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Thread: DAW rack case build




  1. #1
    sturoc is offline Junior Member
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    Default DAW rack case build

    I had this Maxtop rack case for a while Got it new for pretty cheap, $35 .
    So it sat in the studio storage area for a few years and then the new Gen 3 chips came out and it was time to upgrade.
    We pulled the case out and geared up with components:

    i5 3570K w/ Xigmatek SD 963 cooler
    ASRock Z77 Pro 4 mb
    16gb Corsair XMS ram
    OCZ Vertex 3- 90gb SSD
    2x Seagate 750gb HDDs
    Corsair CX500 psu
    XFX 6450HD graphics card
    Lacie FW 800 firewire card
    Lite on DVD burner
    W7 Pro for the OS.


    As this build goes on there were some interesting stumbling blocks. As the photos will show.
    The rack case is good, not great and since it will be stationary in a equipment rack the issues do not pose a problem.
    But if your planning on using a rack case make sure it is top quality check the fan config,drive bays, your MB size, otherwise your build could take many turns

    DAW rack case build-dscf2113-jpg
    Last edited by sturoc; 12-12-2012 at 12:53 AM.

  2. #2
    sturoc is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: DAW rack case build

    the mounting plate's opening was not big enough for the cpu cooler under mounted plate
    So we had to cut more of it out to allow for Xigmatek's Loki SD963 lower MB mount. there was concern about the MB flexing too much due to this .
    In addition the standoffs were mysteriously missing from the case so a few posts here and a bunch of emails got the manufacturer to send out the proper BRASS standoffs.

    the camera is a cheapo so the bottom of photo is skewed.
    DAW rack case build-dscf2110-jpg
    Last edited by sturoc; 12-12-2012 at 02:10 AM.

  3. #3
    sturoc is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: DAW rack case build

    The interior was by appearance neatly laid out but issues arose when we delved deeper. Removing as much as we could for the MB install we noticed the stock rear case fans were too large for their grills, hindering airflow and the mount bracket blocked the MB install.That HDD bay blocked MB install as well so it was removed.
    DAW rack case build-dscf2119-jpg
    Last edited by sturoc; 12-12-2012 at 12:35 AM.

  4. #4
    sturoc is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: DAW rack case build

    The drive bay rack. Each tray was secured by only 2 screws on one side so some modding here with addt'l screws to prevent vibration etc
    Note the OCZ SSD already mounted on right tray, awaiting it's new home.

    DAW rack case build-dscf2123-jpg

  5. #5
    sturoc is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: DAW rack case build

    Due to the large mount plate opening we made some rubber supports for the MB to rest on once installed. These will be placed at the card slots area and PSU header sockets so when connecting etc the MB would not flex.

    Attachment 5359
    Last edited by sturoc; 12-12-2012 at 12:36 AM.

  6. #6
    sturoc is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: DAW rack case build

    A quik check on the MB height there was concern due to no standoffs for a few days of whether to use plastic spacers as standoffs and what affect that would have on MB grounding paths etc.
    See this post for more details on that :
    MB connectors ? ugh

    Finally the case company sent the 'proper' ones and then the issue arose of the MB not being the right height to fit thru the i/o plate.
    We began to look at our old Antec tower case fondly as an option since every turn brought a new problem with this one.

    DAW rack case build-dscf2129-jpg
    Last edited by sturoc; 12-12-2012 at 02:11 AM.

  7. #7
    sturoc is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: DAW rack case build

    With some creative angling and maneuvering we got the MB jacks to pass thru albeit tightly, another hurdle jumped.

    DAW rack case build-dscf2132-jpg

  8. #8
    sturoc is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: DAW rack case build

    So now it's just matter of installing the cpu cooler heatsink and fan, replacing the rear fans with 80mm silents, cking the 120 HDD fan for it's noise level before re installing the drive bay.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: DAW rack case build

    Looking Good!
    AMD, Intel, ATI, Nvidia...I don't care as long as it can be overclocked .
    OCD Torture Rack: DD Torture Rack/Asus P5QC (775)/DFI NF4 Ultra D (939)/Asus P4P800 Deluxe (478)/Corsair DDR400 Pro 1gb/G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3 4gb/Kingpin F1 Dark Dragon Pot/Tek-9 FAT 6.0 GPU Pot/Kingpin Mem Pot/Custom "Quick WB swap" watercooling.

  10. #10
    sturoc is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: DAW rack case build

    After a few days away from this project I finished her up but not without some addt'l mods such as :

    Removing the 120mm front intake fan and cutting away the perforated (read as: not many holes) fan grill, thereby allowing max air flow .
    There is a removable filter just behind the front panel grill. I figured one grill is enough. To have airflow try to pass thru 2 and a filter was just too restricting.
    Re installed a lateral brace that held tabs for PCI cards-sort of an xtra support bracket for some reason. This piece braces the whole case somewhat.But Maxtop rack cases are very cheaply made without any thought to sturdiness.

    The moment of truth came after all the cutting and modding etc.
    The case flexed quite a bit when moved around - But since it will sit in a rack for it's lifetime, was not too concerned.
    I only wondered after all that movement how strong the MB pcb is...

    Powered up hit "delete" and she posted right up went thru ck'ed all hardware since ASRock BIOS has a nifty page where it displays the MB layout and what has been plugged in /connected etc.
    The generic case fans were very quiet !
    All 4 cpu cores show along with full memory and SSD /DVD drive.
    CPU temp at 27c for now w/o OS installed.
    So that's the next step and then all the Audio software.
    Last edited by sturoc; 12-23-2012 at 07:51 AM.

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