Origins of SNOWBLIND
iBUYPOWER Brad discusses some of the process for creating the Snowblind and provides insight on building a system for Intel's Rig Challenge.
Behind the Scenes: Snowblind
By, Team iBUYPOWER
The iBUYPOWER Snowblind: an “inception” birthed from a collaboration between ourselves and Intel. The overall idea? To house one of the first mass-produced LCD display on computer systems for consumer release.
iBUYPOWER Brad discusses some of the process for creating the Snowblind and provides insight on building a system for Intel’s Rig Challenge. For the first time ever the final iteration of our case with an LCD display is readily available for mass production and being sold only at iBUYPOWER
R: In regards to the Snowblind, how did you think of the concept?
Originally, we were brainstorming a way to solve one of Intel’s problems, where they were concerned that literally every component of the PC is visible except the processor itself, and if there was a way to “show” the processor.
The first idea was actually to do some kind of projection of the CPU model onto the surface of the cooler, but was scrapped because the optics for projecting an image from within the PC was too complicated and even if we could do it, the image wouldn’t be very useful otherwise.
Fast forward a few months, someone saw a transparent LCD display case advertising a pair of headphones at a trade show. They asked me if this was something we could do on a case side window. I spent a lunch break tearing apart an old monitor and taped it into the side window of a case as a proof of concept.
By chance, we had a tour coming up a few days later with some Intel staff, and our VP said we should show them the concept, so we took a motherboard, painted it white, stuck a lightbulb inside the case to light it up, and created a “commercial” that ran on the screen that ended in the classic Intel Inside noise.
While the tour was supposed to cover our entire production and all our activities, Intel stood fixated on the concept (playfully named “teletubby” at the time) and immediately asked us how much it costs and when someone could buy one
At that moment we had no experience with manufacturing displays, and had no intention of making any more than just the one concept, so it was actually a huge undertaking.
R: How many renditions until you hit the final draft?
It took over a year and 4 additional evolutions of the concept before we finally had something consumer-ready, having to solve problems of durability, longevity, maintenance, and pricing along the way.
R: Why this particular build for the rig challenge?
For the Intel Extreme Rig Challenge, we wanted something where it’s uniqueness was immediately apparent. Nobody should have to explain the PC to someone for them to know it was something special. The Snowblind’s transparent display is perfect for that, and could also be used to further highlight the components used inside.
R: What’s under the hood?
For the components we’re using the latest 7th generation i7-7700k, an Asus Z270 TUF motherboard, dual custom cooled GTX 1080 graphics cards, and dual 1TB Intel 600P SSDs in RAID0. A great deal of the components are custom painted white so that the screen has the maximum amount of clarity and contrast.
R: Why the Snowblind?
The build was not difficult to plan, we had a really good idea of what we wanted right off the bat, but construction was harder than expected. The chassis is big, but we had to cram quite a lot into it, so spacing got tight. We were fortunate that the 600P SSDs are M.2 form factor since it allowed us to remove the hard drive cages for extra space to run the coolant lines and place an extra radiator.
R: How long did it take?
Overall the build took about 15 man hours, with the majority of that being the painting and modding of the parts.
R: The Snowblind has been a concept you’ve been working on for a year now, how do you feel about its current status?
We are super excited to finally be able to sell this product and show people what we can do. This is the best system we have ever built, and its great to be a part of it. Really looking forward to what else is brought to the table in this competition. There’s still some mystery surrounding the other rigs so it will be interesting to see what other unique ideas surface.
About the Snowblind (Media):
Thanks to our partnership with Intel, iBUYPOWER concepts have been turned into reality. This one-of-a-kind system features a unique, customizable LCD display embedded into our signature Noctis case: a major leap in providing the ultimate customization for all consumers. The new Snowblind N450 will come equipped with custom made Rainmeter widgets, backgrounds and video content for fans to enjoy.
The Snowblind N450 will come equipped with the latest 7th generation Intel Core i7. All systems can be configured exclusively at iBUYPOWER with Intel processors and NVIDIA GPUs and will be available at www.iBUYPOWER.com in February. Be on the look out for the Snowblind N450 at the PAX Intel Extreme Rig Challenge!
For more information about iBUYPOWER, please visit http://www.iBUYPOWER.com/
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