Industrial GK1 Mod
Long story for this one.
It all started with me getting tired of my previous laptop since it was not really upgradeable. I needed something that wouldn't be a pain to deal with if I wanted to change any of the components. I move abroad from time to time because of work (So I needed a tiny build) - and I work in VFX with quite a lot of personal work at home too (so I also needed something pretty powerful).
I gave a first try with the Ghost S1 from Louqe. Huge disappointment, the first batch was a mess, the measurements were not as they were supposed to be (I already had most of the components ready to be used...) so I quickly gave up. I'm not saying the product was **** but it's just that the first units were full of mistakes. Hopefully the company has improved a lot since (?).
Weeks of unlucky investigation later (couldn't find the perfect ITX case), I decided to go with what I thought was matching the most my needs ; the ITX case "Ophion Evo" from Raijintek (2018 edition). I mean, it was not looking that good to me but **** it, I just wanted to be able to use my machine as soon as possible...
...Buuut my setup was running quite hot in this little guy ; can't remember exactly but it was something around 55°C idle for the CPU, 85°C for the GPU on load (I bought in a first place the FE from Nvidia, which I sent back because of how noisy it was - and obviously a little bit too hot...). Really disappointed (again).
So from there I decided to make my first PC case mod (I live in a flat with no tools when I started so it was a bit complicated...). Since I felt that the original one was not that "premium" quality (I received it with bent panels for example), I thought it was the time for me to finally make a proper case mod (yay!).
So, here was my plan :
- If in idle mode (just doing Photoshop simple stuff for example), the build has to run dead silent. I hate noise, except when it's for a good reason (3D renders / gaming)
- Being able to easily move the case from a room to another (VR setup is in a different room) -> Add handles
- Make this case breathe as most as possible with holes everywhere. Way too hot inside!
- Add x3 40mm fans under the GPU + x2 60mm fans in the top corner for extra help when GPU/CPU are heavily working. External dust filters also needed for those (and easily removeable).
- Add a fan controller (hardware) to rule them all : no software management (I decided to trust the not-so-good reviews I read about software management).
- Remove this not-so-good "brushed aluminium" and dark grey-ish look and replace it with a true matte black paint
- Replace this ugly cheap power button with a real one (front panel)
- Add a reset button (front panel)
- Add x1 power LED (white) and x1 HDD activity LED (blue) (front panel)
- Add an extra USB 3.0 next to the existing one (front panel)
- Add extra bottom pads under the case (the bottom plate didn't look really solid to be honest...)
- Add extra "legs" on top of the existing 2x SSD/2.5" HDD slots to be able to stack up 2 more SDD/HDD (room is available, so why not here? I need those extra SDD/HDD)
- Make a full set of custom cables to improve airflow and cable management (first time)
- Add a LED strip from a supermarket make-up furniture found in the trash (Because why not)
- Give the whole mod a classy but "industrial" finish look. Just my personal mood at the moment. And please, no RGB...
That plan changed a lot along the way (I made mistakes, lost a lot of time with useless things, etc.) but I learnt a lot thanks to that and I finally made my big jump into DIY electronics (soldering, etc.)
Side notes ; I ended up getting rid of the glass panels - which is funny since I carefully picked up the cable colors because I knew they would be visible through the glass...I don't know, I guess I'm just not into glassy cases. Also, I needed my side panels to help the case breathe more than it was with the glass panels. And they were getting dirty way to quickly... So I bought the side panels replacement kit from Raijintek and decided to play a bit with them (even though I receveid them fairly bent...poor product!).
For the GPU, I decided to go with the RTX 2080 Ti 11 GB GAMING OC from Gigabyte but it was a really hard decision to make since no one online could tell if it was fitting that case. So I took the risk and...It did fit. But it was litterally sticking on the side panel. Even with small holes on it I thought it was a bad idea so I decided to cut an extrude out of this side panel just to be sure that the fans would catch enough air from the outside.
Because I was trying anything possible that would help improve the airflow, I also decided to get rid of the existing large dust filter on the top. For information, the bottom x1 120mm fan is pushing in, the bottom x3 40mm fans are pushing in too, the top x2 AIO 120mm fans (replaced by x2 Noctua NF-F12 Chromax PWM for more silence) are pushing out and the top x2 60mm fans are also pushing out. In my standard configuration I use the most, all the fans are turned off except the AIO top ones (Like I said, I hate noise). Please note that those x2 AIO fans always run at at very low speed, so I can’t hear them even when the CPU is heavily used (like during the temp tests below).
Since it's a mini ITX build with a lot of components inside, I finally ended up being happy with how breathing it was. Temps are still a bit high of course but I guess it's pretty hard to get better results with such a compact build and without a fully open case. Or maybe I just suck!
(CPU is delidded)
- CPU idle (extra fans off) = 36°C
- CPU idle (extra fans on) = 35°C
- CPU 100% (extra fans off) = 45°C
- CPU 100% (extra fans on) = 43°C
- GPU idle (extra fans on) = 38°C
- GPU idle (extra fans off) = 43°C
- GPU 100% (extra fans on) = 71°C
GPU 100% (extra fans off) = 73°C
GPU/CPU 100% (extra fans on) = 54°C (CPU) 74°C (GPU)
- GPU/CPU 100% (extra fans off) = 56°C (CPU) 72°C (GPU)
Furthermore, not sure if those extra fans are really useful since I only win around 2°C for most of the components, sometimes less, sometimes more. I feel like the case is breathing enough by itself. But let's keep this extra fans option as en emergency solution ;-)
Also, since this is quite a custom project, the final price shown here is not really accurate and most of the components have been bought months ago.
Hope this story can help your future projects!