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 Post subject: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:46 am
Posts: 22
My first proper post! :)

I decided about a month ago that I needed a new PC - my Core 2 Dual laptop was beginning to feel slow, despite having a ram & ssd upgrade. Also had an AMD Phenom X4 / HD 6870 Gming machine, which I never used cos I rarely play games (and that PC used to draw about 300W... Which is a lot considering our house is solar powered...)

I decided on a low profile 2U rackmount case I will be building myself, to complement my other studio gear. Will need to be as quiet as possible, so it doesn't interfere with recording in the same room, and also as energy efficient as possible. I have currently built it open on the bench, to check everything is working OK

Main uses (other than general browsing etc)

- Photo Editing using Photoshop & Lightroom
- Video Editing using Premier Pro
- Music Recording / production / Mastering (Cubase, Logic etc)
- CAD Drawing (Mostly electronic, however I do do mechanical stuff)
- Light gaming

So far I have:

- Asus P8H77-M Pro motherboard
- Intel Core i3 3225 Processor
- 2x4GB Corsair XMS3 1600MHz RAM (from Gaming PC)
- PicoPSU 160XT & 192W 12V Brick (V Rated)
- Sandisk Extreme 120GB SSD (System Drive, from Gaming PC)
- Western Digital Blue 1TB 2.5 HDD (Documents)
- Hitachi 320GB 2.5 HDD (VST Samples)
- 2x Sony Optiarc BD-5750H Slim Blu Ray Burner
- Unbranded USB 3.0 Card Read & Hub
- Intel 5300AGN Mini PCIe Wireless card & PCIe Adapter
- Firewire 800/400 Card with TI Chipset to connect to my firewire audio interface

Cooling consists / will consist of

- Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev B CPU Cooler
- 3 x Noctua NF-R8 PWM 80mm Fans
- Homemade Chipset Cooler

I am also using the HD6870 from my Gaming PC in the x4 Slot, until I can replace it with a low profile Graphics Card (I'm thinking Sapphire Low Profile HD 7750???) (It won't go in the x16 slot, as I have a larger cooler on the chipset.)

Also considering upgrading the CPU to a i7 3770 at some point.

Everything has been undervolted a little. CPU is down by 60mV, Ram down to 1.35 from 1.65. GPU is down to 1075mV still at stock speeds.

So far noise levels are impressive, Without the HD 6870 in, it is as near silent as can be (Using Speedfan to control fan speeds) The Scythe Big Shuriken 2 is a gem, idles about 550rpm, reaches 750 when stressing iGPU & CPU, and CPU never gets above 50 C.

Power Draw is also very good, 22W Idle without dGPU, 45W with dGPU, reaching to 55W without dGPU, 168W with when stress tested with Furmark & Heavyload.

I have made a new Chipset Cooler heatsink, the stock one was reaching 65C without airflow, so I used an old heatsink I had around which reduced temps to 44C with no airflow. (remember this is on the benchtop. I do have 2x 80mm Nocutas plugged in, but at idle they shut off)

I have yet to start building the case, although I am slowly ordering all the parts needed. I'll pop up a CAD drawing once I've done a rough mock-up... It will be constructed from 8mm aluminium plate for the sides & a central divider, 1.2mm plate top, bottom & back with bracing, and a 3mm 2U rack panel for the front.

Unfortunately no photos yet, but I'll get posting as I start building the case! (If not before!)


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:48 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:46 am
Posts: 22
Managed to get some CAD drawings done, so I know what I'm building :)

Attachment:
PC Image 1.jpg


Attachment:
PC Image 2.jpg


Attachment:
PC Image 3.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 1:42 am
Posts: 345
Location: Australia
Looks awesome! 8)

I gather there's no practical way of using a full height graphics card with a riser? Doesn't look to be enough space since you need to allow room for the power supply.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:36 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2003 12:37 am
Posts: 63
Location: Denver,CO
Having the fans in the front puts the main source of noise in the front and does not cool the drives with the divider in place.
Perhaps modeling it after this
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article591-page1.html
would move the noise source and cool the drives better.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:14 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:46 am
Posts: 22
flemeister wrote:
I gather there's no practical way of using a full height graphics card with a riser? Doesn't look to be enough space since you need to allow room for the power supply.


