Aerocool Releases the Dream Box DIY-Kit

Seven months ago Aerocool launched a campaign on Facebook in order to find a name for their new chassis design. The chassis is anything but ordinary, so it is more than fitting that the naming of it took an unusual route too. Users came with their suggestions, and there were a lot, but in the end, it was the Dream Box name that won out and got to be the official product name.

Since then, Aerocool has been hard at work to perfect the chassis and built it to allow the end-user nearly endless build options. The only thing holding you back with this chassis is your imagination and time – and now it can be yours. Aerocool officially released the new chassis and in case you want to know more, we’ll have the full review ready for you tomorrow morning!

This DIY PC chassis kit comes in a box with a total of 118  different parts that allows users to build one of the three PC related chassis models straight out of the box. But this is only the starter kit and you can keep on both building and expand the more you buy. That’s pretty awesome and I am already picturing walls of nested systems built with this DIY kit.

The starter kit includes various components, including aluminum pipes, various connectors with different angles, mounting C-rings for other connections as well as PC-related parts such as mainboard-tray, PSU tray and one I/O panel. The Dream Box can be also used for assembling tables, lamps, cup holders or even all kind of toys and useful gadgets.

Due to the fact that the largest part of the framework is done using the aluminum pipes, a real sturdy and solid base is achieved. All connected joints are further fixed by screws in order to assure high stability. Users are also encouraged to share their builds on Aerocool’s Facebook page in order to inspire others with your own blueprints.

The Aerocool Dream Box DIY kit is available worldwide now and it comes with an MSRP of €134.90 EUR in Europa and $149.90 USD in North America (excluding VAT/Tax).

Giada Relaunches N70E-DR mITX NAS Motherboard

Giada created the probably best mITX motherboard quite a while ago with the M70E-DR and now they’ve relaunched it in a third revision due to popular demand. The N70E-DR V3 mITX NAS motherboard bring 6 SATA ports, 1 mSATA, Dual Intel LAN, and HD graphics with HDMI out; and it does that with a TDP of just 17W. That makes this board perfect for home storage use, such as DIY NAS projects as well as video surveillance servers.

The CPU used in this third revision of the N70E-DR is an Intel Celeron 1037U dual-core with 1.8GHz and the aforementioned 17W TDP. That includes onboard Intel HD Graphics with both D-Sub VGA and HDMI out. No problem to turn a system with this board into a hybrid system with direct use as well. The board comes with six SATA ports, but only two of these are SATA3 due to the Intel HM77 Express chipset limitations. That should still be plenty for mechanical storage drives and that is the intended use. The added m-SATA socket allows you to add another drive or possible a wireless card of some sort if that is what you need.

The PCI-E x16 slot only runs at x4 speed, which is a little downside yet no deal breaker in my opinion. The dual Gigabit Ethernet ports are controlled by Intel’s 82574 controller and should provide a great connectivity. Other connections include a PS/2 port, two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, a COM port, and two Audio jacks. The motherboard supports up to 8GB DDR3 SO-DIMM with a speed up to 1600 MHz in the single SO-DIMM socket.

Feature Highlights

  • 6x SATA ports (2x SATA III, 4x SATA II)
  • Native SATA RAID support: 0/1/5/10
  • 2x Intel Gigabit Ethernet Ports
  • Low power consumption – 17W TDP
  • Compact Mini-ITX form factor 6.7″x 6.7
  • Intel Celeron 1037U CPU with advanced Intel 22nm technology

So if you are planning to build a DIY NAS in the near future, make sure to take a closer look at the Giada N70E-DR V3 motherboard.

Spectacular Real Life Control Panel For a Computer

When you think you have seen it all, some genius arrives with an innovative implementation which completely re-imagines a function. This is the case for a Redditor by the name of “Smashcuts” sounds like a cross between Mario Bros and a hairdressers, who has built a fully operational, DIY overhead IRL control panel that has a hundred knobs, switches and buttons that can activate all kinds of actions.

Below is a selection of screenshots from Imgur, it is stunning and also could be defined as a work of art, the details which have been devised are exceptional.  As you can see, the control panel is divided into square sections which includes a green ‘Main Systems’ section and controls for functions for example OS shortcuts like Open, Save and Close.

Below is a close up of the controls which connects to OS shortcuts, the lighting scheme is reminiscent of a Sci Fi film.

Below is a close up of the Green “Main Section”, which activates different programs which are used most often, the top row opens Chrome, Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects and iTunes.

Below is a close up of another control panel, The top four switches control the control panel (brightness, backlight etc.) Bottom controls the panel’s AI mastermind override which is currently broken.

