Desk Mods

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Mumm
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Desk Mods

Post by Mumm » Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:58 pm

Well my work space needs some serious improvement so I've been working on something to help it out. I'll start off by showing what I currently have. I cleaned off the desk so i could get a better look at it to draw it up. So you don't get to see the piles and piles of junk all over.

Image

Here is and overview shot of my 1st design:

Image

Under the right LCD I was planning on adding a 4 port USB hub to hook up my digital cam, flash drives, MP3 Player, ect...

Under the middle LCD is a small LCD screen I would program with LCD Studio to display Media info, Time & Temps, and so on. I could have used a bigger LCD but my Keyboard will be near it and I'd only cover part of it up.

Under the left LCD I plan on adding an IPX machine to act as a print server for all our office and as a shared network storage.

Image

I could have went with 2x 30" LCDs or with 3x 20". My current is a 20" from Dell and Im happy with it and its a much cheaper route. I end up with more desk top anyway this way. Sofar I plan on going 1/2" material but what wood to use I'm not sure yet.

Still in the planning stages and looks like I won't start building this for a month or so. If you guys have any suggestions on something I may have missed that would be useful I'd love to hera it.

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Re: Desk Mods

Post by Darkstar » Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:35 pm

That looks real nice, wish i had the room to do that, only thing i might add would be a couple of the small undercounter lights that are used in bars and kitchen cabinets, on the right desk.

looks like a good project.

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Re: Desk Mods

Post by martini161 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:58 pm

why not hardmount the moniters to the desk instead?

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Re: Desk Mods

Post by werty316 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 2:02 pm

Nice design and with that, care to make one for me too? :mrgreen:
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Re: Desk Mods

Post by vicaphit » Fri Jun 06, 2008 2:56 pm

martini161 wrote:why not hardmount the moniters to the desk instead?
I second that, it would give you extra storage.
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Re: Desk Mods

Post by Mumm » Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:31 pm

vicaphit wrote:
martini161 wrote:why not hardmount the moniters to the desk instead?
I second that, it would give you extra storage.
Thanks for the comments sofar guys.

I went with the riser type LCD stand for a few reasons. I needed the overhead space to set things on. What you don't see in the 1st pic in a whole ton of crap that was sitting on each side of my current LCD. Most all of it would fit up top or on the shelves. I looked at the triple monitor stands and I like them but the cost was a bit much. I can also build the hutch for less. The other option was to use wall mounts but I was worried I wouldn't like the placement all that much. If you know of a triple stand for a good price I would like to see it. Now that I think about it a wall mount to the back of the hutch may not be too bad.

I probably will need better lighting. I do have a lamp behind the desk atm but I can see where it may not work aswell with this in the way. Good call!
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Re: Desk Mods

Post by DMB2000uk » Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:46 pm

While you are planning lights, you should make sure there is enough light getting around/behind the monitors. As with the shelf above the screens it will block out overhead light which will increase the glare and will make it easier to strain your eyes.

Otherwise it looks a very nice setup ^_^

What are you planning on doing that needs 3 monitors by the way?

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Re: Desk Mods

Post by martini161 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 5:09 pm

DMB2000uk wrote:While you are planning lights, you should make sure there is enough light getting around/behind the monitors. As with the shelf above the screens it will block out overhead light which will increase the glare and will make it easier to strain your eyes.

Otherwise it looks a very nice setup ^_^

What are you planning on doing that needs 3 monitors by the way?

Dan
i dont know but my guess would be displaying the computer on them :mrgreen: i think weird though

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Re: Desk Mods

Post by moon111 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 5:19 pm

Mumm wrote: ...(edit)...
I looked at the triple monitor stands and I like them but the cost was a bit much.
...(edit)...
Is it just me, or are monitor stands WAY over priced? I can't believe they cost so much to produce.

The desk looks good. Just keep future upgrades in mind. I built a similiar unit and got rid of it
because monitor technology leaped so quickly. Seriously, in a couple of years a 22" LCD might be
compared to an 15" CRT now.

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Re: Desk Mods

Post by Mumm » Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:53 pm

lol...

I work with a number of forms and draw up new ones aswell as do things like job cost summaries and contracts. As it is now I flip through tabs all the time. I've gotten pretty good at doing it with just the keyboard short cut but this will be much better. Mostly I work with Excel and MS Word.
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Re: Desk Mods

Post by DaIceMan » Sat Jun 07, 2008 7:42 am

http://www.oznium.com/architectural-led-ribbon

Pretty cool product, thin, easy to mount and wire up. I know a ton of people that have ordered from Phil at Oznium. Any problems have been resolved quickly with just an email or phone call. I'm planning to order some LED strips for my new PC build soon.
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Re: Desk Mods

Post by Bio-Hazard » Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:18 am

3 single wall mounts will save you a ton of money and get the LCD's up off the stands as well. Something like these should work for what you're wanting to do.............. :mrgreen:

http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=WLB371&cat=MON

http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=WLB272&cat=MON

Or if you need a shorter reach, these would work nicely.............. 8)

http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=WLB273&cat=MON

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Re: Desk Mods

Post by Mumm » Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:15 pm

Well phase 1 is nearly complete. I like it sofar but I have a long way to go. The hutch was only a part of my overall build. The fun stuff is yet to come.

Image

I have the laptop running as a second screen and print server.

Overview

The main goal of this build is focus on function and productivity. The list of requirements are as follows:

1. Triple LCD Screens.
2. Improved workspace area.
3. Additional assessable USB ports. (Desktop)
4. Improved computer performance for work and gaming.
5. More storage capacity. 1- 2 TB
6. Improved storage set up with RAID 0 and partitioning.
7. High performance air cooling.
8. Moderate sound dampening.
9. Improved aesthetics.
10. Isolated print / data server controlled via network.

Build Theory

Video:

There are a number of ways to go about doing a triple LCD set up but there are also so serious drawbacks to consider.

As this rig will be used for both work and play it ruled out the many of the professional class workstation cards like from Matrox. They simply lack the performance for the “Play” aspect but would do well in the productivity area.

The LCDs that will be used are all Dell 20” widescreen formats so that rules out the use of Matrox’s TripleHead2Go. Currently, no video card supports DirectX 10’s max width of 8000 pixels. 1680 x 3 = 5040. As of today they max out at 4000 pixels. TripleHead2Go also runs into productivity issues as simple functions like maximizing a screen would use all 3 at once. SLI and Crossfire is fully able to function as it only sees one big display. The support for gaming is pretty good. If they ever fix the driver issue to support full DX10’s specs this would be a very strong contender. I wonder which GPU maker will figure this out 1st?

So that leaves us the use of multi display support within Windows and from the graphic card’s manufacturer. Now there are some differences from ATI vs NVIDIA. Multi GPU + multi display just will not work with NVIDIA. However ATI has one up on the competition as they do support multi GPU and multi display with Crossfire. It is limited though to 2 displays and the current max resolution width of 4000 pixels. That leaves us with the option of 1 card per display. As such this is the model I will be going with. The downsides to this set up are lots of heat and the fact that it hogs nearly all expansion slots and other PCI \ PCIE slots. But those can be worked around. This is also the best scaling and most upgradeable method.

As for the cards themselves, I will probably go with the NVIDIA 9800 GTX+. Currently the system is running on a single NVIDIA 8800 GTS so there will be some performance gain. I could have gone with a better card but cost is an issue when buying 3. No double card set will match the performance for under $600.00.

To expand the task bar, a program called UltraMon will be used. It’s a nice handy (and free) little piece of software that will aid in sorting each screen’s contents and movement between them. It also provides some nice support for desktop wall papers and screen savers. And it also supports Vista x64!

Motherboard:

The main concern here is to get a board that has 3 16x PCIE slots for the video cards. Extra SATA ports will also be needed for the raid and storage drives. A minimum of 6 should do. Those are pretty standard fair these days and any number of boards will fit the bill. In order to save cash though I will be using one that supports DDR2 RAM. The 4gb of OCZ RAM in the current system will be just fine for this build. The minimal performance gain of a 780i to a 790i chipset wouldn’t warrant the cost of all new RAM plus the premium cost of the motherboard itself.

