The Humidor NX

Sep 8, 2005

Click on images to enlarge


Another Humidor PC?  Well it has been over a year since I built the Humidor Cluster so I thought it was about time.  Those who know the Cluster should recognize some similarities with this computer project.  They both have cherry finishes and sport thermometers in the door.  They are both cabinet-style humidors with refrigerator-style side opening doors.  The big difference is the size.  While the Humidor Cluster measures 12" x 12" x 20" this case is a perfect 9" cube.



Obligatory size comparison shot featuring my favorite caffeine, sugar-free beverage.



The basis, and namesake, of this project is the LogicPD DB1500 mini-ITX motherboard sporting an AMD Geode NX1500 1GHz Socket A processor.  Though AMD calls it a Geode it is actually an undervolted Mobile Athlon designed to run at 9W.  While that doesn't sound like much, the benchmarks show that this setup soundly trounces any VIA Mini-ITX solution by a large margin.  And it does it fanless.



The huge heatsink only looks that way because of the board's small scale.  The chipset is made by SIS and features all the latest goodies including 5.1 audio and SATA.  The single memory slot is filled with 1GB Corsair PC2700 DDR   In keeping with the fanless theme I installed a variety of small Microcool heatsinks on the Southbridge, MOSFETs and any other heat-producing thing I could find.



This is the DC-DC power supply.  It was the unit that came out of the SIlverStone LC-06 case I used for Le Bouton.  It is rated at 60W and though it looks like a typical Morex unit another company makes it.



Shown here is my favorite case fan, the 92mm Vantec Stealth.  I get these from Sidewinder Computers.  The hole in the bottom is a 92mm intake port.  The inside of the case is Spanish cedar that is hand rubbed with mineral oil.  It is important to notice the two grey steel panels that are attached to either side of the interior.  These will come into play later.



The motherboard is mounted to the bottom of the case directly over the intake port.  The idea is that the exhaust fan draws fresh cool air up and around the motherboard.  The power supply is also secured to the side of the case.  I use brass standoffs screwed into pilot holes in the wood.  I typically drill the pilot holes by hand.....yes, you heard me; I grip a drill bit between my thumb and finger and twirl it until I get the desired hole.  It makes a very clean hole that is always the perfect depth.



Backside shot showing the fan exhaust grill, cable port, DC power jack and lots of real Cherry veneer.



This is the case lying on its side in order to show the bottom stuff.  The intake port has a 92mm fan filter installed over it.  The "legs" allow for sufficient clearance for the air to flow into the case.



This "contraption" is actually two 3 1/2" hard drive caddies (on each end) joined by a 5 1/4" bay insert.  The bay insert allows for a slim line CD drive and a 3 1/2" device.  In this case I'm using a Crystalfontz 631 matched with a Panasonic slot load CDRW drive.



Why?  It turns out that the assembled unit fits perfectly across the inside of the humidor interior.  These drive caddies use a sliding metal cover to top off the caddy.  I mounted these two metal covers to the inside of the humidor.  This allows the entire unit to slide in and out of the humidor interior.  The caddy handles make this easy.



On one side, I installed the 120GB Seagate SATA drive.  The other side is a space to stash unsightly extra cable lengths.  The cold cathode lights are installed on the bottom of the caddies as this upside down photo illustrates.  The Crystalfontz 631 controls the fan speeds and can be seen in the center next to the blue CCFL inverter.



Here the unit is shown halfway installed into the humidor.  It can be pulled in and out while the computer is operating.



Another shot illustrating the perfect fit.  I got lucky with this one.



Here the drive unit is inserted all the way.



A little blue light goodness from the CCFLs and the CF 631.



One more.



This is one of the few shots I've ever been able to get of lighting effects that look half-decent.



Final glamour shot.



And again.  Thanks for looking.