Well its been a long time coming; the 3rd chapter of the Corner Desk PC , the AMD processor I was using in my last unit started misbehaving, overheating and generally being very arsey.
So I drew up a wish list of things I would like, and changes to be made, that read something like this:
1. Quieter .... the old unit had 4 case fans, a video card with a fan and a 3 disk raid rack with a fan, you could hear it from the Hall !!!
2. Easier access .... V2 was bolted from the underside and access was a problem, the psu also hung on a bracket at the back of the unit under the desk and was a real pita to work at the few times I had to get near it.
3.Better visibility... the internals of the old version couldn't be seen without standing up and almost looking straight down, was a bit disappointing, wasn't happy with the final look.
4.Cooler.... the AMD 965 BE ran very hot under stress and the video card didn't help either.
So with a rough idea what I wanted I developed a shopping list.
Step 1: Shopping List
I Ordered in an Asus H81M-C mATX motherboard with Intel i5 3.2GHz Processor which gave me dual video without the need for an additional video card, one less fan, less power and heat generated, this motherboard is
much shorter than the normal atx motherboard and fits nicely in the space I have.
A monitor stand via ebay for the 22"
A scrap case which was cut & shut
A new PSU, SSD drive, LED strip and Avantek USB header completed the IT Hardware requirements.
Glass for the front (old one was chipped) and new top window both salvaged from smoked glass hifi door with a cracked corner.
3 new rails made from scrap wood and tin from the old case, these will support the shelf with the window.
I used the following in my upgrade, just because its what I had to hand.
Angle Grinder to cut the case and strips
Pop Rivet gun
Hole saw, jigsaw
various other bits and bobs but nothing special...
Modifying the case
I used the motherboard to mark the case and cut it to length just below the PSU, it was strengthened with a piece of vented side panel which I riveted across the open end, this vented section faces forward and sits flush with the top of the desk.
The case drops into a hole in the desk and sits on two horizontal L brackets which were riveted onto the left and right sides.
Step 2: Modifying the Top
The old top is getting a rework, a new top window needs cut out and the old fan outlet which was put in to cool the 965 processor is not required any more so the hole was filled and both top sections sanded back, the rebate for the glass cut and re varnished.
Front and top sections of glass cut from the old door glass, with a bit left over for another project !!
The filler piece isn't a brilliant match, but close enough and you don't see it as its well behind the screen.
Step 3: Internal Modification
With the 2 old wooden sides removed internally there was no support for the top shelf anymore, the top of the case stops 20mm short of the shelf so I made up a few rails and that support structure sits on top of the case, screwed to the front panel and the back rail.
The psu sits in the corner, and sucks straight down, had to cut a large hole with a holesaw which took ages, the PC ejects hot air to the right, past a SATA drive through the PSU and ejects under the chassis.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
Bolted the new monitor stand to the wall.
Ripped out the Right hand dvd drive and replaced it with an Avantek USB 3 header with a fast charge socket (green) for my mobile etc, this plugs in to a dedicated socket on the motherboard:
Rewired the light switch and wired in the LED strip from http://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/mkshopuk , was going to use 2 but 1 is plenty gives a nice light without being dazzling.
New SSD mounted to the rear of the chassis, and cabled through the back.
That's about it, its been running fine now for a few months with no issues, loving the silence.
Step 5: Conclusion
Well worth the time and effort, all the boxes have been ticked, its ultra quiet, stock cpu fan and chassis fan that's thermally controlled and seldom on.
Sits at 23deg C quite happily, heat is no longer an issue even when under load.
Top window gives great visibility, should have done that ages ago.
Easily accessible for tinkering now, can work right at the motherboard now without removal and taking the chassis and PSU out is now a 5 min job not half an hour of hitting my head on the bottom of the desk trying to hold the wooden case while unscrewing it.
Hope you enjoy this Corner desk PC update, now at V.3
Sorry I don't update more often, just don't get the time to document all that goes on round here.