wall mounted pc

Show off your quiet rig.

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picture_perfect
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wall mounted pc

Post by picture_perfect » Mon May 08, 2006 1:59 pm

Incorporating a lot of stuff i learned here, i built this wall-mounted rig.


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coincidently, i don't know if anyone noticed this but airflow might be superior when you rotate a motherboard 90 degrees. for example in the pic below:

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1: obviously the main advantage is that heat producing components aren't sucking up rising heat from eachother.
2: vertical airflow is the natural path for rising heat. this could act as a pull fan (to some degree anyway) without the extra noise.
3: airflow is in a straight path and exits directly out the top for the most part.
4: wires were mounted behind the motherboard to not get in the way of airflow.

the goal of course is a quieter, cooler pc. on this pc, the phoenix bios controlls the fans on its most conservative setting and i never hear them ramp up.


onto the project. recorded temps/rpm's are at bottom.

these were all the parts, minus the vga card which had not come out yet. merry christmas to me.


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BFG vnf4 ultra motherboard (really a modded chaintech board)
AMD athlon 4000+ san diego
NVidia 7900 gtx (PNY not overclocked)
Corsair CMX2048-3200C2
WD 740 raptor
Seasonic 430 s-12
Samsung cd/dvd combo drive
zalman CNPS9500 cpu heatsink
zalman NB47J chipset heatsink
nexus 120mm cpu fan
silenx 40mm chipset fan


the motherboard was chosen because it is one of the few that have the ram in line with the air flow. DFI has a similar design but i think has a clearance problem if your'e trying to passively cool the chipset with a large heatsink. the chaintech board has no problem whatsoever.

i love this video card. NVidia cards are really efficient. i tried to make efficiency the starting point when creating a quiet pc. it performed way better than i expected and there are no plans to overclock, and i game alot..a whole lot. highest temp recorded was 76 but considering the NVidia "core slowdown threshold" (throttle) occurs at 110 im not worried. it contributes its part to a 3dMark '06 score of 5040.

the seasonic psu is quiet just as people say. the fan never goes above 700rpm or so and is in-audible. modular wires would make this psu perfect. i had to stuff a lot of unused wires into the back.

the raptor is the loudest component currently. but being mounted on soft foam i dont see it getting much quieter. its barely audible. compared to the dell i had this pc is worlds apart in terms of noise.

there were a few unknowns, like how the vga heatpipes would function vertically, would the zalman nb47j cool the notoriously hot nvidia chipset, case grounding, EMI radiation ect. i never even built a pc.

the case was built for about $90 (everything from the local hardware store). i could not have done this easily without using CAD and consider it a necessity. here it is without the back plate.

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the case cover was lined with a dynamat material. 2 square ft from the local car audio place was $10. it's a sticky mess to work with and i would find an alternative next time as it doesn't even stick well. the cover looks ghetto in general and needs to be redesigned. this pic is before holes were cut for the I/O ports. the open space is for intake/exaust air and runs the entire length so there is no place for hot air to get trapped.

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it would be nice to have nexus make modular connectors on their fans. the molex connectors were cut off and the remaining wires re-soldered to reduce clutter. at 700 rpm the 120mm nexus is really un-audible even at 4am in the moring. the top corner of the fan is filed down in the pic. there was interference with the ram chip.

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the silenx 40mm is just as quiet when spinning around 2400rpm. i really didn't want to use such a small fan but it was really quiet and brought the chipset down 8 degrees celsius at max load. it was plugged into the system fan header since the chipset fan header is not voltage-variable on this motherboard. at full blast (3300rpm) the fan is very loud and whiny..unacceptable for the project. but these two fans set at low rpm are fine. louder are the stock vga fan and the hard drive. p.s. believe it or not the fans are actually running over 1000 rpm in this pic, but i guess my camera shutter was quicker.

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the front panel is from xoxide.com. the blue LED's (power & hdd) are so bright they light up a wall 20 ft away which is distracting. im going to disconnect them. a small aluminum mount was made to secure it to the case.

