I was relaxing this morning, reading the latest issue of Maximum PC, and an idea came to me for a new computer build that I haven't attempted before. It would necessitate the decommissioning of an existing computer build (My Sun X-Terminal, currently running Linux) that hangs on a wall in the basement storage room, near my workbench where all my Big Al Computers have been constructed. It's hard to take a system down to make room for something new, especially when you have built it from the ground up. Power constraints are a concern you see. At my workbench I have three gaming machines and the Sun X-Terminal running if I want them all on at one time. Anyway, my idea is for an AMD-based non-gaming machine that floats on a few steel bars like a mobile hanging from the ceiling. The basement storage room gives me easy access to overhead beams, so I can install some strong hooks that will have no problem supporting the hardware hanging below.
Here are my design considerations for you guys to comment on:
(1) The motherboard (micro-ATX or ITX) would mount to a metal bottom that's just bigger than the motherboard itself. This will be the grounding plane that all other devices would have a grounding strap connection to. The motherboard would hang horizontally at the bottom of the mobile. I've learned from past designs that used a lot of plastic case parts (printers specifically) that the lack of grounding can result in ESD damage to LEDs and things of this nature.
(2) Next up would be the CPU AIO cooler with RGB fans. It would need to stay in alignment with the motherboard underneath the steel bars that support all the components. This is starting to look like a vertical stack of components, and the CPU cooler would be close to the motherboard so that the coolant tubes aren't stretched.
(3) Above the CPU cooler would be the PSU, and it's cables to the motherboard and other devices are a concern. Distance from other components is one issue, as is the power cables themselves. You can't really hide these like in a normal build where they get tucked behind the side panel and the backside of the motherboard.
(4) No optical drives or hanging external drives initially. I would use a few M.2 drives mounted in the motherboard for the operating system and for data storage. No video card either - that means the latest version of AMD's integrated graphics CPUs, like the one I recently used (AMD 5700G) in my AVP Requiem-2 build in the fall of 2021.
(5) The keyboard and mouse would need to be wireless, as they would be located on my workbench. The monitor would be a new 27" IPS 1080p unit to replace an existing non-landscape 1024x768 LCD panel that's currently connected to the Sun X-Terminal. This would need to be a monitor with a long HDMI cable that can go up the wall, come over to the mobile that holds the new build, and snake down to the motherboard back panel to make the video connection.
Ok, there you have my initial ideas. Strong chain would be used, along with some steel cable perhaps, to suspend the hardware from the flat steel bars. I do want a decent light show too, so RGB fans on the CPU cooler are just a start. More ideas in that area are encouraged.
Do you see any major problems that I might encounter? I will run a heavy-duty extension cable up to the overhead rafters for the PSU to plug into, and at the floor I will possibly have an UPS too.
Here is the current Sun X-terminal (built in 2005), which gives you an idea of the space this new build would occupy:
Solved! Go to Solution.
I was busy a bit on Sunday and Monday. I decided to go back to the single swivel hook mounting so I could get the rotation that I wanted. It doesn't spin around of course, due to the wires and such, but it does rotate so I can work on it while it's hanging from the ceiling. This project is nearing completion.
I think I can picture what you're saying and it sounds pretty awesome.
Lol I googled "hanging computer" and most of them looked like this
So your idea sounds a whole lot better!
I think Anon might have been studying 'string theory' or something similar. While I will need to support the motherboard on four corners, I was thinking about steel cable or something of similar strength. If I was really resourceful, I would collect spiderwebs out in the woods and spin my own silk thread, which is very strong for it's size.
What new integrated graphics CPU's are coming from AMD? Should I wait until the fall for something better than the 5700G CPU?
So my ideas on this custom build are continuing to evolve. I remembered an art project my son made while working on his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at GMU, it's a hand that appears to be coming out of a wall. It's big enough that I think I can mount a micro-ATX motherboard to the back of the artwork, but then hang it vertically so the hand is pointing out to the side, not up or down as it were. Maybe I would use an air cooler instead of an AIO cooler. I would call this version of the build 'Talk to the Hand', from the Terminator 3 movie line. I'm still upset that one of my son's art projects was tossed out at his school before I could get my hands on it. That was a giant stapler, about 3 feet long, and I would have called it 'Stapletron' if I built a computer into it. Alas, it was not meant to be.
I think what you're going to do is great, @BigAl01 ! I haven't seen a PC/Rig or Mod hanging from the ceiling.
Needless to say, I can't wait to see it.
I have an idea, since fans are part of every PC, and are also hung from the ceilings in homes, why not combine this design/function into your build? Perhaps you can use an extra large fan that does both, cools your rig and at the same time cools the room? The fan will have to be "extra large" and placed below to MB so that it can spin freely.
