It’s been 3 years since I got this CM-690 Case. With its current hardware configuration it has served me well, but alas it’s time to move forward and update both the case and some of the hardware. This will be a summary overview of my project, for more detailed information see the link below:
Link to Full Project Work Log – Jolly’s CM-690 Case [Main Rig Case Mod Ver 2.0]
Video Overview – Jolly’s Cm-690 Case Mod Ver 2.0 Overview.wmv
Current Rig Spec’s
- Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L Motherboard
- Intel Q6600 G0 @ 3.2 GHz
- EVGA GTX295 Graphics
- 4 GB XMS2 6400 4-4-4-12
- Liteon DVD-RW Lightscribe Optical Drive
- Multi-Card Reader
- 2x 250 GB and 1x 320 GB SATA hard drives
First, I will be transferring all the current hardware to Jolly’s Tech bench 2010 so it can all still be used as functioning PC. This will also allow me to keep Folding@home for Team 32 while working on the CM-690.
Then the CM-690 will get a new lease of life. The transformation will include new paintwork – both inside and out – and some modding for improved cable management (see above photos):
- The inside will be modded for better cable management by adding/enlarging the motherboard tray cable slots, which will allow for rear cable entry.
- A new paint job in matte black with a satin clear coat for protection will be applied after prep-work and re-undercoating. The main panel frames, exterior of the case and side panels will be done in gloss black, then also clear coated for added protection.
- A second small plexiglass window will be added on the side panel to display the hard disk drives.
- The front and top panel bezels will be done in black with copper highlights; more detail on the painting technique can be seen in the Main Project Work Log linked above
- Gigabyte X48T-DQ6 Motherboard
- E8500 E0 3.16 GHz
- G.Skill Ripjaws 1333 8-8-8-27
- Scythe Ninja
Current hardware being retained
- EVGA GTX295
- Liteon Lightscribe DVD-RW Drive
- 3.5″ Multi-Card Reader
Some of the hardware that is going to be used in above list I acquired right here on the forums: the Gigabyte motherboard I won in the Rosetta@home Rossie Harvest Competition last year (thanks baditude_df for donating this as a competition prize). The Scythe Ninja I got through our Classifieds Section from another fine senior member, ihrsetrdr.
I cut several new cable management holes and slots and widened some of the existing ones. I also cut more from the top 2x 120/140 mm fan grill area. I removed the rear/front exhaust fan grill mesh as well (more details in project Post #2).
It nearly took forever, but I was finally able to remove the top I/O ports and the top perforated grill. Then I cut away the plastic honeycomb grill area at the top of the bezel, as this causes fan buffering which in turn leads to noise. Plus, removing it will allow for better airflow.
Next I performed some alterations on the side window panel, which included adding a small window on the bottom right to showcase the hard disk drives. After a sanding down the side panel, I did the first primer undercoat. The spray can must have been nearly empty, the paint came out thin and made some runs. Not to worry, this was easily fixed once dry: I just re-sanded with P1000 ‘wet-n-dry’ paper and re-applied the undercoat. It’s all nice and smooth now!
I have also been toying with some ideas about what to do with the front and top bezels, covers and grill areas. Below is one sample I have in mind: a black base coat with 2 light (@ 30 cm distance) coats of copper metallic paint.
Then, while the side panels were drying, I put the first coat of matte black on the CM-690 case frame:
While I was waiting for the case to dry, I had an idea about how to make a rear case slot fan to aid cooling the GTX295. I cut up some side panel sheet metal that was laying around, made a little holder for the 80 mm fan and cut one side from the fan to turn it into a slot cooler/side-blowing fan.
I bent the metal and formed it into a box shape. Then, with some fan grill mesh that was cut from the case, I made a fan grill for the slot cooler with some 3 mm plexi. More details on making this slot cooler can be seen in Post #4 and Post #5. I finished off the slot cooler by painting the plexi cover, grill and housing black. After that, I added “NMC” in the middle of the window and LED lighting (see Post #7 for more info).
