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My Custom Clear SFF ATX PC Case

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June 14, 2006 1:42:48 AM

I designed and built this clear case myself. It is exactly 1 cm larger in each dimension than a Shuttle XPC SFF case, but it accomodates a full ATX board, 6 expansion slots, a full ATX power supply, DVD-ROM, up to two hard drives (only one currently installed), and a 120mm intake fan. I built it from 1/4" window-grade Lexan plastic because it is very strong and very easy to work with. It did get a bit scratched during the building process, and the scratches are highlighted by the camera flash, but looks were never the intention of the project, so i don't really mind. The input fan is soldered parallel to the power supply (runs on on 115V AC) and is activated by the toggle switch on the front of the case.
PLEASE, NO FLAMING ABOUT UNORGANIZED WIRING!
These pictures were taken in March. Since then I have fixed up the wiring and added a system power switch to the front of the case:
http://www.frozencpu.com/ele-70.html
Unfortunately the system is at home and I am away for a co-op all summer, so I can't take any new pics to show. I'll update this thread with new pics some time after I get home in August.

Clear PC / Dedicated Game Server

THE SPECS
AMD Athlon "C" (1333MHz/266MHz FSB) Thunderbird core (256K L2 Cache)
MSI K7T266Pro ATX mobo
640MB PC2100 DDR memory
Visiontek GeForce2 MX400 AGP 64MB
3dfx Voodoo 5500 AGP 64MB
ATi Rage Fury Maxx AGP 64MB
Hercules Muse XL 4.1 sound card
D-Link 10/100 Ethernet card
Maxtor 40GB primary master
Creative 52x CD-ROM secondary master
AMD 3000+ stock CPU cooler and Arctic Silver compound
Windows 2000 Professional
custom lexan SFF case

*Note that I listed three video cards because I use different ones depending on which older games I feel like playing on the system. The Voodoo5 is for Unreal/UT and the GeForce2 is for everything else. The Rage Fury Maxx doesn't even work under Win2K...it's more of a novelty item, but I did use it in that system once when I had Win98SE installed.

THE PICS
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/Img_2938....
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/Img_2940....
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/Img_2941....
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/Img_2942....
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/Img_2943....
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/Img_2944....
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/Img_2947....
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/Img_2948....


Primary System

THE SPECS
AMD Athlon XP 2800+ (2088MHz/333MHz FSB) Barton core (512K L2 Cache)
MSI KT4V-L ATX mobo (onboard 10/100 Ethernet)
1024MB Kingston PC2700 DDR memory
ATi Radeon X800XL AGP 256MB
Sound Blaster Live! 7.1 24-bit
ATi HDTV Wonder tuner card
Intel 10/100/1000 Ethernet card
Maxtor 120GB primary master
Maxtor 80GB primary slave
Lite-On 52x32x52 CD-RW secondary master
Lite-On 16x DVD-ROM secondary slave
Windows XP Professional
NEC Multisync FE771SB 17" Diamondtron flat CRT monitor
ThermalTake Silent Boost CPU cooler w/ ducting mod and Arctic Silver compound
Zalman 6-fan speed LED-lit speed controller
Logitech MX1000 Laser mouse
Creative Labs Inspire T3000 2.1 speakers (30W)
Fisher ST-828 stereo speakers through Sony STR-DE197 receiver (200W)
9785 in 3DMark03
3697 in PCMark04
4992 in 3DMark05

THE PICS
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/IMG_1162....
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/IMG_1163....
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/case_new_...
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/case_new_...
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/case_new_...
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/case_new_...
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/case_new_...
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/case_new_...
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/x800_xl_1...
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/x800_xl_2...


Future System
I plan on doing a full upgrade either before I go back to school at the end of August, or some time in September after the new semester has started. My current but not yet definite plans are as follows:

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
MSI motherboard w/ Radeon Xpress 3200 CrossFire chipset
2GB Corsair XMS DDR2-1066
Built-By-ATi Radeon X1900XT
(2x) WD Caviar 500GB SATA3.0Gb/s
Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Music
NEC DVD-RW
Sony DVD-ROM
Antec P180 mid-tower case
Antec TruePowerII 550W ps

*Of course, I will post pics when I get the new system.


Additional Images

My dorm setup as of last semester:
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/Img_2918....

A CPU water block that I designed in Pro-Engineer Wildfire but never got around to fabricating:
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/cpu_block...

Another shot of the CPU block which shows how water would be collected as it enters the intake side:
http://people.clarkson.edu/~lanahamc/media/pc/cpu_block...

*I designed that CPU block because I'm not satisfied with any designs that I have seen on the market, and I was planning to do water cooling on my next computer. With the new direction Intel has taken, I really don't need to consider water cooling anymore....
**Note the cutout on the bottom of the block. This is because it was designed to fit a Socket A system and I never updated the model for Socket 939 or AM2.
June 14, 2006 3:09:41 AM

Very nice. What case is that (primary system)?
June 14, 2006 3:36:35 AM

I hope you remembered to run grounding straps/wires from the mobo and all the metal component cases to the power supply. Unless you paid the extra money for the anti static coated material, polyacryilcs love to build up static chrges
June 14, 2006 11:27:11 AM

The primary PC case is a cheap one that I picked up at TigerDirect when I built the system. It was made by Just-For-PC USA, cost $50, came with four case fans (I added the top one myself), hard drive heatsink, screwless drive clips, and a hinged motherboard panel.

As for grounding....this isn't a polyacrylic case, it's Lexan which is polycarbonate. Still I'm sure it builds up some charge just because it is plastic, but I really don't see it as a problem. Every component is grounded through the same connection from which it receives power, so the mobo, CD drive, and hard drive are grounded directly through the ps. Then all the expansion cards are individually grounded through the PCI/AGP slots to the motherboard. If that turns out not to be enough and the thing dies from static discharge, no big loss, but I don't think it will happen.
!