The Power Switch And LED
Connections for the on/off LED
I got some switches and LEDs from Radio Shack and mounted them in a blank 3.5" cover. I used some old Cat-5 cable for the wire, and to hook them up to the motherboards, I used ribbon cable connectors. I needed a 24-pin connecter to fit the header but nobody had one or they just don't make them, so I used a 26-pin connector instead. I think it turned out very nice and since it is very low profile it does not block much air from the fan. Since the case came with a power button and LEDs, I decided to fill in the holes for them with putty and paint that area silver. The end result was a very clean front for the case. Soon I am going to put a blowhole in the front of the case because the fan behind it needs access to more air. I can feel a major difference with the front off. I just hope that it does not look too bad after I do it.
Cooling was going to be one of my biggest problems. I started off with a 120 mm fan mounted in the front of the case to pull fresh air into the case. The pictures show a Radio Shack fan, but I have replaced it with a YStech 120x38mm fan that moves 125.5 CFM @ 2800 RPM and has a noise level of 45 db, which is great for that much airflow. Next, I have two Panaflo FBA08A12U 80 mm fans that move 47 CFM each. Each fan is blowing air onto two motherboards, so there is plenty of cool air for the heat sink and the rest of the board. Two Panaflo FBA08A12U fans pull hot air off the motherboards and heat sinks and exhaust it out the back.
This set up keeps everything cool. I have cool air coming in the front, being blown onto the motherboards and exhausted out the back. As for the actual temperatures, I'm not really sure. The temperature looks like it stays between 50 degrees Celsius and 60 degrees Celsius under full load. I also have added some foam around the fan box on the top so less of the hot air gets pulled back into the case. Because I have shared fans across the motherboards, I made connectors that use diodes to combine two power supplies into one to power a single fan. This way, I can have just one machine on and the fans required to cool it will always be on.
I love my computer! It actually turned out better than I thought it would. I guess you can call this my "Beta Server Mod" because it will be changing soon. Different motherboards and a blowhole in the front, and I will be done. I like it so much that I will probably be doing it again in a year or so when newer, faster and cheaper stuff is on the market. I'm not sure of my total bill because I used parts from old machines I had. Maybe if I get enough requests, I will figure out all the costs.
Great stuff! After putting this article together, I'm thinking it would be fun to do more of these kinds of stories. Maybe next time we can talk about our favorite PCs. They won't have to be weird or wonderful, just PCs that we really liked; that were technically interesting or just helped us get our work done. I'll let you know when I'm ready to publish the stories, but you can send them in right now if you want.