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 Post subject: Solo Bedroom PC
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 9:47 am 
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Location: Toronto, Canada
Posted this a while back, since then there are some upgrades to my very basic desktop PC.

AMD Athlon X2 5600+ OC @ 3.08 GHz
6 GB Kingston DDR2 667MHz Memory
500GB WD Blue hard drive
Asus M3A78-EM Motherboard
ATi Radeon HD 4850 w/Accelero S1
Corsair VX450
Pioneer 216D DVD Burner
AC Freezer 64 CPU Cooler @ ~600RPM
AC 120 frameless exhaust @ ~500RPM
92mm ADDA mid mounted fan @ 5V

Side view. All wires run behind the mobo and mobo tray.
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4850 w/S1, runs more than two times cooler (passively!) than the stock fan. I hacked off some chipset heat sink from and old board and tried to paste it on to cool the VRM's since I didn't want to damage my old cooler.
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Note the front intake fan suspended in the HD elastic.
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Front view with the suspended fan.
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The other side of this mess. :lol:
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The one thing I love about many 780/785G boards is the shear number of ports you get out back.
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My custom 5v/12v mid mount fan controller, mounted on an old sound card bracket. The push button turns it on, and the flip switch changes voltages.
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The CPU and Exhaust fans turn nice and slow using daisy chained PWM, and rarely ramp up even under load, controlled via Asus QFan. The power supply's low-pitched hum is still the loudest thing in the computer.

Temps:
CPU Idle: 39C; CPU Load: 52C;
GPU Idle: 35C; GPU Load: 52C;
Hard drive: 35-38C.

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Antec 302-S Project
Solo PC with flipped PSU & Mobo
Basement PC flipped and converted

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Last edited by speedkar9 on Sun Jul 18, 2010 11:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 10:21 am 
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Can you close the case with all those cables on the back?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 10:23 am 
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bozar wrote:
Can you close the case with all those cables on the back?


Yes, but it bulges. :oops:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:51 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Canada
Update:
New CPU (PII 555BE OC'd to 3.78GHz, unlockable to a B55 X4) and a new motherboard (Gigabyte MA785GM-US2H). Straightened up the wiring a bit, including under-the-motherboard wiring.

Image

Home made PWM /Voltage fan controller. (Similar to this schematic)
Image

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Antec 302-S Project
Solo PC with flipped PSU & Mobo
Basement PC flipped and converted

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Last edited by speedkar9 on Sun Jul 18, 2010 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:51 am 
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Wow, nice job with your PWM/Voltage fan controller. It would be a godsend for enthusiastic silencers.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 5:10 pm 
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Nice build.

You can carefully use a black marker to help mask the scratch.

Im not convinced on the intake fan position however, seems like it would be just moving air around the case as opposed to being forced to draw in fresh air from outside the case if you had it installed in one of the front fan mounts.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:50 am 
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mdrumt wrote:
Im not convinced on the intake fan position however, seems like it would be just moving air around the case as opposed to being forced to draw in fresh air from outside the case if you had it installed in one of the front fan mounts.

Its strategically positioned to cool the passive video card, I can feel a gentle warm air coming off the card with it on. Its also suspended for minimal vibration. :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:19 pm 
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Clever use of the built-in elastic. :) I never thought of that! I wonder if you might get a little more air from the outside if you place it in the first set of elastics.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 7:35 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Canada
Update
I did a little bit of case modding,

Image
Image
Image

Mods
Painted interior black
Flipped motherboard and PSU upside down
Made holes for cable management in mobo tray

More pics anyone?

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Solo PC with flipped PSU & Mobo
Basement PC flipped and converted

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Last edited by speedkar9 on Sat Jul 31, 2010 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:22 pm 
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speedkar9 wrote:
Update
I did a little bit of case modding,

Mods
Painted interior black
Flipped motherboard and PSU upside down
Made holes for cable management in mobo tray

That's not "a little modding imo, that's quite a lot. :shock: How did you flip it? Seems like the tray and back panel would have to be flipped together? Do you have a riveter? Pls describe the whole process, step by step -- and is the case as structurally sound as before?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:07 pm 
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Wow, that is some seriously nice modding!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:27 am 
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Wow big modding !

Do you noticed a change in the psu noise ?

Quote:
That's not "a little modding imo, that's quite a lot. Shocked How did you flip it? Seems like the tray and back panel would have to be flipped together? Do you have a riveter? Pls describe the whole process, step by step -- and is the case as structurally sound as before?


