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Mystichrome 2023 Build Log


Snakecharmed
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So here's my useless geek-out writing exercise. I partly loathe doing this because my mind goes on so many tangents when I write that I force myself to make tons of edits to cut down the fluff and verbiage, but I did also want to document my experience this go around. My machine was already built when I first joined OCN in 2011 and that was the last time I truly started from scratch. Also, I'm pretty sure I can be at least somewhat engaging when writing about esoteric crap like this that none of the normal people in my life understand. 🤣

 

I'll make updates as I put all the pieces together, eventually culminating in the actual hardware installation and final build and workspace pics. Hopefully I don't run into any issues that will cause me to have to ditch this case, because it's really the centerpiece of the build.

 

Starting with the case—as I’ve mentioned a number of times in other threads, it’s a Gateway 2000 P5-166 XL ATX tower case from 1996. It was one of the first ATX tower cases ever, since Gateway was selling this exterior case design as a Baby AT case the year before as their 10th Anniversary P5-133XL model. If you don't know what it looked like without the automotive paint job in my sig rig thumbnail, here you go:

 

spacer.png

 

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Source: https://wiki.preterhuman.net/Gateway_2000_P5-166_XL

 

The chassis is made with 1.94mm thick steel according to my digital calipers. Yes, you read that right. This is some ‘90s server grade material. It can also serve as a place to sit if you were too broke for chairs.

 

There was a time when I was too cheap to buy a new case, but that hasn’t been true for decades now. I kind of admire this old tank, and the fact that it was ATX from day one made it easy enough to use now, even though the ATX spec has evolved quite a bit over time. There used to be a time when the power supply fan was supposed to be an intake that blew cool exterior air over the CPU. Crazy, huh?

 

If you look at the third unmodified P5-166XL pic above, internally, it had removable drive cages to support up to seven 3.5” drives in addition to the front panel space allocated to four 5.25” drives. The front drive cage got in the way of longer video cards, so that was gone the day I got an EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Classified. The top rear cage was positioned in front of an opening for an 80mm fan. I never had a use for that upper cage, so I took that out in either 2001 or 2005.

 

Sometime between 2008-11, I hacked a hole in the front of the case where there was a bump to support a plastic bracket that held a PC speaker and an optional 80mm front intake fan. I cut this thing open with an angle grinder and it was not a pretty sight or effort. I used the rectangular slots for the bracket—which happened to be about 105mm apart, same as the distance between the mounting screws of a 120mm fan—as weakly secured mounting holes for a 140mm to 120mm reducer adapter that once held an AeroCool 140mm fan, then later a Phanteks 140mm fan.

 

Never mind that I was wasting the airflow of a 140mm fan by forcing it through a 120mm adapter, or that I didn't understand back then that static pressure matters more than CFM through partially obstructed openings. I truly didn't understand nor pay a lot of attention to anything in those days, as evidenced by my cuts that weren't straight and went way past the corners of perpendicular cuts.

 

spacer.png

 

Well, over a decade later and with much more experience with metalwork and doing projects the right way, I decided to clean up this hack job. With the front drive cage no longer in use, I cut enough space on the front to mount two 120mm fans, this time with a rotary tool instead of barely being able to control an angle grinder with a cutting wheel larger than these fans.

 

I originally wanted to put in two 140s, but the static pressure would have been weaker with the bigger fans unless I turned up the fan speeds, and believe it or not, this is supposed to be a silent PC build. Also, there would be a minor fitment issue with the upper right mounting screw location for the upper 140mm fan if I chose to go with that size.

 

I ended up going with a pair of Be Quiet Silent Wings 4 120mm PWM fans. Of all the truly “silent” fan options available, these had the highest listed static pressure. The widened hole I cut still isn’t perfect, but again, it’s never going to be seen. At least this time, I filed the cuts, the lines are straighter, and I drilled proper mounting holes. The main thing I wanted to do was allow the Noctua NA-SFMA1 140mm to 120mm fan mounting adapters to sit flush against the inside of the chassis.

 

One cheat I had to do was mount one the Be Quiet plastic push fasteners through the case to secure the Noctua adapter and 120mm fan hole for the upper right corner of the upper fan instead of using the 140mm mounting hole. Truthfully, the Noctua adapters weren't a must-have, but it was far easier to drill holes in the chassis spaced for 140mm rather than 120mm.

 

spacer.png spacer.png

 

The last bit of metalwork I still have to do with this case is bend and trim wire mesh to fit and replace the large blank plate area on the back of the case next to the I/O panel (see the second unmodified P5-166XL pic way above). With my new Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 SE 120mm dual tower heatsink, the goal is to have the CPU's hot air directed out the back of the case primarily with the heatsink's rear fan. Not having a dedicated rear case fan hasn't been as bad as I worried it would be, as evidenced by my interim Montech X1 case's great temps despite having to remove its rear exhaust fan so my existing Noctua NH-C14S heatsink could fit in the case. I should point out that compared to the Peerless Assassin 120 SE, the NH-C14S is a far worse heatsink setup as it's a top-down cooler pushing internal air down onto the CPU and spreading it around rather than flowing the hot air away from the CPU.

 

That's about it for this entry. Below is a pic of my case after I installed white LED lighting near the front vents back in 2016, then the Montech X1 I'm currently using. Even though I hate admitting to being attracted to RGB lighting, it's given me some ideas for my case. I mean, if all these contemporary motherboards are going to give us ARGB headers, then I guess I'll just play along.