Nah, I'm going for the HD7750 low profile. Plenty enough for my needs, although I be replacing the heatsink with something considerably larger. Slot 2 has a wifi card in it, which is very short, so will use the remaining space behind that slot for a monster heatsink I've got.

Plenty of room for a PicoPSU! :)

Pigpen wrote:
Having the fans in the front puts the main source of noise in the front and does not cool the drives with the divider in place.
Perhaps modeling it after this
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article591-page1.html
would move the noise source and cool the drives better.


I wish I could, however putting fans in the sides doesn't work with a rackmount, as the side panels of the rack are in the way!

I've currently got a couple of noctua 80mm PWM fans, I can't hear them at minimum speed (not that they even run in normal use, they just spin up when it gets too hot!)

Not too fussed about the hard drives either, a) they'll be powered down most of the time, b) they're laptop drives, so will if they survive encased in plastic in a lappy, shouldn't be a problem here with breathing room and c), I've put a couple of cutouts in that divider to give a bit of airflow.

Right, I'm off to cut some metal!


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:34 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:22 am
Posts: 23
Location: Poland
Hello

Very nice project, i like rack mounted pcs myself ;) One question - do You really need two optical drives and a floppy drive? do You use them or is it just a case of option-proofing because You make Your own case?

Best regards from Poland
Horgrim

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Silence above all! | Making wife quiet project - 0% complete


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:46 am
Posts: 22
Horgrim wrote:
One question - do You really need two optical drives and a floppy drive? do You use them or is it just a case of option-proofing because You make Your own case?


Yeah, I got two blu ray burners (Useful for doing disc to disc copies, I do a lot of DVDs for my dad) got em for £40 each, so absolute bargain!

Floppy drive is actually a memory card reader, but I couldn't find any cad models of 3.5 card readers online, so I used a floppy drive as the mounting is the same! Card reader in question has USB3.0, esata & headphone ports as well, so saves me adding extra holes on the front.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:49 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:22 am
Posts: 23
Location: Poland
Thanks for the reply.

I'm looking forward to the end result, any other rack equipment like UPS or switch etc?

Additionally, if You will have a very good quality of the cuts and all the pieces will fit each other quite nice, the placing of the fans will be irrelevant. The biggest pain is that Scythe does not produce 80mm or 92mm gentle typhoons. They are great for high air pressure.

Hest regards from Poland
Horgrim

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Silence above all! | Making wife quiet project - 0% complete


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:00 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:46 am
Posts: 22
Yeah, got quite a bit of rack stuff. Power amp, Firewire Audio Interface, preamp, couple of patchbays, and I'm planning on getting more!

Everything is being done by hand, so not the best quality, but should still be good enough :)


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:46 am
Posts: 22
Today's progress

Started off with these

Image

And got this far today

Image

Image

Image

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:22 am
Posts: 23
Location: Poland
Very nice!

Is it aluminium? Kinda looks like it. Very nice cuts :)

some time ago i also tried to build a rack case myself but i couldn't do the backplate - all the pci cards and their mounts... also, measure everything a few times, i was using the parts manufacturers dimensions and they were off by a few mm from the real thing :evil:

Great job so far! Keep it up!

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Silence above all! | Making wife quiet project - 0% complete


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:40 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:18 am
Posts: 480
Location: London, UK
Very cool, keep the photos coming!

You could always install another exhaust fan behind your hard-drives.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:43 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:46 am
Posts: 22
Horgrim wrote:
Very nice!

Is it aluminium? Kinda looks like it. Very nice cuts :)

some time ago i also tried to build a rack case myself but i couldn't do the backplate - all the pci cards and their mounts... also, measure everything a few times, i was using the parts manufacturers dimensions and they were off by a few mm from the real thing :evil:

Great job so far! Keep it up!


Thanks! Yes, it is ali, much easier to work with, my bandsaw won't cut steel lol!

I'm attempting that job today, I've got a full size back panel pulled from an old ATX case I used to create the CAD model, so hopefully will be OK. I just expect to spend hours chain drilling all the cutouts...

Cistron wrote:
Very cool, keep the photos coming!

You could always install another exhaust fan behind your hard-drives.


I certainly will, I'll have more photos every day I work on it!

I've kept that option in mind, however with any luck, it shouldn't be needed. hard drives will probably be powered down 90% of the time!


