Ben Whittle’s Uber Computer Update – Motherboard tray & rear compartment

Ben will be using the motherboard tray and expansion card bracket from and old chassis he used for one of his previous builds. The parts were riveted into the previous chassis, once drilled out the mounting points were in an ideal place for mounting to the back panel of the desk. One major constraint is vertical space in the main compartment, as the graphics cards are quite tall, the motherboard tray needs to be mounted as low as possible without compromising too much on leg room underneath the desk. in order to gain as much space as possible, Ben has modified the tray by cutting off the skirt surrounding the tray allowing it to be mounted approximately 5mm lower.

motherboardWith the tray cut to size, Ben set about cutting out the rear panel for the expansion slot brackets.

Turning to the rear compartment, having mounted the 480mm radiator Ben has noticed a flaw in his original design. As seen in the photo below, the battery pack for the UPS is positioned between the radiator and the transformer. Having placed all of these components in their intended locations Ben realised that the battery would have to move as the residual heat would kill the battery in a matter of weeks. The lifespan of a sealed lead acid battery can be cut in half by a temperature rise of just 8 degrees C above ambient room temperature, Ben estimates that the temperature this intended area could reach as high as 50 degrees C.

hfdsaHaving to re-locate the battery has turned out to not be such a bad thing as the rear compartment was becoming a tad cramped and the battery was on of the largest components in that section. The ideal place for the battery is in the right hand channel directly behind the control panel and underneath the painting. This location is far more suitable as it is isolated from other heat generating components, Ben will just have to re-design a component in this section suitable and re-plan some cable routing.

Ben has taken the opportunity to re-design the original layout of the rear compartment in order to take advantage of the extra space created by moving the battery. This has allowed Ben to mount the power supply unit further to the right placing it almost dead centre in the rear compartment. This will allow for better heat dissipation and neater cable routing. The exhaust fans will be mounted in a different configuration to the original design, instead of the original 4 x 120mm fans on the left providing additional cooling for the UPS board and transformer and creating better airflow around the power supply unit.

When building any type of PC, a good power supply is vital. The unit Ben chose is the Corsair AX1200i, one of Corsairs flagship power supply units. The unit is 80 Plus Platinum certified with a peak efficiency of just over 92%. It is one of few power supplies to feature digital voltage regulation to provide perfectly stable voltages to the components regardless of load. It has Corsairs “Link” system allowing for monitoring and control within the O and is capable of delivering 100A of current on the 12V rail, that is enough current to turn over some small engines! A very capable unit and in Ben’s opinion one of the best and most advanced enthusiast grade PC power supplies available. Ben has routed out the space for the unit in the rear panel and mounted it in its new location.

AX1200iBen has also been working on the dividing sections between the two main compartments and the area around the front panel. Cutting out the angles perfectly for the dividing section was very challenging but now they are mounted in place along with the strip which will cover the front intake fans. While there is still an awful lot of work left to do, the desk is finally starting to take shape, giving you some idea of what it might look like when it is complete.

dessssskThe next major challenge will be designing and making the front control panel and rear connection panel and building up a wireless harness.

Stay tuned for more Ben Whittle’s Uber Computer updates

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