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Project F1 Dream


Well having just finished a mod that I won’t be seeing for a long while (traveling around shows and such). It was time to build another, this one I had been planning for years to do (those that know me would know this as I have been talking about it for quite a while).


I had originally planned back then to do F1 themed rig based around Jenson and Lewis, but with the team mates split up I put it off for a while (and due to illness, but that’s another very long story).


To cut it short I spotted Thermaltake were doing a new run of the level 10 and having been one of only two that I could find that had modded the original Level 10, II thought let us go down the Lewis Hamilton route and contacted Thermaltake and managed to secure Number 44 for the Thermaltake Level 10 Ltd edition, funny thing is all this was done before he became world champion, so him winning it means I could add a few things. 


This time I wanted to be a bit bolder with the build, and do something different to last time and so it begins.


First off let me start off with a big thanks to the sponsors that jumped on board.



Thanks to Thermaltake for stepping up and supplying me with the Thermaltake Level 10 Titanium LTD edition number 44 for this build and the PSU.



Thanks to Nvidia for stepping up as a sponsor for me, hugely amazing with support thanks guys.



A Big thank you goes out to MSI who are supplying the motherboard for this project.



A big thank you to the Kingston team for supplying the HyperX SSD’s and Memory kit for this project



A big thank you to Swiftech who will be supplying the Apogee XL  CPU block that I will be customizing. 



Massive thanks to Primochill who are supplying the hardline kit for this build which will be hardline from out to in.



Thanks to GT Omega racing for stepping up with a couple of new chairs for our mod/pc room, ties in with the whole racing theme completely.




Thanks to Razer for stepping up with the complete Chroma set, Keyboard, Mouse and Headset for the build.



A Big Big thankyou to OnPole for insuring I have first dibs on the 1:18 scale model I will be using in the build.



Big thanks to Western Digital for supplying a 2tb WD Black HDD's for the build.



Also a thank you for the guys over at Bitspower for supplying me with the GPU blocks and fittings as well as pump heatsink.



Also a massive thank you to Leo Bodnar electronics for supplying the Sim display that not only will work with sim racing games, it will also be the CPU usage and temp indicator.



A massive thanks to the guys over at AIDA64 who worked with me to get Leo Bodnar displays displaying temps and CPU usage.



Big thanks to gunnar optics for supplying a set of eyewear to be tied into the whole F1 theme




Thanks to Dremel who seem to step up on every build and supply me with accessories and tools.



Thanks to MAX Keyboard who helped out with a custom keys for the build.







This is going to be one #### of a ride for me and for this case, there are some issues I need to still work out but that’s what modding is all about so let the madness begin.

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So why waiting for a few bits to turn up one thing that did was the Swiftech Apogee XL block, that is now a personal favorite of mine, it does its job, but thanks to a nifty little lighting system can make some nice touches to a build.. especially if you have a vinyl plotter.




There are a variety of colour choices to be had, as seen above to light the rig, I could have gone simple really and just done the red 44 from Hamilton’s car, but not being someone that likes to take the simple route I decided I would do a mock-up of what I was thinking and basing it on his crash helmet as I wanted to have the case more themed around the Mercedes F1 car.




My first attempt was using a regular font to create Lewis’s moto Still I Rise, although the mock up is just that I was not happy really and I wanted it to be more authentic  than this so it was time to try and make a version of his font that would work. I knew I would not be able to get it bang on as the font is curved slightly on his race helmet.




Now that’s a lot better, let us see how it looks with the lighting behind it




Now this I like, I will have to make a few slight adjustments to the cut, to make the finer lines not as thin and remake the 44 so it is easier to lay down, but the second mock up is in the right direction I believe. 


I think getting the still I rise just right will take a few attempts as getting a vinyl plotter to cut stuff small enough to fit on one of these blocks is no easy task. Also actually picking the design out after cutting is a embarrassing moment as you soon realise why you working on something so small you look up and your misses starts laughing at you because you gone a bit screw eyes lol.

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Just a small little update on the block, took the white back out and spent a while adjusting the still I rise stencil, and then placed it on the white backing for the Swiftech apogee XL block.




Now the still I rise looks a lot better without the missing parts of the script, I thickened the lines that were not cutting right due to the thin nature of them. Just got to redo the 44 now.

