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PROJECT LOG Dell XPS 630i case & modding log

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stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
EDIT 12/23/2020: Had to disassemble rig due to not being able to handle the temps of my 5700XT or 3080.

Now I get to spray the inside flat black. When I upgrade my 1700 to a 5xxxX CPU I will repurpose the 1700/MB/RAM and a 570 I have and create a nice system for my 6 year old son's bedroom.

/EDIT










Went to my local PC recycler looking for a power supply for another build. Well, I found a 750w power supply attached to a Dell XPS 630i case. Actually, there were two. Another XPS 630i in red. But, it was nasty. As in scratched up way more and a pound of dust mixed in with a container of bread crumbs. Oh, it was also $10 more. It wasn't even worth buying for the power supply as it was full of dust.

Back to the Black XPS case:

RearSide.jpg
FrontSide.jpg
Back.jpg

So, I've decided I'm going to clean this black one up. Luckily, I don't need to do much clean up on the inside. It's the outside that needs help.

The aluminum clear coat is marred/scratched well and a few spots where I was scratched through to the bare aluminum. The camera and outside light aren't picking up the damage. I wish there was a cheap way to restore the finish. Anyone have any suggestions? I have some Eastwood 2k clear coat. I could reclear the aluminum. How would I get it off without damaging the aluminum underneath? If I sand it I will likely damage the brushed pattern that is under the clear coat. If I use chemicals to remove the clear coat, what can I use that won't harm the aluminum? Any idea how to repair the heavily scratched areas and recreate the brush pattern?

If I cannot repair the aluminum clear coat, I'll spray paint it a dark color and clear over it.

Internal mods and airflow modifications.

Here is an overview of the inside and what I want to do to it:

Inside.jpg

I plan on ditching the hard drive cages and their fans. I am not sure on the cooling solution I will use for CPU/GPU. If I go just CPU I will try to sneak a 240mm rad where the bottom two fans are. If I go CPU & GPU watercooling I will also remove the optical drive and it's cage. There is a little interference in the front with the powerbutton & USB ports up front. I don't mind since I don't plan on overclocking much, if at all.

For reference I have measured from rear of the case to rear of the current fan cage. Its about 13". That would barely fit my 5700XT Thicc III right now. Not sure what will happen with a 3070/3080.

Unfortunately, the side panel comes off by pulling a handle towards back on the top panel of the case (sorry I didn't grab a pic.) There is a mechanism that unlatches the side panel. Since the top panel has moving parts I highly doubt I will be able to cut a hole in the top for a fan. So, in lieu of that I was thinking of putting a hole or two holes towards the top of the side panel. I will be removing the top panel and then seeing what can be cut and what has to stay intact.

Pic of top from the inside:

InsideTop.jpg

Few more pics for more detail:

InsideRear.jpg

HDDCageFans.jpg

And of course, NastyRed:

NastyRed.jpg



Please, if you have any input feel free to comment below. I am hoping to turn this into my main PC.
 
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OP
stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
Quick follow up.

My wife is going to kill me. I have 5 cars that need some sort of work on them. And here I am modding this thing. If I stop posting after a few days call 911, she buried me.


Anyways, back to the project. Disassembly & some measurements:

Everything tore up:

InsideApart.jpg



Size from front to back. With my current GPU it looks like I will have about 75-80mm of room to squeeze a rad and fan. It is doable. Ordered a 240mm Coolermaster AIO. Don't tease, I am just ordering it for fitment and heat savings in small confined space for now.

SizeF2B.jpg



Size from top to bottom and approximate size of front opening. I might have a bit of a fitment issue with some Dell USB and controller board components. When the AIO gets here I will do a quick mockup.

SizeFrontMeshArea.jpg
SizeT2B.jpg




Not sure how I will place a top fan. Here you can see that the top optical cage is riveted in. Also the mechanics that unlatch the side panel do not extend as far forward as I thought and they stay to the side quite a bit. I was hoping it would be easy to chop a hole there but not so sure. I will have to port out holes in at least 3 layers of metal.

WhereIThinkMechEnds.jpg



Another option is to leave cage, remove drives and install a front fan blowing out where optical drive was. It should house a 120mm fan without issue.

SizeCageHeight.jpg

I have an old Delta Screamer fan from the early 2000s. I think its 60mm. I can mount that somewhere sneaky and wire something up to empty out the case air in about 2 seconds.



That is all for the moment. I think I am in a holding position until the AIO gets here. Then I can mock it up and test fit the GPU.


Edited to add options:

If I make a hole and have the AIO blowing out here:

FrontSideModded.jpg


And/or make a hole towards top of side panel for fan and keep optical drive:

FrontSideModded2.jpg

Of course I could do both.
 
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ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Sub'd for more. I've always liked the aesthetics of these cases.
 
OP
stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
Sub'd for more. I've always liked the aesthetics of these cases.

I'd offer to send you the red one. But these weigh a lot. Probably cost as much to ship as a new Alienware PC.
 
OP
stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
Not to mention it'd literally have to cross the entire USA.

Probably too heavy for a plane to take off, might have to use one of NASA's Space Shuttle movers to get it there. At the rate that those things crawl we will have PC implants for humans by the time it arrives here for pick up.
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Probably too heavy for a plane to take off, might have to use one of NASA's Space Shuttle movers to get it there. At the rate that those things crawl we will have PC implants for humans by the time it arrives here for pick up.

