Motherboard mounting guide for Open Benchtable and OBT Mini

This is part of our series of how-to & guide about the Open Benchtable and the Open Benchtable Mini. Today we focus on mounting a motherboard on your Open Benchable.

Getting ready

The Open Benchtable is compatible with pretty much all the common form-factors: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX and XL-ATX.

The Open Benchtable Mini is compatible with the Mini-ITX (and some Mini-DTX) form factor.

To start, get the number of stand-off that you need from their storage location. ATX & Micro-ATX form factor requires up-to nine and Mini-ITX requires four.

As mentioned in our mounting guides, there are two types of stand-offs and they can be mixed. Half of them are push-pin standoff while the other half is made of screw standoffs (these are similar to the conventional standoffs you find in most cases). All of the standoffs are stored in the feet of your OBT.

If you are using screw standoffs, get the same amount of M3 screws off, there are located on the right of your OBT.

Tips from the team: we usually go for one conventional standoff in the center and push-pins for all of the others! (you can mix push-pin and screw-standoffs that you feel comfortable with).

Motherboard Mounting

Once you’re all set up, install your standoff so they align with your motherboard (green locations).

If you are using conventional standoffs, tighten your M3 screws in them to secure the motherboard.

Usign the Open Benchtable Mini is even easier, you only need 4 standoffs

Let us know on Social Media what is your favorite mounting strategy: Push-pins only or Mixed ?

Fan mounting guide – OBT & OBT Mini

Even if the OBT is easy to build, sometimes we just want to check how things should be worked out. Today we focus on installing fans on your Open Benchtable.

Getting ready

To mount your fan, you will need to detach four M3 screws, two brackets and optionnally two washers.

In the middle of your OBT, you fill find your brackets, they are attached with one M3 screw each. Unscrew these to get the brackets off. Washers are securely held with the PCI-E thumbscrews, unscrew the nuts and you will find your washers! You can then find two more M3 screws on the right side of your OBT or in your OBT Screw Kit.

Tip from the team: Washers are optional, they are here to prevent any friction between the two aluminum parts which can leave esthetic marks.

Installation

While fans all have the same mouting point & dimension, not all fans are created equal. Thus we outline the two common way to mount your fans to the brackets.

Case 1: Your fan can fit a screw through its mount

This is the easiest case! First, pass a M3 screw through the corner of your fan. Next, screw it the middle hole of the bracket. Finally, use your spare M3 screws to secure the brackets to the holes which are located on the edge of your Open Benchtable.

Tip from the team: The bracket has two different thicknesses on it to accomodate most configurations possible. Play with the brackets to find the best fitting position.

Case 2: Your fan can’t fit a screw through its mounts

There are two ways to tackle it. You can use third party screws and nuts or use third party extra long M3 screws.

Using screws and nuts

When using screws and nuts, pass the screws through your fan’s mounting point and bracket, then tighten the nuts. Finally, use M3 screws to attach the brackets in the holes located on the edge of the Open Benchtable.

Using extra-long M3 screws

When using extra long M3 screws, pass them through the fan’s mounting points. Next, use the middle hole of the bracket as a nut to attach the screw in it. Finally, use your OBT M3 thumbscrews to secure the brackets to the edge of your OBT.

Connect!

Finish by connecting your fan to your motherboard or fan controller.

Theses are awesomes builds by the community to inspire you.

This conclude our fan assembly guide.

Feel free to share your builds with us!

GPU mounting guide

Even if the Open Benchtable is easy to build, sometimes we just want to check how things should work out. Today we focus on installing any sort of full sized extension card, such as a GPU or Capture Card.

Getting ready

First, get the PCI-E thumb screws out.

If you are using the OBT, four PCI-E standoffs are included. To get them out, simply loosen the thumbscrew and they will detach easily.

If you are using an OBT Mini, two PCI-E standoffs are included with your unit. To get them out, you need to unlock the feet. Loosen the 6 screws highlighted in the picture below. Then get the PCI-E standoffs by sliding them out of the feet.

A video is worth a thousand words.

Use the required number of PCI-E standoffs, and store the remaining in their original location.

If you are using a large number of PCI-Express cards and require extra PCI-Express standoffs, consider getting an OBT Screw Kit.

Installation

Once you’re all set-up, screw the bottom thread of the PCI-E standoff to the screw standoff. Find the screw standoff attached to the OBT feet. Repeat this process on all the standoffs you plan to use.

