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PostPosted: 29.08.2011 22:19 
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So - it's been another few busy weeks, so apologies for the no updates. Have been enjoying those last rays of sunshine before the summer ends!

I think I mentioned last update that I tried to boot up the Asus DSFC-DW board but had issues - here was the attempt:

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I got a green LED to light up (Standby power on the motherboard) but jumping the Power ON pins had no reaction whatsoever. Tried it with a different videocard, re-seated the RAM and CPU's, but still no luck.

Moving onwards - since I un-mounted almost everything, I decided to keep the copper heatinks instead of the aluminum ones for the other motherboard. I also picked up a pair of these units from Rosewill via Newegg:

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They should do nicely for my hard-drive racks. I would like to mount them like so, except higher up:

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Unfortunately, they are deeper than the cabinet I built. At the time, I was thinking maybe they would stick out of my air intake window, and I would just build-out the section of the door with the air filter... Not exactly what I had in mind initially though.

With most of the major components in place, I decided to start tackling the cable management with some cardboard templates, and then some 1/8" plywood:

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At this point I was a little frustrated with how slowly this portion of the project was going. Things weren't quite fitting the way I had planned, and they were not looking as nice as I would have liked them to...

Maybe it's time for some thinking instead of doing.

I decided (In hindsight, unfortunately) to go ahead and mount the hard-drive racks so I could get some better measurements and ideas of how to manage the cables nicely.

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Installed the fans and started to route some of the cables

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Took out a handful of old SATA cables... (Yes, let's not forget, that I'm a computer tech first, and a carpenter second, or maybe even fifth or tenth...)

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And had fun connecting all the bits and trying to get them in a reasonable state of organization

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Ugh... this will not do, this will not do at all. Might as well boot it up and see if everything works though (I had mounted and un-mounted the board several times, banged around a few things, etc, so might as well see if it's all still working!)

This would be the first time I see if all the fans work as well. Keep in mind that this is with the door removed.

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Until next time.. still not quite sure what I'll be doing next.


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PostPosted: 30.08.2011 01:11 
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Hope you get the cables sorted out nicely. Messy cabling can really kill anotherwise nice project...

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PostPosted: 31.08.2011 00:07 
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japala wrote:
Hope you get the cables sorted out nicely. Messy cabling can really kill anotherwise nice project...
Thanks japala - the cables have been driving me nuts. I'm going with a clean start-over, however, as you'll see below!

First off I want to give out a huge thank you to Seasonic, who has decided to sponsor The Ultimate Computer Desk by sending a ~really~ sweet Power Supply my way. An 850 Watt Seasonic Gold.

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Thanks Seasonic! We'll take a closer look at that PSU a bit later..

I had been a little frustrated with the layout of the Dual CPU Xeon board for quite some time, so I finally made the decision to ditch it and setup the right-hand cabinet with an ATX sized board. This is more in spec with my initial design - the extra couple inches makes a big difference, and it will make it easier to upgrade in the future as well.

On one hand, I'm a little disappointed that I won't be using that super geeked out board, but rest assured, I'll find something else neat to do with it.

So I went ahead and removed everything and started from scratch. Looks way better already:

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I then decided that, unfortunately, through the miracle of cable limitations, it would make a lot more sense if I put the optical drive in the front of the case, as opposed to up above the desk, where I had originally wanted to put it. So, time to do some more cutting.

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The masking tape managed to pull off some of the polyurethane, but have no fear, I will be making a faceplate that will contain the power button, LED's, and USB ports that will cover that spot up quite nicely.

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And, we've gone so far, yet, gained so little, eh? It'll get done, I swear!


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 Post subject: New Layout Work
PostPosted: 01.09.2011 16:57 
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Feeling a bit more motivated about the right-hand cabinet, I decided that the foam fan-holder had to go. It was too large, was akward, and was difficult to keep straight and in the proper position.

I decided to put together a nice and clean fan holder:

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After doing some measuring, I took it to the drill press for the initial holes (I didn't have a hole saw for 120mm fans unfortunately... that would be pretty huge!)

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I then took out the spindle sander to sand right to the line. Just an fyi, I swapped out the spindle for a much larger one. This was my first time using this type of sander, and I was very impressed - the degree of accuracy and control is extremely high - perfect for sneaking up on the pre-drawn lines.

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Time to drill some holes for the fan screws

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And a test fit. The product came out quite nicely - accurate cuts, all 4 of the positions are secure with screws, and this piece should be much easier to align in the proper location in the case.

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I had cut a few other new pieces for cable management, but they were rough cuts, as I will not know their exact dimensions until I install hardware. I can't install hardware until I finish cutting and drilling in the right-hand cabinet, and since there is still the issue of the power button, LED's, etc...

Time to get started on that, I suppose!

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Kinda looks like a bull head eh?


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PostPosted: 20.09.2011 23:59 
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I guess it's been a while eh!

Well, you'll be glad to know, that I'm actually almost done. There've been a few changes to the original plan, etc, etc, but I've still been goign full steam ahead, just not a lot of time to post updates lately.

Here you go, some photo bombardment!

First off, my awful cutting job. Notice how the masking tape ripped off some of the polyurethane? Looks pretty great eh.. (NOT!)