There will be a need for 1 PCI slot for a soundcard. But the 3 video cards cover all PCI slots and take up 7 expansion slots in a case. To get around this I plan on using a good old flexible PCI riser and a case with 10 expansion slots. If I can get a 5mm horizontal clearance between the 3rd video card’s cooler and the PCI slot, it will fit. Some minor modification may be needed to the cooler. But that’s what Dremels are for! I will then need to affix the riser to the motherboard tray in a manner as to not allow any shorts and to support the card.

Drives:

Currently the drive set up consists of a simple 2 HDD set. 1 150gb WD RaptorX for the OS and programs with 1 WD 200gb for data. The 200gb will be demoted to a virtual CD drive clone. Rather then swapping disks all the time Farstone makes a nice program to manage virtual cds called VirtualDrive® 11.6 and be seen here; http://www.farstone.com/software/virtualdrive.htm. From there another 150gb WD RaptorX will be added to set the OS up on a RAID 0 configuation. If I can swing the cost I would rather go with the WD VelociRaptor. But it will wait for now until I see how much the final cost will be. For storage, the 200gb will be replaced with a single 1tb drive. This data drive will also be home for a hidden partition containing a GHOST image of a clean OS install.

No change is planned for optical drives. There really isn’t much use for anything beyond the DVD LightScribe drive it has now.

Cooling:

Since water cooling isn’t available in the budget a solid air cooled system will be needed. Noise really isn’t a huge factor as long as it’s short of a full blown vacuum. The case used here will have room for up to 5 120/140mm fans (2x exhaust / 2 intake / 1 internal), 1 230mm side window fan, and 1 140mm front intake fan. The 5 120mm fans will be fitted with Scythe Ultra Kazes. That will cover the rear exhaust, top exhaust, bottom intake and 1 internal for the GPUs. The internal 120mm is fed by the front 140mm intake and passes it along over the video cards. The 230mm will be replaced by a 250mm window fan that has a mesh grill. I will also add filters to all intake fans including the 250mm.

Image

Some mild overclocking may be done so I will be adding a ZEROtherm Nirvana NV120. That should provide plenty of cooling power. I may also add another 120mm Ultra Kaze in the top front as an intake. Airflow will be restricted by the all the goods near the bottom and fresh air will help the northbridge and CPU. Yeah I know this will be one loud case but each fan can be fitted with a rubber silencer and I also plan on adding sound dampening material to the left side, top, and bottom.

Case:

Finding a big enough case with 10 expansion slots wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. In the end I only found 2 that would suit my needs. The Thermaltake Armor+ and the Lian Li Armoursuit P80. There is about a $200 price difference though and I actually prefer steel cases so Armor+ it is!

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Re: Desk Mods

Post by DMB2000uk » Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:15 am

Whoah!

Nice write up.

And nice job on the desk, it looks a completely different workstation now, I barely even recognised it from before (did a double take :P)

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Re: Desk Mods

Post by stev » Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:17 pm

Isn't the case "Cooling" idea kinda shot when the rather large space heater is under the desk. :rolleyes: LOL
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Re: Desk Mods

Post by Mumm » Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:28 pm

I know its been awhile but heres where my project is currently at!

Image

Only hardware left is the PSU I want to get. I know the cables are a mess but it will be taken care of.

Image

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Re: Desk Mods

Post by martini161 » Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:39 pm

i think youd better upgrade that PSU fast :shock: two 9800gtx's and a quad core adn all those harddrives are probably way to much for it

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Re: Desk Mods

Post by Skippman » Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:42 pm

Ok, I'm now officially jealous! That's a bad ass setup! Nice wallpaper! :prayer:

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Re: Desk Mods

Post by vbironchef » Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:27 pm

I agree with martini161. I would be sweating bullets if I only had a 500 watt power supply with all that you have going on there. Other than that it looks like a dream come true :)

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Re: Desk Mods

Post by Darkstar » Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:43 pm

Awesome all around!

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