Starting out is a picture of the finished product... That was the only picture I took without flash, so the colors were a lot more warmer than the actual thing. In the other pics with flash, the images look a lot sharper, but they tend to downplay the clearcoats, and the nice gloss and reflections
In actuality, the finish looks just like the recent line of Samsung DVD/Blu-Ray players and my Viewsonic VX2235.Current Hardware
(since June 2009)
Antec NSK2480 (painted black w/ stealthed drive bay)
Antec Earthwatts 380W (included /w case) /w Ninja Mini fanswap
Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H /w GF9400 IGP
E5200 (2.5GHz, 800FSB, 2M cache, 45nm) @ 0.912V /w Scythe Ninja Mini
2x 2GB Patriot Extreme Performance PC2-6400 5-5-5-12 @1.8V
WD Green 1.5TB 5400RPM
Pioneer DVR-108 DVDÂ±RW
A few pics of the internals, before and after putting in the drive cage.
It's a lot less messy than when I had the IDE HDD and video card in there, that's for sure...
Unlike the original setup, I have suspended the harddrive underneath the DVD drive in the removable 5-1/4" tray, with a 1/4" thick x 2" wide strip of foam running down the length of the drive offering backup support in case the elastics sag over time. Also, I have stuffed the entire area behind the lower drive bay bezel with a 2" x 2.5" x 5.5" 'brick' of foam to reduce noise leakage through the front panel.
Since it was reported that the GF9400 runs pretty hot with the stock heatsink from Giga-byte, I used a clear plastic sheet (from the RAM packaging, actually) to make a duct that spans the entire height of the case, running from the back of the case where Antec put their own duct slot, and past the corner of the Minja to where the IGP heatsink is. In theory, all the air that comes in through the back of the case will have to pass over the IGP now. I haven't tested the system without the duct, but my 55Â°C idle and 71Â°C peak temp (using 2 threads of Prime95 and RtHDRIBL for ~15mins) is a lot lower than many of the people on AVSforum, so I'm not complaining and probably won't bother with upgrading the heatsink to the Thermalright tower. If anything, I may block off the vents in the "HDD chamber" so that all the air passing through the main chamber will come from the back.
Also somewhat visible in the pics below, is a fanmate2 controller that is attached to the inner wall of the chassis (rear-right) with the control knob protruding outside towards the rear of the case through a hole where a wire-guide clip once was, and is relatively easy to access. It controls the 2 Scythe S-Flex E's running in parallel presently set at ~580rpm -below the noise threshold of the 80mm Scythe fan that was bundled with the Ninja Mini (swapped into the Antec power supply).
(Left image is "enhanced" to show duct to IGP heatsink)
The Minja fan runs off the PSU's fan header but I ran the RPM-line to the CaseFan header on the mobo. It runs at ~980rpm at startup and idle, and (barely) ramps up to ~1000rpm at CPU+GPU load. I tried using a 2000rpm Kama Flex but it's starting voltage was lower than the PSU's header.
On a side note, I also used 2mm foam tape and/or 'vinyl-eraser-grommets' on all the fans, the controller, and some of the 'loose plastics' that might resonate on contact with the chassis.Temps, Power Usage, etc
Temps reported by speedfan, Power #s from Zalman ZM-MFC2
***taken before undervolting CPU***
Idle/Light load (FLACs in WinAmp, browsing internet (non-flv),etc)
55-60W (pretty disappointed by this, actually)
CPU: 32Â°C (cores @ 36Â°/39Â°)
PSU fan RPMs: 980
Case fans RPM: 587
Full Load (2 threads Prime95 + RtHDRIBL for ~15mins, when temps have stayed plateaued for 5mins)
CPU: 42Â°C (cores @ 49Â°/49Â°)
PSU fan RPMs: 1000
Case fans RPM: 587Painted Front Bezel with Stealthed Drive
Above is the front Bezel after painting and clearcoat. I sanded down the silver paint originally on the panel, applied primer, used a common Glossy Black spray can available at most hardware stores and applied 3-4 coats with minor sanding of imperfections after each of the 1st 2. And finally 2 coats of clearcoat. For those considering doing something similar and were wondering, the front panel of the case is very easy to remove, with 3 screws near the top that can be accessed by removing the HDD and Optical drive cages, and 3 plastic latches directly below. The silver bezel is attached to the black "offset panel" with ~12 small screws and 1 longer one. All are easy to remove with little risk of breaking anything.
One last look at the interior and a close up of the optical drive. It's positioned as far forward as possible without using the fixed-position mounting holes, since it would probably need adjusting to make it flush with the rest of the front panel.
Next up, is the drive bay cover plate being turned into a 'stealth drive' cover. The clips that would normally attach it to the front panel have been sawed off and the edges sanded before painting. I used Heavy-duty 3M Double-sided tape intended for outdoor use, and after trying a few materials, settled on good ol' corrugated cardboard.
***EDIT: In retrospect, using cardboard was a bad idea. It works really well with the tape, but over time it has sagged by ~0.5-0.75mm under the weight of the bay cover plate and now slightly clips the plate below whenever I eject the drive. I'll probably be redoing this with a hot glue gun to keep it in place for good.***
One long strip was applied to the DVD tray bezel, and then matched up with a similar arrangement on the back of the stealth panel, except for the region where the eject button is- an eraser block was used there. In the middle pic, you can see what the stealth panel looks like after being attached, and finally, on the right, you can see what it looks like after shifting the dvd drive back ~1.5mm on it's rails.
Coming full circle to the finished goods and a shot of what it looks like with the DVD drive open.
A few last shots of the HTPC in it's natural habitat. Everything on and then off.Original/Previous Configuration
(Mostly hand-me-down parts from retired systems)
Celeron 2.2GHz (128kb L2 Cache, 400Mhz FSB) w Scythe Ninja Mini
2x 512MB genric RAM (333Mhz)
XFX GeForce 6600GT AGP w Zalman VF700Cu (underclocked to 150MHz core/750MHz Mem in 2D, fan removed)
Hauppage WinTV Nova DVB-S Plus
WD 160GB HDD
Pioneer DVR-108 DVDÂ±RW
-SSD for the OS, Apps and Music
-Blu-Ray drive (maybe burner)