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Thread: Project: "Dark Wind"
01-20-2013 06:36 AM #1
Project: "Dark Wind"Project: "Dark Wind"
Allright, iv'e been busying getting my new HAF XB transformed into something different and unique and once again like "Night Fire", it will be based upon the ASUS Republic of Gamers theme, especially because I freaking love my Maximus Gene-Z mATX mobo, don't think i'll ever be able to go back to a NON ROG mobo now!
Anyway, lets get this show started and the progress that has been made so far!
01-20-2013 06:39 AM #2
Got it finally all set up, this thing is a real treat to work with! I just wish the toolless drive bay holders were a bit sturdier, they don't hold my optical drive in real well. I've more parts and plans for the case in the near future including window, more lights, possible paint job, new fans, decals and other ideas but for now, this will have to do. My mATX mobo sure looks small and puny inside this case, but owell...
Well figures, I get my new toy and someone already claims before I even get to open it lol! But its here!
Even the box itself is sexy and rich feeling, has a smooth, slick texture to it! The case is well protected by the stiff cardboard box and plenty of styrofoam padding all around, UPS/FedEX would have to try hard to damage the case
Oooh very nice! First thing I noticed is that the cases paint texure has a very durable feeling to it, almost like a spray on truck liner, you will have to try to scratch it! The unit feels incredibly solid when I took it out, gotta freaking love cold rolled steel, aluminum can never beat the tight, strong and firm built of a quality steel case!
The handles feel GREAT and makes moving the XB is so SMOOTH and easy! They are supported by the steel chassis behind the panel, so even fully loaded, this sucker aint gonna fall apart on you transporting it around, LAN partying with this thing in the future is gonna rock!
I didnt' realize exactly HOW big this XB was until I put it next to "Night Fire" my Antec mini-P180. The pictures speak for themselves! Thats a 20'' Viewsonic monitor for comparison sake to give you an idea of this bad boys size
Moving inward, my faithful furry assistant decides this cases needs a complete check through with cat senses!
Again, the interior paint job feels awesome, VERY solid and well done! Again, it reminds me a spray on truck lining, thats how tough it feels, it has a very nice rough feeling to it but not sandpaper like. Corsair could learn something of how to paint/powerdcoat their cases from coolermaster, their interior paint jobs are easily damaged/scratched in my experience with them
Yep, looks kitty approved!
Ok, time to take it apart and see the inside of this ultimate bady boy cube!
With the side panels removed, the front comes off with 7 tabs fairly easily. The plastic feels durable enough the front benzel doesn't flex much, but be mindful, it feels like it could be easily scratched. The front panel Power and reset buttons ARE NOT spring loaded, they are more modern "tap" style button which you find on todays tablets and smartphones and frankly, I like this as a nice change from decades of spring loaded buttons on computer cases, time for a change.
Weird, how they have enough room for a PCB to have 4 USB jacks, but only went with 2 *shrug* Owell, I never use more then one at a time in my usage.
Moving on, the typical part bags, screws andzip ties are here, but a rare thing, an optional speaker for those who really want to hear the troubleshooting mobo BIOS beeps. You can see the insulation foam to keep PSU vibration down into the case, a simple but nice touch, stuff like this helps case makers and their products stand out from the competition and we, the case consumers really look for this kinda stuff.
The case panels like the rest of the case chassis have a tough powder coating all over. They slide on and off with a nice smooth feeling and attach with a nice solid "thud" and are hard to flex, meaning the chances of vibration and reverberation in the case are low. Again, quality steel just flat out beats aluminum in this department, especially in the cost department and Cooler Master does a great job in this. Corsair, are you taking notes?
Outa curiosity, I wanted to see if recycling my Antec Big Boy was possible with the top panel mesh. Sadly, it was a no go. I looked into why the mesh panel didn't have mounts for 120/140mm fans for radiator setups and the CM rep stated because the weight of using radiators would cause the mesh panel to dislodge because its only using push down based tabs to hold it in place. So that basically means it would require installing nuts and bolts if you really wanted to use the top mesh panel for a radiator and modding the mesh as well.
