HomeHardwareThis wood panel mini gaming PC hides an RTX 3080 in plain...

This wood panel mini gaming PC hides an RTX 3080 in plain sight

At first look, this open-air rig appears to be like like a wooden PC construct, however behind the wooden paneling is a customized metallic chassis, which PC modder Axel Lindmarker constituted of scratch, earlier than including the attractive picket panels on the perimeters. This mini-ITX PC doesn’t compromise on spec both, that includes a 16-core CPU, a GeForce RTX 3080 and a full water-cooling system.

Due to our quickly rising PC constructing Fb web page, we’ve seen many customized gaming PCs, from mods based mostly on current case designs to scratch PC builds. You possibly can even submit yours for consideration proper right here. Now let’s speak to Axel about his customized wooden and metallic PC case, which he calls Tilia.

“My eyes have been opened to the world of PC modding, water cooling and customized builds round a decade in the past by means of a selected construct by Laine over at Sweclockers,” Axel says. “He modified a Lian Li V1000 and to me it was to die for. This was the second after I realized that a pc might be a lot greater than a software; it might be a sculpture.

“Quick ahead to a yr in the past and I used to be about to take the chance to damage my pockets and construct a once-in-a-lifetime laptop with top-tier parts and a customized water-cooling loop.

“The final part I wanted was a case that would home all of it however nonetheless have a small footprint, and most significantly, it had to seem like a sculpture that highlighted the parts.

“At the moment I discovered no case designs with which I used to be completely satisfied. There have been fairly a number of candidates however none of them stood out. Being a designer by commerce, albeit not for product design, I made a decision that there was just one resolution that will let me fulfil the life objective I set a decade in the past – I used to be going to discover ways to use CAD and design my very own case.”

Sending out roots

“Earlier than I may get began on the design of the case, I knew I needed to have some information of the parts that have been going into the construct. At the beginning, it’s designed to deal with gaming at excessive refresh charges and excessive resolutions for at the very least a number of years. As well as, it wants to have the ability to deal with my continued use of CAD and 3D modeling for studying, plus the complete Adobe Artistic suite for enhancing each stills and movies.

“For the reason that construct needed to be a bit futureproof, I wished to splurge on further CPU cores, and on the time there was solely actually one candidate – an AMD Ryzen 9. I’m unsure if the selection of an AMD Ryzen 9 5950X was the very best one, however I made a decision it might at the very least be enjoyable to flex and get one up on a buddy whose PC solely had 12 cores.

“For me, the following most essential characteristic was the graphics card. Right here, I used to be very a lot debating whether or not I ought to get an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 or a 3090 Founders Version with an EK waterblock, however ultimately, the value distinction proved an excessive amount of for me to decide on a 3090.

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“Each the CPU and graphics card are slotted into an Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Influence motherboard, which I selected as a result of I wished two full-speed NVMe slots; to my information, on the time, this was the one board of its kind that included them.

“The storage system contains two 1TB Samsung 970 Evo Plus SSDs and one 2TB Samsung 860 Evo SSD, for a complete capability of 4TB. The reminiscence comes within the type of a pair of 16GB G.Talent Trident Z 3600MHz DDR4 modules and it’s all powered by a Corsair SFX750 PSU.”

The CAD design of the mini gaming PC

Rising sturdy

“The design began out in 2D, with a easy structure of the parts in Illustrator. This gave me an concept of the possible dimension and the way it might look from the entrance. I made a decision from the begin to be fairly tactical about how I was designing Tilia.

“I knew I wouldn’t be capable to create a case design as intricate as an NCase M1, for instance, however this limitation very a lot went hand in hand with my concept that this may turn into a sculptural piece reasonably than only a good field. With this in thoughts, I made a decision that no matter I designed, it should be capable to be folded from one sheet of metallic.

“Having designed fairly a little bit of packaging throughout my years of studying design, I used to be fairly comfy occupied with flat shapes and folding them up in my head. The idea for Tilia was principally designed on walks throughout my lunch breaks, all in my head. Once I had a primary concept of the form I wished, I got down to make it in CAD.

“To my nice shock, working with CAD was a lot simpler than the forays I had made into 3D modeling in Cinema 4D and Blender. The power to attract an object as a 2D form that was later extruded made much more sense to me, and the power to lastly begin visualizing the tip outcome was unbelievable.

“The primary few tough sketches of Tilia had much more sharp edges. It was very a lot impressed by a tough, cyberpunk-ish industrial sensibility. I used to be very hyped for Cyberpunk 2077 on the time and was pondering of leaning closely into its angular, RGB-lit aesthetic. Nonetheless, after tinkering with that concept for a bit, I noticed this design wouldn’t be timeless. As a substitute, I wanted a design that didn’t hold on a theme.

“Ultimately, I settled on trying on the works of one among my favourite designers, Dieter Rams. Even for those who haven’t heard of him, there’s a excessive likelihood you’ve seen his work, or work that was influenced by him.
Extra particularly, I used to be very a lot taken by his Phonosuper – SK4 piece, a radiogramophone that mixed the natural heat of wooden and the chilly machined look of metallic. I particularly fell for the straight cut-outs for the sound holes, that are additionally present in a few of his different radios.

“With this newfound inspiration, I began rounding the corners of Tilia’s kind. At first, I simply made the corners much less sharp, however finally I made them fully spherical. I additionally added picket facet panels to provide the entire piece a sense of natural heat.

