1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Modding I want a quad core PC built like an iMac.

Discussion in 'Modding' started by elmerfud, 22 Jan 2009.

  1. elmerfud

    elmerfud New Member

    Joined:
    22 Jan 2009
    Posts:
    6
    Likes Received:
    1
    I need a portable computer. I'm tired of laptops. Its a long story.

    I need some heavy duty computing power. I'd like something like an iMac, but with standard, off the shelf components. MiniATX motherboard, use a Dell 20 or 24" monitor, standard (small) power supply, etc. I know about the CinematographHD case mod. I want something that is a cross between a laptop, an iMac and the CinematographHD.

    Has anyone seen a case mod like what I am describing ? Where would I start if I was going to build something from scratch.

    Thanks
     
    ModMinded likes this.
  2. elmerfud

    elmerfud New Member

    Joined:
    22 Jan 2009
    Posts:
    6
    Likes Received:
    1
    What if I built it into a suitcase, like this one:

    http://www.thealuminumbriefcases.com/site/1397487/product/TZ0025SD SC

    Its 25 x 15 x 4.25 and weighs only 8 pounds. A 24" LCD monitor has a viewable area of 20.4 x 12.7.

    If I found a way to protect the monitor face, I could fly with it as checked luggage.

    What do you think ?
     
  3. wolfticket

    wolfticket Downwind from the bloodhounds

    Joined:
    19 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    3,005
    Likes Received:
    261
    Seems like a good plan. Obviously any battery power is a bit of a no go, but as a lugable it would be excellent.
    Like most things, it has been done :): http://www.mini-itx.com/projects/attacheserver/ so it's definitely possible.

    I think aiming for a 15-19 inch or so monitor would be a good idea, as any larger would be prohibitively heavy.
     
    ModMinded likes this.
  4. elmerfud

    elmerfud New Member

    Joined:
    22 Jan 2009
    Posts:
    6
    Likes Received:
    1
    A Dell 24" 2408 weighs 15 pounds by itself. The stand is probably 5 pounds. The panel probably weighs less than 10 pounds. I don't think that would be too heavy.

    I think I would cut a face and mount the LCD facing outwards and then use 4 or 6 thumbscrews to secure a piece of 1/2" plywood to protect the LCD when shipping.

    I think I would hide the PC components under a false bottom and have a foam layer between the back of the LCD and the PC components to store a wireless keyboard and such.

    I wish I would have thought of this a year ago...

    Any more ideas ?
     
  5. Fumduck

    Fumduck Have torch, will melt.

    Joined:
    5 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    162
    Likes Received:
    7
    ModMinded likes this.
  6. elmerfud

    elmerfud New Member

    Joined:
    22 Jan 2009
    Posts:
    6
    Likes Received:
    1
    Those portable computers look excellent.

    I think I am going to build a case just like those. Its better than an iMac because once you close the keyboard, its ready to ship.

    Would it be OK to build the case out of wood ? In the same manner that commercial sound enclosures, ie speaker cabinets are made of ? Only lighter ?

    One could mount a regular lcd in the case and have it slide out once the cover is opened.
     
  7. barry99705

    barry99705 sudo rm -Rf /

    Joined:
    20 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    815
    Likes Received:
    15
  8. ModMinded

    ModMinded Are you throwing that away?

    Joined:
    26 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    1,378
    Likes Received:
    43
    There sure are some great links in this thread!
    Great Question and Design Goal!

    (And welcome to BT!)
    I hadn't heard of the CinematographHD pc b4 so I had to look it up.
    The video Worklog is pretty sweet!
    What aspect of it didn't you like? Portability?

    Link didn't work for me. But an aluminum case would be cool. I recently found a log of one based off the TF2 Intelligence, which is well executed but has no screen builtin. It's based off an aluminum camera case.

    Yeah, I agree for not trying a 24 inch. If you're gonna be carrying it around often, then you want it as light as possible. As you said later though, with all the excess off it may be somewhat lighter. See if you can find specs on weight of panel & circuits.

    Yeah that's a pretty sweet lineup. How did they do that A4 triple monitor mount?

    I think wood would work... :lol: I'm not picturing what you mean about the lcd mount though. I like the flip down keyboard, but might want to allow for removing the keyboard. I liked how that cinematographHD one was hiding the keyboard.

    Durable and simple, plus a little easier to get onto the airplane as a carry on... :hehe: I'd expect delays along the way trying to move any of these above creations onto a plane or cross a border. :hehe:

    Too bad about the battery life. Do you need to be able to compute at the drop of a hat, or can you wait until you get where you're going and find a plug!? ;)
     
  9. Oreon_237

    Oreon_237 CHEA BRO!