If you look closer, the motherboard plate is now on the left, I think he has flip the case, the feet on the top and inverse the front and the rear panel.

I was thinking to to the same with a antec 300 backpanel (same size) but antec don't seel them in the aftermarket.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:41 am 
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Wait, what? You turned the Antec Solo into a reverse ATX?

Mind giving us a bit more details? Was it hard?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:25 am 
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Nice !! 8)
Details please !!!!!!!!!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:16 am 
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Interesting...

I think he flipped the front bezel, 5.25 and 3.5' drive bays along with swapping the top and bottom panels. It`s relatively easy to undo rivets with a drill,then replace them with screws, as long as there`s enough clearance (which often isn`t the case..).

Ok, enough guessing from me..

I think it`s good to have the pci slots left uncovered for some airflow around the card but it might be better to block the hex vents next to them.

Anyway nice job, this is possibly the "perfect" solo.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:05 am 
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Forgive my ignorance, but what are the benefits of flipping the mobo tray and the back panel upside down?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:35 am 
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Wow, you're so creative that I can't help but applaud your modding! Please share your knowledge with average people like me!!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:04 am 
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Location: Toronto, Canada
Thanks all, I didn't know this would spark so much interest....
Here is a brief walk through on how I modded this case,

Stage One
Remove the pesky PSU bar by drilling through these rivets,
Image

Strip down the case,
Image

The mobo tray and back panel were removed by simply drilling through the rivets on the bottom (not shown), back and front of the case (shown in green),
ImageImage

The back panel and motherboard tray was then removed,
ImageImage

Next, the motherboard tray and back plate are flipped upsided down and installed for a test fit. This could take quite some force. Note the left side rivet holding the 5.25 bays had to be removed. Mark off where holes are to be drilled for future riveting. The case was lightly sanded with 120 grit sanding sponge before being painted.
ImageImage

Stage Two
Interior pieces painted black,
ImageImage

To rerivet the case back together, I used simple pop rivets and a riveting tool like this. The front left edge of the case required the drilling (green) and riveting (red) of these holes,
Image

Holes were also drilled and riveted along the top edge of the case,
Image

At the back, no new holes had to be drilled, as the three holes on the top and bottom panels align nicely despite the back plate being turned upsided down,
Image

Once riveted, the case, assembled, making sure no metal shards were left over,
ImageImage

Here are some holes that I cut in the motherboard tray for the front panel wires to be routed under the mobo,
Image

Two consecutive drilled holes make a good anchor for twist ties for cable management behind the mobo,
Image

Next, I cut a piece of the motherboard tray so the PSU wires can pass behind the mobo. They are then lined with some 3/16" tubing, slit down the middle,

Image

Stage Three
The computer, almost built,
ImageImage

ImageImage

I did some stress testing last night, this is in dual core mode and using Gigabyte's smart-fan control.

Off:
3W
Idle:
124W
CPU: 36C
GPU: 41C
HD: 40C

ATi Tool + Prime 95 for 10 min
231W
CPU: 46C
GPU: 54C
HD 41C

Now to answer some of your questions,
Quote:
-- and is the case as structurally sound as before?

Because the case's metal is quite thick and the case's left side wasn't meant to accommodate the mobo tray, the fit and finish isn't as great as the stock case: the side panels take a bit of force to pop on, and the DVD drive is a bit tight to slide in and out on its rails.

Quote:
Do you noticed a change in the psu noise ?

I didn't do any major testing to know for sure, but my guess is the noise is the same @ idle but its much quieter at load.

Quote:
Wait, what? You turned the Antec Solo into a reverse ATX?
Mind giving us a bit more details? Was it hard?

No, I like to call it Up-side-down ATX, or UATX :P. Its not hard at all, if you can use a drill, I encourage you to try this mod. The only new tool here is the riveter, which is quite simple to use.

Quote:
Forgive my ignorance, but what are the benefits of flipping the mobo tray and the back panel upside down?

Supposedly better thermal performance for the PSU. If the PSU is on top, heat rises, and it ramps up making more noise.

I appreciate any feedback or questions.
Cheers :D

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Antec 302-S Project
Solo PC with flipped PSU & Mobo
Basement PC flipped and converted

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Last edited by speedkar9 on Sun Jul 18, 2010 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:04 am 
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Rep++ (if it could be done here ;))

Looks soo slick. What did you flip. Front panel or back?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:09 am 
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BlackWhizz wrote:
Rep++ (if it could be done here ;))

Looks soo slick. What did you flip. Front panel or back?


