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OGKwon - Chieftec Dragon Modding

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So I figured I would start a thread to help keep track of my work and for anyone else who is interested.  The plan is to mod my old Chieftec/Antec/Chenming "Dragon" case (blue) and give it a facelift into the 21st century.  It rocks 5 different places for measly 80mm fans (2 intake, 2 exhaust, 1 side-panel) and as long as you have decent fans can get the job done albeit a little noisier for the same performance of what a 120mm fan can provide at lower RPM's.




A little backstory - This case originally housed an old Alienware case (~1999) with a Pentium 4 1.7ghz and GeForce 3 Ti500.  That computer actually lasted until I wanted to build a new computer in 2009 where the case went on to house my X58 ASUS P6T, i7 920, 6gb Corsair XMS3 and a monster in both size and power draw in the GTX 285.


After BFG closed its doors and the lifetime warranty went away with it I purchased the Arctic Cooling Accelero Extreme that was custom fit for the GTX 285 and turned the card into a 2 slot, extremely long behemoth into a... 3 slot extremely long behemoth albeit with much better cooling now that it rocked 3 direct 92mm fans blowing across a massive heatsink.  That was as far as the upgrades went for this machine until I eventually purchased a GTX 970 at the end of the summer in 2015 - which has since moved into my new build (X99 6800k).


After the new build was complete I put some energy in sprucing up the old X58 which is when I found out you could run Xeon processors in these motherboards and they overclocked like champions (never would have built a new machine had I known this).  Well I pulled out another old Chieftec/Antec/Chenming "Dragon" case (silver) that used to hold a different Alienware system with an AMD Athlon XP 1800+ and a Radeon 9700 Pro(the one was purchased by one parent and then the other a couple years later by another parent).  I cleaned up the silver case and got it prepped to house my upgraded X58 system after recently purchasing;

  • Xeon W3680 6 core w/ hyperthreading overclocked to 4.2 ghz
  • Noctua NH-U14S
  • 24gb KLEVV 2800mhz RAM (running at 1800mhz CL8 1.5v)
  • Refurbished GTX 960
  • PNY CS1311 240gb SSD
  • Silverstone USB 3.0 PCIe x2 card w/ 2 19pin connectors
  • Silverstone USB 3.0 x4 + Headphone/Microphone 3.5" bay
  • A couple 2.5 and 3.5 to 5.25 mounting brackets to relocate some drives
  • 4 SilenX Effizio 80mm Fluid Dynamic Fans
  • Evercool 5 fan splitter with Molex power connector
  • BitFenix 1 Molex to 3 Molex splitter

It cost a little more than I planned but has revitalized that computer like never before in a freshly cleaned case, added cables for some actual wire management and USB 3.0/Audio front ports (board didn't support USB 3.0 and the case didn't have any front panels - 2 birds 1 stone).  I actually ended up buying a used P6X58D-E motherboard for $100 and used my old P6T in another Xeon X5670 build I put together for a friend.  The Xeon's can be bought for ~$65 right now (unreal) and pack a serious punch when overclocked.



This takes me back to my now uninhabited blue case which I have decided to try my luck at modding.  The initial plan is to replace the 80mm fans and cut out space on the front panel to hold 2 120mm fans + cut out space on the back panel to hold 2 92mm fans.  To do this I first removed the 3.5" drive bay supports and cut the top drive bay so the bottom portion is removed, leaving me with 2 3.5" drive bays accessible.  This presents a separate problem since I'll need to add a place to support the front of the drive bay since the supports are removed.  The plan is to weld a piece of steel to the top of the drive bay and slice out a place in the front panel for it to stick through so it can be supported.  So far I've done the preliminary cuts to be able to better measure the front panel and mark the places I'll need to cut/drill.  The other places I'll be cutting is the motherboard try and provide some space for some better wire management.


Once I finish cutting everything I plan on painting the entire case...  Which I'm thinking I'll need to sand everything before applying some primer and then a coat of paint... This is where I have even less experience so any guidance on that part would be greatly appreciated.


Now for the pictures!



Here are the two cases side-by-side with the silver one currently housing my upgraded X58 system;





Here's a shameless plug with pictures of the X58 system running with all of it's new toys;







And here are some shots of the blue case after I cleaned it and finished some preliminary cuts;



Edited by xenkw0n

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Made some cuts on the motherboard tray so I can better manage wiring... Will probably touch up the edges that aren't straight next week.  Once all of the cuts are made I am planning on prepping the case for some paint... Again, any recommendations or tutorials would be greatly appreciated in this area.



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Always loved those cases. I still have my original one that I purchased many years ago sitting on a shelf in my shop because I just can't seem to part with it. Looking forward to seeing how this turns out!

