Bellow-Cooled PC Is A Well Engineered Display Piece

The cooling systems on high-performance PCs are often a large part of their visual appeal, but we’ve never seen anything like [DIY Perks]’ latest build: A massive bellow-cooled PC.

The system is derived from a silent bellow system built by [DIY Perks] in 2020. It uses a clever combination of hydraulics and neodymium magnets to smoothly reciprocate a large plate within a chamber. Instead of blowing the air straight into the room, it pushes it through a pair of wood ducts into a second chamber with PC components, and out through a water-cooling radiator. To prevent the hot air from being sucked back in as the bellow reciprocates, a row of check valves was added on each side of the PC chamber and at the external intakes. The sides of the bellow chamber and PC chamber are made of glass to allow a full view of the internal components.

The build was not without complications. While disassembling the old bellow, the acrylic tube in which the magnet reciprocates shattered. When a replacement rube arrived, [DIY Perks] discovered the magnet’s fit was very loose. He solved this by increasing the thickness of the magnet’s nickel coating with another run of electroplating. To achieve a uniform coating, he agitated the plating solution by suspending the magnet from a small speaker playing a sine-wave tone. The cooling performance is excellent, keeping the CPU and GPU at 60C or below, even while running them at full tilt.

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Mini “Gaming PC” Nails The Look, Streams The Games

To have a proper gaming “rig”, you need more than a powerful GPU and heaps of RAM. You’ve also got to install a clear side-panel so lesser mortals can ogle your wiring, and plenty of multicolored LEDs to make sure it’s never actually dark when you’re up playing at 2 AM. Or at least, that’s what the Internet has led us to believe.

The latest project from [Michael Pick] certainly isn’t doing anything to dispel that stereotype. In fact, it’s absolutely reveling in it. The goal was to recreate the look of a high-end custom gaming PC on a much smaller scale, with a Raspberry Pi standing in for the “motherboard”. Assuming you’re OK with streaming them from a more powerful machine on the network, this diminutive system is even capable of playing modern titles.

But really, the case is the star of the show here. Starting with a 3D printed frame, [Michael] really went all in on the details. We especially liked the little touches such as the fiber optics used to bring the Pi’s status and power LEDs out to the top of the case, and the tiny and totally unnecessary power button. There’s even a fake graphics card inside, with its own functional fan.

Even if you’re not interested in constructing custom enclosures for your Raspberry Pi, there are plenty of tips and tricks in the video after the break that are more than worthy of filing away for future use. For example, [Michael] shows how he fixed the fairly significant warping on his 3D printed case with a liberal application of Bondo and a straight-edge to compare it to.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Raspberry Pi masquerade as a high-end computer, but it’s surely the most effort we’ve ever seen put into the gag.

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Modder Puts Computer Inside A Power Supply

When building a custom computer rig, most people put the SMPS power supply inside the computer case. [James] a.k.a [Aibohphobia] a.k.a [fearofpalindromes] turned it inside out, and built the STX160.0 – a full-fledged gaming computer stuffed inside a ATX power supply enclosure. While Small Form Factor (SFF) computers are nothing new, his build packs a powerful punch in a small enclosure and is a great example of computer modding, hacker ingenuity and engineering. The finished computer uses a Mini-ITX form factor motherboard with Intel i5 6500T quad-core 2.2GHz processor, EVGA GTX 1060 SC graphics card, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 250GB SSD, WiFi card and two USB ports — all powered from a 160 W AC-DC converter. Its external dimensions are the same as an ATX-EPS power supply at 150 L x 86 H x 230 D mm. The STX160.0 is mains utility powered and not from an external brick, which [James] feels would have been cheating.

For those who would like a quick, TL;DR pictorial review, head over to his photo album on Imgur first, to feast on pictures of the completed computer and its innards. But the Devil is in the details, so check out the forum thread for a ton of interesting build information, component sources, tricks and trivia. For example, to connect the graphics card to the motherboard, he used a “M.2 to powered PCIe x4 adapter” coupled with a flexible cable extender from a quaint company called Adex Electronics who still prefer to do business the old-fashioned way and whose website might remind you of the days when Netscape Navigator was the dominant browser.

As a benchmark, [James] posts that “with the cover panel on, at full load (Prime95 Blend @ 2 threads and FurMark 1080p 4x AA) the CPU is around 65°C with the CPU fan going at 1700RPM, and the GPU is at 64°C at 48% fan speed.” Fairly impressive for what could be passed off at first glance as a power supply.

The two really interesting take away’s for us in this project are his meticulous research to find specific parts that met his requirements from among the vast number of available choices. The second is his extremely detailed notes on designing the custom enclosure for this project and make it DFM (design for manufacturing) friendly so it could be mass-produced – just take a look at his “Table of Contents” for a taste of the amount of ground he is covering. If you are interested in custom builds and computer modding, there is a huge amount of useful information embedded in there for you.

Thanks to [Arsenio Dev‏] who posted a link to this hilarious thread on Reddit discussing the STX160.0. Check out a full teardown and review of the STX160.0 by [Not for Concentrate] in the video after the break.

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