 

w827iTFh.jpg GLeqxElh.jpg

Edited by Snakecharmed
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CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7900X
MOTHERBOARD: Asus ROG Strix B650E-F Gaming WiFi
RAM: 64 GB (2x32 GB) G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB DDR5-6000 CL30
GPU: EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming
SSD/NVME: 1 TB WD_BLACK SN850X PCIe 4.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 2 TB WD_BLACK SN770 PCIe 4.0 NVMe
MONITOR: 38" LG UltraGear 38GN950-B 3840x1600 144 Hz
MONITOR 2: 55" Samsung Neo QLED QN85A 4K 120 Hz 4:4:4
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CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock X300M-STM
RAM: 16 GB (2x8 GB) ADATA DDR4-3200 CL22
SSD/NVME: 500 GB Gigabyte Gen3 2500E PCIe 3.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 3.84 TB Samsung PM863a Enterprise SATA 6 Gbps
CASE: ASRock DeskMini X300W
CPU COOLER: Thermalright AXP90-X36
CPU COOLER 2: [Fan] Noctua NF-A9x14 92mm PWM 2.52 W
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Very cool build. Typically people go for a "sleeper PC" when reusing a vintage case like that. Neat to see something going in a different direction.  

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CPU: 5900X + Optimus block
MOTHERBOARD: MSI X570 Ace
GPU: EVGA RTX 3090 FTW3 Ultra + Optimus block
RAM: 32GB Oloy Blade 3600CL14
SSD/NVME: 1TB SN750 Black
SSD/NVME 2: 1TB SN750 Black
SSD/NVME 3: 2TB Samsung 970 Evo Plus
CASE: LD PC-V7
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CPU: 7800X3D
MOTHERBOARD: B650E-I Strix
RAM: G.Skill Flare X5
GPU: Reference 6950 XT
CASE: InWin D-Frame Mini
WC RADIATOR: MO-RA3 with 4x180mm Silverstone fans
FAN CONTROLLER: Aquaero
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CPU: 12600KF
MOTHERBOARD: Z790I Strix
RAM: G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo
GPU: RTX 2080
CASE: Sliger SM580
WC RESEVOIR: Phanteks R160C
WC RADIATOR: XSPC TX240 Ultrathin
FANS: Phanteks T30
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Thanks. I wish I had taken pics of my painting process back in 2007-08. If nothing else, that gave me a great appreciation for how body shops work. The funny thing is, if I had started this project a few years later, I would have copped out by vinyl wrapping the whole thing and called it done.

 

Anyway, when I first started going down the path of painting, I figured I'd initially be okay with a matte finish on the paint job, but once I saw what the front panel pieces looked like after painstakingly wet sanded glass smooth and polished, even I was stunned.

 

This time when I'm done, I'll have to remember to take some pics of the case in the sun. Even better would be if I had a friend with a 2004 Mystichrome SVT Ford Mustang Cobra (or if I had simply gotten one myself), but this ice cream sundae probably won't be getting that cherry-on-top photo op.

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GPU: EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming
SSD/NVME: 1 TB WD_BLACK SN850X PCIe 4.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 2 TB WD_BLACK SN770 PCIe 4.0 NVMe
MONITOR: 38" LG UltraGear 38GN950-B 3840x1600 144 Hz
MONITOR 2: 55" Samsung Neo QLED QN85A 4K 120 Hz 4:4:4
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CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock X300M-STM
RAM: 16 GB (2x8 GB) ADATA DDR4-3200 CL22
SSD/NVME: 500 GB Gigabyte Gen3 2500E PCIe 3.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 3.84 TB Samsung PM863a Enterprise SATA 6 Gbps
CASE: ASRock DeskMini X300W
CPU COOLER: Thermalright AXP90-X36
CPU COOLER 2: [Fan] Noctua NF-A9x14 92mm PWM 2.52 W
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I've painted a few things before and can confidently say that painting isn't something I really enjoy. I run straight to the vinyl now lol

 

Not really an SN95 fan so I don't keep up with them but I imagine a legit Mystichrome Cobra fetches a pretty penny these days. 

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GPU: EVGA RTX 3090 FTW3 Ultra + Optimus block
RAM: 32GB Oloy Blade 3600CL14
SSD/NVME: 1TB SN750 Black
SSD/NVME 2: 1TB SN750 Black
SSD/NVME 3: 2TB Samsung 970 Evo Plus
CASE: LD PC-V7
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CPU: 7800X3D
MOTHERBOARD: B650E-I Strix
RAM: G.Skill Flare X5
GPU: Reference 6950 XT
CASE: InWin D-Frame Mini
WC RADIATOR: MO-RA3 with 4x180mm Silverstone fans
FAN CONTROLLER: Aquaero
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CPU: 12600KF
MOTHERBOARD: Z790I Strix
RAM: G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo
GPU: RTX 2080
CASE: Sliger SM580
WC RESEVOIR: Phanteks R160C
WC RADIATOR: XSPC TX240 Ultrathin
FANS: Phanteks T30
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Strangely enough, I'm not really an SN95 fan either. That's a big part of why I never seriously considered a Mystichrome, other than, you know, that whole being poor at the time from still being in college thing. If nothing else though, a non-Cobra was certainly a non-starter. But that supercharged Terminator powertrain plus the paint? All of a sudden, I really liked the car. Currently, they're not outrageously expensive with them commonly going in the low-$30K range, but find a really clean, low mileage one, and well...

 

BRINGATRAILER.COM

Bid for the chance to own a No Reserve: 986-Mile 2004 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra Mystichrome Coupe at auction with Bring a Trailer, the...

 

My limits aren't endless though. I'm not going to be impressed by Mr. Bean's Mini done up like that, especially since the only way that engine fits in that car is if he sits on the roof with that armchair. 🛋️

Edited by Snakecharmed

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CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7900X
MOTHERBOARD: Asus ROG Strix B650E-F Gaming WiFi
RAM: 64 GB (2x32 GB) G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB DDR5-6000 CL30
GPU: EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming
SSD/NVME: 1 TB WD_BLACK SN850X PCIe 4.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 2 TB WD_BLACK SN770 PCIe 4.0 NVMe
MONITOR: 38" LG UltraGear 38GN950-B 3840x1600 144 Hz
MONITOR 2: 55" Samsung Neo QLED QN85A 4K 120 Hz 4:4:4
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CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock X300M-STM
RAM: 16 GB (2x8 GB) ADATA DDR4-3200 CL22
SSD/NVME: 500 GB Gigabyte Gen3 2500E PCIe 3.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 3.84 TB Samsung PM863a Enterprise SATA 6 Gbps
CASE: ASRock DeskMini X300W
CPU COOLER: Thermalright AXP90-X36
CPU COOLER 2: [Fan] Noctua NF-A9x14 92mm PWM 2.52 W
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I've telegraphed my build plans for probably an entire year now and I was planning to wait longer, but I couldn't pass up the most recent Micro Center deal even though I'm not truly ready to build the system at the moment. I have too many other things going on outside of this project right now.

