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Core W100 Case Mods

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Anyone finding Issues or Making Improvements on the Core W100 & W200 Cases?

Please Post Your Comments Here for Discussion

 

I bought a Core W100 a couple months ago and found much room for improvement

I will post a series of issues I had and how I resolved them.

Please feel free to comment and post your concerns or how you improved or resolved your issues. :lol:

 

 

About Me:

I am kinda new on this forum but I have a lot of background in Mechanical,  Electro Mechanical, Manufacturing Engineering.

I have worked in Hardware Engineering, Product Developement, R&D Labs, Fabrication Labs & Model Shop.

I have been building custom to order PCs, Servers, & Workstations since 1985

I don't claim to know everything  :P

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First I would like to say how much I love my W100 case. I litteraly spent two or three months trying to decide on what case to by. I knew I needed lots of room for watercooling with two loops plus room for system expansion. I liked the Level 10 cabs but it just seemed too confining, then I started looking at pedistal type cases or main cases with top and bottom modules, and then almost bought the CoolerMaster Half Stacker and found out Thermaltake was making the W100/P100 and W200 series. I wanted the W200 but it wasn't released yet. So I bought a W100 and figured if I need more room I would add the P100 chasis later. Well when I got the case I was surprised to see it was much larger that I pictured and the real plus to this case is the options for various different fan and radiator configuration possibilities. Ans also the options for mounting drives. I must give Thermaltake some kudos here for giving me a pretty good building block with a good frame and side pannel skins.

 

With that said, pretty much everything I will discuss here will be about what I did to my case as far as improving and enhancing it to how I want to use it. Some things you will see right off as things that make alot of sence, or to add functionallity to the original design. My next posts I will be breaking down different aspects to where the case needed improvements at least for my useage. I may sound critical over some issuse as to what the #### was Thermaltake thinking but it's all constructive and I would hope Thermaltake can learn how to better it's products to even a higher level.

 

I encourage  others to please comment or add there ideas into this topic and share thoughts and how you modded out your system.

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What is really cool a bout the W100 is that you get to put most of it together yourself. It gives you the oportunity to see what works and what doesn't or how can I make it better. So I put the case together using the manual. While assembling the case the first thing I really had a problem accepting was the casters that Thermaltake supplied.

 

The problem I had with those caster was two fold.  First of all just seeing them in the bag of parts, I knew would be a joke to put on anything I own. Here you got this really cool, big industrial size, awsome case and couldn't imagine putting a cheap, substandard caster on it. I have had many products in the past with basically  the same design casters. Typically seen on various inexpensive office chairs, and other light constuction particle board cabinets or small filedrawers. All of which wound up in the trash often due to those cheap type caster. I have seen the wheels separate, I have had the plastic wheel break, they don't roll very smooth espescially when you put a bit of weight on them. They don't even use ball bearings.

So I already had a negative attitude about the casters before I even put them on.

 

OK I put them on anyway just to look at how stable or unstable will this case be?  For me it made the case too low to the ground as far as using any of the lower ventalalation built into the bottom plate. Refering to dust and pulling or pushing any air that close to the floor alway means major dust issues. Then just general stability for me was a big thumbs down with those caster. On a solid smooth floor or not really gonna move it around much, maybe OK. I have a carpeted floor. One issue with carpeted floor and those casters is the debris and fibers off the floor get wrapped around the caster's axels making it hard to roll around.

 

Lets take a quick look at the case and see how it relates to weight transfer. The inside of the case is basicaly devided into two sections. The side with the window being the deepest with a vertical wall about two thirds the depth  for Power Supply on the bottom and mainboard, video cards and watercooling res, pump, water, etc putting it's weight about centerline of the case. Looking at options here, say you mount your drives either to the front rails of the case puts weight again kinde of over the centerline but when stacking drive you lose any low center of gravity, which means easier to dump over.  If you choose to use the extra mounting rails and keep drives the facing the window you start shifting the center of gravity to the windowed side. The last option is to mount yor drive on the backside of the vertical wall thus moving your center of gravity to the door behind the main board. Or even if you use that side for radiators, water, and fans will still put weight to that side of the case.

 

So what happens when your case has most of it's weight on eitherside with these casters, say on a carpeted floor. One thing to add is the fact that these casters piviot  on an offset depending on which way you roll the case. So for example, you have drives mounted to the backside of the vertical wall. With that kind of weight and say you roll the case in that same direction, the casters piviot in toward the center of the case. The case will not be very stable and can easily fall over or be pushed over to crash on its side. Can you imagine watching your new build or project falling over not to mention the damage to your expensive hardware. That's not what's going to happen to my build.

 

So I pulled the casters off and through them out. That way insured  that I would never use them, and forced me to resolve this problem.

 

I took a trip over to my local Home Depot for a solution, as they have a good selection of heavy duty casters to choose from.

Here are the casters I chose:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-3-in-Polyurethane-Swivel-Caster-with-Brake/203672194

Everbilt  Model # 4120545EB  Store SKU # 194726    cost $8.98 ea.
3" Polyurethane Swivel Caster with Brake

 

0a41209f-73a8-4d01-b0a9-27a538ef74d3_400post-100338-0-62207000-1461417434.png

 

Bear in mind they don't come looking like this. They come in bare metal but wheels are red and black.

All ball bearing with 175lbs load capacity

What is really cool about this caster is the locking brake mechanism.  When actuated, it not only locks the wheel from turning but it locks the caster in any position you want it to face. Why is this so cool? If I want to make my case virtually imposable to fall or even be pushed over I lock all the wheels facing away from the case giving it a very wide base. See photos:

 

post-100338-0-34731500-1461417576_thumb.jpgpost-100338-0-45843600-1461417642_thumb.jpgpost-100338-0-54755500-1461417683_thumb.jpg

 

It will be a bit of a challange to mount these to the bottom of your case.

I had cut out adheasive backed density foam rubber pads to use between the case and caster to reduce noise and vibration. I recall cutting out a small portion of aluminium supports that were pop rivited to the bottom panel in order to place the mounting bolts through the caster plate and bottom panel. I used wide flat washers to aide in support to keep the bottom panel from flexing and was able to keep enough clearance around the fan vents to still mount fans if I ever want and the magnetic air filter still lays on the bottom.

 

 

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OK Wheel issue resolved, I would like to mow address my changes and enhancements on the Drive Bays.

 

Thermaltake give you good flexability  with three general mounting configurations where if needed can be mixed in any combo you like.

Before I get into this, in my drive configurations, for my needs I use only SATA Drives, I don't use RAID in this build, just plain SATA I, II, & III. Some 2.5 SSDs and 3.5 HDDs. One of Thermaltake's tripple option lets you mount drives to the backside of the center pannel, which is behind the motherboard, with mounting hardware. I wont be using this option in my build, which I will explain in a later post.

 

The second & third mounting option's involves using the 5.25 rack spacing. In both of these options the drives can be mounted in a vertical stacking pattern. I will refer to the second option, which I also chose not to use, as the internal rackmount system,  because all the drives will be inside the case, behind the windowed side door, to the right of the motherboard, by two aluminium vertical rails that kind of mimics the vertical mounting thru the front panel. The reasons I chose not to use this option were;

A.) the two supplied rails would have to bear all the weight of six to eight 3.5 HDDs all 100% off center oof the rails, just didn't feel it would be rigid enough, especially if I was going to make it all "Hot Swapable".

B.) you would also have to open the side windowed door to access them

C.) I will need this area to mount two 240mm resevoirs for my watercooling loops.

 

Call me "Old School" but I like the traditional style of having all my drives to have access through the front of my cases. I will refer to this as option three.

I will arrainge my drive bays, in sequence from top down, starting in the top 5.25 slot with my ASUS Rampage V Extreme O.C. Panel display mounting frame. Followed by the 5.25 Thermaltake Power & I/O panel. I want the ASUS panel on top for two main reasons;

A.) there will be NO cables hanging over the display from the Thermaltake panel, like USB cables, or Headset cables, etc.

B.) so i can pull the ASUS O.C. Remote controller out through the front to access the O.C. controlls and lay or stand the device on the top of the case.

The third slot or maybe at the very bottom I will mount my 5.25 Blu Ray drive.

In between I mounted the three dual drive carrier brackets supplied with the kit.

This leaves a void in the front panel where there is room for a fourth dual drive carrier bracket.  I have no idea  why Thermaltake didn't include a fourth in this kit?