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those are the project highlights. temp readings: are probably not much use except for general numbers since motherboards have sensors in different places, different sensors, different SMbus chips ect. i even get different readings with the same ambient temperatures.
i keep fans under bios control since they stay sufficiently quiet that way. speedfand was used to regulate them for the tests below, unscientific as they are. the psu and vga card fans self-regulate but i don't hear them ramp up ever. the chipset temps were recorded with a temperature probe inserted between the fins of the zalman heasink since there is no sensor on the chip.



room temp: 26 - prime95 (12 min small FFTs) - cpu fan @ 750rpm

cpu idle : 33
cpu stress test : 50 max

room temp 26 - 3dMark '06 proxycon & firefly canyon run twice

NVidia chipset idle (chip fan off): 57
NVidia chipset stress test (chip fan off): 60 max

NVidia chipset idle (chip fan 2200 rpm): 51
NVidia chipset stress test (chip fan 2200rpm): 52 max

gpu idle (vga fan rpm?): 50
gpu stress test (vga fan rpm?): 76 max

hard drive (WD740 10000rpm): stays around 39-43

comments/suggestions from friends & contributors to spcr welcome.
Last edited by picture_perfect on Mon May 08, 2006 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Trunks
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Post by Trunks » Mon May 08, 2006 2:06 pm

That is awesome.
Not only do you have air flow but you have a minimalist design.
You should seriously consider filing a patent for that case. It seems truly unique.

picture_perfect
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Post by picture_perfect » Mon May 08, 2006 2:15 pm

thanks, i think the patent office has like a 10 yr wait list. i guess thats why you see "patent pending" so much.

justblair
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Post by justblair » Mon May 08, 2006 2:57 pm

Love it!!

Really good design

I get excited when I see people producing origional designs solving common problems with simple yet radical thinking.

10/10

qviri
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Post by qviri » Mon May 08, 2006 2:58 pm

That is really good looking. I want to do something like that, but realistically speaking I don't have the patience for a project this size, so I just bought a standard reasonably good looking tower case...

Now only if you could do something about the cables. I suppose keyboard and mouse can be wireless, but there's no easy way around the video and power cables. One thought I had is if you have a lumber frame house, you could make the PSU exhaust inside the wall and run the power cable inside the wall as well... but that's messy.

Fat_bloater_dave
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Post by Fat_bloater_dave » Mon May 08, 2006 3:00 pm

Thats briliant, lots of lovely ideas there. Its nice to see a home made case, the gallery seems to be filling up with Antec P180s and it gets a bit boreing ;).

Nice work.

IsaacKuo
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Post by IsaacKuo » Mon May 08, 2006 3:12 pm

Pretty slick! One question--where is the hard drive/PSU getting air from?

jaganath
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Post by jaganath » Mon May 08, 2006 3:29 pm

Really stunning DIY project! Congratulations! You can tell that you've put a lot of thought into the airflow and thermal characteristics of the case; none of the fans are fighting with each other for airflow (creating turbulence and noise); each component has its own cool air. And using 100% SPCR recommended parts too. :P

picture_perfect
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Post by picture_perfect » Mon May 08, 2006 10:39 pm

IsaacKuo wrote:Pretty slick! One question--where is the hard drive/PSU getting air from?
there is not much air flowing in that area so i would gladly hear temperatures from someone with a non de-coupled WD740. the aluminum heatsinks below (another trick learned here) surely help as they do heat up a bit .

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btw, you really have to be careful with these things. i may have ruined one in the course of assembly. western digital replaced it quickly in any case, so i highly reccoment them (great customer service). there is also free tech support for a short time.

IsaacKuo
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Post by IsaacKuo » Tue May 09, 2006 4:45 am

Is it possible to easily flip the hard drive upside-down? If so, then I think that could be a good idea. The top plate is just a sheet of metal, not directly connected to any hard drive components. It's more important to cool the side with the circuit board.

stonyc
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Post by stonyc » Tue May 09, 2006 4:50 am

That's impressive... do you have a shot of your comp from the bottom? What I mean is the "bottom" of the comp when mounted on the wall.. curious to see the work done there.

picture_perfect
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Post by picture_perfect » Tue May 09, 2006 8:54 am

that's a good idea with the hard drive...dropped the temp about 2 degrees. Western digital says max operating temp is 55 celsius so i dont think its a worry.
there is just a cut-out on the bottom (below). with more time there would be a frame to mount the i/o plate and expansion slot covers. i thought i might get away without using a filter since all the circuit boards are vertical and may not collect much dust.

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Ralf Hutter
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Post by Ralf Hutter » Tue May 09, 2006 9:18 am

Man oh man, that's something very nice! Good job.

