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Old 06-29-10, 03:19 PM Thread Starter   #1
kayson
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Project Silver


Project Silver

Project Silver is my computer upgrade for the summer. Based around a Lian-Li PC-A77FA case, the project uses a color scheme of silver and black with blue LEDs. I'll be assembling the computer and doing a variety of mods to maintain the color scheme and give it a clean look. I'll be posting pictures throughout the process just for fun. The photobucket can be found here.

The Hardware:
  • Intel Core i7-980X
  • Asus P6X58D Premium
  • Corsair Dominator 3x2GB DDR3-1600
  • Intel X25-M G2 80GB
  • Western Digital Caviar Blue 160GB
  • Asus Radeon HD5770 (Existing)
  • Corsair HX850 PSU (Existing)
  • Asus DVD-RW Drive (Existing)
  • Lian-Li PC-A77FA
  • Thermalright Venomous X
  • 2x Panaflo Medium Speed 120mm Fan in Push-Pull
  • IC Diamond 7
  • Vantec Nexus 4-Channel Fan Controller (Existing)

Most of the stuff is new, but I'm keeping a few parts from my old rig, and selling the rest to make some money back. The PSU is a recent purchase because I thought I was having power issues with my video card (which I wasn't), and the 5770 was a free upgrade from an Asus 4850 RMA so I'm waiting for the 6000 series to upgrade the video card (6850 anyone?)

The Mods:
  • Full System Re-sleeving
    I'm debating between silver sleeving/heatshrink with black connectors or black sleeving/shrink with black connectors. (Any thoughts?) I'll be resleeving the PSU and sleeving all of the fan cables and front panel cables. I'm getting black SATA data cables, so I'll probably put some totally unnecessary silver sleeving on them just for prettiness if I choose silver. All of this stuff still needs to be purchased but I'm waiting to put all of the hardware in before I decide what color to go with.
  • Cable Management
    I'm going to do an OCD-style job with the routing. I want to have it super clean so I'll be using black zip-ties to keep the wires hidden and out of the way. This case is gonna be great for cable management.
  • Custom Fan Extensions
    I have four fan controller channels that will be assigned as follows: CPU Fans (2), Front Intake (3), Top Exhaust (2), Rear Exhaust (1). I will be shortening the fans' cables to a minimum length then making custom y-cables so there is only a single wire running from a set of fans to the controller. There's a built-in fan controller with 3 settings (L/M/H) on the case, but that will probably be removed.
  • Custom Modular PSU Connectors
    The HX850 is a modular PSU, but the stock cables are pretty bulky. I'm going to make some custom connectors that are the exact length and have the exact number of connectors I need. These will also be sleeved.
  • Power/Reset Button Adjustments
    The power and reset buttons aren't mounted very securely so they wiggle around a little. I'll probably use some hot glue underneath to reinforce the mounting. I'm also not a fan of the tactile response of the switches. The springs are decent, but they're just a metal rod that presses a tactile momentary switch. I'd prefer to have something with a softer, clicky/springy mechanism so I'll be replacing the switches on the PCB
  • Stealthed DVD Drive
    This will probably be the toughest mod. I don't want a black DVD bezel ruining my silver look. So I'm going to buy an extra front panel bezel from Lian-Li, trim it, and affix it to the DVD tray (after removing the bezel). This way it appears as if there's no drive. The activity LED and eject button are already mounted on my fan controller from a previous mod. I'm going to rewire the DVD drive audio connector to connect the switch and LED from the front panel to the DVD drive.
  • Keyboard LED Mod
    I have a perfectly-colored black/silver/blue keyboard that I modded with blue LEDs around the bottom to give it a back-glow effect. The problem is that it's tied directly to the usb cable so it stays on even when the computer is off. I'm going to clean up the wiring inside (it's horrible), replace a burnt LED, and use a MOSFET tied to the num lock light to control the mod. I'm also going to take off all of the keys and give the keyboard a much needed alcohol bath.
  • Side Panel Window
    I like being able to see the inside of the case, so I want a window (doesn't come with one stock). I'll probably just buy a new side panel because I don't trust myself to do the cutting (nor do I have the tools). I may find a machining shop to do this as an alternative since I'd prefer to have a mesh/honeycomb window as opposed to plexiglass.
  • Fan Grill Replacement
    There are two fan grills on the top of the case, and they are both black. I'd prefer to have them silver, so I'll either spray paint them, anodize them, or buy new ones that are silver.
  • Overclocking
    Speaks for itself.

Project Log:

Pile of Parts:

This is all of my hardware plus some sleeving/connector samples for a color check. And a ton of connector samples from molex (yay freebies!)

And the beautiful case:

Plastic wrap left on it until I actually start building.

