Yes, I know. How. Freaking. Original. Yet another G4 Cube mod. But believe it or not, about a year ago when the idea first popped in my mind, I was naive enough to think nobody had come up it before. When I found out it was actually a “thing”, I was more than a little bummed. So much, in fact, that I abandoned the project altogether. But then I started looking at all the mods, each one better than the previous, and I was motivated again. And here’s why I finally ended up doing the mod: I wanted to use more components than I had ever seen in any cube mod before. I do graphic design and video editing, so I needed two components that most cube modders end up ditching: a 3.5” 3TB hard drive and a dedicated video card. And I didn’t want to compromise on the optical drive. And yeah, why not add an SSD a 1TB 2.5” hard drive too. It seemed impossible. And there’s no better motivation than impossible. Here’s the list of components I used (tried to pick everything for maximum compatibility and easy installation): * Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z87N-WIFI * CPU: Intel Core i5-4570S, 2.9 GHz * CPU Cooler: Noctua Low-Profile CPU Cooler NH-L9I * Video Card: I already had a slim Gigabyte GT 640, but my idea was to end up using an EVGA GTX 750Ti, so I needed to leave enough room for it to “breathe”. * RAM: Crucial Ballistix Tactical Low Profile 8GB Single DDR3-1600 (x2) * Hard Drives: - Samsung 840 Pro Series 2.5-Inch 256GB SSD - HGST Travelstar 2.5-Inch 1TB 7200RPM - Seagate Barracuda 3.5-Inch 3TB 7200RPM * Optical Drive: Hitachi LG HL CA10N 12.7mm Slot load (But, DON’T BUY THIS ONE! It’s loud and OS X won’t support native burn with this drive. I currently have to use Roxio Toast) * Power Supply: Mini-Box picoPSU-160-XT, with 192w AC-DC Power Adapter * Case Fan: Noctua 92 x 14 mm Low-Profile Cooling Fan (my original idea was to use it as exhaust on top, but ended up using it as intake. I’ll explain why later) * Bluetooth: IOGEAR Bluetooth 4.0 USB Micro Adapter * WiFi: Broadcom Wireless 802 11/a/g/n Internet WLAN Adapter. The first thing I did was to buy an old, not working cube on eBay. I disassembled it and became familiar with the internal frame and how all the components were distributed. The plexiglass case was full of scratches, and I had to sandpaper and polish it for days to make it look good again, but it was completely worth it. Mostly because I now have really sexy biceps. After measuring the internal aluminum box, I started playing Tetris with figures sized like the components in Fireworks (Yes, I use Fireworks). I wanted to know where to put everything, minding a proper ventilation. It became clear from early on that if I wanted to cram so many things inside the cube, I had to ditch the sliding mechanism. It’s super awesome, but it takes a lot of space. So I ended up deciding that instead of modding the internal aluminum frame of the cube, I was going to make an entire new one in plexiglass. I'll buy you a beer if you understand which component is which in this diagram. Second thing I did was to make a cardboard model of what was to be my replacement internal frame. I did this because Plexiglass laser cutting services are expensive, and I wanted to test everything in order to avoid any possible measuring mistakes (which I had made). Notice I used 2mm cardboard, same thickness of the plexiglass. This required many, many, many box cutter razors, zen master patience, and no fear of losing a finger (what’s a pinky good for, anyway?). But the cardboard frame was so firm, it allowed me to add most of the components and see if everything fit properly. In fact, it worked so well I could have ended up using it, but 1. cardboard could have catch fire and burn my entire house with me inside, and much more importantly 2. it looked ugly as sin. So after I was sure the frame worked, I had the plexiglass laser cut like my models. The pieces, when they arrived! The assembled internal frame. And here it is, with all the components inside. It's hard to see, but when I took this photos I was still using the GT 640. Yet the hole on the bottom was wide enough to allow me to eventually replace it for the GTX 750 Ti. At the time, I didn’t know if nVidia was going to release the alternate drivers, so I just had my fingers crossed hoping for the best (thankfully, they did!). Curious thing: After turning it on, I noticed something I wouldn’t have possibly thought of. The thing was humming. And I don’t mean a gentle, low hum, no. This was a great disturbance, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and... refused to shut the hell up. The exhaust fan was to blame. Not because the fan itself was loud but because of the internal acoustics of the cube. The exhaust fan was making it act like a bagpipe of sorts. The solution was to turn it around and make it an intake fan instead of an exhaust fan. It still hums a little, but no longer haunts my dreams and torments my soul. And I believe temps are even better with the fan in this position. Now, regarding temps. I know some of you will be wondering how hot is this thing, since it’s crammed with so many components. Well, my CPU is idling on 46º, and my drives are around 40º. The mobo is around 53º. Hot, I know. But, before you yell at me that my computer is about to burst into flames there’s something you should know: I live in a city so hot, if it were a girl, you’ll chose her over a threesome with Scarlett Johansson and Jen Lawrence. Our average ambient temperature is around 32 degrees celsius. Those temps are but one or two degrees above of what I usually see, even in extremely well ventilated cases (even without any case at all!). In fact, before stuffing my components in the cube I had them in the Antec ISK 310-150 case, and my temps were even higher. That said, the intake fan on top is a necessity. I’ve tested turning it off, and boy, do things get dangerously hot in there. There it is, running Yosemite and kicking ass. It looks so cool, I now have to get me a new desk because the one I currently have is is in really bad shape -.- Some final words: * I bought the Hitachi LG HL CA10N optical drive because it was significantly cheaper than a Sony Optiarc. I regret it. It doesn’t work natively with OS X (it does with Roxio Toast) and it’s loud, loud, loud. If I had the money, I’d change it. * I should’ve used a better CPU cooler. The NH-L9i is excellent, and my CPU temps are mmmmacceptable, but I think I could’ve stuffed a Prolimatech Samuel 17 in there, which would’ve been better. * I wish I knew more about electronics to add a touch sensor to power it on. It’d be way cooler, but meh, it works fine without it. * If you noticed, the internal frame is being held up by two screws that are bolted from the top of the plexiglass case. The screws are visible, and ugly, and Jony Ive would probably murder me if he saw it. I’m thinking on a way to improve the way they look. Last but not least, I wanted to mention that this was actually my first case mod. It goes without saying, but I couldn’t have done this without the help of all the previous cube modders. I started standing on the shoulders of giants. So, thank you guys. Hope you liked it. Any questions, feel free to ask.