Data Centers

Gallery: The all-in-one dual-core VESA Stand PC mod

George Ou labored two full days to build the all-in-one dual-core VESA Stand PC.

Can you spot the PC in this picture? It's behind the 22" LCD display and it's actually holding up the LCD. There's plenty of room under the display for all your important stuff. Now you can actually put your CENTER speakers in the center rather than off to the side because the LCD monitor stand is taking up center. The Polycom Communicator also found a home underneath the LCD taking center stage. There's also a convenient power strip right under the display so you don't need to crawl under the desk. There's even flat space above the LCD for things like speakers and video cameras.



For more details, see George Ou's blog.

61 comments
goldenpirate
goldenpirate

Ok George, that's 2 to you. if only i could do something similar with my crt monitor. :) Now if only you could come up with something along the lines that i could put in my desk drawer, probably with wlan, wireless keyboard and wireless mouse. Desk modifications where necessary no problem. Probably with hydraulic drop-down facilities for monitor and sliding cover when monitor in lowered position. Oh, and for cd/dvd changing have drawer open at the push of a button and have dvd burner pop up. Have power saw, drills and screwdrivers and welder. >:) OMG, where's the foil cap, i can feel somebody trying to drain my brain of ideas! All joking apart however, wouldn't it be easier and tidier to hang the computer in a small rack mount underneath the desktop? :)

dbristol
dbristol

Any special considerations for cooling? Seems like most cases that I open have shrouds and fans to direct airflow over specific parts.

RABOTS
RABOTS

The monitor mount is typical on a wall so tilt is for down angle. If you turn the mount over the angle is like a normal stand. I have used this mount on case sides and changed the set screw for easy removal. For the stand aluminum square tubing and lexan wood (sic) be nice. Great idea for an old computer re-use for a dual input monitor.

bmorse22
bmorse22

you can take that stand off. when you take the base off, look up into the peace thats still there. There should be 3 screws. Undo those and it will pop off

dmccoy
dmccoy

Help me understand how you load CD/DVDs

jebundy
jebundy

as to your comment on why birch looks like that when you cut it, you used birch veneer plywood, not solid birch, it is not a bad wood, I used it to build an entertainment center, its chepaer and stronger than real wood, it will neve warp or crack, but it is definitely not as pretty as solid wood.

takaharu
takaharu

I put my monitor on the top of my desk with the FL & FR speakers either side, the center speaker behind (with any cables) and I put my PC under the desk. Can't get much more desk space than that. If you REALLY want a PC hidden behind a 22" monitor just use a smaller case and prop it up behind the monitor. "Colour distorts when viewed above or below optimum viewing angle" - what did you expect?

gpraveenreddy
gpraveenreddy

How much did it cost you?excluding the monitor?But its an excellent piece of work..

jonp
jonp

Cool idea, might try this but using a slim desktop mATX case but without all the covers, just the chassis only for better cooling and mounting. With a little fiberglass work, one could permanently mount speakers on top and or sides of the wood frame.

thomas.curtis
thomas.curtis

Nice, HP make a frame simlilar to this forit's pc's. I think it would be really cool in Plexi Glass.

tonyfriendly
tonyfriendly

A little crude, but got your point. I think George is also a woodworker, which I am to. The projects seem fun. Better wood and finish is next. i like the idea.

clintmartin
clintmartin

I'm thinking I might have been tempted to use a small desktop case, without the top side on it, instead of mounting all the components directly onto the wood. You could put a few screws through the case, under the motherboard mounts, and then you've got a place to mount all the other components. The added weight would probably be good for offsetting the weight of the LCD too. Just a thought.

haunj
haunj

George; You can remove the monitor stand quite easily. The hinge cover at the top of the stand just pops off and then there are 2 screws underneth. We had to mount several of these monitors in a call center on floating arms.

haunj
haunj

This very much reminds me of the GX620. I loved the design and small form factor, but Dell version suffered from cooling problems.

gpfear
gpfear

Missing some fit and finish, but not bad considering there is no investment in a case. I wouldn't mind taking this a bit further with height adjustment of the LCD.

elimarcus
elimarcus

You might want to mount the hard drive in some way that allows air to flow on all sides of it - HDDs can get very hot during peak use, and mounting directly on a wood surface may lead to smoke and fire...

edmccrory
edmccrory

I think it certainly has possibilities. With a little design work it could be a commercial product.