About our new products, have you see the "AMD 2022 Product Premier" videos? Check it out.
By the way, you may visit the "Product Resource Center" page. Clicking on a tile will take you to a page that lists all the specs of the select product line.
Maybe an array of muffin fans could work. Some airflow is generally needed across the motherboard, even when it's fully exposed to the ambient airflow. I'll have to think about that, especially the RGB potential.
Thanks for the links too.
I am hoping to build this machine before I host the next LAN party, which might be on Labor Day Weekend. What is the best AMD CPU with graphics that will be available to me in August 2022? I don't want to shell out big bucks for a video card at this time.
Take a look at this page: AMD Ryzen Desktop Processors with AMD Radeon Graphics
Scroll down to the bottom of the page, you'll see a table listing the available CPUs. Clicking on any of the product names will take you the specs page, and some will also have a link to check the availability of the CPU.
Sam, what I meant to say is what CPU's with graphics will be available, including new releases this year? Should I consider waiting for a 6000 series CPU at the end of the year, if there is one with better integrated graphics? I've already built a machine with the AMD 5700G CPU. It's fine and I could use that same CPU again.
Hello @BigAl01 ,
I provided you with information about existing/released Ryzen CPUs with integrated graphics, thinking you'd want to get one now. I don't have any information about upcoming CPU with graphics (i.e. "G" series) that I can share with you right now - and to be honest with you, even if I did, I wouldn't be able to disclose details; I'd get in big trouble, I'm sure you understand. That being said, most of our new product announcements were made on Jan 4 (here is the link to the video: AMD 2022 Product Premiere.)
Yes, I remember that video. If I try to get this build completed before Labor Day Weekend, It's time to start working the details, at least with regard to mounting a motherboard to the artwork and fabricating the steel bars to support the whole thing. Since a micro-ATX motherboard layout has been standard for some time, I can use an old one I have on hand to test out mounting ideas and such. I can wait until June or July to start buying the actual computer components.
If I go with a motherboard that has 2 M.2 slots, that could cover a system and data drive configuration without needing separate SSD drives. My PSU power level will be pretty low, so I'm thinking a 650 to 700 Watt unit. For RAM, 16 GB should be plenty, but with integrated graphics, should I get more RAM? Can the 5700G CPU make use of system RAM in terms of graphics?
Yes, I agree, 16GB is plenty for gaming. (I'd built a system a long time ago with 32GB and to tell you the truth it was an overkill, well it was great for flight sims). Plus, assuming you will be gaming, the games will be running on a relatively modest graphics core, the textures and assets sizes won't be large enough to require 32GB RAM. About the 5700G CPU, yes, that's the only RAM it has access to. Any processor with an integrated graphics core uses system RAM for its memory.
If the 5700G makes use of system RAM when using integrated graphics, then I bet I'll be happier with 32 GB of DDR4, rather than 16 GB of DDR4. In fact, the highest speed DDR4 sounds like my choice, but that will be expensive too.
Regarding gaming, I don't plan for this build to be used much for gaming. I understand that it should be fine for most games at 1080p though.
I've been thinking a bit more on the structure of this build. Originally, I was visualizing a couple of flat steel bars in an 'X' pattern that would have the other components hanging below them. With the incorporation of the artwork (Talk to the Hand as it were), perhaps a different mounting configuration would be better. I could see using a dual-monitor mounting bracket, which I would attach to the exposed 2 X 4 studs in the basement wall, to hold the artwork and the motherboard separately. Problems arise when you try to move the arms of these dual-monitor mounting brackets around, because they are intended to be side by side. I might want them to be vertical instead. Maybe I can mount the bracket assembly in a 90 degree rotated fashion to get what I want.
This type of mounting / support system wouldn't rotate like a real mobile configuration though. What are your thoughts?
To tell you the truth, I believe your original mounting idea (two crossed "X" steel beams) is better. My reasoning:
1 - Unless you're going to move the mod frequently, I feel the display mounting brackets could be unnecessary.
2 - Cost. Do the display mounting brackets justify the cost? Are you going to have to make lots of customizations? Drill holes, get additional hardware, etc.
3 - Design vs. Function or functional-design? (I'm trying to picture how your ceiling is going to look with the mod hanging from it. If you are going for a "raw", "industrial" look, then the two crossed "X" steel beams are the way to go imho.
Perhaps you can draw a rough sketch of your project?
I should sketch this out soon. One issue with a rotating assembly is the cables that would stop the rotation at some point. I have a place to mount the monitor (replacing the existing one in the earlier picture of the old system currently hanging on the wall), but the video cable is the issue. Partial rotation from an X-wing bracket is doable with enough slack in the cables, but you can't go too long with an HDMI cable before the signal quality degrades. More things to think about.
Well, sketching isn't my thing but here's a lame attempt with my current ideas. I could use flat steel bars to form a box shape that both the artwork and the motherboard could mount to. Near the center of mass, I would attach a cable that would suspend the steel box from the storage room ceiling. The PSU would hang below, using another steel bar and some aluminum bars around the PSU for support. If I go with a current generation 5000 series CPU with graphics (5600G or 5700G), I could forgo the video card issues (cost and mounting to a free-floating motherboard). I could use an M.2 drive for storage and maybe 16 GB of DDR4 RAM. I think I will do this on the cheap side, meaning a 500 GB storage drive and a 1080p LCD monitor; I'll need a wireless keyboard and mouse too, which I might have in my stash of parts. I will need to figure out some cool lighting effects though. Oh, I will also use air cooling, perhaps the stock CPU cooler.
So this won't be a build to use new stuff coming this fall. I believe I'll wait until the Christmas holiday period or beyond before I procure the new CPU and video card to build another gaming machine, maybe pulling the guts out of an existing machine on my network like I recently did with my Game-a-Tron-3 build.
Well, I ordered some components from Newegg and Amazon this afternoon. Too late to turn back, but I didn't buy everything I need yet. By next Wednesday I should have the motherboard, the CPU, the PSU, the M.2 SSD and the DDR4 RAM. That will be enough to get me started on the fabrication in June 2022. I'll still need Windows 11, some cables, a wireless keyboard & mouse. I have a USB wireless network card already on hand so I might use that and not a wired Ethernet cable.
For sound though, I don't have an extra set of speakers on hand. I'm wondering if I can get a small set and attach them to the steel framing I plan to fabricate? Also, the PSU is white (Corsair CX750F RGB) and maybe I can hang it below the steel frame yet still have it behind the artwork?
The motherboard, M.2 SSD (PCIe 4.0 but it will run at 3.0 in this board), and the PSU arrived today.
The AMD 5600G CPU and 16GB of DDR4 RGB RAM arrived today. All I need at this point is a Windows 11 install, a monitor and some case wires to set up a power and reset configuration. Oh, there is the whole mod to consider too. I might head over to MicroCenter next week.
Thanks for the update @BigAl01
So the mobo, GPU, CPU, PSU, and all would be "hidden" behind the artwork. Correct? And the monitor will be in front of the artwork, be visible. You'll use the wireless KB and mouse to control the "hanging" mod.
About hanging it from the ceiling, didn't you want to somehow mount it off a ceiling fan? (Where the ceiling fan will not only cool the room, but also cool the mod?)
Do you mind if I draw a sketch of what I thought you are doing and share it here?
Ceiling fan? Not exactly. The 'mobile' would hang from the ceiling but would not be spinning around. The monitor would be off to the left side and it would not be spinning either. The keyboard and mouse (wireless) would be on the workbench. I'm thinking the artwork would mount to the steel frame, but the artwork would not be any sort of structural member since it's made out of foam. The motherboard and other devices (PSU, etc.) would mount somehow to the steel frame too. The hanging assembly would be able to move a bit in either direction, but not really spin around since that would tangle up the power and HDMI cables.
Anyone can post their sketch ideas here for me to see. My design isn't set in stone until I start cutting up the steel bars and drilling holes. Good ideas should be shared, as well as 'lessons learned' from past attempts, like me frying LED switches because they weren't properly grounded in plastic cases. ESD is not your friend in the computer world.
I’ve spent a few hours this afternoon mounting an older 25” Viewsonic 1080p monitor to the lower VESA mounting that previously held the old 17” LCD display for my ‘Sun X-Terminal’ computer. I also pulled that old machine off the wall and cleared out a bunch of junk. All this to make room for ‘Talk to the Hand’. Since the Viewsonic display was pulled from my ‘Game-a-Tron-3’ gaming machine, now I can get a real gaming monitor as a replacement.
I go with a motherboard that has 2 M.2 slots, that could cover a system and data drive configuration without needing separate SSD drives. My PSU power level will be pretty low, so I'm thinking a 650 to 700 Watt unit. For RAM, 16 GB should be plenty, but with integrated graphics, should I get more RAM? Browse this site you can check more details.
I've bought the parts now. I have an M.2 drive and I might add in an SSD drive on the side, but I'm mostly interested in the fabrication phase now. I need to build a frame to hold the motherboard and PSU, along with the artwork. It's going to be tricky I think. It's still in my head too.
Ever think of going with Aluminum on the frame to save weight?
@red5 Yes, I do plan to use some aluminum bars in the structure. The steel bars will be used where I need the strength, such as in the overhead structure that supports what hangs below. I keep thinking about a box frame that the motherboard will mount to, but then I need to support the PSU and I want all that to be covered with the artwork. I've used aluminum bars before to support a PSU, so I know it can work.
