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Thread: Dell XPS 700/720/730 build up.

  1. #1

    Dell XPS 700/720/730 build up.

    While I am waiting for paint to cure up on my HP mod I will go ahead and start this one with the Dell XPS 700. As most of you may know its a BTX format. So a conversion will be required.
    Its a big case with lots of room to play with so I will go all out.
    Some of the plans include:
    BTX to ATX conversion.
    Use of 730 front bezel.
    Trashing Dell's LED & power controls. Install/build my own.
    Rear bezel mod for ATX.
    Plexiglass drive shelf.
    Make a couple 5.25 bays into switch bays.
    All new components/hardware. Nothing Dell except the case.
    Fully sleeved cabling.
    4 channel fan controller.
    HDD coolers.
    I will give a total hardware list later but most of it is in hand.
    Heres the start. Order a stripped case from the bay. Comes in damaged, so get a second sent out. Seller say keep the first 1 so now I have 2 to work with. Excellent, a 700 and a 720, virtually the same.

    As you can see I already have most of the ATX conv. done. Both cases stripped out. Lotsa parts.
    Here are some of the initial cuts to the back.

    And how the back bezel fits to start.

    Next we will move on to the front side for a bit.

  2. #2

    The front side. 730 bezel.

    So I am going to go with a 730 front bezel because I really like the look. Dell has these LED's that are controlled by a board then cabled to the MB. All proprietary. I said screw that and am going to install/wire my own solution.
    The 730 bezel does not match up with the 700 front metal grill so out comes the dremel. Using it a lot on this one.
    Starting to cut out the grill. I am going to put modders mesh behind to keep the look but make it right.

    Installed the new front power switch. Momentary vandal type. Lighted ring.

    I will keep the front I/O's and HDD LED locations. I have ones that I can plug straight into my new Mobo. I will adapt them to fit in the spaces.
    Here is some of the Plex and AL I have been using. THICK!

    Be back with some plex work and finished rear bezel.
    Then I will show you how I put the Mobo in.

  3. #3

    Mobo install.

    Really ripped into this 1.

    Dell has a nice mounting system for the mobo. 4 screws and it hooks under locking tabs. Removable, solid and big. I decided to keep it in place and mount my tray to it. I will keep it removable as well. I used the standoffs on the dell board to mount my Lian li to. Took a lot of measuring but came out very well. 9 solid mounting points for new mobo and its still removable. That's important because some panel attachment screws cannot be reached if the MB is a solid mount.

    The space on the panel will give me room to mount my LED control.

    I was going to use pop rivets to atatch the back of the ATX panel but I decided to use small button head hexes. They look just like them but are removable.

    A lot more work to be done.
    Last edited by onsiteman; 08-11-2013 at 04:24 PM.

  4. #4

    Few more items.

    Here are a few pictures of how it is going. You can see here the mobo tray is mounted. Working on a floor panel for the case bottom. I will probably use .063" AL mill finished sheet. You can also see where I will mount my LED control panel. I will fab up a AL panel to kind of match the tray for the LED control. Cover that ugly dell tray. I scuffed up the tray because I am going to paint it. If I decide not to I will polish it with 1500 and it will shine right back up.

    The mobo is in for now. MSI 990FXA GD80 V2. The plan for now is a FX8350...8 cores, Piledriver & 4+GHz here I come. The HP I have now is a Athlon II x4 635 @ 2.9 GHz. So this should be a nice upgrade.
    Test fitting. Perfect. Couple of the HDD's I will be using. WD Caviar Black's. I will also have a SSD in one of the drive bays up front.

    Some of the fans and cabling. Thermaltake Thunderblade blue LED fans. 120mm & 80mm.

    Working on HDD shelf. Being 1/2" plex it is going to look like it is just floating there with a nice blue LED glow through it. I may do a front pilar support out of plex as well.

    More progress!
    Last edited by onsiteman; 08-11-2013 at 09:47 PM.

  5. #5

    Floor panel and LED control panel.

    Have the floor panel fitted correctly now. Fits super tight. I am coming up with a mounting solution for this. When installed there will be no access to the underside. I need to mount some aluminum pillar blocks for the tray to mount to. I will probably epoxy them in place on the bottom of the case then drill and tap them for threads. That way I can just counter sink 3 bolts into the bottom panel and be done. The Mobo side slides under the tray and it a pressure/slip fit. No movement.
    There will be a nice void under the floor panel to run cables or whatnot.
    I am using the 3mm aluminum from the extra XPS case I have for fab material. Cuts real nice and is sturdy. You can see where I will mount the LED tray.

    Cut and mounted a LED control board tray out of the same material. Used #8 stainless steel button head hexes w/nylon washers and 2 nylon spacers under each. Same type of setup that I used to secure the mobo to the Dell tray. Except I used #6's and the Dell standoffs. It gives the same look and keeps it consistent. I will use #8 SS countersunk hexes to secure the floor panel as well. All fasteners in this build will be stainless or at least silver.

