Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk

Discussion in 'Overclocking, Benching & Modding' started by ultimatedesk, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. Stuart_Davidson

    Stuart_Davidson Well-Known Member

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    Looking great :)
     
  2. gaetan

    gaetan Active Member

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    Right :)
     
  3. sahara_mafia

    sahara_mafia member

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    Re: Up and Coming Preview

    what mother board is that?????
     
  4. Tyrsonswood

    Tyrsonswood HH's curmudgeon

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    Server board.... maybe dual xeon..... very similar to my iWill DP533 as far as functions/ports. Layout is different though.
     
  5. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    Fan Setup

    Thanks gaetan - lots of deets on the hardware coming soon. But yes, time did fly since the last update eh? Thanks for the positive comments, as always. Yes, there will be a little overclocking, so the thermal situation will have to be monitored. Who knows, may have to make some last minute changes.

    Pretty close my friend, it is indeed a server board, but if I'm not mistaken, that IS a PCIE-X slot... and anyways, I'll post some deets later ;)

    Thanks Veridian3!

    Mwahahahaha!

    Double Mwahahahahahah!

    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!
     
  6. Tyrsonswood

    Tyrsonswood HH's curmudgeon

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    Yes, and the green one would be 133 mhz, the other two are 100 mhz. You need a SCSI RAID card for that green slot!


    You also have an AGP-PRO slot there....... (I even have an AGP-PRO card for mine.) ;)


    Fun stuff!
     
  7. gaetan

    gaetan Active Member

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    Ingenious fans there.

    Although correct me if I'm wrong, I'm a fan of physics, and having fresh air pushed in, while having no hot air pulled out doesn't seem quite good on paper.
    From what I guess will happen is that you'll have the hot air pushed in the back of your "case", while having the fresh air compressing it. So without having anyway of taking out the hot air, the cooling doesn't sound very efficient on paper.

    But don't be alarmed, this is my impression, and I have been known to make error in the past. Some elements in physics don't always work the way you think they would neither.

    Anyway, still great work, can't wait for the big day :D
     
  8. Takaharu

    Takaharu Unus offa, unus iuguolo

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    If anyone's interested, the other motherboard appears to be a Gigabyte Z68X-UD5-B3.
     
  9. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    Server Setup

    Heh, although a SCSI RAID card would be awesome, the cost of SCSI hard drives scares me a little! I've got some details on the server board(s) (Yes, boards) down below!

    Thanks gaetan - this is certainly something I will have to be monitoring the first few startups / burn-ins. There is the possibility of installing 80 or 92mm fans above the motherboard I/O ports (Keyboard/USB/Ethernet area) in the left and right-hand cabinets, as well, as provision for other exhaust outlets on the door of the right-hand cabinet which I will use if necessary.

    Ohhhh, so close! It's a Gigabyte Z68X-UD4-B3 ;) The UD5 is quite a bit more expensive, and I think the only real difference is that it has more USB 3.0 ports and cooler looking heatsinks lol ;)

    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:

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

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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!

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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!
     
  10. gaetan

    gaetan Active Member

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    Re: Server Setup

    You're welcome, the pleasure is mine really :)
    As for the fan that could work, but again, on paper, since physics tell us that hot rises, while cool air drops.

    For the hard drives, personally I find space between the power supply and the fans for those HDD towers from the server racks, and they seem to have holes for assembly, I suggest seeing if screwing them on the upper part would do? Although, I'm just suggesting this, but I'm not IT expert, just an amateur really, so try and get better suggestions, as I'm not sure about mine :D

    Have fun this week-end, I'll be waiting on that update :D
     
  11. Takaharu

    Takaharu Unus offa, unus iuguolo

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    Something you might want to keep in mind - not all ATX PSUs come with a single 4 or 8-pin CPU power connector. For example, my Thermaltake Toughpower 675W has an 8-pin CPU connector and a 4+4-pin CPU connector.
    I was darned close with those specs. Considering all I had to go by were those photos...

    Not that it makes much difference but those "servers" that you took apart were actually not servers, if I'm not mistaken, they're industrial PCs. The difference is negligible, particularly where Xeons are involved. Industrial PCs tend to have high-end desktop CPUs or (like in this instance) Xeon/Opteron CPUs. They'll have a server operating system installed and the systems generally don't do as much heavy-duty work as a server might perform. For instance, with these systems standard SATA harddrives were used instead of 10k or 15k RPM harddrives. Judging by the system (I could well be mistaken here) the system was designed to run CPU-heavy tasks and less disk operations. Unless you're running something darned powerful or running an SQL database that's constantly pounded (which I highly doubt) this setup will surely do you justice.

    As for the harddrives, you should be able to stake them up next to the RAM if I'm not mistaken. You may want to check the harddrives' health as well because if they've been spanked running constantly as a server they could have a decent amount of wear on them by now.
     
  12. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    Gigabyte Board

    Thanks gaetan, I have a few ideas for the HDD's you'll be seeing in the next couple updates... think it'll work out well enough

    Thanks Takaharu - I noticed the requirement for 4pin as well as an 8pin and went over to Newegg and was somewhat surprised at how limited the power supply selection became when that is a requirement.

    If I'm not mistaken, the green motherboard was installed as a backup video-on-demand server. Honestly, I doubt it ever got much use - was probably just taking up space as extra storage. I did notice however, that there are two SAS connectors on the board, which could provide some even high storage capacity / speed / reliability.

    Also, as far as HDD health goes, I'm not aware of any good test / indication. I did run surface scans on the disk and only 2 of the dozen or so HDD's failed.

    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!
     
  13. gaetan

    gaetan Active Member

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    looking good as always :)
     
  14. sahara_mafia

    sahara_mafia member

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  15. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    Testing and Cable Management

    Thank you both, good sirs!

    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:

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    Until next time.. still not quite sure what I'll be doing next.
     
  16. MIG-31

    MIG-31 HardwareHeaven News Mod Staff Member

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    I wish i had the time or the skills to make a Ultimate PC desk.... But thats how things go with life....

    I don't know what i'd give to have a desk/PC where you can not actually see a Case is beyond me...

    However i hope you get the issues sorted out... and keep up the good work....

    I always follow this thread as i find it very interesting to see the next update...

    Which way are the cables going to go for the HDD's in that rack....(I know you mentioned it) but id say for easy access would be the outside of the rack... Sure looks as though its going to be a very tight fit...
     
  17. sahara_mafia

    sahara_mafia member

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    my thought exactly bro


    and about the cable management how much room is there cause pic's could be deceiving at times

    on a nother note the hdd racks i have been looking for it on newegg pls can u send me the link
     
  18. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    Seasonic and a New Layout

    Hey MIG-31, thanks for the comments. I know it must seem like a huge project (Not that it isn't) but really, spread out over such a long time, it really hasn't been a terrible number of hours and resources put into it. You never know!

    Hey sahara_mafia, there really isn't much room at all actually. You'll see below that I'm scrapping a few ideas...

    Here's the link on newegg.ca. The model is "Rosewill RSV-Cage"
    Newegg.ca - Rosewill RSV-Cage 4 x 3.5" HDD Cage

    I just had to undo a few screws to remove the fan and grill.

    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.

    [​IMG]
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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.

    [​IMG]

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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.

    [​IMG]

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

    Takaharu Unus offa, unus iuguolo

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    Well, if you don't want those server components... :D
     
  20. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    New Layout Work

    Hehe, don't you worry - I've got some plans for those! Hopefully you'll see a new build log from me before the end of the year with that drool worthy geeky dual cpu board ;)

    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:

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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!

    [​IMG]

    Kinda looks like a bull head eh?
     

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