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I have a relatively loud desktop computer.

I would like to place the computer in a closet on the other side of the room, so there is only the keyboard, mouse, and screen on my desk. (The closet has ventilation holes going outside the building so there is no risk of overheating.)

My setup is

  • A fairly modern machine with USB 2 and FireWire (I would be ready to add Bluetooth if necessary)
  • A graphics card with VGA and DVI ports connected to a 23" TFT
  • I am working at a 1920x700 resolution and do a lot of graphical work
  • Windows 7

The direct distance to the closet is about 5 meters (about 16 feet). A cable solution would have to span about 12 meters (about 40 feet).

Is this possible to achieve in this day and age within a reasonable price range, and with decent image quality? I imagine the distances are too long for DVI and USB cables. Is that correct, or is DVI more generous in cable length than VGA used to be?

Are there affordable gadgets that help bridge the distance?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

correction DVI CABLES HAVE COME DOWN IN PRICE 40FT at $53 from newegg
You can get DVI cables that long, but they are expensive...I don't know if they have some type of inline signal cleaner/amplifier or what, but I had used them for a video DJ. 40ft is pushing it.

going wireless is going to squash your resolution(most vga over wireless limits resolution to 800x600 or similar). Looks like that's not an option either.

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DVI and HDMI cables indeed seem to have reached an affordable price range! I'll definitely check that out, thanks. – Pekka 웃 Dec 8 '10 at 13:58

If your computer is loud because it burns through a lot of electrical power, which in turn produces a lot of heat that must be removed, it might be a very bad idea to put it in an enclosed space with not enough ventilation. At least monitor the internal temperature of the critical components. Modern CPUs throttle down on overheating, but your graphics card, hard drive and the mainboard components used to provide current to your CPU will not take overheating lightly.

If, on the other hand it does not use much power, then probably installing a quieter fan (I assume the noise is coming mainly from that) might be your best option.

If the noise comes from your hard drive(s), you either have very old ones or they are close to fail because of failing bearings.

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Very good points. The computer is a small form factor barebone with a special ventilation system that is very loud. I fear that buying more silent hardware is going to be much more expensive than moving the problem away from the desk, but I think I'll look into this anyway. The closet has ventilation holes that lead outside so this should work but the point of monitoring temperatures is well taken – Pekka 웃 Dec 8 '10 at 14:41
Ventilation is all about airflow, so what you need is some kind of intake and an outlet. Warm air tends to rise, so you generally want your intake near the bottom and the outlet near the top. The ventilation system in your PC should have a similar design, so try to match it with the ventilation holes in your cabinet. – TToni Dec 8 '10 at 15:15
TToni, have some sensitivity for those with sensitive ears. Some people hear hard drives if they make a noise. And certain noises can upset some hermits very much. – barlop Dec 8 '10 at 16:06

Here's a page of options. See if they fit your budget. Cost really depends on whether you want audio extended too and whether you use VGA or DVI for the display.

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Cheers, those look interesting! If I can bridge the distance for the monitor using DVI/HDMI, I could use a cheap extender to extend USB. What little audio I need I could handle myself using cinch cables. This might become possible after all. – Pekka 웃 Dec 8 '10 at 13:59
and if cost is no issue and you really want to go crazy you can try one of these – Xantec Dec 8 '10 at 14:36
@Xantec I think they are outside my budget, but good to know anyway. Up to 1 km - whew – Pekka 웃 Dec 8 '10 at 14:42

Pekka: Be careful about PCs in closet space. I had a server that used a cheap motherboard in a closet for 1.5 years. Admittedly, my offices can get warm during Texas weekends, and temps would hit 95F (your 35C) at least twice on the weekends for about 100 days a year. The outcome of all this, was at least one capacitor failed on the motherboard, creating no end of trouble just to locate that the capacitor, indeed, was the source of the problem. So, be mindful, that improper ventilation/cooling can cause you trouble down the road.

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Very important caveats, thank you. As said I'm fairly optimistic because my closet has special ventilation holes but this needs close monitoring in any case, and it does get similarly warm here in summer. – Pekka 웃 Dec 8 '10 at 14:41

I am very familiar with a computer being noisy and it being too expensive to make it cooler.. (though nowadays this is not such an issue). But the solution to this has always been a KVM Extender

It moves the box further away from the monitor and keyboard.

By the way, old computer science books call the CPU the box.. But since then people call the CPU the processor. You refer to the box.

If you were extending VGA and USB separately, that might be OK too. And by the way.. I have a 50" VGA cable, works perfectly. It was very thick.. maybe that was why. I heard of a guy with a 50" VGA cable that didn't have good results.

And I guess you don't need to extend the power cord ;-) though if you did I guess a retractable power cord type thing would do it.

Best way i've found to extend USB, if your KVM Extender doesn't, is a Cat5 USB Extender.

Another way but not as good, is USB can be extended at 5M intervals with USB Boosters. Each one plugs into a mains power source.

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I might take the risk and buy a DVI cable. A cat5 USB extender sounds interesting as I have cat5 cable lying around already! I'll look into those. – Pekka 웃 Dec 8 '10 at 15:51…’s 10 ft premium 24-AWG DVI cables. <-- Looks like the same concept. So I guess Thicker cable goes for longer while maintaining quality! – barlop Dec 8 '10 at 16:03

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