The Man Who Built His Dream Set Up, And Left A Tech Mystery For You To Solve

My wife watches The Block. She is obsessed with that show, but it bores me to tears. Why isn't there a TV show that helps good men and women build the ultimate gaming cave? Or a show that gives talented people some money and time to build an amazing entertainment centre? This photo series sent to us, by an awesome chap named Joel, is probably the closest we'll get. Joel has documented the building of his dream game/media centre in great detail. It looks pretty incredible.

This is where it all began...

And this is the framework for the rack that will do everything.

This here doohicky is the thing that will control the incredible lights you'll get to see in a couple of images...

Laying cable. The real kind. Not the toilet kind. Joel is the man with the plan.

Building the server case — this is where the magic happens.

Some old fashioned server installation.

This is the alarm behind the rack.

And these are some seriously sexy black powerpoints.

This is a poster that looks way cooler than a regular poster for some reason. Because of magic.

Lights! Getting a real Close Encounters vibe from this one.

More lights!

This is Joel's Scarface-like security system.

And this is the finished rack!

Looks brilliant!

I seriously think Joel should get his own show, and just sort of tour Australia fixing up all of our terrible, terrible gaming set ups.

Also — I spoke to Joel for a bit and he asked me if I could figure out how to get into the back of the rack, which would be necessary for tweakings and such like. Because I'm an idiot, I couldn't. But Joel wondered if any of you guys and girls would be able to work it out!

Personally I think it's a trick question!


    Its on rails that allow it to slide out.

    It's on wheels/gliders. Handles are at the bottom of the second last pic.

      I dunno, I think those handles are for the blade (or whatever modular part of the server that is) to remove it from the rack. The second and fourth pictures don't seem to suggest rails or wheels of any kind.

        Nah those are attached to the antec server case, i have the same one, not for the rack at all.

        The rack itself doesnt appear to be on casters, so im going to guess he has left a gap at hte bottom with a blanking plate andhe can either crawl or roll under the bottom.

        Nice work though, im inspired to possibly attempt something about 10% as awesome as this!

        Counting the RU's in the completed rack photo i got to about 20-30 and thats a 45RU+ rack, so that leaves a lot of rack at the bottom that he hasnt photographed.

          Grats mate, you picked it! There is around a 1m gap at the bottom that I can sneak under with ease. Whilst this may sound like it gets annoying, keep in mind I've only had to get back there twice, once was to connect the rear of the rackmount server.

          Sounds like you know your rack gear, I am impressed. The full photo gallery can be found at and a pretty shonky write-up I did is

            Forgot to mention that there is enough room behind the rack to stand comfortably, and there is also a work light so I can see what I'm doing


              Cheers mate, I'm reasonably familar with racks of all shapes and sizes (work in networks) and i've had to climb in the bottom of many a rack under switches etc, so i had some insider knowledge!

              It is a seriously impressive room, congrats on the work and cheers for the full image gallery / write-up link, i'll check it out now!

      I think you're partly right - I don't think the mount slides out - that's clear in the second pick. What I think he's done is made the internals of the rack mount slide out so the insides are accessible. The how of it has got me stumped though.

      Love to get an update on this with some more details.

    Pretty sweet. My wife would never let me do this though, haha.

      It sounds like you're saying your wife wouldn't let you do something you'd like to do.

      I wish you luck on your future endeavors.

        On the contrary, she lets me do plenty of stuff I want to do. More than my fair share to be honest.

        Something like this though that would effectively take a room out of the house for her, not to mention cost a fair bit of money, she would have reservations about.

        Ah I love this perpetual manchild mentality of the terminally single. There might be a fantastic reason why his wife wouldn't let him do this, in fact there probably is, given the general wealth level of the average Australia couple, with the cost of living, mortgages or rent, cost of raising a child (assuming that's on the cards for them) then yeah there is probably reason for his wife to not let him "do something he'd like to do" at a high cost to little real world gain.