    Made my own standoffs out of 2 nylon spacers.

    Worked on the back bezel plastic. Fits well. Ready to glue back together.

    Things are moving along really well. I think it is looking really good. Next is the HDD shelf out of 1/2" plexi. Starting to cut on that today. Took awhile for me to think of how to make it work. Mounting it and the door mechanism closure are challenging.
    Dell has 3 tabs on the HDD tray that help lock the door panel in. I did not want to put those on the plexi as it kind of takes away from the clean, clear look. After looking at it more closely they have used another 3 locking points for the door as well. 3 is enough so I will not have to make any on the HDD tray.
    The front bezel will be the next major project. I am waiting on some parts to come in for the LED's and I/O's.
    I have some plans for the 5.25" drive bays as well. 1 will be a switch bay. 1 will house a fan & temp controller. 1 will have a cd drive. That leaves 1 empty. This still leaves 2 other 3.5 bays free. I will use 1 for the SSD. Always another idea bubbling up.
    Have a great day.
    Last edited by onsiteman; 08-13-2013 at 05:55 PM.

  6. #6

    A little progress

    So coming along well. I will be a bit limited by budget for this mod. It will continue on as more funds become usable.
    Worked on getting bottom floor plate mounted and the LED control panel mounted as well. I saw this mod on another site and loved it. It is not my original idea.
    I epoxied 2 aluminum blocks in place on the floor of the case. I will use these to tap threads into for securing the floor plate. I used a 2 part 8 min set item from Locktite. They are not going anywhere. Roughed up both surfaces for good contact and bond.

    Here it is tapped and ready to go. I used a #8 SS countersunk hex screw.

    The tools and my test block.

    Came out sweet.

    Lines up perfectly.

    The fit on the MB side.
    Last edited by onsiteman; 08-22-2013 at 09:02 PM.

  7. #7

    Mount LED control board.

    Had to get some longer screws for mounting the LED board to the aluminum panel. The ones it came with were to short. They also install them so the nuts are up, which look shit so I changed that. I used #6 SS button head hexes so they look nice, with the hex head out.

    The longer length allowed me to pass through the mounting plate I had made.

    Playing around with the Dell LED's. Think my board will run these. I think they need 5.5v and my board delivers 3.3v. Not totally sure if that will fly. Maybe dim? If someone could let me know that would be great. I guess I could wire in the correct resistor for the 12v side of the board and go that route.

    The way the inside is shaping up. I ditched the old school HDD coolers. I have a SSD that will bear most of the load so I will save room for water cooling equipment. The 2, 120mm fans are where a 120 Rad will be. Mounted to that plate. It is a Zalman LQ320. Man all those slots. Time to load up on GPU's. I am going to build a custom water cooled loop for the multiple GPU,s that this machine will eventually run. The plan is for 3, GTX 660's on 3, 1600x900 monitors. Have the 3 monitors and 1 660 so far.

    The front is getting there. The back bezel still needs work. A little fiberglass fun here we come! I decided to go with the 730 back bezel as well. I think it just looks way better. Had the 700 version all done but this is the way I will go. I also need to cut the dual 80mm fan hole in the rear of the tray. It only has 1 now and I am going to double that up.
    Last edited by onsiteman; 08-22-2013 at 08:58 PM.

  8. #8

    Work on switch bay & USB 3.0 front I/O. Liquid cooler mount.

    So some more work got done today.
    Turning 1 of the 5.25" bays into a switch bay. It will house a reset switch and a case lighting switch for now. There will be room to expand if the need arises. A "step drill" or "VariBit" is very nice for this

    I you look closelk at the edges of the bay cover you will see how polished they are. I did that with some 1500 grit. I am going to do the whole cover. Should be ...welll shiny.

    Also turning 1 of the 3.5" bays into a USB 3.0 dual port. My MSI board has a dual outlet and its always "hot".

    Still some cutting to do.

    I mounted my CPU cooler to the mounting plate. Fit is very good. Keeps it up off the bottom and real clean.

    Just an example of how it will sit but off the floor.

    Here are some shots of how the front is coming along. I really like it. The 5.25" HDD-SDD location will be covered by a bay door or I may polish that 1 mirror smooth and leave it exposed.
    The 2, 3.5 bays are covered by a nice little built in door.

    Just purchased a brand new AMD 4350 quad core CPU for this setup. Changed my mind a little bit...budget and all. I really only game and surf and blog on this computer so it will be great. 4.2GHz outa the box. Have seen it OC'ed to near 5.0. Piledriver baby.
    Last edited by onsiteman; 08-24-2013 at 09:36 PM.

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