 

However, this was $599 before tax, and I've also ordered 64 GB of G.Skill Trident Z Neo DDR5-6000 CL30, so I won't be using the 32 GB of Flare X5. Once I sell off the Flare X5, I'll have paid about $500 for the ROG Strix B650E-F Gaming WiFi and 7900X, which currently go for a combined $730-740 elsewhere. The B650E-F was either my second or third choice of motherboard, but it does everything I need it to do.

 

LMP102th.jpg

 

This is happening at a time when I just can't squeeze any more productivity out of my current sig rig. Working in Photoshop or especially Premiere with it just sucks. This is so long overdue that I would have been just fine going X570 and 5800X3D or 5950X, but I prefer to work in at least one CPU upgrade per motherboard if I can. Knowing that there is an obvious opportunity for AMD going forward for an 8950X3D or 9950X3D that uses 3D V-cache on both chiplets and can clock as high as a 7000 non-X3D, I'll take my chances on AM5 now.

 

I realistically don't see the time to play games as much as I have over the last few years, so I'm okay not getting a 7950X3D or waiting for the 7800X3D and giving up a lot of productivity performance. Regardless, I haven't played at 1080p on my desktop since...ever, so the pissing match for fastest gaming CPU is largely irrelevant to me.

 

Back on the production side, I also seriously considered their Asus Prime X670E-Pro WiFi and 7950X combo, but the B650E-F and 7900X combo came back in stock when I decided to review my options one more time. It sold out at my local Micro Center last Friday while I had it in my cart and then went down to eat breakfast, so I just assumed it wasn't meant to be for this current sales period. Then the inventory was restocked Monday, so I decided to not blow it twice.

 

The 7950X would have been nice, but right now, I prefer saving the $250 and having a better quality motherboard on a slightly more limited chipset. As for the Intel options, the deals aren't there right now and they need to get their power/heat/efficiency issues in order before I consider their CPUs again. This 7900X is going to be run in 105W Eco mode.

 

So here's an annoying quirk of this older ATX case. The back panel cutouts were never designed to accommodate a large fan beside the motherboard's I/O backplate. This means the chassis back panel cover is a solid piece of metal next to its I/O backplate cutout. I need to replace this entire piece with something more breathable. I settled on woven stainless 5x5 wire mesh, but in hindsight, I'm not sure that was the best choice. At least I should have used welded stainless 4x4 wire mesh from McMaster-Carr, but I'll try the Amazon special first and see where it gets me.

 

pWjxLUoh.jpg

 

Also, I'm expecting big things from those Silverstone Aeroslots Gen 2, because that's been dead air for my 3080 Ti.

 

p6pFtkth.jpg

 

I guess this isn't a revelation to anyone who's done this more frequently than I have, but I see I/O backplate sizes have grown in width just noticeably enough since I last did any build (ASRock Z170 in 2015). The backplate on the B650E-F is wide enough to the point where it makes the wire mesh cutting job slightly easier because I no longer need to cut a rectangular hole in the mesh, but rather an open C-shaped cut where I don't need to replicate the "teeth" in the original solid chassis cover. However, that also makes it a little less secure. Hopefully, I can pin a couple millimeters of mesh in front of (or behind, relative to the case's front) the I/O backplate just enough to where it won't obstruct any ports.

Edited by Snakecharmed
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CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7900X
MOTHERBOARD: Asus ROG Strix B650E-F Gaming WiFi
RAM: 64 GB (2x32 GB) G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB DDR5-6000 CL30
GPU: EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming
SSD/NVME: 1 TB WD_BLACK SN850X PCIe 4.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 2 TB WD_BLACK SN770 PCIe 4.0 NVMe
MONITOR: 38" LG UltraGear 38GN950-B 3840x1600 144 Hz
MONITOR 2: 55" Samsung Neo QLED QN85A 4K 120 Hz 4:4:4
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CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock X300M-STM
RAM: 16 GB (2x8 GB) ADATA DDR4-3200 CL22
SSD/NVME: 500 GB Gigabyte Gen3 2500E PCIe 3.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 3.84 TB Samsung PM863a Enterprise SATA 6 Gbps
CASE: ASRock DeskMini X300W
CPU COOLER: Thermalright AXP90-X36
CPU COOLER 2: [Fan] Noctua NF-A9x14 92mm PWM 2.52 W
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Dy8p8oWh.jpg

 

IsFu4DFh.jpg

 

I'm not over the moon with the result, but it also fit about as well as I could have hoped. It gets the job done and It's rigid enough to not deflect much when I press my fingers against it, not that anyone's going to be doing that anyway.

 

In hindsight, welded mesh would have fit in a lot neater without warping and been much easier to work with than this standard fare woven mesh. To be fair, I didn't know welded mesh was an option until I found it on McMaster-Carr the other evening. I may still buy some because I'm far from having everything I need to put together the build right now.

 

Another option is expanded steel, although I believe that would be significantly harder to bend with only hand tools, since I don't have a sheet metal brake or even any spare metal stock to create a makeshift one on a workbench.

