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 Post subject: Staining Stuff
PostPosted: 21.06.2011 00:09 
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After the trim was glued on and then sanded flush, I proceeded with the staining and poly

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Looks good, eh?

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I also finally decided to buckle down and build myself a quick rig to store all my clamps. Since I'm moving soon, it'll also make it easier to move them to the new place! Nice lap joints eh!!

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I proceeded to the cabinet drawers, where I finally sanded off the wood filler that's been attached for weeks (months?)

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Lined up the drawer faces, glued them on (Was going to screw them on after, from behind. Lol)

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And put a bit of weight on top..

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Walked away for a bit, and realized... maybe it was a bad idea to glue them on first! Uh oh!

I decided that it might actually be a lot easier to line up the drawer faces if I attached them AFTER I had attached the drawers to the drawer slides, to I ripped em off.

So, next on the list - staining the actual drawers!

Pre-stain on!

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Mmm, they look so good

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And, poly of course

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Done!

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And just so ya know, it really did basically take a month just to finish the top shelf and the drawers... more to come soon!


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 Post subject: Drawer Face Staining
PostPosted: 22.06.2011 00:13 
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With the drawers themselves all stained up, it was time to stain the drawer fronts!

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Since most of the back of the drawer fronts won't be visible, I decided that I could probably stain and poly both sides at once...

Pre stain!

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They look so nice like this... ahh, next project...

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Some staining time

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And some sweet, sweet gloss poly.

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Woops! One of the drawer faces slipped off the painting cones and picked up a whole whack of saw dust and wood chips... at least this will never be seen on the final project!

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 Post subject: Trimming the Cabinets
PostPosted: 23.06.2011 23:46 
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With the drawers and drawer faces all finished and ready for installation, it was time to turn to finishing up the two cabinets.

First up, finishing the piece that goes on the front of the left-hand cabinet.

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And, well, not a lot of writing today, as the rest of it should look pretty straightforward. I had to cut up a bunch of trim pieces, and somehow arrange the clamps to hold them in the right place. A few of the arrangements required some creative thinking, but in the end, I got the whole cabinet trimmed up over the course of a few days.

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Mmmm glue.

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Enjoy! We're getting close to the final assembly, yay!


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 Post subject: Sanding the Cabinets
PostPosted: 24.06.2011 22:08 
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With the trim all glued up and dry, and the weather nice and warm, I decided to take the cabinets outside to have the trim sanded flush. I start with 80 grit to get all the bits nice and close, and then move to 120 grit with the random orbit sander in preparation for staining.

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Everything looking pretty good on the right-hand cabinet

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And now for the left-hand cabinet

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I'm under the impression that I mistakenly sanded this edge too much prior to installation, because I thought that I was going to have to squeeze this end into the dado cut at the back of the drawer. Woops! Hopefully that won't show up too much after staining.

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And, a bit of glue squeeze-out that I missed previously is easily taken care of by the sander

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I'll be staining over the weekend, so some fresh and shiny cabinets await for next weeks early update!

Have a good weekend folks!


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 Post subject: Staining the Cabinets
PostPosted: 28.06.2011 19:25 
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Well, got some time to start the staining of the cabinets this weekend, and overall, everything went pretty well. Started off with a bit of detailed sanding by hand, and then a good dusting with a tack cloth / cloth with paint thinner.

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And then went to work applying the stain with a clean cotton rag

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They both turned out pretty well - these pictures were taken after only the first coat (A second one will go on). I find that this stain really shines once a coat of poly is put over it.

Let me tell you - getting the inside of the cabinets was quite time consuming and I really did a number on staining my arms...

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Eww! It looks like a heart! ;)

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PostPosted: 30.06.2011 22:24 
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I kind of forgot to take some pictures of the cabinets after I applied a pair of coats of polyurethane, but here's the status of the project so far

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Both cabinets have been poly'd, and there are only 3 more pieces to stain + poly (The two caps for the end spaces on the top shelf, and the door for the right-hand cabinet). Otherwise, I am pretty much ready to assemble.

Before assembly, however, I wanted to try a technique I had been reading about - rubbing out a finish.

You start with some baby oil and a product called rottenstone (It's a very finely ground stone)

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Apply some baby oil liberally (This slows down the cutting process. If you use water, it will speed up the cutting process)

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Sprinkle on your rottenstone (Once again, fairly liberally. I didn't find the cutting action very aggressive at all, especially with all the baby oil)

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Take a block of wood with a soft material wrapped around it, in this case, I used a piece of cut up fleece from an old blanket, but I think a felt block is the most recommended for this.

