It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
So begins the build log of Sprocket's new home.
The case finally arrived.
In the most ginormous box I've ever seen for a PC case.
Which is odd as the case itself is actually slightly smaller than the Stacker, but it was actually a good thing- UPS had done it's best to destroy the contents- the excessive airspace around the TJ saved it from damage though.
Did I mention it is heavy?
Despite the late hour (it showed up near 10PM) I had to rip it open and see what I had gotten- I'd never beheld one in person.
I was not disappointed...I think it's beautiful.
The main structure of the case is the thick u-shaped panel that forms the roof, front and floor- all in one continuous piece. It has a matte black finish that is satiny to the touch.
The interior panels are all bare aluminum.
Everything is screwed together, there are only four rivets in the entire unit (I'll get to those later), which makes this a case modder's dream.
Prior to purchasing the case I had PMed owners on various fora to inquire about the possibility of converting the layout to pseudo BTX. This is my preferred arrangement and studying the pictures at Newegg lead me to think it was easily possible.
No one responded so it was with some bit of trepidation that I examined the TJ to see how difficult it was going to be.
To my amazement it looked like Silverstone had already done most of the work for me.
The removable motherboard tray/backplane slides into runners- one on the subfloor (held by four rivets...the only rivets in the case) and the upper screwed into the thick roof panel. There were corresponding (unused) holes already in place on the opposite side.
I immediately started to pull things apart to test my theory.
Naturally, it wasn't as simple as it first appeared.
Flipping the tray assembly and trying to place it the case (sans runners) uncovered the first issue...the case roof fans fouled the support bracket in the corner of the tray/backplane assembly.
In fact, the roof fans were going to get in the way of the PCI slots (now located at the top rather than the bottom of the motherboard).
So out they came (this presents another issue that I'll detail later) and the motherboard tray was temporarily screwed in. All the (eight) mounting holes lined up perfectly on the back and the unit was acceptably rigid despite the lack of the locating runners.
But I kind of wanted to use the runners if possible.
At least the bottom one (which was originally the top one as delivered).
So I mocked it into place and test assembled again.
All it needed was to be spaced up off the subfloor by 3/16" to fit perfectly.
This was actually a blessing as I had planned on skinning the subfloor with plexi anyway, so I cut and fitted a piece and drilled two holes to mount the floorskin and runner. These two holes are the only modification to the case necessary so far...the whole process could be reversed and the case returned to stock with minimal visual evidence.
*Rereading this section I can see how it would be confusing to someone who doesn't have the case in front of them...it's difficult to explain some of the issues/procedures without extensive photo support.
Which I'm not providing, so tough.
This is not a "how-to" manual with step-by-step instructions- I simply don't have the time (nor the inclination) to write such a thing up- rather, I'll just be showing the end results and highlighting the major issues.
I've already spent more time writing this post than it took to accomplish the described tasks...*
So now we are here...
The motherboard flipped and totally installed into the case.
Phase One- the only part I had major concerns about- finished.
There will be four major phases to this assembly.
I have a pretty good general idea of where I want to end up but it's difficult to plan ahead without the physical components at hand and anyway I've always preferred to let serendipity lead me as it will.
Sometimes the best ideas are the result of sheer chance or the accidental juxtaposition of apparently unrelated objects.
Phase Two takes us into the case's nether regions, home of the PSU (which should arrive today), the radiator and the pump.
Three deals with the 5 1/4" bay area and Four is paint/cosmetics.
Welcome to the journey.