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Project Retro - 15+ year old PC case (best case ever made!)

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Malt_Vinegar, Dec 26, 2017.

  1. Malt_Vinegar

    Underboss

    Joined: Oct 20, 2002

    Posts: 15,106

    Location: In a house

    My trusty CM210 case was looking a bit unloved hidden away under my desk. My once pride and joy was looking in a very sorry state. My forays into water-cooling nearly 20 years ago are but a memory, but I always wanted to get back into it, for the benefits of performance and noise, but also because I just have always loved the way a PC with Water running through it freaked so many people out :D

    So with all this in mind, bearing in mind that this ancient case still houses my main system, and has done since the day it landed into my sweaty, grimy teenage hands all those years ago. It was purchased for the princely sum of £240, but has proved it's worth over and over again. Its simple presence today is a reminder to me that if you buy right the first time, you never have to buy again!

    The very first thing I did once the courier turned up nearly 5 days after ordering with EXPRESS delivery (kids today, you have no idea how much of a lottery early online ordering was from enthusiast type stores!) was to take the side panel off, and drive it down (in my modified 1981 mini-van) to the nearest industrial estate to ask a chap if he would cut a large hole into the pristine aluminum side panel. Initially he accepted, although was very confused. Perhaps he thought I was a bit special, but once he found out the cost of the item, he refused to take responsibility. He then lobbed me the massively dangerous bit of equipment, a metal ruler, and essentially just said "Crack on son".

    A few seconds of rapid fire explanation of how said equipment worked, and I put a cut in the middle of the panel as a test, it worked.. It was a bit wavey as the ruler was thin, and the smelly, sweaty, stained gloves he whipped off his own gorilla hands only moments before were far from helpful in deftly holding such a dainty guide. Not to mention the Parkinsons like shake that was now emanating from my body caused by picturing the face of my parents when I would have to pretend the side panel from my quarter of a thousand pound PC case was an optional extra after I had obliterated the original.

    Still, I held it together, marked out the shape of the desired window, and powered through, the precipitation from my brow steaming away from the metal as the arc passed through premium alloy like a cheesewire.

    It was done. There was a little splatter, but the large rubber window trim covered it up perfectly, and fear of cutting the perspex with a hacksaw blade to fit the hole seemed pure childsplay in comparison.

    I was out of there before any management could throw a fit, and the chap asked for a fiver, which i duly paid! I think i actually did a bit of a wheelspin on my way out there, so eager was I to get myself home to begin the build of the only thing that really mattered in my life. My CS rig!

    Thus began my love affair with my PC case.

    When it came with me to uni around 2003, it looked like this, and I was, frankly, the coolest person on the planet:

    [​IMG]

    (Notice the retro MatrixOrbital mini-LCD in the CD-bay :D - more on this later!)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So, basically after all the years, many systems, many LAN events, god knows how many different configurations, the case looked like this:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    A shadow of it's former self, as you will surely agree.

    However, seeing this sorry sight got me thinking. It's nearly Christmas, and I might have some free time to sort all the niggles and get it looking like new.

    I unplugged the case, removed noth side panels, and got to work looking at all the things that needed to be sorted. I thought, start with something simple, just to get cracking.

    The CPU heat-sink fan cable was long enough to snare local wildlife, as seen here (if I am too lazy to correct this picture, it will be on it's side):

    [​IMG]

    I figured "yeah, I can handle this" and took the first step. Originally, I had planned to pull the pins out from the 3 pin connector, snip the cables, and reuse the original pins. To cut a long story short, it failed. The pins fell apart, and my fingers were nowhere near as nimble as they had been 20 years ago. So, i snipped a connector of an old CPU fan, and soldered it to the now shorted fan cables, and then heat-shrink treated my ball bearing type solder blobs.

    [​IMG]

    It looked proper, like someone clever had done it! Now I really had a taste for it again. Emboldened by this success, I drew out a line diagram on notepad (a real one...) to plan my next escapades. Some of which would surely contain cable-wrap!

    The goal here is to firstly tidy it all up, get it looking nice and clean up the case to make it look more like brand new. Then once it is all sorted I will look to plan and hopefully recreate a proper open loop type cooling system from parts as cheaply as possible :D

    TO BE CONTINUED!
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
  2. And

    Hitman

    Joined: Dec 7, 2002

    Posts: 818

    Very nice, but not quite the best case they made :D (IMO)

    That would be the ATC110 with aluminium front panel and no side window. Mine got through a few builds but now sits silent in the spare room.
     