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Back again with another update with one of the extras for the build, this time the info screen, ill throw out a few pics first then give you some info on it.






I was lucky enough to be able to get Leo Bodnar involved in my project and grab a racing, rpm gear and info display, (this one is called the SLIF1). For those of you not familiar with Leo Bodnar products, head over their website here to have a look. Here is a bit of info.
“Leo Bodnar is a designer and developer of universal joystick/game controller PCBs, simulator force feedback steering systems and supplier of components such as push buttons, rotary encoders and switches.
Being based at Silverstone UK - the home of British Motorsport has given us the opportunity to work closely with and meet the needs of race teams, drivers and simulator manufacturers.â€
Basically if you have a simwheel of any kind it is highly likely that you will have some Leo Bodnar electronics inside it somewhere, be it a controller board, a toggle switch, buttons, info display to rotary dials. They even supply their SimSteering FFB System many teams participating in race series including F1, GP2, F3, LMP1, LMP2 and WTCC. So not a company to be sniffed at and experts in what they do.
Why some of you may be asking that display is all very good, but it would only be useful for when playing sim games or racing titles, Step up both Leo Bodnar Electronics, AIDA64 (and myself (although I done the easiest part and was just the middle man) passing USB protocols between Leo Bodnar and AIDA64 and thus the outcome was that AIDA64 who are known for producing a good piece of software to do small benchmarks, give full system status and pretty much everything there would be to know about a system its running on was able to get the display working as an info display, from CPU temps, usage, gpu ect ect… they were able to offer support for these devices (Newest version of AIDA64 now has support for these type of displays). To take a look at AIDA64 and what it can do for you visit the website here.
Anyway back to the SLIF1 display, here are quite a few pictures of what is possible, you are limited to the 4 characters on each side of the info display, but here are some examples.






This will be getting mounted to one of the 5.25 drive bay covers and will be hidden behind a tinted screen, so it’s only visible once the pc is on.
Also I don’t want to leave you hanging with just a few pictures, here are a few videos of it going through the motions.

This video is going through the options i have to display on the device and info it can pull

This video is more featured around CPU usage (loaded up a few things to get the rpm LED's and gear info in action).
I have to say a big thanks to Leo Bodnar electronics and AIDA64 for making this extra possible.
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Update, here is one of the goodies that turned up for the project, the MSI X Power X99 AC motherboard.







Of course that’s enough of box shots, time to move over to the motherboard itself.







Rear panel connectors, the gapped area on the left is for the optional Wi-Fi module (which is included in box)






Plenty of connections down at the bottom of the board, also the all-important m2 turbo slot that I will be utilising.




Love the internal USB port for this build as it gives me an internal port to wire the USB – powered and operated F1 style display.




Sata ports and USB 3 port on 90 degrees on the right hand side (which is great about time these chunky USB 3 ports were like this, also you may have noticed there is also a sata express port in there (far left).




This is for the WI-Fi module that I was mentioning earlier, before I show that connected let us take a look at the accessories bundle included with the motherboard.




Ill list these off for you – with the specs after


Included in the box is


·         M-connectors

·         OC fan stand

·         Delid Die Guard

·         OC plate

·         LN2 bracket

·         SLI bridges

·         Wi-Fi module

·         Wi-Fi antennas

·         Driver discs

·         USB flash drive with drivers

·         USB/SATA I/O bracket

·         SATA cables

·         Cable labels

·         V-check cables

·         Case badge

·         i/O shield


As well as the manuals too, here is the Wi-Fi module and I/O shield installed




Here are the specs of the motherboard itself





• Supports New Intel® Core™ i7 Processors Extreme Edition for LGA 2011-3 Socket






• Intel® X99 Express Chipset



Main Memory



• Support eight DDR4 DIMMs 2133/2200(OC)/2400(OC)/2600(OC)/2666(OC)/2750(OC)/3000(OC)/3110(OC)/3333(OC)DRAM (128GB Max)


- Supports Quad-Channel mode


- Supports non-ECC, un-buffered memory


- Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)






• 5 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (PCI_E1~E4, PCI_E6), support up to 4-way mode


- 1-way mode: x16/ x0/ x0/ x0/ x0


- 2-way mode: x16/ x0/ x0/ x16/ x0*, 16/ x0/ x0/ x8/ x0**


- 3-way mode: x16/ x0/ x0/ x16/ x8*, x8/ x8/ x0/ x8/ x0**


- 4-way mode: x8/ x8/ x0/ x16/ x8*, x8/ x8/ x0/ x8/ x4**



• 1 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slot (PCI_E5)


* For the CPU that supports 40 PCIe lanes


** For the CPU that supports 28 PCIe lanes






• Intel X99 Express Chipset


•10x SATA 6Gb/s ports (2x ports reserved for SATA Express port)*


- SATA1~6 support RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10


- SATA7~10 ports only support IDE mode and AHCI mode.


- Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology (Windows 7/ 8/ 8.1)


• 1 x SATA Express port*


• 1 x M.2 port, supports M.2 SATA 6Gb/s module* or M.2 PCIe module up to 32Gb/s speed**


- M.2 port supports 4.2cm/ 6cm/ 8cm length module


- M.2 PCIe module does not support RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 5 and RAID 10.


* The SATA Express port/ SATA5~6 ports will be unavailable when installing the M.2 SATA interface module in the M.2 port.


** Intel RST does not support PCIe M.2 SSD with Legacy ROM.






• Intel X99 Express Chipset


- 4 x USB 3.0 ports available through the internal USB connectors*



• 2 x ASMedia ASM1074 Chipset


- 8x USB 3.0 ports on the back panel



• ASMedia ASM1042 Chipset


- 2x USB 3.0 ports on the back panel


* Internal JUSB1 connector supports MSI Super Charger.






• Realtek® ALC1150 Codec


- 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio


- Supports S/PDIF output






• 1 x Intel I218-V Gigabit LAN - Dual interconnect between the integrated Media Access Controller (MAC) and physical layer (PHY)


• 1 x Intel I210-AT Gigabit LAN controller



WIreless LAN



• Wi-Fi/Bluetooth expansion module with Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 chip.


-  Supports Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual band (2.4GHz, 5GHz) up to 867 Mbps speed.







• Wi-Fi/Bluetooth expansion module with Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 chip.


- Supports Bluetooth v4.0 (includes BLE* and Bluetooth 3.0+HS)


* BLE: Bluetooth Low Energy



Internal I/O Connectors


- 1 x 24-pin AT x main power connector


- 1 x 8-pin AT x 12V power connector


- 1 x 4-pin AT x 12V power connector


- 1 x 4-pin flat AT x 12V power connector*


- 10 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors


- 3 x USB 2.0 connectors (supports additional 5 USB 2.0 ports)


- 2 x USB 3.0 connectors (supports additional 4 USB 3.0 ports)


- 2 x 4-pin CPU fan connectors


- 5 x 4-pin system fan connectors


- 1 x Clear CMOS jumper


- 1 x Front panel audio connector


- 2 x System panel connectors


- 1 x TPM module connector


- 1 x Chassis Intrusion connector


- 9 x V-Check connectors


- 1 x GO2BIOS button


- 1 x Power button


- 1 x Reset button


- 2 x Base Clock control buttons


- 2 x CPU Ratio control buttons


- 1 x OC Genie button


- 1 x Discharge button


- 1 x Multi-BIOS switch


- 1 x OC Genie mode switch


- 1 x Slow mode switch


- 1 x Base Clock step swtich


- 1 x PCIe CeaseFire switch


- 1 x 2-Digit Debug Code LED


- 1 x Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module connector


* Provides additional power to PCIe  x16 slots




Back Panel I/O Ports


- 1 x PS/2 port


- 2 x USB 2.0 ports


- 1 x Clear CMOS button


- 10 x USB 3.0 ports


- 1 x Optical S/PDIF OUT connector


- 2 x LAN (RJ45) ports


- 5 x OFC audio jacks


Thanks to MSI for sending this as a sponsor, matches my plans and happens to be the perfect board for this build. ;)

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Another small update, decided to etch the radiator side as I received it in raw format (uncoated).


I changed the template style to something else, this is what I decided to go with


So time to wait for misses to go out, into the kitchen and get the tattoo power supply out and start working.


Now how I do this is dip some lady face cotton pads in salt water squeeze them out a bit (so they are damp not saturated) and then place them over stencil, then connect the negative to the rad and positive to copper plate and leave resting on pads (used bottle to keep it pressed slightly) left for 10 minutes on each side then swapped the negative and positive over to push some particles back into the etch.


Enough done into the metal with the 2014 world champions being deeper than the rest.


A Little rub down with a brillo pad to get rid of the surface stuff.


The Thermaltake’s upside down I know, but there will be a plaque placed over it, or filled in, not sure yet.


Leaving the particles on place in the etches, the reason for this is once I have painted the radiator as there not really solid in there I can scrape out the etched parts easier, then fill with black.


Rough example of what I am going for, that’s all for now will be back with more updates soon.

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  • 1 month later...

So back again with a small update, #### model is still delayed and only ships from factory on April 4th, so why I am still waiting let’s take a look at what I could do why waiting first of a lovely donation from my sponsor Nvidia here is what arrived.






I got really lucky with this build and nvidia kindly sent me 2 x 980 GTX’s for the build, for more information on this card click here.







Here are the specs of each of the cards if you have not seen them




Note: The below specifications represent this GPU as incorporated into NVIDIA's reference graphics card design. Graphics card specifications may vary by Add-in-card manufacturer. Please refer to the Add-in-card manufacturers' website for actual shipping specifications.


GTX 980 Engine Specs:


·         2048CUDA Cores
·         1126Base Clock (MHz)
·         1216Boost Clock (MHz)
·         144Texture Fill Rate (GigaTexels/sec)
·         GTX 980 Memory Specs:
·         7.0 GbpsMemory Clock
·         4 GBStandard Memory Config
·         GDDR5Memory Interface
·         256-bitMemory Interface Width
·         224Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec)


GTX 980 Technology Support:


·         Yes (4-way)NVIDIA SLI® Ready
·         YesNVIDIA G-Syncâ„¢-Ready
·         YesNVIDIA GameStreamâ„¢-Ready
·         YesGeForce ShadowPlayâ„¢
·         2.0NVIDIA GPU Boostâ„¢
·         YesDynamic Super Resolution
·         YesMFAA
·         YesNVIDIA GameWorksâ„¢
·         12 APIMicrosoft DirectX
·         4.4OpenGL
·         YesCUDA
·         PCI Express 3.0 Bus Support
·         Windows 8 & 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Linux, FreeBSD x86OS Certification


Display Support:


·         5120x3200Maximum Digital Resolution*
·         2048x1536Maximum VGA Resolution
·         Dual Link DVI-I, HDMI, 3x DisplayPort 1.2 Standard Display Connectors
·         4 displaysMulti Monitor
·         YesHDCP
·         InternalAudio Input for HDMI
·         GTX 980 Graphics Card Dimensions:
·         4.376 inchesHeight
·         10.5 inchesLength
·         Dual-widthWidth


Thermal and Power Specs:


·         98 CMaximum GPU Tempurature (in C)
·         165 WGraphics Card Power (W)
·         500 WMinimum System Power Requirement (W)
·         2x 6-pinsSupplementary Power Connectors



Will be following this with another post today as a very nice bitspower package turned up.

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So following on from the card a small care package also turned up from Bitspower, all the stuff I needed and the blocks for the GPU’s.






Items were various connectors, more than shown in pictures, as well as 2 very very nice Nickel Finished In Golden reference 980 GTX blocks. I went for white back plates though so I could customise them like I have the GPU block, also got the pump heat sink and shroud for the build in white. You can view all of the Bitspower range here



So waiting on the model to cut the case, I decided to get the white back plates done why I was waiting, here is what I done in Photoshop.






So taking that design and laying it down was not as easy as I hoped, but after a few attempts on left over gold colour backplate this is what I was left with.







I am very happy with how they came out and the tie in with the CPU block well, I was going to add the red and yellow parts of the Lewis Hamilton 2014 helmet, but thought I have the tubing and fluid that will use that colour coordination anyway. Will be posting more regular updates as more and more bits arrive.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Sorry it’s been a while since an update, I have had a big delay in waiting for the model to actually be shipped to stores, now saying June!!! Such a bad delay that I thought I would get a few things done in advance and even took the opportunity to be entered into a case mod competition on another case.