I then painted the side panels in gloss black and the rubbed back between coats (see Post #5). In the afternoon I also clear gloss coated the frame.
While this was drying I proceeded to do the 4th & 5th gloss back coats on the side panels; I painted the mesh grills for the front and top bezels and the bay covers with the gloss black and then copper overtones, when they were dry I then clear gloss coated them.
I have put all the PCI and drive bay tool-less locking catches back together, but have decided that these too will be painted a copper color. I reinstalled the mesh grille, top and front bezels, and the I/O panel and also gave the side panels their final coat of gloss black paint.
A preview of the case with the bezels back on, complete with the mesh grilles:
Since the X48T-DQ6 has a lot more features such as extra PCIe slots and PCI adapter headers (E-SATA and Molex PWR-out), I will need some of the slots that were previously taken up by fan controller knobs. I decided to move two fan controllers to the upper rear of the case, just below the top section (see Post #20).
I painted the blades of the TT 120 mm Thermal and TT Smart Fan-11 a copper color; this is the first time I have actually painted fan blades! I didn’t like the 140 mm fan holder where it was (in front of the HDD bays) as I found it restricts airflow a little, so out of piece of spare 6 mm Plexi I made my own (see Post #26 ).
I test fitted the GA-X48T-DQ6 motherboard to see what it was like with the case modding so far. To my surprise – as I hadn’t seen the mobo before I started modding the case (just went from dimensions of my P35 mobo) – I found that this X48 mobo is slightly wider than the P35 (see picture below: the red line is the P35, the blue line is the X48 width) so some alterations were in order. First, I added two more standoffs on the top and bottom corners (in yellow) then the middle outer one had to be moved over. Unfortunately this is where I had cut out part of the panel, so I have made a mounting plate to go there (in green) with a standoff. Seeing as the motherboard is now wider and covers the slot where the ATX 24 pin would have been this needs to also be widened slightly to accommodate; this is the same with the lower slot where the GPU and SATA cables would emerge from (in orange).
I made the necessary motherboard tray adjustments and also added rubber molding around the cut-outs and rear 120 mm fan exhaust vent. I painted the PCI slot latches copper, and the slot covers copper and black (like the mesh grilles, see Post #27). The window side panel has been lined with rubber molding as well (Post #36).
I have been working on a custom shroud for the Scythe Ninja heatsink that I will be using for this build. I fabricated it from sheet metal left over from a previous case, which was first cut to size and marked out to show where the cutting and bending would be (see Post #42 , Post #43 and video below).
Finally, once I had the G.Skill DDR3 RAM I got to work on getting all my lovely hardware installed in the CM-690. Thank you to Brolloks who offered to get the G.Skill DDR3 1333 Ripjaw RAM I needed from Newegg sent at the same time as the new MSI GTS250 OC 1 GB edition I got from him for my wife’s rig.
First off I installed the GA-X48T-DQ6 Motherboard, then the E8500 CPU, followed by the Scythe Ninja heatsink with some ICD7 TIM (see Post #46 for installation pics). Then I installed the RAM and EA-750W PSU and the Custom Scythe Shroud and HDD’s. Once the EVGA GTX295 and Palit 9800Gt 1 GB GPUs were installed, it was time for some cable management to tidy up inside the case.
The final outcome is one nicely completed case mod, see pics below.
I’m pretty happy with the way this has turned out. I have just installed Windows 7 Ultimate x64 and the temperatures on the Ninja are very nice indeed, idling at only 18 ºC.
HFM.Net Stats (05-24-2010)
I have the machine overclocked @ 4.0 GHz; it’s 24/7 stable and pumping out 28,000 points per day folding on the GPU’s and the CPU at the moment. I have also run some benchmarks (SuperPi 32M /8M/1M , PCMark Vantage, Cinebench, and 3DMark06/05/03/01), the results can be found in Post #55.
The Scythe Ninja will be replaced by one of the CoolIT VANTAGE ALC coolers when I receive it, which should be very soon.
Thank you for reading.