[Suggestions] Hybrid Build - Switch Inspired

ChainedHope

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Jun 5, 2016
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So I posted a while ago that I was going to build a Desk+Briefcase hybrid PC. The idea was to have a main SFF briefcase with a monitor built into the case and then some sort of a hotswap bay style slider that the case would connect to and connect to all my peripherals automatically. The main reason for this was that the PC could be hauled off for LANs and events without the hassle of disconnecting everything. But I had to push everything back because of life.

During my issues, I bought a Nintendo switch because I needed something I could use to game while I wasn't home. The thing is portable, connects to a dock that breaks out the I/O to a tv, wired pro controller, and a usb headset. I didn't realize it at the time, but it just hit me a few moments ago when I was looking over my drawings and models that this is literally what I want from my hybrid build.

So now I come to the community to help me throw around some ideas. I'm going to break it down into some sections below. All in all im looking at a 8.5-9.5 L case which I think is pretty good for my use case. I'm just looking for some general suggestions on what I have so far. Anything you see that might cause an issue, something you like, or even some knowledge on getting this to work. I'm not the greatest at CAD but im slowly figuring it out (using Fusion360) and will hopefully have an actual design mocked up in the next week or two when I get some free time.

The Dock - Switch Inspired
Taking from the Switch, Im debating on a spring board design for the dock. I've mimicked what that would look like in the two images below. The idea is to use a few springs and pegs that would be built into the dock to make the I/O ports flush with the dock when not in use. When the PC is dropped on top, the I/O will be pushed down and allow for the connectors to go into their respective areas of the motherboard. There will be some balancing springs spread over the empty spaces of the I/O shield and 4 guiding rails on the outsides that will fall into groves on the bottom of the PC case to help with alignment. This idea would be mimicked for the GPU and PSU as well. Then all cables would be guided out the back of the dock and into the desk where it can be connected to peripherals and power. Essentially the dock is just a pass-through to keep cable management under control when moving the PC.

The motherboard I/O when the PC is undocked. The spring board (blue) is being held up to keep the ports protected.

The motherboard I/O when the PC is docked. The spring board is pushed down and all connectors should be connected to the motherboard at this point because of the guiding rails along the outside (Not in the image, but imagine a thin rail going around the I/O about 2mm thick and ~8mm high).

The Case - Inspired by LukeD

**Disclaimer. Im an idiot and didnt think to flip the image and can't fix it now. The Blue box (radiator) is the top of the case. Yellow box (SSD) is the front facing side.

Im going for a @LukeD inspired PCIe Bifurication build. Don't have an actual case mocked up but do have the layout (below) with more than generous tolerances between everything for wiring/risers/mounting hardware (Fans will be mounted on the top, they aren't in the mockup). The idea is to get all the I/O on the same side for the dock, use the "top" radiator as an intake and an 80mm or 2x40mm fans at the SSD (yellow square) side for the exhaust. Think im going with mainly aluminum for the casing.

The components im using are the ASRock X370 mITX w/ R7 1700 and 16GB of DDR4, 2x R9 Nanos with EK waterblocks, a Fractal Design Celsius S24 (expandable AIO CLC thats NOT aluminum so no galvanic corrosion) for the nanos, an old Silverstone 600w SFX PSU I've had sitting on a shelf from the Acorn build, and a 256GB SSD for my storage (NAS will hold everything else). Along with this im going to be attempting PCIe Bifurication with the risers that LukeD has been using in hope that I can get it working. I might squeeze in an additional 120mm rad in the bottom depending on size so I can also cool the CPU with it as well. The Nanos are way too noisy with the stock coolers so they have first priority when watercooling.

On top of this, Im going to be mounting an IPad Retina screen (or another Laptop screen if that one seems too small) to the case directly across from the motherboard. This will be used as the main monitor when the PC is disconnected from the dock. Going to have to do this bit manually unless someone has any bright ideas on how to do the swap automatically from one monitor to 3 different monitors. Might just keep it always on and set it up to be a media viewer or something when its sitting on the desk... maybe do some camera voodoo and make it a "window" into the PC with a small Camera module. Who knows lol.