Now that everything is ready, mount your PCI-E standoffs in the holes that correspond to the PCI-E slot of your motherboard.

Plug your PCI-Express card. Tighten the nuts on the top screws. All done!

Tips from the team: Some cables with large display port connectors, might need a bit more wiggle room with the standoffs. In this case, play with the top nuts to adjust position and alignment.

Let us know on social media what other guides you want to see for your Open Benchtable!

Noctua VRM Cooling System mounting guide

The OBT community created a lot of different adds on to the benchtable. Most of the community projects are created by enthusiasts on their own but NOCTUA decided to pitch in as well. This post will guide you to install this exclusive VRM cooling bracket!

The installation of the VRM cooling bracket is ultra simple and barely require a guide.

Make one or get your VRM cooling bracket

First, you have to have the bracket (3D print it or purchase it) and the Noctua fans. As we discussed in our post focusing on why and how they came up with this idea, you can 3D print the bracket in any material that you have or you can buy an aluminium version.

Noctua VRM Bracket render
Noctua’s VRM fan bracket

Attach the fans

Attach the fans to the bracket. To mount them, use your prefered way to mount fans, wether it is screws or rubber tighteners.

Secure on your Open Benchtable

Pick two M3 screws, from the right side of the Open Benchtable or from the OBT Screw Kit. Attach the VRM cooling add-on with the M3 screws in the holes located on the edge next to the handle.

OBT Thumb Screw M3

Connect!

Finish by connecting, the two 4-pins wire on any of the fan port of your motherboard.

Your VRM will probably thank you for this add-on!

This concludes our assembly guide for NOCTUA’s 2X 60MM FAN BRACKET.

Feel free to share with us your builds!

Watercooling installation guide

The Open Benchtable is quite straightforward to build as we showed on our step by step assembly guide. But due to the multitude of configurations you can create, we share the teams tips for attaching your watercooling kit. This watercooling installation guide focus on the most popular configurations to build your WC kit on the OBT.

The Open Benchtable is designed to handle any sort of hardware, it allows the users to build computers with a wide variety of component choices. Watercooling kits are no exception. Indeed, the OBT can support large radiator sizes, from 120mm to the giant 420mm ones. The only limit is gravity (almost)!

On the edges of the OBT, holes allow to create pretty much any configuration you could think of! Let’s divide them in three categories:

  • Radiator on top
  • Radiator on the side
  • Exotic mounting

Category 1 : Above the Open Benchtable frame

There are three recommended locations to install your watercooling’s radiator:

  • At the top (PSU/handle area)
  • On the right side
  • At the bottom (storage area)

There is an extra location on the IO side, that we wouldn’t specifically recommend.

At the top (PSU/handle location)

At the Open Benchtable’s edge located above the power supply unit, you will find holes. Attach two brackets using the M3 thumbscrews provided with your OBT. Adjust the brackets to fit your radiator mounting and use the screws provided with your radiator or the OBT screws. 

Tips from the team: Use the widest mounting point on the Open Benchtable to support large radiators.

If you love to use the OBT screws everywhere, consider getting a Open Benchtable Screw Kit.

On the right side

Depending on your motherboard format and GPU size, consider mounting the radiators on the right of the OBT. Adjust the brackets to fit your radiator and you’re good to go!

Tips from the team : This usually works with ATX or smaller motherboards. Consider that any GPU larger than your motherboard frame can conflict with large radiators.

Facing the GPU / storage side

This one makes a lot of sense if your GPU is watercooled. Just above the storage space, there are 4 holes to attach the brackets. Like the PSU/handle side seen earlier, find the holes that fit the best your watercooling system!

On the left side (behind the IO shield)

This setup is not recommended, as it easily blocks the motherboard IO and the GPU connectivity. This option is available on OBT v1 and v1.1.

There are two holes on the OBT edge behind the IO shield to attach your components. However, this mounting space is used mostly in Extreme Overclocking Setup when the GPU is on a different PCI-E slot and for industrial motherboards/testing systems.

Category 2 : Below the Open Benchtable frame

There are four different locations where you can install your radiator when you choose it to be under the OBT frame. There are two recommended layouts and two other locations possible.

Setting the radiator below means that your radiator is below your pump, in some configurations this can lead to bubbles in your loop.

At the top (PSU/handle location)

We wouldn’t really recommend this setup because it can easily obstruct the PSU’s plug. This is a good location for a tiny radiators, pump or VRM Cooling bracket.