  3. Yaka

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 2,909

    Location: a dark place

    man seeing that case brings back memories. cant wait for the updates
     
  4. Malt_Vinegar

    Underboss

    Joined: Oct 20, 2002

    Posts: 15,106

    Location: In a house

    Next phase :D
    Looked at the top of the case, and the papst ngml fan was looking a bit dirty.
    [​IMG]

    So, I removed the top panel, and set about cleaning the area up:

    [​IMG]

    Was showing it's age a little! That fan had been in there since around 2002 iirc?

    On the subject of history, some people will recognise these stickers around the other fan I cleaned :D :
    [​IMG]

    PCI blanking plates are on order, and trying to find a mobo specific IO backing plate to tidy that up a bit too!

    Next is cabling/moving drives, and sorting out the lights.
     
  5. billyboyd

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Sep 6, 2005

    Posts: 1,081

    Popular, cheap and blooming heavy the Chieftec Dragon was the best case ... ;);):p

    Seriously though good luck with the build, that case does look awesome :cool:
     
  6. Malt_Vinegar

    Underboss

    Joined: Oct 20, 2002

    Posts: 15,106

    Location: In a house

    Did some tidying up of the cables. Re-installed the drives (sort of correctly)
    [​IMG]

    However, the drives worked, and I managed to get the cables routed under the first drive, and up to the correct places, but it was annoying me, off centre, and looked ghetto:

    [​IMG]

    So, i ordered some 2.5 to 3.5 adaptors, and would fit them when they turned up.

    Already looking a lot neater.

    Next up, more tidying, and getting three matching sata cables. You can also see some of the cheapy cable wrap I was using to keep things tidy. Lots more to do though.
     
  7. Malt_Vinegar

    Underboss

    Joined: Oct 20, 2002

    Posts: 15,106

    Location: In a house

    More tidying up, and did some cable creation to make a 7v fan connector, and a 5v one too. Just wanted to keep the fans spinning as slow as possible at this stage. Wanted to keep this thing a bit quieter!
    Here are the ugly hidden cables!
    [​IMG]

    Not too worried, I can neaten it up later, but its nicely behind the mobo. Fan speeds are perfect too.

    [​IMG]

    Woo hoo, they are in! Drive adapters too. Cable wrap mostly done. Used double sided 3m tape, and its solid :)

    [​IMG]

    Here you can see the quick connector (used an RC battery connector. Massive overkill, but should last a long time, many disconnections, and means the side panel can be moved away for access without having to poke around the back of the mobo.


    Next up, ordered some spangly shiny PCI blanking plates, and not yet got hold of the IO blanking plate for the mobo. Just trying to find one cheap!

    Then sorting out the side panel fan, making it look pretty, and ensuring the powe cable is as hidden as possible.
     
  8. Tattysnuc

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Sep 22, 2008

    Posts: 1,430

    Location: Liverpool

    ahhh, happy memories.... Thanks for sharing the intro story of the window cutting :)

    Subbed - looking forward to see how this develops.
     
  9. harvey.l12

    Hitman

    Joined: Oct 29, 2014

    Posts: 832

    Location: Chesterfield, UK

    Coming along nicely, That GPU looks so out of place in that case ahaha
     
  10. Malt_Vinegar

    Underboss

    Joined: Oct 20, 2002

    Posts: 15,106

    Location: In a house

    Thanks guys :)

    Some more progress - Needed to fill these gaps:

    [​IMG]

    Decided to get some of these to do the job:
    p.s. SHINEY

    [​IMG]

    Looks much better:

    [​IMG]

    I also then decided to split the various thumb-screw types I have in the PC to each section, so it looks a bit neater, as you can see above.

    That's most of phase 1 completed. The machine is rebuilt, and looking a lot more presentable (just the IO plate to find yet!)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I stuck on the fan grill from an old Ultra PSU, figure it looks a bit nicer than leaving it open or using a standard metal grill.

    Next up is going to be investigating a half decent looking open loop water cooling system. I want it to look a little bit retro where possible, and want to see if I can get most parts second-hand, and cheap :D Don't really need to, but it makes it more challenging keeping to a tight budget!

    *EDIT* Are you guys seeing my photos on their side? They are upright on my hosting, and when viewed directly in my browser, is the forum doing something odd?
     
