Gabriel Dusil • Information Technology • 3 • Oak Case Mod™

16.Jul.3 - Prague · Oak Case Mod™ (office desk, 2, smaller)

 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.

• Build

  • 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.

• Snags

  • 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.

16.May.11 - Prague · PC Case Oak Mod (90° Graphics riser card, 5, smaller)

 

• Inventory

  • 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 car•  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:

If you like this post, please leave a comment below.

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Gabriel Dusil • Information Technology • 2 • Oak Case Mod™

16.May.7 - Prague · Oak Case Mod™ (2, smaller)

 

• Design • Form

• For years I struggled with integrating traditional PC cases. I never had enough room at the back to plug my devices. Under my desk the tower was cramped, and every time I needed to service a component my heart sank, contemplating going back there. I usually couldn’t move the PC because of the abundance of cables prevented any rotating or tilting. I hated plugging in SATA drives or USB devices when I couldn’t see the port and I needed to guess it’s orientation.

• Design • Function

• A compact design was important. In consumer and industrial PC cases it’s rare to find a case that holds more than 8 hard drives. This case needed to hold 20 hard drives within the confines of a standard PC tower. Also, the case would only accommodate modern components. So no need for a DVD or BluRay drive.

• No screws were used in the core construction of the Oak Case Mod™. The main structural dowels are hidden from view, and the only hole necessary is for routing cables. I was inspired by the design principles of wood craftsmen that built their art such that the structure holds together by the design itself. In this way it could easily be taken apart without an tools.

• All ports needed to be easily accessible, including USB, SATA, Ethernet, audio cables, power, and internal cabling, hard drives, and motherboard. For this reason, the entire motherboard orientation is rotated 180⁰ from traditional case designs, so that all ports face the front.

• Design • Quiet

• The case design needed to be silent and cool.  With a measured room temperature of 22°C all component temperatures are continually measured using Corsair Link:

  1. Hard drive •  This open concept allows all components to ‘breath’. Each hard drive has their own fan – a Scythe Ita Kaze, spinning at 1,000rpm (rated at 14.5 dBA). Temperatures range between 30°C – 44°C. 
  2. Graphics Processor Unit (GPU) • a Gigabyte Windforce GTX 770 video card is used, with fans spinning at 700 rpm to 800 rpm and maintaining a GPU temperature of 28°C – 40°C. During Cinema 4D rendering, the GPU fan spins at 1,200rpm to 1,400rpm with temperatures between 50°C – 52°C.
  3. Power supply • a Corsair HX1000i is the PSU, and it’s completely silent. The fan does not spin under standard working conditions,. Nor does it spin when the CPU is running at 100% utilization, when encoding 3D motion graphics or videos.
  4. Motherboard • Temperatures range between 26°C – 40°C.  Under 100% load the motherboard ranges between 28°C – 60°C
  5. CPU cooling • This design accommodates a double length 280mm long CPU closed-loop water cooling radiator, ensuring that CPU cooling is maximized (without venturing into custom water-cooling territory).  The Corsair Cooling Hydro Series H100i GTX is a CPU water cooler with its fans spinning between 1,000rpm and 1,300rpm. They maintain a CPU temperature between 36°C – 40°C (between all 4 cores) under normal working conditions. Under 100% load, CPU load temperatures range between  58°C and 64°C with the Hydro fan speeds from 1,100rpm to 2,000rpm.

• Design • Beautiful

• The reason for choosing Oak as a base material was inspired by my new company Euro Tech Startups where our motto is Creatively Inspiring Technology. I wanted to combine beauty and technological excellence in this Oak Case Mod™. The case also aesthetically matches my office desk, built out of 4cm thick solid walnut, and follows the same design principles. It’s all about merging art and technology.

Oak Case Mod™

If you missed the first part of this project, you can find the link here:

If you like this post, please leave a comment below.

Gabriel Dusil • Information Technology • 1 • Oak Case Mod™

16.May.7 - Prague · Oak Case Mod™ (1, smaller)

 

 1 minute 3 seconds

• Introduction

  • I’ve been building custom PC’s for over twenty years. This iteration began back in 2003 as a Home Theatre PC (HTPC) project, and has evolved significantly. It’s now my work computer, home PC, and entertainment center. Over the years all components have been upgraded again and again. Last year I decided to do away with the computer case completely, and layout all components in an open concept. It was mainly to help with accessibility to all components, and to keep them as cool as possible. I found that the constraints of a standard PC tower tended to act as a convection oven, regardless of how well I tweaked the fans. In an open concept the hard drives and motherboard had easy access to the natural flow of ambient air.
  • But it quickly turned into a mess. Cables were everywhere and it was embarrassing to look at. Friends and family would visit and basically ask, “What is that monstrosity?” So I began to look around the Internet for a suitable PC case. One approach was an industrial or rack mount solution. But that added new complications in space, noise and aesthetics. There was nothing practical that accommodated a design that supported at least 20 hard drives – that was my gating factor. So I decided to build one instead. I wanted to demonstrate how far a standard PC and motherboard could go – The ability to accommodate an enterprise level storage system in the size of a desktop tower. Even though I use 1TB hard drives, it was important in this experiment to prove that storage scalability can be built at a consumer level, and still look pretty.

• Production

  • This is the first part in a pair of blog posts that outline my design goals, and the entire process leading to the final product. I hope it inspires other builders with new and innovative designs. Enjoy!
  • In this motion graphic we animated the end-to-end production of the Oak Case Mod™. It demonstrates how motion graphics can not only be used for precision photo realistic 3D modelling, but all elements of the creative process can also be animated in a wicked video.

• Contact Us

  • Do you want a 3D model of your new idea to test your design and validate your specifications?
  • Are you interested in a sensational 3D video to showcase your products?
  • Would you like to use 3D motion graphics to animate the unique design of your product?

If you are interested in creating your own 3D product animation, contact us today for a quote: g@eurostartups.tech.

If you like this post, please leave a comment below.

Oak Case Mod™

If you missed the first part of this project, you can find the link here:

If you like this post, please leave a comment below.

• Additional Projects

Here are quick links to some of our other videos and motion graphics projects: