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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

PC Design

For a long time I have thought that a computer case where everything could be accessed from the front would be ideal. I always hated having to crawl around and behind and underneath in order to hook up all the cables to a new computer.

Repeat: everything would be accessed from the front. Power cord, switches, cable connections, air flow in and out, removable media. The sides, top, bottom and back would all be solid. A bunch of machines like this could be stacked up against a wall and you could still have access to everything.

Further, for repairs, all of the guts could be mounted to some kind of chassis that would slide out of the case making it possible to add or replace components.

You would want any switches, lights and/or drives with removable media mounted up top so that hanging cables would not interfere with them.

You could add a cover for the front and the machine could be it's own shipping case. Putting some shock absorbers between the internal chassis and the box it is housed in means you could put the cover on and check it as luggage on an airliner. This would eliminate all the hassle of having to keep a shipping container and its' attendant foam packaging on hand, and having to pack and unpack the computer every time it was moved. Could be a big advantage for LAN parties.

I am thinking that a box about one foot wide by one foot deep by about a foot and a half tall would do.

I think a computer box like this would be very popular with some groups. Maybe with everyone. Space is getting more constrained all the time. Setup and hookup would be easier and the time required would be greatly reduced with this box. Some people won't like having fans blowing at them, but some kind of half cover/baffle that would cover everything up but still allow airflow and cable access could make this kind of box acceptable for desktop use.

I would like a computer box like this. I have thought about building one, but I haven't found the time.

Today: January 18, 2007

I just spent the last two days trying to set up an old PC at home so I could use it. It had some problems that necessitated opening the case, removing and reinstalling components, connecting and disconnecting cables. And then I get to work this morning and I see that "Coding Horror" is bitching about PC case design. I do not care what the case looks like, I only have a case because I need somewhere to put all the electronics. I would be just as happy if I did not need one at all. But since I like big screens and am too cheap to buy a new laptop, I put up with the case, but why can't all the connectors be on the front?

And while we are at it, surely someone can come up with a way of managing all those stinking cables? And do we really need stereo speakers? Wouldn't one decent high fidelity speaker do as well for most things? I deal with cables by putting the excess in a box. Let the cable go over the edge of the cable into a box. Leave all the excess in the box, only pull out as much as you need. You can use any kind of box you like, decorate any way you want, just no sharp edges.

So, to go along with my front-panel-only-computer-case, what I want is a long thin box that lies against the wall at the back of my desk where all the cables can hide. Maybe three inches high, three inches wide, and three feet long. The top would be a flip up lid. The top edge of the front side would have notches for cables. It should probably be a little bigger, maybe four or five inches wide to accommodate a power strip and all the little wall warts you need.

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