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Topic Review (Newest First)

  • September 26th, 2013, 08:18 AM
    Truly inspiring! Good job sir!
  • September 28th, 2011, 05:07 PM
    On the other end of the desk, things have been progressing along nicely as well - had this beauty cut for me

    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

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

    There we go!

    Mm, starting to look so awesome!

    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.
  • September 26th, 2011, 05:33 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Taxmancometh View Post
    Wouldn't it be nice if all the SATA cables were connected via one optical cable?
    Man, would that EVER be nice... SAS w/RAID card I guess would be an option...

    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

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

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

    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

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


    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!
  • September 21st, 2011, 08:10 PM
    Wouldn't it be nice if all the SATA cables were connected via one optical cable?
  • September 21st, 2011, 03:00 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Taxmancometh View Post
    Looks pretty sweet!

    Wow, with all those SATA cables there, it sure messes things up, no?

    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!!!

    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)

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

    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:

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

    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.

  • September 20th, 2011, 08:17 PM
    Looks pretty sweet!
  • September 20th, 2011, 04:53 PM
    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!)

    Fitting my original faceplate design

    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

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

    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

    Holes for the power switch and LEDs look good

    And a quick test fit

    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.

    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.

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

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

    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!

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

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

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

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

  • September 1st, 2011, 10:25 AM
    Ha, yes it does look like a bulls head!
  • September 1st, 2011, 09:48 AM

    New Layout Work

    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:

    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!)

    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.

    Time to drill some holes for the fan screws

    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.

    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!

    Kinda looks like a bull head eh?
  • August 30th, 2011, 04:59 PM

    Seasonic and a New Layout

    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.

    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:

    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.

    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.

    And, we've gone so far, yet, gained so little, eh? It'll get done, I swear!
  • August 30th, 2011, 01:01 AM
    Okay, I'll go with what you got.
  • August 29th, 2011, 04:31 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Taxmancometh View Post
    Yes, I'll be going with a dedicated video card and an i5 proc. I'm actually not really sure what board to get yours or mine? I don't think I'll be using eSATA, but the case I have chosen has one in the front.
    As far as I can tell there are some small differences. The board you're looking at has an HDMI port, which is only used for the onboard video of the i3/i5 processor, it has an extra PCIx1 slot, and it does not have eSATA

    The board I have doesn't have HDMI, which is fine, since I'll be using a dedicated graphics card, and I'm guessing that the HDMI lane gets taken by the eSATA lane, and it also has 1 less PCIx1 slot.

    Otherwise, they look identical. I'd say go for the same board I've got, unless you have plans for that extra PCIx1 slot!
  • August 29th, 2011, 03:58 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by ultimatedesk View Post

    Cool case, Taxmancometh. I don't understand why you would go for the motherboard you selected though. You are paying 20 dollars more for an HDMI port that can only be used with the onboard video of an i3 or i5, AND you lose the eSATA port. Surely you will be using a dedicated video card?
    Yes, I'll be going with a dedicated video card and an i5 proc. I'm actually not really sure what board to get yours or mine? I don't think I'll be using eSATA, but the case I have chosen has one in the front.
  • August 29th, 2011, 02:54 PM

    Testing and Cable Management

    Quote Originally Posted by AnthonyEthan View Post
    Wow this is wonderful drafting really you a the expert. excellent idea of the project.

    industrial cabinets
    Thanks AnthonyEthan!

    Quote Originally Posted by Taxmancometh View Post
    Cool case, Taxmancometh. I don't understand why you would go for the motherboard you selected though. You are paying 20 dollars more for an HDMI port that can only be used with the onboard video of an i3 or i5, AND you lose the eSATA port. Surely you will be using a dedicated video card?

    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:

    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:

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

    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:

    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.

    Installed the fans and started to route some of the cables

    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...)

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

    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.

    Until next time.. still not quite sure what I'll be doing next.
  • August 27th, 2011, 02:01 AM
  • August 17th, 2011, 02:59 PM

    Gigabyte Board

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron_8015 View Post
    <-- Jelly

    That is one epic find! The fact it also has four WD black drives is a bonus and those Antec EA650s are great PSUs... Had one myself for a number of years.
    Thanks Aaron_8015!

    Quote Originally Posted by JPMiller View Post
    Couple suggestions...
    I would flip the whole PSU the other way so you gain those few inches of cable back again.
    And I would simply unscrew the PSU case, and mod it with a 120mm blower fan,... not hard to do, considering what you've already done.
    Hmm.. mod the PSU case you say? Something I ~may~ consider...

    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!

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

    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!

    Here is the test fit in the actual desk

    And with the fans in place

    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!
  • August 12th, 2011, 12:35 AM
    Couple suggestions...
    I would flip the whole PSU the other way so you gain those few inches of cable back again.
    And I would simply unscrew the PSU case, and mod it with a 120mm blower fan,... not hard to do, considering what you've already done.
  • August 11th, 2011, 12:59 PM
    <-- Jelly

    That is one epic find! The fact it also has four WD black drives is a bonus and those Antec EA650s are great PSUs... Had one myself for a number of years.
  • August 11th, 2011, 12:44 PM
    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:

    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.

    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!

    It actually came out pretty nice and clean

    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.

    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..

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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!
  • August 10th, 2011, 03:41 PM

    Fan Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron_8015 View Post
    Sweet, is that a dual socket 771 board?
    Sure is, my friend! More deets to come soon!

    After gluing a few blocks of foam together with a spray adhesive, I trimmed the block down to the appropriate size using a bandsaw.

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

    So I took out the trusty hand saw!

    Here's the plan for the fan layout

    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.

    Test fit

    Cut some more holes


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

    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.

    Lookin good

    Stay tuned! More stuff tomorrow!
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