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Building Your Own Case - 2023 Edition

BigAl01
Volunteer Moderator
Volunteer Moderator
4 92 17K

I'm looking for some new case design ideas for a build in the summer to fall of 2023.  I have a few ideas of items that could be used to house computer components, such as an old Klipsch subwoofer or perhaps an old cooler from the Boy Scout days of the 1990s.  I feel confident in modding an existing device, but not so much in constructing a new case out of wood or things of this nature.  I like the 'appliance' idea, but it would help to have lots of suggestions from fellow modders.  Below is that old subwoofer I mentioned, which would just barely be big enough to house a micro-ATX motherboard and a graphics card.  Where the woofer is currently located, I would probably apply a wire mesh to help with ventilation.

Do you have some ideas for me to consider?  Keep in mind that I have several months to think about this.  If there is an idea that sounds good to me but I don't have the item on hand, then it will take time to find it - that's one reason to start thinking about this now.

It would be a tight fit, but this subwoofer might work.It would be a tight fit, but this subwoofer might work.

92 Comments
BigAl01
Volunteer Moderator
Volunteer Moderator

One idea I'm toying with is to build another case out of aluminum bars, similar to what I did with my Talk 2 The Hand computer last summer.  A picture of that structure is shown below.  Since the new build will become my main machine, it will need to fit under my computer desk, where Ryzen Nine currently sits.  But Ryzen Nine is sitting on a wooden shelf that is on rollers - I believe it would come out and I could use that as a base for the new build - meaning it could be attached to the wooden shelf and thereby add strength to the structure.  It's just an idea for now.

The aluminum bars provided a structure for Talk-2-The-Hand.The aluminum bars provided a structure for Talk-2-The-Hand.Ryzen Nine sits on a moveable wooden shelf.Ryzen Nine sits on a moveable wooden shelf.

eebiii
Miniboss

I like the subwoofer. Nice frame on it and not sure how big of a hole that is, but maybe a 200mm fan to replace the speaker. May have to cut up the subwoofer a bit to give it the look you want. 

How about a drawer under the workbench. I saw a cool usable acrylic frame drawer built into a desk.

My first PC-Desk made in Acrylic (PCDW-01) » builds.gg 

 

 

BigAl01
Volunteer Moderator
Volunteer Moderator

If I build a computer under the computer desk, I would likely use most of the space available.  One issue would be to have access to the ports on the motherboard.  Currently it's hard to get my head in there to see what I'm doing, even when moving the current computer to the right and pulling it out a bit.  One cable in particular is kind of tight, and I wish it were a few feet longer.

eebiii
Miniboss

The itx MB I am using is 6.7" x 6.7".

The SF PSU is 3.5" x 2.5" x 4.75". 

Just as a reference.

You would still have some room to play in the subwoofer. You could almost cut lines through the exterior and LED it up. I'm thinking something like the original "Tron". That would be cool!

BigAl01
Volunteer Moderator
Volunteer Moderator

Is there a good ITX motherboard for the 7000 series of Ryzen processors?  Also, I've never used a smaller PSU; I think the most powerful one I've heard of is limited to 750 W.  One thing I've done in the past is to use an external PSU, like I did for my old Sun X-Terminal build.

An external PSU hangs on the wall.  Note the custom Sun logo I made.An external PSU hangs on the wall. Note the custom Sun logo I made.

johnnyenglish
Grandmaster

With the Am4 generation tube reviewers were using the RoG Strix I variation board a lot!

Although.. I find the latest AM5 versions very weak for high end systems.

Sure it has lots of features but I've seen slow boot times and weak support for the Ryzen 9 since the VRM design is much much weaker than a full size ATX and a 7950X won't be at its full glory. The Gene ITX is great and will surely allow you to overclock the 7950X to the roof but the price is just stupid high.

Same with other brands, Gigabyte AORUS and MSI was also a good pick but they don't even have a X670E with Mini ITX factor yet... 

For the PSU, there's a SFX 1000watt RoG Loki

johnnyenglish_0-1677425815893.png

 

BigAl01
Volunteer Moderator
Volunteer Moderator

Keep in mind that I'm not building this new system for several months.  In fact, assuming that I'll be using the new Ryzen CPUs and DDR5, I also want to incorporate a PCIe 5.0 M.2 SSD - those are just starting to come out now.  But building the case could take several weeks, so it's good to think about several concepts before setting on a final design.

One thing I won't do is spend $1500 on a video card.  I might go as high as $800, but the prices for these things have been ridiculous for a few years now.  I'm not a big gamer anyway.  I don't have any high-level processing loads.  I watch youtube videos now and then.

Watchtower_GM
Adept II

 

I currently have a running list of over 50 custom chassis/build ideas. Remember your build does not have to go on the floor back under the desk. My current project will mount on the wall when completed. Since it's a custom chassis I don't think of it as a mid Tower, full tower, etc.  I want to admire my work and sort of think of it as a Watchtower.

 

westernwatchtower_40.jpg

BigAl01
Volunteer Moderator
Volunteer Moderator

A Watchtower sounds great if it's sitting on a desk or table where you can see it.  I can't wait to see your build (take lots of pictures along the way and post a blog in the Modders section).  Will you make it large enough to house a full-size video card?  

Regarding my next build, it does need to go under my desk.  It will become my main computer, the one I use on a daily basis.  Cooling is a small issue in the desk compartment, so good internal air flow is a must.  I have built several computers 'outside the box' as it were, such as 'TOTB' back in May of 2013.  Sorry for the rotated pictures on my website.  I still need to fix those.  

TOTB has since been taken down from this desk area, and relocated to my workbench shelving unit.TOTB has since been taken down from this desk area, and relocated to my workbench shelving unit.

Watchtower_GM
Adept II

The gpu is 344 mm but basically anything would fit. It mounts on two brackets similar to the drive brackets you used for your outside the box build.

 

I'm sorry you were looking for chassis ideas and I only gave the one. Here's a few I'd like to make an attempt at someday... 

Chassis that looks like a Sports trophy, a model space station that would hang from the ceiling, the nuclear football, Plasma rifle, lawnmower, a working stove, a working lamp, rocketeers jetpack, various model cars model spaceships, a box fan, end table, gonk droid, even inside an electric breaker panel.

About the Author
I've been building and modding computers since the year 2000. My first computer was an Osborne Executive in 1983. That makes me old but I still build a machine (only AMD-based computers) once a year for fun.