The Desk

Its a desk... wood...
Going to mount a monitor into the desk at a tilt with some tinted acrylic for that "Arcade" look as well as 2 Monitors on the desk for normal use. The arcade-style monitor is going to be showing my VM statuses and various webserver tools. Stuff I'd like to see occasionally but don't need on my main monitors 24/7. The other 2 monitors are for everything else. Not quite sure about where everything else is going to go, but I'll figure it out when I get the Case and Dock fully fleshed out. I want to run cable management tracks around the desk with some acrylic cut to fit the traces. So not an entire acrylic panel as the desk top, but sections of the wooden top will be cut out with acrylic placed under it to show the inter workings and the monitor. Should make for a cool effect.
 
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eiselx86

Trash Compacter
Oct 23, 2017
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Looks very nice! About the 2 mm railing around the I/O, depending on the material I would suggest going for something thicker. 2mm Acrylic is strong enough tho.

Your skills in CAD isn't bad at all. But it's hard to understand the design and what is what at first. Put some text on the components/materials describing them in the model. Makes it easier for anyone viewing it. And as you already done categorize with colors ++
Example: name - width, height and length.

GL
 
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HeroXLazer

King of Cable Management
Sep 11, 2016
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I was thinking about doing this last year but realized that it would be confusing to get the dimensions of the I/O ports, but it seems like you've gotten that down. Good luck on this.
 

ChainedHope

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Jun 5, 2016
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Looks very nice! About the 2 mm railing around the I/O, depending on the material I would suggest going for something thicker. 2mm Acrylic is strong enough tho.

Your skills in CAD isn't bad at all. But it's hard to understand the design and what is what at first. Put some text on the components/materials describing them in the model. Makes it easier for anyone viewing it. And as you already done categorize with colors ++
Example: name - width, height and length.

GL

The railing would be aluminum or some form of plastic/rubber. Id rather the railing break then the case so it will probably be made out of a softer material. I tried to say what each color was, but yeah moving to either better models instead of concept boxes or adding some text would be better.

I was thinking about doing this last year but realized that it would be confusing to get the dimensions of the I/O ports, but it seems like you've gotten that down. Good luck on this.

I/O was pretty simple. Got a SVG of the I/O from some google searching, imported it into Fusion360, and then scaled it to be 1:1. After that I just used a sketch, created a 2mm offset around each port for clearance, and extruded.
 
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ChainedHope

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It looks like were not that far away from being able to just use a switch for this straight up


I've been following that. The issue is that fail0verflow is an ethical hacking group and wont be releasing source code until the switch's EOL. I mean I wont complain about ethical hacking, but If I could just get some info on what commands they used to get past TrustZone to be able to install Linux, I could probably figure out enough to get something working. I just don't want to disassemble a joycon and connect up a UART just to log data and spend months reverse engineering it.
 

jØrd

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I've been following that. The issue is that fail0verflow is an ethical hacking group and wont be releasing source code until the switch's EOL. I mean I wont complain about ethical hacking, but If I could just get some info on what commands they used to get past TrustZone to be able to install Linux, I could probably figure out enough to get something working. I just don't want to disassemble a joycon and connect up a UART just to log data and spend months reverse engineering it.

From what ive read their exploiting a bug in the SoC that enables them to run code very early in the boot proccess, before any Nintendo code even runs. there have been claims made that the only way to fix this is to rev the SoC and release an updated console w/ it, leaving everything made and sold up to that point vuln to this approach. Anything other than the broad stroke description is, as you mentioned, unlikely to be shared until its no longer of any value though
 

ChainedHope

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Jun 5, 2016
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From what ive read their exploiting a bug in the SoC that enables them to run code very early in the boot proccess, before any Nintendo code even runs. there have been claims made that the only way to fix this is to rev the SoC and release an updated console w/ it, leaving everything made and sold up to that point vuln to this approach. Anything other than the broad stroke description is, as you mentioned, unlikely to be shared until its no longer of any value though

Yeah. I'm in the switch hacking discord following the news. TX (Team Xecutor) thinks they have a solution thats similar to Fail0verflows (at a hefty cost). Fail0verflow's and TX's method is a coldboot exploit which means software and firmware updates can't fix it, it needs a hardware revision to disable the connections, reroute connections, or add efuses to make it harder (time-gated) to do. I'm hopeful someone will release some information but at the same time I hope they wait a few years so more Switches are vulnerable to it which leads to more homebrew devs and greater support.

--edit: ReSwitched just managed to get the same exploit working and are releasing the information in the coming week. Might be taking apart a joycon...
 
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