Home Media Equipment/PC/Wire Closet and Built-in Media Cabinet

February 20th, 2010 by Mitchell Lintzen

We moved into our current home in April 2004. During construction and just before the drywall stage I wired the home with Cat5 and wired the media room and the family room with 14 gauge speaker wire. There’s some attic space next to the media room and I converted it into my “server closet” as seen below.

Messy Server Closet

Messy Server Closet

I had always planned on moving my video equipment into this same space but also wanted to rebuild the closet with some sort of rack/shelving solution. I also envisioned having the media equipment accessible from inside the media room via a built-in cabinet with adjustable shelves. Here’s a view of the wall adjacent to the attic space from the media room:

Future Built-in Media Cabinet Space

Future Built-in Media Cabinet Space

I held off on implementation until late 2009 mainly due to the cost of high definition audio/video distribution equipment. Prices slowly came down and I was finally able to purchase a component video matrix switch with 3 inputs and 5 outputs that would serve my needs. I had been planning the project for years but used Thanksgiving vacation to finalize as many details as I could and then began construction soon after. I’ve found that all sizable home projects require more money, time, effort, trips to Lowes, and disruptions to my normal routine than anticipated and this one was no different. I’m happy with the end result though and feel like I’ve added some nice value to my home. Here are some details on the features of the new closet/system:

Construction/Design

  • Walk-in, Fully Sealed and Insulated Media/PC Closet
  • Front Equipment Access Via Built-in Media/PC Cabinet with Tinted Glass Door
  • Active Cooling System
  • Dedicated 15 Amp 110V AC Circuit
  • 7/16″ x 4′ x 8′ Foil Faced OSB Plywood

Audio/Video

  • High Definition Audio/Video Distribution
  • Component Video/Coax Digital Audio over CAT5 Cable
  • TOSlink Optical to Coax Digital Audio Converters
  • Impact Acoustics 3×5 Component Video Matrix Switch
  • 4x URC-6131 JP1 Programmable Remotes
  • Xantech Xtra Link2 Infrared Distribution
  • 2x DirecTV HR21 High Definition (1080i) DVR’s
  • Yamaha RX-V1400 Surround Sound Receiver

Networking

  • Dell PowerConnect 2724 24-port Gigabit Ethernet Switch
  • Linksys WRT54G w/ DD-WRT Firmware
  • Encore ENHWI-N Wireless N Router
  • Linksys PAP2T VoIP Adapter
  • SMC Networks SMC8014 Cable Modem

Server

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 w/ Hyper-V
  • 4U Rack Mount Server with 20x 3.5″ HDD Slots & SATA/SAS Backplane
  • SuperMicro C2SBC-Q Motherboard w/ 8 GB RAM
  • Intel Core2 Quad CPU Q9450 @ 2.66GHz
  • Adaptec ICP5085BL 256MB Cache SAS RAID Controller
  • 7x Hitachi UltraStar 15K147, 15k (73 GB, SAS); 1x Maxtor Atlas 15K II SAS 36GB
  • 4x Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 SATA 3Gb/s 500-GB; 1x Western Digital Caviar WD10EAVS 1 TB SATA300
  • 13x Linux & Windows Virtual Machines

Media PC

  • Microsoft Windows 7 Media Center Edition
  • ECS 945GCT-M Motherboard w/ 4GB RAM
  • Intel Core2 Duo E5700 @2.93GHz
  • EVGA GeForce 9500 GT
  • Hitachi Deskstar 7K250 250GB

Workstation PC

  • Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate
  • Gigabyte EP45-DS3L Motherboard w/ 4 GB RAM
  • Intel Core2 Duo E6750 @2.66GHz
  • ATI Radeon HD 4350
  • OCZ Vertex 120GB SSD

I’ve got one more coat of paint and I’ll be ready to post the final pictures.

Also, here’s a PDF export of my Mindjet Mind Map of this project: Server Closet – Media Center Integration Project

Bitnami