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Thread: The Sleeper

  1. #1
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    The Sleeper

    The Sleeper: A self contained, water cooled system with no external rads or hoses....

    LAN parties rock.... we all know this. However, toting your machine back and forth is cumbersome, and in the event of watercooling.... dangerous. externally mounted radiators and tubes can get banged up, hung up, yanked and pulled upon... leading to leaks and failure of the entire system, along with expensive repair and part replacement just to fix the cooling system. This does not even touch on if the actual components of the computer system are actually leaked on!



    So, I propose a rugged and durable PC designed to have the water cooling fully enclosed in the chassis. Make it easy to empty and maintain for transport, and easy to fill upon arrival.The chassis must also look good, because nobody wants to roll up to a LAN party and get laughed out because your machine looks like a$$. So, displaying the internal goodness through a window is a must. All of this hardware is beautiful to look at, but will need to be tied together in a cohesive theme. If the stuff does not match... I gotta make it match or tie together. Lighting the internals with accent LED's or flood LED's will need to be weighed. But the beauty inside needs to be seen outside. And it does no good if it gets busted while being moved, so the accents need to be durable and stylish.



    Deciding on my case, I'm going to utilize a NZXT Tempest. I am working on my sketches for the internal layout and cable/tube management and will update the thread after I have a good concept for you all! But this case takes care of some of the size and construction issues, allowing for more of the time to be spent on a quality presentation of the components... as well as some awesome acrylic shaping and fabrication! But the key, is the components...



    The Liquid cooling will allow for the best use of the Hybrid processor performance optimizations that are built into the Asus motherboard. The CPU being water cooled will make the system OC friendly and stable with exceptional heat management. Tapping into the Hybrid phase technology, I am anticipating my first true forray into overclocking to be a rewarding and smooth event. (The last time I went out purposefully overclocking, we were using Slot1 motherboards and I had a "Cloverleaf" Celeron 300a CPU, so it has been awhile!) Utilizing the enthusiast performance characteristics of this motherboard, I am looking to enjoy "performance for free". And if I'm at a LAN and need a few more FPS to lay some smack down on my opponent, I can slap the Turbo Key and get a little "somethin extra" to help push some pain! Or, if I'm gaming at my typical level, I'll simply die a WHOLE lot faster!



    Challanges that I am going to have are ruggedizing the case, and the internal components, internalizing a good radiator with tube management will be key, cable management will be mandatory.... all of this while maintaining a stylish balance. The Antec Quattro 800w PSU will be more than up to the task of management due to it's modular approach to cabling.There may still need to be some custom power leads created to keep it sleek and clean inside.



    When you are going for a performance machine, you need I/O, and the Samsung SSD hard drive will play a prominent role in the performance of this machine. with an SSD in the mix, there is no way you would hide a drive like this, so special fabricated mounting would be required to put the drive in a position of promanence.



    The The GTX260 video card is a great performer of a card and would need to be modified to fit the rugged theme. There would be no water cooling on the card to keep the complexity to a minimum as well as weight. Remember, this is needs to be a portable performer.



    The G.Skill memory with the cooling fan is *prime* for modification, but having never seen one, I'm unsure what all I can do to it. It is a good loooking piece of hardware all by itself and may only need minor touchups.



    This is my plan... pictures and sketches will be forthcoming as I flesh out more of the details.

    Should be a fun rig to build though!

    -=Craig "Tech-Daddy" Tate

  2. #2
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    The Sleeper

    Ok, so after working over several different hand sketches, some hilarious SketchUp attempts... (I really need to practice that and get better at it), and some Photoshop experimenting... I stopped. I reminded myself that I work better with something in front of me. Something I can see and touch. I reminded myself that this machine will need to be a "sleeper", which means it needs to look as *close* to stock as it can. Not saying there will not be any custom painting, or anything like that, just that my initial design elements need to follow the current design of the case.

    So... I went out and took the case down, and started tearing it apart looking for the potential design difficulties, as well as some tinder for the ol' creative fire! And guess what... true to form, I found some of each!

    1) The case frame will likely be a matte black
    2) The color scheme for the case will follow a black/blue/silver accents format.
    3) If I do make the case frame a matte black, then component selection will be chosen to best play off of that black base.

    I grabbed the Tempest and started tearing it apart, and immediately start noticing a couple of challenges.



    Here is the front, showing off the 2 interior front intake fan grills and filters. The steel grills below the screen mesh filters is going to have to go.



    Looking at the cabling mess that this case has engineered. The 2 front 120mm fans and the two top 140mm exhaust fans, are all running separate power molex connections. That is 4 connections where one will suffice, unless you want to run them to a fan controller of some sort... in which case there would still need to be a good amount of cable truncation and consolidation to clean that up so that there is not cable slack hanging everywhere.



