Project Osmium: Introduction

noun Chemistry.
atomic number 76. Osmium is a hard, brittle, blue-gray or blue-black transition metal in the platinum family, and is the densest natural element.

Many months ago, when Lynnfield was announced, my interest in a power-efficient, small-footprint quad-core system was piqued. No northbridge, and individual core control; A quad-core system that stays within the 200W power envelope and yet sits in a case smaller than a mini-tower was unthinkable, then.

My earliest ideas revolved around fitting a Core i7-860 in a Lian-Li MUSE PC-C37 case, cooled by a sealed closed-loop cooler such as the Corsair H50. The optical drive + hard drive cage would be removed and replaced with a segregated cooling tunnel for the 120mm radiator, and a 70mm fan intake would cool the memory DIMMs. This idea bounced around in my head for quite a while, until I started looking up case mods on bit-tech and other sites.

The idea of a scratch-build was very appealing; low-form-factor cases have not gained mass-market appeal yet, so pickings are still slim. The only case I could find that would take a full-sized ATX PSU was the C37, and it was still a little too wide for my taste. I also wanted a case that would stand upright to reduce the desktop footprint, and the C37 didn’t look like it could do that comfortably.

Hence, enter project Osmium. The name was (uncreatively) inspired by the element of the same name; this build aims to maximise performance in as small a volume as possible (highest performance density), and it would be decked out in black, like the rest of the other electronics on my table.