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Media Center Remodel... Old School

October 29, 2012 2:52:26 PM

First off, let me say I am 100% new to case mods. Second, I honestly can't spend almost any money on this project due to excessive spending on my Nissan Skyline, seems my wife only likes 1 project going at a time that cost us money. So I am going to make due with what I have.

Plan: Mod/Paint HP Media Center m7640 PC
Goal: Make it look nice in my entertainment center, as well increase airflow.

The Specs:
AM2 AMD Athlon X2 Windsor 5600+ (2.8GHz Dual Core)
EVGA GTX 295 FTW Edition
Corsair CX600 Power Supply
Windows 7 Home Premium

I have upgraded all components to essentially their max. The PSU was bad, so I got the CX600, I got the GTX 295 from a friend after he upgraded, I upgraded it from 2GB to 4GB RAM. The 5600+ Windsor was added by the guy I got it from, I can go up to a 6400+, but they run kind of expensive on eBay, and I won't fork out cash for a .4 GHz increase in speed... But that is not why I am starting the thread. The components won't be changed, its the case.

There are some pictures of the layout of the case in this service guide, also there are some picture on Google searches for the model. I can't get to any image file sharing websites on this work computer.

In the guide you can see that both sides, the top and front panels come off the case to expose a metal frame. This frame is what I am going to mod, I am not going to put the front panel of top back on. I will keep the side for proper cooling flow through the case. The flash card reader on the top was also removed so it would fit into a cabinet in my entertainment center, it was about an inch too tall, hence removing the top.

I plan on moving the HDD to the bottom of the case, currently it is on the "Personal Media Drive Bay" that takes up a TON of space and no longer is usable. Since this is a Media Center PC, the front panel has component input/output. I want to get rid of this as well since I hooked this up to my 54' Panasonic via DVI-HDMI. The DVD drive is also going to be removed, I have an external if I really need it. Once all 3 of those parts are taken off the front it should be mostly smooth. I was thinking of getting some metal mesh (The kind the put in car grills, bumpers, etc.) and screwing it into the front to cover those holes and make it look nice and smooth, and then possibly cutting the drive bays out with a Dremel and mounting a large fan in the front of the case. If all goes well I may put an additional fan on the side of the case, right above the GPU, since it barely fits in the case, and probably could use some more air blown down on it.

Painting will be simple, flat black front, possibly gloss red or Black on the sides. It will mostly be in the cabinet unless this goes really well... then I may move it.

Like I said, I have never modded any case or anything like this and I honestly don't have many tools. This is all just an idea I have to give me a project since I really can't put more money into a new computer (or new case). I live in Japan, so shipping a case is almost the same price as the case, so that is crazy...

I am really posting this to get any inputs from people who've done this kind of thing before. Is my idea crazy? Pointless? Unattainable? I appreciate the help guys!