Case Mod LilyPC V.2 by E.E.L. Ambiense

samedi 2 août 2014

Well, hello! *waves* Hm, what's that? ...Ah, yes. LilyPC. Yeah... See, here's the thing. It was time to move on. The project was simply too big in size. That's it. That's the reason. The thing is she's a kid. Giving her a watercooled setup probably isn't the smartest thing to do, nevermind the simplicity of the loop, etc. She's a kid. So I decided to go a different direction. And I've considered the original project abandoned.

So, very much like Hollywood's current film-making process, I've decided to reboot things. I just hope it'll be a different outcome in that it will be a little better than the original. ;)

Once upon a time (going on 5 years ago), I had a project I was literally on the doorstep of using a Zotac ION ITX board (brand-new just streeted at the time; circa 2010). It was going to be my next Noire build, as well as being my next HTPC. It was going to be using Lian Li's brand new (at the time) Q-07 chassis. I had the custom powder ready to go. Acrylic done. That project was going to be called "Noire HD". Here's a mockup I did for the project log that never happened:

The kicker is, I spent so much pre-design and planning on the project that I designed a custom full-cover waterblock conversion/re-purposing that would replace the stock cooling on the mobo, effectively simultaneously cooling the CPU and the GPU. Nothing new. At least now. 5 years ago it wasn't very common. Fast-forward to today -- it seems like a lot of the waterblock companies have their own version of an ITX block that cools everything on the mobo.

Final block, tested working perfectly:

Ironically, when asked if I had any new ideas for products, I presented the idea to one of PPC's EK contacts at the time a couple years back who was involved in R&D; he shot the idea down saying it wouldn't work because there wasn't a large call for that kind of thing. He moved on to other things shortly after that. ...EK now make tons of full-cover ITX blocks. :lol:

It's a shame I didn't get around to the project, because just before I threw the switch is when I got laid off. And signed a lease the same day (before getting laid off). And found out we had a kid on the way. Etc., etc. Same story that I've already gone into in other (completed) logs.

Anyway, Clean-slate. Fast-forward to now, I decided after building a floating desk in Lily's bedroom that the original LilyPC was going to be way too big for it. So I decided to also abandon (abort?) the Noire HD project (which I no longer have a need for a HTPC) and re-design everything for a new ITX LilyPC.

I decided I was going to stay with aircooling too, so no waterblocks now. It's for the best. And for ease-of-use and maintenance. Now I'll be able to just give the rig a blast of compressed air with the compressor in the shop and clean out dust, bugs, etc. once in a while instead of draining and rebuilding occasionally. Besides, the ION chip isn't really supposed to get all that hot considering TDP. Although it seems (seemed) to get hot when everyone was buying them. Stock cooling sucks. It's as simple as that. So I have an easy plan to fix that using stuff I had laying about that just happened to work out with it.

And with the wonderful help and support from great companies like MNPCTech and ADATA (who have both shown an extraordinary amount of patience with this project), I can make it happen!

Now, on to the log proper.

Here's the case I will be working on. Lian Li Q-07, ITX form-factor.

I had already removed the front pair of USB ports; not necessary. Besides... I don't think Lily knows what USB ports are. :)

...And removed.

Now, moving on to the motherboard. Zotac ION-ITX-K board. Stock cooling left much to be desired. :/ So I ripped it off and cleaned all the chewing gum crap they usually slather all over board's chips. I also began installing standoffs for a old Thermalright cooler I had that looked like it might fit. It did. :)

Shot of both the CPU and the GPU chips....

....and new cooler installed on the GPU chip. :)

Closeup of the almost non-existent clearance for the bracket holding the cooler on...

I also installed a passive cooler on the CPU using thermal adhesive.

The board seems to run flawlessly with a fan somewhat pointed in the coolers' general direction, which is great because I don't plan on putting a fan directly on the cooler. I'm going to have a pair of 120mm fans in the case; one intake and one side exhaust. The air should simply run through the case, through the coolers, and out the side. Temps should be more than acceptable, and certainly lower than the stock cooling offers by far.

Alright, back to the case now.

Some of the mods I'm going to do to this case involves removing the PCI bracket area, since I won't be needing it at all.

I'll also need to drill out the rivets that hold the ATX PSU frame on. Not needed as I'm using a Pico-ITX PSU and power brick to power this lil' thing.

I'm going to be removing the stock feet on the case, since they kinda...well...suck. Replacing them with MNPCTech's mini feet of course!

Let's do some drilling!

If you're a modder, you most likely relate with this... :lol:

Let's drill out those rivets now.

I'm also going to remove the 3.5" HDD bracket since I won't be using that either...

...And removed.

No matter how much experience you have with rotary tools, etc. you should always mask off your work-area.

Just need to remove this little tab. It doesn't even need to be perfect as it's getting covered over anyway.

...And done.

Masking off the front of the case so I can start marking out the holes I'll need to drill on the case. A good trick for fans is to mark out the four mounting holes and using a ruler, you draw lines criss-cross and the intersecting middle will give you the center of the fan's opening.

...and done.

I went ahead and clamped down the entire chassis on my table-vise, since it's small enough.

Drilling out the smaller holes and getting ready for the large one...

Holesaws are very dangerous; use with caution and proper protection. I like to use eyewear, hearing protection, and condoms.

Drilling.... Go slow; let the saw do it's job.

...And done. Just need to clean up the edge with a file or rotary tool sanding drum.

Drilled out the 16mm hole for the new power switch and dropped in a dead test switch for checking. Looks fine!

Alright, that's it for this log update. I'll be back with more in due time. Toodles!

Case Mod LilyPC V.2 by E.E.L. Ambiense

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