Motherboard with everything installed:


Clearance from fan to RAM - less than 1mm:


Everything installed and wired:

And this is why I'm sleeving the cables.

Keyboard Mod:

Here is the original mod:

As you can see, its all held together by electrical tape and looks rather crappy.

Keyboard controller:

The new circuit will be wired to this. The small copper board at the bottom is a PCB I made at work. It has a few constant current regulators (to drive the LEDs) connected to a MOSFET (basically an electronic switch) that will be controlled by the numlock key.

Keyboard taken apart for cleaning:



Well the keyboard is fried (but clean!). Guess the controller couldn't handle the extra LEDs. I bought a used replacement on eBay and I'll swap the logic boards. The new mod will use a comparator to drive the LEDs. Until that arrives, I'll buy the comparator and develop and test the circuit. Sleeving and other parts are still in the mail...

__________________
Project Silver
Intel Core i7-4770k
Asus Maximus VI Hero
G.Skill Sniper 2x4GB DDR3-1866
EVGA nVidia GeForce GTX 760
Corsair HX850
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
Thermalright Venomous X || 2x 120mm Panaflo || Arctic Silver V
Lian-Li PC-A77FA || Vantec Nexus Fan Controller
(Build Journal)
Heatware

Last edited by kayson; 07-09-10 at 12:01 AM.
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Old 06-29-10, 04:16 PM   #2
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good luck, looking good i remember when i bought all my parts for my main rig was like xmas lol

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Old 07-02-10, 12:56 AM Thread Starter   #3
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Updated with more pics.

__________________
Project Silver
Intel Core i7-4770k
Asus Maximus VI Hero
G.Skill Sniper 2x4GB DDR3-1866
EVGA nVidia GeForce GTX 760
Corsair HX850
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
Thermalright Venomous X || 2x 120mm Panaflo || Arctic Silver V
Lian-Li PC-A77FA || Vantec Nexus Fan Controller
(Build Journal)
Heatware
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Old 07-02-10, 08:33 AM   #4
Coreyoliseffect
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I am interested in the keyboard myself. I have seen a few done but I am always a little worried about doing it myself. Always worried about soldering something that I shouldn't.

/waiting

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Old 07-03-10, 04:38 PM Thread Starter   #5
kayson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coreyoliseffect View Post
I am interested in the keyboard myself. I have seen a few done but I am always a little worried about doing it myself. Always worried about soldering something that I shouldn't.

/waiting
Haha yeah it's always scary when you've never done it before. I'll grab a part from work today and do the mod over the weekend.

Also placed an order for all of the sleeving and some of the supplies for the mods. So hopefully that'll start happening next week.

Bump for some pics!

__________________
Project Silver
Intel Core i7-4770k
Asus Maximus VI Hero
G.Skill Sniper 2x4GB DDR3-1866
EVGA nVidia GeForce GTX 760
Corsair HX850
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
Thermalright Venomous X || 2x 120mm Panaflo || Arctic Silver V
Lian-Li PC-A77FA || Vantec Nexus Fan Controller
(Build Journal)
Heatware
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Old 07-04-10, 11:53 AM   #6
Coreyoliseffect
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Cool. I knew that it wasnt that complicated to do something like this. I have a Logitech wireless key board and would love to do this to mine. I also have a old Xbox that was the Halo addition that I have wanted to add LEDs to.

/waiting

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Old 07-04-10, 06:06 PM Thread Starter   #7
kayson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coreyoliseffect View Post
Cool. I knew that it wasnt that complicated to do something like this. I have a Logitech wireless key board and would love to do this to mine. I also have a old Xbox that was the Halo addition that I have wanted to add LEDs to.

/waiting
Soooo turns out the output to the numlock key is open drain rather than a 5V output...and the keyboard is fried

But its ok because I found another one on ebay I can use to replace the controller board.

As far as LED mods in general go, you're usually safe if you connect it directly to the power supply. When you do something crazy like I did, you fry things lol

So that mod is on hold until I get the replacement. I'll probably buy a comparator to use as the switch.

__________________
Project Silver
Intel Core i7-4770k
Asus Maximus VI Hero
G.Skill Sniper 2x4GB DDR3-1866
EVGA nVidia GeForce GTX 760
Corsair HX850
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
Thermalright Venomous X || 2x 120mm Panaflo || Arctic Silver V
Lian-Li PC-A77FA || Vantec Nexus Fan Controller
(Build Journal)
Heatware
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Old 07-04-10, 10:00 PM   #8
Coreyoliseffect
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I am still interested in what you are doing there. I want the LEDs to be have a switch. I mean let's face it, I may not want the LEDs on ALL the time. I saw that you posted the pics of your now fried keyboard. I do have a questions as to what the keys look like though. My Logi is black keys with white stickers. Are you using a KB with see through letters? Twas a bit of curiosity.

