Thinking "out of the box" when building a PC

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

More and more, as I look at prefabricated cases for PCs, I ask myself:
what prevents someone from building a PC with no case? For example,
why couldn't you, say, build some sort of wooden mounting area into a
wall or a desk, then mount all the components to it, so that you have
something that blends into the furniture and/or something with plenty
of open space to ease maintenance and keep the machine cooler? Why
does everything always have to be in a cramped box? As long as you
respect things like cable lengths, are there other limitations?

Beyond cable lengths, it occurred to me that perhaps rotating parts
like CD and especially disk drives need to rotate in a horizontal
plane in order to have a symmetric load on the bearings. Is this
true? I've seen PCs in the past with disk drives mounted vertically,
and one of them was quite new (although it failed for other reasons
later on--it was pretty cheap). Do disk drives have to be mounted in
only certain orientations?

Another concern might be EMI, but if you had a metal mesh enclosure or
something around the machine that you could close and ground, wouldn't
that stop EMI? Does anyone really have much trouble with EMI, anyway?

Anyway, what I picture is a sort of vast PC with tons of room between
components, almost like a huge rack in the style of old mainframes
into which you could easily stick your arm if you had to replace
something. Current cases are so cramped that one must pay careful
attention not to break anything when removing or adding parts, and the
air circulation never seems to be anywhere close to ideal.

Maybe something that fits under a desktop (literally) would work.
You'd have a hinged door on the desktop, and when you lift it up, you
have your PC components all nicely mounted in a roomy enclosure with
plenty of space to maintain or upgrade them, and powerful silent fans
to keep the whole thing comfortably cool. It would be the opposite of
a laptop: instead of trying to squeeze everything into the smallest
possible space, you'd be spreading it out into a very large and
accessible place that could potentially give you years of easy and
trouble-free use--and could be discreet enough that people wouldn't
even know that you had a PC (out of sight, and out of sound).

I've seen companies that build special furniture to receive a PC, but
it's always just a spot into which a standard cabinet can be fitted.
I haven't found anyone who builds PCs directly into furniture, walls,
etc.

Maybe there's no much demand for easy access. I'm the type who would
like to see subfloors and false ceilings with open cable trays and
access
59 answers Last reply
More about thinking building
  1. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    In article <ag5fd11el6b453gall1ms4djr4enpfrf8p@4ax.com>,
    Mxsmanic <mxsmanic@gmail.com> wrote:
    >More and more, as I look at prefabricated cases for PCs, I ask myself:
    >what prevents someone from building a PC with no case? For example,
    >why couldn't you, say, build some sort of wooden mounting area into a
    >wall or a desk, then mount all the components to it, so that you have
    >something that blends into the furniture and/or something with plenty
    >of open space to ease maintenance and keep the machine cooler? Why
    >does everything always have to be in a cramped box? As long as you
    >respect things like cable lengths, are there other limitations?
    >
    >Beyond cable lengths, it occurred to me that perhaps rotating parts
    >like CD and especially disk drives need to rotate in a horizontal
    >plane in order to have a symmetric load on the bearings. Is this
    >true? I've seen PCs in the past with disk drives mounted vertically,
    >and one of them was quite new (although it failed for other reasons
    >later on--it was pretty cheap). Do disk drives have to be mounted in
    >only certain orientations?
    >
    >Another concern might be EMI, but if you had a metal mesh enclosure or
    >something around the machine that you could close and ground, wouldn't
    >that stop EMI? Does anyone really have much trouble with EMI, anyway?
    >
    >Anyway, what I picture is a sort of vast PC with tons of room between
    >components, almost like a huge rack in the style of old mainframes
    >into which you could easily stick your arm if you had to replace
    >something. Current cases are so cramped that one must pay careful
    >attention not to break anything when removing or adding parts, and the
    >air circulation never seems to be anywhere close to ideal.
    >

    Have a ball. I think FCC regs and even safety regulations (or at
    least company lawyers worrying about lawsuits) limit cases to the
    boring, as you have noted.

    As for taste, nobody's going to make a PC in a way that only one
    person likes.


    --
    a d y k e s @ p a n i x . c o m

    Don't blame me. I voted for Gore.
  2. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    "Mxsmanic" <mxsmanic@gmail.com> wrote in message
    news:ag5fd11el6b453gall1ms4djr4enpfrf8p@4ax.com...
    > More and more, as I look at prefabricated cases for PCs, I ask myself:
    > what prevents someone from building a PC with no case? For example,
    > why couldn't you, say, build some sort of wooden mounting area into a
    > wall or a desk, then mount all the components to it, so that you have
    > something that blends into the furniture and/or something with plenty
    > of open space to ease maintenance and keep the machine cooler? Why
    > does everything always have to be in a cramped box? As long as you
    > respect things like cable lengths, are there other limitations?
    >
    > Beyond cable lengths, it occurred to me that perhaps rotating parts
    > like CD and especially disk drives need to rotate in a horizontal
    > plane in order to have a symmetric load on the bearings. Is this
    > true? I've seen PCs in the past with disk drives mounted vertically,
    > and one of them was quite new (although it failed for other reasons
    > later on--it was pretty cheap). Do disk drives have to be mounted in
    > only certain orientations?
    >
    > Another concern might be EMI, but if you had a metal mesh enclosure or
    > something around the machine that you could close and ground, wouldn't
    > that stop EMI? Does anyone really have much trouble with EMI, anyway?
    >
    > Anyway, what I picture is a sort of vast PC with tons of room between
    > components, almost like a huge rack in the style of old mainframes
    > into which you could easily stick your arm if you had to replace
    > something. Current cases are so cramped that one must pay careful
    > attention not to break anything when removing or adding parts, and the
    > air circulation never seems to be anywhere close to ideal.
    >
    > Maybe something that fits under a desktop (literally) would work.
    > You'd have a hinged door on the desktop, and when you lift it up, you
    > have your PC components all nicely mounted in a roomy enclosure with
    > plenty of space to maintain or upgrade them, and powerful silent fans
    > to keep the whole thing comfortably cool. It would be the opposite of
    > a laptop: instead of trying to squeeze everything into the smallest
    > possible space, you'd be spreading it out into a very large and
    > accessible place that could potentially give you years of easy and
    > trouble-free use--and could be discreet enough that people wouldn't
    > even know that you had a PC (out of sight, and out of sound).
    >
    > I've seen companies that build special furniture to receive a PC, but
    > it's always just a spot into which a standard cabinet can be fitted.
    > I haven't found anyone who builds PCs directly into furniture, walls,
    > etc.
    >
    > Maybe there's no much demand for easy access. I'm the type who would
    > like to see subfloors and false ceilings with open cable trays and
    > access

    I built a case out of 1" stock (wood) with laminated plywood set in grooves
    for side panels that just slide out from the front. I use it for testing
    purposes at my work bench. It hangs by woodscrews under one end of my bench.
    The main problem I had was the rear panel (scavenged from a case I had
    setting around) and the on/off and reset switches which I also scavenged and
    cut holes to match. Never thought much about EMI since I use a completely
    open wooden board for testing MBs, PSUs interior components etc. I could
    stain it and mount it pretty much anywhere if I wanted and it would not look
    much like a PC. I use it for testing printers, USB devices and other
    externals mainly. It has 802.11g so it is very functional and I have posted
    here from it while working. It is an old FCPGA P3-700 @ 933 and stays nice
    and cool running W2K. My workspace is small and bench room is at a premium,
    but I guess I could have done the same thing with an old case I already had.
    All the components are easy to get to and change since my bench is fairly
    high and it is mounted with the left side panel to the front. I just have
    two 80mm fans in the case and an old Golden Orb for CPU cooling. The main
    drawback is that if your time is valuable, it would probably be more cost
    effective to purchase a case...........:-). On the positive side, you can
    build it the way you want and make things very easy to swap out.

    Ed
  3. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Mxsmanic wrote:
    > More and more, as I look at prefabricated cases for PCs, I ask myself:
    > what prevents someone from building a PC with no case? For example,
    > why couldn't you, say, build some sort of wooden mounting area into a
    > wall or a desk, then mount all the components to it, so that you have
    > something that blends into the furniture and/or something with plenty
    > of open space to ease maintenance and keep the machine cooler? Why
    > does everything always have to be in a cramped box? As long as you
    > respect things like cable lengths, are there other limitations?
    >
    > Beyond cable lengths, it occurred to me that perhaps rotating parts
    > like CD and especially disk drives need to rotate in a horizontal
    > plane in order to have a symmetric load on the bearings. Is this
    > true? I've seen PCs in the past with disk drives mounted vertically,
    > and one of them was quite new (although it failed for other reasons
    > later on--it was pretty cheap). Do disk drives have to be mounted in
    > only certain orientations?
    >
    > Another concern might be EMI, but if you had a metal mesh enclosure or
    > something around the machine that you could close and ground, wouldn't
    > that stop EMI? Does anyone really have much trouble with EMI, anyway?
    >
    > Anyway, what I picture is a sort of vast PC with tons of room between
    > components, almost like a huge rack in the style of old mainframes
    > into which you could easily stick your arm if you had to replace
    > something. Current cases are so cramped that one must pay careful
    > attention not to break anything when removing or adding parts, and the
    > air circulation never seems to be anywhere close to ideal.
    >
    > Maybe something that fits under a desktop (literally) would work.
    > You'd have a hinged door on the desktop, and when you lift it up, you
    > have your PC components all nicely mounted in a roomy enclosure with
    > plenty of space to maintain or upgrade them, and powerful silent fans
    > to keep the whole thing comfortably cool. It would be the opposite of
    > a laptop: instead of trying to squeeze everything into the smallest
    > possible space, you'd be spreading it out into a very large and
    > accessible place that could potentially give you years of easy and
    > trouble-free use--and could be discreet enough that people wouldn't
    > even know that you had a PC (out of sight, and out of sound).
    >
    > I've seen companies that build special furniture to receive a PC, but
    > it's always just a spot into which a standard cabinet can be fitted.
    > I haven't found anyone who builds PCs directly into furniture, walls,
    > etc.
    >
    > Maybe there's no much demand for easy access. I'm the type who would
    > like to see subfloors and false ceilings with open cable trays and
    > access

    Once in "Maximum PC" I saw pictures and descriptions about a guy who
    build his PC in a desk. All the parts were in different drawers. Yes,
    there were mods to the desk and wiring considerations. He had to make it
    to get air in there for cooling, but found that separating all the hot
    parts kept things pretty cool anyway.

