I built this PC for my birthday in April 2016 as an upgrade to my Laptop that I had been using for a while and that had gotten a bit slow.
My budget was about €1000, which I overshot a little, for a PC for Counter-strike and Rocket League (but also web-browsing and schoolwork). As neither of these were really demanding games, performance was not the only criterium for the parts-choice; I also cared a lot about the asthetics. As I am very interested in PC hardware and this was a bit of an asthetic statement for me. I decided on a black white and blue theme, which I would say I did achieve, with little inconsistencies on teh case-cables
As for the build process, it was fairly easy and straight-forward. I originally thought it would be a good idea to mount the SSD on the tray behind the motherboard. It turned out that this complicated cabling a lot, so I relocated it to the hard drive cage, together with an old HDD which my father had lying around. Other than that, teh only other "difficulty" was cable management. As this is a small case, it is to be expected that sleeved cables are going to be difficult to route at the back. And while it was easily possible to fit in all the cables, making it look good with few overlaps and an easy-to-put-on-sidepanel was more challenging, and does take quite some time. I am, however, very proud of it now, even though I cheated a little with the use of bent paper-clips secured in the SSD-Trays behind the motherboard (Note: The HD-Audio connector has to be routed before the psu is put in, if it should be hidden as it is here)
Probably the biggest problem was installing Windows. I did try and install it off the cd, but it would keep telling me that there is an inconsistent connection between teh data-medium. I tried to resolve this at first, but couldnt find a fix. So I decided to install windows off an USB-Drive, which I had prepared beforehand. This then worked. I proceeded to install the latest drivers off another USB-Stick. Note: I still do not know what teh problem was, as both DVD-Writer and Hard drive work perfectly fine now)
The PC is running amazing, with low temps and little noise. I tried overclocking it recently, with no success at first, as my games would freeze and then tell me that the nVidia-driver stopped working, but I think I found a stable position now at +15mv and +130mHz clock at 70% fan speed.
Overall it was a great experience and I would gladly relive it. I plan to add Bitfenix Alchemy 2.0 blue soon. But even after that I willl probably keep upgrading it all the way up to watercooling and custom cables one day (hopefully"
Thank you for reading all the way, I hope this helped.
Update 04.10.16 - LEDs and Acrylic PSU/Wiring Cover
6 months on and I recently bought a few things to upgrade a few things on the pc - 2x Bitfenix Alchemy 2.0 white Led-strips 12cm - 2x BeQuiet Shadow Wings 120mm - a custom white, translucent acrylic panel - dupli-color 400ml paint matt : black, white, saphire blue
I bought a 1m by 0,5m acrylic panel locally, which i cut and bent to shape to cover the psu, its cables and the area to the right side of the "motherboard tray". I then painted it solid white (with way too much white paint, a whole 400ml of paint), with a black to blue fade at the bottom. I also put in a cutout at the bottom for the GPU-Cable and fitted it with a rubber grommit from the top of the case that I wasn't using. In order to this, I had to remove the optical aswell as the HDD-drivecage, but since i wasnt really using eihter of these this wasnt an issue. I also used this opportunity to mount the acrylic panel into these screwholes, where the cages were held before, by simply drilling a whole that mathes the screws and then winding the screw through it several times. (Sadly it cracked at one point, altough this was to be expected)
I also added two fans, which I both moved to the front, as they have a greater intake (cfm) than the other fans, so the pressure inside the case is only slightly negative. I also tried to paint one of the fans rubber ring blue, to match the colour scheme, but it didn't turn out to well, so I don't know if I'll do the other ones too. I moved the 120mm fan that was here previously to the poition of the 140mm fan at teh top, and moved that in turn one space along. Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to fit the fans, as I can't (and wouldn't want to) mount one at the bottom.
I took two 12cm strips instead of a single 30cm strip so I could be more flexible with my lighting and accent certain parts a little more. First of all. I absolutely love these! They are very bright and I have had no trouble to mount the strips and the cable to my case using the magnets. I decided to hide them behind the two top fans, so that the light source was hidden and the inside wouldn't be too bright.
And of course, I re-did a lot of the wiring, hiding some of it behind the acrylic panel...
Update 08/01/17 - Custom Wiring and new Cover-panel
A while ago I decided I ddin't really like the psu-cover anymore, and it was also bugging me that it didn' hide all the cables behind the mb-tray, so i made another acrylisc panel, which is sort of an "extension" of the mb-tray. It starts between the motherboard and the mb-tray (lies inbetween) and reacher all the way to the front fans. I mounted it directly to the case using existing screw-holes and their corresponding screws. I was able to "tap a thread" into the acrylis by drilling 4mm holes (wood drill-bit) and forcing the screws in. Also cut holes for the rubber grommits, which i reused from the mb-tray, and then painted a simple pattern onto it using the same 3 colours. REALLY unhappy with the painters tape i was using, anything but a clean edge. This was supposed to be good tape, but I guess I'll have to look for something else...
And now, for Christmas, I decided to do full custom cables using mdpcx grand bleu, black and natural white sleeving. The colour scheme for this build has always been centered arounf the colour of the grand bleu, so it feels good to finally incorporate it into the build. Here is a short list of the things i got: -grand bleu, black, natural white mdpcx small sleeve -mdpcx precut heatshrink -mdpcx removal tools : molex/atx -crimping tool -wire stripper -flat-snap nylon cable-clamps -gold plated pins (where possible) -black connectors -1.5mm2 wire (a little less that 16awg)
I decided to sleeve the 24-pin, a 4+4pin EPS, a6+2pin VGA, a molex and a sata cable (from scratch) aswell as the existing fan cables, as this is all I need for now, although i do still have leftover supplies, so i can always do more. I got all the tools and materials from icemodz.eu, btw, because I live in germany, and this way i didnt have to pay tax. The wire and wire stripper are from a local shop though.
The cable-combs I used are made of 4mm acrylic with 4mm holes. Homemade, of course. I also had to make a reinforced cable clamp out of acrylic, as the adhesive on the cable-clamps were too weak, and even some heavy-duty stuff from 'tesa' didn't do the job. I scured it to the acrylic panel using some m3 bolts. Doesn't look too bad.
The whole thing took me about a week to complete, and while it was frustrating, I am quite happy with the result. Some of the issues I was having: -my 1.5mm2 cable way WAY too thick; I couldnt crimp the pins all the way down without breaking off the wings -getting the exact lengths for each cable required me to plug in the cable on one end and then install + trim the wire while inside the case -> made an absolute mess -did the sata-cable before the 24-pin, which was an issue when I found out I had ro route the 24-pin different than I thought, which meant it interfered with the ssd-position. So i had to reposition that and re-do the cable TIPP: do the biggest wires first
Surprisingly i got all the pinouts right without breaking anything. The psu-tester from icemodz only showed if one of the required voltages was there, not if all of them were there. Basically it showed the same output with one 12V cable from the 6+2 Eps plugged in as it did when all 3 were in, so I couldn't really test the cables well and had to rely on my planning to be correct.
Anyway, it all worked in the end and I am happy to have done it. Cable management side looks amazing. Next mod will probably be a custom side-panel (bigger window) for one or for both sides. In the fractal cases this is quite easy, as they sell spare parts on their website, including side panels. Love that.
Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed, learned somehting or got inspired... If you have any suggestions to improve this build that don't cost too much, be sure to let me know in the comments And Sorry for the picture quality!