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LAB501 [TT 2019 CaseMod Balkan Invitation]

Monstru

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I remember...

Growing up in the 80's in Easter Europe, Romania in particular, was probably harder than it is for kids these days. And maybe we didn't understand many things back then, being kids, but I really enjoyed my childhood. Sure, you had to stay in line for bread, or milk, and we only had bananas for Christmas, but that didn't affect us too much... it was the norm back in those days, and it was our parents who had to deal with that, not us. So I would say that I really enjoyed growing up in the mountains, riding my bike everyday, reading Jules Verne and ... you know... being a kid.

In my outdoor green mountains world, there probably weren't as much toys and gadgets kids have today (even simple stuff, like lego). But we didn't really missed them. We had forests to roam, and football to play and dozens of great books that kept our imagination going. And I wouldn't say I needed anything else. Until one day, back in 87 or 88, when my father took me to his job, the National Institute for Atomic Research, and I saw a gray machine. And I remember everybody was very careful around that machine, and only some people were allowed to work on it.

It was a state of the art Intel 80286 machine, running at 16MHz, where top engineers from my country were designing new machines and checking calculations. And I was playing Supaplex on it, and new worlds were literally opening in front of my eyes. Of course, back in those days, something like that was not meant for public use in my country. So at home, we could only enjoy Commodore 64 clones, made in Romania, and the few games we could record on tapes from our friends. But since that day, back in 87 or 88, I felt that something was missing... something I really wanted.

Years later I went to some computers classes, on 386, and I discovered Volley and Prince of Persia. Then I saw a 486DX at a friends house, a VGA displays with so many colors, so Mortal Kombat and Doom became things that I was dreaming about at night. But still, those were not for everybody, and local clones with monochrome displays was what most kids my age had.

So... I knew I had to do something about it. So I learned and I learned in order to get into one of the few computer oriented high-schools and back in 96 I was moving from my green mountains to the grey blocks of Bucharest, to study computers more thoroughly. And I remember my parents, proud of their offspring, took a loan for a year and bought me a PC. A real PC, with a Pentium I CPU running at 100MHz, 8 MB EDO RAM, and 1 "huge" HDD, running MS-DOS 6.22



And from that moment, my friends, nothing was the same anymore...


As time went by, I went from Pentium I to AMD K6-II, then onward to AMD Athlon Thunderbird Slot-A, the first beast that managed to reach 1000 MHz. And somewhere around the middle of the 2000's , I managed to build my first PC, with parts bought with my own money. Roughly 16 years after I have touched a computer for the first time, and I started dreaming about actually having one, I was building my own, with my own hands. That was 15-16 years ago... But that was just the beginning of the adventure. Because I wanted better performance, and better speeds. So I started overclocking, and boy... was that a journey I would have never imagined having.

From the grey blocks of Bucharest, to winning the MSI Master Overclocking Arena 2011 World Finals on a stage in Taipei, that was quite a ride, filled with passion, work and sacrifice. But it is not overclocking I want to talk to you about today... No... many years ago, when I started overclocking, I also noticed that CPU's get hot. So we needed better airflow, and better parts. That is when I remember first time modifying a case... cutting those nasty 80mm grills away and mounting 120mm fans instead. And I remember I was looking for a solid cooler for my overclocked San Diego 3700+. And I found this enormous thing ( I still have it today), called Thermaltake Beetle. And that was the first Thermaltake product I have ever used, 15 years ago, trying to get better temps on my overclocked San Diego.


I did many things in these last 15 years...

I made friends for life, together with whom I participated in the greatest overclocking tournaments in the world. And we won quite a few... We started a website together... a little thing called LAB501, where we still test the latest hardware, just like we have done for years. I'm talking, of course, about my colleague Matei ("matose"). And then I met this girl who was not just beautiful, but she really loved what I did. Later, that girl became my friend, my wife and colleague, and we started building PC's together.