    I thought that was pretty cool.

    Hey, look around on the Web. There are a lot of people that have done
    some creative and/or crazy things.

    Clyde
  4. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Mxsmanic, <mxsmanic@gmail.com>, the pearl necklace-wearing, susurrant
    festered sore, and keeper of the kitchen cupboard, whimpered:

    > More and more, as I look at prefabricated cases for PCs, I ask myself:
    > what prevents someone from building a PC with no case? For example,
    > why couldn't you, say, build some sort of wooden mounting area into a
    > wall or a desk, then mount all the components to it, so that you have
    > something that blends into the furniture and/or something with plenty
    > of open space to ease maintenance and keep the machine cooler? Why
    > does everything always have to be in a cramped box? As long as you
    > respect things like cable lengths, are there other limitations?
    >
    > Beyond cable lengths, it occurred to me that perhaps rotating parts
    > like CD and especially disk drives need to rotate in a horizontal
    > plane in order to have a symmetric load on the bearings. Is this
    > true? I've seen PCs in the past with disk drives mounted vertically,
    > and one of them was quite new (although it failed for other reasons
    > later on--it was pretty cheap). Do disk drives have to be mounted in
    > only certain orientations?
    >
    > Another concern might be EMI, but if you had a metal mesh enclosure or
    > something around the machine that you could close and ground, wouldn't
    > that stop EMI? Does anyone really have much trouble with EMI, anyway?
    >
    > Anyway, what I picture is a sort of vast PC with tons of room between
    > components, almost like a huge rack in the style of old mainframes
    > into which you could easily stick your arm if you had to replace
    > something. Current cases are so cramped that one must pay careful
    > attention not to break anything when removing or adding parts, and the
    > air circulation never seems to be anywhere close to ideal.
    >
    > Maybe something that fits under a desktop (literally) would work.
    > You'd have a hinged door on the desktop, and when you lift it up, you
    > have your PC components all nicely mounted in a roomy enclosure with
    > plenty of space to maintain or upgrade them, and powerful silent fans
    > to keep the whole thing comfortably cool. It would be the opposite of
    > a laptop: instead of trying to squeeze everything into the smallest
    > possible space, you'd be spreading it out into a very large and
    > accessible place that could potentially give you years of easy and
    > trouble-free use--and could be discreet enough that people wouldn't
    > even know that you had a PC (out of sight, and out of sound).
    >
    > I've seen companies that build special furniture to receive a PC, but
    > it's always just a spot into which a standard cabinet can be fitted.
    > I haven't found anyone who builds PCs directly into furniture, walls,
    > etc.
    >
    > Maybe there's no much demand for easy access. I'm the type who would
    > like to see subfloors and false ceilings with open cable trays and
    > access

    Why not use a refrigerator as your case, it has a handy light when you open
    the door. Your components would be as cool as you wanted and you could keep
    your beers in there too.

    --
    For my own part, I have never had a thought which I could not set down
    in words with even more distinctness than that with which I conceived
    it. There is, however, a class of fancies of exquisite delicacy which
    are not thoughts, and to which as yet I have found it absolutely
    impossible to adapt to language. These fancies arise in the soul, alas
    how rarely. Only at epochs of most intense tranquillity, when the
    bodily and mental health are in perfection. And at those weird points
    of time, where the confines of the waking world blend with the world of
    dreams. And so I captured this fancy, where all that we see, or seem,
    is but a dream within a dream.
  5. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Check this case, or lack there of, out!!!!!

    http://www.extremetech.com/slideshow_viewer/0,1205,l=&s=1005&a=130781&po=10,00.asp
  6. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Legally in the U.S. a computer has to have a metal case because otherwise it
    outputs powerful RF signals which will interfere with your neighbors
    electronics, according to the FCC. Also you would be picking up loads of
    interference on your computer's internal signal cables since they are not
    shielded cables by design.
    In other words, no go.

    --
    DaveW


    "Mxsmanic" <mxsmanic@gmail.com> wrote in message
    news:ag5fd11el6b453gall1ms4djr4enpfrf8p@4ax.com...
    > More and more, as I look at prefabricated cases for PCs, I ask myself:
    > what prevents someone from building a PC with no case? For example,
    > why couldn't you, say, build some sort of wooden mounting area into a
    > wall or a desk, then mount all the components to it, so that you have
    > something that blends into the furniture and/or something with plenty
    > of open space to ease maintenance and keep the machine cooler? Why
    > does everything always have to be in a cramped box? As long as you
    > respect things like cable lengths, are there other limitations?
    >
    > Beyond cable lengths, it occurred to me that perhaps rotating parts
    > like CD and especially disk drives need to rotate in a horizontal
    > plane in order to have a symmetric load on the bearings. Is this
    > true? I've seen PCs in the past with disk drives mounted vertically,
    > and one of them was quite new (although it failed for other reasons
    > later on--it was pretty cheap). Do disk drives have to be mounted in
    > only certain orientations?
    >
    > Another concern might be EMI, but if you had a metal mesh enclosure or
    > something around the machine that you could close and ground, wouldn't
    > that stop EMI? Does anyone really have much trouble with EMI, anyway?
    >
    > Anyway, what I picture is a sort of vast PC with tons of room between
    > components, almost like a huge rack in the style of old mainframes
    > into which you could easily stick your arm if you had to replace
    > something. Current cases are so cramped that one must pay careful
    > attention not to break anything when removing or adding parts, and the
    > air circulation never seems to be anywhere close to ideal.
    >
    > Maybe something that fits under a desktop (literally) would work.
    > You'd have a hinged door on the desktop, and when you lift it up, you
    > have your PC components all nicely mounted in a roomy enclosure with
    > plenty of space to maintain or upgrade them, and powerful silent fans
    > to keep the whole thing comfortably cool. It would be the opposite of
    > a laptop: instead of trying to squeeze everything into the smallest
    > possible space, you'd be spreading it out into a very large and
    > accessible place that could potentially give you years of easy and
    > trouble-free use--and could be discreet enough that people wouldn't
    > even know that you had a PC (out of sight, and out of sound).
    >
    > I've seen companies that build special furniture to receive a PC, but
    > it's always just a spot into which a standard cabinet can be fitted.
    > I haven't found anyone who builds PCs directly into furniture, walls,
    > etc.
    >
    > Maybe there's no much demand for easy access. I'm the type who would
    > like to see subfloors and false ceilings with open cable trays and
    > access
  7. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Matt writes:

    > Find a case that is easy to open and that supports easy changing of
    > components.

    Does anyone make such cases? Most of them seem to be designed for
    looks or compact size rather than maintenance or cooling.
  8. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    > More and more, as I look at prefabricated cases for PCs, I ask myself:
    > what prevents someone from building a PC with no case? For example,
    > why couldn't you, say, build some sort of wooden mounting area into a
    > wall or a desk, then mount all the components to it, so that you have
    > something that blends into the furniture and/or something with plenty
    > of open space to ease maintenance and keep the machine cooler? Why
    > does everything always have to be in a cramped box? As long as you
    > respect things like cable lengths, are there other limitations?