    Joined:
    11 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    1,170
    Likes Received:
    1
    got to be the most awesome worklog video ever. the keyboard compartment is epic.
     
  10. barry99705

    barry99705 sudo rm -Rf /

    Joined:
    20 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    815
    Likes Received:
    15
    Yea, I thought about setting one up to run off a couple cordless drill batteries. I've not tried carrying it on a plane yet. I don't see why it would be a problem, it will go through the xray machine just fine. If they get real anal four screws and the top comes off. On my trip back to the states from AK I had five desktops and three laptops in the back of my Element, plus three or four displays. They were all packed into a surplus military shipping crate. They didn't even bother opening up the crate. They asked what was in it, I told them and they pretty much did the "cool" and let me through.
     
  11. elmerfud

    elmerfud New Member

    Joined:
    22 Jan 2009
    Posts:
    6
    Likes Received:
    1
    I really don't need or use a battery much at all. Truthfully, I run from my battery the most when I am sitting on the couch, browsing. Other than that, rarely. I have also managed to get some work done at airports when my flight has been delayed.

    I am not a student. Mostly what I do is take my laptop somewhere, set it up and work at a desk. I am using an HP Dragon right now. Its an HDX9494 with a 20 inch LCD. It works pretty well, but I'm tired of laptops.

    The biggest thing is that it needs to be able to fly with me. So either it goes as carry on or its packaged or tough enough to go as check in. My HDX in a roller bag is already at the limit for checkin.

    Truthfully, I find my 18 pound HDX a lot nice to travel with than my 11 pound 17" machine was because I now have a roller bag for it. Once you aren't carrying it on your shoulder, its very easy to travel with. Checking the computer in as checked baggage would take this one step further. I almost never use a computer while flying. My HDX is much too large for the space available in coach.

    I will definitely go with a 20 or 24" LCD. I do a lot of design work. I'm using 2 20" monitors now. I am shooting for dual 24s at my home office. A single 24 would work for me on the road. My last laptop had a good 17" monitor. Its much better than a 15" monitor, but its not enough for me.

    I was browsing yesterday and I came up with several different ways to make the case:

    1) Buy a 3U server chassis. Mount all the guts inside it. Make a new mount for the LCD so that it folds so the display face is against one of the big sides so its protected. It would have to fly inside another case for protection.

    A 3U chassis is 5.25" x 16" x 26". Most 24" LCDs are about 13 x 21 x 2.5. The entire system folded could be 16 x 26 x 6.75. Weight could be as low as 25 pounds.

    2) Buy a SSF case, like this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147098
    Make a special LCD mount that connects the LCD to the case. Problem: the case isn't large enough to cover the entire LCD face when in the shipping position. This would have to ship in a protected case.

    3) Buy a handgun shipping case. 25 x 16 x 6 or so. Mount the LCD inside the upper lid so that it folds out to make an A Frame when open. Problem: I'll always have an ugly shipping case on my desk.

    This case will be strong enough to ship.

    4) Make a case like Sterling Computer uses for the Zeus and others. I think this would be easy to make from wood, using the hardware commercial sound people use for PA cabinets. (corners, latches, roller wheels, etc.)

    This case should be strong enough to ship.

    I think the 3U server chassis is the most practical and the least amount of work.

    What do you guys think ?
     
  12. popotheflyingpanda

    popotheflyingpanda What IS a Dremel?

    Joined:
    20 Nov 2008
    Posts:
    59
    Likes Received:
    1
    wow looks like you have a project ahead of you and I cant wait too see where you go with it.
    a 3U server case would be a nice, pre made, lots of room, you could even make compartments for you keyboard and mouse since they are so big, and you probably don't need all the space for the computer.
    As for the monitor, I have a dell sp2309W and it is a pretty hefty 23" monitor, and i find it hard to see some one hauling a 24" around, ironically i am making a case for mine, but it's for lan parties.

    you could attach the monitor face down onto the 3U, but instead of hinges, you just have it come off and stand separately from the case, that way you wouldn't have to have the chassis on the table at the same time, you could put the case on the ground and just have the monitor/keyboard/mouse on the desk.
    Any way I hope you make this case, I would love to see it!
     
  13. elmerfud

    elmerfud New Member

    Joined:
    22 Jan 2009
    Posts:
    6
    Likes Received:
    1
    I have a 20 inch Dell and I used to lug that and a 17" laptop around to places to work. If everything collapsed into one object it would be a lot nicer. I have an HP Dragon (20" HDX 9494) right now. By the datasheet it weighs 15 pounds + 3 pounds for the AC adapter. I have a roller bag for it and its a breeze to move.

    The problem with that is you have lug that stand around. Its a separate piece to pack, assemble and disassemble. And the stands aren't light. If one could make a hinge/arm that used the case as the monitor stand, that would be much better.

