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Homemade ATX case idea?

I have this idea for a simple compact ATX case. I think I've thought of all the issues, but I wonder if there's anything I've missed. Here is what a cross section looks like, when facing the motherboard from behind (the ports are facing you).
cardboard wall
        V    intake
 ____________     __________________
|       |    |   |                  |
|#####  |    |   |  A   P           |
|#####  |    \\|||/  G   C           |
|#PSU#  |     CPU   P   I           |
|#####  |=======MOTHERBOARD=======  |
|#####               ---------------|
|#####   [[[HDD]]]  |      DVD      |========] Tray opens to side
Airflow enters the case via the top intake directly to the CPU fan. This air travels over the motherboard to the right, where it escapes downward over the DVD. This air travels left over the DVD and around the HDD. Finally, the PSU sucks the air out the rear. I think airflow will be efficient, because the CPU fan and the PSU fan work with each other in push-pull tandem.

The PSU and DVD drive rest directly on the base board. The hard drive rests upside-down, with foam tape spacers at the corners to isolate vibrations and allow all around airflow.

Not visible in the cross section are two wooden block spacers in front of and behind the drives. The motherboard rests on top of these blocks.

Construction is very simple. The two wooden block spacers are glued to the baseboard, and then the walls are glued to the basebaord also. The rear wall needs holes for the PSU and ports, of course. Then, the cardboard internal wall is taped in place (this wall needs a hole for the power cable to reach the motherboard). The lid is a separate piece, and it features a large hole and a cylindrical foam intake. RF shielding is provided by incorporating an aluminum foil layer in the walls and lid.

I think this case has adequate airflow and will keep all components cool. If the snaking air path around the drives is too restrictive, I can punch a hole in the cardboard wall to allow more flow straight from the CPU area to the PSU.

I think this computer has the potential to be rather quiet, since it only has two cooperating fans and two major openings. I can easily modify the lid to incorporate a large muffler and/or air filter, if necessary. I could also modify the PSU area to route the exhaust downward through a hole in the baseboard. That would let me experiment with a large muffler underneath the baseboard.

I like the simplistic maintainability of this case. There are no nuts and bolts at all! The various components are simply dropped into place. Neither the drives nor the PSU obscure the motherboard from above, so adding/removing memory, CPU, or expansion cards is a snap. Just remove the lid, and it's all right there on top.

As a final note, I intend to use this computer "sideways", so that the DVD tray opens toward me and the ports are to the left. This minimizes the perceived profile of the computer even if it's very deep.

So, is there anything I missed?


Isaac Kuo
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