I’ve decided to build my own desktop PC from scratch. You may ask, ”Why would you ever do something so complicated when you could just buy one from a store?” Well for starters it actually isn’t that complicated, and because for less than the price of a macbook I can build a desktop with enough processing power to melt the military defense network of third world country.
Here’s a list of the components I plan to use. Most of them anyway, some things I couldn’t find on amazon and I’ll have to get those parts elsewhere. You could assemble an ‘out-of-the-box’ version of this machine for a pretty reasonable price if: you didn’t mind the looks of the tower (I hate them), you didn’t plan to overclock the processor (I do plan to), and just used the cooling fans included with the case (good aftermarket fans are expensive). But I figured if I’m going to take the time to build something from scratch, I might as well spend a little extra and have some fun doing it. Also, my television just crapped out and I spent what amounts to nearly an entire pay check on a replacement 3D LED. So I’ll have to wait a month or two till I can afford the components. I’m trying to do this while still depositing 25% of my net pay into savings so I can put a down payment on a house in 2 years. Modifying and repainting the tower should keep me busy till then.
Here’s what it looks like strait out of the box:
The pictures don’t convey just how friggin big this thing is. This tower is nearly two feet tall and weighs in at 30 lbs. You could fit most stock pc cases inside this beast. The black paint job and solid construction of thick steel give this case a very industrial look. I hate it.
The first thing to go is the side panel (first picture), I don’t like the diamond checkered pattern laser etched into the acrylic window and the different options for mounting fans make it look like the victim of a drive by. I ordered a replacement from the CM store for $25 +shipping. Technically this panel is for the 932 AMD limited edition tower, but the chassis are the same so it fits just fine.
Of course I have problems with this panel too. The gay ed hardy looking dragon laser etched in the acrylic for starters. Also, the fact that you can’t mount any fans on this thing is a major drawback. I plan to fix both of these issues by replacing the acrylic with an unetched (and significantly less gay) piece from a hobby shop and cutting my own fan mounts. I’ve also ran into another problem due to CMs terrible packaging. The pins holding up the window in that picture are made of cheap plastic. Nearly half of them arrived already broken (acrylic was actually cracked in a few places too). I wasn’t planning on using them to mount my aftermarket window, but I did want to reuse them to cover up the holes drilled through the panel. Now I have to find something else that size to cover up the holes. The only thing I can think of right now is spray painting similarly sized googly eyes and gluing them on. Rivets maybe? But I think those would hang out the back too much.
On to the inside. Part of the paint job I want to do involves removing and repainting the drive mount (on the right side in that picture for the less tech savvy). Because of the way the case is riveted together, I pretty much had to disassemble the entire case to remove it. That took some time, but the real pain was removing CMs “patented button design” toolless 5.25” drive mounts.
If you’re looking to try something similar and need a quick how-to on what rivets are and how to remove them, I found this link very helpful.
I only managed to remove one of them fully intact (upper right in the above pic). The other four are either cracked or have a small chip missing. They all look reusable though, which is good because I want to repaint and reinsert these. Even if they’re broken, it’s not a problem. I planned on using screws to help secure my optical drives anyway.
It’s ready for paint this weekend. Hopefully I’ll have time to finish the acrylic window too; I just need to find a friend with dremel tool I can borrow to cut out the fan mounts. Also, I need to look into ordering a custom cut stencil for part of the paint job. Has anybody done that before? Finding a place online is easy, but I have no idea how reputable they are.