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The case: The case will always be referred to as facing you, right side up, usually opened. The case I used is soft enough to cut with a sharp paring knife, but a dremel is handy, of course.

I decided to put the power supply along the right hand edge, it makes for a neat install. The Adapters I found are very handy for this because of the gap they allow. Heat escaping is a good thing. I found that if you place your screws carefully, you don't have to modify the psu any. Be sure that there are NO wires anywhere you're about to put a screw. Two will hold in the one I used if they are in the middle, but I used four just in case. I have a tendancy to pick up the whole thing and shake it upside down to clear out the debris. Put the adapter on, and line it up along the back where it should go. Trace around it and cut out your hole. Leave the adapter in and make sure that's where you want your psu. This is kind of important. Note that I used extenders for the power so I could place it anywhere, but I like this spot. For the top two screws, I just eyeballed it, and screwed them in making sure not to come even close to any wires. When that's good, take the whole thing back out, measure where the bottom two should go, mark, reattach the psu with the first two, and put the other two in. Psu done!

Deciding how to orient the motherboard is a tricky proposition. I originally had it so the jacks for the motherboard were all facing the psu, with the board about an inch from the left edge of the case. It'll barely fit, but it will indeed fit. At the time I just wanted a portable desktop replacement pc, and if that's all you want, this is a decent configuration. It allows room on the left edge for a card reader and vertically mounted hdd. I, however, decided I wanted to do more with this and so rotated the board 90 degrees so the jacks were all facing me. It is still mounted about an inch from the left edge. If youre not using a tall-ass cpu cooler, and have clearance for your video card, feel free to use a motherboard tray to mount it. It'll make the whole thing easier, but add to the clearance needs. If using the tray, just drill holes where they belong and attach it, then attach the mobo to it. Nice and easy and safe. I, however, needed all the room I could get. So for the hole marking, I just lay the motherboard where its final destination was, and went to it. I used a pen cartrige to poke through the mounting holes, then took the board out and drilled those. At least the first time I did. When I rotated the board, I felt comfortable enough just to drill straight through the holes. It worked better overall methinks. Feed your machine bolts through, put a nut on the bottom, so the bolts stay, then lay the mobo onto the bolts. Finally, nut up the motherboard so it's secure. Two parts down.

Motherboard orientation:

Remembering that this is all based on what you plan to do, you could easily orient the motherboard so its outside edge is actually *outside* the case. This seemed a little risky to me. I'd rather mess up a $5 adapter getting mud in it or something than the whole motherboard. But if you want to, have fun.

Deciding where to put the hard drive is another decision. I found a spot right in the middle of the lid where it would clear the cpu cooler and video cards while not getting in the way of the network cables or the fans. There was some leeway, so I just ran straight up from the connector on the motherboard. That way the ribbon connector is totally flat and runs straight up. I used the same machine bolts as for the other parts, because I found they actually fit right in the threads of the hdd holes. To mount it, I basically marked on side of the hdd itself where the screw holes were and marked the case accordingly. Then went in a little bit to account for the edge. It worked perfectly, but I'd much rather have an outline of some sort. The bolts were a little long, but not much, so I threaded a nut all the way down to the end before inserting them into the case. Then threaded another one so they were tight and wouldn't leave. Then, holding the hdd to the screws I started tightening them *slowly*. Once all four were in, I tightened them all slowly, alternating so not as to put the hdd at an angle. Eventually they were all tight, the hdd was secure, and I am quite confident in the whole situation. Power comes from the molex extender, but could just as well be sata or whatever you like.

Hard drive, in Center:

Also due to space, I left out a cdrom. If I didn't have the network gear in this, there would have been plenty of space for one. You would just have to do the flush mounting/hidden cdrom mod documented on the net elsewhere. I'd go in the top of the case, but you'd have to leave a little gap otherwise the tray would be too high.

If you are going lid-open, you have a perfectly functioning portable desktop computer. Completely upgradeable and portable. Just pop it open, plug it in, and go to work. But note that the lid closing will cause things to heat up impressively. If going lid closed, we need to add some external components as well as a cooling system.

Even if you're going lid-open, you can still add external jacks, if only to cut down on the clutter. For k/b and mouse ports I used a usb adapter and highly recommend it. Ever tried plugging a keyboard into an already running windows box only to remember that if it didn't start with it, it ain't running with it? Yeah, me too. If you're running linux, of course, you don't have to worry about it. But it's a neater solution to do it external either way. Figure out where you want them, you can stack vertically or horizontally, however you like. I did horizontal, being careful to make sure the cord would reach safely. Then I drilled a pilot hole with a 1/4" inch bit and slowly routed it bigger with the dremel and my paring knife. The knife is especially useful for the foam inside. After it's barely big enough to fit, jam the port in there, and secure it. If you're smart, you'll probably use something cool, like epoxy. But if you're lazy and doing this at work (like me) you'll use a hot glue gun. Either way it'll stay secure. You now have cool external ps2 ports, just like a real computer.

