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Time for my Second Build! A Project LCD Case v2

Update 2019/10/13: Added a video showcasing the mod.

Update 2019/1/10: Build is basically finished! Check build log!


It’s been over five years since I originally built my computer. I’ve upgraded parts here and there since then, but I figured that it’s time for an update!

I decided to be a bit more ambitious for the build this time around. I’ve been fiddling around with transparent LCDs over the past year, planning for this build. As a result, I have some requirements for this particular system, which will hopefully also feature a transparent LCD panel!

Note: This is my working prototype case - I’ll be modding another case as well

First things first, parts list for the tower:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU AMD - Ryzen 7 1700X 3.4 GHz 8-Core Processor Purchased For $150.36
CPU Cooler Noctua - NH-D15S 82.52 CFM CPU Cooler Purchased For $60.15
Motherboard MSI - B450M MORTAR TITANIUM Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard Purchased For $97.97
Memory Team - T-Force Delta RGB 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory Purchased For $117.96
Storage Samsung - 860 Evo 1 TB 2.5" Solid State Drive Purchased For $103.02
Video Card Gigabyte - GeForce RTX 2070 8 GB GAMING OC Video Card Purchased For $512.86
Case Fractal Design - Define Mini C TG MicroATX Mid Tower Case Purchased For $65.53
Power Supply SeaSonic - FOCUS Plus Gold 750 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply Purchased For $75.04
Other “Phanteks PH-CB-CMBO_WT 19.68"” Cables - Internal Power Cables" Purchased For $0.00
Other Noctua NA-HC4 chromax.white heatsink covers (for NH-D15, NH-D15S & NH-D15 SE-AM4) Purchased For $26.91
Other Intel Compute Stick Purchased For $34.79
Other 1080P HDMI Female to VGA Female Adapter Video Converter with 3.5mm Audio for PC Purchased For $3.28
Other Cashback/eBay Bucks $58.69
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $1306.56
Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-11-21 18:38 EST-0500

Restrictions:

  • Internals must be as white as possible to bring out the full effect of the LCD side panel.
  • Micro-ATX or smaller. Because mid-towers are just too damn big.
  • Quieter than my current system
  • Aesthetically pleasing in general
  • Less than $1.5k unless there are some killer deals.

After camping deals for the past week, here’s the breakdown. Keep in mind that I’m in California, so I get taxed out the ass.

  • Ryzen 7 1700X: $150 before tax with 8% eBay bucks back. This is a placeholder until Ryzen 3, which is what I wanted to wait for originally. At $150, it’s pretty crazy performance per dollar imo.
  • Noctua NH-D15S: $60.15 after an eBay 15% off I think. Purchased back in December 2017 because of how well it performs and how quiet it is. With the availability of white Chromax covers, it fits my requirements. Still waiting on the AM4 bracket. Noctua also is supposed to be shipping me white anti-vibration mounts, which is very kind of them to do.
  • B450M Mortar Titanium: $98 from B&H, so no tax! Sadly not as white as the B350M Mortar Arctic I was eyeing last year, but I think it will do. On the plus side, the VRMs are quite a bit nicer. There aren’t many boards which are white, and I always like MSI boards for some reason so this was an easy pick.
  • T-Force Delta RGB: $110 before tax, with 2% cashback. Not B-Die or super amazing clocks, but it looks good, is white, and is also RGB. I’ve heard of people running the full 3000mhz on Ryzen 1 so I’ll take my chances. Still a bit more than I’d like to pay (rip $60/16gb days), but oh well.
  • 860 Evo 1TB: $119 before tax, with 30% cashback. I originally had a 970 Evo 500GB, but this deal popped up so I returned it. $100 for a Samsung 1TB? No brainer.
  • Gigabyte RTX 2070: $550 before eBay’s 15% off coupon today. Took the hit on price-performance considering some of the 1070Ti prices going on right now, but I saw the look of the white card and just had to have it. Also it’s new, and having new stuff is cool.
  • Define Mini C TG: The star of the show. I’ve built a LCD into one of these cases already, so I picked up another one of these on an eBay sale back in March '18. I’ve also purchased white Plasti-Dip spray. I haven’t actually started modding the second case yet - I’ll take some pictures when I do.
  • Focus+ Gold 750w: On sale and had a rebate. Great performance and it’s modular. Completely overkill, but the fan should run passively at idle. I’ve had it running in my current build for a few months now and will swap it over to the new one.
  • PSU Cables: Got gifted white extensions from a friend. Because white.

Alright, now why do I have a compute stick listed? I could go on for awhile about why, but it boils down to this:

  • Eliminates stutter on >60hz displays
  • Allows for the side panel LCD to be connected internally

Alright, that’s about it. Now I just have to wait for the parts to arrive!

8 Likes

Computer parts as they come in.

2018/11/21: Parts which are already here

R7 1700X


B450M Mortar Titanium



Team T-Force


2018/11/26: A lotta stuff arrived today.

RTX 2070, 860 Evo 1TB, Noctua AM4 Bracket, as well as some white rubber corners for the noctua fan(not pictured)


RTX 2070. Because white.
20181126_232205


2018/11/27: Here’s stuff that I’m going to be using that I already had.

Define Mini C TG for the case. This is actually my second one, for those familiar with my first prototype.


Seasonic Focus+ 750w for the PSU.

Noctua NH-D15S + Chromax Cover

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Build Log

2018/11/27: Unboxed case to actually begin modding.

Define Mini C TG, except literally everything is removed.


After 3-4 layers of white plasti dip

Still requires some cleanup, but I’ll wait for the plastidip to cure before working on it any further.


2018/11/27: Parts Pre-Test & Windows Installation

Ryzen 7 1700X + B450M Mortar Titanium + Team T-Force Delta. Looks awesome.


Noctua NH-D15S w/ Chromax & anti-vibration pads installed.

First boot, first try!

Default RGB lighting

I’m really liking this RAM.


2018/11/28: Installing into case
Cut out white circles to put over the Fractal Design fan stickers.


Grabbed the case and cleaned up some overspray.

Reinstalled fans, grommets, panels, etc. Had to take out the CPU cooler because it was blocking a mounting hole.

It’s a tight fit, but it fits. I might try doing something to that Noctua to make it white…maybe. We’ll see.

She’s alive!


2018/12/6: Small things

Soldered together the LED strips in preparation for the LCD side panel.


2019/1/10: Finishing it up

Woah it’s been a heck of a while. Happy new year. Being busy with finals and then being ultra lazy during winter break made me put the project aside. But today, it’s time to wrap things up and see if it all works.

I first cut out some “opaque” black vinyl to black out the areas around the LCD panel. I probably should have put two layers as even this vinyl isn’t thick enough to block out some of the brighter areas. Oh well. I am lazy.

Then I grabbed the LCD panel and mounted it with some 3M mounting tape. Awesome stuff by the way. My previous prototype was mounted like this and I encountered zero issues, so I went with this method again.

Mounted the LED strips around each side of the panel. Should have had longer lengths of wire for the LEDs, oh well.

I mounted the LCD controller pcb/box(right under the front fans) and put in the false bottom acrylic plate into the case. Looks a lot cleaner. And super white! I did miss a step here as well- I put in the Intel compute stick and a longer than needed VGA cable in the basement as well. Lemme see if I can find a picture…

Can’t find one!! Oh well. Here are stock images to make up for it.
image
Along with one of these vga adapters from ebay.
image

Lol what is cable management? Actually though, the extensions take up SO MUCH SPACE.

Put on all the panels and booted her up. And yeah, it somehow worked first try.

Here’s a video for the non weeaboos.

And here’s one for the weeaboos.

Overall, colors look a bit better with an all-white background, but silhouettes are definitely the star of the show when it comes to a mod like this.

And that’s it! If I want to change the background, I remote into the Intel Compute Stick via Teamviewer and change it. It’s not the most optimal way, but running 60hz videos don’t mess up my 144hz panels when gaming now. Now I gotta figure out if it’s worth parting out my old reliable.

10 Likes

2019-7-15


I wrote up a rather lengthy guide regarding specifics of the LCD for SoulFallen in a PM. So I’ve essentially copied/pasted it here since it’s quite relevant.

< disassemble the monitor down to bare LCD. Will vary per monitor >

FYI i started with 4, damaged the polarizer somewhat on 2/4 trying to learn how to take off the anti-glare cover. Be careful!!

You get to something like this. Like with any PSU, don’t touch anything.

Take off the clips around the LCD to seperate LCD from backlight. Didn’t need backlight for this proj so I put it aside.

Figure out what the wiring is like from the PSU to the LCD controller(green pcb). If you are lucky, you can find a service manual which can tell you. Otherwise, it’s multimeter and guessing.


FYI: please hardwire this shit - I had a SATA > breadboard connector type of harness and ended up having a burnt connector on the breadboard side. Also, most SATA are only 4 cables. Look for the 5 cable version if you want to steal the 3.3v line.

