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2 Computers inside 1 Case Plan

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone,

longtime reader. first time poster. I finally found something out of the norm that I want to do.

I have a case and I want to install a second computer in it for a media/file server. I am limited on space and have a lot invested in this case so I prefer this solution to another box somewhere else. I would like to bounce my idea of the forum and see if anyone has any insightful thoughts or ideas. I have searched the internet high and low for similar builds and came up empty handed .

Case: Antec p190 http://goo.gl/VWySyn

My plan is to remove the fan mounts in the lower section of the case and install a mini ITX motherboard in-between the hard drives and power supplies. Install a raid card and move all the HDD to that system. Once setup remove all user interface devices and just have two Ethernet cables coming out a grommet in the back to the network. All control and use of the computer can be done over the network. I plan to re-purpose the reset button on my case as the second power button. I will need to remove the two power supply’s and replace them with two power supplies that can be used independently.

My main concerns are:
Power supplies: Most power supplies on the market have a 120mm fan top and exhaust out the back. Since I’m placing two side by side these fans will be useless. I need one that exhausts strait through the power supply so that I can vent the compartment with the second Motherboard and a bank of 4 hard drives.
I have thought of a few options and they all have a down side.
Option 1: Find a power supply with airflow strait through. I have found a few supplies with dual 80mm fans that exhaust strait through but I haven’t found one with enough watts to run the systems. I will need a 400W-500W for the small system and 750W-800W to support the top system. I’m leaning towards just getting two around 800 area just to make life easy. Can anyone recommend a power supply that vents strait through but also has enough wattage?
Option 2: Separate the power supply ventilation from the rest of the case. If I install one power supply upside down and flip the fan inside the power supply I can get the airflow to go in one supply through the fans and out the other. This runs the risk of the first supply heating up the second one. Also it’s likely that because the intake and exhaust are so close together it will just form a circulation loop and cook them both.
Option 3: Heavy modifications. Crack the power supplies open and remove the 120 fans. Cut of the solid plate where the connections exit and install a mesh instead. Then install a 120mm fan across the back of both supplies to drive air through them and out the case.
CPU cooler: Ideally I would like a CPU cooler that has a vertical fan. I could probably make due with a stock cooler but I think it is worthwhile to keep the air flowing in the same direction. Front to back. I’m thinking something like this. But need to check clearance.
How much thick is a motherboard from the tray to the top of CPU including Stands PCB Socket and CPU? I have about 150mm to work with.
Overall cooling: The way in invasion it the air will pass through 4 hard drives mounted vertically into the motherboard compartment cooling the board itself and moving through the vertical fan on the CPU cooler and then be pushed out the back of the case through two power supplies. How much ventilation do I need for a system like this? If I have to I can vent the area into the main compartment of the case and maybe out some PCI slots at the back but I would like to keep the areas isolated so one doesn’t impact the other.

Details. I know you guys like details.

Existing system: This is my old system. It still plays the games I have time for. I will consider upgrading it when it stops performing or I have more time to spend with it, whichever comes first.
EGA 680i motherboard
4x1GB DDR2 OCZ Ram
Intel Core2Duo E6700
Zalman Big Typhoon
Pioneer Blu Ray
7 HDD of various sizes form 500-gb to 3tb
1 SSD

This is the new system I would like to install in the bottom compartment. The motherboard is only thing that really matters right now. I just need Mini ITX with dual lan. The rest is flexible
Motherboard: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128567
CPU: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115233
Ram: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231428
1 SSD: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147248

These are the raid components I want to add to the system once I’m sure it fits.
Raid card: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816103221
8 HDD: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236344

Optional modifications:
The case comes with 2 hard drive cages a 4 bay down below and a 2 bay up top. I would like to find another 4 bay for up top. The cages are not interchangeable but I can probably do some light modifications to make them that way. This would give me the storage for my 8 drive raid and I can dedicate the 3 - 5.25 bays to the upper system to hold the SSD’s and other drives. If I can’t balance the cooling I would consider moving the 2 bay down below to reduce heat load and improve airflow.

What i really need to nail down before i order parts is the Power supplies and i need a CPU cooler too but i can test with a stock cooler.

I look forward to any feedback and input.

Scoobz
post #2 of 6
This is the longest and most organized first post in the history of OCN.