Daniel.Muzrall
Daniel.Muzrall

Nice idea building on the all-in-one idea. It's still no Mac Classic, but hey... :) -Purchasing all the right tools can be expensive. Plan out what you want to own, then see what you can borrow from friends. After that, fill in the gaps with rentals from your local home center or tool/power equipment rental place. -Dimensional lumber hasn't met its listed dimensions in quite a while...you'll typically find that a 2"x4" is more like 1.75"x3.75". Obviously the more you pay for your lumber, the closer you'll get to your listed dimensions *maybe*. -When cutting wood, particularly plywood, make sure your get the right blade...and the right saw for that matter. Remember, the harder the wood, the more "slinter-y" the wood, and finish cuts all benefit from using blades with high tooth-per-inch (TPI) counts. -When cutting wood that tends to splinter along the cut, try taping the cutline with some masking or painters tape. Also plan out your cuts so any splitered sides will be less visible or hidden. -Consider using plexi-glass for mounting components...you will have to use more nuts than just screwing into lumber, but you can do some cool case-mod stuff. Anyways, happy building!

georgeou
georgeou

You lose portability and you don't get to use short hidden cabling between the computer and display.

bmorse22
bmorse22

you can take that stand off. when you take the base off, look up into the peace thats still there. There should be 3 screws. Undo those and it will pop off

georgeou
georgeou

That Via box costs $1K. I can build to similar specs for less than $300 so I don't think it's worth it because it's too expensive.

georgeou
georgeou

I need to add a slim DVD burner exposed on the left side. That way it's an all-in-one.

ttraband
ttraband

There are a couple of different types of birch ply. You can get veneer ply with pretty outside "cover sheets" on a plain ply (or even MDF core), or you can get all birch veneers (sometimes called marine ply) in which all of the veneers are guaranteed not to have voids - look at plywood school and kid's furniture for an example. The all-veneer ply has a distinctive look when finished, but can still be cheaper and more dimensionally stable than solid wood.

georgeou
georgeou

Yup, quite a few people explained this to me. Next time I'll use solid wood for the sides and hide the plywood cuts. I also got a 200 TPI blade to replace my 36 TPI blade.

georgeou
georgeou

There are much better LCDs that don't distort that badly from top or bottom.

georgeou
georgeou

This is the first version with lots of mistakes. V2 will be much nicer.

douglaswlloyd
douglaswlloyd

I don't have photos handy, but we attach the LCD panels directly to the side of mini towers, using the built in swivel. We use three piece cases with the removable side panels, so this is simple. Some users want more height from the monitor, so we detach these and put them back on their stands. This way you retain the advantages of a standard case, the RF shielding mentioned earlier, standard components, adequate cooling and the darn thing won't tip over! Cable routing is a snap.

georgeou
georgeou

I took out the 2 screws and couldn't pull it off.

oldfield
oldfield

You must line the wooden box with tin foil to conform to regulations on RF emissions. Computers are extremely noisy - and this system is "illegal" - the tin foil will make a faraday cage and solve this. I did not see what you did for cooling. This arrangement (without graphics card) is probably suitable for passive cooling - but you need lots of holes at the top/bottom to allow a good air flow. Did you try stress testing and checking the core temperatuers ?

georgeou
georgeou

I got some L brackets for the HDD and it lifts the HDD off the wood. That should insulate some of the noise coming from the HDD.

georgeou
georgeou

Yeah, I'm thinking this should replace the ATX chassis for most people who don't need more than 2 HDDs. You still get all the flexibility of an ATX case but you get the benefits of an all-in-one.

fishcad
fishcad

The edge looks like that because it is plywood. Any plywood will look like that. Look for a product called Edgemate. It is a tape that comes in a variety of wood looks to finish the edge of projects made with plywood.

jamie
jamie

An FYI: As understand it, back when balloon construction was developed for house building (late 1800s), a 2x4 was 2x4 when green and left rough cut, so still close to 2 inches by 4 inches when dry. Today a 2x4 (or 2x6...) starts out a nominal, green, rough cut size of 2 inches by 4 inches (or 2 inches by 6 inches), but is then dimensioned -- hence the term "dimensional lumber" -- to the final 1.5x3.5 (or 1.5x5.5...). This dimensioning occurs when the lumber is planed smooth, then shrinks as it dries from the green state. re. the use of plexi-glass: be careful. Plastic is an insulator, and a floating (ie. ungrounded) piece of plastic can thus collect static charge over time. You'd hate to hear that brand new Core 2 Duo pop right in the middle of your favourite game. Make sure you have a way of "bleeding" off this charge. Just some thoughts.