Here are some examples of my aluminum handiwork from TOTB (Thinking Outside the Box) in 2013:
At Microcenter yesterday, I picked up a new gaming monitor for Game-a-Tron-3; it cost about $230. The protective tape is still on the edges in this picture. I bought an Acer 27" curved ED270U and I'm using the displayport connection. It's being fed by an AMD 6700XT video card and an AMD 5600X CPU.
I put the electronics together and it booted up the first time. Windows 11 said the computer wasn’t compatible, so I went back to the BIOS to enable AMD TPM. That did the trick and the install completed successfully on the M.2 drive.
This afternoon I worked on the hanging structure for 'Talk-2-the-Hand' (now using '2' instead of 'to' due to the limitation of characters (15) when you name your PC in Windows). I need this to be strong, so I used the steel bars. I will use aluminum bars for the framing that holds the motherboard and things of this nature.
I decided that I did not want to drill holes in the steel bar(s) as that would weaken them somewhat. So I figured that a steel bar could fit between the joists in the ceiling, using the lips on the beams to keep from falling down. I made one bar to length (15.5 inches) and realized that it still flexed a bit when I pulled on it. So, I doubled my pleasure and cut another bar, Zip Tying them together near the ends (again to avoid drilling holes that might weaken them). This ended up being plenty strong, and it can just hang between the joists and be moved back and forth until I find the perfect spot.
As for the computer / artwork itself, I might use a strong chain that allows it to hang down, but that would minimize rotation to only a few degrees in either direction. I could still use suggestions on how I can allow for some rotation, say 90 degrees.
I picked up some materials today at Home Depot - six feet of chain, five aluminum bars, a flat sheet (to mount the motherboard to), and a swivel hook rated for 115 working lbs. I'm still conceptualizing how the framing will be formed around the motherboard to hold it and the PSU; I think the artwork will just hang behind the motherboard using it's existing wire, rather than drilling any holes into the artwork. But I don't know. I'm not going to rush this build, since the computer components have been assembled and tested to ensure they work together. Now it's in the structural phase.
Hi, okay, I'm a little confused...
Please correct me.
The hardware (PSU, CPU, Mobo, RAM, etc.) is going to sit behind the hand, it won't be visible. Right?
The monitor is going where? In the hand?
The mouse and kb will be wireless so that you can control the PC from anywhere in the room.
And, the mod, will be hanging off the ceiling.
About rotation, what if you use some sort of servo? It will have to have some extra torque to move the rig but I think it can be a good solution...
Hi, okay, I'm a little confused...
Please correct me.
The hardware (PSU, CPU, Mobo, RAM, etc.) is going to sit behind the hand, it won't be visible. Right? (Correct, but there will be LED lighting that should reflect off the storage room wall.)
The monitor is going where? In the hand? (The monitor is already mounted near the workbench, below another monitor. There will be a long HDMI cable to attach to the motherboard.)
The mouse and kb will be wireless so that you can control the PC from anywhere in the room. (The wireless keyboard / trackpad will sit on the workbench).
And, the mod, will be hanging off the ceiling. (The artwork / computer will be hanging as shown. My next step is to start constructing the aluminum framing that will hold the computer parts and support the artwork as it hangs.)
About rotation, what if you use some sort of servo? It will have to have some extra torque to move the rig but I think it can be a good solution... (I don't want it to keep rotating. That would just mess up the wires as they twist due to the rotation. I will still have a power cord for the PSU and an HDMI cable for the monitor. It will rotate a bit by hand to show friends what's behind the artwork.)
Some design changes today, with regard to the swivel hook and bar assembly. The 1” steel bars were a bit too wide to slide through the swivel hook loop, but I found an old 3/4” steel bar that dates back to the 1950 to 1960’s; it has my dad’s signature engraved on it. He used to engrave his tools back then too, as he liked to build things out of wood. Anyway, the 3/4” steel bar is about 3/8” thick, and likely stronger than the old 1/8” thick steel bars that I had tie-wrapped together.
I also cut a length of chain and tried out a few mounting ideas for the swivel hook and chain.
With the general overhead support structure done, I moved on to the motherboard tray. Remember that metal sheet that was 12" x 24"? I cut it in half with tin snips and then drilled and tapped the holes for the motherboard standoffs. Once the motherboard was screwed down to this tray, I fired it up again to make sure everything was still working well - and it was.
My next steps, probably starting next week, will be to drill holes in the four corners of the motherboard tray to serve as mounting points for the aluminum bars that I will start bending. I'll need to figure out how I will mount the PSU to the aluminum bar assembly.