You see, I wouldn't call myself a modder. I am actually a guy passionate about building PC's - everything from getting high performance to getting low temperatures or low noise levels - I am obsessed with that. I am not the guy passionate about bending and cutting stuff, that is Matei. And I am not the color connaisseur and paint master - that is Gabriela. But together, as a team, we have built some pretty awesome stuff. And that is what we will try to do here, in the 2019 Thermaltake CaseMod Invitational Balkan.

It is an honor that Thermaltake selected us to represent Romania in this competition, and it is an honor to be in such talented and passionate company, together will all these fantastic modders from Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia. We hope you will enjoy our project and we will come back with details regarding the parts we are using, the concept and all the juicy stuff. And who knows, maybe we will make new friends. Because, in the end, passion unites people, no matter the generation, location or anything else.

My name is Tudor "Monstru" Badica, from LAB501, Romania, and it is a pleasure to be here!
 

neSSa

Modding Guru
Učlanjen(a)
15.08.2010.
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Moja konfiguracija
CPU & cooler:
i7 5820k + EKWB
Motherboard:
MSI X99 Mpower
RAM:
16gb HyperX Predator 2666Mhz
VGA & cooler:
SLI - Asus GTX 770 dc2 + EKWB
Display:
Dell 27" IPS
HDD:
Transcend SSD 370s 256Gb RAID0
Case:
"MasterX5" project
PSU:
Cooler Master V1000
Optical drives:
ASUS external
Mice & keyboard:
A4Tech - mouse and keyboard
Internet:
Cable
Other:
PROJEKTI: https://www.facebook.com/sspcmodding
Welcome and good luck my friend!
 

Monstru

PCAXE Apprentice
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Thank you my friend!
 

neSSa

Modding Guru
Učlanjen(a)
15.08.2010.
Poruka
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1.263
Moja konfiguracija
CPU & cooler:
i7 5820k + EKWB
Motherboard:
MSI X99 Mpower
RAM:
16gb HyperX Predator 2666Mhz
VGA & cooler:
SLI - Asus GTX 770 dc2 + EKWB
Display:
Dell 27" IPS
HDD:
Transcend SSD 370s 256Gb RAID0
Case:
"MasterX5" project
PSU:
Cooler Master V1000
Optical drives:
ASUS external
Mice & keyboard:
A4Tech - mouse and keyboard
Internet:
Cable
Other:
PROJEKTI: https://www.facebook.com/sspcmodding
Hi, what's up, do you have some progress? :)
 

Monstru

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Hi buddy,

not yet, since it was hardware launch season here. But as soon as the last package from Thermaltake arrives, I will show the parts used and get more into the concept.
 

Monstru

PCAXE Apprentice
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Hey, hey, hey, boys and girls... Long time no activity. Well... this has some very good reasons. First of all, the hardware manufacturers decided to totally destroy our summer with launch after launch. So we had to spend long hours testing the new Zen 2 CPU's, doing DDR4 scaling tests, taking a look at what Navi has to offer, but also testing Nvidia's new RTX 2060 SUPER, RTX 2070 SUPER and RTX 2080 SUPER.

And our work is far from over, since more and more hardware is launched this summer. However, last week I have finally received the last package from Thermaltake so now we can see what we work with.

As you can see in the picture bellow, we have a nice hardware tower, with contrasting parts, which will pose a nice challenge.

We have some mainstream hardware, like the tiny MSI B450 Gaming Plus motherboard, which will pair nicely with an AMD Ryzen 2500X CPU. On the graphics side, we find an MSI GeForce RTX 2060 Gaming Z, while the memory (Patriot Viper RGB 2 x 8GB DDR4 3200) and the SSD (Patriot Burst 480GB) are offered by Patriot.

All of these are powered by an overkill Thermaltake Toughpower iRGBPLUS 850W, an 80PLUS Platinum 850W RGB monster.
 