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CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7900X
MOTHERBOARD: Asus ROG Strix B650E-F Gaming WiFi
RAM: 64 GB (2x32 GB) G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB DDR5-6000 CL30
GPU: EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming
SSD/NVME: 1 TB WD_BLACK SN850X PCIe 4.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 2 TB WD_BLACK SN770 PCIe 4.0 NVMe
MONITOR: 38" LG UltraGear 38GN950-B 3840x1600 144 Hz
MONITOR 2: 55" Samsung Neo QLED QN85A 4K 120 Hz 4:4:4
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CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock X300M-STM
RAM: 16 GB (2x8 GB) ADATA DDR4-3200 CL22
SSD/NVME: 500 GB Gigabyte Gen3 2500E PCIe 3.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 3.84 TB Samsung PM863a Enterprise SATA 6 Gbps
CASE: ASRock DeskMini X300W
CPU COOLER: Thermalright AXP90-X36
CPU COOLER 2: [Fan] Noctua NF-A9x14 92mm PWM 2.52 W
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Yup, really nicely done 👍

 

Also, seeing old cases like that Gateway reminds me of different times when you could go into any number of stores and actually touch them before making a purchase. Now you just have MicroCenter and if you're not near enough to one, you simply can't do that. 

 

R.I.P. B&M Retailors. Pepperidge Farm remembers.

Edited by iamjanco
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4 hours ago, iamjanco said:

Yup, really nicely done 👍

 

Also, seeing old cases like that Gateway reminds me of different times when you could go into any number of stores and actually touch them before making a purchase. Now you just have MicroCenter and if you're not near enough to one, you simply can't do that. 

 

R.I.P. B&M Retailors. Pepperidge Farm remembers.

 

For sure, I remember going into CompUSA and Fry's years ago and spending so much time in there browsing and seeing parts up close. I'm fortunate enough to live near Micro Center, but it would be a really barren computer tech retail landscape without them. Beyond them, Best Buy doesn't come remotely close to having as much product diversity as we'd like to see at B&M retailers.

 

Anyway, I ordered the welded mesh earlier today, so I'm going to take another crack at that back panel grille. I did straighten out the woven mesh a bit more compared to what I posted yesterday, but I want to see if I can do better. The welded mesh is four openings per linear inch instead of the five on the woven that I used. I didn't look up the wire gauge, but being welded should increase the rigidity a good amount anyway, and I won't have to leave off the nearest wire strands parallel to the cut edges. They tend to fall out on woven mesh because nothing really holds them in place on the side that was cut.

Edited by Snakecharmed
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CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7900X
MOTHERBOARD: Asus ROG Strix B650E-F Gaming WiFi
RAM: 64 GB (2x32 GB) G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB DDR5-6000 CL30
GPU: EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming
SSD/NVME: 1 TB WD_BLACK SN850X PCIe 4.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 2 TB WD_BLACK SN770 PCIe 4.0 NVMe
MONITOR: 38" LG UltraGear 38GN950-B 3840x1600 144 Hz
MONITOR 2: 55" Samsung Neo QLED QN85A 4K 120 Hz 4:4:4
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CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock X300M-STM
RAM: 16 GB (2x8 GB) ADATA DDR4-3200 CL22
SSD/NVME: 500 GB Gigabyte Gen3 2500E PCIe 3.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 3.84 TB Samsung PM863a Enterprise SATA 6 Gbps
CASE: ASRock DeskMini X300W
CPU COOLER: Thermalright AXP90-X36
CPU COOLER 2: [Fan] Noctua NF-A9x14 92mm PWM 2.52 W
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Yeah, CompUSA was my primary goto, with Computer City the next. Also Frys and a few others, as well as what really was a traveling market that went from place to place and offered just about anything under the sun comp wise. A dated website for that market still exists, but don't know how long it's been since one was scheduled. 

 

I imagine quite some time now.

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That's cool that they did a traveling road show. I wonder if they got significant traffic at their on-location events. It's hard to gauge how many people are still into this hobby anymore considering PC usage feels like it's been declining with the rise of mobile computing.

 

I'm also reminded of a local store and warehouse that used to do component and pre-built sales back in the early-2000s. I remember buying an 80 GB WD Caviar hard drive and an ViewSonic 19" CRT from them among other things. They also hosted manufacturer showcase events a time or two where I got swag bags from Gigabyte, VIA, Maxtor, Microsoft, and others.

 

Unfortunately, they fell off hard toward the end of 2006. They started failing to fulfill pre-built orders, didn't have components and peripherals in stock anymore, and eventually shuttered in early-2007.

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RAM: 64 GB (2x32 GB) G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB DDR5-6000 CL30
GPU: EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming
SSD/NVME: 1 TB WD_BLACK SN850X PCIe 4.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 2 TB WD_BLACK SN770 PCIe 4.0 NVMe
MONITOR: 38" LG UltraGear 38GN950-B 3840x1600 144 Hz
MONITOR 2: 55" Samsung Neo QLED QN85A 4K 120 Hz 4:4:4
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CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock X300M-STM
RAM: 16 GB (2x8 GB) ADATA DDR4-3200 CL22
SSD/NVME: 500 GB Gigabyte Gen3 2500E PCIe 3.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 3.84 TB Samsung PM863a Enterprise SATA 6 Gbps
CASE: ASRock DeskMini X300W
CPU COOLER: Thermalright AXP90-X36
CPU COOLER 2: [Fan] Noctua NF-A9x14 92mm PWM 2.52 W
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Wow, I should have used welded wire mesh from the start. It's a lot sturdier as I predicted. It's straight in all three dimensions and there is minimal flex when pushing on it. I'm extremely impressed with the result. It looks so much cleaner and more professional.

 

DW73oWoh.jpg

 

GQa9YXVh.jpg

 

This is what the two pieces look like side-by-side—woven on the left, welded on the right.

 

QzVwN8qh.jpg

 

The funny thing is, I knew welded wire mesh existed all along because I have a pair of wire baking racks that were made with it. It didn't cross my mind to find this stuff in a thinner wire gauge, nor was I searching with the right terms because the vast majority of wire mesh you find for sale is the woven type.

