After I received my Fallout 4 Pip Boy Edition, the first thing that I noticed was "hey, maybe I can build a PC in here." I saw someone that built a server in theirs on Reddit, and that inspired me to actually get serious and try my hand at making my own.
Now I'm just a few months removed from building my first PC and have never done a case mod in my life... so naturally, I ordered a ton of parts, bought a dremel off Amazon, and YOLO'd my way through turning my Pip Boy box into a monster PC.
I decided to use an alignment with the PSU at the bottom with a horizontal motherboard above it. I picked up a Corsair 25% off coupon so I decided to use it to try out the H5 SF liquid cooler. Only a SFF GPU would fit in this, so I decided to go with the Radeon R9 Nano (right before the price cut, lucky me). And with all my components squeezed into such a tight space, I could have gone with a 2.5" SSD buried underneath a bunch of wires but decided to go with a m.2 SSD instead. The Gigabyte Z170N Gaming 5 motherboard has an interesting feature where the m.2 slot is on the back of the motherboard, so that helped out by letting me put my storage in an otherwise unusable space, and also ensuring that it could get plenty of airflow away from other heat producing components. Speaking of airflow, I decided to go with 2 intake fans on the sides and 1 exhaust fan on the top, along with an open back design to ensure hot air wouldn't get trapped in the case. 1 intake fan would directly blow on the GPU, and the other would feed the H5 SF blower fan and PSU with cool air. Finally, to elevate the motherboard over the PSU, I used an acrylic motherboard tray supported by some wooden blocks
I took off some dead raiders bought from the toy section on Amazon.
With my design in mind, I spread out a bunch of newspaper and started hacking away at the case in my garage.
So the first thing I learned is that hand cutting with a dremel is much harder than it looks, and if I was to re-do this, I'd take my schematics over to a professional with the right tools and have them cut it for me. I'd like to think my case has more personality though.
The second thing I learned is that a respirator is a very handy thing to have to make sure you're not breathing in melted plastic fumes.
Luckily I was able to complete my build without going to the hospital, and everything slotted in neatly into the case after I finished cutting it out. I superglued the blocks together, and then attached them and the PSU to the bottom of the case with heavy duty "extreme temperature" mounting tape. I then used mounting tape to attach the motherboard tray to the mounting blocks. The GPU PCI-E bracket nestles in nicely into the cutout I made for it. With everything set up and working nicely, I moved on to the next step which was running a bunch of voltage through the rig and overclocking the balls off of it.
I actually got a really good chip with the i5-6600K, it ended up a stable 4.9 GHz at 1.428V under load. I want to go for a stable 5.0 but the motherboard simply refuses to deliver more power under load, even with LLC set to high. It can survive at 5.0 @ 1.428V for around 30 minutes in stress tests before giving up the ghost, which leads me to believe that I can hit a stable 5.0 at under the 1.45V limit for Skylake. The Corsair H5 SF exceeded all my expectations in cooling the chip at such a high multiplier and voltage, keeping the chip under 70 even through 8 hours of RealBench.
The Nano also overclocked fairly decently with just an increase in power limit. I'm able to hit a stable 1080 MHz core 510 MHz memory on it simply by maxing out the power limit. With a fan blowing directly on it, a fan sucking hot air away from it, and an open back, there's no issues with the clock speed throttling due to temperatures. I originally was trying to fit a Fury X in this build, but the Nano OC'd is essentially a stock Fury X.
I ended up with the highest score (for now) on Firestrike with the i5-6600K/R9 Nano combination, which I was pretty pleased with.
Building this PC was a great experience and I had a lot of fun planning out how to use every bit of space in that Pip Boy box. While the final result turned out a bit sloppy due to me hand cutting everything, I'm still happy with the way it looks and its performance. This little powerhouse truly feels like it's mine!