Not all switches and artwork are functional but rather for more aesthetic purposes, for example, there is a blue illuminated battleship; this unfortunately does not destroy the empire. This is quite simply spectacular, the thought which has gone into the design process must have been painstaking. By all means check his Imgur page, it conveys the building process which is fascinating and as you would expect, very complicated.

Couple Recreates Simpsons Kitchen in Their own Home

Marcia Andreychuk and Joel Hamilton decided to renovate their kitchen with a twist and replicate The Simpsons’ iconic colour scheme. The project, entitled, “retrovation” involved careful planning and referring to stills from various angles. During the process, the couple purchased a $20 counter top in blue and even managed to recreate the instantly recognizable, corncob curtains.

The renovation job didn’t stop there as the couple laid down blue and cream tiles, and covered the stove with green contact paper. Amazingly, they analysed the cooking utensils and performed extensive research to find matching pieces of equipment. Additionally, the drawers, knobs, and even insignificant details were taken into account.

While supply issues did cause a few problems, the couple employed their DIY skills to create interesting solutions. I personally think the final piece is a remarkable achievement but it’s not something I’d like to use every day. The kitchen feels too bright and during sleep-deprived states, I could actually believe I’m part of a Simpsons episode.

Also, The Simpsons hasn’t interested me since season 8, when it started to go downhill and lacked endearing stories. Whatever the case, this is an impressive build project but I’m more enamoured by other crazy designs such as an entire replica of the Star Trek Enterprise’s bridge.

Thank you Geek for providing us with this information

Silverstone DS380 NAS Chassis Review

Introduction


There are three important aspects to consider when selecting an NAS enclosure for your DIY build. You’ll want as small a size with as small a footprint as possible, you’ll want an efficient design with space for all your drives and other parts, and finally you’ll want it all to be well cooled since it will be running 24/7. With this in mind, it sure looks like Silverstone hit a triple home run with their DS380 NAS Chassis.

The Silverstone DS380 has a tiny footprint of just 211 x 360 mm and is 285 mm high. This isn’t much, but it still has room for a total of 12 drives, mITX motherboard, SFF PSU and three 120mm cooling fans. The rear fan area is even placed so it can accommodate AIO liquid cooling solutions such as the Silverstone TD03 and the three included fans have a maximum noise generation of 22dBA.

The 8 of the drive bays can take up to 3.5-inch drives and are hot-swappable from the front. The connecting backplane can connect with both SATA and SAS controllers for added possibilities and features. The backplane gets power from two Molex connectors, which helps a lot when you want to connect this amount of drives to an SFX PSU. The two fans mounted at the side are also powered and controlled over this backplate; this is both a smart and a nice addition.

The last 4 drive bays are internal and only for 2.5-inch drives, which is perfect for a raid 10 setup as your system drive, or just another raid array at your disposal with smaller drives; there are almost endless possibilities with the Silverstone DS380.

If we’ll couple those 12 possible drives and think current 6TB 3.5-inch drives and 2TB 2.5-inch drives, we can get a total capacity up to 56GB possible storage inside this chassis and depending on setup more with external connections via eSATA or USB, or even iSCSI targets.

Just having room for a lot of drives isn’t everything to a chassis, all those drives have to be cooled effectively as well. Silverstone took care of this with two 120mm fans on the side of the chassis blowing cold air in on the front mounted 3.5-inch drives and one 120mm rear exhaust fan to help get the hot air expelled.

Silverstone added a front door with lock to prevent anyone tampering with your drives. The reset button is hidden behind door and it’s up to you whether the power button will work through the door or not by using the internal lock function. The DS380 has two USB 3.0 front ports as well as 3.5mm audio jacks for when audio should be needed.

Thermaltake Tease DIY Liquid Cooling Components

Thermaltake have released a lot of new products lately and we’ve seen the amazing stackable Core V21 micro-ATX case as well as the Core V31 tower case that both have the Tt LCS Certification. While so often when releasing cases, they showed how great it could be used with liquid cooling setups, both closed-loop AIO and DIY solutions.

But what I hadn’t expected, is what Thermaltake are teasing on their Facebook page this morning. “Tt DIY Liquid cooling components coming soon…..” it reads, and I’m already excited and can’t wait to see more of this. So what has been shown already could very well be some of the new parts Thermaltake is getting ready to launch. Maybe at CES 2015? Bring it on Thermaltake, you got my attention.

Thanks to Thermaltake for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Thermaltake

Pi Top, the 3D Printed Raspberry Pi Laptop Hits IndieGoGo

A new project has recently hit crowd funding website IndieGoGo. Their idea is to make 3D printed DIY laptops that are based around the Rasberry Pi computer.