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Go with the grain in long strokes, and rub the slurry into the wood. Its very fine cutting action should almost eliminate all dust marks, brush marks, and any small scratches.

This took quite a long time, and it was very, very messy. Baby oil rottenstone slurry everywhere. I then went through a ton of rags soaked in paint thinner cleaning it all off the desk surface in preparation for some good 'ol waxing.

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Applied with a lint free rag, I swirled it onto the table a little bit too liberally

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I then let it dry for a few moments and "attempted" to buff it all off by hand with a clean rag. Much to my dismay, after spending 10 minutes trying to buff only but a small corner, I realized that I would never get the shine I was looking for...

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So I made a trip to my storage unit (My mom's garage) where I remembered I had an old electric car buffer in a bin...

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Booya. It was late when I got back home, so I left it and went to sleep. Have a good weekend everyone - Canada Day tomorrow here in Canada, so I'm going to enjoy the long weekend. I'm moving this weekend too, so hopefully the desk survives the trip!!


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 Post subject: Before Transportation
PostPosted: 05.07.2011 23:20 
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So, I finally moved this weekend, and I'm glad to say everything went pretty well. A few small parts of the desk got scuffed up, but nothing major. Here are some shots from just before being transported.

The car buffer partially worked. I ended up actually taking some more paint thinner and totally removing the wax. For some reason it didn't stick well - I think it's because I didn't remove the baby oil enough before adding the wax. Either way, it's shiny as glass and looks great.

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Then I took some 3/4" weather stripping and put it on both cabinets to prevent the desk surface from slipping and sliding:

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And, here's a sneak peak. Right before the move was pretty much the moment of triumph - assembling the 4 stained and poly'd pieces, and actually sitting at it. The monitors come in at perfect eye height, and the desk height is perfect as well, providing lots of forearm and elbow support.

Ahhhhhhhhh.... 8 months.

Now for the details ;)

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PostPosted: 06.07.2011 00:45 
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I do love the surface finish on that, amazing work. I'm too staring couple of builds that will be constructed out of wood but I believe I'll settle for paint and roller or even vinyl graphics... ;)

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PostPosted: 18.07.2011 23:58 
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japala wrote:
I do love the surface finish on that, amazing work. I'm too staring couple of builds that will be constructed out of wood but I believe I'll settle for paint and roller or even vinyl graphics... ;)
Hehe, I don't blame you japala - it was a LOT of work to get that stain and polyurethane finish to look that good! Vinyl would be great, as you can change it up every now and then as well!

So - I finally had some time this weekend to do a bit of work on The Ultimate Computer Desk.

Here's a little shot of the desk as it sits now. Note that the drawers aren't installed, there's clutter everywhere, the two cabinets are not lined up in any particular fashion, and of course, no hardware has yet been installed.

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If you didn't notice, I finally said to myself "Ok Mr. You've been working on this desk for 8 months - time for a present". I ~finally~ ditched my old CRT monitor (Which was nice, at 1600x1200 resolution) and purchased myself a brand new 27" Asus. Sweet!

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That was my first new computer component in ages!


I moved on to the next part of the project, which was installing the drawers, so I got to work. Sorry about the pictures, I think I accidentally turned the auto focus off!

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Imagine my surprise when I went to go and slide the drawer in. The drawer was too wide! I accomodated for 0.25" on each side of the drawer, for the width of the drawer slides. Unfortunately, these particular drawer slides were 3/16's of an inch wider than I accounted for... Here's a wonderfully in focus shot:

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So my options were:
1. Redo the drawers completely, making them a total of 6/16's (3/8's) skinnier, or
2. Shave off 3/16's" from each side, about 1.5" tall, along the length of both sides, of each of the drawers.

What a bummer! I thought oh well, it'll actually look pretty tidy with the sides shaved anyways, and also give additional support, so here goes!

Time to tape up my poor drawers. They're about to get scratched up pretty bad!

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Setting up the tablesaw for some "guidelines" - 3/16's of an inch deep, set the fence at 2" and then 3.5" if I remember correctly.

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And there you go, some proper guidelines for the material that will need to be removed.

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This was a pretty big surprise, but not too major, and nothing that cannot be done well.


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 Post subject: Fixing the Drawers
PostPosted: 20.07.2011 21:00 
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So, after I used the table saw to make my reference cuts, I grabbed the router with a 1/2" flush cut bit, set it at the appropriate depth and went to town. Making the reference cuts made the rest of this usually tedious job easy.

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When I went to do the reference cuts on the shorter drawers, I realized... there were a bunch of screws in the way. Ooops! Good thing I noticed so quickly!

