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Big Box'o'Computers

If you build it, it will hum
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First, some premises:

Moving home is a pain in the neck.
A nice computer system can take ages to put together properly.
Transporting computers and their associate peripherals/wires/etc is a pain in the neck.
Computers/Peripherals/Wires/etc (CPWe) take up far more space than they ought to.

So, given that I am not liable to find a permanent residence for some time, it has come to me to consider a solution.

I have called it my "Big Box'o'Computers"

Essentially, it means collecting the following 19" rack-mounted components:
1) Big external hard-drive(s)
2) Wireless Router
3) CPU board(s)
4) Fancy wireless KVM switch
5) Other assorted gadgetry
6) UPS thingy
7) A fancy rack (see link)

and putting them all together into a stand-alone system that will allow me to wheel it to the nearest electrical socket and power it up - immediately flooding the locality with full internet connectivity, file/printer/quake server functionality and anything else I might want to make available electronically.

Plus, when I move house for the n'th time, I just wheel out the BBOC and ship it off to the next place, all ready to plug in again.

Yes, it will take up space, looming majestically in it's chosen corner, but you could transform it into a functional shelf should you choose to do so.

(I'm not sure this counts as a new invention since rack-mounted systems already exist, as does everything else I've mentioned - I just thought it was cool)

zen_tom, Nov 29 2005

Sturdy rack systems http://www.hofbauer...k/cases/19cases.php
..."Widely used in Military, Aerospace, Oil & Gas, Survey, Broadcast, Electronics etc. applications"... [zen_tom, Nov 29 2005]

Here's what you want... http://www.zmicro.com/
The MPU - shown is the 7X, but it's available in 4X and 2X [normzone, Nov 29 2005]

iMac Rack Hack http://imac.pointinspace.com/
[zen_tom, Nov 30 2005]

[link]






       I'm not sure I'm with you Pa`ve - I too am advocating a simple, ergonomic interface, just using a wified screen/mouse/keyboard combination - to link into my vastly overpowered trunk of computing power which, while lumbering compared to a laptop is *just* portable enough to move house with me in one plug-in unit.
zen_tom, Nov 29 2005
  

       I'm a bit bewildered, zen_tom. What are those portable racks used for, if not making portable rack-mount systems (music and computing) like the one you propose?
st3f, Nov 29 2005
  

       st3f - you've got me - that's exactly what they are used for - though I've never heard of this before, and certainly not for home use. I still think it's cool though.   

       Can we quietly say "Consumer Advice" and look the other way as I delete it in the next couple of days?   

       Has anyone put together/worked with/thought about setting up anything like I describe - and if so, any hints/tips etc?
zen_tom, Nov 29 2005
  

       I was more worried that I'd missed something.
st3f, Nov 29 2005
  

       Ugh, been there man. A few years back I was on these crazy consulting projects that had me moving every three months or so... five times in one year. I have a small two machine network on a kvm with peripherals. Don't think this widely exists for home use, but it would have really helped. Packing and moving the PCs and their associated junk was undoubtedly the most annoying and time consuming of all. It would have been great to have a big box on wheels, all hooked up inside with one plug leading out.   

       Looking at the link, these are only for rack mounted equip. Mine are just regular towers etc. Why couldn't it just fit for the standard home system most already have? Make it look purdy on the ouside so you can keep it next to the desk and just pull out the monitor, keyboard and mouse etc.
Zuzu, Nov 29 2005
  

       Nope, nothing missed st3f - I suppose this is a kind of 'project' idea, like my Wall of Speakers. i.e. One of those back of the envelope things that you could actually build given the money/time/inclination. In this instance, it's like building a computer version of a kitchen appliance.   

       zuzu yes exactly - and yep it would be good to have a version that wasn't entirely rack mounted, though you would want some sort of restraining devices that would stop the towers banging about were the thing to get loaded into the back of a van by a couple of roady style house movers (meccano style braces perhaps?). Nice wheels are a must too.
zen_tom, Nov 29 2005
  

       wasn't this the rationale behind the imac.
i-Mer, Nov 30 2005
  

       So...you want a rack-mount full server setup? This is original in what way? I've got one of these in an office right down the hall.   

       There's a pivoting 17" LCD monitor in spaces 1 & 2, a 2U dual opteron in 3 & 4, A slide-out keyboard/trackball in the front of 5, a wireless network hub in the back of 5, A 2U drive bay with two hot-swappable hard drives, a zip drive and a DVD burner in 6 & 7, a row of fans in 8-11, and a large UPS/conditioner in 13-16. Unplug it, wheel it where I need it, and plug it back in. All without ever shutting down.
Freefall, Nov 30 2005
  

       I bought a 14U musician's road/stage rack with a mixer lid (ie an inset tray at the top with a hinged/removeable lid). It's being assembled into much this configuration - UPS, heavy duty batteries, 1U rack-hacked Mac G4, separate home-made rack drives, effects unit, 2000W amp, slide out music and qwerty keyboards, 16 channel mixer. All on heavy duty castors.   

       The only bits I haven't figured out yet are the speakers and the monitor - I'm dreaming of a new extended lid with the speakers sliding out sideways from behind a 21" LCD.
BunsenHoneydew, Nov 30 2005
  

       When you configure all of these components into the same rack, it becomes very very heavy. Almost to the point where it becomes more sensible to move the rack and computer components separately. Something like this on heavy duty casters is OK provided that you do not have to carry it up steps or over any natural terrain surfaces like sand or grass.
Jscotty, Dec 01 2005
  

       It's always nice to have a fancy rack.
discontinuuity, Dec 01 2005
  

       I'm with you on that one. I'm a systems manager and I've seen two guys drag 200k worth of DEC Alpha kit in a single rack up 3 flights of stairs and over a 1 foot lip to get it installed. It took them most of the morning and they nearly lost limbs in the process - not to mention the number of times I feared I'd be opening the door to find the kit at the bottom of the stair well in a huge pile. To say this stuff gets heavy when in a useful configuration is something of an understatement.
ThomasEdison, Jun 27 2007
  

       So, setting up your computer and peripherals is a pain, but they're too heavy amd unwieldy when enracked. What about if everything was wireless? This seems to be the way things are going - your printer, scanner, computer, router, external drive and KVM switch will each have a power lead, but nothing else and your mouse and keyboard will have no leads at all. Then the setting up process is to unpack everything, plug it into the power and you're done.
hippo, Jun 28 2007
  
      
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