    http://www.mini-itx.com/projects.asp
  9. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Ideally, a properly built PC would be about the size of a Readers
    Digest
    book. It would have a small transmitter-receiver for a remote keypad
    and mouse, and probably be kept on a shelf or coffee table in my
    living room. It would talk remotely to at least 3 monitor-TVs located
    in my home office, living room entertainment center, and monitor at
    work. Inside, it would have 40 terabytes of battery backed ram, and
    that is the only storage medium it would need. The OS and all
    programs would be in permanent ROM. No matter where I went, I
    could talk to it, and it would answer in a sexy female voice that
    would make my wife, and all my girlfriends insanely jealous. I
    would even be able to "think" to it during quizzes and exams.
    I would never have to work ....
  10. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Mxsmanic wrote:
    > More and more, as I look at prefabricated cases for PCs, I ask myself:
    > what prevents someone from building a PC with no case? For example,
    > why couldn't you, say, build some sort of wooden mounting area into a
    > wall or a desk, then mount all the components to it, so that you have
    > something that blends into the furniture and/or something with plenty
    > of open space to ease maintenance and keep the machine cooler? Why
    > does everything always have to be in a cramped box? As long as you
    > respect things like cable lengths, are there other limitations?
    >
    > Beyond cable lengths, it occurred to me that perhaps rotating parts
    > like CD and especially disk drives need to rotate in a horizontal
    > plane in order to have a symmetric load on the bearings. Is this
    > true? I've seen PCs in the past with disk drives mounted vertically,
    > and one of them was quite new (although it failed for other reasons
    > later on--it was pretty cheap). Do disk drives have to be mounted in
    > only certain orientations?
    >
    > Another concern might be EMI, but if you had a metal mesh enclosure or
    > something around the machine that you could close and ground, wouldn't
    > that stop EMI? Does anyone really have much trouble with EMI, anyway?
    >
    > Anyway, what I picture is a sort of vast PC with tons of room between
    > components, almost like a huge rack in the style of old mainframes
    > into which you could easily stick your arm if you had to replace
    > something. Current cases are so cramped that one must pay careful
    > attention not to break anything when removing or adding parts, and the
    > air circulation never seems to be anywhere close to ideal.
    >
    > Maybe something that fits under a desktop (literally) would work.
    > You'd have a hinged door on the desktop, and when you lift it up, you
    > have your PC components all nicely mounted in a roomy enclosure with
    > plenty of space to maintain or upgrade them, and powerful silent fans
    > to keep the whole thing comfortably cool. It would be the opposite of
    > a laptop: instead of trying to squeeze everything into the smallest
    > possible space, you'd be spreading it out into a very large and
    > accessible place that could potentially give you years of easy and
    > trouble-free use--and could be discreet enough that people wouldn't
    > even know that you had a PC (out of sight, and out of sound).
    >
    > I've seen companies that build special furniture to receive a PC, but
    > it's always just a spot into which a standard cabinet can be fitted.
    > I haven't found anyone who builds PCs directly into furniture, walls,
    > etc.
    >
    > Maybe there's no much demand for easy access. I'm the type who would
    > like to see subfloors and false ceilings with open cable trays and
    > access

    Have you taken the time to explore case mod websites? Do a google search
    for "case mod" and go from there. Some of the competitions and how-to
    guides that can be found are very impressive!

    --
    spammage trappage: replace fishies_ with yahoo

    I'm going to die rather sooner than I'd like. I tried to protect my
    neighbours from crime, and became the victim of it. Complications in
    hospital following this resulted in a serious illness. I now need a bone
    marrow transplant. Many people around the world are waiting for a marrow
    transplant, too. Please volunteer to be a marrow donor:
    http://www.abmdr.org.au/
    http://www.marrow.org/
  11. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    spodosaurus writes:

    > Have you taken the time to explore case mod websites? Do a google search
    > for "case mod" and go from there. Some of the competitions and how-to
    > guides that can be found are very impressive!

    I didn't know what to look for; I was searching on "customized cases"
    and things like that. "Case mod" does indeed pull up a flotilla of
    sites. Most of them seem to be in the fantasy category (from my point
    of view), but at least it's a starting point. Somebody somewhere
    probably has more pragmatic "mods" to show. Thanks for the pointer.
  12. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Mxsmanic wrote:
    > Matt writes:
    >
    >
    >>Find a case that is easy to open and that supports easy changing of
    >>components.
    >
    >
    > Does anyone make such cases? Most of them seem to be designed for
    > looks or compact size rather than maintenance or cooling.

    You can hire someone to make just about anything...

    --
    spammage trappage: replace fishies_ with yahoo

    I'm going to die rather sooner than I'd like. I tried to protect my
    neighbours from crime, and became the victim of it. Complications in
    hospital following this resulted in a serious illness. I now need a bone
    marrow transplant. Many people around the world are waiting for a marrow
    transplant, too. Please volunteer to be a marrow donor:
    http://www.abmdr.org.au/
    http://www.marrow.org/
  13. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    DaveW writes:

    > Legally in the U.S. a computer has to have a metal case because otherwise it
    > outputs powerful RF signals which will interfere with your neighbors
    > electronics, according to the FCC.

    I've never seen interference from a PC with the covers off. Have you?

    I've heard that cell phones can bring down servers and vice versa, but
    I've not personally experienced that, either.

    In any case, if you really do see any EMI, you can put some sort of
    mesh around the PC and prevent it. But I don't see why a PC would be
    any worse for EMI than a TV set, and TV sets are typically in plastic
    cases, not metal cases.

    > Also you would be picking up loads of
    > interference on your computer's internal signal cables since they are not
    > shielded cables by design.

    Here again, any examples? I know this can happen in theory; it
    doesn't seem to happen much in practice.
  14. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    On Fri, 15 Jul 2005 13:07:26 +0200, Mxsmanic
    <mxsmanic@gmail.com> wrote:

    >More and more, as I look at prefabricated cases for PCs, I ask myself:
    >what prevents someone from building a PC with no case?

    Apathy?

    That a decent case is "good enough"?

    That the return, benefit from such a case is often less than
    the effort in making it?

    Because there are some novel products out there for niches
    like this,

    http://www.svcompucycle.com/techstation-case.html
  15. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    "Mxsmanic" <mxsmanic@gmail.com> wrote in message
    news:ag5fd11el6b453gall1ms4djr4enpfrf8p@4ax.com...

    > Maybe something that fits under a desktop (literally) would work.
    > You'd have a hinged door on the desktop, and when you lift it up, you
    > have your PC components all nicely mounted in a roomy enclosure with
    > plenty of space to maintain or upgrade them, and powerful silent fans
    > to keep the whole thing comfortably cool. It would be the opposite of
    > a laptop: instead of trying to squeeze everything into the smallest
    > possible space, you'd be spreading it out into a very large and
    > accessible place that could potentially give you years of easy and
    > trouble-free use--and could be discreet enough that people wouldn't
    > even know that you had a PC (out of sight, and out of sound).

    Actually, I'm working on something like this right now. I build computers,
    and I build tables, so it seemed like a natural combination. What bothers
    me most is the fact that there are only certain pieces of the computer that
    really need to be cooled yet manufacturers lump them all into the same case
    and go about trying to cool the whole thing. Also, I hate noisy little case
    fans. The world has enough noise, yo.

    It seems as though the most elegant solution would be to spread the
    components out as far as cables would allow, then focus your cooling and
    noise reduction efforts on the components that need those things. Well,
    that's my solution at any rate.

    I've actually had success with tacking all the components onto particle
    board, then hanging that on the wall. It's sort of artistic or something...

    I'm not sure about the RF deal-i-o because I've never experienced EMI. My
    project is wood, so I'm looking into RF shieldng paint. Though, actually
    learning to fabricate metal might be the cheaper way to go. Places that
    sell the stuff generally also sell stuff that looks an awful lot like
    chicken wire.

    Ultimately, I'd like to build something that goes beneath a desktop but uses
    nothing but laptop parts. I like the idea of being able to use quiet laptop
    power supplies, and I'd like to mount bays to recieve removeable drives
    (like most laptops have) inside the front edge of the table.

    It's sort of a pet project of mine.

    Quiet, unobtrusive, elegant, easy to work on, etc. etc. I'm not sure
    exactly what folks have in mind when they design PCs, but I can tell you
    that it certainly isn't any of those things.

    The time for such design considerations is well overdue.

    -John


    > I've seen companies that build special furniture to receive a PC, but
    > it's always just a spot into which a standard cabinet can be fitted.
    > I haven't found anyone who builds PCs directly into furniture, walls,
    > etc.
    >
    > Maybe there's no much demand for easy access. I'm the type who would
    > like to see subfloors and false ceilings with open cable trays and
    > access
  16. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Pragmatic? Like this one built into a sofa.. (article is in finnish, but
    there are a few pics...)

    http://www.mikrobitti.fi/nettijatkot/2003/06/sohvaservo/


    --
    Tumppi
    Reply to group
    =================================================
    Most learned on nntp://news.mircosoft.com
    Helsinki, Finland (remove _NOSPAM)
    (translations from FI/SE not always accurate)
    =================================================


    "Mxsmanic" <mxsmanic@gmail.com> kirjoitti viestissä
    news:jj2gd197vto8imngsv1a5888mlus8cmvfc@4ax.com...
    > spodosaurus writes:
    >
    > > Have you taken the time to explore case mod websites? Do a google search
    > > for "case mod" and go from there. Some of the competitions and how-to
    > > guides that can be found are very impressive!
    >
    > I didn't know what to look for; I was searching on "customized cases"
    > and things like that. "Case mod" does indeed pull up a flotilla of
    > sites. Most of them seem to be in the fantasy category (from my point
    > of view), but at least it's a starting point. Somebody somewhere
    > probably has more pragmatic "mods" to show. Thanks for the pointer.
  17. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Thomas Wendell writes:

    > Pragmatic? Like this one built into a sofa.. (article is in finnish, but
    > there are a few pics...)

    All of these are very cool, but I was thinking more along the lines of
    PCs that are integrated into furniture in a business or home-office
    environment, so that they don't take up space on the desk. Maybe
    something in a discreet cabinet at the workstation.

    I was also thinking of something that is highly maintainable. On
    large commercial computer systems, for example, traditionally
    everything has been in racks or bays that you can just pull out when
    you need to upgrade or replace hardware. (Tandem used to be famous
    for its ability to tolerate hardware changes even on a running
    system.) So some sort of custom arrangement that actually allows you
    to plug and unplug components would be cool. Ideally this would
    include even the motherboard. Ultimately you could unsnap and replace
    any individual part of the PC without building a new enclosure or
    dealing with fastenings that aren't designed to be undone.
  18. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Mxsmanic wrote:
    > Thomas Wendell writes:
    >
    >
    >>Pragmatic? Like this one built into a sofa.. (article is in finnish, but
    >>there are a few pics...)
    >
    >
    > All of these are very cool, but I was thinking more along the lines of
    > PCs that are integrated into furniture in a business or home-office
    > environment, so that they don't take up space on the desk. Maybe
    > something in a discreet cabinet at the workstation.
    >
    > I was also thinking of something that is highly maintainable. On
    > large commercial computer systems, for example, traditionally
    > everything has been in racks or bays that you can just pull out when
    > you need to upgrade or replace hardware. (Tandem used to be famous
    > for its ability to tolerate hardware changes even on a running
    > system.) So some sort of custom arrangement that actually allows you
    > to plug and unplug components would be cool. Ideally this would
    > include even the motherboard. Ultimately you could unsnap and replace
    > any individual part of the PC without building a new enclosure or
    > dealing with fastenings that aren't designed to be undone.

