Woodbox Mk II: Steelbox

Show off your quiet rig.

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Woodbox Mk II: Steelbox

Post by Brian » Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:20 pm

A few years back, I built a wooden PC case that was just large enough for a microATX motherboard with a PicoPSU. It only stayed in the case for a few months before I ended up just screwing the wooden backplate to the wall, and having an open-air machine.

The wooden backplate was recently upgraded to steel to allow expansion cards to seat more happily in the system. I harvested an ATX backplate from a very old PC case. It's easy to drill the rivets out and take the parts you need. A bandsaw is the ideal tool for cutting it down to size, but I used a sawzall and tinsips here.


I recently retired my energy-hungry gaming rig, and upgraded the Woodbox from a Sempron to a dual core A64 X2 @ 2.1GHz. I have a 32MB OCZ SSD, which is plenty of space when carefully managed. There's also a 0.5TB Samsung Spinpoint that stays unplugged unless I need to store/retrieve something. 3GB RAM, PicoPSU, and a Scythe Ninja that I've had for a long time now.

Here's a picture of the computer posing with a GeForce 6800 GT, which is where I'm storing my interesting GPU heatsink.


I have a Sapphire Radeon HD 5670, onto which I could swap that interesting GPU heatsink. But the Radeon adds 10W to my system's idle, so as long as I can play StarCraft on my onboard graphics, I don't need the graphics card.

The system idles at 22W, exceeding my expectations. :D There are no fans, and no moving parts when the hard drive's not plugged in. I undervolted to the threshold of instability, then bumped up the voltage two notches.

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Post by themaster1 » Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:45 pm

Lol strange and you keep it "as is", not affraid of dust or water ?

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Post by axee » Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:09 am

themaster1 wrote:Lol strange and you keep it "as is", not affraid of dust or water ?

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Post by speedkar9 » Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:47 am

themaster1 wrote:Lol strange and you keep it "as is", not affraid of dust or water ?

What are temps like?

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Post by Brian » Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:35 am

Temps are acceptable. I let ambient temperature get up to 28° in here, and down to 16-17° in the winter. At 28°, the northbridge is warmer than I'd like: 55° at idle, 68° under load. With a CPU heatsink like that, the CPU temps are never a concern. I'm at 22° right now, and it's never exceeded 46°.

Afraid of dust? No. With so little airflow, this thing collects almost no dust. Afraid of large foreign objects? No, it's 1.4m off the ground, and behind my desk. Afraid of rain? No, rain would have to come in my window at a steep angle, then make a 90° turn midair to hit the mobo. It's plenty far away from the window.

It's unconventional, but I like it a lot. What better way to let people know I like tinkering with PCs than to have one on display on my wall?

There are a few other reasons to skip the case. Since I have no case, I don't need a fan. This wall-mount PC takes up no space on or under my desk. This case was made from parts that can be found at the curb. Also, it's really hard to find a case in the size I require: 244mm*244mm, with no space for a power supply or optical drive, but room for a Ninja. If Rosewill made something like that for $40, I'd probably buy it.

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Post by zoob » Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:08 am

Interesting GPU heatsink is an Aerocool VM-101. Great little thing.

Nice setup! Do you use a screwdriver to short the power/reset pins? :)

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