Hey Peeps, it's the Fox Loli.
This is a project that started just under a year ago. Cardboard 1.0 was the start of a fun concept I wanted to try out - fitting a fully-capable, full-ATX gaming machine in as tight a space as possible whilst still giving good thermals for the components.
What I ended up with was a $210 computer with a Core 2 Quad Q6600, a P5B motherboard and a Radeon 7770 in a thick-sided case made entirely of cardboard, measuring 8x10x13 inches. You can see the partially-finished-and-then-silently-dead thread here:
I axed CB1.0 for multiple reasons.
The design was so ghetto and on-the-fly that it was a constant eyesore to look at, especially with the wood-glued corners laid bare for all to see.
The power supply was non-modular and therefore totally unsuitable for the build,
The cables had to be routed and mounted with zipties punched through the sides of the case,
There were no mounting points for drives nor was there any room to do so,
There was nowhere to mount a fan,
There was little to no exhaust for the 100W Q6600 or the 75W 7770,
The motherboard was an ancient model that used electrolytic capacitors, and was limited to PCIe 1.1 x16 on the graphics card. There were no more expansion options beyond PCI and PCIe Gen1 x1, the VRM would give everyone here brain cancer, and the memory controller was partially shot, ignoring roughly 1GB of the memory added to the machine. Not to mention that the motherboard was mounted onto the side with 3M velcro pads which all rotted off, and there was no I/O shield or PCI bracket to speak of.
Basically, it was cancer, and the components eventually ended up in a computer that I donated to the town library to replace a dying single-core Sempron machine. But it did a good job of doing what I expected the hardware to be capable of.
I still wanted a tiny cardboard computer, though, especially after experiencing what a pain in the ass hauling my desktop to LAN Syndicate and back was. So, Cardboard 2.0, abbreviated CB2.0, was born. Or... well, she's still being born at the moment. That's what this is gonna be about.
CB2.0 is going to be built along similar lines to CB1.0, but with much better planning, far superior parts and a far better implementation, both technically and aesthetically.
CPU - Intel Xeon e5450 3.00GHz processor with a 775 sticker
Motherboard - Gigabyte EP45-U3DP
RAM - 7GB (total) of DDR2-800/5-5-5
PSU - Fractal Design Edison-M 450W 80+ Gold.
Cooler - Xigmatek Praeton low-profile cooler.
Graphics Card - Asus Radeon 7770 @ 1020MHz
Storage - Crucial BX200 256GB + HGST 1TB 2.5" HDD
Storage Brackets - 2x Enermax PCI-SATA hot-swap drive bays.
SATA III PCIe Card - Marvell 88SE9230 controller - PCIe Gen2 2x electrical
The improvements will be like night and day compared to CB2.0's predecessor. It will have a motherboard I/O shield as well as a properly-applied (held in with bolts) PCI and I/O shield bracket pulled from an old case. It will also have a handle, like its predecessor. The same handle, in fact. But my 3D printer will now be employed to print custom parts for the aesthetics of the corners, for fan mount brackets and for the power supply bracket. It will have proper intakes and exhausts as well as a crazy-ass Delta Electronics blower fan for "emergency exhaust". The motherboard is now mounted on a much more elegant plastic bracket, which is glue-cemented into the back panel rather than just sticking the motherboard on some velcro. The side panel will have a hinge, making access to the parts as easy as any other case.
Progress so far:
The components are all visible apart from the power supply, which will be mounted on that cutout you see on the top right hand corner. Don't worry about support for the power supply - this will be built to stand on its end. It will have more than enough support by the end of the build.
Don't worry about the CPU being suffocated by the power supply - the PSU shall have the fan facing outwards, and the airflow of the case will be supplemented during high-load times by a very beefy blower fan. I have exhaust vents all planned out for this build. This computer is NOT going to catch fire.
Here is the I/O shield and PCI bracket in all its glory. the corners and the inside will be covered with something to be more aesthetically pleasing - I had to cut each piece of cardboard by hand and by eye with a box cutter.
You can see that in this build, nearly no space will be spared. The two PCIe slots currently empty will be populated by an inexpensive HDMI capture card in one slot, and either a wifi card or a USB 3.0 card. I am leaning towards the 3.0 card even though the link is 1.1 x1. This will be a very well-decked-out machine.
That's what I have for now, I'll keep y'all posted as the build progresses :D 'til then, DISCUSS! :3