georgeou
georgeou

I already went out and bought a 200 TPI saw blade. My factory one ws 36, yikes, no wonder it mauled my wood. I also grabbed some real wood for the edges so that all the plywood cuts would be hidden from view.

nickdodd
nickdodd

" you'll typically find that a 2"x4" is more like 1.75"x3.75" " A 2 by 4 is actually 1.50 inches by 3.5 inches. Sorry I just wanted to make it clearer the point. Plywood/OSB sheathing is always the dimensions stated, 2 by 4's, x6, x8's etc is not ever the stated size, the names are just for making life easier. ANYWAYS I love the computer. I'm making my own alternative form factor PC right now too. In an emptied out Poker chip case, going to have a built in monitor as well. I'm totally tempted to make something like this too!

goldenpirate
goldenpirate

Fair enough. But not true portability like a laptop and i'd have to make my own short monitor lead - the shortest i can get here is 1 meter (cut and splice? no thanks). Pity there's no way of using optic fibre.

speedyoct1958
speedyoct1958

When cutting Plywood, ALWAYS have the blade cut into the "Good" side first. (i.e. table saw= good side up, circular saw= good side down). This puts any tear-out on the 'not seen' side. Go slow to reduce any burning and leave just a little wood to sand out the blade marks. Nice Job overall ! Also, a bigger drill bit can be used for making the screw countersinks.

haunj
haunj

Just plain old aluminium foil would be just as good and cheaper. I use it to make hats to block the government PSI attacks. Works for me. REMEMBER WACO!!

georgeou
georgeou

But that bottom middle wouldn't be open and I like to be able to put stuff there and gain all that desk space. You also have cables hanging out the sides and it isn't as thin.

lapdog65
lapdog65

I thought the same thing, there?s no RF screening, or any type of ground plane. It's a great idea, but line the interior wood surfaces with tin, which may also help with heat dissipation, add some kind of ventilation, and ?maybe? a small frame for low profile PCI cards .

ppaplaus
ppaplaus

What about an old 3.5" floppy 5" bay kit for the harddrive? Have you also tried rubber washers?

georgeou
georgeou

That's the nice thing about this configuration, very short cables.

georgeou
georgeou

"high-solids graphite barbecue paint" I know they have RF blocking paints. I'm also looking in to putting in a ground cable between one of the motherboard mounts and the PSU screw.

georgeou
georgeou

My last schematic already had that.

CodeCurmudgeon
CodeCurmudgeon

Well, the birch is unfinished so far, so George could put in a screw connected to the case of the power supply and then give the box a coat of aluminum paint, perhaps followed by a coat of high-solids graphite barbecue paint: both are fairly conductive, and should hold down the RF noise to a dull roar without the mess of trying to line the box with foil. . . (Which would probably give better results, but. . .) George must be younger than I am (not hard these days):Wood Shop was a required subject for boys in the eighth grade here 'till about 1970, when they started giving a choice of Home-Economics or Shop. . . At the time I was shocked at how little some of the other boys knew about tools and their use. . .

johnm
johnm

The photos show the central cavity open at top and bottom rather than solid. To get RF screening, line the core space with thin metal. Craft stores sell sheet copper that will work well. Use wood or plastic to make a thin frame that just fits the top (another for the bottom)that can attach with screws. Leave the center open, just make a rim. Get some metal screen (copper if available) and put it on the top or bottom of the frame. This completes the Faraday cage if you solder on a short wire and attach the other end to the metal liner sheet with a screw or solder. Leave an open area at the bottom for wiring to go in and out. You retain the cooling of the open design but the wireless components will have to he extended outside the "cage" to operate.

rrpostal
rrpostal

Did I miss the power supply? If you just put a couple decent quiet fans intake from the bottom and blowing up, you could heat a room with it in the winter also. A plain "tube" design would cool easily I'd think. I love modding cases but have never been a fan of using wood. Wood and PCs don't seem to go together well. This is one of the better uses though, because it's more than just esthitic.

georgeou
georgeou

I'm going to try the rubber washers too and screw it directly in to the wood. The 2" L brackets work but only for one drive at a time since second one won't fit in the other hole.