PS/2 ports:

I also wanted an external speaker out connector. They sell cheapie 1/8" stereo jacks that are panel mount at Radio Shack for a couple bucks. Uncle Jim gave me a couple to play with a while back. Thanks! Anyway, Follow the map to figure out which connector goes to what on yours. But I'm pretty sure that it goes (from base to tip) ground, left, right. Take a cheapie pair of headphones you blew the speakers on a while back and cut the cord to length. You'll have to figure out which is which on that end, but I just touched it to the posts while playing with the crossfade on my pc. Then tie the grounds together, solder them to the ground, then solder the left and right. If you were lucky to find a jack with a nice deep panel mount, push it through the hole, and screw the retaning nut on and you're done. If not... Try screwing the whole thing into the hole like I did. I just picked a bit that was exactly the same size minus threads and it worked perfectly. Plug it in to your output on the mobo or card, and you have an external jack!

Audio port:

Since I wanted more connectivity, I got a usb four port hub and mounted it externally too. Mine had about an inch long cord, so I got a foot long extender so I could work with it. Find as tiny a hub as you can, I prefer four in a row vs a quad design. But either way make sure they're all on the same edge. A four port hub won't do you any good if two of them face inward. Unless you're going to use them, of course. A wireless network bridge comes to mind... Pick your spot, size your hole, and cut it. A dremel is a fine tool here too, I used the paring knife again for the foam. Secure it as you did the ps2 ports. Connectivity is your friend now, too.

Monitor ports were a bane to my existence for a long time. I had plenty of usb ports, external network (farther down please), but vga output eluded me. You can buy a wall jack online, or find a coupler and use a short extender, but that's expensive and a hack. And not a good hack. Finally, I found a 15 pin plug at Radio Shack and wired a male and female using Cat-5 cable. I'm using a triple-head setup here, so it was handy that I found a 25 pair cable waiting to be cut into bits. A trick to make sure you get the pins right, do the middle row first, on one end, then plug the other jack right into the one you just did. Then just wire so the opposite ends match. Easy, huh? Do the other 10 connectors on one end, then finish with the other connector. You can do all 15, then all 15, but it's difficult to see the middle row if you do that. So the procedure is like this: pick your spot. Cut a hole just barely so it will fit through. Wire the female end (external to the case). Fish it through the hole, and cut it to length. I then braided the line with 5 wires per stand to make it prettified. Wire the other end, test, and screw the external end down using tiny wood screws. Voila, external monitor ports.

The jack, from rear:
Just starting a new jack:
Threaded through its hole:
Joined together:

LED's are an easy and logical extension to your case. I went and bought a power switch kit, it came with the power switch, reset switch, and 3 LED's. The wires were plenty long to go from one end of the case to the other, so I went from the back right of the case, to the front edge on the left side. Just drill a hole a bit bigger than the LED itself, push it through, and secure it. Lastly route your wires and people are impressed.

The only thing really different about my case from an normal pc case is the built in switch. Since I use this all over the place, I decided it would be a handy idea and make it more useful than just as a pc. Like I said on the front page, XP (ntfs really) doesn't mind being hard stopped, so I don't feel bad at all plugging it into power, using it for a switch for a while, unplugging it and going home. I used an eight port switch, and a six port patch panel. But if all you want is an external jack, you can always use a plain keystone jack like you would use in a wall mount situation. Or hell, find a coupler and glue it in place if you're really lazy. I like the six port panel because that leaves two free on the switch and you don't have to worry about which port(s) on the panel are live or not. All of them are this way, and since it's an auto-detecting switch, you can plug your network into any port and the pc has network. No uplink required. Anyway, take your patch panel and six lengths of cat-5 (preferably in a pretty color) and wire it up, going down the line. It helps if you mark which is which, but not required. Leave plenty of slack on the free ends so you can route the wires cleanly. I have quite a bit of faith in my wiring abilities, so I didn't even test my patches, but you'll usually want to. Just put an end on each of the wires, they're cheap if you get them in bulk. Test them by using it as a patch cable, or hook it up to the switch and see if you have link. Even better is a short cable and a patch cable tester. Now is the time to mount your switch. I tried a couple different ones, and will probably try a couple more, so I used long bolts and a bracket to sandwich the switch to the lid. It's secure, and no touching of the switch itself. I like to have the patch jacks match the wires on the switch, so I crimped accordingly so they would match. With the lid open, they match top to top. 1-6 are the patch panel, 7 is reserved for the wireless bridge I sometimes use, and 8 goes to the mobo or card. For power, mine was 7.5 volts so I hacked a car power adapter and wired from that. 12v from the PSU to 7.5v to the switch. The first one was 5v so I ran straight from the psu to it.

Switch - interior view:
Notice the routing of the wires:
The panel from the outside:

Finally, since at this point you're completely ready for closed running, we need cooling. I like 120mm fans because they're quiet, and we have the room to spare. In my case, there is one (lid down) in the back right, and the front left. The front left one blows in, almost right in front of the cpu cooler, and the back right one blows out almost directly on top of the psu exhaust. I ran fine with just one, but found the other one on sale as a return. You can still run top up if you want, or need to plug stuff in, but I always try to run top down now. Not least of which because it runs cooler. It's just a simple push/pull design, but it's important to have airflow in mind. The computer now runs cool and quiet, the psu gets barely warm.

Fans - top outside view
Fans - inside lid view:

As a last note, I'm not sure about the tray, but if you're mounting straignt to the case like I did, the tabs on the bottom of any PCI or AGP cards won't fit. Luckily, they all can be unscrewed so that only the friction of the slot is holding them in. I've tilted mine upside down to get dust out, and had it in the trunk during some pretty fun driving, so I'm sure that they're secure. Just as a note for you all.

In the trunk: