Tuesday, December 13, 2005

That RAID thing, plus component height

OK, I think I've worked out why there's something called a RAID driver on the VIA site for the Epia-N. This was a bit odd because there's only one SATA port, one 44-pin IDE port and 1 40 pin IDE. I think it's just called a RAID driver because you need to install additional drivers during setup of Windows 2000/XP to use the SATA port. As far as I can tell, there are no real RAID features on this version of the board.

On another note, I've noticed the Operator's manual includes board dimensions, which is pretty useful. As suspected, the heatsink is the same height as the IO ports on the rear - 35mm.

If you've been here before, you'll know that my plan is to make a PC fit within a CD-drive sized case, so it can be simply installed into a normal PC base unit as a development server or some kind of application server that you want to leave on while turning the 'host' PC off. My height constraint for this is 39mm, or 40mm at a push. This means that, with thin stand-offs, I can just about do it.

I think that I will be using anodised aluminium or copper for the top and bottom of the case - perhaps 1mm thick. If this is too flexible, I'll reinforce if necessary. I'll probably then use polystyrene sheeting (the kind that you buy in a model shop) at whatever thickness is required to push the heatsink up to touch the top of the case, so the heatsink can disperse heat through the aluminium case. The front of the case will most likely be 3mm clear perspex which has been spray-painted on the rear, or if I'm feeling a bit mad, how about silver?. I'm planning to keep the front free from ports if at all possible - perhaps apart from a single USB port and a power button. The idea is that this PC will be configured before being installed, and then will be accessed 'remotely' using something like SSH, web interface and perhaps Webmin and/or VNC. I'll use Damn Small Linux to run it, either from a spare 2.5" HD or a compact Flash card (In which case, I'll make that accessible from the front).

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