  11. Tattysnuc

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Sep 22, 2008

    Posts: 1,430

    Location: Liverpool

    they're on their sides when I see them.... :eek:
     
  12. harvey.l12

    Hitman

    Joined: Oct 29, 2014

    Posts: 832

    Location: Chesterfield, UK

    Yep im seeing them side ways, looking nice though, those brackets are super shiny!
     
  13. Malt_Vinegar

    Underboss

    Joined: Oct 20, 2002

    Posts: 15,106

    Location: In a house

    I missed this comment! Yup, 6 screens of goodness in this old beast :D

    I will rotate the photos, and re-upload them later.
     
  14. harvey.l12

    Hitman

    Joined: Oct 29, 2014

    Posts: 832

    Location: Chesterfield, UK

    No problem, subbed to this post, looking forward to seeing the progress of this build!
     
  15. techtu

    Associate

    Joined: May 29, 2012

    Posts: 35

    Location: Nottinghamshire

    Also following this, currently modding an 8 year old NZXT Beta Evo. Some of the old cases really are the best! (Y)
     
  16. KiNgPiN83

    Mobster

    Joined: Nov 16, 2003

    Posts: 3,908

    Location: Chatham

    Came in here expecting to see a Juno XP case. (metal, frosted plastic and bright green front.) Wasn't dissapointed though, still got hit in the face with nostalgia. :D I miss that case. :( You could build your whole system in it and then camp out in one of the opposite vacant corners in a 4 man tent. :cool:
     
  17. Malt_Vinegar

    Underboss

    Joined: Oct 20, 2002

    Posts: 15,106

    Location: In a house

    The project has resumed!
    I wanted to start watercooling again, but keep it looking retro, so went and bought an old used kit from ebay:
    [​IMG]

    Then I needed to try and clean it up a bit.

    The radiator was the first thing, and most important bit that I really wanted to re-use:

    [​IMG]

    Was looking a little mucky, so got the covers off:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So, i used a toothbrush, and some wide end tweezers to tease it all back into mostly straight.

    This was a good example:

    [​IMG]

    Turned into this:

    [​IMG]

    So, i was left with something that was mostly straight:

    [​IMG]

    Then I moved over to the other side!

    Also, the covers needed a little cleaning up:

    [​IMG]

    A quick mock up with a new block, as the old one was warped, and leaking!

    [​IMG]

    Testing was all done with water for the start, but I will be using the following:

    [​IMG]

    Mocking up the kit in the case was going to be tough (its not big in there!), and I tried a few different options:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Whilst this worked, it did start to leak... it turned out the pump outlet was cracked, and I did try to repair it with Epoxy, but could not get it working well enough, so I decided to bin the reservoir (which was refusing to mount nicely) and move to an all in one type:

    [​IMG]

    With that, i could sort out the install again.

    [​IMG]

    Much happier with this as a concept, and it seemed like the way to go. This meant I needed a couple of things.. Bulkhead adaptors and a way to get power to the outside of the case nicely.

    Bulkhead fittings:

    First I made some 16mm holes:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Threaded in the shiney new fittings:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Sorted:
    [​IMG]

    Power outlet:

    I made a hole in a PCI blanking plate, and epoxied a Molex pass through connector to it.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I was not happy with the fans that came with it, they were a little noisy, and worse for wear, so they were replaced:

    [​IMG]

    So, now it was looking like this:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Not happy with the fan cabling yet, so have some things to tweak here:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The radiator is attached to the top of the case with re-usable clear sticky pads

    [​IMG]

    With all the lights off!
    [​IMG]

    Quite happy with the progress so far :)
     
  18. Alan1969

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 16, 2019

    Posts: 1,034

    Location: Leek staffordshire

    Good log. Loads of photos.
     
  19. Tattysnuc

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Sep 22, 2008

    Posts: 1,430

    Location: Liverpool

    serious deja vu here :)

    Great to see this log. Following keenly...
     
  20. paradigm

    Caporegime

    Joined: Aug 26, 2003

    Posts: 35,066

    Location: Staffordshire

    Man this is so good, though if you're going to have to have (and you will likely due to space constraints) external watercooling components, could you not get a zalman reserator, that would be epically period!

    Alternatively, external components allows for a nice water chiller build!

    I really need to decide what I'm doing with my ATCS-201SXK, ATCS-210 (same colour as yours) and ATCS-111.