I have heard a few people whith this same concern and if they should start adding the fourth in this kit, they should either charge more or give a free one to those who bought a first release who didn't get it. If they don't add it, it would be very nice for them to make it available at a reasonable price in spare parts. I truely believe good spare parts supplies need to be available to case owners. I have called Customer Support and have been told that this item should be available soon so I planed for it in my design.

 

OK now this is what really disapointed me the most, and I do shame Thermaltake on there utter lack of foresite in developing this case.

Can someone please explain why would someone want a removeable slide-in drive carrier that is NOT Hot Swappable?

This just utterly mistifies my me of what I concider pure ignorance. What gaul to give customers a nice slide-in 3.5/2.5 drive carrier even designed so that either style drive has their SATA connectors in the same symetricle position, "Hot Swap Ready", with absolutly NO SATA Backplane? It's like they were gonna give us that as they were half way there, then someone dropped the ball. I love my W100 but for this issue alone, I am not sure I would recomend it to my worst enemies. If a company relleay wants to pride themselves as an industry leader and inovator in designs and claims a Core series case as their Flagship model, I will have to shake my head in discust.

 

What is so stupid is that if you want to change a drive on a slide-in configuration, is that you have to get to the back of it to change two SATA connectors. This defeats the whole purpose folks, and I challange any audiance who dissagrees. So what do we do as consummers? Well I guess some people have to now live with this fact, the few mundain folks who I guess just don't care. Or in my case, rise to the challange and making ultimate mods, by fabricating my own backplane bolt on upgrade, making my system maybe one of the first if not the only "Hot Swappable Core W100". I engineered and fabricated a very durable, ridged, steel frame that bolts onto the dual drive carrier bracket and a complete SATA connectorized backplane. I have not decided to add my photos of it yet but it does work extremely well.

 

Oh one more thing on this topic of W100 dual drive carrier brackets is that in it's current design you can't plug in angled down SATA connector cables on the lower drive as they interfere with the lower rear lip of the dual drive carrier bracket, and you will need to notch the brackets if you want to use these types of cables. I like them for wire management purposes as the flat cables can be stacked in layers from the angle down connectors quite neatly.

 

note:   I am adding this comment after completing this build and using my "Hot Swap" setup.

The backplane adapters and brackets have been working flawlessly.  All of my various SDD's, HDD's both 3.5" and 2.5" drives mounted on the plastic Thermaltake drive carriers make perfect, consistant, insertion and contact to my SATA Backplane Adapters. By my photos it may look  a bit crude, but I needed to have a  rigid bracket that would not flex or bend, and would stay in perfect allignment to the Thermaltake dual drive carrier brackets.

 

I used the locknuts you see in the photos to allow the Backplane Adapters to float just fractions of an inch so they would align themselves to the drive's SATA connectors when the drive is locked into it's slot. I made the holes that the Backplane Adapters mount just a bit oversized in my brackets to give it the slop I needed and when I tightened the locknuts I took them down to where I couldn't jiggle the adapters and the backed the nut ou just enough that the adapters would move freely without binding.

 

I could have found a SATA Drive Hot Swap system that would mount into the W100 but I wanted to keep the cost of the build down so the Backplane Adapters I found by first Googling images took me to eBay and Amazon I found the adapters that I wanted to use. I found the manufacture and produt number, then called them directly so I could verify specifications. My source is PACTECH www.pactech-inc.com  tech@PACTECH-INC,com You need to call or email  them because the product is not in their online catalog. The part number is: RH-SATA-25D and cost was around $6-$8 each.  I bought about a dozen of them incase I messed some up in the process and to have backup supply and for some expansion should Thermaltake make available the dual drive carrier bracket assemblies.

 

I also wanted to put insulation on the Backplne Adaptors on the side that contacted my metal brackets because the circuit boards had traces that ran close to the mounting holes for LEDs. I had some thin teflon sheets with adhesive backs that I cut into strips the width of the adapter and punched holes in them with a paper punch for the mounting screws and stuck them down to the adapters. This also helped to alow the adapter to float without binding. (see phots below)

 

I made the brackets from 1/8" x 1/2" flat stock rods and hardware from Home Depot. The brackets are mounted in place with 5 minute epoxy and are aligned using 2 SATA drives plugged into the adaptors. Hope this info can help anyone who wants to do this.

