Coffee Table Computing Cluster - The Plan

In the years BC (Before Children) I used to have a office, and in that office I had my main PC (which is now replaced with my laptop) and a selection of old computers for "tinkering".  These weren't high spec or packed full of gadgets, but were great for trying out "stuff".

In recent months I have frequently lamented the loss of these "tinkering" machines having needed various database and web-server test/development servers.  To fill this gap I have tried a number of alternatives;
  1. Raspberry Pi - Great little machine, but fairly limited and not up-to some of my larger requirements
  2. Network Attached Storage - My Buffalo NAS has MySQL and Apache, but its pretty slow and not a general purpose device
So back to the drawing board.......then I saw this ...Hak5 Video....hmmmm  a computer disguised as art, embedded in a household item of furniture...could I get away with it ?

Mentioned it to the wife and didn't get a "NO" so that's as good as a "yes" to me ;)

Did a bit more thinking and the idea of the "Coffee Table Computing Cluster" was born - Operation "Coffee Bean".  Basic requirements are;
  1. Able to contain at least 2 mini ATX PCs, power supply's' and hard-drives
  2. Storage for my other "bits" that are lying around from other projects (couple books, electronic bits, cables)
  3. USB charge point for phone and iPod
Building on the Picture Frame concept from Hak5 I am going to vertically mount the motherboards around the edges of the table.  Airflow provided by fans mounted in the backing plates and out the bottom of the table and an inner shelf for "stuff".

The front of each motherboard will be protected by safety glass in a "picture frame" style door/cover that can be opened to allow access.  It will also hide the cables, venting holes and the LED strip lights to provide the "arty" accent lighting.

Building on my LED Christmas lights I will connect the motherboard LED signals to an Arduino controller to light the LED strip lighting in the case, very tasteful ;)

So that's the plan....


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