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GG Terrarium - A garden PC


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If you can't see the images check out the PCParkPicker = https://nz.pcpartpicker.com/b/pR2RsY


Things used...


Intel Core i5-4460

Gigabyte Z97N-Wifi (+2 big Asus aerials) 

G.SKill Ripjaws X 2x 4GB DDR3

SilverStone Strider Gold 450w PSU

EK-DBAY Res + Hard Tubing

EK-Supremacy CPU block

EK-Coolstream Rad + 8x long standoffs + 12 normal standoffs + 4 really cool screws that you can put standoffs in (people mocked me for keeping all the spare parts from random builds, haha I say!) 

120mm Cooler Master fan

Glass, lots of little white rocks, and quite a bit of glue :)

Succulents, moss, ground cover and an orchid.

Windows 10 \o/


Hi I'm Bennies from New Zealand and if there are two things I love in life it's building PC and gardening, so why not combine the two!


My scratch build project is a glass enclosed terrarium PC, a gardeners desktop that can play a little League of Legends :)


Starting with a hunt for the right shape I began searching on google and found my inspiration in a hexagonal ceiling lampshade so I started playing around with drafts for the build with that idea in mind dropping in shapes to get the feel for the space.  Ideally I want the stone garden to be the first thing you see when you look at the PC and when you look at things a little closer you'll be able to see the tech!




The next few steps where to cut the shapes for everything out in polystyrene to find out exactly how big I'd need the base hexagon to be, once I started though the build felt to large (must fit on a desk) so I grabbed a smaller SFX power supply and switched the motherboard to an ITX which freed up a lot of space. 


Happy with my basic design I started calling around the local fish shops to try and find someone with a broken fishtank that I could cut to pieces, this proved to be an impossible find and so I cut the hexagon from wood and started laying out the components.  It looked fairly good at this stage but I just wasn't happy with the way it was looking - too much like a PC and too little like a garden, the motherboard and power supply were flat and it just felt like I had built an odd shaped computer...  then the phone rang!  My mate (Thanks Dan!!) had found an old pedestal and while it didn't have any glass with it the shape sounded just right so I went to check it out.


It was small, much smaller than what I had begun working with but that was actually pretty good as I didn't like my current size and wanted to push things down even more, better yet it was two layers of plastic with a gap in the middle I could use for cable management so I start laying out components again to see what was possible with the new base hitting a similar issue sadly, it looks too much like PC...


This is when the build design really changes, I had the motherboard sitting fan down on the table and I thought "why not mount that upside down?"  - Dremmmel time!!


I marked and begun cutting the holes I wanted for cables, cooling and stands.  To invert the motherboard I cut the tips of 4 ballpoint pens (these are perfect for mobo screws) and secured them in the points I had created.  I made the PSU look a harder to spot by cutting into the first and second layer of my base in different spots so it would sit on a slope and draw air from underneath.  I also cut a circle under the cpu cooler and threaded my salvaged power button through and into the side.


Now I had my motherboard and powersupply fitted I tested and everything booted up great so I started laying out the stones just to double check that the concept looked right - it was basic but in line with what I was after so I was happy :)




I started to play around with the placement for the graphics card and t-virus res then I stopped to think.  It was just to normal looking - the T-virus is an amazing res but this is a scratch build and needs be really unique.




Let's go crazy I thought - let's make an open air watercooling waterfall feature...


With renewed focus and being quite proud of the way my mobo stilts turned out I thought about elevating my radiator but this needed to be much higher so I removed some stones and daisy chained 2x long stands and 3x normal standoffs to bring my rad up to the perfect height so I could create my waterfall into the pond below. 


Layout was ready, time to commit to the build and do the hard tubing. 




Wanting to keep things clean I plotted out my main pipe route using cardboard and marked the tube where I would need to bend, attaching the straight pipe from the pond first I secured the motherboard down and bent my main water pipe with 3 90 degree bends into position :)


I then attached a bit of soft tubing to my res drain and also a fan controller to my pump, just in case it still splashed I had my mobo protected with some plastic wrap.  During testing I began cutting back the soft tubing until it was in the final position and ready for the rocks to be added.  A quick vid https://www.instagram.com/p/BFxFPONQDBM/?taken-by=goodgamingpc




And so now it's onto to rockwork, then plants and finally glass!  


Fun times ahead :)


With the temperature being so chilly in New Zealand right now it's taking a little longer for my rocks to set but slowly the walls are rising up around the res, I've washed a bunch of pebbles and as soon as these dry i'll make the rockface for the water to fall over.




With the stone work now done it's time to cut the glass that will enclose this mighty garden!  For airflow I'm going to take a corner out of a couple of side pieces, this way I can avoid drilling the glass.


Cutting is the wrong word - snapping glass is a better way to put it :)


Quick video on snappin glass =  https://www.instagram.com/p/BFzyXvfQDI_/?taken-by=goodgamingpc




Hahaha this is just too much fun!  




OK, all done \o/ 


I had a last minute idea and made a piece of glass to cover the mobo, it's working well.  I also cut the corners off two of my glass panels to allow hot air to escape and give me handles when removing the casing.


Pics just before I went plant mad.






Videos of PC in action






I added a bigger rock so the waterfall would be cooler






Added a bit more moss to conceal the water pipe :)




It looks best with the pump on low, gives it a really cool water rolling down the rocks look.




Thanks everyone!  I hope you like my scratch build, it was very fun to make.  Massive thanks to Cooler Master ANZ for making the push for people down here (like me!) to enter the competition, you guys and gals ROCK!



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