I was itching to build a new PC when I found my first build hiding in the shadowed recess of my storage closet, longing to see the light a day.
“Kiillll meee…”, it moaned. I was happy to oblige, but as soon as I laid hands on it, a past of sentiment flashed momentarily in my mind.
Built in the late 90s, early 2000s, during my highschool years, the Thermaltake Xaser III Lanfire case housed a blazing fast Pentium 4 1.4Ghz process with 4 gigs of ram, an ATI Radeon R200 8500 video card, 2GB of abundant HDD storage, one CD-RW drive of up to 2x write speeds, a standard power supply, and of course, one floppy drive. I was nervous and excited, being that it was the first pc I put together by myself. The AC plug was in. POST...ITS ALIVE!
Back in my storage closet, I consoled it: “There, there, ol'boy. I have not forgotten you. I am going to rip out everything that makes you, you and replace it with newer and faster parts in that shell of yours. You're going to live to see another day!”
(In hindsight I should have taken pictures of the whole process. I didn’t think I’d be so happy with the end results that I’d want to share it to the public.)
After years of Blue, I wanted to give team Red a try, so I started saving up and gradually bought all the parts I desired -- all except the video card. For the time being I settled for a PNY 1060 6GB, but I really want an AMD GPU. (I’m also considering replacing my ram with something more compatible, and a color to match the build). I’m content with I have so far.
There’s room for improvement and I’m open to suggestions. I don’t have the tools nor the skills to custom mod the case, although I wish I did.
First, it’s an understatement to say the cable management was challenging. Clearly, the case was not designed for it since there are no grommets or holes to route the cables. I did what I could as you can see in the pictures. Originally, I wanted to use extension cables: not going to happen with this case.
Second, there was a mismatch in size of the front intake fan. The case used a 80mm fan housed inside a custom container. I felt the new modern components could use better air flow, so I attached a 120mm Noctua fan using velcro strips instead. If I had the tools and know-how, I’d punch out mount points and more ventilation holes, but I ran some tests and the airflow seemed sufficient.
Third, although minor, I wished I knew where I placed the “fireball” controller. The fireball is that strip of decal on the front of the case, which would light up if turned on via a switch on the controller. It’s powered by a custom 5-pin adapter. I was thinking of modding it, but I don’t know what I’m doing and worried that I will break something important, like my PSU. Even if I did manage to “MacGgyver” something up, I’m not sure if the lights still work.
I'm contemplating if I should replace that top, now useless, fan controller with a functional 5.25" USB/Audio hub. However, I risk losing its character because those dials are sexy as hell. Furthermore, there will be more cable to manage...
I’ve built a few more PCs since my first and I’d have to say, this was the one I enjoyed the most. It’s 90% complete.
I removed the drive cage and moved the ssd into the 5.25" bay area via a bracket. Hopefully, this improves airflow. I also updated the cable management. It's a little better, but I think it could be refined further.
I replaced the Corsair ram with some cool looking G.Skill ram that matches the color scheme.
To my mistake, the front intake fan is 140mm. I'm thinking of getting 2x120mm fans and mount it to the front and remove the side 80mm fan.
improve cable management
replace with compatible ram
replace with AMD GPU
mod the top fan controller with USB hub
mod 5-pin "fireball" led