And of course, I can't overlook something this rare in most cases nowadays, the removalable mobo tray. Some people truly desire/live for this *cough, 3DGAMERMAN* I personally have never cared or had use for them as I always chose cases over the years that makes it easy to install mobo's in and out. Last case I had with a removable mobo was a Lian Li PC-68 way back in 2002 and I think I used it "once" just cause I was bored.
Anyway, with 4 simple thumbscrews, the tray comes right out. Like the side panel, it feels very rigid and hardly flexes at all. Again, you can only get this very nice firm feeling with quality steel cases, aluminum just can't touch it. The tray fits in nice and snug with the thumb screws, so its not possibly for it to vibrate into the chassis itself at all.
Looking more into the interior, thankfully, all the cables are a nice even black, so no worried gawd awful rainbowed colored calors ruining the interior case look, well, except for that stupid legacy sound connector which im just gonna cut off personally. The stock front intake fans are 3pin with molex convertors. Dunno how great they are but i'll be replacing then with my Gentle Typhoon 120mm's anyway and or using a new 200mm intake fan on the top if I decide against ordering the top panel with built in window that I may end up making my own anyway. Decisons, decisons....
My furry assistance spotted something as I went along. Removing the exterior PSU holder reveals that you CAN NOT install a PSU without it as the chassis doesn't have any mounting holes without the extended bracket. This kinda sucks, considering I have a standard sized modular PSU, I wanted to keep the back flush but I guess not anymore, so keep this in mind.
Finally, I wanted to see how much spacing I had between the panels and mobo tray itself. Thanks to this chassis unique design, there is well over 1'' space between the side panels. I'm thinking of adding some sound insulation material for "Night Fire II" so this gives me plenty of room to add this. Also noting that if someone was really in the mood, you could easily cut out the side panel mesh and add your own side windows for a trick look. Hmmm........
01-20-2013 06:40 AM #3
Well I wasn't happy with the original wiring job and I had some new fans to install so I set back to work tonight to make everything interior wise better.
As I said, the stock Cooler Master 120mm fans do move good air but they are loud as hell and its nothing I can stand with this case sitting next to me and try to web surf, email, work and listen to music with those twin turbines spinning. So, out they went and I replaced with with the now rare and no longer made AP-13 from Gentle Typhoons. Good airflow and MUCH more quieter at their stock 1150 RPM. I had to look all around the web for a single extra AP-13 as they are now discontinued, sad day.
As stated earlier, I wasn't happy with out loose my optical drive was in the tooless drive bay in the XB so I wanted to see if I could do anything about it. The snap on adapters come off easily so you can screw drives or adapters into that side, but the other side has no attachment point.
Anything you put into the 5.25'' bays is held by nothing but tension bars from the steel cage itself on the right side. Well, with a moments bit of thinking, I simply flexed them inwards more by about 1/4'', put bay toolless clips back on and slipped my optical drive back in and now it fits very nice and snug, no modding required!
In case you were wondering/worried about my HDD sitting on that bare steel surface, I'm using a trick I thought up a few years ago for my old case. Using some very soft silicon grommets from my old Antec Sonata 2, I use heavy double sided tape and attached to the bottom of drive. This all but eliminates any noise and vibration into the case itself and works just as well in the HAF XB.
Some day im gonna have a fully modular PSU so I have no excess cables to deal with ever again. But thankfully, the XB with all its awesome crevices, nooks and wire tie downs, I can deal with it.
Again, the ability to make clean wiring in this case is just beyond easy and simple. I decided to route my GPU power leads into the front for a cleaner appearance instead of the mobo tray. Also redid all the SATA and fan cabling for cleaner look and this case makes is so easy, its actually fun to see how clean you can make your cables with this sucker!
The outside steel amazingly is a finger print/oil magnet on this case, so i'm constantly wiping it down after handling it. I decided to continue with my ROG color theme for now and added some simple outside bling to the case. I'll later be installing a window on the top panel and possibly more lighting along with painting some parts and adding plastic washers to the thumbscrews. I may look into replacing the Dark Knight for the new Night Hawk edition or possibly a Corsair H80i for the fun of it. The case is MUCH quieter with the Gentle Typhoon AP-13's and I dont bother removing the front benzel to dust, its a pain. I just use a swifter duster every other day and wallah, no more dust on front panel! I have other others floating in my head but for now, i'm a happy camper!