The Pi-Top laptop is actually just a case for a Raspberry Pi. For your money you will get a Pi-Top DIY laptop kit, which is mostly 3D printed components. You will get a laptop chassis of your choice, as well as the STL files needed to modify and print your own chassis should you want to create something more unique.

You will also get the Raspberry Pi with three expansion modules; power management PCB, HDMI to LVDS bridge PCB and a keyboard/trackpad controller PCB. There’s a 13.3-inch LCD panel with a resolution of 1280 x 720, a battery, a USB 802.11 b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0 WLAN controller, a keyboard and trackpad, DC wall plug and an online video tutorial to put it all together!

Of course, the system will be operated by Linux, but there are many free ARM compatible distros you can download and install. I’m not sure I’d be ready to replace my ultra-book with one of these, but it sounds like a really fun project for those who love to tinker with hardware.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of IndieGoGo.

Dad Builds Gloves to Teach His Kids Proper Typing Skills

David Schneider was a bit bothered by his kids typing skills and decided to do something against it. Not that they couldn’t type fast, but it was hectic and inefficient. He decided to fix this himself and did so by building haptic gloves to teach them.

David got the inspiration for his gloves from Thad Starner’s gloves that could teach the wearer to play Beethoven. These might not be as fascinating as his model, but the results still speak for themselves. The gloves were created by sewing miniature vibrating motors into a pair of cycling gloves, one for each finger and then controlling them with an Arduino nano.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”500″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZKo2RqXKr4[/youtube]

The Arduino nano (ATmega168) controls the eight vibrating motors and each one has the corresponding letters assigned. For example if an A was required, the motor for the left pinky would be activated. The software part is combination of Tkinter to make the interface and python fr the rest of the code. So far his software is fairly simple and just uses the 100 most common words form the English language.

He also got his wife to record the words as audio and that is played along with a show of the word to type in 64 point red typeface, one letter at a time. At the same time the Arduino board activates the corresponding motor and the user learns what finger to use for what key. The application has the option for variable speed, can skip words and also gives feedback on the entered letters in 64 point red typeface.

David reveals that the tool works very well to help teach his children, but will look to install a game of sorts in the future. “I’ve not yet figured out the particulars, but somehow I’ll have to add motivational timers, badges, health points, and bright, flashing ‘game over’ blinkers if I want my 11-year-old to benefit from my high-tech typing tutor.”

It doesn’t take much besides some ingenuity any more, and of curse an Arduino board, to create some relative simple and useful toys as well as learning tools. The more of these simple things I see, the more I need to get myself a couple of these to play around with.

Thank you ieee.org for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of ieee.org.

Everybody Can NAS, a Beginners Guide to OpenMediaVault

Introduction


What is a NAS?

NAS is the acronym for ‘Network Attached Storage’ and that is just what it is. Storage that is directly attached to your network, thereby allowing you to access its content from all your smart devices. In this article I’ll take you along the road of setting up and configuring your own NAS, even for a small wallet. It sounds so simple and it is. But it is also something that can make your every-day digital-life a lot easier and more enjoyable.

Having a NAS in your household allows you to have a centralized storage for all your backups, media files and documents. This again gives you the ability to easy access them from all your devices, may it be your smart TV, your phone or tablet, your computers or game consoles and what else comes to mind.

Some of the first words that scare most people away from setting up a NAS themselves are ‘linux’ and ‘network’. While it might not be something you have experience with, I guarantee it’s all very easy and quick to do.

What about the hardware?

So how does it work and what exactly is it you ask? Well, a NAS is technically just a PC like any other, some might also refer to it as a server or computer. In the end it is the operating system that is the factor. The whole idea behind it is to have a centralized storage for all your files. To archive this, it has to be running all or most of the time and there are some key features we need to look at:

  • Low power consumption
  • Headless usage (no keyboard, mouse or monitor required)
  • Small form factor and silent operation

In my opinion there is the perfect device on the market for just that. It’s cheap, it’s solid and at many times you even get mail in rebates or cash-back on them. But more on that later.

What Skills and Tools do you need?

To set up a NAS? Actually not many. You will need the following skills: Use the screwdriver that is included, Able to attach a cable to a plug and you will need to be able to read and use a website.

You will also need a couple other small things in order to follow this little guide to setting up a HP micro server, but not much. You need a MOLEX to SATA power adapter, a SATA data cable and either some duct tape or a 3½ inch to 5¼ inch adapter. You will also temporary need a USB stick, a Monitor and keyboard during installation. And that is pretty much it, so you see, everybody can NAS.

