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Re: [OT] beefy steel cases

On Sun, Feb 10, 2008 at 09:56:22AM -0800, Andrew Sackville-West wrote:
> Every *old* case I have fits your requirements more or less (I might
> even have a spare, now that I think of it...). I suggest
> you go to the local (is there such a thing?) computer reseller/parts
> shop and scrounge for old cases. They are invariably steel all the way
> around and an be had for next to nothing (even nothing sometimes). 

Unfortunaly, there isn't one.  Local people just take it to the recyling
depot where they dump them in with scrap metal (believe it or not)
unless it has a tube (TV, CRT, etc) in which case it sits in a pile
exposed to the weather.

> You may need to add a couple baffles. Some of my old ones are all
> steel all the way around except for some "cooling" holes on the
> back. A simple baffle pop-rivetted over that would allow airflow but
> eliminate the line-of-sight issue. The only other concern would be the
> front panel. These tend to have lots of holes in them. Again a little
> sheet steel and a pop-rivet gun would clean that up pretty
> quickly. THe only things that should penetrate through that front
> panel would be cd/floppy drives and those are generally wrapped in
> steel anyway, so that might be no problem. 

Unless I find an old case that has hot-swap scsi.  Then, it would be
nice if there was a door over the front.  I don't know if hard drives,
in a hot-swap caddie to shield the drive logic, would be OK without a
door.  If so, it would open up a lot of potential boxes.

> You mention good cooling and so forth, but I'm not sure how much of a
> concern that really is on these lower power machines. A couple of good
> fans strategically placed should be plenty. 

My main concern would be for hard drives.  Old consumer boxes were
designed for small, slow-RPM IDE.  A new IDE is going to be at least
7200 RPM.  If I go scsi, it will be faster.

> Finally, if you have a steel framed case, probably the back panel is
> steel and all you'd need are new sides/top/bottom. It should be
> straightforward to add steel sides to an existing frame relatively
> inexpensively. 

I have my CoolerMaster with my Athlon in it.  Steel frames yes, but all
aluminum panels.  I'd have to drill out the rivits where aluminum and
steel meet, and rivit on new steel panels.  The removeable one would be
more work to duplicate the track.  The front is individual plastic
snap-in grill/air-filters over each of 11 drive bays, with a curved
front.  Making a door would be challenging.  All-in-all, this case
wouldn't be worth the effort.

I've been looking at industrial-style cases, which often have a metal
door that hinges up over the front (rackmount style).  Norco has some
made with 1.2 mm steel and they run under $100 on newegg.  I'm looking
at the 4U; they have several styles and I'm trying to determine the
differences between them.  What do you think of these?  Some industrial
computer cases are designed for low EMI for telecommunications, but are
still rated FCC Class A.

FCC ratings are cute too.  FCC doesn't actually rate cases, however,
some case manufactures are also server/computer vendors (e.g.
supermicro, advantech).  Some of them then put the same FCC rating info
on the case documentation as on the computers.  Since these are server
boxes, they get marked as FCC class A.  They probably didn't even try to
certify them for class B.  I wish FCC had a "class S" for "Silent" with
non-detectable emissions (not just emissions that give information like
TEMPEST).  TEMPEST computers can still emit EMI, it just doesn't provide
any information on the state of the computer.  

Then again, FCC Class B means diddly to us unless its to know that a
case Failed Class B.  Baby monitors and cordless phones are Class B
devices and are a problem.

Anyway, I'll keep looking for free steel boxes.  Please let me know what
you think of the Norco boxes.



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