Use the brackets to secure the radiator to the frame. Holes are located on the edge just above the PSU. 

On the right side

This position is useful for long radiators, be creative with the brackets and positions.

With a combination of “Bigger-than-ATX” motherboards and large radiators this might not be possible. Nonetheless, this is a great location for long radiators, distro-plates or reservoirs.

At the bottom, facing the storage

In the same fashion as PSU/handle position, you can set your radiator facing the storage. The good part here is that there won’t be any conflicts with airflow nor plugs.

Adjust the bracket spacing based on your needs and component size.

On the left side, (under the IO shield)

You can attach the radiator on the IO side of your rig. This setup works best with thin radiators that use 120mm fans or smaller. This position is not recommended as some radiator size will conflict with the IO of your motherboard or GPU.

This can be used for your radiator or your pump depending on your creativity.

Mounting pumps or reservoirs

All the locations can accommodate watercooling pump, reservoirs or extra add-ons like the OBT Debug Card. Depending on your pump, the brackets are helpful to accommodate a large choice of models.

Build & Share

We love to see the OBT Community members building on the Open Benchtable.

Here are some of the builds to inspire you.

Reach out to Open Benchtable on you favorite social media : IG @openbenchtable, Twitter @openbenchtable, FB /openbenchtable.

Step-By-Step assembly guide – OBT

The OBT is so simple to assemble that we never really bothered making a step-by-step assembly guide besides the one available in the box.

So, here we are with our detailed, step-by-step assembly and use guide for the Open Benchtable. The instructions provided here are valid for the Community Edition, v1 and v1.1 of the Open Benchtable. A step-by-step guide for the OBT Mini is available in our how-to section as well.

On the Open Benchtable, there is no limitation on motherboard sizes, as long as they fit some of the ATX mounting holes. There is also no hard limit on the CPU cooler or GPU sizes.

First, remove the OBT from its packaging. If you choose not to keep it, please consider reusing it for something else or recycle it!

Assembling the feet

To release the feet, unscrew the four screws holding the feet to the structure.

Using these screws, assemble the feet directly in the two holes on each side of the benchtable as marked in the picture below. For better compatibility with all PSUs, orient the feet so that the extruded part at the bottom faces outward.

Attaching the PSU

The OBT (CE, v1, v1.1) is compatible with the ATX 12V, ATX Large, ATX-EPS and BTX formats.

Note that the screws used for holding the PSU are 6#32 when everything else on the OBT uses M3.

The 6#32 screws can be found on the left side of the table, while spare M3 screws are on the right side.

Attach the PSU to the top feet under the handle for better compatibility with the storage (see later). The PSU can be attached with the fan facing up or down, but it is recommended to use your PSU with the fan facing up.

You will only need three screws to hold the PSU to the Open Benchtable foot.

Attaching the CPU/Cooler/RAM

At this stage, you should mount the CPU, the cooler and the ram as you would for any other case.

Tips from the team: In case you use watercooling radiators or large All-In-One Watercooling kits in a non-conventional approach (see the last step): This is a good time to hook them up to the table for good. We have a blog post with detailed instructions on how to proceed

Tips from the team: Brackets can be used in a wide array of scenarios depending on how you orient them, from 120 mm to 280 mm radiators. 

Securing the motherboard

Now, let’s get our motherboard on the OBT!

You need the standoffs located on the feet. If you take a look at them, you will notice that they are of two different types. Eight of them are the usual screw standoffs that help you secure the motherboard in place. The other eight are our fast mounting push-pin standoffs. You can use whichever type suits your needs best. If you’re still not convinced on how to proceed, we got you covered on our blog!


Tips from the team: we usually go for one conventional standoff in the center and push-pins for the others! (you can mix push-pin and screw-standoffs that you feel comfortable with).

Securing the GPU

Next is our GPU!

At the bottom of the OBT frame are four PCI-E thumbscrews. For each PCI-E holder, you will need a screw-type standoff (from the step above).

Pick the quantity needed for securing your GPU and install the standoffs into the OBT’s PCI-E holes.

Attach the PCI-E thumbscrews to the standoffs, and remove the nuts from the top screws.

Insert your GPU into the PCI-E slot, the thumbscrews should line up with the GPU. Once done, tighten the nuts onto the top of the PCI-E standoffs.

Our dedicated post will guide you through an even more detailed way to secure your GPU!