          Too true. I have a family so my PC setup looks more like something from Fallout rather than ...that awesome setup. Aussie tech prices hurt!

          Yeah. Very single mentality. If you've got a mortgage, cars, kids, taxes, using 10K to build a gaming room is a big ask.

          Of course, I'd divorce my wife in a second if she ever dared deny me anything. How dare she think of our future and financial health??? I want to GAME!!!

          My wife would let me do it. If you're wife unreasonably denies you things you enjoy, you've got a hard slog ahead of you.

            I can't believe you guys would ask your wives for permission. I like to surprise my wife with my big purchases :)

              Sigh... if you're trolling, well done. If you're serious, I pity your wife for having to put up with you, and I pity the fool(you) for thinking that's acceptable.

              is your last name Bobbit ?

            Wives should have to "let" their husbands do things, they're wives, not mothers. Men on the other hand shouldn't act like children, wanting things they can't afford.

            You kind of made the whole argument right there js - If you have the money laying around, the space, and the time, then it would be safe to say your wife would indeed agree to let you do it - sounds reasonable. If on the other hand, you don't have the money, the space, or the time, then I wouldn't say it's unreasonable for your wife to say no. However, if you're saying that a wife should be reasonable just because you enjoy something, and she should let you do it -the hell take any sensible reasons- sorry bud but you don't have a leg to stand on right there.

          "Perpetual manchild mentality or the terminally single"? LOL sounds like you're a little bitter about being tied down.

            No I'm just sick of hearing "you're wife doesn't let you do literally anything that comes to your mind" being thrown around like it's a downside of marriage, and the only people who do are idiots who even if they wanted to couldn't convinced a woman to let them hold their handbag let alone invest in a future with them. Marriage is a partnership and you choose to enter into that partnership, if you don't want to that's up to you but don't start mouthing off about it because you need an excuse why you're desperate and dateless.

            As stated above its about being reasonable, if it's a reasonable request and your wife denies you it then yeah its probably not a great partnership. If it is. Something like the above, which for 90% of people it's not reasonable then yes it's fair to be told no, it's not about being your mother it's about responsibility and it goes both ways.

              A lot of single dudes are single because they don't realise that you have to compromise.
              I've got a few mates in particular who are in their mid 30s who have never had a long term relationship and a big part of the reason is that everything has to be their way.

              Taking a step back doesn't mean you lost something, it means you care enough about your partner to do what's best for both of you. In most cases, setting up a room like the above (whilst totally awesome) is not what's best for both of you. But yeah, if you've the money and space, go for it!


                With healthy doses of compromise and empathy it is actually possible for both partners to have what they want. I've never understood the battle that some people seem to engage in with their better halves.

    There so needs to be a "Pimp my PC" show, so many people would get into it surely!

    We have a similar server rack in the office I work at but it's positioned such that you can walk round the side. Maybe he could install air vents and crawl through them to the back, Deus Ex style.

      If only I had met you before construction started, you magnificent thing you!

    great idea, my shed > audio visual love palace project is ghetto as, hard rubbish sourced speakers, carpet, insulation. And after more than a year it still isn't finished, save me Man Cave Make-overs!

      And hard rubbish furniture, got a real comfy leather recliner complete with mystery fingernail clippings.

    It is behind the poster. He used a rockhammer every night for weeks to scrape away a tunnel to the rack.

    As a good mate to the man himself, this is truly an excellent setup, the time and the effort is appreciated more in person and seeing how almost everything is accessible from mobile apps amazing. A walk through this guys house makes you want to seek a career in becoming a electrician/ data expert.

    Hi-Tech Man Cave. It just needs a beer fridge....

      He has one, in the first photo

        True. But I don't see that really fitting into the lovely aesthetics of the new room. He needs to go with something stainless steel sexy!

    Easy. My rack has a hinged back door on it. You simply open it like a door and the whole rack swings out. Easy with proper planing

    Knowing how warm the output of that equipment can be I'm just concerned about the lack of proper ventilation caused by enclosing the rack in a closet.