Anyway I suppose I can start stripping down the case anyway.






Having case number 44 of 500 adds to the theme a little and fits within it, having already done this in a previous build I already know it’s a very daunting task.




Not really an easy task but we have to start with the basics.





Also worth noting here are the sticky strips, best bet is to make sure you heat up the area on back panel to loosen the glue on the strips, which will aid in lifting the back panel off.





Now Just a case of stripping out the front bays…




I really hope the other half does not turn up soon. :P




After getting this far its best to stop really, don’t want to really mark up the cut for the radiator until the model is here or I get a reply from minichamps about measurements of it, so I thought  why not get to painting a few things as the warmer weather is here.




Custom rad grills turned up also so I Thought it was time to give a few things a rub down and prep for painting.




Primer down, and I did manage to do the single 120mm rad grill.




So I have the colour matching to the logos on case done and I will be matching the radiator and other grills to this colour as well, then colour sanding, matt lacquering and smoothing down, so stay tuned, will be posting a few more things over the next couple of weeks.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

I must say, Excellent log. I'm really interested in the display SLIF1 unit. That could be marketed real easy, esp if you could display Ghz, Temps heck hack in and display Power/Watts. Be one cool unit. If I was a betting man, at this point my money would be here. Well done my freind.


every thing is possible, but limited to 4 characters per side of gear indicator...


Back again with a small update, had some issues but finally this turned up for the build, from OnPole.com


It took an eternity for minichamps to get it to market, but OnPole was superb in that they got it to me within 2 days of it hitting there store, let’s take a closer look at it.






Overall the model is really nice and I have to say minichamps have done a fine job of replicating the race car and they should of with the time it took to get to market. For you F1 fans out there, you should check out OnPole’s website for memorabilia.
I do have to say though getting the model, presented another issue, the 240mm radiator I had planned to use to mount the model above is now too small as the car over hangs it, so I still can not cut the part of the case I want due to the fact I have had to order a 280mm radiator. So I am going to have to redo the radiator again :( oh well.
Ill post some more pictures of the car before mounting and a few bits tomorrow of what else has arrived :)
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Looks awesome richi, cant wait to see the next phase :)

Thanks, waiting on a bit of metal now arriving this week to start planning proper on the case, changed one slight thing and rather than rad flushed to case, going to have it mounted up a bit... stay tuned

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  • 3 weeks later...
So despite temps hitting over 32 degrees here in the uk over the last few days I have given myself a deadline for the build and had to work in the heat. So It was time to do a few things, including cut the main outer panels on the level 10 mobo section




Tape down, mask on and lines drawn and ready to cut.




The width is due to keeping the main frame of mobo section hidden (were the bolts go) I had to repeat this process with the L section too.




With the l panel I wanted to keep the lines, but remove the mounting areas for the GPU cover.




Now that’s all done, it is time to spend quite a few hours with the file, before preparing for paint.




I know working with the case I should of normally taken my watch off ect, but due to these pieces being painted there is not much point so even if bits of paint flake off, it does no really matter (hence the use of normal white tape instead of Green or yellow masking tape.




Also had to cut a few small pieces I needed to make a cover plate for the mounting of the radiator and also a strip for the radiator. I have had to change the radiator out for another due to the fact the models dimensions were larger than quoted to original so other rad was smaller.

Also here Is a sneak peak of the PSU cover I have (thanks to Primochill).




So yesterday was pretty productive, first I spent over a few hours rubbing the cut panels down, phew it was hot to so had to jump in the shower twice I got that sweaty.





That’s today's post, watch for some more soon.

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Just a small little update with some pics of the keyboard close up.




As you can see from photo, what you cant see from the first ones is the keyboard is covered in flakes all over, here are a few more shots.





I think it looks amazing and the issue I have is that I think I am addicted to flakes, I have to say despite the price of them, they do add something to the paintwork... ill leave you guys with another sneak peek.




Now looking at the mouse a bit closer you may notice the edges are not smooth, this is because they guy that is teaching me redone the mouse after my mess up on it, but he just smacked me in the face by saying you need to learn more first and redone all artwork on palm and button section of the mouse in flakes (red HAM is done in red metalflakes only) enjoy for now

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