I assume your design would let you use standard ATX-spec parts, such as any standard ATX mobo and PSU?

Do you feel like quoting a price for building another case and shipping it to Cali? :)

picture_perfect
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Post by picture_perfect » Tue May 09, 2006 10:18 am

if you're serious i could. my dream would be to design this stuff all day you know. but working part time can't go on forever.
standard atx parts yep. there are a few other ideas though. one is to reduce the width by using some laptop components. a motherboard re-design could also help but that's way beyond my capabilities. a freind of mine even said make it modular - lots of ideas huh. anyway, my email is mantheyc@hotmail.com

Jay_S
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Re: wall mounted pc

Post by Jay_S » Tue May 09, 2006 10:32 am

Beautiful work - you have really raised the bar for diy cases - well planned & certainly well executed. I've been thinking of building my own case for a while, and your project is very inspiring.
picture_perfect wrote:the case was built for about $90 (everything from the local hardware store)
What kind of tools did the metalwork require? Your cuts & bends look very precise - not something I think I could duplicate with the hand tools I have laying around.

Jay

IsaacKuo
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Post by IsaacKuo » Tue May 09, 2006 10:46 am

picture_perfect wrote:one is to reduce the width by using some laptop components.
Heck, I thought the width was a "feature", not a bug. My personal love of compact things would prevent me from going with a design like yours.

As a coincidence, my current build also has a vertically oriented motherboard but it's upside-down compared to yours. I need my ports on the top, since I'm just putting the machine on the ground. For compactness, the PSU is directly below the CPU heatsink, with fan flipped to blow upward at it. This works for me since I don't use high power systems--I can afford to "recycle" air from the PSU to cool the CPU.

Linus
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Post by Linus » Tue May 09, 2006 1:01 pm

This is one of the few custom cases I've seen that is a total departure from typical layouts without sacrificing ATX compatibility. I really appreciate your focus on locating and orienting parts for maximum "passive assist".

I would love to see a version for laptop optical drives and HDDs, brick/DC-DC PSU combinations, and mATX mobos w/ integrated video. Should shrink the size by ~6" of width and several inches of depth - possibly making a back-of desk configuration like Copper's setup (New System Build, with i-Ram, images here) possible.

Great work!

picture_perfect
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Post by picture_perfect » Tue May 09, 2006 1:48 pm

Jay_S wrote: What kind of tools did the metalwork require? Your cuts & bends look very precise - not something I think I could duplicate with the hand tools I have laying around.
Jay
i got by with a jigsaw and drill basically. its not like i know much about metalwork. in fact if you look it's mainly just aluminum angles. bending the cover was hard. a press brake is probably needed to do it properly. i would highly recommend finding a local metal supplier. i found out too late, its cheaper than the hardware store.
IsaacKuo wrote:For compactness, the PSU is directly below the CPU heatsink, with fan flipped to blow upward at it
it sounds like that pc is not much bigger than the motherboard. so did you buy a case or make one?.. compactness was a goal of mine of course, but using standard atx parts options were limited.

IsaacKuo
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Post by IsaacKuo » Tue May 09, 2006 3:22 pm

picture_perfect wrote:
IsaacKuo wrote:For compactness, the PSU is directly below the CPU heatsink, with fan flipped to blow upward at it
it sounds like that pc is not much bigger than the motherboard. so did you buy a case or make one?.. compactness was a goal of mine of course, but using standard atx parts options were limited.
It's just an open air prototype, right now, with the parts laid out on some cardboard and mobo pads the way I want to fit it. It's not as compact as you're thinking, probably--I'm still trying to figure out exactly how I'm mounting the fan to minimize cavity resonance/turbulent noise within the PSU. This is adding space between the PSU and the fan itself.

I'm making the case; I'm having difficulty figuring out exactly how to fabricate it since I want to make it out of clear plastic. Anyway, it could be a few weeks before I'm done with the project. Building the case is actually one of the least significant steps for this project. I'm struggling with the OS installation first--instead of a standard hard drive, I'm trying to do a RAID0 onto four USB thumbdrives. This is turning out to be an exercise in extreme frustration. I'm getting partial success and feel like I'm so close to getting it to work...but it just isn't happening...

