Project SPEC 3D - Portable, High-Performance, 3D-Printed LAN-Style Computer
The goal of this build is to design and manufacture a maximally portable, yet performance-conscious LAN-style workstation, for users whose workflow demands require the ultimate in mobile computing performance. Oh and did I mention?--the entire computer will be 3D-Printed using fused deposition modeling (FDM) and/or stereolithograpy (SLA) additive manufacturing technologies. Like my design? I can send it halfway around the world to you, and you can print it out yourself!
Functional Requirements (in order of priority):
1. Size â€“ approx. 30x20x15 cm (not including the handle) or smaller for maximum portability.
2. Performance - must benchmark at 99th percentile or above, particularly on 3Dmark firestrike (this really is about as as no-compromise as it gets)
3. Cost - must be reasonably affordable for a high performance build; <2500 USD fair market value (FMV). Price does not include development costs, only final part and material cost.
4. Mobility - must have a handle for easy carry, with the structural rigidity to survive a 2G loading with a 1.5 factor of safety.
5. Aesthetic Appeal - must look good enough to interest 75% or more of it's target user-base.
6. Thermal Considerations - must run at room temperature without noticeable throttling on any primary component.
Component List (as of 2015.02.02):
Motherboard: ASUS Z97I-PLUS LGA 1150 (Mini-ITX) (~$155 FMV)
CPU: Intel i7-4790K "Devils Canyon" (~$330 FMV)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Seidon 120V CLLC (~$50 FMV)
GPU: XFX AMD R9 295X2 (~$680 FMV)
GPU Cooler: Stock (Custom Asetek Hybrid Air+CLLC)
RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Redline 16 GB (8GB x2) DDR3 2133 MHz (~$160 FMV)
HD: Samsung 840 EVO 500 GB (~$250 FMV)
PSU: OCZ ZX Series 1000W FM Gold ($250 FMV)
Power Button: Generic button I found on amazon for $10 (looks OK, but taking suggestions)
Lighting: No procured yet (taking suggestions)
Total price: $1885 (target price: $2500)
I'm a 2nd year Master's Candidate in mechanical engineering. I know a fair amount about additive manufacturing (3D printing) technologies (part of my research), although my specialty is in dynamic systems, controls, robotics and machine design. Building computers is a side hobby for me, so I'm no expert, though I have been building for quite a few years now. That said, this is my first real venture into the modding scene, and first time I'm entering the CMWS. Questions, comments, recommendations, and tibbits of helpful advice are always appreciated. Good luck to all other contestants!
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Progress Report #1 - 2015.02.02:
Pretty set on the majority of the computer components. Close observation of the component list reveals that dollars can be shaved off in several areas; however, some decisions were made because I am/was able to procure the parts for significantly cheaper than their listed FMV (from friends, and/or on sale). Truly, the pure computer parts for this build can be had now for less than $1500 if you give it some effort, but to be fair, I'll use fair market value (FMV) prices, and raise my pricepoint to $2500 (around what one would expect to pay for a 99th percentile gaming rig). I am open to recommendations on a case power button (I have one that looks fine, but is on the big side for my small build) and LED lighting (this is new to me).
Some initial design work has been done regarding the case dimensions. Deciding on making the case an open air case, largely due to thermal considerations. Because portability is so fundamentally important, computer components will be in very close proximity, and I'm trying to avoid a dedicated fan controller (which means maximum 3 fans for Mini ITX). An open case will mean I won't need to intake fans to prove positive pressure, although the tradeoff is that the components will be a bit more exposed to the elements. See image below:
Running with this hexagon-esque design just to start. Will probably move towards something somewhat more appealing once I've given it a bit more thought (would love to hear recommendations, if any). Will run finite element analysis (FEA) on the frame to ensure desired strength properties. Current case dimensions are 32x25x15.9 cm (12.6"x9.85"x6.26")--will work towards shaving off as much case dimension as possible once all parts are procured.
Component pics to follow at a later date (once they are all sourced).