Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

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thomsva
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:32 am

Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by thomsva » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:02 pm

My new computer is nearly finished. :)

Some specs:
Motherboard: Intel DH67CF
Processor: Intel Core i5 2400 3.1 GHz
RAM: Kingston Valueram 2 * 4GB 1333MHz DDR3, CL9
Hard disc: Seagate Barracuda Green 2 TB 5900 RPM
Power supply: Be quiet! TFX Power BQT TFX 300W
Hard disc mount: Scythe Himuro SCH-1000 HDD-cooler
Processor cooler: Arctic Cooling Freezer 13
Case fan: Nexus Real silent 12cm
Case material: 16mm MDF
Case height including feet: 82 cm

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Rear and side.

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Lid off. The lid is held in position by four magnets.


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Internals.

The airflow is bottom to top. The 12cm Nexus fan sucks air from the floor level. The internal wall around the cpu cooler forces the air either trough the cooler or along the motherboard. The two fans are so close together that it could be possible to loose one of them. I'm not sure if this would be any improvement. I'll try it like this first.

The psu has a fan blowing air out of the case. The other exit path is the top rear vent.

It still needs a start button and a led, and maybe a last layer of paint and some finishing touches.
Last edited by thomsva on Fri Mar 18, 2011 5:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

goatsandmonkeys
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Location: new york

Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by goatsandmonkeys » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:36 pm

WOW!!! Amazing. It's gorgeous.

How fast is the fan running and what is the temperature of the processor?

ces
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Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by ces » Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:00 pm

thomsva wrote:My new computer is nearly finished. :)
It turned out nice.
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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein

frenchie
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Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by frenchie » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:03 am

Nice job !! It certainly looks quite different than what we're used to here !!
Main/gamming : Antec Solo|X-650|Asus P5Q-E|Intel Q9550@3.4GHz|HR-01 Plus 120mm Nexus @6V|Corsair 2x2Go XMS2 DHX cas 4 @4-4-4-12|Exhaust Nexus 120mm @9V|Intel X25M G2 160Gb|Samsung 1TB in SQD|2xGigabyte GTS450 OC (@900/1900/3800)|GPU fan 120mm Nexus @6V
HTPC/folder/Storage : Silverstone|E5300 with Samurai-Z|2Go RAM|GTX460@800|2x1To WD EARS|Intel X25M G2 80Go

Fold with SPCR

Rasterman
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Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by Rasterman » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:07 pm

awesome, great job with it. you need a row of leds all the way around it like the whopper :D leds that showed memory usage would be cool, i had some like this from corsair. you could easily map some flexible plastic from the memory to the exterior of the case, or rewire and move the leds for something a little more involved.

fumino
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Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by fumino » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:49 pm

i like this. the case is very clean and elegant.
my foamed mini p180 | corsair cx-400 w/ fan swap | scythe mugen-2 | thermalright hr-05 | unlocked sempron 140 | asrock 880g | 8gb mushkin |vertex 30gb boot | 7TBs storage |

thomsva
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:32 am

Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by thomsva » Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:50 am

Thank you for the nice replies!

I haven't done much real performance testing yet. I noticed that I can do some changes to the fan speed settings in the bios configuration. With both fans operating at 500-750rpm it runs reasonably silent but the noise is still audible. Also I haven't yet understood completely how the fan settings work. I tried to set the Nexus fan to a slow and steady rpm but after 10-15 minutes the fan stopped.

I also have problems with the graphics driver. When I have solved this I will return the noise optimisation.

ces
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Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by ces » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:17 am

thomsva wrote:With both fans operating at 500-750rpm it runs reasonably silent but the noise is still audible. Also I haven't yet understood completely how the fan settings work. I tried to set the Nexus fan to a slow and steady rpm but after 10-15 minutes the fan stopped.
1. Dumb question, where is the second fan?
2. I believe the Nexus doesn't do well with too low of a voltage. Try experimenting with a 12 volt 500 RPM slipstream. Or a 12 volt 500 rpm Scythe Gentle Typhoon. Just run them at 12 volts. Real simple.
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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein

thomsva
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Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by thomsva » Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:20 pm

1. Both fans are at the bottom. The Nexus is at the intake and the other fan is attached to the cooler. Perhaps not the best idea to have fans so close together.
2. Thank's for the suggestion! The Nexus is a PWM fan and I will first see if I can get it to work properly.

Worker control
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Intake filtering

Post by Worker control » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:39 pm

Especially given the floor intake, you might want to consider an intake filter, for example something like: http://www.jab-tech.com/120mm-Aluminum- ... -1501.html

Ideally, you'd mount it so it's easy to remove and rinse off without powering down the system.

ces
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Location: US

Re: Intake filtering

Post by ces » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:20 pm

Worker control wrote:Especially given the floor intake, you might want to consider an intake filter,
I would consider one of these. They work very well:

http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/ ... ts_id=2275
or these
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/ ... s_id=30036
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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein

ces
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:06 pm
Location: US

Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by ces » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:24 pm

thomsva wrote:1. Both fans are at the bottom. The Nexus is at the intake and the other fan is attached to the cooler. Perhaps not the best idea to have fans so close together.
2. Thank's for the suggestion! The Nexus is a PWM fan and I will first see if I can get it to work properly.
I seem to recollect that the Nexus PWM fan isn't do good.

