• 20 minutes 5 seconds
• Creativity Inspiring Technology
- This corporate server is the main workstation for Euro Tech Startups s.r.o. It’s mainly used to render client projects for 3D Motion Graphics. All data is completely mirrored, to ensure high -availability, and uses the motherboard’s RAID controller for improved data throughput performance. This computer is also used in photo restoration services. Restored photos are saved in uncompressed TIFF, and the process is recorded with video capture software.
- The first day was focused mainly on preparing the workspace. Then I cut the side panels and fill the router grooves from a previous HiFi project. Next was routing grooves (6mm) needed for the rails that would hold the 20x 1TB hard drives.
- The second day focused on drilling dowel holes, sanding the case, beveling the edges, and oiling the case. A Dremel was used to carve my signature into the front panel.
- The third day was spent mounting the components, tie wrapping the cables, and general fixes. For example, I had mistakenly mounted the power supply upside down. So that needed to be fixed. Then the PC was booted for the first time.
- The first attempt at booting the case ran into a macro panic attack. As I turned on the power there was a spark and a zap from the motherboard! A seminal WTF moment for an IT geek! Dread set-in as a burning plastic filled the air, and I watched as a hint of smoke left my motherboard. Sweat ran down, “WTF did I do wrong?!” I wasn’t sure what had burnt-out, but I had seen the general location of the spark around the PCI-e slots. In any case, the PC still booted successfully. But over a series of future boots the PC would POST, but it wouldn’t make it past the Windows 10 spinning dots in the OS boot process. I tried countless restore points as well as switching my operating system SSD with my backup. Nothing worked. After six hours of no success I was exhausted and decided to call it a night.
- As many PC geeks know too well – we hate going to bed when our PC’s aren’t working. But I thought maybe some rest may clear my mind and give me some new ideas. That night I actually dreamt of a few solutions; strip the whole PC to it’s bare components; buy a new video card; or start all over again and buy a new motherboard, CPU and RAM. That last option I was hoping to avoid since it meant scrapping a perfectly good Intel 4770 processor and 32GB of Corsair RAM, unless I could source a similar Z87 motherboard.
- As I woke the next day I had the sinking realization of unfinished business with my PC broken. Rather than going through the arduous effort of striping the whole computer, I decided to start with the easiest step: the video card. The Asus Z87 Deluxe has built in video, so I removed the nVidia card and booted the machine using it’s onboard video. Success -Wow! I then closely examined the PCI-e 90 degree 16x 2U Riser and finally saw the culprit – a burnt capacitor! In the end a $3 component was my problem. The boot process was getting stuck because it couldn’t communicate with the video card successfully, when it was trying to draw more data as it entered a higher graphics state.
- 1x Motherboard • Asus Z87 Deluxe
- 2x RAM • 8GB Corsair Vengeance
- 2x RAM • 8GB Corsair Dominator
- 1x CPU • Intel i7-4770K processor
- 1x CPU closed-loop water cooler • Corsair Cooling Hydro Series H100i GTX
- 1x Graphics card • Gigabyte Windforce nVidia GTX770
- 1x PCI-x 16x Riser • 90⁰ 2U (to turn the graphics card 90° degrees, so that it is oriented flat against the case)
- 1x Power Supply • Corsair HX1000i
- 4x SATA controllers • HighPoint Rocket 620
- 20x Hard Drive fans • Scythe Ita Kaze
- 1x Hard Drive • Samsung 1TB 850 Evo SSD (for the operating system)
- 1x Hard Drive • Western Digital Green WD60EZRX, 6TB, 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s, 3.5″, 7200 RPM (for 3D motion graphics)
- 19x Hard Drive • Seagate 1TB, 3.5″ Internal SATA Hard Drive, 6.0Gb/s, 64MB Cache, 7200 RPM. These are refurbished drives to keep the price low and to test the overall concept of the multi-drive design goal (used for client projects, mirrored backups, and personal files)
- 2x Wood Panels • 50cm x 50cm x 4cm Oak
- 5x Wood Brackets • 42mm diameter x 18cm Indonesian Tamarind
- 160x brass spacers • 6mm diameter x 10mm (for spacing the hard drives between the wooden panels)
- 80x brass washers • 15mm diameter (between the brass spacers)
Oak Case Mod™
If you missed the first part of this project, you can find the link here:
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