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:49 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 1:42 am
Posts: 345
Location: Australia
james wrote:
I've kept that option in mind, however with any luck, it shouldn't be needed. hard drives will probably be powered down 90% of the time!

You'll probably be right too, as the mesh behind the hard drives looks to be a large and easy way for air to exit the back of the chassis. You'll likely get a good amount of air passing from the main chamber over to that side.

Another related thought, if you're not using all the PCI expansion slots, maybe you could make some ventilated PCI brackets. :)

Or just buy some I guess: http://www.btostech.com/store/pc/Half-H ... s-p259.htm

Or don't use any at all?


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:44 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:46 am
Posts: 22
flemeister wrote:

Another related thought, if you're not using all the PCI expansion slots, maybe you could make some ventilated PCI brackets. :)

Or just buy some I guess: http://www.btostech.com/store/pc/Half-H ... s-p259.htm

Or don't use any at all?


Three of the slots will be used (7750 GFx card, Firewire card & wifi card), I'll probably leave the 4th slot uncovered!. Depends If I can be bothered to drill out one of the blanks...

I'm also going to put some holes above the slot area. The device above it in the rack is quite short depth wise, so the back 120mm has nothing above :)


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:47 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:46 am
Posts: 22
Yesterday's Progress. Backplate done, front panel started :)

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Found an easier way to cut the holes! Drill a few holes to make a slot big enough for a saw blade, then cut the rest with a saw!


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:46 am
Posts: 22
Done a bit more over the weekend. Front panel is finished (other than mounting of buttons & LEDs etc)

Also mounted the components inside (some temporarily!), to check fit. It'll probably be a while before I can any more done (Too many other things happening) so I shall add a few photos as it currently is for you to enjoy ;)

Front View
Image

Image

Rear View (PCI brackets need cutting down & rear panel needs to be inset by another couple of mm)
Image

Dual SSDs :D
Image

For those who are interested, my homemade chipset heatsink :)
Image

And some homemade PicoPSU Cables (These are temporary ones, I'll be making a new set for the final build, all custom lengths, connectors etc :)
Image


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:28 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:46 am
Posts: 22
Managed to make some more progress :)

Front View
Image
Image

DVD Drives and card reader - I need to make a slight tweak to get the drives 100% straight
Image

And from the back
Image
Image


Made a new heatsink for the low profile HD 7750 - stock cooler was rather noisy!
Image
Image

Also made another chipset heatink, as the old one wouldn't clear the new heatsink on the graphics card...
Image
Image

Sata Cable routing - I managed to get hold of some ultra slim cables, makes the job a lot easier!
Image
Image

New cable loom made for the power to everything
Image

Overall view of the main compartment
Image

Graphics card in :)
Image

Modified sata connectors for the optical drives. Slim sata cables, with the power part made from a slim adapter cable with the data half cut off!
Image

Hard drive suspension using elastic and cable lugs
Image
Image

Cabling by the SSD drives, power input etc. The small circuit board is a switch to allow my monitor, keyboard etc to turn on when the PC is turned on (one brick powers everything!)
Image

And put in my rack!
Image

Still to do:

- make the top cover
- make the front panel LEDs/Switches (you can see the temporary solution hanging out the front panel!)
- replace the car reader with one that has esata and audio as well as the USB3.0 ports. Already found the one I'm after, just trying to get hold of it haha!
- reinstall windows & get it set up how I want it

Long term plans

- Replace 320gb hdd with a 2TB 2.5 drive
- Upgrade to 16gb LP 1.35V Ram (Yes, I can quite happily max out the 8gb I've got!!!)
- upgrade to i7 3770 processor


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:15 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:22 am
Posts: 23
Location: Poland
This, Sir, is awesome! Keep it up! How are the temps and overall noise?

Best regards

_________________
Silence above all! | Making wife quiet project - 0% complete


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Rackmount PC Build
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:52 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:46 am
Posts: 22
Thanks

So far, even when stressing CPU & GPU, the central heating pump is louder... Hard drives make the most noise haha!

Temps are amazing as well, CPU I can't get past 45 C, GPU hits 55 C under stress, 47-48 C gaming.

I can't see any issues whatsoever with cooling an i7 in there ;)

I'll post more detailed results once I've got the lid on, I simply placed a few magazines over the top to duct the airflow (without the lid on, gpu sits a few degrees C warmer)


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