    If the case stood on its side on the desk, its footprint is only ~5" x 26". That is not much more than the monitor stand occupies.


    I'll be working on another project for the next couple weeks and then I am going to tackle this. I'll have the next few weeks to incubate ideas. hint hint. If you have any, blurt them out so they can ferment.
     
  14. popotheflyingpanda

    popotheflyingpanda What IS a Dremel?

    Joined:
    20 Nov 2008
    Posts:
    59
    Likes Received:
    1
    hmm valid points, but I think you misunderstood me,
    you could chop off the original stand, you could replace it with some thing lighter
    confusing, yeah .... BUT I HAVE PICS!!!
    ok
    [​IMG]
    so cut that off
    then you replace it with, say some aluminum rod, may be 2 for stability
    [​IMG]
    the black line is the desk level (it's in paint, I couldn't turn it) and the red line would be the "stand"
    I could see how running extra cords to and from the server would be annoying...
    ok well that was my idea thx ............incubating........ :D
     
  15. Fumduck

    Fumduck Have torch, will melt.

    Joined:
    5 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    162
    Likes Received:
    7
    Can't believe I forgot about pelican Case! :duh: They make the best equipment shipping containers around. Most professional AV houses use Pelicans exclusively. We even have a couple here that we use for sending equipment to trade shows. if they do not have a stock one that fits your needs, they will happily make a custom case for you. Then you only need to install your hardware. :clap:
     
  16. shomann

    shomann New Member

    Joined:
    5 Sep 2003
    Posts:
    402
    Likes Received:
    4
    I have been wanting to attempt something like this for years.

    You aren't alone in wanting to pull this off.

    I had never seen the CinematographHD before, but that thing has to weigh a ton. Granted it was very well conceived and implemented (and if he did all his own camera work, the man is a great videographer as well as a computer modder), but it is basically a computer case with 2 LCDs mounted to the front of it. My guess is he knew he was building a big rig and didn't care as much about weight.

    Originally I wanted to build a suitcase style computer. If based on a Pelican, you could actually have a waterproof case (for the shipping part only, of course). Now I favor the idea of a 22-24" LCD forward facing. Mounted on its reverse side would be the motherboard. I would try to go for getting it as slim as possible by utilizing flexible or right angle PCIx16 brackets and orienting the graphic card parallel to the motherboard as opposed to perpendicular. But then, thats just me ;)

    I have a few of my own concepts that I want to implement, but from what I have investigated I think the most difficult part will the power. For me the thing about using a design like this would be the inclusion of high-end graphics cards (and the ability to swap them), so you will need a beefy PSU. However, most PSUs are a cube form factor. A 1U PSU would be a better fit for a project like this, but there just aren't as many to choose from (600w is about as large as I have found and it is made for a rackmount server - meaning extra long).

    In any case, good luck. I will be watching this closely. Who knows, I may get up the stones to attempt my own interpretation as well ;)
     
    Last edited: 28 Jan 2009
  17. barry99705

    barry99705 sudo rm -Rf /

    Joined:
    20 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    815
    Likes Received:
    15
    My box has a 250W shuttle sized psu. I could put a full sized one in there though.
     
  18. shomann

    shomann New Member

    Joined:
    5 Sep 2003
    Posts:
    402
    Likes Received:
    4
    I hear you, and Shuttle makes a PSU that is 400w to handle the newer more power hungry cards - but it still seems a little lightweight when you combine third party motherboards and the option to overclock.

    Question for the hive mind - can you power a LCD from an ATX style PSU? I know some of those monitors use 14+V, but if you could use one PSU for both the system AND LCD...well, thats a ton of space saved.
     
  19. barry99705

    barry99705 sudo rm -Rf /

    Joined:
    20 Apr 2008
    Posts:
    815
    Likes Received:
    15
    I couldn't find a good 12v dc display that didn't cost twice what I bought my mobo for, so I cheated. My display is 110v ac. I scavenged a port from a dead power supply and spliced two power cables off that. One goes up to the display, and the other goes to the computer power supply.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  20. ModMinded

    ModMinded Are you throwing that away?

    Joined:
    26 Aug 2008
    Posts:
    1,378
    Likes Received:
    43
    powering lcd from atx psu

    Interesting. That's one of the things I've been puzzling over how to do as well (powering lcd internally) and didn't see anything useful in the LCD thread on it (that I recall.) I'd thought about modding my PSU so the internal power wires get split right at the port and then wiring it into the Brick that the LCD comes with (but thought it would be too bulky.)
    Barry, can you post up some other pics of that? Are you using the brick? I can't quite make it out in the pics.
     

Share This Page