Headless Garage HTPC/Server - MDF Case

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asm495

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Headless Garage HTPC/Server - MDF Case

#1

Post by asm495 » Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:43 am

I had posted in another thread about my system which has a case made out of MDF. The reason for this is that I couldn't find anything that met my needs. My requirements were:
  • Fit 2x 2.5" HDDs (RAID1 for system) plus 5x 3.5" HDDs (for storage)
  • Cables accessible from the front other than power
  • Micro ATX motherboard support
  • Full-height expansion card support
  • Fit in a standard rack width but with limited depth
The case was built using 9mm MDF (IIRC) and was just screwed together and sprayed black. A single quiet 120mm fan is the main exhaust. It doesn't look the best in the world but it doesn't matter as it is hidden away and it does the job for me. The core parts for the actual case are:
This system is now running a Core i5 650 (Dual Core HT 3.2GHz) with 4GB of RAM. The two system disks are 250GB in a RAID-1 array. The storage HDDs are all Samsungs, 3x 2TB and 2x 1.5TB. Until recently I was using two Pinnacle 7010ix tuners but after the BBC switched their HD channels to DVB-S2 I am now using two TBS 6981 dual DVB-S2 PCI-E tuner cards. Due to the low power very efficient PSU the whole system draws if I remember correctly about 60 to 70W and is on 24/7.

I am running Windows 7 Ultimate on it mainly for Media Center. File duplication on important files is handled by SyncToy (free) and backups on PCs on my network is done through Acronis True Image Home. This system was a replacement for a previous WHS1 plus separate HTPC solution so that it was important that all functions were replicated.

To watch TV I use two Xbox 360s and one Linksys DMA-2100 connected to the 3 main TVs in the house.

I used to have a rackmount 16 port gigabit switch but the PSU died on it so I bought a cheap replacement which is doing the job and I think using less power too!

Overview:
Image

Slighty closer up:
Image

I/O Panel (can see 4 satellite cable inputs on the right):
Image

HDDs (2.5" HDDs on top, 3.5" HDDs below):
Image

Any comments appreciated! :D

Fleadh

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#2

Post by Fleadh » Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:03 pm

Im dissapointed. I thaought it woudl look all mega DIY with a pale brown mdf boards but no, it looks sweet and kinda cool.

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STC

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#3

Post by STC » Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:08 pm

Yeah, nicely built. Looks very pro actually.
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cw-kid

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#4

Post by cw-kid » Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:39 pm

Interesting! Your a braver man than I am to attempt to make your own chassis.
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Venom51

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#5

Post by Venom51 » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:45 pm

heck I had to look at it a couple times to convince myself it was actually made out of MDF. Nice work.

asm495

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#6

Post by asm495 » Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:53 am

Glad you guys like it. I thought most reactions would be that it was awful looking! It is a bit hacked together still - you can see that it is sitting on two blocks of wood to make it easier to lift out if needed. The top lid is on a hinge with a handle cut out to make it easier to lift out.

I really like the easy access cables at the front - no hunting around blind at the back trying to find where to plug things.

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tony_park

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#7

Post by tony_park » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:51 am

Looks good to me!

If its in the garage, who's gonna see it anyway, so it may as well be designed specifically for your needs :D

I was considering a while back, buying a case of ebay, that was a server rackmount case, for putting my WHS in, may still do that later on, but for now, we use the HTPC for playing back Blu-rays etc, as we don't have them ripped. If we ever have kids, then this may change, so that they don't get their greasy, sticky fingers all over the disks :o

Tony

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