 

OK that's all folks, and sorry about all my complaining, but someone's gotta do it. LOL ;)

My next concerns is the snap on or hinged skins of the W100.

post-100338-0-53000700-1462261120_thumb.jpg

post-100338-0-95476700-1462261185_thumb.jpg

post-100338-0-59179600-1462299835_thumb.jpg

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The W100 has four panels for external skins. Both the right and left side panels are hindged in the rear with small magnets in the front to hold them shut. One panel has a large plexiglass window veiwing the motherboard. The oposite side has two long vertical vents for two rows of four fans each as does the top panel has one row. The front pannel has several knock out vented covers behind which the hard drive bays reside, etc. Both the top and front panels snap on  to the frame. the back and bottom of the case has no cover panels.

I enhaced the panel system by making all four panels hinged, adding dampening hinges to the rear of the top panel and the right of the front panel. It would be nice if Thermaltake can supply me with two extra panel monted handels like the ones in the side panels. I can't seem to find a manufacturer that makes them. For hindges I used nice dampened cabinetry hindges that when  opened they will spring outward and when you close them they slowly draw themselves shut. I used the 1/2" overlay versions and since I am not mounting to wood I used spacers and countersunk screws throught the fronts of the panels. I also removed the inserts that cover the drivebays off the front panel and added a plexiglass window to the front so you can see all the drives and 5.25 control panels. I will add busy LEDs to the drivebays that connect to my backplanes so you'll see the LEDs from the front panel. Oh and swapped the factory blue LED strip that shines thrugh perferations on the front panel to red to mach my scheme.

 

(I will add pictures of all of the later, cause I gotta get the Smurf outta here. Oh I would like to thank Tt Andy & Tt Leo (Admins) for taking the time and to look at what I am doing. I am taking my time on this project because it will be my personal computer when I get done and I will post a complete parts list then as well as cost.)

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hi,

 

Thanks for these tips, im looking at getting the wp200 so im sure alot of this will still apply

 

how good is the finish on the case? im concerned about how easy it might be to scratch, with the price in mind i intend keeping the case for quite some time

 

with the 5.25 bays i run 2 fan controllers, blueray drive, duelbay res and duel pump combo, and will be adding in the asus panel when i get that board at a later date, so ill be using around 6 or 7 (i use a single slot ssd caddy atm so might want to leave that in anyway not really decided, since the case does not come with enough brackets and thermaltake don't seem to sell them any ideas where i would get some from? do they attach in from the front then bend round to be flush or do they attach in from the back and sit flush? would one set be solid enough to hold a duel reservoir and duel pump combo? 

 

the alternative was to mount it at the bottom and provide some additional support with some rubber feet to reduce noise carrying through the case

 

Time to hunt down some new casters...

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Let's Talk About Airflow Dynamics and my W100 Mods - Loop 1 PSU

 

I chose to divide my W100 into 3 isolated compartments or paths for airstream

 

1.) First the most simplest is the airflow for the Power Supply, My build I am using the Corsair Hx1000i mounted with the fan facing  the bottom of my case. I will run it in Pull Mode so it draws cool air in from the rear of the case over it's components then transferes the heated air down through the bottom of the case. Thermaltake gives you a plastic standoff with an adhesive to hold up the weight of the PSU at the end oposite the mounting surface. I swapped it with a rubber softer standoff to reduce the transmission of noise and vibration of the PSU fan.  The case already has a fan mount hole under the area where the PSU is mounted, so to take advantage of that hole I used a 3/4 x !/2" soft dense foam rubber from office depot, stuck to 3 of the bottom edges of the PSU to make an airtight fit to the bottom of the case, so that the fan hole becomes the exhaust port of  Loop 1.

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Let's Talk About Airflow Dynamics and my W100 Mods - Loop 2 Main - Ambient Case Airflow

 

2,) Next challange is handling of ambient air in the main area internal of the case.

Components atributing heat generation factors are:

A.) The front Drivebay Column (containing up to 6 HDDs or SSDs & 1 Optical Drive)
B.) ASUS Rampage V Extreme Mainboard (air cooled)
C.) Intel i7 Haswell 5960 Extreme CPU with EK Waterblock
D.) Corsair Dominator DDR4 RAM X4 or X8 (air cooled)

 

I chose to utilize the venting on the front panel. I removed the LED srip and it's mounting bracket, sealed all the holes in the front chassis pnl. Added plexi glass window into  front panel and sealed panel (which is now a hinged panel) with dense weatherstrip foam so it's airtight.