< Removing Anti Glare >

AFAIK this is extremely bad on IPS displays. It will kill them. Do your research if you are using IPS.
Thankfully my monitors are shitty $5 TN TFT ones so here we go.

There’s a video online on this mod, and the dude uses heavy duty shop paper towels drenched in water and leaves it on top of the LCD for 10 hours or something. Then he just peels it off. I tried this with both regular paper towels and regular towels. The anti-glare film was still stuck on super hard and I ended up either tearing or making streaks in the polarizer underneath.

My solution was this:
Grab a large af tray with a lip to hold water. Fill with water. Put microfiber cloth in so you don’t scratch up your LCD. Dunk whole LCD in, minus PCB just in case. Leave there for 24 hours minimum.

Then slowly poke around the edges with your fingernail and try to get each corner started. Once you have maybe 1cm peeled, grab a microfiber cloth and cover your finger with it. Go and start trying to lift the coating even more on each corner, using your finger as a gentle wedge. If the adhesive is still stuck, leave that corner and go to a different one. I spent like 1/2 an hour on this. Eventually you should get something like this, except not creased at all:

I think I did take a video, so if you need more help on this step lmk and I’ll find it.

Then just take out the LCD and wipe most of the water off with another microfiber towel. Let air dry.

< LEDs>

Buy some 828 Lumen/ft cool white LEDs because they bright af

Make a wire harness for LEDs and test

< Side Panel >

take a clear tempered glass side panel and slap vinyl around it to the size of the monitor. Better to go slightly smaller than slightly bigger.

If you do end up doing this i also recommend doing 2 layers of vinyl minimum, as 1 layer still lets light through. FYI carbon fiber does not show through on the other side.

Use this shit to mount the monitor

just on the edges like so, so you don’t see it from the other side of the window. You only need to peel off one side.

Cut up the LEDs, solder, and stick em.

< Case >
Do whatever mods to your case that you want. White is always better, because the whole case is acting like the backlight for the LCD.

Mount the LCD controller somewhere near the connector for your LCD. I put mine in the front right underneath the fans. It’s the white box with the sleeved wire sticking out.

Then all you do when you put on the side panel is first connect the LEDs, then the LCD, then close it up.

< Powering the LCD >
I came up with 2 solutions. I use solution 2, but I thought I should mention solution 1.

  1. USB 3.0 header => USB > VGA => LCD Controller. This is all internal and works great as long as you do not have any high refresh rate monitors.

  2. Intel Compute Stick(atom x5, windows version!!) => HDMI > VGA => LCD Controller. Remote in via Teamviewer. Essentially you have a small computer inside your actual computer. This decouples the LCD from your actual PC and therefore graphical content doesn’t destroy the gaming experience on your high refresh rate monitors.


The most fragile part is probably not the LCD itself but the ribbon cables which connect it to its PCB. I feel like that’s the most likely point of failure, as I dont mount mine down because connecting it to the LCD controller box when assembling the PC would be a huge pita.


Made a short (and shitty) video showing how everything works!

2 Likes

Time to celebrate! The build is finished!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask!

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That thing is sweet!
I’m surprised which how many white PC parts you found. I had no idea you could make a pure white build.

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White PC parts are extremely limited for sure! In fact, the motherboard was discontinued just a few weeks after I bought it which is quite unfortunate.

I was tired of all the generic RGB builds, so this build is one which strives to go against the trend.

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Looks absolutely amazing! Monsterous!

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Very original bro. Great work!

Be sure to DM a mod to get the builder “build log” badge.

https://forum.level1techs.com/badges/104/builder

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Added a short video to showcase the mod and how it works!

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Is there a way to feed system data like CPU/GPU temps and load onto your case?

But what you’ve done is so cool.

If you hook up the monitor as a secondary display, it should be very easy. I have mine running off a seperate intel compute stick so I don’t mix refresh rates in Windows though, so it would be a bit tougher.

On another note, found a new wallpaper which fits my build pretty nicely.

As you can see, I now have 4x8GB of ram since my kit went on sale again. Overkill, but looks awesome.

3 Likes

Very well done man! Looks great, and your video makes perfect sense to me.

Guys, if you want to help support @Some_Tech_Noob please give his video a like (I know it can be easy to forget with embedded videos).
From what I can tell he’s put a lot of research and time into this very cool and we’ll made project and he even took the time to make a video explaining how we could do it, I think that deserves a good bump on YouTube.

3 Likes