Foreword by Richard Swinburne
The Phinix Cube is as traditional a mod as you can get: it takes off the shelf components like a fanbus and slimline optical drive, dismantles and shoehorns them into this machine. That's not to mention the LEDs and soldering all designed and done by hand - this is thoroughbred classic modding awesomeness.
After many changes mid-mod, the end result is a watercooled micro-ATX mini monster of a system that does everything a bigger case can, but in a fraction of the size and in something completely unique. It's taken two years on and off to finish, and with that mammoth personal effort in mind, we hope you enjoy and appreciate Phinix Cube as much as we did!
I’ve been working with PCs since I was ten years old. I cannot even remember how many different machines I had; how many different cases and configurations I've been through. Every modder knows that even a newest, most professional case always has some flaws, there is always something that could have been done differently. There is always something that can be changed, redesigned and added. Phinix Cube was my first big modding project: my biggest learning experience, and that is why I decided to do something from the scratch. I wanted to build a nice looking case, with decent cooling and silent operation.
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Before I came up with idea of building my own case I naturally read a lot of modding worklogs on many websites. One of the best builds was Peter Dickinson’s Orac³, which inspired me to create my case using acrylic sheets. Peter’s attention to details and quality of every part he created was simply incredible. The second build that inspired me was Gerl Swolfs' Hypercube² – I loved the shape of his case, that is why I decided to make a cube. It was simple, attainable, yet fitted my growing ideas for the build.
Any modder will tell you the biggest and most important part of building or modding a case is planning and I spent a lot of time planning every single part of my Cube. Obviously the first thing was to decide on what size the Cube will have. Because one of my targets was to build silent, well cooled case, I went for a watercooling system straight out the bag. This meant the Cube had to be big enough to keep all hardware and watercooling parts internally.
At the time I started to plan my Cube I had Shuttle SN25P small form factor PC; I liked the size of XPCs, so another of my targets was to make the case as small as it could possibly be. To keep my PC small, but still very powerful I went for a micro-ATX motherboard instead of flex ATX or mini-ITX though. To aid my design process I drew a lot of sketches on paper and created a lot of 3D models in Google Sketchup software: I'd really recommend it for 3D planning. This kind of preparation was going to help me avoid any unnecessary disappointments and mistakes during the build. Well.., that was the plan. The dimensions I ended up deciding to go with were 30x30x30cm – not too big, but still enough to fit everything inside.