01-20-2013 06:41 AM #4
I got some belated Christmas gifts today and thought I would pass alot some teaser shots of my "Dark Wind" build with my HAF XB! Got some more stuff coming within the next week or so and I'm real excited to see the end result!
01-20-2013 06:42 AM #5
FINALLY after two different orders and eating restocking fee's, I got the fans with the look and noise/airflow ratio I wanted. I'm very happy with these Gelid Silent 12fans as they move about the same amount of air as my Gentle Typhoon AP-13's with even less noise thanks to the rubber grommets. They came nicely sleeved and I removed the label on the fan hub for a cleaner look. They look real good and have just the right amount of white that I wanted to make the case interior pop out
Also got the lighting done at last thanks to great NZXT lighting kit from Frozen cpu. Took awhile to figure how to lay it for the best subtle lighting to go with the red LED's and getting it to stay put with the included cable clamps but I finally managed it.
Coming up i've got the window panel coming soon along with either Corsairs new cable kit or going with a Bit Fenix cabling with silver metallic coloring instead of white that I think will really help make the inside really stand out an look unique among other cases. Also got some cabling clean up to do along with the LED mod on the front panel. Also looking at getting a custom ROG decal shipped if I can manage it, so stay tuned!
01-20-2013 06:43 AM #6
New window panel arrived, looks awesome!
01-20-2013 06:43 AM #7
Finally got around to swapping out the stock red LED for HDD activity last night. What a pain, at least mostly cause I didn't have a nice soldering stand to use so it was a combination of doing it all by hand and trying not to burn the crap outa myself and melt wires I didn't want but it looks much better now rather then dual red LED's one the front panel. "Dark Wind" is almost finished!
Pretty straight forward and even positive and negative is labeled
Two solder joints, shouldn't be that bad....
El cheapo tools of the trade
Was a real pain to get that sucker out so I had to break it apart for each solder joint to melt with my crappy solder gun, but eventually no more red LED. Just a matter afterwards of clipping new white LED leads and gently soldering them into place one at a time
While I was at it, I melted the glue holding the HD audio cable and removed it as I never use them anyway and one less cable to clean up and hide
Sooooo much better!
01-20-2013 06:44 AM #8
Well i've been busy with ideas flowing through my so far this weekend on what else to do to "Dark Wind" to make it stand out more and bit more "trick" Then I had a great idea which would gonna involve some careful work and modding but if I did it right, it would really make my HAF XB look special. A few runs to store across time for a few things I needed and I set to work!
First step to to dissasemble the hot bay trays which proved to be a study in patience to prevent breaking something with all the little parts
Almost had one of these go flying off into the room, that woulda sucked!
Then the real pain was removing these pins to get the front covers off the tray's. It involved using the hammer with a small screwdriver to bang them carefully out and then prying another section of without breaking the plastic which I still manged to do on one. A little glue should fix it by the time i'm done
After all is said and done, the bays are now completely apart and ready for what I have in store for them next which I won't show until the project is done :thumb:
Well ok, here's a little hint lol!
01-20-2013 06:45 AM #9
I had this idea kinda out the blue but I was still thinking of "Anything else cheap and cool I could do to the case...?" The later today I was like "Eureka!" And back to the work desk I went!
I had the thought of "Well, i've changed out the HDD LED to balance the case out but that DVD drive still has that ugly green LED and that won't look good with the cases color scheme.... But wait, i've got a spare white LED in case I screwed up on the HDD activity LED. Bingo, its solder time again!"
Well being now over 4 years old, I doubt there was a warranty left anyway from Asus, so voiding it be damned!
A bit of hot soldering gun and that yucky green LED is no more. Time to put something sexier in!
Woo hoo, now THAT's awesome looking! Nice and bright too! Who says DVD drives need to be boring and useless?
01-20-2013 05:29 PM #10
lol awesome build and colors!!Project Name: System Specs:
Motherboard: Rampage IV Black Edition
Prossesor: Intel Core i7 4820k
Graphic Card: Asus GTX Titan
Power Supply: Cooler Master V850
Ram: Corsair Dominator Platinum 2133Mhz
Case: Corsair Obsidian 750D
SSD: 2x Samsung Evo 250Gb Raid 0
HDD: 2x Seagate Baraccuda 2TB