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Fitting my original faceplate design

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I thought it didn't look too bad, but the USB ports were difficult to secure, and there were no audio jacks, so I went about and redesigned a new face plate

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Did some work with the band saw, scroll saw, and some sanding, and voila!

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Looks not terrible eh? That's a nice unit from Silverstone that I picked up from my local computer store. Everything fits real nice and tight

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Holes for the power switch and LEDs look good

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And a quick test fit

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Wonderful! I cut the hole for the card reader / usb with a jigsaw, but neglected to take photos...

Anyways - after a couple coats of black spray paint, I think it looks pretty cool.

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With the faceplate out of the way, and hopefully, the last of the drilling / sawing / making sawdust portion over, for the right-hand cabinet, it meant I had the all clear to install more hardware.

Here are the two hard-drive trays with the actual HDD trays removed.

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Gave them a nice coat of black spray paint and they mounted them inside the cabinet. I think they look pretty groovy.

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Even groovier loaded up with hard drives.. (Two missing in this pic, 7TB total, however!)

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Now, before we get to the next pic... another boon happened recently - traded some of those Core 2 Duo systems + some cash and picked up a really cool previous generation Core i5!

Here's the power supply - a Corsair 650TX, a very quality unit. All that could be better is some modular action. Ah well!

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And another beautiful Gigabyte motherboard - a GA-P55-USB3 with 4 GB of G.Skill RAM

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Here's the sweet mother. A quad core 2.8Ghz. Wow, talk about moving on up the CPU chain!

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I picked up an older version of the Coolermaster Hyper 212 (Not the Plus version) and mounted a pair of Scythe fans to it

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Oooh, it's getting so close to boot time!

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PostPosted: 21.09.2011 22:34 
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Wow, with all those SATA cables there, it sure messes things up, no?

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I went ahead and threw in my current video card (Radeon HD5770, which kicks some pretty decent butt still). I'm sure I'll see an improvement from my P4 3.2!!!

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And here's the magical moment. It looks like it's already been tweaked around a bit. Running at 3.2Ghz instead of 2.8Ghz, RAM speed up to 1600Mhz... Hey - nice temps! That's only a few degrees over ambient! (It's chilly in the basement)

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Only one major problem with this setup... Can you see what it might be? (Well, ok, there's more than one thing not "ideal")

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That might cause an issue. I also don't like the way the heatsink exhausts all of its hot air directly onto the back of the video card, so off to the local computer shop!

This should do the trick:

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Much better. Fits almost like it was meant to be.

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Looks real good there actually. I think the wide fin spacing will be an advantage as well, since there is going to be a lot of general air flow throughout the cabinet.

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PostPosted: 27.09.2011 00:41 
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So, now that the hardware has been installed, I can proceed to managing those cables a little. I first cut a quick piece out of 1/4" hardboard with a few strategic holes

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Already much more to my liking. Time to place the new fans with their new mounting system

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Ok - with both "plates" in place, I can cut the appropriate holes in the door and go ahead and install!

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Woohoo, that blue furnace filter sure looks out of place eh? Everything fits, it's nice, snug, and square, so I went ahead and added a bunch of closed cell foam

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Another view of the almost finished right-hand cabinet old i5 system

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*Testing*

I've been using this cabinet setup for a little while now, and I'm happy to report that the temperatures are really quite nice. Because I've "sealed" the air intake portion, all of the intake air is coming through the blue furnace filter. You can literally feel suction if you place your hand in front of the filter. There is a massive amount of air coming out of the CPU hole, as well as the open PCI slots, power supply exhaust, and the half inch of space between the door and the "non-intake-area". (You can see in the previous photos, I did not put foam around the entire door perimeter).

So far it has been idling at ambient (23-25) and at maximum, just under 50 degrees Celcius.

I can hear the fans running - they are louder than all of the hard drives spinning up. I am going to get a small fan controller and get them down to the minimum speed while maintaining these current temperatures (There is a very large amount of air running through the case).

*To Do*

I have clearly got to find something to either replace the blue furnace filter, or cover it up with something a little more visually appealing.

Also, I need something to cover the CPU exhaust area. It will need to match whatever I do for the furnace filter area.

'Til next time!


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PostPosted: 28.09.2011 21:46 
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You may have told this already but I'll ask anyway; what are all these hard drives for? Need a monster raid setup for speed and security or do you edit a lot of video material? :)

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PostPosted: 29.09.2011 00:16 
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japala wrote:
You may have told this already but I'll ask anyway; what are all these hard drives for? Need a monster raid setup for speed and security or do you edit a lot of video material? :)
Well, funny you ask.. I don't actually need all those hard-drives for anything. Almost all of my data combined is less than 1.5 Terabytes...

I put them in because it is supposed to be The Ultimate Computer Desk... and I had them lying around!


On the other end of the desk, things have been progressing along nicely as well - had this beauty cut for me

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Placing it in the hole, it sits just a little bit too large. The original square I cut out was about a millimetre smaller on one end than the other

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So I took out the trusty chisel and did a bit of shaving!

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There we go!

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Mm, starting to look so awesome!

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The foam fan-holder will have to say bye-bye on this side, just like the one in the right-hand cabinet. Doesn't quite look right.


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PostPosted: 20.11.2011 11:21 
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VERY nice project! :) is it ready yet?


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