Interior of the T2080rdb wooden desktop case
DIY

Do-It-Yourself wooden desktop case for the T2080rdb

So, you want to use your T2080rdb in standalone mode together with a PCI-E video card board and an SSD but you are tired to find yourself fighting with cables and a messy desk? Would you like to put the board in a desktop case but it seems impossible to find a ready-to-use solution?
This is post is for you, but be prepared, you have to build your desktop case by yourself.

By following the steps in this post, you will be able to end up with a desktop case like the black one in the bottom right in the photo below. It can host the T2080rdb board, a PCI-E video card, a standard ATX power supply, a front panel with multiple USB ports and has space for one or two SDD (or HDD) attached to the on-board SATA connectors. We successfully tested various AMD Radeon HD series GPUs (4xxx, 5xxx, 6xxx, R7), so you may want to use one of those.

Photo of a desk with the D-I-Y wooden case for the T2080rdb


Index


Overview of the T2080rdb

The T2080rdb board is provided in a nice and solid metal box like the one below. It has a power supply in it and has all the USB and Ethernet ports you would need to start using the board but it lacks the space and connectors for attaching additional PCI-Express boards and it lacks a proper place for an SSD.

Original metal case for the T2080rdb

Let’s start by taking the board out of its original metal case. The board looks like the picture below.

Overview of the T2080 board

The T2080rdb is powered via a 6-pin PCI-Express power connector.

Detail of the power connector on the T2080 board Detail of the power connector on the T2080 board, unplugged


Required electronic components

1 x ATX Power Supply Unit. The T2080rdb board should be powered by a 6-pins PCI-Express power connector.
Example https://www.quietpc.com/zm500-rs

PSU unit, front PSU unit, back

1 x PCI-Express x4 to x16 riser for attaching a video card to the on-board x4 port, possibly with a molex and solid capacitor for additional powering of the GPU
Example https://www.moddiy.com/products/PCI%252dExpress-PCI%252dE-4X-to-16X-Riser-Card-Flexible-Ribbon-Extender-Cable-w%7B47%7DMolex-%252b-Solid-Capacitor.html

PCI-Express cable from x4 to x16 with the molex connector

1 x Cable for the onboard reset pins
Example https://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B072FW4PHL/

example of a set of cables with the reset and power buttons, and the power and HDD leds

2 x SATA cables

a SATA cable

2 x Ethernet ports cables for the back panel.
Example https://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B06ZY5KWPY/

 

cable for the external ethernet port

1 x USB 2.0 port for the back panel, we use it for attaching the USB-to-Ethernet adapter as we are not able (yet) to use the on-board Realtek RTL8211 PHYs (RGMII 10/100/1G Ethernet ports)
Example https://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B002M8RVKA/

cable for the external USB port

1 x Fan 12×12 cm for cooling both the devkit board and the video card
Example https://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B000PKQG8K/

12x12 cm fan

1 x USB hub for the front panel, useful to attach mouse, keyboard, pendrives
Example https://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B00CI2JY2S/

USB hub, front USB hub, back

1 x USB 2.0 cable, from type A to type B, having the type A plug angled 90 degree. The type B will be plugged into the USB hub.
Example https://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B00S5WKTBA/

USB cable, from type A to type B

So far we were not able to use the on-board Ethernet boards on Linux (please, help us!), so we end up using the following:

1 x USB 2.0 to RJ45 Ethernet adapter to be attached to the USB 2.0 on the back panel.
We have successfully tested an adapter with the RTL8152 chipset with Linux kernel 4.x.
Example https://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B002DFT4KW/

USBto-Ethernet adaptor

Alternatively, you may want to use a USB-to-WiFi adapter. We successfully tested an old Zyxel G220.

 


Wooden pieces

A) Wooden strips/batten, 15 mm x 30 mm, total of 17 pieces

  • 6 pieces 153 mm (A1)
  • 2 pieces 166 mm (A2)
  • 2 pieces 362 mm (A3)
  • 3 pieces 183 mm (A4)
  • 4 pieces 230 mm (A5)

B) Wooden panel, thickness 10 mm, total of 1 piece

  • 1 piece 195 x 362 mm (B1)

C) Wooden panel, thickness 6 mm, total of 4 pieces

  • 1 piece 110 x 350 mm (C1)
  • 1 piece 105 x 230 mm (C2)
  • 1 piece 100 x 153 mm (C3)
  • 1 piece 195 x 252 mm (C4)

D) Wooden panel, thickness 3 mm, total of 5 pieces

  • 1 piece 126 x 190 mm (D1)
  • 1 piece 181 x 183 mm (D2)
  • 1 piece 183 x 245 mm (D3)
  • 2 pieces 362 x 245 mm (D4 & D5)

 


Screws

30 x 3 mm wide and 35 mm long self-tapping screw, for fixing the wooden strips/batten between them.