Also, welcome to the forums. Now when you say lower fans, do you meen the ones in the bottom right corner? Or the ones above that? If you have room, you could mount the 2nd PSU on the bottom right, and should be fine without complications. Also, how will you control the BIOS of the 2nd board?
Green Dragon
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i7 3930K ASrock Extreme4 X79 LGA 2011 EVGA GTX 780 6GB EVGA GTX 780 6GB 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveCooling
12GB (3x4) Samsung 2133 Mhz Sandisk SSD 500GB Samsung Spinpoint F3 Corsair H100 
OSMonitorMonitorMonitor
Windows 10 Professional 64-bit Acer G7 G237HLbi Acer G7 G237HLbi Acer G7 G237HLbi 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Razer Black Widow Chroma Corsair HX 750 Lancool K62 Dragonlord Razer taipan 
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Creative Soundblaster Z Razer Krakeen 7.1 Chroma 
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Green Dragon
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i7 3930K ASrock Extreme4 X79 LGA 2011 EVGA GTX 780 6GB EVGA GTX 780 6GB 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveCooling
12GB (3x4) Samsung 2133 Mhz Sandisk SSD 500GB Samsung Spinpoint F3 Corsair H100 
OSMonitorMonitorMonitor
Windows 10 Professional 64-bit Acer G7 G237HLbi Acer G7 G237HLbi Acer G7 G237HLbi 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Razer Black Widow Chroma Corsair HX 750 Lancool K62 Dragonlord Razer taipan 
AudioAudio
Creative Soundblaster Z Razer Krakeen 7.1 Chroma 
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Its a bit of a pet peeve when someone asks for advice but doesn't supply the necessary information to help make any decisions.

The fan I want to remove to make room for the extra motherboard is at the bottom center of the case. There is a metal support with a plastic bracket that a 120mm fan clips into i need to remove the entire assembly and then mount the motherboard to the bottom of the case. I'm trying to avoid changing anything in the upper compartment.

This case is a little ridiculous. It came with two full size power supplies side by side at the bottom rear of the case. They are linked together so they turn on together. Its nice because I don't have to find room for another power supply. The down side is it doesn't lend itself well to airflow. Find a picture of it from the back and you will see what i mean. http://goo.gl/VWySyn

To get to the bios i will have to crack it open and plug in a USB keyboard. In the future I might get a USB bracket that I can install in the back of the case and just run it to the headers on the second motherboard. The motherboard also has Bluetooth support and i happen to have an extra Bluetooth keyboard and mouse around. I am not sure if it will do bios over Bluetooth I'm hoping to do most of my control over the network.
post #4 of 6
One suggestion (I'm currently working on a 4pc in one case mod, with 2+ PSUs), you could try and put an itx motherboard (and something else) in the 5.25" drives. Some basic info is at http://www.overclock.net/t/1415043/5-25-itx-mount .
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Koskcaj,

Interesting. That explains why I haven't found much on the type of mod I'm planning, as everyone else just installs in the 5.25 bay. Unfortunately i only have the 4 spots and the Mini ITX motherboard would just barely fit in my cage and I would have to sacrifice my Blu ray drive. To keep my Blu ray drive i think I will continue to research my current plan.

You got me thinking though, if someone was crafty they could make a 4 bay drive cage with a whole system minus a power supply in it. one could just pop it in and out of systems as needed. or add 2 or 3 systems if the tower supports ridiculous amounts of 5.25 bays. I don't know much about mini power supplies but if you really cram it in and go for low heat components you might even be able to get a power supply in the cage too.

Thanks for the suggestions.
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoobz View Post

Koskcaj,

Interesting. That explains why I haven't found much on the type of mod I'm planning, as everyone else just installs in the 5.25 bay. Unfortunately i only have the 4 spots and the Mini ITX motherboard would just barely fit in my cage and I would have to sacrifice my Blu ray drive. To keep my Blu ray drive i think I will continue to research my current plan.

You got me thinking though, if someone was crafty they could make a 4 bay drive cage with a whole system minus a power supply in it. one could just pop it in and out of systems as needed. or add 2 or 3 systems if the tower supports ridiculous amounts of 5.25 bays. I don't know much about mini power supplies but if you really cram it in and go for low heat components you might even be able to get a power supply in the cage too.

Thanks for the suggestions.

no one puts the itx boards in the 5.25" drives either, it's just an idea i had.
My plan was a mac mini and and itx board (integrated CPU). but itx, one or two disks and a pico PSU would work well. If the cooler was small enough, you could even use a normal psu.
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