Saturday, April 4, 2009

Initial Version 2 Thoughts

Thoughts are now moving to version 2...

In general, the main areas which need working on for Version 2 include:
  • Using a top and bottom metal case doesnt really work - needs just to have a lower level metal case, with all things attached ontop
  • The perspex case needs to be a single piece, simple lowered over the top and screwed down
  • Far too big - needs to be much thinner, and ideally a bit smaller in footprint
  • Needs to have a DVD player
  • The HDD will need to switch from a desktop 3.5 inch to a 2.5 inch laptop to save space
  • Need to go with a smaller form factor power supply
  • Should go with better ventilation for the box

These are probably the main points - maybe missed some, so will come back and add them in as I remember them.

Also, to improve the build quality - need to improve the metal work. So am thinking of building some kind of simple metal brake for the bending - and then will need some kind of sheet metal nibbler for some more accurate metal work cutting.
(Note that when you buy the sheet metal here, they cut it out with an angle grinder - so the accuracy of what you get varies :-)

So - based on all of these requirements, I have settled down towards the following internal design ideas...

The main points of the design include:
  • CPU fan height reduced. I figure that if I take the standard Intel CPU cooling fan and heatsink, and cut off the fan. Then instead I mount one of the slim (12 mm height) Scythe fans ontop - should have a very low profile arrangement around 40mm high (TBD if feasible)
  • Go for a 1U rack form factor power supply - generally 40mm thick, and around 200 x 100 mm on the other dimensions.
  • Put some 80mm fans on one side of the box - venting out through the bottom... ?? And of course this means that the power supply box will need to be vented to allow the fans to suck the air through it ??
  • Put a laptop DVD player UNDERNEATH the motherboard - also has the advantage that it is easier to provide a cutout at the base of the external perspex case, rather than one in the middle of the case (well, that is my theory)
From the back view

  • Make the back panel out of sheet metal - should be simpler
  • Note all of the various evolution versions of the design in the background - much like a junkyard :-)
From underneath

  • You have the DVD player towards the front
  • The laptop HDD also sits under the motherboard
  • There are two fans that vent out through the bottom of the case - they should suck the air across the motherboard, with the fresh air comming in from the other side - potentially even comming in from the bottom of the case helping to cool the HDD ??

With this layout, the overall external case dimensions should be something like 360 mm wide, 255 mm deep, and around 70 mm height. Makes a nice change from the current size... :-)
(380 mm wide, 290 mm deep, 130 mm height)

Another option also is to take more an extreme approach with the power supply - going for a 12 V DC power pack supply, with the associated circuitry board inside to handle the conversion to get the other ATX standard voltages required.
Anyway - most of these detailed decisions will have to wait until I get some of the parts in hand to start playing with...

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