Just have Amazon make a bigger drone :)
 
OP
stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
Well I ordered some "Black Chrome" wrap from eBay. Should be here in a week or so. I will wrap the top and side which does not open. I will leave the side that I access free of wrap until I at least get an idea of fitment of the AIO and case temps.

SHE IS ALIVE!!!!!!!!


Well... Sort of. I decided to reassemble the case since it could be a while until I do any serious modding. While assembling my test rig of sorts made it's way into the system. It's an older Intel Core system. You will notice in the pics that there is an extra PSU. Yeah the MB is so old that it has a 4pin CPU connector. The Dell PSU only has 8 & 6 pin connectors. I do not have an adapter so it is going to remain this way for a bit.


20200913_002932.jpg

20200913_002936.jpg

In the front the top fan is obscured. I believe this is causing some fan noise. Total bummer if you bought this system new and had to deal with fan noise due to poor engineering. And the fans themselves aren't silent. I'm not sure if they are speed controlled by the Dell MB. I did not see anywhere in my research that the fans are variable speed. I will have to search for that.

Looks like I will get my AIO on Wednesday.

EDIT: Forgot to add I need to figure out the front panel switch and on light. It has a proprietary connector and is rather short. That will be more tedious than anything else.
 
OP
stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
So I am going back and forth on the side panel & airflow. Below is an idea I have. It is the most intrusive as I would be gutting most of the side door. There would be no alternate future moves so to speak. I would follow the lines of the side panel. The rear also has the same angle as the front of the case the picture doesn't show it. I would also empty out the case. No HDD or optical cages. I would leave the power supply in it's location just remove the label so its all black. Of course I would fog the inside of the case with flat black paint.

A dilemna I have is that if I use this to house my main rig I need to have a HHD for storage. Games and misc stuff I accumulate. Now sure where I would put it. I could "hide" it behind the radiator but that creates and issue if I have to remove the drive for whatever reason.

FrontSideWindow.jpg
 

Blaylock

"That Backfired" Senior Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Location
Go Blue!
I was going to suggest hiding it behind the motherboard tray, but then I remembered this is an older Dell case, cable management is non-existent.

Ok, just spit balling ideas here, could you fabricate a HDD tray and mount it to the top PCIe cover? I'm not sure what size mobo is going in there or if you plan to populate all of your PCI slots.
 
OP
stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
Hmmm might just mount it to bottom of PSU. The bottom is solid sheet metal. Would there be a RF problem though?

BTW the AIO came today. I will be attempting to mount it to the front of the case when I get some time. Realistically, just test fitting. Might jury rig it until I have solid plans for the case.


I have a lot of ideas floating through my head. Here is something I am strongly considering:

Mount the AIO to the front of case.
Eliminate optical drive and mount HDD in that cage
Drill a 120mm hole from top middle of the side doors and have both exiting outwards.

Or:

Mount the AIO to the front of case.
Create a custom front plate and mount front facing exhaust fan (120mm.)
Jury rig the HDD somewhere.

Or some combo of above and add a side window.

Somehow I have to work in front mount USB 3 ports.
 
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OP
stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
There is a pcb behind the front ports. Not sure how I can pull that off. Maybe just pull the board and glue up a USB 3.0 port. But I need more than one. I am going to disconnect those front inputs and see if that effects anything else in the case.

Thinking if I do the front fan I can integrate a 3.5" USB thingiemabob
 
OP
stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
I got the "black chrome" wrap. Looks like it would be more suitable to wrap upscale Christmas presents. Spoke to my wife about it, she doesn't have high hopes. We both agreed to give it a try and see how it goes. If this fails maybe I will do a bright blue chrome wrap. Make it really obnoxious.
 

Blackstar

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2004
I got the "black chrome" wrap. Looks like it would be more suitable to wrap upscale Christmas presents. Spoke to my wife about it, she doesn't have high hopes. We both agreed to give it a try and see how it goes. If this fails maybe I will do a bright blue chrome wrap. Make it really obnoxious.


What? No powder coating? :beer:
 
OP
stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
What? No powder coating? :beer:

Not on my budget. I should start powder coating in our oven. I'm sure my wife won't mind.


Project is on a slight hiatus while I do a few other projects. Probably pick it back up Thursday or Friday
 

Ben333

Folding for Team 32!
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Looking forward to more! Good idea saving this from the bin.
 
OP
stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
Quick update:

Did a quick test wrap on the top panel. I wont be using this wrap. It is very thick, more like contact paper. The edges bubble up and it is easily scratched.

Probably going to plastidip it. Cheap way out. I don't want to do it but I'm leaning heavily in that direction.
 
OP
stompah

stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
HUGE BUMMER!!!

I know my surface prep wasn't perfect since I cannot won't be able to smooth out scratched without a lot of work.

Save for a fly and a few mishaps here and there all was good until the last coat. The sun went missing. It happens often. Usually happens at least once a day.

Well, on this day sun went bye bye for my last coat. I saw that. What I didn't see was the slight condensation that accumulated on the panels.

I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.


I figured I would have to reapply the Plastidip since it was my first time around.

20201012_183333.jpg 20201012_183329.jpg 20201012_183321.jpg