GTC - Hardware and noise control
Most of the hardware I intended to use I already owned, including an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor, an Asus P5Q Deluxe motherboard, two 2GB sticks of G-Skill TT-series 1066MHz RAM, an HIS IceQ HD 4870 graphics card, a SilverStone Strider 750W PSU, a Thermaltake Big Type cooler, two Seagate 160GB hard disks and a Skystar PCI DVB-S card.
I opted to use air-cooling in this project for two reasons. Firstly, I don't have much experience with water-cooling and secondly, I'd just bought a CPU cooler, so I didn't want to spend any more money on cooling. I'd built two other cases using plexiglass before, and wanted to use my experience to build GTC from the same material.
I bought two 100 x 100cm, 5mm-thick plexiglass sheets - one black and one clear - and a small piece of 3mm clear plexiglass for the front panel, which is the heart of the project. For the cooling, I bought four Nanoxia FX1250 fans, which I've found to be very quiet and effective. They include a speed controller on a PCI bracket, and glow nicely under blue and UV light.
Ideally, I wanted to be able to turn them off completely, as I'm quite sensitive to noise, especially if I'm working late at night or watching TV. However, I had a solution for this as well. In the end, I used toggle switches for the fans. I knew that there would be a lot of cabling behind the front panel, so the light had to sneak through this to create etched writings on the panel visible on the outside.
I used LED strips that would shine through the front panel to add eye candy to the interior of the case. I bought two different types in both blue and red; one set was silicon-covered and self-adhering, which was very bright, while the other type was a flexible vertical strip. The latter is 30cm in length, with 5mm LEDs with 6-pin power sockets. What's great about these strips is that you can cut them in groups of three according to your needs, so cutting each in half gave me two 15cm strips, which was what I exactly needed.