    So... Do it! What's stopping you?

    Clyde
  19. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    John Effty writes:

    > Quiet, unobtrusive, elegant, easy to work on, etc. etc. I'm not sure
    > exactly what folks have in mind when they design PCs, but I can tell you
    > that it certainly isn't any of those things.

    That's what I was thinking. I personally don't mind having computers
    whirring on both sides of me--I've been working with computers for
    years--but I know a lot of people who don't particularly care for
    computer hardware and might be much more willing to use computers if
    the hardware itself were unobtrusive.

    The current state of computer cases is rather like having only one
    type of light to put in a home or office, a huge streetlamp in
    battleship gray. Of course, in reality, we have an endless variety of
    lighting fixtures that one can buy for home and office; nobody needs
    to buy a giant streetlight to light something. But we have very
    little variety in computer cases: they all tend to be big gray or
    beige boxes.

    The designs I've been looking at on sites pointed to by people here
    move in the wrong direction: they make the PC a center of attention.
    I'm looking for people who have designed PCs that blend into the room,
    like a lighting fixture. Sure, there's a PC in the room, but you
    don't really notice it because it fits so well with everything else.
    The PC hardware could be tucked away in a cabinet or drawer, with
    modular construction so pieces could just be unplugged and replaced as
    necessary. All a computer-phobic user would actually see would be the
    screen, keyboard, and mouse--and even these could be customized to
    fold out of the way when not in use.

    > The time for such design considerations is well overdue.

    I agree ... and I think there's a huge market for it. I don't have
    the skills to do it myself, but someone out there does, and it's money
    waiting to be made. Plus, it will help more people to use computers,
    since they won't be put off by big gray cases on their desks.

    The Mac has occasionally moved in this direction, but it still has the
    defect of making the computer a center of attention, instead of an
    invisible servant. For non-geeks, PCs should be silent and invisible,
    with only the necessary human interfaces being noticeable (screen,
    keyboard, etc.).
  20. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    On Sat, 16 Jul 2005 12:29:48 +0200, Mxsmanic
    <mxsmanic@gmail.com> wrote:


    >I'm looking for people who have designed PCs that blend into the room,
    >like a lighting fixture.

    Err, ok but then again there's probably someone out there
    thinking "I want my lighting fixtures to blend into the
    room", for them that too is another object to hide.

    Stoves, refridgerators, etc- also appliances that don't need
    hidden. If all you want is to just tuck it into a desk,
    that's really not a big deal though, just a matter of taking
    the time to do it. Get some sheet aluminum, a metal brake,
    and a ruler. Fab some brackets and plates to screw down the
    parts. Cut a hole or two for fans. You might save some
    time making brackets and plates if you took an old ATX case
    and sawed it up to use as templates.
  21. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    DL writes:

    > Ya mean like this?
    >
    > http://www.squidly.com/php-cgi/Table-PC

    Definitely a move in the right direction.

    But still better would be a PC integrated into other furniture that
    people already use, such as a nice desk in the office or home. The PC
    should be no more obvious in the room than a power strip or discreet
    room lighting.
  22. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Mxsmanic wrote:
    > spodosaurus writes:
    >
    >
    >>Have you taken the time to explore case mod websites? Do a google search
    >>for "case mod" and go from there. Some of the competitions and how-to
    >>guides that can be found are very impressive!
    >
    >
    > I didn't know what to look for; I was searching on "customized cases"
    > and things like that. "Case mod" does indeed pull up a flotilla of
    > sites. Most of them seem to be in the fantasy category (from my point
    > of view), but at least it's a starting point. Somebody somewhere
    > probably has more pragmatic "mods" to show. Thanks for the pointer.

    Add a word or two after case mod. Although this isn't really an example
    of what you're wanting, "case mod wood" returned this, among many
    others, offering of a skate board ramp that doubles as a very large
    computer case :-)

    http://www.michaelbuffington.com/archives/2005/06/parabolic_heat.html

    --
    spammage trappage: replace fishies_ with yahoo

    I'm going to die rather sooner than I'd like. I tried to protect my
    neighbours from crime, and became the victim of it. Complications in
    hospital following this resulted in a serious illness. I now need a bone
    marrow transplant. Many people around the world are waiting for a marrow
    transplant, too. Please volunteer to be a marrow donor:
    http://www.abmdr.org.au/
    http://www.marrow.org/
  23. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    On Sat, 16 Jul 2005 12:06:06 +0200, Mxsmanic <mxsmanic@gmail.com> wrote:


    >I was also thinking of something that is highly maintainable. On
    >large commercial computer systems, for example, traditionally
    >everything has been in racks or bays that you can just pull out when

    I'm in total agreement with you, and I went through a period of searching
    for something better myself.

    I think PC cases were influenced by aircraft and military equipment
    standards. For example, monitor cables screwed on to the video card with
    slot head screws. Molex connectors and IDE ribbon cables are very tight to
    survive high G forces, and can be a real pain to plug and unplug.

    Personally, I would like to see a clamshell case with each component held in
    with 1 or 2 thumb screws, or just snapped in.

    I have a "mule" in my shop, consisting of an old MB, PS, HDD, FDD, Video
    card, etc. all laid out on a bench. I can quickly swap and test components
    with it. I really like working on my mule, and wish I had time to make it
    prettier and actually use it for my personal machine.

    When I have to work on my current personal machine, it causes me to get a
    real high pucker factor. I hate climbing under my desk to unplug stuff, and
    hate diving into all those cables.

    I think we are ahead of our time. I think the industry is very slowly moving
    in the direction of very accessible cases and very easy maintenance. Already
    we are seeing nice roomy cases, more friendly mounting, nicer cables, etc.

    Who knows what 5-10 years will bring? All these thoughts may be moot.
    Perhaps the entire computer will be the size of a cigarette pack, and the
    monitor can be unrolled like a big roll of wax paper and hung on the wall.
    :)
    --
    Bob
  24. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    On Fri, 15 Jul 2005 15:52:21 -0700, "DaveW" <none@zero.org> wrote:

    >Legally in the U.S. a computer has to have a metal case because otherwise it
    >outputs powerful RF signals which will interfere with your neighbors
    >electronics, according to the FCC. Also you would be picking up loads of
    >interference on your computer's internal signal cables since they are not
    >shielded cables by design.
    >In other words, no go.

    The FCC rules apply to manufacturers, not hobbyists. FCC regs are overkill
    anyway. Computers and TV's have come a long way since the original
    regulations, and RFI did not develop into the problem it was once feared. In
    other words, it's a go. :D

    As for actual RFI problems, if it doesn't interfere with your own TV, it
    will certainly not interfere with your neighbor's TV.
    --
    Bob
  25. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    On Sat, 16 Jul 2005 02:52:49 GMT, kony <spam@spam.com> wrote:


    >Because there are some novel products out there for niches
    >like this,
    >
    >http://www.svcompucycle.com/techstation-case.html

    "Industrial chic"... cool!
    --
    Bob
  26. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Bob Adkins writes:

    > When I have to work on my current personal machine, it causes me to get a
    > real high pucker factor. I hate climbing under my desk to unplug stuff, and
    > hate diving into all those cables.

    Same here. I don't understand why I have to struggle to put
    components in place or remove them, or why everything is crammed into
    such small spaces with such unruly connectors. Everything seems to
    require snaking one's fingers around a corner and looking at connector
    sockets through a dental mirror.

    > I think we are ahead of our time. I think the industry is very slowly moving
    > in the direction of very accessible cases and very easy maintenance. Already
    > we are seeing nice roomy cases, more friendly mounting, nicer cables, etc.

    They are better than they used to be, and big cases have a fair amount
    of room. Still, even a nice case ends up being a rat's nest of cables
    and millimeter clearances after everything is installed.

    > Who knows what 5-10 years will bring? All these thoughts may be moot.

    Well, cases don't look that much different from the way they looked 25
    years ago, so I wouldn't be too optimistic.

    > Perhaps the entire computer will be the size of a cigarette pack, and the
    > monitor can be unrolled like a big roll of wax paper and hung on the wall.

    I'm not a big fan of miniaturization. I can see the value for
    something that must be carried around, but one doesn't carry around
    desktops.

    In television, you have small portable TV sets, and large big-screen
    TV sets that are not intended to be moved. But in PC-land, everything
    is built as though you have to be able to pick it up and move it at a
    moment's notice. Some computers aren't going anywhere, so they don't
    necessarily have to be compact.
  27. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Mxsmanic wrote:

    > Bob Adkins writes:
    >
    >
    >>When I have to work on my current personal machine, it causes me to get a
    >>real high pucker factor. I hate climbing under my desk to unplug stuff, and
    >>hate diving into all those cables.
    >
    >
    > Same here. I don't understand why I have to struggle to put
    > components in place or remove them, or why everything is crammed into
    > such small spaces with such unruly connectors. Everything seems to
    > require snaking one's fingers around a corner and looking at connector
    > sockets through a dental mirror.

    Because the vast majority of people never even open a case, much less move
    things in and out of it, so they're designed to be assembled and used, not
    re-designed every two weeks.

    And people like their 'never going to open it' whatever, be it a stereo,
    VCR, DVD player, toaster, microwave oven, or PC, in a nice looking compact
    package that will fit in the least objectionable space rather than a desk
    or room sized monster that's 'easy to work on' when they aren't ever going
    to because "we got lots of other stuff to get in here too, ya know."

    Now no explanation would be complete without some 'big bad business'
    conspiracy theory so... uh... ah... besides, large cases take up too much
    store shelf space.
  28. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    On Sun, 17 Jul 2005 08:07:19 +0200, Mxsmanic
    <mxsmanic@gmail.com> wrote:

    >Bob Adkins writes:
    >
    >> When I have to work on my current personal machine, it causes me to get a
    >> real high pucker factor. I hate climbing under my desk to unplug stuff, and
    >> hate diving into all those cables.
    >
    >Same here. I don't understand why I have to struggle to put
    >components in place or remove them, or why everything is crammed into
    >such small spaces with such unruly connectors. Everything seems to
    >require snaking one's fingers around a corner and looking at connector
    >sockets through a dental mirror.

    It's quite simple. Smaller cases cost a little less, and
    there are people who like smaller cases too. The ideal for
    a case maker is not to market towards the end of selling a
    case here, a case there to enthusiasts but selling bulk
    through OEMs. Most people aren't changing around their
    systems much.

    While I agree that easy access would be nice, I find the
    larger problem with modern systems to be cable management.
    Cases need come with more mounts for cable ties, channels to
    restrain wires, general allowances to provide free/unused
    space such that when cables are tied down they don't
    interfere with other device addition or removal.


    >
    >> I think we are ahead of our time. I think the industry is very slowly moving
    >> in the direction of very accessible cases and very easy maintenance. Already
    >> we are seeing nice roomy cases, more friendly mounting, nicer cables, etc.
    >
    >They are better than they used to be, and big cases have a fair amount
    >of room. Still, even a nice case ends up being a rat's nest of cables
    >and millimeter clearances after everything is installed.
    >
    >> Who knows what 5-10 years will bring? All these thoughts may be moot.
    >
    >Well, cases don't look that much different from the way they looked 25
    >years ago, so I wouldn't be too optimistic.

    I"m not quite sure what your ideal is then. You mentioned
    unobtrusive cases that blend into their environement, but
    that's hardly obtainable, universally, because environments
    differ. There are a lot of people, myself included, that
    aren't looking for a way to permanently mount a system
    inside their desk drawers, nor make it larger than necessary
    for "reasonable" access. One problem with larger cases is
    also cable length, as it becomes a real PITA to have to
    start hand-making cable extensions, and it's ridiculously
    expensive how much aftermarket specialty cables cost for a
    length of wire with connectors on both ends.


    >
    >> Perhaps the entire computer will be the size of a cigarette pack, and the
    >> monitor can be unrolled like a big roll of wax paper and hung on the wall.
    >
    >I'm not a big fan of miniaturization. I can see the value for
    >something that must be carried around, but one doesn't carry around
    >desktops.

    .... and yet, making things smaller means you could have more
    free space in the same sized chassis. You are certainly
    free to buy a small mATX board and put it in a full tower
    case if you choose to. That will result in a lot more free
    space to work, with the primary problem being IDE cable
    routing from the bottom of a board (or RAID/etc controllers)
    to the top drive bays. Howver, we make our own problems to
    a certain extent, as a computer doesn't really care how
    "pretty" it's cables are routed, and poorly routed cables
    would have to be REALLY poorly routed to interfere
    significantly with airflow. It simply isn't necessary to
    have the rear of a drive as unrestricted as the intake or
    exhaust areas in a case.


    >
    >In television, you have small portable TV sets, and large big-screen
    >TV sets that are not intended to be moved. But in PC-land, everything
    >is built as though you have to be able to pick it up and move it at a
    >moment's notice. Some computers aren't going anywhere, so they don't
    >necessarily have to be compact.

    I disagree. You can buy larger cases, but due to the lower
    sales and more metal plus more elaborate design, they cost
    significantly more. Cheap stuff sells best, if really good
    cases cost no more then of course they'd be more popular.
  29. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    David Maynard writes:

    > And people like their 'never going to open it' whatever, be it a stereo,
    > VCR, DVD player, toaster, microwave oven, or PC, in a nice looking compact
    > package that will fit in the least objectionable space rather than a desk
    > or room sized monster that's 'easy to work on' when they aren't ever going
    > to because "we got lots of other stuff to get in here too, ya know."

    That's not how component audio systems work; audiophiles can easily
    cobble together complex systems from individual components. But there
    are no component computer systems.
  30. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Mxsmanic wrote:
    > David Maynard writes:
    >
    >
    >>And people like their 'never going to open it' whatever, be it a stereo,
    >>VCR, DVD player, toaster, microwave oven, or PC, in a nice looking compact
    >>package that will fit in the least objectionable space rather than a desk
    >>or room sized monster that's 'easy to work on' when they aren't ever going
    >>to because "we got lots of other stuff to get in here too, ya know."
    >
    >
    > That's not how component audio systems work;

    Actually, it is.

    > audiophiles can easily
    > cobble together complex systems from individual components.

    But one doesn't have to have a CD player to operate a stereo receiver, nor
    do you have to have an equalizer, or a cassette player, or any other
    'component'. However, you don't *have* a 'computer' without a hard drive,
    video card, motherboard, processor, memory, power supply, etc. and you
    can't run 200 Mhz DDR, AGP and PCI busses around like an audio cable.

    And when was the last time you saw a VCR with all the internal components
    splayed out flat so it was 'easy to work on'? No, the casing constraint is
    that they fit in the spaces they're typically placed. Just as home
    component audio devices are generally sized to fit on shelves; not so it's
    easy for the home user to swap MOSFETS in the receiver's power amp.

    > But there
    > are no component computer systems.

    You mean in the manner you are arguing for but they are, in fact,
    components. It's just that the ones necessary for the base device are
    inside the case of the base device just as a typical TV isn't a tube in one
    case, a power supply in another case, the color subcarrier processor in
    another case, and the audio processor in yet another case. Mine came "put
    together" and they didn't make it so I can easily swap the guts around.

    But, for your computer, you do have the choice of which keyboard
    'component', or mouse 'component', or printer 'component', or scanner
    'component', or speaker 'component', or any number of other external
    'components'. You can component yourself to death if you feel like it, just
    like an audio system.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the vast majority of PC users don't
    need, nor necessarily want, giant computer cases occupying tons of space
    for the 'feature' of jiggling the internal parts around any more than they
    need a desk sized microwave oven so they can play with the klystron or swap
    the front panel LCD driver for one with 'better graphics'. (In fact, of all
    the devices mentioned, a PC is the EASIEST one to modify/upgrade)

    That doesn't mean you can't build one if it strikes your fancy. I'm just
    telling you why there aren't rows and rows of 'desk sized' PCs at the local
    Best Buy.
  31. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    kony writes:

    > It's quite simple. Smaller cases cost a little less, and
    > there are people who like smaller cases too. The ideal for
    > a case maker is not to market towards the end of selling a
    > case here, a case there to enthusiasts but selling bulk
    > through OEMs. Most people aren't changing around their
    > systems much.

    True, but most people aren't changing their audio systems around very
    much, either, and yet there is a healthy market for component audio
    systems. There should also be a similar market for component computer
    systems, so why aren't any available?

    Why can one put different PC components in different boxes, then
    connect them with standardized cables, just as one does for audio
    systems? One box could contain the (removable) motherboard, another
    could contain expansion cards, another could contain disk drives, and
    so on. And connectors could be designed for easy connection and
    disconnection and long-life, rather like connectors on professional
    audio and video equipment that may be connected and disconnected
    thousands of times.

    > While I agree that easy access would be nice, I find the
    > larger problem with modern systems to be cable management.

    Yes. But see above. With more standardized cables and better
    connectors, one could just plug things in and out. Do expansion cards
    really have to connect with contacts direcly on a bare PCB that can't
    tolerate more than a few insertions and removals?

    > Cases need come with more mounts for cable ties, channels to
    > restrain wires, general allowances to provide free/unused
    > space such that when cables are tied down they don't
    > interfere with other device addition or removal.

    Yes. Right now every case ends up being a mess, no matter how
    carefully one begins.

    > I"m not quite sure what your ideal is then.

    How about modular systems. Do PCI cards _have_ to be slotted right
    into the motherboard? What are the maximum lengths for the signal
    paths?

    Could expansion cards be mounted in small boxes that would then plug
    into a simple external bus?

    I find myself wondering why I must open cases and fool directly with
    printed-circuit boards for a computer when audiophiles need never open
    the cases of their equipment to put a system together. All they need
    is the right cables ... not soldering irons.

    > One problem with larger cases is
    > also cable length, as it becomes a real PITA to have to
    > start hand-making cable extensions, and it's ridiculously
    > expensive how much aftermarket specialty cables cost for a
    > length of wire with connectors on both ends.

    Perhaps because the market is so small at present.

    > ... and yet, making things smaller means you could have more
    > free space in the same sized chassis.

