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Thinking "out of the box" when building a PC

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Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2005 5:07:26 PM

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

More about : thinking box building

Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2005 5:07:27 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2005 5:07:27 PM

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
Related resources
July 15, 2005 5:07:27 PM

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
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2005 7:22:14 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2005 7:52:21 PM

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
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2005 9:05:21 PM

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.
July 15, 2005 10:09:48 PM

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
July 16, 2005 3:51:08 AM

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 ....
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2005 3:55:46 AM

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/
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2005 3:55:47 AM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2005 3:56:31 AM

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/
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2005 5:19:44 AM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2005 6:52:49 AM

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
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2005 8:50:01 AM

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
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2005 9:11:03 AM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2005 4:06:06 PM

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.
July 16, 2005 4:06:07 PM

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
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2005 4:29:48 PM

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.).
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2005 4:29:49 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2005 4:31:56 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 16, 2005 7:42:19 PM

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/parab...

--
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/
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 17, 2005 4:01:26 AM

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
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 17, 2005 4:13:19 AM

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
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 17, 2005 4:22:05 AM

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
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 17, 2005 12:07:19 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 17, 2005 12:07:20 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 17, 2005 2:02:56 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 17, 2005 4:58:49 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 17, 2005 4:58:50 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 17, 2005 5:08:07 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 17, 2005 5:34:38 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 17, 2005 6:16:11 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 17, 2005 8:44:56 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2005 1:05:38 AM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 18, 2005 12:25:25 PM

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
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 19, 2005 11:01:00 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 19, 2005 11:01:01 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 21, 2005 7:39:15 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 21, 2005 7:52:32 PM

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=7...).

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!
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 22, 2005 1:14:35 AM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 22, 2005 3:00:23 AM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 22, 2005 3:00:24 AM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 22, 2005 3:00:25 AM

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. :) 
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 22, 2005 3:44:40 AM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 22, 2005 5:25:54 AM

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 ;) 
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 22, 2005 1:23:44 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 22, 2005 1:40:42 PM

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.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
July 22, 2005 1:40:43 PM

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 ;) 
!