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 Copper Tube Case Mod, Part I
The project coming to an end
By: Alan Vincent, May 31, 2002  Print this article


The actual hardware I used is nothing spectacular as far as performance goes. It looks wicked cool, though, and it gets the job done. I used an ASUS XG-DLS i440GX chipset motherboard with a pair of Pentium3 Xeon 500 processors with 1MB L2 cache. It has 512MB of RAM, a 30GB 5400rpm hard drive, 32MB GeForce2 GTS-V video card (overclocked 200MHz core, 333MHz memory), a WinTV card, and a SB16 soundcard. Definitely not cutting-edge components. The processors have retail heatsinks and are overclocked to 600MHz (5 x 120MHz FSB). In most tasks the large L2 cache is of no benefit and the performance tends to be on par with ‘regular’ Pentium3s, sadly enough. A 1GHz Athlon will outperform dual 500MHz Xeons 99% of the time. With an application optimized to take advantage of the large L2 cache (admittedly rare), this machine will scream.

I made my own retaining bracket for the bulky processors out of aluminum angle stock, threaded rods, and brass thumbscrews. The ASUS motherboard ships with a hideous-looking plastic “CPU cage” which doesn’t fit the theme of this project at all. I found a braided ground strap hidden in a box of parts and attached it between the CPU bracket and the copper frame. It doesn’t do anything useful except sit there and look cool.

Close-up of the copper tubing and window screen

Close-up of the copper tubing and window screen

The case in all its glory

The case in all its glory

Below is a picture of the case as it looks today, several months after it was built. The hours I spent polishing the copper only bought me about 2 weeks before oxidation and fingerprints took their toll. A coat of clear lacquer would have greatly prolonged the shiny finish - but I rather like the “aged” look. I made a copper stand for the flatpanel monitor, too. The monitor was originally made for use in a cash register terminal. It only offered 800x600 resolution, but it was cheap, brand new, and it had a way-cool touchscreen.

The case as it looks today

The case as it looks today

Using the same ‘copper tube’ theme and the same Xeon hardware, I have just finished building an all-in-one desktop case with the flatpanel monitor built-in, Copper Tubing Case Mod, Part II

Alan Vincent

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