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Old 07-05-10, 02:09 AM Thread Starter   #9
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It's an old i-Rocks keyboard. They don't make it anymore: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16823128102

For the replacement keyboard, I'm going to use a comparator to turn the LEDs on and off because I think connecting them directly to the numlock light fried the controller chip. Essentially it'll monitor the numlock LED and when the LED turns on, it'll turn on my external LEDs. I'm tempted to use a mechanical switch and mount it underneath or to the side, but I'd rather have it be automatic...

__________________
Project Silver
Intel Core i7-4770k
Asus Maximus VI Hero
G.Skill Sniper 2x4GB DDR3-1866
EVGA nVidia GeForce GTX 760
Corsair HX850
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
Thermalright Venomous X || 2x 120mm Panaflo || Arctic Silver V
Lian-Li PC-A77FA || Vantec Nexus Fan Controller
(Build Journal)
Heatware
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Old 07-08-10, 01:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayson View Post
It's an old i-Rocks keyboard. They don't make it anymore: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16823128102

For the replacement keyboard, I'm going to use a comparator to turn the LEDs on and off because I think connecting them directly to the numlock light fried the controller chip. Essentially it'll monitor the numlock LED and when the LED turns on, it'll turn on my external LEDs. I'm tempted to use a mechanical switch and mount it underneath or to the side, but I'd rather have it be automatic...
I like the way the way you are doing this....

First time ever seeing that lian li case and it looks amazing, the best I have ever seen. Is there a way to buy one that wont cost more then 3 computer parts?
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Old 07-08-10, 05:41 PM Thread Starter   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deed View Post
I like the way the way you are doing this....

First time ever seeing that lian li case and it looks amazing, the best I have ever seen. Is there a way to buy one that wont cost more then 3 computer parts?
I have comparators on their way from digikey so as soon as those and the keyboard replacement get in I'll finish the mod.

I love the case. It's got plenty of space, it's really well built and its just beautiful. The price tag is definitely unfortunate but I feel like I got what I paid for. You might have some luck getting a deal on it after they release their next version of it. But even the old used lian-li cases I've seen are pretty pricey. The Thermaltake Armor and Coolermaster Stacker are pretty similar cases at more affordable prices...

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Project Silver
Intel Core i7-4770k
Asus Maximus VI Hero
G.Skill Sniper 2x4GB DDR3-1866
EVGA nVidia GeForce GTX 760
Corsair HX850
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
Thermalright Venomous X || 2x 120mm Panaflo || Arctic Silver V
Lian-Li PC-A77FA || Vantec Nexus Fan Controller
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Old 07-16-10, 01:56 AM Thread Starter   #12
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Update! Silly work getting in the way of my modding.

Sleeving and connectors finally arrived!


And so did the comparators and my replacement keyboard. It was a used keyboard, but the keys themselves were in better shape so I combined all of the better condition parts from both keyboards.

So back to the keyboard mod:

A basic test circuit to show that the comparator will do the trick.

Unfortunately the comparator will only sink 30mA of current, and I want 10mA for each of 6 LEDs. So I crazy-glued two of them together and soldered all of the pins together:


Then I wired up the super-comparator to the logic board. The positive input is tied to the LED pin (5V when off, 2V when on). The negative input is tied to a 5k/10k resistor divider that stays at a constant 3.33V. I also ripped up a through-hole pad during the soldering process so I had to run an extra wire to fix it.


Num-lock on, LEDs on:


Num-lock off, LEDs off:


This mod also works when the computer is off/asleep. The LEDs are still in the breadboard from the test. Tomorrow I'll install the LEDs in the back panel of the keyboard, wire them up, and put everything back together!

__________________
Project Silver
Intel Core i7-4770k
Asus Maximus VI Hero
G.Skill Sniper 2x4GB DDR3-1866
EVGA nVidia GeForce GTX 760
Corsair HX850
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
Thermalright Venomous X || 2x 120mm Panaflo || Arctic Silver V
Lian-Li PC-A77FA || Vantec Nexus Fan Controller
(Build Journal)
Heatware

Last edited by kayson; 07-16-10 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 07-16-10, 02:57 PM Thread Starter   #13
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I got bored at work, so here's a schematic for the mod. 5V and Ground come from the USB connector.