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I had to go and remove all woodfiller and the screws that were in the way of the 3/16's inch material removal. This meant all the screws along the bottom, and 1 or 2 at the front and back of the drawer. What a pain!

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After getting all of the extra material removed, I drilled some new counter-sink holes (Since the old ones were taken off with the router), re-inserted the screws, and gave all the dressers a light sanding, since I would have to redo the polyurethane coat anyways (They got pretty scratched up). In this pic, I had already re-stained the portion where I removed the extra material.

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So. Next - polyurethaning the drawers... AGAIN!


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 Post subject: Installing the drawers
PostPosted: 25.07.2011 22:42 
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While getting ready to re-polyurethane the drawers, I also took the time to stain and poly the right-hand cabinet door, as well as the two pieces that will be above each of the cubby holes on the top of the desk

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Re-polyurethaning the drawers went really well - they look fantastic

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Things have been pretty busy in the shop - have been re-glassing a war-horse of a canoe at the same time!

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Here are the first couple drawers installed. They fit perfectly - the slides fit right into the grooves that I cut out. This photo turned out a little redder than reality

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Getting the actual slides lined up and screwed in straight took a bit of patience, but well worth the effort

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Ahh, nice and messy, but finally got the drawers in.

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Some of the things I'll need to be working on shortly:

- Front Panel (Fan controls, LED's, Power/Reset switches, USB, Audio Jacks)
- Fan Installation (Foam surrounds, filter fitting)
- Hardware selection

After the hardware is selected and installed, I will be able to focus on cable routing and placement of the drives.


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 Post subject: Up and Coming Preview
PostPosted: 09.08.2011 22:40 
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Sorry for the delay in updates everyone - I've been enjoying the beautiful summer weather we've been getting lately and haven't been putting a tremendous effort into getting the desk finished.

Surprise though - I did manage to get quite a bit done, and I've had some good fortune lately as well. I expect to post several updates this week, so just to get you back into the spirit of things, here's this weeks preview!

4x Scythe Ultra Kaze 120mm x 38mm 3000RPM
4x Scythe Slipstream 120mm x 25mm 1900RPM
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Lots of foam cutting and trimming, and a sweet, sweet ruler from the Moddders Inc Featured Rig of the Month Contest(Thanks! I'm honored!)
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Hmm, what's this?
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Holy moly cool prize pack Modders Inc! I still can't believe I won this - perfect stuff for The Ultimate Computer Desk!
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Finally removed the protective cover from these babies - they look soo nice!
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Hmm? Another surprise?...
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Oh good lord! What kind of super monster is that!!?
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Bwahahaha
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Ok, so maybe a lot's happened in the past couple weeks. I haven't been posting any updates because I've been tinkering around with hardware AND enjoying some good outdoor times. I'm thinking that the next round of updates in the following month or so will be ultra exciting - things are starting to wrap up!

Seeya soon!


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 Post subject: Fan Setup
PostPosted: 10.08.2011 22:59 
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After gluing a few blocks of foam together with a spray adhesive, I trimmed the block down to the appropriate size using a bandsaw.

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Unfortunately, it wouldn't fit in order to do the vertical cut...

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So I took out the trusty hand saw!

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Here's the plan for the fan layout

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At first I tried cutting the holes with a good quality knife, but the cuts were not very consistent and it took a long time. I ended up using an old drywall saw, which worked perfectly.

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Test fit

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Cut some more holes

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Awesome!

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Let's see how it looks in the right-hand cabinet

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LOL - hilarious. It shouldn't fit like that. At least, it didn't during my initial measurements! I'll have to tweak that a bit later!

On to the crazy fans. I decided to go with 3 instead of 4. There just wasn't enough room for foam between each of the fans, and I figured there would be a lot of vibrational noise if they were touching. I could always go to 4 in the future if this proves to be insufficient.

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Lookin good

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Stay tuned! More stuff tomorrow!


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 Post subject: Server Setup
PostPosted: 11.08.2011 19:57 
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I was in an extremely fortunate position recently. A friend of mine's work was moving from a large location to a much smaller location, and he had asked me if I wanted to come scope out the old office for any old bits of computer stuff that might be useful to me. To my shock and amazement, I was indeed able to pick up some pretty fancy hardware that I would have never dreamed of owning. They must have done some pretty big upgrades to leave stuff like this behind!