“Because the design turned extra full I used to be confronted with two issues. The primary one was how you can anchor the graphics card and the second was how you can deal with cable administration.

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The mini gaming PC case made for the Tilia build

“The graphics card was the primary drawback that I bumped into. If the complete case have been made by folding a single piece of metallic, how and the place would the graphics card be mounted? I had variants the place the holes for the screws have been drilled into the facet of the bent metallic, however this required the thickness of the metallic to be elevated to 5mm.

“I noticed this may be arduous to fabricate reliably, and ultimately I discovered that the very best resolution was to make this one little piece separate after which to manually fasten it to the primary physique.

“After I’d devised that resolution, I began fishing for manufacturing assist to make the metallic physique. I didn’t have the workspace, instruments or experience to reliably fold thick metallic and I wanted assist. I needed to contact a number of dozen producers with a purpose to discover one that will be capable to assist me out. The journey of discovering the precise one additionally proved useful, as I used to be capable of fish for info on materials selection, tolerances and extra, all of which helped to enhance the general design.

“Throughout this course of, I regularly up to date my CAD mannequin with adjustments to tolerances, whereas additionally trying to sort out that second drawback of cable administration. The completed case truly has various holes within the again, which have been meant for varied cable administration techniques.

“Sadly, one factor I’ve realized is that 3mm-deep holes don’t depart you a lot house for screw threads, so that they’re largely unusable. I did, nevertheless, handle to suit mounts for 2 2.5-inch SSDs within the design, in addition to a again cowl to cover the holey mess.

“Ultimately, the design reached a stage the place I used to be completely satisfied to ship it off to the producer, placing my religion in its capacity to construct the body to spec. I didn’t simply hurry up and wait although; I began trying into the 2 steps that must observe. First up was discovering a facility to assist paint the metallic body. Initially I used to be planning on portray it myself, however after seeing a Cerakoted Ghost S1 on Reddit, and falling down the Cerakote Reddit rabbit gap, I discovered that I actually wished the identical matt ceramic end.

The wooden panels drying on a rack

“As soon as once more I had put myself in a scenario the place I couldn’t make it myself, however fortuitously there was a spot close by that specialised in Cerakote portray. When the body was completed, I shipped it over to the folks there, and so they painted it black. It took a number of tries, as a result of for some motive the paint would flare up in patches and never look uniform, however after a number of tries a horny, uniform end was achieved.

“Whereas the body was being made, I additionally determined to take care of the picket panels. Not having a lot entry to any workspace or instruments, I made a decision to have them made for me, after which hung out sanding them to a easy end, staining them after which giving them a coat of varnish for defense.

“Lastly, having the entire items prepared and assembling the case for the primary time was an unbelievable feeling. The tip outcome far surpassed something I had hoped to attain. Now it was simply the ultimate stretch of assembling a customized loop, which I’d by no means executed earlier than. Since I didn’t exactly sketch or mannequin my total loop, I had some shut calls, and needed to change the pump high, when assembling it. Subsequent time, I’ll mannequin all of the fittings to ensure all of it will work out earlier than manufacturing.”

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Full bloom

“There have been tense moments ready for the air stress take a look at to finish after meeting, and the primary few makes an attempt didn’t cross. It was solely after I went over the complete loop twice, securing all of the fittings higher, that I gave it a cross. Then it was the second of fact – filling the loop. After some fiddling, it truly went nice, and I left it for twenty-four hours to additional leak-test the loop and take away all of the air bubbles.

“I’m extremely pleased with the tip outcome, and I believe it appears to be like nice on my desk. It was an expertise that I hated at occasions, and cherished at different occasions. My most important disappointment is that I didn’t have entry to a correct workshop to do extra of the work myself, which I’m rectifying for future tasks.

“After all, there are some elements I want to change with the case itself if I have been to make a future revision of it. The primary drawback that needs to be addressed is hiding the I/O cables a bit higher. Within the quick time period, I’m simply shopping for some 90-degree adaptors to direct them away, however in some unspecified time in the future sooner or later I’ll have one other body made that rotates the motherboard in a approach that may disguise them correctly.

“Extra realistically, although, I’m going to maneuver on to different tasks. Within the quick time period, I’m extra keen on how I can modify an current case reasonably than constructing one other one from scratch.”

The back of the mini gaming PC case which has three wooden sides

Tilia wooden PC specs

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X with EKWB EK-Velocity Block
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Version with EK-FE waterblock
  • Reminiscence: 32GB G.Talent Trident Z 3600MHz
  • Motherboard: Asus X570 ROG Crosshair VIII Influence
  • Storage: 1TB Samsung 970 Evo Plus, 1TB WD SN750, 2TB Samsung 870 Evo
  • PSU: Corsair SF750 with customized cables
  • Followers: Noctua NF-A14 PWM
  • Pump: EK D5 reservoir combo
  • Radiators: 2 x Alphacool ST30 NexXxos 280mm
  • Fittings: EKWB fashions of varied varieties

We love the look of this PC – the wooden panels actually give it an aesthetic look, and we’re impressed by the truth that Axel has squeezed a high-spec water-cooled PC into such a small chassis too.

This put up initially appeared on Customized PC, which has been overlaying wonderful setups for over 20 years and is now a part of . Be part of our 500k member Fb group to debate this construct.

In the event you think about your self to be an skilled PC builder, you’ll be able to submit your individual customized PC construct to us at the moment for an opportunity of being featured on sooner or later.

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