Edited by Snakecharmed

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CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7900X
MOTHERBOARD: Asus ROG Strix B650E-F Gaming WiFi
RAM: 64 GB (2x32 GB) G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB DDR5-6000 CL30
GPU: EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming
SSD/NVME: 1 TB WD_BLACK SN850X PCIe 4.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 2 TB WD_BLACK SN770 PCIe 4.0 NVMe
MONITOR: 38" LG UltraGear 38GN950-B 3840x1600 144 Hz
MONITOR 2: 55" Samsung Neo QLED QN85A 4K 120 Hz 4:4:4
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CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock X300M-STM
RAM: 16 GB (2x8 GB) ADATA DDR4-3200 CL22
SSD/NVME: 500 GB Gigabyte Gen3 2500E PCIe 3.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 3.84 TB Samsung PM863a Enterprise SATA 6 Gbps
CASE: ASRock DeskMini X300W
CPU COOLER: Thermalright AXP90-X36
CPU COOLER 2: [Fan] Noctua NF-A9x14 92mm PWM 2.52 W
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I have everything required to start up the PC now, but I have no operating system, no dedicated game SSD, and my storage HDD and 3080 Ti are still in my current machine. I ordered a 2 TB WD_BLACK SN770 from B&H after Amazon decided to delay my shipment by 10 days because they don't actually have any stock.

 

8hAWYYyh.jpg

 

SaB726oh.jpg

 

pWyKlc9h.jpg

 

Reusing an old case like this for a modern build has both charm and significant technical limitations. Even though I had an AIO cooler on my wish list earlier in planning, there was nowhere to put a radiator and the case is only vented on two sides instead of four on more modern cases, so that left me with only one real viable airflow path: front to back.

 

Meanwhile, the lateral support and former 3.5" drive cage mounting brace basically left me with only one premium air cooler option in the Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 and its variants. Without the help of its vertical offset heatpipe design, any other 120mm+ tower cooler would hit the brace. I was prepared to cut a notch in the brace if I had no other options, but the PA 120 SE made life a lot easier.

 

Rather than my initial plan of getting a cheap used 750W SeaSonic Focus as a spare PSU for about $60 to power this up before swapping in my Corsair AX850 later, I got an open box unused Corsair RM850x (2018) to be the new PSU for this build for $80. It's still the best low noise PSU for the money.

 

The 5.25" drive cage serves as a nice PSU cable slack cubby. Putting aside the fact that the space in my desk to put a case makes a side window nearly useless, not having to worry about side windows at all on a 27-year-old case does reduce the emphasis on having a meticulously arranged interior. At this point, it's only mostly organized aside from the PSU cables because I want it to be. Unfortunately, there are still PCI-E connectors to be run for the 3080 Ti and I also have two SATA connections to make, so this is about the cleanest it'll look in bootable form.

 

In-Case Initial Build Specs

ruShCZol.jpg

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X

Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 SE heatsink with Be Quiet Silent Wings 4 120mm PWM fans

Asus ROG Strix B650E-F ATX Motherboard

G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB Series 64 GB (2x32 GB) DDR5-6000 30-40-40-96 RAM F5-6000J3040G32GX2-TZ5N

EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming

Western Digital WD_BLACK SN850X 1 TB PCI-Express 4.0x4 SSD WDS100T2XHE

Western Digital WD_BLACK SN770 2 TB PCI-Express 4.0x4 SSD WDS200T3X0E

Seagate BarraCuda Pro 12 TB 7200 RPM HDD ST12000DM0007

Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner

Corsair RM850X (2018) 850W 80+ Gold PSU CP-9020180-NA

Be Quiet Silent Wings 4 120mm PWM intake fans

Noctua NF-A8 PWM 80mm PWM exhaust fan

 

Notes

I got the RGB memory because it was the same price as the non-RGB version at the time of purchase.

 

The DVD burner will stick around as long as I need to help family rip and digitally file CDs before I eventually consider replacing it with a custom LCD monitoring panel that I saw on Etsy or something else that would be similarly useful. I'm in no rush though.

 

The almost useless 80mm exhaust fan at the top of the case is currently an old 3-pin Nexus silent fan, but I'm replacing it with a Noctua NF-A8 PWM because I can.

 

I'm still trying to find a suitable ARGB backglow lighting solution for the front intake panel. That's been difficult so far because I only have a 10" opening up front that has no room for wraparound or excess light strip placement, and most off-the-shelf solutions are way longer.

 

Once I get all this up and running and have Windows installed, I'll have to introduce all the other peripherals and gear outside of the case, then the work/gaming space, and eventually finish it off with a case photoshoot because I never did finish polishing the wraparound side panel or apply the one decal I need on the front bezel all those years ago.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I guess I should post an update.

 

The rig is up and running except for the 3080 Ti and the hard drive which will be brought over at the very end once I have all the software I need installed and am ready to retire the Sandy Bridge build as my daily rig. Aside from the wallpaper which I've yet to bother with because my main monitor is a different resolution, I've got my Windows 10 desktop set up to my liking with a new suite of UI customizations including ExplorerBlurMica and TranslucentFlyouts adding to what I've already used for some time with other PCs in Rainmeter, RocketDock, and Open Shell.

 

rm8pVlA.jpg

 

With an ambient room temp of 83°F which is more like what I'm used to seeing in this room during the summer, the max temp I'm seeing on CCD1 is 87.1°C and the hottest core is #6 at 86.3°C after about 20 minutes of stress testing and the temps staying stable for more than the last half of that duration. I don't think I'll have many real-world workloads maxing out the CPU for this long.

 

Idle temps are in the low-to-mid-30s Celsius, which I'm just not used to seeing after over a decade with an i5-2500K and i7-2600K. I think the lowest I remember seeing my i7-2600K in the Montech X1 is 45°C (and currently 50°C with the higher ambient temps today).

