I'll be honest right from the start – this project almost didn't make it onto this month's Mod of the Month. I even told Craig that when I stumbled upon it. Why? Because it is rare to see a project executed to such detail and written in a worklog that is so organised. I promise you guys this much – this will be a front-page work when it's done.
But it's not done – and, as much as I love to stick to themes and such, Mod of the Month is about taking the best of the best that's in our forums that are still in process – so here it is, guys. A sneak peek at what you'll eventually see on the front page.
Craigbru is a definitive lurker, having read and browsed the forums quietly for years before finally joining to post his first real work effort with us. He started the project at the end of 2007, but didn't start logging it until he got a bit under his belt. The victim is an NZXT Rogue SFF case, and to take you from start to what it is now would take a lot more than the eight pictures I would show here. So, I guess we'll start this as the highlight reel.
The project Rogue is already quite a way from the original NZXT Rogue, though the initial shape can still be seen in small places. The side panels have been completely reconstructed and bent to allow for two triple radiators, which will later get custom grille work.
Of course, the addition of all these rads means quite a need for airflow – if you look at the case's design, there's not much space for that to be attached directly. Instead, Craig opted to go with a set of six fans that will work from above, pulling cool air through the huge rads (which, due to their surface area will be relatively cool) and exhausting it upwards. To allow for this, the roof got redone, too.
The front bezel is quite a change – two slot-loading DVD burners sit on the bottom now, and any visible drive bays have been traded for this 10.2" LCD panel. Under that, a shiny Matrix Orbital GX Typhoon will provide a simpler readout, and two digital temperature meters sit on either side. The 10.2" panel will be powered by its own mITX Via Epia system, completely independent from the main Rogue.
Speaking of power, a standard PSU wasn't going to cut it. Instead, Craig fashioned a custom bracket that supports the considerably differently shaped Meanwell PSU.
If you've ever wondered how to bend 2mm aluminium without a huge metal brake, here's your answer. Craig only has a little 18" DIY brake that you can buy for peanuts online. To make the more sophisticated bends or where there is thicker metal, he drills holes every 1mm along the line of the bend. It makes the bend go without a hitch. This particular piece is a bracket that will cover the CPU and RAM while supporting the hard drives.
The hard drive rack itself is actually recycled from the original Rogue case, and then modified to fit into the bracket that Craig made. Once he was happy with the final turnout, you can see the untapped version sitting over the guts of the system. It looks like it could have been a stock addition.
One thing is for sure – Rogue is keeping the standards of bit-tech modding high. The job is just about flawless so far, and even details like lighting paths, airflow and how to power it all have been considered...often leading to unusual solutions. Of course, this little writeup is just the highlight reel so far – I'd suggest you take a trip over to craigbru's worklog to read more.
In the meantime, if near-perfect execution is your cup of tea, make sure that you take a minute to vote for Rogue by craigbru as our Mod of the Month for March!