See, if it turns out I have to give up on the USB thumbdrive OS, then that could radically alter the internal contents of the machine. So I really have to iron this stuff out before I can commit to the case design.

shadestalker
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Post by shadestalker » Wed May 10, 2006 6:13 am

picture_perfect wrote:thanks, i think the patent office has like a 10 yr wait list. i guess thats why you see "patent pending" so much.
On the other hand, it takes almost no time and feels a lot better to apply a Creative Commons or similarly free license to something.

Very nice work!

Chris Chan
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Post by Chris Chan » Wed May 10, 2006 7:28 am

This design can best be described with two words: pure genius. You should sell these. -wants one but is getting a Gigabyte 3D Aurora-

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Post by tay » Wed May 10, 2006 12:28 pm

This is a very nice setup with a pleasing overall shape. I do have a couple of criticisms/concerns.

1. Why not move the CD/PSU cables to the back of the case (would require relocating HDD/psu etc). The "front" of your case looks unsightly.
2. Figure out a way to neatly route cables. If you've gone this far, I would suggest a false box that is used to collect all of your cables which are then passed through a conduit. The multiple cables on the wall are distracting.

having said all that, this is way nicer than anything I could make :) so dont take it the wrong way.

picture_perfect
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Post by picture_perfect » Wed May 10, 2006 1:52 pm

quite alright. and btw, i appreciate the great comments that has come from everyone and suggestions as well.
if i get you right, you mean move the psu/hdd/cd to the opposite (left side). i see no problem with that. additionally, a 90 degree psu cord might help...


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a false box (open back side) to cover the bottom cables would clean it up quite nice i think.

thanks

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Post by Jay_S » Wed May 10, 2006 4:06 pm

I dont know exactly what kind of theme you're going for, but I think your enclosure looks tough as hell. Everyone's talking about hiding the cables - but what if you did the opposite? Make the cables a design point. I envision a single big, fat techflex-sleeved umbilical containing all your cables coming right out of the center of the chassis, with mating 100-pin (or however many it takes) mil-spec connector. Like you see with some medical grade power supplies. Like these from amphenol:
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Would take a good bit of diy-ing. You could probably also achive this look with a large compression fitting for circuit breaker panels & home wiring for a lot less money.
Image
Just run all your cables through it and into your box, and connect normally - no trying to splice them all onto a mil-std connector.

picture_perfect
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Post by picture_perfect » Fri May 12, 2006 8:29 pm

there's a new cad program i have to install and maybe ill try some of these ideas out.

jozi
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Post by jozi » Fri May 19, 2006 1:51 pm

I dont suppose i could get them 3D fans etc of you as blocks for cad?
I've been giving a diy system some taught the last while and they might come in handy

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Post by Tibors » Fri May 19, 2006 7:11 pm

jozi wrote:I dont suppose i could get them 3D fans etc of you as blocks for cad?
http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewto ... 885#262885

picture_perfect
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Post by picture_perfect » Fri Sep 29, 2006 10:59 pm

well i though i would try to conclude this with a comparison of the same system in a P150. the theories that went into the wall case are put to the test 1) dedicated airflow and 2) as linus said "passive assist". its not always a fair compaison for reasons explained below but anyway..

wall case idle----------------- p150 idle

cpu--------33------------------------33
system----42------------------------35
gpu--------50------------------------44
hdd--------41------------------------36

wall case stressed------------P150 stressed

cpu--------43-------------------------45
system----47-------------------------39
gpu--------77-------------------------71
hdd--------41-------------------------36

cpu temps - were equal even though the P150 had an extra case fan. i would call it a sucess given equal airflow.
system temps - were great in the new P150 but i can't comment on why exactly since i dont know where the sensor is. the case fan helped.
gpu temps - a no brainer. the heatpipes are now mounted correctly, but it was fun to see how much better the P150 would do.
hdd - this is the one situation where it would be hard to beat an ATX case...every fan in the computer draws air past the drive. thats probably 4x more flow. the drive's heat didn't seem to bother other parts.

it was a fun project. thanks for the input. im sticking with the P150 for now. to be continued?

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Post by McBanjo » Sat Sep 30, 2006 2:08 am

Wow, very impressive work

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Post by Erssa » Thu Oct 05, 2006 8:57 pm

Awesome-O!

One of the nicest DIY cases ever. One negative thing that strikes me, is the position on the wall. Looks like it's close to the users ears.

It could be a bit more compact if the HD, optical drive and psu were positioned vertically.

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