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 Post subject: CoolGav's MDF MATX case
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 2:50 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2003 4:26 am
Posts: 398
Location: €ngland
Over the Christmas and New Year holiday I found myself with a MATX board and no good case for it (apart from a POS rettly steel one with PSU mount over the CPU). So I decided I'd try and make one that is quiet and well designed for my usage.

I am currently building a new desk, and this case was going to be part of that. The design has since changed, so its standalone. While I work out what I'm going to do with it I wont be improving this case, or working on it at all.

This system just sits and folds for Silent PC Review. The specs are currently:
ECS K7SEM motherboard
AMD Duron 1.6Ghz
256MB Crucial PC133
Zalman Flower
old 6GB Fujitsu hard drive
92mm Panaflo fan
Various PSUs

At the moment it uses a hard drive to run the Gentoo distro of GNU/Linux, and just folds. I plan to try and get it booting off the network or a USB flash drive. If that's not sucessful, then I may well sell the motherboard and reuse the other components in other systems. After taking the pics last night while changing the PSU, it decided to stop working, and I suspect its the PSU, so that needs changing again (glad I have a few spare)

Pics (sorry they're not great :( )

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Front view, no PSU. You can't really see the motherboard, but its in there!

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Rear top view, no PSU. Angled duct to get PSU exhausting air from CPU.

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Top view. Routed space for PSU, you can see the Zalman and the hard drive!

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PSU installed - quite a snug fit!

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Exhaust Fan Assembly (EFA). I was going to make it out of 6mm MDF, but had some strong cardboard, and it seems to work. The fan runs via a Zalman fanmate, and apart from the PSU is the only fan in this system. Without the duct that wouldn't be possible

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EFA in place. The holes are for cabling. It just sits there without any fixings

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The whole case. The hard drive is in a dedicated section at the bottom (which could be removed if it network booted!). It mounts on some wood strips and then a little foam to allow air to circulate all around the drive. It's old, but reliable, slow (5400rpm), but cool, and not too loud. I might cover up the rest of the front, depending on final usage. The lower half of the back is pretty open as well - its the duct that makes sure air is drawn over the flower heatsink.

Connections are power, LAN, USB keyboard and monitor extension. The keyboard and monitor are only used if I need to take a look - It can run completly headless, and that's what I hope I can achieve.

_________________
P3 700 Lian Li PC7 (rarely on) | P4M @ 1.2 SLK3000B (server, always on) | C2Q Q9300 Solo (usually on) | P-M 1.4 (IBM X31) (often on) | Celeron 430 NSK2400 (usually on) | C2D E4300 no case! (usually on)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 5:12 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 3:09 pm
Posts: 186
Cool. Do you build your own speakers? If you like working with MDF, it's a really cool hobby. I do it, and my friend down the hall in my dorm does it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 5:33 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2003 4:25 am
Posts: 389
Location: Welland, Ontario, Canada
Anyone know if he will have EMI problems?

Also, how well does the Zalman hold horizontally like that? ECS is the only one that Ive seen place the HSF clips horizontally.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 6:30 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2003 4:26 am
Posts: 398
Location: €ngland
Rory B. wrote:
Do you build your own speakers?


No, I have some Spirit Absolute 2's that do me just fine :D

PhilgB wrote:
Anyone know if he will have EMI problems?


It seems okay, although I have all my other PCs in steel or alu cases, so they wont be pumping much out to crash this PC. I was thinking that I could line the casing with some aluminium I have. And since its just at home there's no law that means it needs testing.

PhilgB wrote:
Also, how well does the Zalman hold horizontally like that? ECS is the only one that Ive seen place the HSF clips horizontally.


Again, it seems to be okay - the flower gets pretty warm, so it is definatly transferring the heat, and it hasn't fallen off! Before this case it was in an ATX tower, so its no different to that. All of my other 3 AMD boards have holes (I didn't realise even my old one from 2000 does!), so I can use the 7000A with them.

_________________
P3 700 Lian Li PC7 (rarely on) | P4M @ 1.2 SLK3000B (server, always on) | C2Q Q9300 Solo (usually on) | P-M 1.4 (IBM X31) (often on) | Celeron 430 NSK2400 (usually on) | C2D E4300 no case! (usually on)


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 Post subject: EMI Problems
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 8:50 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 12:28 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Sherbrooke, QC, Canada
There are two reasons to have EMI shielding :
1. To isolate your device from exterior interference.
2. To prevent interference generated by your device to reach other devices.

I ran a Pentium II 400MHz on a lego board for about 6 months without any problems. It might not be the case with more modern machine that operate in the 2 or 3 GHz range since you have many other consumer devices operating in that range. It might decrase the signal quality on the various busses, but I don't think you will have any kind of problems. Most physical busses have fault tolerence systems that verify the integrity of the signal. You will more likely encounter a preformance drop, but I don't think anything will be enough for you to notice.

However, what I would worry about is grounding. The metal case of a computer is connected the ground line of the power cable. To be safe, you should at least connect a wire to each of your devices to ground them. You can fix the wire anywhere on your powersupply since it's grounded, for your add-on card, connect it to the metal bracket, for HDs and optical drives, connect it to the exterior metal casing. Te motherboard is a little tricky : you have to connect the ground wire to the little metal ring surrounding a mounting hole, but you must be carefull not to tuch anything else.

Adequate grounding is especally important if you are connected to a network with copper cables ( ethernet Cat5 ). The network cables are long compared to all other cables withing your computer and act as anthenas. Without proper grounding at both end, there could be a potential build up that might be enought to cause data tranmission problems or even damage your network devices.

Beleive me it's worth the effort! My lego box might still be runing if it had been properly grounded when the powersupply decided to let all hell loose. It fried the motherboard and the sound card.

IMO the powersupply is the only component that has the potential to destroy other devices in your computer. Never use a cheap powersuppy and always have proper grounding.

For more evidence about faulty powersupplys you can check out my website
http://www3.sympatico.ca/f.gilbert/DeadMobo/
It's in French, but use the links on the left and look at the pictures; You'll get the idea ;)


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