Prilozi

Monstru

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The CPU will be cooled with the help of a Thermaltake Pacific M360 Liquid Cooling kit, and some extra accessories. The kit comprises of a CPU Water Block ( Pacific Pacific W4 Plus), a Pump/Reservoir Combo ( Pacific PR22-D5 Plus Pump/Reservoir Combo), a Pacific RL360 Plus Radiator, 8x Pacific C-Pro G1/4 PETG 16mm OD Compression – Chrome, 2 x Pacific G1/4 90 Degree Adapter - Chrome, 1 x Riing 12 RGB Plus Radiator Fan TT Premium Edition 3 Pack, 1 bottle of Thermaltake C1000 Pure Clear Coolant and 4 pieces of rigid V-Tubler PETG Tube 16mm OD 500mm.

Besides this, also included in the package, you can find a Silicone Insert 900mm Tt Premium Edition, an Intel and AMD Universal Backplated & Mounting Kit, a 24pin ATX Bridge Tool and a seringe with Thermaltake Thermal Grease.

Besides this, we took advantage of Thermaltake's vast watercooling ecosystem and we got a set of Pacific RGB hard tube fittings, Pacific Flow Indicator, a Pacific Temperature Sensor, some yellow P1000 coolant and a few special fittings (drain valve, Y fitting and so on).
 

Prilozi

Monstru

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La piece de resistance, or the reason I said we have contrasting parts, is the monstruous Thermaltake Level 20GT provided for this project, which is literally enormous and could easily fit 3 systems based on a motherboard so small. The Thermaltake behemoth has 4 panels made out of 5mm tempered glass, RGB lightning and overall a massive size, so it will be interesting how everybody will leave his own personal mark in his project. As far as our team is concerned, we are thinking something simple, natural, that celebrates Thermaltake, but also the area where we come from.

Now... it is time to get to the real work... so we will post again in a week or so.

Cheers!
 

Prilozi

Monstru

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Hello dear friends!

I am sure that by now our colleagues from Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia already started to amaze you with their high-tech creations - I have been extremely busy lately so I wasn't able to watch all the stories. However, after a myriad of reviews, CPU and VGA launches and DDR4 scaling tests, with 10 days to go until the deadline, we finally started working on our project. Yes, reviews and launches are important, but so is this contest, and we would really like to showcase the gorgeous Level 20GT in our way...

And our way... has always been about computers. There is something simply magic in the mixture of silicone, textolite and the current running through that brings it all to life and literally turns what was once a piece of sand into a powerful machine capable of giving us so much joy. And I think I tried to explain pretty thorough in my first post how much I love computers, so there is no need to do it again.

However... I am a mountain man, born and raised. And there is another thing I love and I am mesmerized with, and that is wood. Bringer of heat and protection against the elements, provider of shelter and tools, and last but not least, the base in which many breathtaking art pieces were created, wood is a constant element in our lives.

And I don't know about you guys, but when I grew up, there was always the magic of the carpenter's shop... A place where beautiful things happened, and simple trees got turned into wonderful objects, by people with 3 fingers on one hand, and 4 fingers on the other, smelling like saw dust and rakia. Wood is a noble material, fragile and strong at the same time, as timeless as the mountains and the fields...

And in the many projects we have done so far, I realized that not even once did we have the chance to use wood. And seeing our colleagues go hi-tech and mechanical with their builds, we thought this would be a great time to go back to the roots and enrich Level 20GT with some noble essence wood.

So back I was in the mountains where I grew up, together with Gabriela and Vasile, one of my closest and oldest friends (I think we met ~35 years ago). And Vasile is a man of many trades, but one of the things he does best is building custom hand made snowboards, beautiful unique boards that only a few dozen people are lucky enough to ride (myself included). And he builds two types of boards... carbon fiber racers (like my board), and swallow tail powder surfers, made out of wood.

And in the process of making them, there is lots of really great high-quality wood left, in pieces to small to be useful for snowboards making. Lime, beach, ash, sycamore maple, chinese cherry tree... all bits and pieces of fantastic quality wood that cannot be used for many things due to the size of the pieces that are left... However...
 

Prilozi

Monstru

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... Unlike in snowboard making, we are not limited by dimensions, because a PC case, even a large one like Level 20GT, is not as long as a snowboard. And with the help of a nice method called lamination we can use small pieces for creating something quite unique.

