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Help me build my Middle Atlantic Rack

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

I have recently ordered a Middle Atlantic ERK-4425 rack with custom faceplates for the equipments that don't have the rackmount option. Plan to give it a clean look as it will be sitting in my living room until we move it to the dedicated theater room in our new house.

The rack has been shipped out and I will be receiving it anytime now. As this is my first time I am very confused and kind of paranoid. Don't want to make a total disaster out of it. Requesting our forum members to help me make this a dream come true. Your real life experience will be real handy to me. And I promise not to ask stupid questions, and probably other members who are seeking out to get info on their first rack can also learn from here and post their questions.

Here goes my first question.
Regarding network switches.. most of the 24 port and above switches i see have front facing ports. Meaning if i have to mount them to the rack the wires will be visible from the front of the rack. What do most of the people in here do, i have never seen a single audio video rack that have switches mounted on their racks and wires going in the front of their av racks. maybe a HP ProCurve switch?
post #2 of 11
Here are some threads that discuss that:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1368918/rackmount-switch-with-power-and-sockets-in-the-rear
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1407346/internet-switch-rack-mountable
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1131189/rack-mount-switch-w-front-lights-back-ports

Essentially, switches have forward ports to make it easier to switch the cables around. And the main runs would be terminated at a patch panel, so you only have 6"-1' cables looped in the front. There are products out there to hide those cables too. The threads did mention a switch or two that has ports in the rear.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scl23enn4m3 View Post

Here are some threads that discuss that:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1368918/rackmount-switch-with-power-and-sockets-in-the-rear
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1407346/internet-switch-rack-mountable
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1131189/rack-mount-switch-w-front-lights-back-ports
Essentially, switches have forward ports to make it easier to switch the cables around. And the main runs would be terminated at a patch panel, so you only have 6"-1' cables looped in the front. There are products out there to hide those cables too. The threads did mention a switch or two that has ports in the rear.

Thanks for your post. I guess i get the idea. Most people mount their switches on the rear panel of the rack and add a blank plate in the front.
The creston Network switch thats targetted to the Home Theater crowd is not a gigabit switch just 10/100 base.
I dont see anything more in the market that has a rear facing ports with front facing leds. Its always nice to see the network activity indicator from the front.

What are some of the best 120mm fans that can serve as an exhaust but very silent.
The middle Atlantic rack had a 256cfm fan, i am sure it must be blowing like 10 blow driers. biggrin.gif

I like 120mm Gentle Typhoon fans for cpu cooling, but they dont do a very good job as an exhaust. What do people in here use?

Answers and suggestions from others welcome. I am sure there are bright minds out there, who know a lot more.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have been having high hopes from this section of the forum where people have some of the best home theater gear and racks in the world. I dont need huge replies, but i am seeking some basic info on the questions i have in my mind, and the remaining research i can do myself.
I have learnt a lot from other sections of this forum, and people have been very very helpful in providing their best input.
I know i am asking stupid questions in an advanced home theater section. Need your help guys.
post #5 of 11
I just use a smaller consumer switch, not rack mountable, and have it in the back of the rack - since all the devices in the rack have their ethernet ports on the rear, there's no point in having a rack mountable switch or patch bay with front facing connectors.
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by holyindian View Post

Thanks for your post. I guess i get the idea. Most people mount their switches on the rear panel of the rack and add a blank plate in the front.
The creston Network switch thats targetted to the Home Theater crowd is not a gigabit switch just 10/100 base.
I dont see anything more in the market that has a rear facing ports with front facing leds. Its always nice to see the network activity indicator from the front.
What are some of the best 120mm fans that can serve as an exhaust but very silent.
The middle Atlantic rack had a 256cfm fan, i am sure it must be blowing like 10 blow driers. biggrin.gif
I like 120mm Gentle Typhoon fans for cpu cooling, but they dont do a very good job as an exhaust. What do people in here use?
Answers and suggestions from others welcome. I am sure there are bright minds out there, who know a lot more.

I can only tell you things from my experience. I haven't purchased a switch that has the ports on the back. To mitigate that problem on my end I just installed a second rack strictly for networking equipment. I installed a patch panel in there where all the main runs get terminated. Then from there they plug into a Netgear switch that has forward facing ports. The patch panel is a useless feature for me, but I enjoy the look. But similar to Brad's setup, my AV equipment in the main rack are networked through a standard switch mounted on the wall.

As for the fans, a lot of people purchase theirs from www.coolerguys.com. They have a lot of nice cabinet fans with temperature control. When it comes to quiet case fans, I'm biased towards Noctua. I know there a lot of people will vouch for other brands (and I'm sure rightfully so), but after going with Noctua, I've never really had a reason to try anything else.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Horstkotte View Post

I just use a smaller consumer switch, not rack mountable, and have it in the back of the rack - since all the devices in the rack have their ethernet ports on the rear, there's no point in having a rack mountable switch or patch bay with front facing connectors.

Brad, thanks for your suggestions. I completely agree with you on the fact, there is no point in having front facing switches on an AV gear. I hope some company takes a note into this. I've reached out to couple of sellers who are out of Packedge switches, hopefully they will have some switches soon.
Quote:
Originally Posted by scl23enn4m3 View Post

I can only tell you things from my experience. I haven't purchased a switch that has the ports on the back. To mitigate that problem on my end I just installed a second rack strictly for networking equipment. I installed a patch panel in there where all the main runs get terminated. Then from there they plug into a Netgear switch that has forward facing ports. The patch panel is a useless feature for me, but I enjoy the look. But similar to Brad's setup, my AV equipment in the main rack are networked through a standard switch mounted on the wall.
As for the fans, a lot of people purchase theirs from www.coolerguys.com. They have a lot of nice cabinet fans with temperature control. When it comes to quiet case fans, I'm biased towards Noctua. I know there a lot of people will vouch for other brands (and I'm sure rightfully so), but after going with Noctua, I've never really had a reason to try anything else.

I agree Noctua are great fans, however i have read they move a lot a lot of air within the CPU, same as with the legendary Gentle Typhoons.. but dont act as a good exhaust. I will post back soon as soon as i find something interesting.

Have another question smile.gif Are there other cheaper options for custom faceplates other than customavracks.? Each faceplates costs around 109 these days, although they come with the entire tray.
post #8 of 11
Lacing bars are an essential component to a very neat rack, though not everyone has the need.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Lacing bars are an essential component to a very neat rack, though not everyone has the need.

Thanks for your reply Neurorad, Chris from customavrack added LBP-1A 10-Pk of 1” Offset Cable Lacing Bars to the order, i guess this will serve as a good option for cable management right?
Apart from that, i was also told i will have to pay seperately for rear rails, if i have to use the lacing bars and wanted to mount components on the rear like a switch etc. The item number is ERK-RR44 Pair of Rear 44U Rack Rails.
post #10 of 11
Don't order the lacing bars without rear rails.

Depending on the depth of your components, you may be able to add some sections of a third set of vertical rack rails, toward the rear of the rack. They don't need to be full 44", but can be as small as a few inches. These would allow you to use more of that wasted space behind the components, perhaps for a switch or other smaller devices.

It depends on what you have available to screw into on the fixed sides of the rack. The distributor/dealer can help, if needed.
post #11 of 11
So with the cooler guys fans, if we're exhausting, do you attach it to the back of the rack and exhaust - or do you attack it to the front of the rack and exhaust? If it exhausts there it will need to push hot air out over the top of the components, and out the back of the rack - is this correct?

If it's pushing air out from the top back, it will be sucking hot air out - but then you would use a front blank plate in that area - is this correct?

Thanks,
ELmO
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