 

Incoming cool air passes through the front panels vent strip

 

Note: I blocked off the lower 4" of vent because there are no drives mounted in that area and did same on the lower section of 5 1/4" drive slots )

 

Cool air flows through the gaps between the drive carriers and over the drives, picking up the heated air generated from the drives.

The air is the pulled  toward the rear of the chassis

 

Note: It is important to ensure this chamber is made Air Tight. I had to add a long sheet metal plate across the big gap at the top inner mounting panel and block off the top panel's vents. I think Tt left this space open so a radiator and fans can be mounted at the top of the case. I also flattened down all the HDD mounting tabs and filled the gaps with Bondo to make airtight.

 

The air flows across the Graphics card & GPU, ASUS Mainboard , & RAM.

The heated air colunm is then pulled through and out of the case via a rear panel mounted 140mm EK Furious Vardar 2500 rpm high static pressure/high CFM fan. I speculate there will be some turbulence around and below the Graphics card due to 3 cooling fans integrated on this card pointing downward. Also minor turbulence if I choose to utilize Corsair's Dominator cooling fans add-on.

 

Note: Static pressure is minimally equalized between the radiator chamber and the Main chamber under the ASUS Mainboard and backside of the 2011-v3 socket exclusivly through the cut out in the divider panel. I also used cork padding to direct and dampen the airflow across the bottom of the mainboard.

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Let's Talk About Airflow Dynamics and my W100 Mods - Loop 3 Water Cooling

 

3.) This loop was a tough one to figure out. I had to decide how to get the water cooled back down by getting the best airflow across X2 560 radiators with X4 140mm fans in a chamber that is only a total depth of less than 90mm

 

Bear in mind Tt doesn't recomend mounting radiators on the side of this chassis, only fans. Probably due to the very tight, restricted space.

You really gotta think thin when looking for Rads & Fans that will fit let alone pull enough air.

 

The Radiator I chose was a 540 (that's 4X 140mm fans wide) It also had to be ultra thin with lots of fins and can be run on it's side

At this time I am only water cooling the Intel i7 5960x 8 core Over Clock CPU in 1 loop.

The Rad is a Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis 560GTS® XFLOW Ultra Stealth Cross-Flow Low Profile Radiator

 

Well that was the original plan, but as luck would have it, the Rad arrived with dented side tank. Freight dammaged? Maybe, so Performance PCs gave me an RMA and Shipper Damage claim because I paid for insurance, and they replaced it, But they sent the wrong model (not the XFlow), any way I finally got the correct Rad and was told to keep or through way the dented Rad. So of course I kept it having faith that it would still function normally. So I either save it for another loop or through it into this loop. So I am incorperating it into this loop as an experiment. The W100 has 2 RAD/Fan mounts availible on the side on this chassis, so each Rad gets a home.

This Rad is a one-pass, quad fan stealth implemenation, 16 FPI 25 Micron Copper Fins, that utilizes vectored cross-flow tanks and is an optimized stealth form factor solution in systems ulitilizing impingement-type waterblocks. It is optimized for sub-800 rpm ultra-stealth fans and can run under Supercruise optimizations for scalable performance with high speed fans.

The Rads will suck up 29.6mm of my 90mm fixed depth.

The mounting brackets supplied with the W100 is  mm thick.

The Air Filter Mesh is about mm thick and magnetically mounts to the inside of the side panel and will only be used on the intake end to filter out dust.

The gap from the top outside edge surface of the Rad mount to the inside surface of the side panel at the side panel's vent holes is sealed offf airtight with a dense weather stripping foam.

This now will leave mm between the back of the Rad to the chassis internal divider panel for fans, fittings, and still leave enough room to breath.

 

This will be like sucking an elephant through the neck of a wine bottle

I see that 15-16mm thick 140mm fans out there but all have 120mm mounting and not a lot of static pressure

The next thickness jumps to 25mm fans with 140mm mounts.

The best available at the time of this build was EKWB's Furious Varder 140mm PWM FF$-140 2500 RPM

 

to be continued

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