Customization: Motherboard and Power Switch

When I covered the X99 Phoenix motherboard last week the one issue I had with the board was the bright white accents on the heatsinks and the cover for the rear I/O. It wasn’t a deal breaker but the bright white did take away from the black interior that I had planned on doing. To fix this I wanted to dive in and see what I could remove and if I couldn’t remove them paint. I started off with the plastic cover over the I/O all the way down to the sound card. It is split into two pieces and held in place with screws on the backside of the motherboard. I pulled both off then starting sanding over the entire part to make sure our paint would stick to the plastic surface. I spent a little extra time sanding off some of the raised letters as well.

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Once sanded I cleaned both parts to make sure all of the dust and oil from my fingerprints were gone and I used a satin black spray paint to get the look I was going for. I should have primed the surface first, but because of the good surface prep that I did the finish came out good even without a primer. Once the paint dried I reinstalled both panels. I was careful of course to use tape to cover up the LED lights built into the panel and prior to painting, I removed the light diffuser as well so I could reinstall it later without paint on it. The whole job didn’t take long but ended up coming out really good, I don’t know why Gigabyte didn’t do this themselves.

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The heatsinks on the board also had white on them. Gigabyte installed thin aluminum covers on both of the heatsinks. Originally I was thinking about painting just the white areas but I decided to just remove the three panels. They are held on with a glue and don’t expect the panels to be in good shape after you remove them. You can pull them up, but it is best to use a heatgun when doing it to loosen up the adhesive and help prevent any damage to the motherboard. After you are done pulling them off there will be a lot of residue, I rubbed some of it off with my thumb and then used rubbing alcohol and a rag to clean the rest up.

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With the panels off I was really impressed with just how good the heatsinks look. The chipset cooler looks a little like a car tire and the heatsink above the CPU has a striped look. Both are a satin black finish up under the panels so they perfectly matched the I/O cover I painted as well.

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To fix one of the small complaints I had with the CaseLabs Bullet BH7 I just had to get rid of that blue LED on the power button. It would look great on a black or a white case but it didn’t really fit with the orange and black. This part of the build ended up taking me a long time. When I first started the build I ordered an orange vandal switch to replace this one from PerformancePCs. The switch that came through ended up being really cheap and the LED color even on the box wasn’t orange it was amber. Now that is close, but with an orange case and orange lighting inside, an amber power switch was going to look really out of place. I spoke with ModOne, a former CaseLabs employee about what switch would be comparable in quality to the switch in the Buller because I was impressed with its quality and he suggested I look at Lamptron. Well, long story short, I ended up ordering the wrong size, then later I forgot to order a Momentary switch. After weeks of trying to get the correct switch in, I ended up with this switch. I tested it and it looked perfect, so I just had to get it installed.

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To do that, because I already had the PC build, I had to pull the bottom off the Bullet case. From there installing the switch isn’t too hard. You unscrew the nut on the back of the original and pull the switch out. You then transfer all of the connections over to the new switch and reinstall.

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Even with all of the trouble I had trying to get the proper switch, the result was well worth it. The new switch had the same quality feel of the original and the orange matched the build perfectly.

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