 

For accent lighting, I tried three different ARGB solutions for the front panel vents and I ended up putting together a custom solution (of course) with the help of steel stock and magnets. One of the things I learned from my experience with fitting white LED strips behind the front panel previously was that I need the LEDs to be side-firing to output any noticeable amount of light out the front.

 

6YRKksEh.jpg

 

These are 12x0.5x0.5" steel square bars with adhesive magnetic strips holding them to the chassis, then the magnets on the ARGB LED strips hold them to the steel bars. I only enabled 16 of the 21 LEDs on each strip so I don't get light bleed in places where the light doesn't need to be. I was hoping that it would be brighter than the other solution I successfully fit in there, and it was, so I'm pleased with how it turned out.

 

BV8zmL1.gif  kTu0mff.gif

 

There is a little light bleed into the disk activity LED, but since the activity LED is brighter, I don't really care too much about that. I still need to have a 30mm square custom decal made, but all in all, not bad for making a 27-year-old case that was never designed to accommodate any of the mods I've done look maybe 10-15 years younger.

 

Prior to this implementation, I tried two styles of magnetic ARGB light bars and was disappointed with the results. The first one was too thick to fit between the front bezel and the steel chassis, and the other was too dim to be seen in a fully lit room.

 

On a side note, I'm glad I have a plan for the top external drive bay for one day when internal optical drives become fully obsolete via the obsolescence of SATA.

Edited by Snakecharmed
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SSD/NVME 2: 2 TB WD_BLACK SN770 PCIe 4.0 NVMe
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This is what makes us "Extreme".  Thank you for sharing your progress over the years on this case and build.  It's looking even more beautiful than it was 20 years ago, and that's what case modding is all about. 🙂 

 

Seriously, such an awesome build.

Edited by pioneerisloud
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CPU: AMD Opteron 180 @ 3.0GHz
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CPU: AMD Athlon 1100MHz
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PSU: Antec 350w
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3 hours ago, Barefooter said:

Cool build here!  Very retro!

 

I use an external Blu ray burner now when I need one.  Just plugs into a USB port.

Hardly ever use it now.

 

Thanks!

 

I do have a small collection of DVDs and also have probably another 100 CDs to rip and digitally store for family, but even then, my optical disc needs are also few and far between. I actually thought about getting an external USB burner when putting together this rig, but ultimately decided I didn't want to bother with it for the time being.

 

I'm not sure what the future holds for SATA since consumer hard drives are still going to need an interface and frustratingly, there are no actual installation pics of Seagate's alleged demo of an NVMe HDD in 2022, but I'm projecting my next motherboard will be at least five years away, so I can deal with the problem then.

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SSD/NVME 2: 2 TB WD_BLACK SN770 PCIe 4.0 NVMe
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7 hours ago, pioneerisloud said:

This is what makes us "Extreme".  Thank you for sharing your progress over the years on this case and build.  It's looking even more beautiful than it was 20 years ago, and that's what case modding is all about. 🙂 

 

Seriously, such an awesome build.

 

Thanks! The crazy thing is, timing was everything to me keeping the case. Back in the mid-2000s around the time of my AMD Athlon XP-M build, I was considering other case options. I had a few requirements back then though, and the most stringent one was that I wanted a case at least as tall as mine. That's a hard requirement to meet considering it's 23" tall. In hindsight, was that a practical requirement? No, because much shorter cases these days are much easier to work with, have more interior space, and/or have better airflow.

 

Nobody except Lian Li made a quality full-tower that I liked. However, Lian Li at the time was known for ultra premium cases with a few wacky special edition models, so none of them were affordable to me back then. Also, in hindsight, I don't think those cases would have aged very well either. I mean, there was a time when I wanted this thing:

 

11-112-084-02.jpg

I'm very much not a fan of that case looking at it 18 years later.

 

Also, since I'm not strictly a retro enthusiast, my case wouldn't mean as much to me if it weren't for the hours I spent painting, buffing, and correcting it. However, I also wouldn't have gotten the idea to paint it if an affordable iridescent paint that bore an extremely strong resemblance to DuPont's $500/pint Mystichrome formulation didn't come onto the consumer market a few years after that 2004 Mystichrome Cobra.

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SSD/NVME: 1 TB WD_BLACK SN850X PCIe 4.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 2 TB WD_BLACK SN770 PCIe 4.0 NVMe
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1 hour ago, Snakecharmed said:

 

Thanks! The crazy thing is, timing was everything to me keeping the case. Back in the mid-2000s around the time of my AMD Athlon XP-M build, I was considering other case options. I had a few requirements back then though, and the most stringent one was that I wanted a case at least as tall as mine. That's a hard requirement to meet considering it's 23" tall. In hindsight, was that a practical requirement? No, because much shorter cases these days are much easier to work with, have more interior space, and/or have better airflow.

 

Nobody except Lian Li made a quality full-tower that I liked. However, Lian Li at the time was known for ultra premium cases with a few wacky special edition models, so none of them were affordable to me back then. Also, in hindsight, I don't think those cases would have aged very well either. I mean, there was a time when I wanted this thing:

 

11-112-084-02.jpg

I'm very much not a fan of that case looking at it 18 years later.

 

Also, since I'm not strictly a retro enthusiast, my case wouldn't mean as much to me if it weren't for the hours I spent painting, buffing, and correcting it. However, I also wouldn't have gotten the idea to paint it if an affordable iridescent paint that bore an extremely strong resemblance to DuPont's $500/pint Mystichrome formulation didn't come onto the consumer market a few years after that 2004 Mystichrome Cobra.

I completely understand what you mean.  I may be building "retro" rigs, but I'd be lying if I said I liked all my rigs equally, I don't.  My beige Chieftec Dragon or my custom modded Rosewill case would absolutely be my two favorite cases / builds.  Why?  Because I spent the time, effort, and resources to fix or mod those cases.  You're right, its a LOT of work to do a good enough job, especially if you've never done these things before.  Bondo, cutting, finding the right type of metal, sanding, painting, dremel......  It's tiring.  It's a lot of work.  But that's EXACTLY why I love those 2 builds the most out of mine.