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Yea I'm actually on the lookout for some more of them.  Hoping to land some for parts.


If you still have that rig in your signature you should look into a used Xeon X5650, X5660 or X5670.  Between $50-70 for a chip that overclocks to 4.0ghz no issues with 6 cores.  Your motherboard supports them, might need a bios update but that's about it.

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I made a cut on the front cage to allow a piece of metal to stick through and act as a support for my hard drive bay since I removed the bottom portion so that two 120mm fans could fit but still be able to use the bay for 2 3.5" slots.  They are actually the two slots that line up with the 2 external 3.5" bay spots so I could buy a front panel audio + usb bay and a 2x2.5 to 1x3.5 SSD converter bay to fill them in (something like http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817998040 and http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811999236)... Few options either way since I can keep 2 3.5" slots.  Most likely at least an audio + usb bay since the case does not have any pre-installed.


I used JB weld on a piece of metal I cut from leftover scrap after removing the bottom part of the hard drive bay so that it protrudes and will fit through the opening in the front to act as support.  After the JB weld cures I will be able to test it so I'm hoping it lines up perfectly and I won't need to make any more adjustments with this part.





Edited by xenkw0n

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So the JB Weld cured and it works perfectly.  Slides right into the front cut I made on the case and sits where it should.  I'm going to use some 3M tape along the latch just to make it more snug since it moves a mm in each direction.  Also cut out the section where the back 92mm fans will reside.



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Making good progress on the case manipulation aspect.  Going on vacation this weekend so I'll take the time to think about if there's anything else I want to physically change on the case before I start taking it apart and prepping it for paint.


Drilled out the holes and made the cuts for the front fans today.  I actually have a couple extra 120mm fans and already picked up the grills I'm going to use so I was able to test how it worked... I'm very happy with the result!  Should have tried to take a more straight shot of the front of the grill but it is straight.  Looks like I measured exactly what I needed when cutting the hard drive bay because it's not even 1mm away from the top fan.  It's not touching, but it's as close as it can get.


Also received the U-Channel rubber edging that I ordered... Perfect size!



OGKwon-7-FrontFansOut.jpg  OGKwon-8-FrontFansIn.jpg  OGKwon-9-MBUChannelTest.jpg

Edited by xenkw0n

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Sanded the outside parts of my case that were flat enough while it was still together earlier this week and then just got finished disassembling it.  Will hand-sand the rest of the pieces now before moving onto paint! :-x



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Aloha From Hawaii ,

No big deal but I did these my first time out with Computer modding a little.


That is a good looking build you are doing. I have both case's in a box here not being used for a while. I got these years ago and still have

all the internals and pieces. I did the original Blue Alienware one and used it for a while with a ...ASUS M2N32n-SLI in it till the MoBo went.

I modded the right case cover with a cut out of a Alien Head design and Plexi cover. Yours looks like it is coming along good and a lot of

potential also. I did all that you are doing and it was quite easy being a Mechanic and Welder by trade. The tin was easy to do so I just kept

on going till it was finished and useful. The way you are going is what I did for the fans to be better and more useful also.

I also have a original Dragon case I did modd also and it is stored too with the Alien. They are form the earlier years and in top shape also.

I got the Dragon for ...$10.00 Bucks from a old store here and I did it in a Very nice Burgundy color because it was all scratched up from use. I hyave everything that it came with in storage and might use them in the future.

I have a ...MSI 970 Gaming MoBo that I might use in the Black case the Alienware.

These are the cases I have stored away now:

Keep going till done and they will be great to use

Aloha and thanks for your posting of a great project coming about soon.

LongBike from Honolulu, Hawaii








Edited by LongBike

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Sweet cases!  The one with Alientware down the side is the same style as my silver case with the flat air intake covers vs. the curved ones of the normal models.


I know it's been a while since an update but I got a little OCD with the sanding and went over EVERY piece of metal on the case...  That being said I finished sanding later last week (~30 hours spent sanding while watching TV shows) and had some beautiful weather today so strung up the different parts and applied the primer!  Made 2 coats of average thickness over every part.  They are still strung up and I will be bringing them in shortly after laying down some cardboard in my basement... Which is very dry and kept clean (industrial sized dehumidifier) so it's the perfect environment for the primer to really settle.  After this I'll be painting the interior parts black before working on the more detailed exterior with the patterns of white, red and black.


Before applying the primer;





After applying the primer;



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Everything has dried and I touched up a few spots the following couple days to make sure no exposed metal was left and nothing would rust + the paint would adhere.


Here's a picture of the dried pieces with primer.





I got most of the interior and interior-facing parts painted black as well.  The painting tape worked well enough and should help me create a nice design on the exterior.



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