Concept Project Simplicity

GuilleAcoustic

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Hi there,

long time since my last computer related design. I'm working on a project to give my computer a better look and better cooling performance. Let's start by introducing my current chassis and hardware...







Hardware:
  • Asus Z87 Gryphon with Thermal armor
  • Asus Thermal armor kit
  • Intel Core i5-4570
  • EVGA GTX770 Superclocked 2GB
  • Kingston Fury 8GB (planning to add 8GB)
  • Sandisk Extreme II 240GB
What am I after:
  • Minimalist look
  • Open frame
  • Small foot print
Below is a first try showing what I have in mind.



Note: Please forgive that poor sketch. I haven't used my Wacom tablet in like 8 years :confused:
Main features:
  • Solid wood core
  • Thick aluminium foot
  • Decoupling spikes
  • Laced cables
  • Rigid tubing

I'll do a proper 3D model and rendering once I'm done with sketching. Hope you like it and feel free to give any comments. This is my first watercooling attempt, so all advises will be more than welcomed.

- Guille -
 
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tigim101

Minimal Tinkerer
Aug 16, 2015
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The sketch is simple and easy to understand, and the lines are pretty straight for free hand. I used my sister's wacom tablet one time and I found it awkward, but she said it gets easier.

Are you building this from scratch or are you using the lian li frame? I also assume you'd want to do custom cabling for the PSU to get that clean look and the right lengths.

I think this has the potential to look pretty slick, especially with that wood center piece, make sure to get something interesting!
 

GuilleAcoustic

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The sketch is simple and easy to understand, and the lines are pretty straight for free hand. I used my sister's wacom tablet one time and I found it awkward, but she said it gets easier.!
Thanks a lot. I used myPaint and a 12 years old A4 Wacom Intuos2. This software is very nice, very close to Painter.

Are you building this from scratch or are you using the lian li frame? I also assume you'd want to do custom cabling for the PSU to get that clean look and the right lengths.
This is going to be a scratch build as I want to have zero frame. Custom cables are mandatory to achieve nice finish and look. I'm considering carving channel inside the central wood panel to route some cables (USB, buttons, etc.) and cover them with aluminium cover.

I think this has the potential to look pretty slick, especially with that wood center piece, make sure to get something interesting!
Thanks, I'll put everything my soul have in this build ;).
 

Phuncz

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Very curious how this will turn out !
 

Aibohphobia

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Feb 22, 2015
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You could make the central wooden column of 3 layers, so the middle layer could have the channels in it and the two outer layers have the holes for the cables to come out of.
 

GuilleAcoustic

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You could make the central wooden column of 3 layers, so the middle layer could have the channels in it and the two outer layers have the holes for the cables to come out of.
Been thinking about that. I don't know if I should make the middle layer out of wood or of out something else (acetal, metal, etc). I'll have to fit a strong structure inside of it to make a rigid chassis. Something made of metal, attached to the aluminium base and running throught the wood sandwich like a skeleton.
 

GuilleAcoustic

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I've been refining the design a little, mostly working on the layout. The quick pencil scketch below illustrate the changes:



The PSU is now on the hardware side, while the radiator is now on the cooling side. I haven't drawn the other side as I'm not fixed yet concerning the radiator orientation. I also reworked the tubing, moving from parallel to serial connection between CPU and GPU waterblocks.

The central wood panel changed too. It is now conposed of two panels separated with female threaded spacers and screwed together. This will allow easy cable routing as well as giving the cleaner and lighter look. Passthrough fitting will be used to connect the tubing between the two sides and quick-disconnection to be able to separate the two sides without draining the loop.

Again, please feel free to post any comments as long as it is relevant :D

- Guille -
 

jtd871

SFF Guru
Jun 22, 2015
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Using thick glass or acrylic instead of wood could turn this into a b*tchin' show piece a la inWin. Tres bon!
 

GuilleAcoustic

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Using thick glass or acrylic instead of wood could turn this into a b*tchin' show piece a la inWin. Tres bon!
That could be an idea, yes. A friend of mine works at a glass and mirror manufacturer, he could do me a price on the machining.

I did two mockups on scketchup, one with dual sided layout, one with single sided layout (narrower but taller). Don't mind the tubing on the taller one, I duplicated the one from the dual sided design.