    It also makes it a lot harder to keep components cool, since they are
    consuming more power in a smaller space.
  32. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    On Sun, 17 Jul 2005 12:58:49 +0200, Mxsmanic
    <mxsmanic@gmail.com> wrote:

    >David Maynard writes:
    >
    >> And people like their 'never going to open it' whatever, be it a stereo,
    >> VCR, DVD player, toaster, microwave oven, or PC, in a nice looking compact
    >> package that will fit in the least objectionable space rather than a desk
    >> or room sized monster that's 'easy to work on' when they aren't ever going
    >> to because "we got lots of other stuff to get in here too, ya know."
    >
    >That's not how component audio systems work; audiophiles can easily
    >cobble together complex systems from individual components. But there
    >are no component computer systems.

    That would be horrible, if computers had to have huge racks
    for each part.
  33. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    On Sun, 17 Jul 2005 13:08:07 +0200, Mxsmanic
    <mxsmanic@gmail.com> wrote:

    >kony writes:
    >
    >> It's quite simple. Smaller cases cost a little less, and
    >> there are people who like smaller cases too. The ideal for
    >> a case maker is not to market towards the end of selling a
    >> case here, a case there to enthusiasts but selling bulk
    >> through OEMs. Most people aren't changing around their
    >> systems much.
    >
    >True, but most people aren't changing their audio systems around very
    >much, either,

    Prevsiously you used the term "audiophile" and yes, they
    certainly do change their systems.

    Audio doesn't require short high speed buses. It needs
    cleaner (for traditional analog) power that creates more
    heat per watt, and spacing out components allows passive
    cooling. You can't just space out a modern video card or
    CPU then passively cool it (within reasonable measures).

    Actually though, audio systems are more similar to computers
    than you'd like to accept. Computers ARE modular like audio
    racks, and are often stored in cabinets like computer cases
    are. If you've ever looked behind a complex audio system
    there are certainly a lot of cables, and if you opened up
    your cassette deck to change parts you might not find a lot
    of free space in some areas either.

    There just isn't a good reason to space out everything, but
    several reasons not to. You don't need a lot of space to do
    anything, only enough space, and towards that end a large
    case will be sufficient.


    >and yet there is a healthy market for component audio
    >systems. There should also be a similar market for component computer
    >systems, so why aren't any available?

    Actually, consumer-grade audio has done exactly what
    computers have, become more integrated and smaller.
    Wasting space by expanding a computer could apply to
    anything though- spread out the work on your desk all over
    the floor so you can get to it better. Expand your garage
    so you have more space between your garden tools. The idea
    can be expanded to cover any areas and ultimately most
    people prefer having things take up only as much space as
    necessary and having larger open areas instead. They simply
    don't find the frequency and difficultly of working in a
    computer case (or whatever) to be work spreading it out to
    take up more space).


    >
    >Why can one put different PC components in different boxes, then
    >connect them with standardized cables, just as one does for audio
    >systems?

    It's a bad idea, there's relatively little gain and plenty
    of reasons not to.

    It is NOT hard to cool a PC. It's not hard to add or remove
    components either. Same thing happened with automobiles,
    you used to be able to pull a steering rack out without
    dropping the subframe, but these days you might not be able
    to even pull an air filter or battery without moving things.

    People like "small", and most don't "want" to do mechanical
    things. They'll buy small then decide later what happens if
    it breaks. If that troubles you and you do PC repair, it's
    up to your descretion to try and charge more for working on
    smaller systems if you feel that's a bother. Then again,
    would you rather have to drive to a 'site because the
    computer isn't easily transportable, rather than having a
    box plopped down in front of you?

    Further, most people order an OEM box or go to a store to
    pick it up. They don't want to pay another $50 shipping for
    a monster system that won't even fit on their desk.

    Basically I"m suggesting that other people simply don't have
    the same priorities as you do, that their priorities are the
    majority so it is only cost effective to produce systems
    bought by that majority of people.


    >One box could contain the (removable) motherboard, another
    >could contain expansion cards,

    Nope, you can't just extend a high-speed bus.


    >another could contain disk drives,

    Again, high-speed bus. It's not hard to remove drives from
    most systems anyway, avg. person does it once every few
    years if ever. That last thing they'd want is a high
    percentage of space taken up just so that someday others
    could replace it easier.

    PLUS, drives can be cooled passively by computer case
    exhaust fans, but they will not be cooled as much by being
    in a separate enclosure with no fan. You'd need a fan in
    separate enclosure for same level of cooling so it's no
    quieter, no smaller, and not much easier to work on- the
    benefits of integrated systems simply far outweigh the
    benefits of separate boxes for everything.

    >and
    >so on. And connectors could be designed for easy connection and
    >disconnection and long-life, rather like connectors on professional
    >audio and video equipment that may be connected and disconnected
    >thousands of times.

    Longer-life connectors would be nice, but also more
    expensive. Many, many, many components in a PC could be
    made better at higher cost. A nickel here and there isn't a
    lot of additional cost but it does add up, ultimately if a
    system cost 50% more but it's paper specs didn't read any
    differently, people wouldn't buy it. ECS motherboards are
    an example of this- people buy cheap when they, personally,
    can't appreciate the difference.


    >
    >> While I agree that easy access would be nice, I find the
    >> larger problem with modern systems to be cable management.
    >
    >Yes. But see above. With more standardized cables and better
    >connectors, one could just plug things in and out. Do expansion cards
    >really have to connect with contacts direcly on a bare PCB that can't
    >tolerate more than a few insertions and removals?

    It's quite a few insertions and removals, more than any
    normal system could ever encounter. Bottom line- it works
    as-is. Cost of theoretical improvements must be weighed
    against benefit. Most systems last longer than their
    warranty.


    >
    >> Cases need come with more mounts for cable ties, channels to
    >> restrain wires, general allowances to provide free/unused
    >> space such that when cables are tied down they don't
    >> interfere with other device addition or removal.
    >
    >Yes. Right now every case ends up being a mess, no matter how
    >carefully one begins.

    Not every system, but who cares?
    How many people open up their washing machine and comment
    that the wiring to the knobs and buttons isn't esthetically
    pleasing? People are prone to do irrational things and
    having cables tidy without specific reason is one of them.
    Certainly cables shouldn't be subject to fall into fans or
    such, but computers are NOT supposed to be works of art on
    the inside- close the case and buy a real piece of art.


    >
    >> I"m not quite sure what your ideal is then.
    >
    >How about modular systems. Do PCI cards _have_ to be slotted right
    >into the motherboard? What are the maximum lengths for the signal
    >paths?

    You should simply read specs and then have a basis, rather
    than arguing things you don't know about yet. Just believe
    me, there are many reasons why PCs are as they are.
    Spreading them out is a waste of time, $, and space.


    >
    >Could expansion cards be mounted in small boxes that would then plug
    >into a simple external bus?

    What a terrible idea. Making things complex for no good
    reason is silly. You propose changes without any clear
    gain.

    We have absolutely zero need to move cards away from a
    motherboard. AT worst, hot-running cards need space on the
    hot side. Nobody is forced to have a card in the adjacent
    PCI slot AFAIK, so it's only if one chooses to do such
    things that they cause problems. Bottom line- some people
    think building a PC is only about putting part A in slot B.
    So it is with many tasks where someone assumes they know but
    hasn't given much thought to the short, let alone long term
    consequences.

    >
    >I find myself wondering why I must open cases and fool directly with
    >printed-circuit boards for a computer when audiophiles need never open
    >the cases of their equipment to put a system together.

    Because audiophiles aren't working at board level. However,
    I am an audiophile and I DO work at board level on
    audiophile equipment, so your assumptions may be in error.

    Apples and oranges though. You are only considering
    hands-off audiophiles. If you consider only hands-off PC
    users, they do in fact set up systems a similar way,
    plugging in a different monitor, or USB scanner, etc- they
    don't open up their systems either. If you try to do the
    functions of a system integrator or builder, they you would
    also have to argue using same consideration of being a
    system integrator or builder for individual components and
    circuit boards within a closed amplifier or CD player or
    whatever-the-gear.

    >All they need
    >is the right cables ... not soldering irons.

    Now you're being silly. They don't only need the right
    cables for internal parts, there are noise and electrical,
    signal quality issues not so unsimilar to a PC.

    Further, you do not need a soldering iron for typical PC
    construction. However, over the past month or so with my
    audiophile hobby, I've soldered at least 20X as much as for
    PCs, maybe 100X.


    >
    >> One problem with larger cases is
    >> also cable length, as it becomes a real PITA to have to
    >> start hand-making cable extensions, and it's ridiculously
    >> expensive how much aftermarket specialty cables cost for a
    >> length of wire with connectors on both ends.
    >
    >Perhaps because the market is so small at present.

    Yes, exactly. People who try to space out systems are in
    the minority, plus there is a limitation in how far things
    can be spaced out.

    No matter what the bus, it is typical that to lengthen it,
    it will have to be slowed down. Even now work is being done
    to better serial connections and make this less of an issue,
    BUT so is work to decrease size and increase integration.

    Most people simply do not want something far larger and far
    more expensive that does little of anything more.
    >
    >> ... and yet, making things smaller means you could have more
    >> free space in the same sized chassis.
    >
    >It also makes it a lot harder to keep components cool, since they are
    >consuming more power in a smaller space.

    Lot harder than what?
    Spacing things out has a quite diminishing return. Take a
    CPU for example- the primary problem is getting the heat
    from the core to the heatsink fins, NOT whether you have a
    small case or not, as most cases are still plenty big enough
    for a pair of 92mm fans, if not 120mm, which is enough.

    Spacing things out means you need more fans. That's not
    easier. It's not quieter. It's more expensive. It is
    harder to maintain opening several boxes to clean out dust
    every so often. Having multiple boxes means a very large
    increase in the total cost to manufacture cases, and their
    weight, shipping costs.

    You are free to buy multiple cases and try it out if you
    don't believe me. Nobody is stopping you.
  34. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    kony writes:

    > That would be horrible, if computers had to have huge racks
    > for each part.

    Presumably you'd have a choice, just as you have a choice between
    all-in-one audio systems and component systems.

    Personally, I like racks, but not everyone feels that way.
  35. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    > Ideally, a properly built PC would be about the size of a Readers
    > Digest

    It's called the mini-Mac.
  36. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    On Sat, 16 Jul 2005 01:19:44 +0200, Mxsmanic <mxsmanic@gmail.com>
    wrote:

    >DaveW writes:
    >
    >> Legally in the U.S. a computer has to have a metal case because otherwise it
    >> outputs powerful RF signals which will interfere with your neighbors
    >> electronics, according to the FCC.
    >
    >I've never seen interference from a PC with the covers off. Have you?
    >
    >I've heard that cell phones can bring down servers and vice versa, but
    >I've not personally experienced that, either.
    >
    >In any case, if you really do see any EMI, you can put some sort of
    >mesh around the PC and prevent it. But I don't see why a PC would be
    >any worse for EMI than a TV set, and TV sets are typically in plastic
    >cases, not metal cases.
    >
    >> Also you would be picking up loads of
    >> interference on your computer's internal signal cables since they are not
    >> shielded cables by design.
    >
    >Here again, any examples? I know this can happen in theory; it
    >doesn't seem to happen much in practice.

    Acutally, I have. I am also an amateur radio operator and use my
    computer for digital mode on HF. The computer with the case cover off
    completely covers up the HF bands and reception is difficult. I even
    had to get an LCD monitor as CRT monitors also are very noisy.

    Eric
  37. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    On Sat, 16 Jul 2005 01:19:44 +0200, Mxsmanic <mxsmanic@gmail.com> put
    finger to keyboard and composed:

    >DaveW writes:
    >
    >> Legally in the U.S. a computer has to have a metal case because otherwise it
    >> outputs powerful RF signals which will interfere with your neighbors
    >> electronics, according to the FCC.
    >
    >I've never seen interference from a PC with the covers off. Have you?

    My PC is located within two metres of my TV set. With covers off, I
    see vertical "banding" interference on one particular UHF channel.
    This interference disappears when I turn off the PC.


    - Franc Zabkar
    --
    Please remove one 's' from my address when replying by email.
  38. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    On Tue, 19 Jul 2005 19:01:00 +1000, Franc Zabkar
    <fzabkar@optussnet.com.au> wrote:

    >On Sat, 16 Jul 2005 01:19:44 +0200, Mxsmanic <mxsmanic@gmail.com> put
    >finger to keyboard and composed:
    >
    >>DaveW writes:
    >>
    >>> Legally in the U.S. a computer has to have a metal case because otherwise it
    >>> outputs powerful RF signals which will interfere with your neighbors
    >>> electronics, according to the FCC.
    >>
    >>I've never seen interference from a PC with the covers off. Have you?
    >
    >My PC is located within two metres of my TV set. With covers off, I
    >see vertical "banding" interference on one particular UHF channel.
    >This interference disappears when I turn off the PC.
    >
    >
    >- Franc Zabkar

    I"ve seen plenty too, with almost any newer system. Seem to
    be more a matter of whether the user has susceptible
    equipment nearby rather than whether there is _potential_
    for interference.
  39. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    DaveW wrote:
    > Legally in the U.S. a computer has to have a metal case because otherwise it
    > outputs powerful RF signals which will interfere with your neighbors
    > electronics, according to the FCC.

    There is no requirement for a metal case. If you could pass FCC class
    B, you could make it out of cardboard.

    A common method of shielding plastic cases is to spray them with
    conductive paint.

    That said, it is quite difficult to pass FCC with a plastic case, but I
    have done it. It was no cheaper that using a steel case, after all the
    stuff we had to do in order to get it to pass.
  40. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Mxsmanic wrote:
    > More and more, as I look at prefabricated cases for PCs, I ask myself:
    > what prevents someone from building a PC with no case? For example,
    > why couldn't you, say, build some sort of wooden mounting area into a
    > wall or a desk, then mount all the components to it, so that you have
    > something that blends into the furniture and/or something with plenty
    > of open space to ease maintenance and keep the machine cooler?

    It would not keep it cooler. A closed case allows forced air to be
    drawn in the front and expelled out the rear, with positive pressure in
    the case.

    > Why does everything always have to be in a cramped box? As long as you
    > respect things like cable lengths, are there other limitations?

    It's very common in a lab environment to have things open. But we
    usually have to have fans blowing on the system.

    > Beyond cable lengths, it occurred to me that perhaps rotating parts
    > like CD and especially disk drives need to rotate in a horizontal
    > plane in order to have a symmetric load on the bearings.

    No.

    > Another concern might be EMI, but if you had a metal mesh enclosure or
    > something around the machine that you could close and ground, wouldn't
    > that stop EMI? Does anyone really have much trouble with EMI, anyway?

    Mesh wil solve the EMI problem, not that anyone that's building a
    home-made systems worries about it much.

    > Anyway, what I picture is a sort of vast PC with tons of room between
    > components, almost like a huge rack in the style of old mainframes
    > into which you could easily stick your arm if you had to replace
    > something. Current cases are so cramped that one must pay careful
    > attention not to break anything when removing or adding parts, and the
    > air circulation never seems to be anywhere close to ideal.

    The full tower cases are fine for this, but they are not that common
    anymore because people want cases that fit into their existing
    furniture.

    I recently made a system for my son with an Antec SX-1040
    (http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=81046) precisely
    because I wanted a case with plenty of space, and good cooling. It has
    excellent cooling, using four 80mm fans, in addition to the power
    supply cans. I had to add some cooling fans to the desk, otherwise the
    heat just built up in the space for the tower, though the fans only
    took 5 degrees off the interior temperature, and 3 degrees of the CPU
    temp.

    The SuperMicro SC762 is even larger
    (http://www.supermicro.com/products/chassis/tower/?chs=760).

    But a lot of people are interested in stylish cases, rather than more
    functional ones.

    > Maybe something that fits under a desktop (literally) would work.
    > You'd have a hinged door on the desktop, and when you lift it up, you
    > have your PC components all nicely mounted in a roomy enclosure with
    > plenty of space to maintain or upgrade them, and powerful silent fans

    Ooh, I want some of those powerful silent fans!
  41. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    That plastic case is from Palo Alto Design Group, if it's the big
    squarish desktop case I'm thinking of. I did the Compudyne
    motherboard/case combinations for CompUSA when I was product manager
    for the U.S. office of a very large Taiwanese motherboard company,
    many years ago.

    It involved every CompUSA store becoming a UL certified "factory,"
    since the systems were assembled in the store, plus we had to get FCC
    class B for them, for every motherboard/case combination, with a worst
    case set of add-on cards.

    One day I got a call from a CompUSA, stating that a UL inspector was at
    the store, and that he found non-UL approved lithium batteries in the
    systems. Some braniac in Taiwan had decided to save money by having
    "housewives assemble batteries into plastic cases." We had to take back
    thousands of these batteries, and sell them to customers that didn't
    care about UL.
  42. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    On 21 Jul 2005 15:39:15 -0700, scharf.steven@gmail.com
    wrote:

    >DaveW wrote:
    >> Legally in the U.S. a computer has to have a metal case because otherwise it
    >> outputs powerful RF signals which will interfere with your neighbors
    >> electronics, according to the FCC.
    >
    >There is no requirement for a metal case. If you could pass FCC class
    >B, you could make it out of cardboard.
    >
    >A common method of shielding plastic cases is to spray them with
    >conductive paint.
    >
    >That said, it is quite difficult to pass FCC with a plastic case, but I
    >have done it. It was no cheaper that using a steel case, after all the
    >stuff we had to do in order to get it to pass.

    Yep, metal paint ain't cheap, it's often done with metal
    sheeting attached to the plastic when possible.
  43. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    kony wrote:

    > On 21 Jul 2005 15:39:15 -0700, scharf.steven@gmail.com
    > wrote:
    >
    >
    >>DaveW wrote:
    >>
    >>>Legally in the U.S. a computer has to have a metal case because otherwise it
    >>>outputs powerful RF signals which will interfere with your neighbors
    >>>electronics, according to the FCC.
    >>
    >>There is no requirement for a metal case. If you could pass FCC class
    >>B, you could make it out of cardboard.
    >>
    >>A common method of shielding plastic cases is to spray them with
    >>conductive paint.
    >>
    >>That said, it is quite difficult to pass FCC with a plastic case, but I
    >>have done it. It was no cheaper that using a steel case, after all the
    >>stuff we had to do in order to get it to pass.
    >
    >
    > Yep, metal paint ain't cheap, it's often done with metal
    > sheeting attached to the plastic when possible.

    Yes. I've got an old 486 system made by Compudyne, I think it is, and it's
    a plastic case with metal sheets all over the place inside for EMI shielding.

    Looks like a case, pun, of 'engineering' gone amok as it's loaded with
    'clever ideas' that seem to univerally make things more of a nightmare than
    'better'. Not the least of which being that half of it is structurally
    plastic, necessitating the myriad of attached metal panels (cost),
    resulting in a case that resembles a half cooked flippy floppy hinged
    noodle when opened and that prefers any orientation other than properly
    aligned when you try to close it.

    It 'works', though, and you can tell that an incredible amount of
    engineering and design effort went into the thing. It's just that a plain
    metal box would have been infintely superior from just about any standpoint.
  44. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    David Maynard wrote:

    > Looks like a case, pun, of 'engineering' gone amok as it's loaded with
    > 'clever ideas' that seem to univerally make things more of a nightmare than
    > 'better'. Not the least of which being that half of it is structurally
    > plastic, necessitating the myriad of attached metal panels (cost),
    > resulting in a case that resembles a half cooked flippy floppy hinged
    > noodle when opened and that prefers any orientation other than properly
    > aligned when you try to close it.

    LOL! BTDT. :)
  45. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    David Maynard wrote:

    > Looks like a case, pun, of 'engineering' gone amok as it's loaded with
    > 'clever ideas' that seem to univerally make things more of a nightmare than
    > 'better'. Not the least of which being that half of it is structurally
    > plastic, necessitating the myriad of attached metal panels (cost),
    > resulting in a case that resembles a half cooked flippy floppy hinged
    > noodle when opened and that prefers any orientation other than properly
    > aligned when you try to close it.

    Interesting though. This may seem bizarre, and I kind of like the idea
    of an "open air" computer, so not to knock it, but hell, you could put a
    computer in just about anything. For instance, nature worshipers could
    go au natural, put their hardware in an old dried up tree hole or
    something. Prolly take some serious discipline, and violent cleaning to
    turn it around, into something half way decent, and hospitible though.
    I know. Way off topic. But still..

    http://www.hypography.com/article.cfm?id=34241

    Study probes ecosystem of tree holes
    Web posted Jun 16 2004 @ 02:09 by Tormod Guldvog

    If you think your place is a dump, try living in a tree hole: a dark
    flooded crevice with years of accumulated decomposing leaves and bugs,
    infested with bacteria, other microbes, and crawling with insect larvae.

    "It's a war inside a tree hole"A biologist at Washington University in
    St. Louis has studied the ecosystem of the tree hole and the impact that
    three factors ? predation, resources and disturbance - have on species
    diversity.

    <> Jamie Kneitel, Ph.D., Washington University in St. Louis post
    doctoral researcher in biology in Arts & Sciences, and Jonathan Chase,
    Ph.D.,Washington University assistant professor of biology, found that
    tinkering with any of those factors changes the make up of the
    community.

    Kneitel uses the Richard the III reference - "subtle, sly and bloody,"
    Richard III's mother's description of her son as a little boy - when
    talking about the ecosystem he studies. A tree hole can be found in
    nearly every forest and is an ecosystem surprisingly overlooked by
    ecologists.

    Created by a lost tree branch or deformed trunk, the tree hole collects
    water, which supports an aquatic community that lets an ecologist like
    Kneitel address fundamental ecological questions. In this small
    ecosystem, bugs and leaves fall into this pool of water and decompose
    which provides the energy for hundreds of species, including bacteria,
    protozoa, and mosquito larvae. It's a generally thriving community where
    these critters battle each other in a mini-survival-of-the-fittest.

    To perform his study, Kneitel recreated the tree hole ecosystem in the
    laboratory, which allowed him to change the parameters to create
    different ecological situations. The most common disturbance for a tree
    hole is lack of water. Resources equate to the food supply, and
    predation among the three basic organisms - protozoans, rotifers and
    mosquito larvae - is rampant, and varies depending on resources and
    disturbance.

    "Predators, resources, and disturbances are the most common factors that
    affect communities, but few studies look at all these factors together"
    Kneitel said. "Not surprisingly, predators, resources, and disturbances
    all had really strong effects, but the interesting finding was how these
    various factors interacted. Community composition was altered by all
    treatments, depending on which treatments were present.


    Certain species were associated with each of the treatments - those in
    predator treatments were those tolerant of predators, those in
    disturbance treatments were tolerant of disturbances, and so on."
    Kneitel studied between 20 and 25 protozoan species and four rotifers;
    protozoans are single-celled organisms, rotifers, multi-celled, yet some
    protozoans are bigger than rotifers and will prey upon them. Mosquito
    larvae browse and filter-feed and will attack either of the groups of
    species.

    'It's war inside a tree hole," Kneitel said. "We found that predation
    has the strongest effect when there are no disturbances. Disturbance has
    the strongest effect when there is little predation. When there is no
    disturbance or predation, competition is the primary source of
    extinction. A disturbance - a dry tree hole - pretty much kills
    everything but certain protozoans that can go dormant and survive the
    cycle."

    The results will be published in a forthcoming issue of Ecology. The
    work was supported by NSF. Kneitel said most studies of this sort look
    at two factors, compared with the three he and Chase studied.

    "Our results show that if you change any one of the three factors, you
    alter the face of the community," Kneitel said. "We found that we had a
    group of species that were good competitors, another that is good at
    tolerating predators, and yet another that can survive and tolerate
    disturbances.

    "These traits (niche) differences allow many species to coexist with one
    another at different spatial scales. This is true for this community,
    but also many other communities work in this way."

    Kneitel said the scale of the tree hole system allows him to ask "big
    picture" questions of ecosystems that can't be asked on a large scale.

    "You can't really ask these types of questions using long-lived
    organisms like wolf and deer populations," he said. "It takes years and
    years to see the effects of predation and disturbance on population
    dynamics. With these communities, you can do an experiment in a month."

    The source of this story is Washinton University in St. Louis.
  46. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    ToolPackinMama wrote:

    > David Maynard wrote:
    >
    >
    >>Looks like a case, pun, of 'engineering' gone amok as it's loaded with
    >>'clever ideas' that seem to univerally make things more of a nightmare than
    >>'better'. Not the least of which being that half of it is structurally
    >>plastic, necessitating the myriad of attached metal panels (cost),
    >>resulting in a case that resembles a half cooked flippy floppy hinged
    >>noodle when opened and that prefers any orientation other than properly
    >>aligned when you try to close it.
    >
    >
    > LOL! BTDT. :)

    Hehe. We all (meaning engineers) have. It's natural to seek the most
    complex solution to a trivial problem because, frankly, the easy one isn't
    'fun' and doesn't use the latest toys ;)
  47. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    scharf.steven@gmail.com wrote:

    > That plastic case is from Palo Alto Design Group, if it's the big
    > squarish desktop case I'm thinking of. I did the Compudyne
    > motherboard/case combinations for CompUSA when I was product manager
    > for the U.S. office of a very large Taiwanese motherboard company,
    > many years ago.

    Could be. It's a tower that looks like, from the upside down arrangement
    with 5 1/4 inch bays on the bottom, they intended it to sit on a desk top.

    > It involved every CompUSA store becoming a UL certified "factory,"
    > since the systems were assembled in the store, plus we had to get FCC
    > class B for them, for every motherboard/case combination, with a worst
    > case set of add-on cards.

    That might explain the clamshell idea because, as I looked at it, I got the
    definite impression someone had 'easy to assemble' and 'easy to debug' as
    an intended goal.

    It's well made inside. It's neat, routed and cable tied with a place for
    everything, everything is in it's place, and precisely the right length.

    >
    > One day I got a call from a CompUSA, stating that a UL inspector was at
    > the store, and that he found non-UL approved lithium batteries in the
    > systems. Some braniac in Taiwan had decided to save money by having
    > "housewives assemble batteries into plastic cases." We had to take back
    > thousands of these batteries, and sell them to customers that didn't
    > care about UL.

    Oh man. I've been through those 'inconsequential change' things too.
  48. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    David Maynard writes:

    > It 'works', though, and you can tell that an incredible amount of
    > engineering and design effort went into the thing. It's just that a plain
    > metal box would have been infintely superior from just about any standpoint.

    The accountants probably told the engineers that a plastic case was
    mandatory for cost reasons, and then ignored the engineers when they
    explained all the additional work that would be required to make the
    case compliant.
  49. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt,alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt (More info?)

    Mxsmanic wrote:

    > David Maynard writes:
    >
    >
    >>It 'works', though, and you can tell that an incredible amount of
    >>engineering and design effort went into the thing. It's just that a plain
    >>metal box would have been infintely superior from just about any standpoint.
    >
    >
    > The accountants probably told the engineers that a plastic case was
    > mandatory for cost reasons, and then ignored the engineers when they
    > explained all the additional work that would be required to make the
    > case compliant.

    Well, accountants do some strange things from time to time but specifying
    hardware design isn't usually one of them. Their approach is generally much
    simpler, such as explaining you have a 1 lb budget for a 10 lb box and the
    rest is your problem.

    Manufacturing then tells you they ain't got tools to make 10 lb boxes, R&D
    tells you it's not technologically possible to make 10 lb boxes, marketing
    says 10 lbs ain't big enough because the competition has 12 lb boxes, with
    bells, the buyer says lead time for the one indispensable part with no
    substitute is 200 years but contract admin has forbidden purchasing from
    them anyway, Q&A suddenly announces a new standard requiring 10 lb boxes
    survive a nuclear blast with the mega-tonnage TBD, which generally means
    some time significantly after your scheduled delivery, and the board
    doesn't know what a 'lb' is but wants the arbitrary schedule you couldn't
    make to begin with cut in half.

    None of which you can find in the conceptual drawings, statement of work,
    or specifications for the 5 lb box you were asked to design.

    Other than that it's a piece of cake ;)
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