The perfect device

For this job, Hewlett-Packard have created the perfect line of micro servers. The N36L, N40L and N54L, also known as G7 microservers. The only difference between the three models is the CPU speed. Slower doesn’t always mean cheaper, so check prices on all three devices before you commit. On my last purchase I found that the N54L was the cheapest of them all, but any of the three will do fine for a home NAS.

It has 4 cold-swap bays for your storage hard-drives and a 5¼ inch for either your boot-drive, extra hard-drive(s) or anything else that fits. In most cases, and in ours here, it will used for the boot drive.

The G7 microserver comes with a 250 GB 7200RPM HDD included and that is just perfect as system disk for our new NAS. If that wasn’t enough, it also has 4GB ECC memory included in 1 module with room for a second.

Inside it has two PCI-Express expansion slots, one x16 and one x1. The single also has additional control ports for HP remote-control cards.

It even comes with tools included, nothing extra is really needed. It can be run straight away with what’s in the box, but you will of course also need some hard drives as storage for all your files. You can start with one and upgrade later or you can fill it up right away, the choice is yours.

At the time of writing, the N54L can be had for €153 in Germany and £131 in the United Kingdom making it a real bargain. I couldn’t find it cheaper than $357 in the US making it less of a deal over there.

The HP N54L comes in a very simple cardboard box only printed with the name and a representation of the server on the front and back.

On the side of the cardboard box we find a small sticker with the model and serial number. The box doesn’t offer much information besides that.

Opening up the box we see all is securely packed in spacey Styrofoam and with the accessories on top.

Unpacking the accessories, we find power cables for UK and for Germany/EU, a small manual and update instructions.

NES in a Cartridge

I’ve seen many console mods, specially those by Ben Hecks, but this one hits a special awesome factor. A full NES system in a NES Cartridge, it’s almost cannibalism. However that is just what Daniel Hankewycz has done, he even posted a complete build guide on-line so you can do it yourself.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yGzoNGbgIA[/youtube]

The key to this system is the NES On A Chip (NOAC) that basically gives you an entire NES on just a single chip. The NOAC includes a 60pin famicom game port that can easily be converted to a 72 pin NES game port. It’s almost obvious to create this mod.

There were quite a few components involved in building this mod, but not as many as you might think. The major components are a Power Player Unit for the chip, some NES spare parts, an ATmega168 Arduino chip as well as some basic wires and chips. Daniel originally got the idea from Kotomi’s build, but wanted to make it a full NES including original controllers.

The project was rushed a little bit due to a deadline on a contest, but the results are still amazing and it is one cool mod. Daniel is quiet the young builder, but the talent is clear. The description in his twitter profile reads “I like making stuff…” and I think we will see many more amazing things from him in the future.

Thank you Instructables for providing us with this information

Images and video courtesy of Instructables

Postage Stamp Size SSD Unveiled By Mach Extreme

Mach Xtreme Technology has just unveiled what is the smallest SATA-interface SSD on the consumer market. The new DIY SATA 2 Series SSDs are barely larger than a postage stamp, and is designed to serve as a boot drive for your operating system of choice. It is designed with hardware-modding enthusiast in mind, giving them a great tool that helps and gets the job done.

Mach Extreme says that the new DIY series uses the latest storage technology for extreme performance while offering hardware-modding enthusiast a fast, yet flexible storage solution that is 10 times smaller and lighter than a standard 2.5-inch SSD. Read speeds are said to be in the 220MB/s range while writes are performed at 80MB/s. Mach Xtreme manufacturers the DIY Series in both vertical and horizontal configurations, and packs them with storage capacities of 8GB up to 64GB.

Features:

  • SATA2 interface
  • No SATA signal cable needed
  • Driver-less Installation
  • Power Consumption: up to 1.2W
  • Max. Read Performance up to 220MB/s (64GB)
  • Max. Write Performance up to 80MB/s (64GB)
  • Dimensions: [V] 25.28 x 39.54 x 6.8mm / [H] 21.5 x 29.5 x 10.0 mm (LxWxH)
  • Weight: 6.5g [V] / 4.5g [H]
  • Certification: ROHS, CE, FCC
  • Capacity: 8GB (MXSSD2MSLD8G-V/H), 16GB (MXSSD2MSLD16G-V/H), 32GB (MXSSD2MSLD32G-V/H) and 64GB (MXSSD2MSLD64G-V/H)
  • Warranty: 2-Years

Thank you Tweak Town for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Tweak Town