Case mod: Fitting full-height PCI cards in low-profile micro-ATX cases

Case mod

  Remember the goggles:

Safety goggles

This page shows how to modify a micro-ATX case (normally designed for low-profile PCI cards only), so a full-height PCI card can be used. If you want to keep the metal cutting at a minimum, a 90 degree PCI adaptor is normally the best solution. However, these adaptors are usually hard to find and quite expensive when you do find them.

The following method requires no adaptor, you only need few items you should be able to find at you local DIY shop.

Tools needed:
  • Dremel rotary tool (or similar) with cutting disc
  • Safety goggles
  • Electric drill (+3mm drill bit)
  • Metal file
  • Flat-nose pliers
  • Screw drivers
Hardware needed:
  • 3mm nuts and bolts
  • Plastic corner profile
I wanted to use my trusty old Creative DXR3 (AKA Sigma Designs Hollywood Plus) MPEG decoder in my new living room DVD box because of it's great TV-out signal quality.

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The brand-new Aopen H340A mATX case for my low space consuming Web Server / Home Entertainment System.

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Normally, you can only use low-profile PCI cards in Aopen's Slim PC series.

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The DXR3 test-mounted with the back plate removed. Why didn't I just buy a full-size ATX case? Don't ask.

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Using a cutting disc meant for plastic and metal, make two parallel cuts about 10mm longer than the PCI card (remember the goggles). Then carefully bend the metal up 90 degrees. If you accidently crumple up the metal piece on the middle just like me, it will look bad later on. Oops.

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Cut two lengths of plastic corner profile that fits the slot.

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Because the case cover is folded back at the edge, you may have to cut a section of the profile out like in the picture. That fold is your friend. Not only does it prevent your fingers from being cut when you put together the computer, but now you can also unfold it (very carefully) on the section you cut to make it longer. You will need that extra length to make the section go all the way to the edge when you bend it like on the following pictures.

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Cut a few small corners from the remaining corner profile to attach the end, and to stabilize the case cover.

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From the front..

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And from the inside

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Now we need to mod one of the case backplates to fit the SVHS connector.

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Dremel time again. If you do not have a vice, use a piece of wood like this.

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Mounting the card.

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Case cover mounted. There are about 3mm clearance left and right of the card. But if it did touch one of the sides, it wouldn't matter, as the sides are non-conductive plastic. The nuts are placed behind the card, so an electrical short should be impossible.

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TV-out and Line-out cables connected.

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The final result.

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The final result.



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