I was able to get a hold of a handful of Socket 775 motherboards with Core 2 Duo processors, a bunch of DDR RAM, a box full of Hard Drives, and some relatively decent (lower powered) power supplies. The real treasure though, was a pair of servers. You can see that I had already disassembled one of them:

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2 Full 4U Antec Rackmount cases, each of them containing a Dual-Xeon motherboard + Processors. Both with FB-DIMM RAM sticks as well.

This particular one contained a pair of Xeon E5410's, with 16GB of DDR2 FB-DIMM's, 4 1TB Western Digital Blacks (SATA), and the motherboard is an Asus DSBF-DE.

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The other one contained a pair of Xeon E5335's, with 4GB of DDR2 FB-DIMM's, 5 1TB Hitachi Deskstas (SATA), and the motherboard is an Asus DSGC-DW.

Now - before we go on - someone had queried earlier about the PCI Express slot on the board pictured, and I had said something along the lines of "Ya ya, it's there, don't worry about it". I of course, actually looked at the pictures, and no, it's not. It is indeed a PCI Express 16x slot, but on this particular motherboard, it only runs at PCI8. Now, the other motherboard, the Asus DSGC-DW DOES have a PCIX16 slot. When it was released, it did not support the 54xx series of Xeon processors, but I checked the website and there is a BIOS update to add this functionality. I will have to do a test setup with that board to update the BIOS, and then it will be swapped into the desk with a full video card, both the E5410's, as well as the 16GB of RAM, so keep that in mind when looking at the rest of this update. No, unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the other motherboard.

Cool stuff either way. Never, ever thought I'd have a dual processor motherboard. What an amazing find!

These dual Xeon heatsinks mount directly into the motherboard tray, so unfortunately, I couldn't use those spiffy motherboard trays from Danger Den. Also, since they are of size "SSI", there's no way it would mount on a regular ATX motherboard tray anyways. Time to drill out a tray!

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It actually came out pretty nice and clean

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This is a bit of a shame, since I took the time to clean the processors, put new thermal compound and remount everything. I'm just going to have to disassemble it again anyways when I put in the different motherboard. Ah well.

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This is a bit of a hack job getting the tray mounted... Since the processors are mounted to the tray, I had mounted it outside of the desk, so when I went to fasten the tray to the desk, I was *gasp* actually lazy and didn't want to dismount the motherboard again... so umm.. I'm going to replace those odd-angled screws when I switch motherboards..

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The power supply looks pretty good there. It's an Antec 650W - an Earthwatts maybe? I forget. I may consider replacing it with a unit that has a 120-140mm fan just to exhaust the air a bit better. The board has a requirement for a 24pin, an 8pin, as well as a 4pin, so I can't just use any power supply unfortunately.

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The cables, of course, are not nearly long enough to reach the connectors on the board. I've already ordered the extensions and hopefully I'll get them at the beginning of next week. Oh, you'll see that I've straightened out the fans as well.

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The cooling solution looks good. There will be two fans directly in front of the CPU's. I may consider putting an additional hole in the door to allow the CPU's and RAM to exhaust directly.

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There is one major issue with the right-hand cabinet setup. The original specifications called for an ATX board, which is significantly smaller, so umm.. I have no idea where the hard-drives are going to fit. lol! Fun times.

Hope you're enjoying this flurry of updates. I may or may not be able to post an update tomorrow, as I'm going camping for the weekend! At the latest, I'll be posting again early next week!


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 Post subject: Gigabyte Board
PostPosted: 17.08.2011 22:10 
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A huge thanks goes out to Gigabyte for supplying me with this amazing motherboard - a GA-Z68XUD4-B3.

Without a doubt, the coolest motherboard I have ever owned!

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I could barely wait to open this up when I got it in the mail!

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And this poor motherboard tray that had been sitting for months and months covered in brown paper - finally had it removed. It looks even better than I could have hoped!

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Here is the test fit in the actual desk

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And with the fans in place

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I'm going to trim off the plastic tabs from the motherboard tray to make it a bit easier to build the tunnels for cable management. Also, I'm considering putting a pair of holes beneath the motherboard to pass cables through underneath. Lots of stuff happening in the next few weeks!

I attempted to boot up the Asus DSGC-DW board (The one with the PCIx16 slot) but it would not boot. I'm afraid that that particular motherboard has gone bad, so I will continue to use the board with the PCIx8 slot. Anyone have any suggestions with regards to determining the best video card I can put in a PCIx16 slot with only x8 bandwidth? I was thinking I could look at the theoretical bandwith of an 8x slot and match it with that of the video card to maximize performance (ie. no point in installing a 5970x2 in an x8 slot).

Anyways, hopefully will have a handful of updates this week!


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