10 x 3 mm wide and 20 mm long screw and bolts, for fixing the PCI-Express card on its base.

2 x 6 mm wide and 20 mm long screw and bolts, for fixing the power supply unit to the base.

 


Velcro

To attach the external panel on the desktop case structure, we suggest to use stripes of velcro.
It will make your life easier as you might need to open and close the case quite often to attach and detach inside components.

 


A) Wooden strips/batten, 15 mm x 30 mm, total of 17 pieces

These pieces are the structure of the desktop case. When the case is closed, they will not be visible from the outside. It is after you to decide, whether to leave wood as it is, or to paint it once done.
By using a 3-mm drill bit, you will make a total of 48 holes in these pieces.
You may find the distances between the holes by opening the picture below in full size with the right click.

A1) 2 holes on both sides.
A2) 2 holes on both sides and 1 hole on the long-face.
A3) 3 holes on the long-face
A4) 2 holes on the same long-face
A5.1) 2 holes on both sides, 2 holes on the long-face
A5.2) 2 holes on both sides, 3 holes on the long-face

 

B) Wooden panel, thickness 10 mm, total of 1 piece

This is the base of the desktop case. You will have to make 14 holes with a 3-mm drill bit.
If your ATX Power Supply Unit can be fixed on the base, you will need 2 additional holes, usually requiring a 6 mm wide screw.
As the base will be always visible, you may want to paint this piece when done with the holes.

  

   

 

C) Wooden panel, thickness 6 mm, total of 4 pieces

C1 and C2 are the base respectively for the T2080rdb board and the C2 for the PCI-E video board. As they will not be visible when the case is closed, it is after you to decide whether to paint them or leave them as natural wood.
You will need to make 6 hole in C1 and a variable number of holes in C2 depending on how many holes has your video board.
C3 and C4 are the two top cap of the desktop case, so you may want to paint. As we are going to use Velcro to attach them to the structure, there will be no holes in them.

 

D) Wooden panel, thickness 3 mm, total of 5 pieces

Again, as we are going to use Velcro to attach these panels to the structure, there is no need to make holes in these pieces. All these pieces will be always visible, so you may want to paint them.


Putting everything together

Now that you have all wooden pieces, let’s put them together.
To connect the following wooden pieces, use a 3 mm self-tapping screw, you will need 30 of them.

Once done, you will have to fix the top elements (3 x A4) and the whole structure to the base.

Once the inner structure is done, fix the ATX Power Supply Unit as well as the USB hub to the base.

Now place the two panels that will hold the two boards, C1 for the T2080rdb, and C2 for the PCI-E video card.
The panel C3 will be used to hold the SSD ot HDD that will be attached to the SATA ports on the T2080rdb.

Place the T2080rdb and the PCI-E video cards on top of the panels C1 and C2.
Use some plastic cup to keep a distance of at least 5 mm between the wooden panel and the boards in order to let the air flow, as you may want to avoid burning the wood and start a fire.
It is now time to start connecting the cables:
– the PCI-Express cable, attach the x4 to the T2080rdb, the x16 to the video card
– if you purchased a PCI-E cable with a molex connector, attach it to the Power Supply Unit
– the SATA cable, one side to the T2080rdb, the other to the SSD (or HDD)
(the onboard SATA connector on the golden finger side will be recognized as /dev/sda)
– the angled 90 degree USB cable, type A plug into the T2080rdb, type B into the USB hub
– attach one of the molex connectors from the Power Supply Unit to the USB hub

Place the Velcro on the vertical and top structure parts that will be used to attach the external panels.

photo of the case interior with all pieces put together

Fix the 12 x 12 cm fan to the right panel (D5). Make sure to make the holes for keeping the air flowing into the case.

Attach the external panels.
This is it, your nice desktop case is ready to be used!

 

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