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Old 07-12-2012, 05:27 PM   #1
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Default Reversed Case Computer (Case With All Front-Facing ports)?

Any advice on rebuilding my PC so that both front facing bays and the rear facing ports can be accessed from the front? I'm not aware of any cases being constructed like this, but I have a use for this and just wondered if anyone knows the best DIY method for going about it?
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:42 PM   #2
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Default Re: Reversed Case Computer?

Depends on what connections/ports you're wanting from the back moved to the front. High end motherboards have numerous "extra" connections whereby you can run adapter cables from said connections to front ports. I.E. USB, eSATA, audio. Better yet, there are lots of various front panel card readers with additional connections for USB, eSATA, audio etc. Something like this: Newegg.com - Rosewill RCR-IM5001 USB2.0 75 in 1 internal Card Reader w/ 3 ports USB2.0 Hub / eSATA port / Extra silver face plate / Molex Power

Maybe something like the above is what you're looking for?
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Old 07-13-2012, 09:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Reversed Case Computer?

Thanks for the reply. Not only for USB and card-reader access. More a case of having front access to the entire I/O. Including monitor connections, PS/2 mouse, Keyboard etc.

I had thought of unmounting the CD-RW Drive and building/ purchasing a separate, outboard housing for it. Just as it would appear if using an external drive unit. Except it would be connected via IDE cable, rather than Firewire or USB. However, this creates a problem of taking long ribbon cable back into the case.

Though perhaps a less messy and more elegant route would be to feed extension cables from the I/O into a seperate DIY box, which sits next to the PC case in some kind of rack. In this rack, I would install additional gear, such as an amplifier, audio patchbay, etc.
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Reversed Case Computer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frustrato View Post
Thanks for the reply. Not only for USB and card-reader access. More a case of having front access to the entire I/O. Including monitor connections, PS/2 mouse, Keyboard etc.

I had thought of unmounting the CD-RW Drive and building/ purchasing a separate, outboard housing for it. Just as it would appear if using an external drive unit. Except it would be connected via IDE cable, rather than Firewire or USB. However, this creates a problem of taking long ribbon cable back into the case.

Though perhaps a less messy and more elegant route would be to feed extension cables from the I/O into a seperate DIY box, which sits next to the PC case in some kind of rack. In this rack, I would install additional gear, such as an amplifier, audio patchbay, etc.
Not many people would want the entire I/O, including monitor connections, PS/2 mouse, Keyboard etc at the front of the case as it would look unsightly/messy/cluttered set up hence the reason at the back of the case.
As suggested front panels or hubs is only what is available atm unless you have the capabilities of designing & constructing your own special case.
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Reversed Case Computer?

I run a firewall based around an Athlon gaming board.

It is mounted on a piece of MDF, with the hard drive mounted next to it and the power supply mounted next to that. You can easily do the same; even mount the drive in the back and have your optical drive next to it. Since the MDF is mounted as a shelf in my utility closet, I mounted my power switch on the bottom side of the board, with wires running up and around to the motherboard header.

If heat is an issue, then mount an extra fan on brackets to push air across the board.

I do have to blow the dust off the board every three months or so with compressed air.
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: Reversed Case Computer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MMM View Post
Not many people would want the entire I/O, including monitor connections, PS/2 mouse, Keyboard etc at the front of the case as it would look unsightly/messy/cluttered set up hence the reason at the back of the case.
As suggested front panels or hubs is only what is available atm unless you have the capabilities of designing & constructing your own special case.
This is true, though I'm not like most people. I'm using the machine in an experimental audio lab / studio surrounded by patch bays and open-fronted machinery so the IO of the computer will not look out of place. Granted, I wouldn't want this in my living room, but access to 'rear' of the machine is needed for swapping connections, such as monitors and controllers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dngrsone View Post
I run a firewall based around an Athlon gaming board.

It is mounted on a piece of MDF, with the hard drive mounted next to it and the power supply mounted next to that. You can easily do the same; even mount the drive in the back and have your optical drive next to it. Since the MDF is mounted as a shelf in my utility closet, I mounted my power switch on the bottom side of the board, with wires running up and around to the motherboard header.

If heat is an issue, then mount an extra fan on brackets to push air across the board.

I do have to blow the dust off the board every three months or so with compressed air.
I like the sound of this. I could easily make a housing to keep off dust with cooling ports and fans. Please, any chance of photos? I would be very interested to see what you've done.
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:53 AM   #7
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Default Re: Reversed Case Computer?

Not readily at hand. I will try to find one or two.

You know, there are tutorials out there for building a testing/troubleshooting bench. Just do some Googling.

All I did was take a plank of MDF (I've also used plain old plywood), mark where my standoffs needed to be and drilled starter holes, and screw in standard brass standoffs into the wood using a nut-driver. The key is going slow and straight, and not overtighten (or you'll strip the hole out).

My PSU has a generic case with exposed screw threads on the bottom (the mounting screws for the board) and I screwed on some standoffs, marked their locactions on the MDF and then installeed them on the board, too. Opened up the PSU, unscrewed the board, placed them square against the standoffs, and then screwed the board back in place.

Since this was a dedicated rig, I removed the extra PSU cables/wires, but on the same token, I could have installed connectors to make the PSU modular if I wanted to.

The HDD was a little tougher-- I grabbed a few plastic brackets I had lying around leftover from a car stereo installation kit, mounted them to the drive so that it stood off the board a bit, tne marked my screw holes, predrilled and installed the drive. Alternatively, I could have mounted a drive bay from an old computer case. Some of those modular cases are designed so that one can easily slide a drive in and out, and all you have to do is mount some rails on the drive itself.

The toughest part of my install is that I had to cut a slot in the MDF to accommodate the tabs from the video card and network boards I had slotted into the motherboard (this was for an earlier version, the current build I have has integrated video and dual LAN ports), but that is accomplished with a Dremel and cutoff discs.

Again, I could have cut a back-panel out of an old case and mounted it, I suppose, though I would have had to do something different with the standoffs to match the board-height with the framework (or notch the board to embed the frame).
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