High explosives PC case


[Ilias] let us know about his new HTPC case mod.  He took a surplus Ammo-case and with a bit of work turned it into a livingroom eye-sore masterpiece. His build has some nice touches, including a slot-fed DVD player, switch-based fan control, and key-and-button “nuclear launch” type power-on controls.

A few things to learn from this project: Cleanly cutting holes in a steel case for the connectors is tough.  You can see that [Ilias] did a pretty good job with it and in several cases used rubber gaskets to cover the rough edges. Secondly, the slot fed DVD had to be mounted upside-down.  We assume this will be fine, but we’d like to hear a follow-up after a few years of heavy use. Finally, the GFAF (girlfriend acceptance factor) ran very close to critical on this build as [Ilias] didn’t clean up the metal shavings on his porch and ended up with rust stains everywhere.

Case mods are an enjoyable hobby. We hope this will inspire you to take the leap.  If you do, don’t forget to send your completed project into our tip line.

Neo-Geo case mod


What do you get when you cross a Neo-Geo and a Sega Genesis? A pretty vintage case mod. [Brett] used a variation of the 16-bit console (known as the Mega Drive II) as the base of his project. With an original Neo-Geo motherboard and a few other components (such as a power indicating LED), the ‘Geosis’ was born. [Brett] removed a few of the unnecessary parts from the mobo, like the power-amp, and set it up to work with a regular 5V DC wall adapter. The PCB also had to be clipped so it would fit into the Mega Drive chassis.

Though it may not be the case, some Neo-Geo motherboards in circulation have been salvaged from arcade machines. An enclosure would be essential for protecting them during standalone use – something [Brett] plans to do a lot.

HTPC inside a cellular phone


Reader [Jani] always wanted to throw a PC into an old school cell phone. He based this around the extremely small Commell LS-371 motherboard which measures just 146×101 mm (~5.9×4 in). He found room behind an existing access door for a DVI connector and audio in/out.  He even incorporated an OLED screen, secondary sound card for “speakerphone”, and a WiFi connector into the handset. Things start to get interesting when he decided the SSD was too large and needed to be removed from its case. The one thing that seems to be missing here is an IR receiver for a remote but since he plans on running XBMC, he may already be setup to use another option such as an iPhone to act as a remote interface.

Finally, a quiet Xbox 360


Frustrated by the constant din of his Xbox 360, [Janne Ström] took action. The original case wouldn’t have near enough room for the additional cooling that needed to be installed, so he picked up Lian Li’s XB01 case replacement. He followed the illustrated disassembly guide to get the Xbox stripped down to just its motherboard. He then began fitting his coolers of choice: two massive Noctua NH-U9D0 units originally intended for AMD Opterons. The asymmetric heat sinks are intended for applications like this where dual sockets could make other devices difficult to place. Clearly the hardest part of the installation was applying an appropriate amount of thermal compound and then slowly tightening the hold down screws to guarantee even pressure. The resultant system ended up being quieter than the first camera he attempted to record it with and the attached power supply. You can see a video of it below.

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6 PC render farm in one clear case

Normally case mods are all show and no go, but [Fredrik Perman] and [Michael Stabile] took their old render farm and made it a working showcase for the front lobby. This is a perfect combination of function, beauty, and practicality. It is a great conversation piece, allows easy working access, and provides a tremendous space savings in one sweet looking wall-mounted case. The frame is aluminum, the back consists of sheets of polished diamond plate, with a clear acrylic sheet for a cover. The case sides are left open to allow the blue LED fans to circulate air. Cooling a render farm crammed in a closet can be quite difficult, but isn’t a problem with this open design. This build is also much prettier and maybe more manageable than the setup in ExtremeTech’s Build Your Own Render Farm article.

There are a few more pictures after the break.

Continue reading “6 PC render farm in one clear case”