Which one do you guys like the most ?
  • Dual sided size (H x D x W): 410mm x 280mm x 210mm
  • Single side dize (H x D x W): 700mm x 280mm x 150mm




Edit: I though about a third layout (410m x 410mm x 150mm). Dont mind the tubing again, not finished yet.

 
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Aibohphobia

aka James
Feb 22, 2015
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The double sided would be easier to transport and wouldn't need as large of a stand so that's my preference.

Single sided would look great mounted to a wall though.
 

jtd871

SFF Guru
Jun 22, 2015
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I like the shorter version. The tall one (I know it's not really white) is too reminiscent of a Thermaltake Level 10 behemoth.
 

tigim101

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Aug 16, 2015
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Most definitely go with the shorter version. Not only does it look better and more SFF, it would be harder to make it stable at that taller height.
 

Phuncz

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I like the shorter, single-sided design, make it so !
 

GuilleAcoustic

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Thanks a lot for all you advise and opinion. This is the best way to improve :).

Most definitely go with the shorter version. Not only does it look better and more SFF, it would be harder to make it stable at that taller height.
The double sided would be easier to transport and wouldn't need as large of a stand so that's my preference.

Single sided would look great mounted to a wall though.
I do not move my rig that often, only well doing a spring clean. Stability is an issue though, especially with the cat and the kids.

I like the shorter version. The tall one (I know it's not really white) is too reminiscent of a Thermaltake Level 10 behemoth.
Yep, we've been talking about that with Confusis on IRC. It's way too close to a Level 10, even it i trully love monolithic designs.

I like the shorter, single-sided design, make it so !
I like this one the most too. I'll try to shave a few millimeters here and there to have it as compact as possible.
 

GuilleAcoustic

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Today's update: I'm done with the layout. I think this is as far as I can shrink it. The tubing is almost done and only the pump and draining are missing. I change the dual wood panel design for a Aluminium / Wood / Aluminium combo.





I still have to model the PSU though. I'm gonna buy a new one, as my current Corsair HX520W has a coil whine since a few days. Time to move a fully modular Corsair RM750i. This PSU has a great feature: Data logging through USB (voltages, currents, efficiency) for all rails.

Another feature I want to include is the temperature sensors. My Asus Z87 Gryphon has 3 temperature sensor headers that I'll use to monitor the water temperature at the inlet and outlet of the radiator, then I'll use those data to control the fans and pump speed.

What's left to do:
  • Pump modeling and tubing
  • PSU modeling
  • Cabling
  • Foot design
 
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Phuncz

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This is shaping up as a nice project, keep it going !
 

GuilleAcoustic

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Not sure to go with watercooling though as I have a few problem on my car :wallbash: (never buy a Renault).

Another point, I'm really gaming anymore and I'm considering selling the GTX770. Computer usage will be my usual tinkering / hobby (digital painting, coding, writting, music). I'll keep the idea of a minimalist looking computer and thinking around that lines.

Edit: Here is my idea, still need to be dressed beautifuly but those are the lines



My idea is to sell my GTX770, my i5-4570 and my 2x 4GB to buy a 35W i7 and 16GB of very low profile DDR3 (ideally 1.2V). I'll trade the Noctua NH-C14 for a Noctua NH-D9L that will be run passively.



Next step is the PSU. I'm very tempted in these 250W DC-DC from HDPlex: http://www.hd-plex.com/HDPLEX-250W-Hi-Fi-DC-ATX-Power-Supply-16V-24V-Wide-Range-Voltage-Input.html

 
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Phuncz

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I see an mATX board in the design and an mITX board in the photo, now I'm confused :p
 

GuilleAcoustic

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Another solution: I go the ITX way and I sell my Gryphon Z87. Heatsink is a Thermalright HR-22 and the chassis has a single 180mm fan blowing at it.

Note: Front panel is not showed, but I'm thinking about vintage speaker cloth streched over a frame mounted to the chassis with small magnets or grill inserts ... http://www.kldguitar.com/KLDguitar-English/KLDguitar-accessories/KLDguitar-British-Style-Speaker-Grill-Cloth.html







Edit: I've added a quick vintage speaker cloth front panel. I can play with the pattern by simply changing the texture file linked to the material.

 
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