We start with a pile of small, long pieces of noble wood, which we then roughly cut to dimension. After that, we rectify each side of the wood pieces so we can get a perfect sandwich fit, and we plan the way in which we will assemble the parts. For this project, we will replace the front, top and back windows from Level 20GT with custom made one of a kind wood pieces build strip by strip from the essences we have chosen, in this case lime beach, ash, wonderful white sycamore maple, and noble red chinese cherry tree.

The pieces are glued together with a special wood glue and left for 24h to dry. After that, we adjust the thickness of the plank using a special machine, until we get 15mm on all sides, and in the end we cut the pieces to the exact size we need.

It may not sound like much but for 2 days out of the 10 days we have left, that is exactly what we did. Choosing the right pieces of refurbished wood, fitting them together and sanding them to the right size and finish, from 9 am to 7 pm. And with 8 days left to go...the base wood material that we are going to use for this project is finally ready... Now... I wonder what might come next... :)
 

Prilozi

Monstru

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In the third day, we let the wood rest for a little bit and we started to paint some of the details we are going to use for this project, namely the sides of the top and front, the PCI-E holder, the SSD holder and so on... For this we used Molotow Copper, which should give us the metallic finish we are looking for
 

Prilozi

Monstru

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With 5 days left until the deadline, it was time to start working on some of the wood details we have planned. After all, this is a Thermaltake project, and our friends from Thermaltake have their 20 year anniversary this year, so we thought we would mark this festive occasion in our own way. We were lucky enough to have a CNC at our disposal for ~15 minutes, and that was all we needed in order to cut the logo in the front piece.

We could have gone for simple wood engraving, and probably we would have spectacular results with minimal work, but ... that's not our way. No, our way is to try and celebrate Thermaltake's 20 year anniversary with something that is close to nature, but at the same time has a noble touch, resembling the colors of the original TT logo.

And one of the things that has those colors is amber, precious fossilized resin that has turned into a gemstone over the centuries. Of course, we do not just have amber laying around in our shop, but we do have something... similar in concept - resin with the proper metallic pigment. And thus, after 24h of drying up, our wooden front mask gets a TT 20 amber like logo, which is now ready for some finishing touches...
 

Prilozi

neSSa

Modding Guru
Učlanjen(a)
15.08.2010.
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Moja konfiguracija
CPU & cooler:
i7 5820k + EKWB
Motherboard:
MSI X99 Mpower
RAM:
16gb HyperX Predator 2666Mhz
VGA & cooler:
SLI - Asus GTX 770 dc2 + EKWB
Display:
Dell 27" IPS
HDD:
Transcend SSD 370s 256Gb RAID0
Case:
"MasterX5" project
PSU:
Cooler Master V1000
Optical drives:
ASUS external
Mice & keyboard:
A4Tech - mouse and keyboard
Internet:
Cable
Other:
PROJEKTI: https://www.facebook.com/sspcmodding
Looking great!
 

Monstru

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After the internal resin cast has dried, now we have to proceed to the next step. I think that texture is as important as color. And even if we change the way in which Level 20GT looks, we would like to keep that Thermaltake feel. And since the case has 4 sides covered in glass, we will keep the main glass side door, and we will cover in resin the wooden panels, so the wood becomes more alive, but also we keep the Thermaltake Level 20GT concept, with all the sides being shiny and glass like.

After we cast the resin on the large parts, we also apply it to the small interior decorations, using a brush.

Tick...tock... only a few days left!
 

Prilozi

Monstru

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Finishing up some details in the morning, then we started to build the system with the most cables I have encountered so far... 3 RGB controllers, each fitting with it's own cable, waterblock, pump, radiator side, 5 fans... everything is RGB in this build. But after a day of work, we tone it down to amber and let it air-leak...
 

