Fitting 3PCs (with full size video cards) in 6U of space?

Red Squirrel

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May 24, 2003
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I currently have 2 PCs that I use, my main Linux/windows box (dual boot), and my old PC which is used to drive two monitors which I open stuff on when I'm working. I plan to build another box which will be my dedicated Linux box so my main one can be dedicated Windows, so I'm not booting back and forth all the time. So 3 machines total. I already have a project underway to move these boxes to my server room since my office simply has no room, not to mention the noise and heat that will generate which will be a problem in summer.

I have 6U of spare space in my rack at the bottom and I'd like to make the best use of this space.

Do I have any options for sticking 3 workstations in that space? If I go the standard way I will need 3 3U cases as anything smaller will require low profile cards, and since these are workstations they have add-on video cards which take up lot of room and full height slots.

I am debating on maybe building a fully custom case that will house the 3 motherboards vertically but I did not take any measurements to see if this will even work yet but at quick glance I'm sure I could make it work fairly easily. Is there any other ideas I might not be thinking of?

Very worse case scenario I can remove one of the old SAN enclosures I don't actively use, to give me another 3U and I will then be able to fit 3 3U cases.

If I do go the custom route, I'd probably build out of wood since I don't have any tools for working with metal. What would be the best bet for mounting the motherboard? Do they make generic trays for that? Would I also have to worry about EMI/RFI or other issues like that? I could always paint it with lead paint if that helps.
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
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Hmm that's good to know. I've seen proprietary servers do this but was not sure if I could do the same with something custom. I'm guessing I'd be constrained to the bandwidth of one pcie slot though? Not that it's a huge deal in my case, only looking at having one video card and that is pretty much the only add on card.