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Thread: perfect case design?




  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    a little story...

    for six months ive been balancing air cooling against noise to try to find the optimum quiet yet cool situation.

    After this amount of time playing with fans and ducts and sound padding and reading just about every thread on every aspect of cooling and quietning ive decided ive reached the limit as far as my case is concerned.

    My case is at a reasonable internal temp (25*C) whilst being pretty quiet, i can even sleep at night 4 meters away from it. However overclocking has brought my cpu temps up to 50*C and although acceptable Id rather bring them down.

    The logical step is to duct air from outside the case straight to the cpu from a 120mm fan. I dont want to do this though because of it being another fan on the outside of the case, increasing noise again and looking pretty shoddy. Most external ducts for noise dampening look awful.

    Then i saw a 800 valve amp in a magazine which was made of wood, it looked amazing. This made me think "hmmm, a wooden pc? cool"

    You can buy wooden pc cabinets for quite a lot of money but they dont address cooling too much so i started to formulate a design for making my own case out of wood which combines most of the optimum features for both cooling and noise reduction.

    my final list of spec requirements/thoughts became the following:

    - bottom to top air flow

    -2x120mm intake fans (1 direct to cpu) 2x120mm exhaust fans (balanced in/out flow and my psu already has 1x120mm so only one more is required)

    -fans to be inside case where possible with at least one bend in any ducts to decrease noise escaping

    -wood/mdf is easy to work with, naturaly sound proof and can look great (given correct finishing)

    -air tight with filter over intake to prevent dust

    Some people will say wood wont radiate any extra heat but the fact of the matter is, given adequate venilation, radiated heat loss is miniscule in proportion to conducted heat loss. So much for your 150 aluminium case.

    Only other drawback weight but i dont move my pc much and i think casters will be used anyway, as you will see i will need good ground clearance anyway.


    take a look at the attached rough drawing


    So as you can see there are basically two sound absorbing boxes
    which will be lined with foam. Since these are inside the box it should look sleek from outside.

    MDF is easy to work with and easy to spray finish and cheap but doesnt look to hot bare.

    Some nice hardwood with a little stain and varnish or polish would look great.

    I think it looks like it will be very quiet with masses of cooling potential and be quite a unique looking pc. I could still put a window in the side (double glazed of course) the opposites of natural materials with the technology inside might be nice.

    any comments/ suggestions etc.

    I'll post better drawings later and photos if i get round to making it.

  2. Default

    Very cool idea, reminds of the the same airflow that Mac got when it released the iMac's. Heat rises, so by using convection airflow you're goign with nature. I'd look into putting the intake in the bottom by your video card, or you might overheat that puppy with no direct airflow on it.

    Cant wait to see the finished product. Good job :)
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  3. #3
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    Apr 2002
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    MDF is a very good material to work with because it's so hard.

    That's why I and most others build speakers/basses outta MDF.


  4. #4
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    the case cooling fan is right under the gfx card, than puppy's never had it so good.

    I was juggling with which fan to duct to the cpu but decided the gfx needs the case fan intake more than the HD so the front fan will be ducted and the back one hits the gfx.

    I would like the convenience of using mdf, you're right, it's hard, so good the cut accurately and very sturdy. I still think real hardwood would look amazing with a little polish, and the softer the material, the better the sound and vibration damping effects...

    I may look into the price of real wood vineer so i can have the looks of wood and the build convenience of mdf. Could end up looking tacky though. Vineer is easy to apply but tough to apply really well. Don't want it looking like teenage boys' bedroom furniture from the eighties!

  5. #5
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    Don't forget to make sure everything is grounded !
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  6. #6
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    good point about the grounding, any more details?

    will everything need extra connects to the PSU or anything?

    is anything grounded through the mobo already?

  7. #7
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    Ya just need to connect an earth wire to all metal parts and this can be done with just one continuous wire that'll earth back to the PSU case.

  8. #8
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    does that include components which are already powered.

    ie are all the power cables and mobo connects earthed?

  9. #9
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    Just things like mobo standoffs, rom drives, hard drives, floppy drives and anything else that is powered and/or constructed from metal. Remember that a metal case is its natural own ground but timber doesn't afford that convenience.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by defunct
    I would like the convenience of using mdf, you're right, it's hard, so good the cut accurately and very sturdy. I still think real hardwood would look amazing with a little polish, and the softer the material, the better the sound and vibration damping effects...

    I may look into the price of real wood vineer so i can have the looks of wood and the build convenience of mdf. Could end up looking tacky though. Vineer is easy to apply but tough to apply really well. Don't want it looking like teenage boys' bedroom furniture from the eighties!
    Check out your better lumber suppliers. There is a product called MDF core sheet. It already has a veneer applied, typically in birch, oak, ash, cherry, alder, etc. and has a Medium Density Fiberboard core, which is very dimensionally stable, mills better than veneer-core products, and is cheaper than a similar sized sheet of plain veneer. I'm surprised that more speaker box builders don't use it. You will have to come up with a design that accomodates covering the exposed MDF edges if you plan to stain and finish it, or an iron-on veneer tape works well.
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