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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Windows as a music workstation
Form, Fit, and Function
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 4:31 pm    Post subject: Form, Fit, and Function
Subject description: PC Building Gotchas !!!
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In the midst of putting together the hardware for a new PC/Windows based music workstation for live and studio work, I came across a little problem that if I figured if I tell others about, may be able avoid the same pitfall.

Now this is no BIG deal but it makes me wonder what designers are thinking when doing PC motherboard component and connector layout.

If you reference the attached photos, it shows that the SATA II PORT0 board connector is mounted right under the heat sink assembly of the graphics adapter that is installed in my PCI express x16 slot. This situation does not allow me to use this port since a SATA cable will not fit in that space and a right angle connector would have blocked the other ports. It would not be so bad but I have two SATA II 750GB hard drives and two Plextor SATA optical drives so I need all four ports. There are no low profile SATA connectors that I could find to use the unused port. The best solution is to just add in a SATA II adapter card that has a port on the board, and while I am at it, I may as well add an eSATA on the bracket side.

Now most higher end graphics adapters will be this thick with heat sinks so you would think that MOBO manufacturers would be wary of such an installation.

The lesson here is to really look at the combination of adapter cards and motherboard connectors to make absolutely sure that no mechanical conflicts could occur. It seems that board manufacturers, because of the huge glut of different hardware out there, do not think of everything so you have to do the critical thinking yourself as an integrator. The MICRO-ATX form factor migtht be a little too free form that allows the designer to place connectors wherever he wants but putting SATA connectors directly behind expansion connectors? Thats not thinking at all IMO. Rolling Eyes

My solution was easy but I really did not want to spend another $35.00 to $50.00 to arrive at one. I really want the "Nvidea 8800GT" video card and needed all the drives so it was not an option to not use any of that hardware.

Bill


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Danno Gee Ray



Joined: Sep 25, 2005
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Location: Telford, PA USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

That's why, as a technician, I've always been on the verge of cussing engineers by nature. Too many people design without consideration for the guy downstream. Somebody has to use and or fix the stuff they design, and too few care enough to design with that in mind. I'm a firm believer that all design engineers should be required to spend an alloted time in the field turning wrenches and screwdrivers before being allowed to create anything. Oh well, if only the world were so perfect. LOL.
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
That's why, as a technician, I've always been on the verge of cussing engineers by nature. Too many people design without consideration for the guy downstream. Somebody has to use and or fix the stuff they design, and too few care enough to design with that in mind. I'm a firm believer that all design engineers should be required to spend an alloted time in the field turning wrenches and screwdrivers before being allowed to create anything. Oh well, if only the world were so perfect. LOL.


I agree with you man !!!! I was a technician for about 12 years before I became a electrical engineer for the last 13 years so I had the best of both worlds. Turning wrenches and building prototypes to computer aided design. A big thing that I consider is designing circuits for testability so that my technicians do not pull their hair out debugging Very Happy I will add lots of test points, connectors, breakouts, boundary scan devices, points for flying probe testing, etc ... you name it ........

So, is there anyone else here that has some building, or computer integrating horror stories they can share with us relating to building Windows based machines for music?

Bill
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