Thanks.
Back + mobo tray.

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Basement PC flipped and converted

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:34 am 
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Thanks for the detail explanation, speedkar9.

My guess is that the amount of CPU heat sucked up by the PSU didn't really change (because of close proximity) but the heat from the video card under load (like gaming) no longer goes anywhere near the PSU -- passively cooled, with the fins now on the "top side" of the video card, and rising away from the PSU. This is probably why the system is "quieter under load".

You could go one more step to take the PSU out of the case's thermal/noise equation altogether by cutting a hole directly beneath it in the bottom panel, and flipping the PSU so its fan draws air from outside the case. This might require taller feet for the case and you'd need an intake dust filter. Not sure if it's worthwhile tho, if the PSU fan already never ramps up.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:48 am 
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MikeC wrote:
Thanks for the detail explanation, speedkar9.
You could go one more step to take the PSU out of the case's thermal/noise equation altogether by cutting a hole directly beneath it in the bottom panel, and flipping the PSU so its fan draws air from outside the case. This might require taller feet for the case and you'd need an intake dust filter. Not sure if it's worthwhile tho, if the PSU fan already never ramps up.


I know I could do this but I don't want to go about cutting a hole in the Solo's black finish :( . It won't fit well with my cable management either because the mobo tray is on the left and the PSU's wires would be coming out of the right. My tower sits on carpet in my bedroom, so even with higher feet a bottom hole is probably not viable in my case. And yes, the PSU still ramps up a bit (but not as much!) under load (@231W?)...

Thanks alot for the feedback. :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:55 am 
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This mod totally blew my mind away. One of the best ever, period. I'm seriously considering buying a Solo just to try this out.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:21 am 
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so the functional impact of this mod is cooler air in the CPU and the GPU heatsink is set for natural convection of heat rising up? sounds good.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:14 am 
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Excellent write up on your mod! You make it sound simpler than it probably is though. LOL!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:12 pm 
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bozar wrote:
This mod totally blew my mind away. One of the best ever, period. I'm seriously considering buying a Solo just to try this out.

I've updated my previous post with new pics into a mini-tutorial on how to mod this case. I highly encourage others to give case modding a try, whether its flipping the PSU/ mobo or at least converting a 3.5" bay into a 5.25"for HD suspension. These mods are a great way to improve the thermal and acoustic characteristics of any PC, ideal for typical cases like the Solo/ Sonata and NSK/ VSK tower case series from Antec.

I did a quick test with the CPU unlocked to a B55 X4, and I get 131W/262W idle/prime95 + ATi Burn.

I also took a few new pictures of the final product,

Image
Image
Image

I really appreciate the feedback so far,
Thanks :)

PS: What I find ironic though in that the 1.5 years or so that I've owned this case, I've changed so much hardware, yet there is no evidence of my work from outside,

Left: My PC in December 2008, Right: My PC July 2010!
ImageImage

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Antec 302-S Project
Solo PC with flipped PSU & Mobo
Basement PC flipped and converted

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:10 pm 
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Time for a window :P Haha still the Solo is a classy looking case!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:27 pm 
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Very nice work.

The CPU mid-case position reminds me of the BTX cases a few years ago. It is just missing the big ugly hole in the front to be a true BTX. :lol:

Putting the video card up top and leaving some open slots, assuming sufficient positive pressure, should make for a much cooler video card. I've had issues with the "hot pocket" under big video cards on conventional and bottom-P/S type cases, and had to resort to PCI slot fans or even just sticking an 80mm fan against the empty PCI slots.

For really serious video cards & overclocking, a top mount fan would really keep the GPU cool... but then would be getting away from the whole "silent" thing.

-hF


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:56 pm 
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Hangfire wrote:
For really serious video cards & overclocking, a top mount fan would really keep the GPU cool... but then would be getting away from the whole "silent" thing.


That is a good point. One thing this mod really makes possible is blowhole(s) for the PCI area.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:28 am 
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josephclemente wrote:
That is a good point. One thing this mod really makes possible is blowhole(s) for the PCI area.

Thats exactly what I've done here :P.

I have to confess there is one downside to this design however, yesterday I was unscrewing my back fan and the screw fell straight down.... plop! right into my power supply :x.

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Solo PC with flipped PSU & Mobo
Basement PC flipped and converted

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