I’m not sure when I originally had this idea, but I always though it would be cool to put my gaming PC in a rack. At one time I envisioned putting game consoles in rack mount boxes of some sort as well, but that has not come to fruition. Rack mount gaming PC on the other hand is nearly done, I just have a few loose ends to wrap up.
First things first, the case. Most of the benefits of rack mount server cases, hot swap disks, fast access to replace parts, redundant power, are unnecessary for a gaming pc.
To that end, I wasn’t trying to drop serious coin. These things can easily go for $200 without even a being bundled with a power supply. Cheap shit on craigslist to the rescue! I found a case much like the one pictured for $60.
I don’t have the rack in the same room. That is part of the allure of this set up: How nice would it be to have zero noise and zero heat from your gaming desktop? How nice would it be to have zero clutter from cables and what not? It’s very nice! It poses the obvious problem of long range cabling. The ubiquitous Category cable to the rescue! I already had a small patch panel in my office since I planned on only having one large Cisco switch on the premises. I just hate having little desktop switches adding clutter and unruly patch cables.
For video, this passive HDMI over Cat5/6 Extender for $18 from Monoprice suits my purposes well. It has limitations, namely that [email protected] is the most you can push through it. Presently I only have a [email protected] monitor and do not have a card that can handle higher resolutions so I have not attempted to see if those are indeed hard limits. In the case that they are, some active unit would be necessary. I think if I do move toward 4k gaming the whole idea of having the PC remote might be reconsidered anyway.
For input, USB Extender over Cat5/6 for $12 again from Monoprice allows me to put a USB hub on my desk. For ultra wirelessness I could of course get a wireless keyboard and mouse, but I prefer not having to deal with batteries. Plus I like using a keyboard that support serious remapping with zero dependency on drivers or software.
I still have a bunch of Cat5e from whenever I bought a box of 1000ft of it way back when. Sadly, at ~75ft with Cat5 the extender did not work. Begrudgingly I picked up 250ft of Cat6 and some Cat6 patch cables and it works great. I am curious if Cat6 patches on the Cat5 would be any different. I tested MechWarrior Online and did not perceive any additional buffering. Success!
I still need to figure out what to do about audio. The monitor does have built in speakers and the HDMI audio passes through the extender just fine, however the only output the monitor has is analog two channel by way of 1/8″ stereo jack. I’ll be on the market for at least a surround USB headset if not a pc surround sound setup.
At this point, all I really need is to make some cables for remote power / reset / power LED / HDD LED. More on that later.