    Here you see that there are actually 5 fans in need of power, not just the four in the previous picture. We have one in the back, two on top, and two in the front. Certainly not impossible to wrangle and make efficient, but it is something to make a note of, none the less.



    On the back of the front bezel, there are 3 5.25 bays that are readily accessible, and can be snapped out. The bay covers below that are screwed in place. They can be removed, but are deemed semi-permanent. Due to the foam backed filters that are in place, I am apt to leave those in place as much as is possible, to aid in the dust control within the case. Other points to note are the two blue/white power LED leads that are pre spliced in a "Y" configuration. The line goes to a molex, and not the "PWR" header on the motherboard, so I will need to determine if it is 5v or 12v that these LEDs are feeding off of. These LED's add accent to the front of the case by illuminating 2 embedded acrylic rods (one on each side) in the front bezel. This existing accenting will be manipulated to provide some form of either "pulsing single color" or "color changing" RGB LED change out, either of which would require a controller that would manipulate the LED on each side to the desired effect.



    The top plastics of the case have the same scalloped sides that are ripe for modification.





    Anyone who has known me for any length of time will know that I am a freak for LED's and lights, as well as ways to get light piped from the LED's to other locations. The front bezel of the Tempest has a hard drive activity light that fires into a "light pipe", which is nothing more than a properly sized piece of acrylic that fits into that slot. Well, I have several rods of acrylic that look like they *might* fit in these scalloped slots...



    That looks pretty danged close in my book! What I intend to do is use an LED micro controller to put these pipes in either a single color chase, strobe, or pulse... or potentially allow for a selectable effect to be shown. But, following the sleeper theme, you wont know about these mods until the machine is turned on...



    The top fans are regular, black 140mm fans... that just wont do! and I just happen to have some Aerocool 140mm slim fans with embedded blue LEDs, and they look a lot sharper than the stock NZXT fans.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator tech-daddy's Avatar
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    The Sleeper

    Hey everyone!

    I've been searching for simple LED controller kits that would allow me to control 14 LED's in either a chasing pattern or a slow fade in/fade out "throb". I know this is easy to do, because anyone that has had a meteor light installed has a device that does this. You push the button, and each push cycles it through to another display mode.

    Anyone know of a good LED circuit or LED kit that would allow for the same selectable functionality?

    I've found some good possible options, but would love to hear what you guys know...



    -=TD

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    The Sleeper

    As I've suggested in other threads (I think) you're going to want to use a micro controller of some description. They might sell pre-programmed units that do what you want, but its pretty simple to get controller kits that you program yourself. LEDs are the first thing I learned how to do with my microcontroller, you can do some awesome fading effects. The controller I have cost about 30 bucks and can control around 20-25 LEDs in an ON/OFF configuration, but only about 5-8 in dimming mode. I'm sure there are some pretty creative ways to get around that though....

    The arduino series is a great starting place for learning, but once you get things figured out, there are much cheaper ways of building the functionality you need.

  5. #5
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    The Sleeper

    Cool! Thanks!
    I will definitely look that up. Do you have a link for your setup/programmable micro controller??

    Having a bit of trouble shutting off the brain right now... just did a little bit of *rough* Photoshopping to hit on a potential design for the case!



    which was based off of this design on the P55 heatsink:




    must....get....sleep.....

  6. #6
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    The Sleeper

    http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/tutorial_info.php?tutorials_id=148

    http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=17&products _id=50&zenid=c80cac1f6abbc6c960ce82278a88729a

    The second link is the product I have -- looks like 12 outputs is what you get for 30 bucks. The first link is a bit about what the differences are.


    These last two links require a decent bit of circuit knowledge and some components... (the links above are pretty much plug and play.

    http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=226
    http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=210

    If you are willing to experiment with these things, the last two links offer up a LOT more options for controlling lots of LEDs, but they can get complicated fast. There are ways to make the Arduino control more LEDs -- its called multiplexing but its kind of a pain.

  7. #7
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    The Sleeper

    Those boards are too cool!
    Wow!
    You are right on with this suggestion!
    thank you!

  8. #8

    The Sleeper

    it's gonna be a pretty rig, that's for sure, haha...but, doing alot of LED work, do you think it may lose its "sleeper" status?

  9. #9
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    The Sleeper

    The LED work will be internal, and controllable.

    If it works like I think it will, the walk up will be pretty generic, until you get close enough to start noticing subtle tweaks in the appearance. If I can get the LED's to install like I want, the effect should be stunning for the light pipes on the outside. Internal lighting may yet be also handled by a controller, if I have time to create it.... not sure though.

    But all of the lighting effects will be enclosed, except for the potential light pipes on the external edges of the rooftop.

    I have a lot of various colored light bars that are solid colors, should make for some dramatic lighting!
    Thanks for the comments!

  10. #10

    The Sleeper

    hmmm, true, but the LED's on the roof could be a tell, not like an LED with a mobo, like some rigs, haha....but they'll still look amazing, either way

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