So, I have taken a few steps back to move a few more forward.
I've actually been using the Cube in the form you saw above for a couple of weeks or so and quite happy with it, but still knowing I need to finish it off.
In the meantime though I was thinking that perhaps there was a little more room in there to do something with. And that maybe I should look at the graphics side to match that a little more evenly to the power of the CPU.
Inspired by Fleisch on TMx86 who put a Sapphire 7750 low profile into his Cube I thought that it would be nice to do the same thing in my build, but in keeping with the cooling scheme to watercool it. Watercooling is perhaps OTT for this card (as it is rated normally at 50w) but I considered that it would be worth trying to include it in the loop and see how that affects temp.s
As a contingency I can still if needed switch to a small external res (or even include small pump/res. combo on the Cube back and use a conventional CPU block) but as the load temp.s I have been getting with the CPU have been so good I am interested to try this out first.
Anyway, here is the virgin card:
and here it is being transformed:
I couldn't find a universal block that was low enough and had side outputs and was specifically for the 7750 so I took a gamble and modified an XSPC universal RASA block. I basically ditched the mount bracket and removed the screws holding the heat transfer plate to the block and then used studding and nuts to secure the plate back together again. This studding is on a 43mm x 43mm square matrix which fits through the GPU holes.
The original rubber blocks from the aluminium air cooled heatsink are re-used to provide a cushioned contact for the GPU die and nuts are used on the reverse of the card to attach it. I am hopeful that the rubber blocks will let me get a good pressure on the GPU die without me over crushing it (!).
To mount this card I made a new support piece that provides a route for a rigid PCI-e x 16 extender to come up through it and also to take a supplementary DC-DC converter board
(photos to follow) and fix this all to the side supports of the Cube.
The DC-DC converter board takes an unregulated supply of between 6 and 34v and provides a regulated 12v output of up to 120W. Before deciding to go ahead with this extra step I tried rigging the supplementary supply to a 24v input and using the output to supply the dedicated CPU molex connector while having the rest of the board/components supplied by the regular picopsu and tested it out under various operating conditions and all seemed to function well - so the Cube now has a potential 280W of power......not that I plan on using all of that. However, I am keen to try this as an experiment to see how well it might work. Plan is to get a high power (240W) external 12v supply and use that for everything in the Cube, but I do have to also look at getting the cabling solutions right from such a supply brick as potentially 20A needs to be factored in as an input current so a 4 pin connection system (e.g. like the original Cube used) is called for. In theory I think that by using a single high power 12v brick the Cube power regulators will not have to work hard and so heat from the PSU will not be a factor. ANyway, back to the case mod.s:
I lowered the motherboard another 7mm over where it was before - to give more space - and here is a trial fit using an old 775 ITX board:
Finally here is a first trial fit in the Cube base with single 120mm Noctua fan on the Alphacool radiator.
Obviously next things to do are now a bit more complicated....new panel, more water fittings, making a circuit to ensure that the DC-DC board and picopsu can start at the same time from the on switch. So lots more things to figure out. Still, I am pretty sure one way or another it is all going to fit in there.