    In saying that, there isn't exactly a very good picture of the finished rack so I can't say how you'd get in there.

      You're not the only one wondering this Glenn. Where is the ventilation?

        The rack has a 4 fan cooling tray at hte top, standard add-on to most racks (we use them at work for all of ours)

        The gap at the top above the rack is the ventilation out of the "cupboard", combined with the intake holes from teh bottom of hte rack, problem solved :)

          Ayden saves the day again! Along the front-bottom of the rack there is an air intake grill which cool air is sucked in and is helped out by 2 x 120mm intake fans (not shown in the pics). This pumps air up through the case and is extracted above the case by 6 x 120mm fans, so operation is the same as a rack with all of the panels attached.

          Once it's out of the rack and into the cavity, a ducted centrifugal fan pushes it outside. The fan is always running. The glass door does a great job of muffling the fan sound, and the walls are lined with this industrial acoustic insulation that is about 90mm thick and apparently costs around $600sqm. I got a few offcuts from a theatre my company wired and the rack makes no more noise than a standard computer, and it's a nice bit of atmosphere to hear the gentle hum of the rack.

            I was going to say, with that antec case, if you want to drop the sound down a bit i found swapping out the original 80mm fans at the back with 2X Arctic Cooling AC-F8-TC i found that cuts out a lot of the noise, they are temp controlled and they only cut in when things get a bit hot, though it seems like you have that under control anyway!

    Take my money.

    It looks good and I do enjoy looking at people's set ups, but I'd rather spend the money on actual games.

    My modest man cave also needs to accommodate sport watching in addition to gaming.

    Re: The Block

    So I assume your of the same opinion of that show that I am. That it's a cleverly crafted 7 hour a week commercial designed to build an emotional engagement between the viewing audience and the shows sponsers?

    If you want a fun drinking game take a shot every time someone says Mitre 10, you'll be on the floor after the first 10 minutes.

      WI N #2

        Excellent, I will advise my missus that you concur the next time I go on a rant when she turns it on :P

    He should have put an alcove at rear to walk in and use a curtain instead of extending all the way across to the wall si nce its not load bearing

    Looks like there might be a door/hatch at the back - if you look at the poster pic, there's what appears to be a keyhole (bottom right, thereabouts) that could be used to open the door to get at the back of the server. It's either a keyhole or a bolt, and I can't see why there'd be a bolt there and nowhere else... The door would be difficult to see, because it's a black surface in poor lighting, with the poster brightly lit, making dark areas that much darker.

      OTOH, looking closely, I can make out a panel there, but it looks very small... If that's all there is for rear access, I'd have personally made the access a little larger.

        I think that might just be the network port. Looks like it might be from the same area as the previous photo.

    How was the poster done?

      I'm guessing, high res print onto mulitple sheets, with some careful lighting.

      But i would love to have that confirmed, it does look awesome!

        Ayden you're killing it mate! The BF3 is made up of 4 x 5 a3 laminated sheets with 2 x 20w downlights angled at it evenly, which illuminates the poster against the black background the lamination reflects the coloured light which makes for nice effect lighting. This based on a trick I used to use back in my stage lighting days.

    to get to the back of the rack: should have installed a door on the side :-)

    nice to see him using his electrican skills for personal use and not just business :) ETU stickers all over the fridge + 1

      lol the stupid fridge, standard attire for the union sparky :-)

      It was the the first thing I noticed to.

    Why isn't the gaming tower in the rack as well, instead of taking up room on the desk?

      Good question; this is because I like to tinker with my gear a bit, but also because the case lights turn on and off with the coloured lights in the ceiling (as do the rack LEDs) and it's also another source of light to assist with the effect lighting in the room

    From the look of one of the photos, there's another room or cupboard on the opposite side of the wall the rack is against. Am I close?

    Sliding door on the side wall of the "closet" the rack is in?
    I don't see any reason for the lump right behind his monitor otherwise...

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