I would remove the bottom fan and replace it with a filter. If you really need two fans, put two 500 rpm fans on both sides of the cooler... buried inside the case.

Replacing the bottom fan with a filter can only be a win win.
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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein

tim851
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Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by tim851 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:05 pm

I really don't want to sound (overly) critical and I do have tremendous respect for your craftsmanship, but...

Is this really necessary? Putting the whole setup in something like an Antec NSK3480 (e.g.) would probably achieve the same thing. At the very least you should try to go fanless.

ces
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Location: US

Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by ces » Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:21 pm

tim851 wrote:Is this really necessary?
No it isn't. That is sort of the whole point.
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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein

thomsva
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:32 am

Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by thomsva » Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:44 am

I very much agree that a case like this isn't necessary. The principle has been discussed before the build here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=61451
The outcome of the discussion seems to be that the chimney case need more heat than one would want inside a computer case to provide enough airflow by itself. But still I wanted to build it as a fan assisted version. It would be easy to chop off the top part of the case to make it much smaller. But I like this form factor. It will fit nicely next to my desk. :)

So far my tests impy that the Arctic cooler fan works better than the Nexus PWM. I tried to start a stress-software while keeping both fans at 500-700rpm (Nexus closer to 700). The processor temperature went up to 67-68C in about 10 minutes, then the Nexus fan stopped. The same thing happened in my earlier tests too.

An aluminium dust filter sounds like a good idea!

I am tempted to try a single fan version as I can't get my second fan to work properly. But I'm not sure if the processor cooler fan alone will provide enough airflow along the motherboard as it's so tightly connected to the processor heat sink. Maybe it would still be better to have a single fan at the intake and force most of the air trough the cooler but allow some to pass along the board?

cordis
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Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by cordis » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:49 pm

Nice work! So if it's 82cm high, what are the width and depth dimensions?

thomsva
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:32 am

Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by thomsva » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:50 pm

The width is 17cm and depth 23cm.

I followed ces' brilliant tip to get a Scythe Typhoon 120mm 500rpm fan. I put at the bottom intake instead of the Nexus and removed the cooler fan. The Typhoon is practically inaudible but it seems to push a decent amount of air trough the case. At full load the processor temperature rises to 58-59C in 10-15 minutes and stays there. Seems safe enough to me.

Now the 80mm psu fan is the loudest part. I could live with it as it's not that loud actually but maybe it could be improved. I might try to find a better 80mm fan for the psu. Also as the PSU runs very cool I'm a bit tempted to try to remove it's fan all together.
Last edited by thomsva on Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

ces
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Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by ces » Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:01 am

thomsva wrote:Now the 80mm psu fan is the loudest part.
Consider pricing out that 400 watt passive Seasonic PSU.
What cpu heatsink are you using?
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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein

thomsva
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:32 am

Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by thomsva » Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:11 am

The cooler is an Arctic Freezer 13. There isn't much room for a higher cooler.

I picked up a Nexus Real Silent 80mm. I will try what happens if I replace the psu fan with it. With a fanless psu the hard disk noise might be too annoying. :)
The Scythe Himuro does a nice job reducing hard disk noise but it's still far from inaudible when other sources of noise are turned down.

ame
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Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by ame » Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:53 am

Very nice build.

thomsva
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:32 am

Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by thomsva » Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:21 am

Many thanks to everybody for the nice words and for great advice!

I have now reached the point where the computer is very very silent, and I'm very happy about the results.

The last modification was changing the psu fan to a Nexus Real Silent 80mm. This really made a good difference. Some photos below:

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The stock psu, a Be quiet! TFX Power BQT TFX 300W

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The original fan and the Nexus side by side. Wires to the original fan are cut off.

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Done!

The grille has been left away and the fan is installed with rubber fasteners instead of screws. The yellow wire from the fan goes to the motherboard and enables me to follow the speed of the psu fan. At idle it runs at only 520rpm! I think it speeds up under heavy load but I haven't tried this yet. The processor idles at only 28 degrees C.

Mods to the psu are not generally recommended and always done at own risk.

Edit: Under full processor load the psu fan speeds up only to about 580rpm. The temperature of the exhaust air from the psu after an hour of full load is at 38C. Acceptable level I think.

thomsva
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:32 am

Re: Home made wooden "chimney" case for mini ITX

Post by thomsva » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:36 am

Some more experiments:

The point of my design is that I want to make the work for the fan easier by taking use of the chimney effect; hot air is lighter and wants to move upwards. Now i figured out a simple way to measure if the chimney effect provides any benefit. I will simply do a test with the whole case upside down and measure how much the temperatures change. In the upside down configuration the fan has to work against the chimney effect. Then I will make a third measurement with the case sideways as a neutral reference.

Here the maximum processor temperatures after 10 minutes of full load (30 minutes idle between tests):

Normal: 58 degrees C (bottom to top airflow)
Upside down: 68 degrees C (top to bottom airflow)
Horizontal: 63 degrees C (horizontal airflow)

The chimney effect seems to be a real benefit. The difference isn't huge compared the the horizontal version but 5 degrees still is something. :)

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