And that's also EXACTLY the reason why I like yours so much.  Honestly, the original version of your case really isn't anything special (not trying to be rude, hear me out lol).  It is only because its still alive today, that's about it.  But after all that work you've put into that case, it shows.  It really does. 🙂

 

That Lian Li case is absolutely horrific looking.  Reminds me of those other "weird" cases that have popped up in recent years.  The sideways cubes, the pyramid case, I think it was InWin that kept making the really funky cases in modern years?  I kinda want one that you pictured, but only because its so horrifically ugly.  I legitimately don't think I'd even like that case, but its so freaking ugly!  What is it so I can keep my eyes peeled for one?  :lachen:

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My rig is really a blend of old and new, and I think that has something to do with how every upgrade I make is a deliberate and big one at the time of the upgrade. Then I'll just stick with something until I can't anymore. As a result, I tend to be really ignorant on things until it's time for me to do research, and then afterward I feel like a subject matter expert until the next technology innovation comes along.

 

I've had three Logitech MX500 series mice (MX510, MX518, G MX518 Legendary) since I'm guessing 2005, and for whatever reason, I never seriously looked into upgrading them when there was reason to get a new mouse. I've gotten better mice for other purposes (Logitech Performance MX for my laptop, Logitech MX Master 2S in switchable Bluetooth/RF mode between the work laptop and my main rig as a backup), but I held onto old adages when it came to gaming mice such as wired being better than wireless, and just being content with the form factor and relative affordability of the MX500 series to not really consider other options.

 

I got the G MX518 Legendary just under two years ago because my MX518 had a DPI down button that was getting increasingly stiff to actuate. About a month ago, I started to notice the same thing happening with the G MX518 Legendary's DPI down button too. Also, the cord was getting on my nerves because the cable management solution I put together for my desk limits the amount of extra slack I can pull back towards me, but the natural behavior of the mouse cord during enough use is to retract back into the cable bundle away from me. Well, "enough use" happens multiple times a day.

 

If I was going to upgrade for real this time, I wanted a mouse that had side-scroll and freewheel capabilities that was still good for gaming. Also, it needed to have at least as many buttons as the MX500 series, because I actually use all of them even for productivity. That really left me with just two options: Logitech G502 X Plus and Razer Basilisk Ultimate.

 

I've known for some time that high-end wireless gaming mice could match the latency of wired mice. What I wasn't aware of was this (from Rtings):

 

mouse-click-latency.thumb.jpg.aa4429a9b2c96a0c8beebf8f320ed21c.jpg

 

They're faster wireless than the modernized version of the MX518 is wired.

 

So, Logitech or Razer? I've had Logitech going back to the Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 days, but it wasn't necessarily brand loyalty so much as knowing what I would get with Logitech. What it boiled down to was the least bloated and buggy software. Based on reading what users have complained about, Razer Synapse seemed like a bigger disaster to me than Logitech G Hub, and Synapse is also cloud-based for some reason I have a hard time accepting.

 

So I decided to camp out on eBay and also spring for the G502 X Plus Lightspeed version for the ARGB. I mean, if I'm not going to pay full retail anyway, why not? Paid $128 for a brand new unopened $160 mouse.

 

ZlHlWwZh.jpg

 

The trouble I go to just so I no longer have to yank the cord towards me every few hours. The crazy thing is that I have no idea how long I'd subconsciously gotten used to doing that.

Edited by Snakecharmed
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SSD/NVME: 1 TB WD_BLACK SN850X PCIe 4.0 NVMe
SSD/NVME 2: 2 TB WD_BLACK SN770 PCIe 4.0 NVMe
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2 hours ago, pioneerisloud said:

I completely understand what you mean.  I may be building "retro" rigs, but I'd be lying if I said I liked all my rigs equally, I don't.  My beige Chieftec Dragon or my custom modded Rosewill case would absolutely be my two favorite cases / builds.  Why?  Because I spent the time, effort, and resources to fix or mod those cases.  You're right, its a LOT of work to do a good enough job, especially if you've never done these things before.  Bondo, cutting, finding the right type of metal, sanding, painting, dremel......  It's tiring.  It's a lot of work.  But that's EXACTLY why I love those 2 builds the most out of mine.

And that's also EXACTLY the reason why I like yours so much.  Honestly, the original version of your case really isn't anything special (not trying to be rude, hear me out lol).  It is only because its still alive today, that's about it.  But after all that work you've put into that case, it shows.  It really does. 🙂

 

That Lian Li case is absolutely horrific looking.  Reminds me of those other "weird" cases that have popped up in recent years.  The sideways cubes, the pyramid case, I think it was InWin that kept making the really funky cases in modern years?  I kinda want one that you pictured, but only because its so horrifically ugly.  I legitimately don't think I'd even like that case, but its so freaking ugly!  What is it so I can keep my eyes peeled for one?  :lachen:

 

Oh, I totally get you and agree with you. The original Gateway case is pretty meh. Its only remotely interesting claim to (questionable) fame is that it was one of the first ATX tower cases ever, but that doesn't make it good or valuable. It survived due to my financial circumstances at the time, and then I got inspiration at precisely the right time in history.

 

I believe my roommate back in the mid-2000s had a Chieftec Dragon in blue. If not, it was a Thermaltake knockoff. I thought I had an old pic of it, but I can't find it. I really liked that case in stock form, so I get why you'd like it even more if you took time to mod it.

 

That Lian Li case is model PC-777A. There were some others that got my attention back in those days, like the Lian Li Burj Al Arab PC-888. I'm glad their $400+ price tags back then stopped me, because I'd be full of regret if I owned them now.