Prilozi

Uni

PCAXE Addicted
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CPU & cooler:
Intel i5 2400 i Dark Rock Pro 3
Motherboard:
ASRock Z77 Pro 4
RAM:
Kingston HyperX Fury 1866MHz 2x8GB
VGA & cooler:
Colorful iGAME GTX 1060 5GB
Display:
EIZO EV2730Q FlexScan
HDD:
Samsung EVO 840 250GB i Toshiba P300 2TB i Verbatim Store N Go 1TB
Case:
MS Cyclops V
PSU:
Corsair TX550M 80 Plus Gold
Mice & keyboard:
IDK
OS & Browser:
Arch Linux 2018.10.01 | Windows 10 Pro 1803 | Mozilla Firefox Quantum 61.0.1
This seems epic! Congrats! :appl:
 

Monstru

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Thank you! Still a lot of work to do and only 1day and a half left :D
 

Uni

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CPU & cooler:
Intel i5 2400 i Dark Rock Pro 3
Motherboard:
ASRock Z77 Pro 4
RAM:
Kingston HyperX Fury 1866MHz 2x8GB
VGA & cooler:
Colorful iGAME GTX 1060 5GB
Display:
EIZO EV2730Q FlexScan
HDD:
Samsung EVO 840 250GB i Toshiba P300 2TB i Verbatim Store N Go 1TB
Case:
MS Cyclops V
PSU:
Corsair TX550M 80 Plus Gold
Mice & keyboard:
IDK
OS & Browser:
Arch Linux 2018.10.01 | Windows 10 Pro 1803 | Mozilla Firefox Quantum 61.0.1
Keep going, nothing is impossible :)
 

Monstru

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Well, we are on schedule. Tomorrow it will be 48h since the resin was poured, so we can finish the wooden parts, assemble them on the case and finish some minor details (wires, inside details). If all goes as planned we should be just on point with the schedule :D
 
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neSSa

Modding Guru
Učlanjen(a)
15.08.2010.
Poruka
3.567
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1.263
Moja konfiguracija
CPU & cooler:
i7 5820k + EKWB
Motherboard:
MSI X99 Mpower
RAM:
16gb HyperX Predator 2666Mhz
VGA & cooler:
SLI - Asus GTX 770 dc2 + EKWB
Display:
Dell 27" IPS
HDD:
Transcend SSD 370s 256Gb RAID0
Case:
"MasterX5" project
PSU:
Cooler Master V1000
Optical drives:
ASUS external
Mice & keyboard:
A4Tech - mouse and keyboard
Internet:
Cable
Other:
PROJEKTI: https://www.facebook.com/sspcmodding
C'mon guys, do you are finish projects? :wave:
 

Monstru

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Patience buddy, we still have untill 23:59 tomorrow.. no rush ;)
 

neSSa

Modding Guru
Učlanjen(a)
15.08.2010.
Poruka
3.567
Rezultat reagovanja
1.263
Moja konfiguracija
CPU & cooler:
i7 5820k + EKWB
Motherboard:
MSI X99 Mpower
RAM:
16gb HyperX Predator 2666Mhz
VGA & cooler:
SLI - Asus GTX 770 dc2 + EKWB
Display:
Dell 27" IPS
HDD:
Transcend SSD 370s 256Gb RAID0
Case:
"MasterX5" project
PSU:
Cooler Master V1000
Optical drives:
ASUS external
Mice & keyboard:
A4Tech - mouse and keyboard
Internet:
Cable
Other:
PROJEKTI: https://www.facebook.com/sspcmodding
Don't need to hurry, I was just curious about what you've done so far :)
 

PORSCHE

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CPU & cooler:
Intel i5 8600K Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360 RGB
Motherboard:
Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 5
RAM:
G. Skill 16GB Trident Z RGB 3200MHz
VGA & cooler:
Gigabyte 1080GTX
Display:
Dell U2412M
HDD:
SSD Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SATA3, WDC 500GB Black + WDC 2TB Green + WDRed 4TB
Sound:
CORSAIR VOID PRO RGB Wireless 7.1
Case:
Cooler Master Cosmos C700P
PSU:
Cooler Master V850 Vanguard
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Roccat Kone XTD, Logitech G910 Orion Spectrum
Internet:
ADSL 10MBs
OS & Browser:
Win 10 64 bit, Opera
Spremno za paljenje. :)
Veoma lep rad.
 
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