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Project Silver
Intel Core i7-4770k
Asus Maximus VI Hero
G.Skill Sniper 2x4GB DDR3-1866
EVGA nVidia GeForce GTX 760
Corsair HX850
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
Thermalright Venomous X || 2x 120mm Panaflo || Arctic Silver V
Lian-Li PC-A77FA || Vantec Nexus Fan Controller
(Build Journal)
Heatware
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Old 07-17-10, 01:39 PM Thread Starter   #14
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Finally finished up the keyboard after a few hours last night:

LEDs wired up and hot glued. Much cleaner than the original mod


Close up of the comparator wiring/mounting:


The bottom of my keyboard:


It looks pretty cool with my frosted glass desk but most of the light bleeds through. The desk I have at school is solid wood and it looks really cool with a blue glow underneath.

Next up I'll probably start some sleeving and work on the drive stealth.

__________________
Project Silver
Intel Core i7-4770k
Asus Maximus VI Hero
G.Skill Sniper 2x4GB DDR3-1866
EVGA nVidia GeForce GTX 760
Corsair HX850
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
Thermalright Venomous X || 2x 120mm Panaflo || Arctic Silver V
Lian-Li PC-A77FA || Vantec Nexus Fan Controller
(Build Journal)
Heatware
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Old 07-17-10, 01:46 PM   #15
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looking great kayson, cant wait to see a pic of it on your Desk's lit up!

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Old 07-17-10, 02:55 PM Thread Starter   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly-Swagman View Post
looking great kayson, cant wait to see a pic of it on your Desk's lit up!
Thanks! Once it gets dark I'll take a pic of it through the frosted glass. You can't really see it during the day but it looks pretty sweet at night.

I did a quick little experiment while adding my second cpu fan to see what kind of temperature difference it makes. The tests were run at the lowest fan speed on my controller then I cranked everything up.

Single Fan (Idle/Load):


Two Fans in Push Pull (Idle/Load):


Two Fans Max Speed (Load):


Having an additional fan seemed to help more at idle, dropping the temp anywhere from 1-6C. At load, it dropped the temps about 1-2C. When I turned the fan speed up, it dropped 0-3C. This proves how great of a HS the Venomous X is since it doesn't require a lot of air movement to dissipate heat. It wasn't a very scientific test but I was interested to see anyways.

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Project Silver
Intel Core i7-4770k
Asus Maximus VI Hero
G.Skill Sniper 2x4GB DDR3-1866
EVGA nVidia GeForce GTX 760
Corsair HX850
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
Thermalright Venomous X || 2x 120mm Panaflo || Arctic Silver V
Lian-Li PC-A77FA || Vantec Nexus Fan Controller
(Build Journal)
Heatware
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Old 07-21-10, 01:04 AM Thread Starter   #17
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More updates to the slowest mod of all time!

I started working on my drive stealthing mod. The first order of business was to re-route the eject button and activity LED so that I can control them with my fan controller (since the original button/LED will be totally hidden)

First I opened up the DVD drive. Here's the button and LED I need to wire:


Connector mounted to the PCB:


This connector will end up at the back of the drive next to the SATA ports, but there's a piece of plastic blocking the way so I cut a bit out:


Everything wired up:


Final product. Definitely happy with the result. It looks like its a stock connector


Second step is to put the same connector on the fan controller. Here's the back of the face plate with LED and switch mounted:


Wired up:


And the front:


Next step is to trim the extra 5.25" bezel and attach it to the tray. Oh and make the cable to connect the two. Anyone know the best way to attach aluminum to plastic?

__________________
Project Silver
Intel Core i7-4770k
Asus Maximus VI Hero
G.Skill Sniper 2x4GB DDR3-1866
EVGA nVidia GeForce GTX 760
Corsair HX850
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
Thermalright Venomous X || 2x 120mm Panaflo || Arctic Silver V
Lian-Li PC-A77FA || Vantec Nexus Fan Controller
(Build Journal)
Heatware
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Old 07-21-10, 08:07 AM   #18
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I've used JB Weld in the past. Once it hardens, it's pretty much permanent. Measure repeatedly first...
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Old 07-21-10, 09:56 AM   #19
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Nice work log going on. Subscribed!

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Old 07-21-10, 03:48 PM Thread Starter   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xaotic View Post
I've used JB Weld in the past. Once it hardens, it's pretty much permanent. Measure repeatedly first...
That's what I was looking into, but their website doesn't mention it bonding to plastic except PVC. And I have a feeling a DVD tray isn't PVC. I also heard that its conductive... which is bad

Quote:
Originally Posted by infam0ussteven View Post
Nice work log going on. Subscribed!
Thanks

__________________
Project Silver
Intel Core i7-4770k
Asus Maximus VI Hero
G.Skill Sniper 2x4GB DDR3-1866
EVGA nVidia GeForce GTX 760
Corsair HX850
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB
Thermalright Venomous X || 2x 120mm Panaflo || Arctic Silver V
Lian-Li PC-A77FA || Vantec Nexus Fan Controller
(Build Journal)
Heatware
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