe this case. 'wow'. Enough with the Lian-Li butt-kissing, let's get on with my personal case.
Since I was going to be using a PWM fan controller, the original fans had to go. It's a strange thing, but the more expensive the fans are, the louder they become when using them at low speeds. So I took out 2 out of 4 standard fans, and replaced them with cheaper ones: these make no noise whatsoever, and still produce an adeaquate amount of airflow.
I'm a big fan of larger fans at lower speeds to generate an equal amount of airflow, so I put in a 120mm fan to cool my CPU. Of course, with 120mm fans, the cheaper is not the quieter, so there's another 10 euros down the drain :p . I had to buy an enermax fan later because those are quiet when using them with a PWM. This is a pic of the duct I use to convert the 80mm hole in the back of the case to fit an 120mm fan. The protruding corners have been cut ;)
A general overview of the empty case. More details about the GPU cooler will be reveiled below...
I also fitted a multifunctional front panel, so I had an USB and firewire hub, and a card reader all in one. I sanded this one down and sprayed it silver, to better match the color of the case; I did the same thing with my floppy drive. I still need to 'stealth' the frontpanels of my CD-ROM stations.
Of course, this panel needed to be connected to the motherboard. The cables supplied with this unit are made to attach an extra faceplate to the back of the case, and has a parallel-type connector to fit the USB, Firewire, and 2* 3.5mm headphone/microphone jacks. I wanted to keep everything inside the case, so I used my motherboards internal firewire / USB connectors. I found no way to connect the audio jacks internally, so they're poking out the back. This also has another advantage: when I'm not using my front panel audio connectors, I can easily reach the plugs to disconnect them and plug in my stereo system.
I'm quite fond of silence, so not only did I make my fans turn slower than default, I also fitted Akasa Pax noise-reduction mats. They take the edge of the noise, making it sound fuller and thus less annoying.
The PWM unit is one to fit into an 3.5" external drive, and it has an aluminum frame. Fits in really nicely with the aluminum color of the case.
I had a very good GPU cooling solution, using 2 80mm fans, switched in series, blowing over the entire graphics card. Of course, this worked well with my previous case because it always had the left side uncovered. As I wanted a closed case (less noise, less dust, and less vulnerability) I needed a solution that would work well with the cover on. This is what I came up with: I already had 2 80mm and 1 120mm intake fans. I had 2 80mm outtake fans. So I had to create an extra outtake fan, and no more intake fans, to keep a decent airflow. I decided to put one fan as blower on the card, and one as outtake. I made a small duct that takes the hot air directly out of the back of the case.
Some pics of the entire setup, with computer built in:
I tried my best to get all the cable mess nicely tied away, taking the top fan into account as well. I think I managed ;)
I just need to lengthen the wires to the GPU fans, now they're a bit too straight...
Update 23 - 5 - 2004
I finally got a chance tot take a few pictures of the finished case. The drives were stealthed, and the case look rather nice now...
I also took a pic of my desktop - screen and keyboard match the style of the case ... (Now I need to spray my speakers ;)