Edited by Snakecharmed
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31 minutes ago, Snakecharmed said:

 

Oh, I totally get you and agree with you. The original Gateway case is pretty meh. Its only remotely interesting claim to (questionable) fame is that it was one of the first ATX tower cases ever, but that doesn't make it good or valuable. It survived due to my financial circumstances at the time, and then I got inspiration at precisely the right time in history.

 

I believe my roommate back in the mid-2000s had a Chieftec Dragon in blue. If not, it was a Thermaltake knockoff. I thought I had an old pic of it, but I can't find it. I really liked that case in stock form, so I get why you'd like it even more if you took time to mod it.

 

That Lian-Li case is model PC-777A. There were some others that got my attention back in those days, like the Lian Li Burj Al Arab PC-888. I'm glad their $400+ price tags back then stopped me, because I'd be full of regret if I owned them now.

"Right time in history", well you've got that right.  People don't do those things anymore very often it seems.  That's why I love seeing other people doing it.  Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside lol.  I'll bet you'll never let that case go either. 🙂

 

I always forget Thermaltake made them too!  I had the Apevia X-Pider (same) back in the day that I modded a window into (the windowed version was OOS when I bought mine).  I have two Antec versions of it today, one with the door and one without (black / beige respectively).

I'm not sure if I'd be full of regret owning a PC-777A or PC-888 today or not....seriously what was Lian Li thinking back then???  They're absolutely some of the ugliest cases I've ever seen, but that's kinda what makes them so neat.  There's been others in modern times that have been just as ugly / unique.  But those Lian Li ones, you can just TELL they're mid 2000's era by looking at them.  Solid aluminum, like all their cases.  Idk, I'll bet either of those two cases would fetch a pretty penny to the right collector today.  I wouldn't buy one today (or back then), but if I ran across one at a thrift store, or in the local PC shop's storage unit or something.......I'd inquire about it.

What's really interesting about those Lian Li's though, that's the same era the PC-60 and other popular cases were from.  So you know they knew how to make a non ugly case.  I don't get why their "special editions" had to be so freaking ugly.  Maybe it was for the sole purpose of having people like us talk about it 20 years later?  :lachen:

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13 hours ago, pioneerisloud said:

"Right time in history", well you've got that right.  People don't do those things anymore very often it seems.  That's why I love seeing other people doing it.  Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside lol.  I'll bet you'll never let that case go either. 🙂

 

I always forget Thermaltake made them too!  I had the Apevia X-Pider (same) back in the day that I modded a window into (the windowed version was OOS when I bought mine).  I have two Antec versions of it today, one with the door and one without (black / beige respectively).

I'm not sure if I'd be full of regret owning a PC-777A or PC-888 today or not....seriously what was Lian Li thinking back then???  They're absolutely some of the ugliest cases I've ever seen, but that's kinda what makes them so neat.  There's been others in modern times that have been just as ugly / unique.  But those Lian Li ones, you can just TELL they're mid 2000's era by looking at them.  Solid aluminum, like all their cases.  Idk, I'll bet either of those two cases would fetch a pretty penny to the right collector today.  I wouldn't buy one today (or back then), but if I ran across one at a thrift store, or in the local PC shop's storage unit or something.......I'd inquire about it.

What's really interesting about those Lian Li's though, that's the same era the PC-60 and other popular cases were from.  So you know they knew how to make a non ugly case.  I don't get why their "special editions" had to be so freaking ugly.  Maybe it was for the sole purpose of having people like us talk about it 20 years later?  :lachen:

 

Yeah, it's definitely a keeper. The paint job alone is a reminder of what I can do when I make the effort to do things the right way, because that was my first and only attempt at an automotive-quality paint project. I said earlier in the thread that I might have went with a vinyl wrap on the whole case if I started a few years later after wraps became more popular. That still wouldn't have addressed the complexity of the front bezel which has enough nooks and crannies to make a vinyl wrap very difficult to adhere nicely. In any feasible scenario that involved keeping the case, I think painting it was likely inevitable. I was never a retro purist for beige.

 

As for the Lian Li cases, I would go as far as saying Lian Li didn't think far enough outside the box back in the mid-2000s. They still tried to make those cases retain the dimensions of a normal ATX tower and I think that limited their imagination and led to those monstrosities. I do like the shape of the Burj Al Arab hotel as a design concept, but as an ATX case, the illusion of over a dozen stepped front panel drive bays doesn't work for me.

 

I think the Lian Li PC-Y6 yacht from a few years ago is an amazing limited edition case, and part of that is because it didn't try to satisfy the dimensional requirements of an ATX case.

Edited by Snakecharmed
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  • 2 weeks later...

I had started a post several days ago but ended up never posting it. It was about exhaust temps.

 

The i7-2600K in the Montech X1 case had an exhaust temp of 105°F at idle.

 

The 7900X in my modified case had an exhaust temp of 86°F at idle before I set it up in my desk.

 

This weekend, I put the case in the desk and brought in the 12 TB HDD and 3080 Ti. In the middle of extracting 40 GB of data, the exhaust temp was 96°F under load. Ambient room temp was 79°F for this measurement. The day the idle temps were measured, the ambient room temp was 81°F.

 

I used to have some theories as to what was making this room so hot and figured it couldn't have been just the PC, but the room this PC was in previously was also much bigger.

 

At this point, it seems that the only must-do in this room is to have the west-facing window tinted so the afternoon sun doesn't heat up the room so much. The significantly cooler 105W Eco-limited 7900X should allow the room temp to stay within 10°F—or hopefully even within 5°F—of the rest of the floor now. There were days last week where the room temp got up to 86°F with both PCs running, which was as much as 14°F higher than the rest of the floor.

 

After overclocking everything I've built for myself since 1999, it's an unfamiliar feeling to not be doing that anymore. However, the overclocking hobby in the form of getting free performance so your affordable CPU could punch significantly above its weight class has been dead to the average DIYer for quite some time now.

Edited by Snakecharmed
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