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TERW_DAN

«scratchbuild» Project E.L.I.S.A

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TERW_DAN    0

For a long time I was thinking about build a suitcasemod, but that is something that is done at least a zillion times, so I wanted to do something that wasn't done that often.

So i thought of one of the least practicable shapes possible, and ended op with a sphere, which can hold a µATX motherboard and a couple of disks so it can be used as a simpel storage server.

so Project Experimental Low-noise Intranet Spherical Apparatus in short E.L.I.S.A. was born (I admit, the name is a bit lame, but I never built a mod using an acronym as name before, and it was just one of those things I still wanted to do someday).

I was thinking of completely making the sphere myself, using blue styrofoam as a mold for fiberglass, but this takes ages and is quite difficult to get it in perfect shape. So I bought a styrofoam ball, to be used as a mod for the fiberglass.

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It now rests on a rol of tape. The base will be built around the same idea, but a bit bigger. This will hold all the connectors (power, USB, eSATA, HDMI) for the system that is inside the sphere.

The sphere will consist of 2 halves, that will be a few centimeters apart, making airflow possible and make a perfect place for some ledstrips.

To make sure the hardware will fit without problems, I drew up a groundplate, that is about 250mm in diameter and see if my hardware will fit.

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As you can see the hardware fits nicely. The harddrives will be attached to the sides of the sphere, and there is plenty of room for about 3 to 4 disks.

The hardware I'm going to use will consist of

-Gigabyte H67MA-UD2H mobo

-2x 2GB DDR3 2000 ADATA XPG

-3x/4x WD Green 1TB

-FSP 250W PSU

-Cooler Master Gemin II M4 CPU cooler

-Intel Celeron G440 or G530 CPU (I have a G440, but I think an extra core, a bit more power and EIST will be very welcome).

The sphere will be 40CM in diameter, and about 45CM in height (considering the 2 halves are a couple of CM apart, and the base is also a few CM high).

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frozensnail    0

The sphere is far better looking than a suitcase mod, think you made the correct choice.

It looks like it may get tight within the sphere for all the hardware, have you any ideas on how to keep the hardware cool as it might be difficult to fit an intake & exhaust fan to the sphere.

Like it & keep up the good start:-)

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TERW_DAN    0

I need about 35 centimeters for the motherboard to fit (the board I'm using is a full µATX, so 244x244mm, which gives it a diagonal of 339mm). The sphere itself will be about 40 centimeters. This gives me at least 2.5 centimeters (about an inch) of room, but in the wider parts of the sphere I've got more room. This room will be utilized to fit the harddrive's, supply room for the CPUcooler to get enough air and to fit all the cables.

Furthermore, the 2 parts will have a bit of room between them, about 2cm, the outline of the sphere will be 125 cm, so this makes for about 250cm² of open surface, I think that should be enough for a system without a dedicated GPU or powerhungry CPU.

If the system get's to hot, I'm thinking of making small holes in the top and mount an extra casefan here, but I hope it isn't really necessary.

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frozensnail    0

Thanks for explaining more about your mod, really like this concept, hard thing to work with a sphere, mounting the hardware etc, look forward to the next update :D

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TERW_DAN    0

Working with a sphere is quite hard, since I want to keep the outside completely free of screws, fanholes or anything, I have to think of a way of mounting the hardware.

But I first started with the cables. The PSU will be placed in the center of the sphere, on the backside of the motherboard. To make this possible, I had to think of a way to supply the PSU with power, without having to mount the PSU on the side and keep the powerconnector in reach. So I've bought a C13 connector: full.jpg

And soldered a powercable onto this.

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This way, I can mount the connector for the powerplug in the base and run that trough the system to the powersupply

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I've made a small mockup of how large the base needs to be for housing all the cables. The size of the mold will be the same of a DVD and will be about 4CM high. I want to make a mold out of blue styrofoam and coat that with fiberglass.

But first of all, yesterday my new CPU arrived. In stead of the Celeron G440 I had, I got a CPU that is 90 better ;) a Celeron G530. Still a simple CPU, but since the system won't be doing much more than storing files, download some torrents and checks my mail every now and then, I don't need a very fast CPU.

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The motherboard with the Gemin II M4 mounted. The powerconsumptions peaks to about 110W at boot, when all drives spin up, but idle it is 50W or less.

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The Gemin II M4 is a great cooler, since it is very silent, doesn't use a lot of space but it has one drawback in combination with my memory

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The only way I can put 2 memory modules in this system, is putting them next to eachother, using only 1 channel. Memory bandwith isn't very important for this config, but if possible I would like to use dualchannel. So the only solution was to get rid of the heatsinks.

The heatsinks on the XPG memory were attached with 2 screws, and glued to the module itself. Removing them looked somewhat odd

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But it worked perfectly

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There is enough space to use 2 modules in combination with the Gemin II M4, so the config I'd like to use is still going to work.

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TERW_DAN    0

I've been working on the hardware. My Celeron G530 has arrived, so the system is now complete.

The final system will consist of the following hardware

Gigabyte H67MA-UD2H

Celeron G530

2x 2GB ADATA XPG

Cooler Master Gemin II M4.

1x Toshiba 750GB 2.5"

3x WD 1TB 3.5"

Intel pro1000 NIC

FSP 250W PSU

I want to mount the motherboard and PSU in the middle of the sphere. So first of all I fixed a piece of MDF wood, about the size of the mainboard.

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drilled the holes to mount the motherboard

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and then could only find long bolts... these will do for now, but will be replaced by shorter bolts.

The next step was to make the place for the PSU using small pieces of wood.

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The PSU fits in here perfectly, so it will stay in place. Since it is a proprietary SFF PSU, it has no normal screwholes, so I cannot use screws to keep it in place, without having to open the PSU (which isn't too easy to do, so I think I rather figure out an alternative way to mount it, then breaking my PSU).

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The PSU mounted, together with the 750GB bootdisk, mounted in an old bracket from a notebook.

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The toppart of the bracket, to keep it in place, the PSU slides in from above, so it cannot move (unless you hold the system upside down and shake it violently).

For the motherboard I made stands, 1CM long, now using somewhat smaller bolts

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The motherboard is placed on one side, complete with low profile NIC (with it's bracket removed)

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The otherside houses the PSU and the HDD.

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TERW_DAN    0

After a long wait, finally an update.

I've made a mold for the base of the case from plaster:

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Added some ducttape to it and then used fiberglass and epoxy to make the base itself

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This is currently drying in the garage, so hopefully it will be dry when I get home.

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Here I have the 2 halves of the sphere, covered in fiberglass and epoxy. The finish is going to be very smooth, works much better then expected, and I think I don't have to use a lot of sandpaper to get everything the way I want it to.

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