Attach storage

You can easily attach up to two storage devices at the bottom part of the OBT. The Open Benchtable supports 2.5″ SSD or HDD of 7mm and 9.5mm z-height (thickness). You can attach a regular 3.5″ HDD as well.

Use the thumbscrews provided with the Open Benchtable to secure them in place.

We recently published an article that features a video on how to mount the drives!

Assembling accessories

To add extra coolers or accessories to your set-up, use the included brackets. These are located at the center of the benchtable. Screw them at the top of your OBT and then mount your accessory or cooler onto it. The brackets can also be used to accommodate all-in-one and custom watercooling. More advanced informations is available on our How-To section  

Tips from the team: Use the OBT screws to attach the bracket to the table, but use the screws provided by your cooler/accessory manufacturer.

You can already add community projects and accessories to your benchtable, mounting instructions will be in their respective projects

As an example, if you want to install the OBT debug card. Tighten it on the side with two M3 screws and tadaaa!

If you are interested in mounting Noctua’s VRM Cooling System, we got you covered on our blog.

Cable management

The end is near! You just have to lay the cables around and everything should be working!


Tips from the team: Use cable ties and make use of the space between the motherboard and the OBT to route/attach/guide your cables nicely.

Inspire yourself with some builds from the community

This concludes our Open Benchtable assembly guide.

Feel free to share your builds!

Community Project

In this blog post we focus on the community project and how you can participate with your ideas.

The philosophy

From the very beginning of the project, the Open Benchtable team aim to create the best possible benchtable. At the genesis of the project: overclocking competitions took place all around the globe. Things have changed but the mission stayed the same. We wanted a product that is slim and compatible with the major form factor without compromising the versatility.

The philosophy behind the product stayed along the project while the use-case evolved. The Open Benchtable is now part of the daily life of leading tech-reviewers and enthusiasts alike. Moreover, as a team of makers, we know how frustrating it can be when products full dimensions aren’t easily available. This is why make the OBT family as open as possible by sharing our CAD (source) files directly with the community.
These files are available on our community page with an abundance of projects put together by the community itself.

Built for the community

Through time and passion, these makers came up with different projects to enhance the open benchtable. Spanning from a 3D printed Cable-Tie Holder to a DIY 360 Radiator Horizontal Stand. All of these projects are available to anybody who wants to use them. Highligths are avaialble on our community page and you can find some on sites like thingiverse .

Industry support commitment

When they were challenged by the VRMs Temperature on a demo platform, NOCTUA chipped-in to the open source project. The creativity of the community and the open standard of the OBT made it a perfect fit for a custom accessory. NOCTUA designed a custom VRM Fan holder for 2x 60mm fans and solved their challenges. The schematics are available to 3D print, CNC or simply order straight from the community page. You can read more about the NOCTUA VRM bracket history on the blog.

We always try to share all of the projects on our community page and make them available to the widest audience.

Community Edition

The Open Benchtable community aspect is an important part of the project. The first 200 units of the OBT where called and engraved “Community Edition” for that reason. We strive to share the community projects or your build.

If you worked on a project, an accessory or a mod of the Open Benchtable, contact us!

 Finally, we would like to thank every community members who dedicated their time to create these amazing projects!

Open Benchtable Debug Card Now Available

February 8, 2021 – Open Benchtable is delighted to announce that the Debug Card, developed by ElmorLabs and designed to fit all full size Open Benchtable, is now available for purchase in our store.

The debug card allows you to display motherboard debug information sent to port 80 on the LPC bus, even if there’s no on-board display on your motherboard. Open Benchtable fans may recall last year’s promotion with the debug card. The debug card uses an Altera/Intel Max V CPLD which decodes the LPC bus and displays the debug codes on a 7-segment display. The prerequisite is that there’s a TPM or LPC debug header on the motherboard. Pinouts of the card, cables and standard motherboard headers can be found over at ElmorLabs.com. You can find a list of compatible motherboards on the ElmorLabs forum.

This updated version has an improved full surface mount design with JST PH-headers for simple and reliable connection to the debug card. It also has M4 mounting holes (60 x 20 mm) for attaching to a suitable case. The product dimensions are 69.8 x 29.8 mm.

Included accessories:

  • 30 cm cables for ASUS/Gigabyte motherboards (2×5 2.00mm LPC/TPM header)
  • 30 cm cables for MSI motherboards (2×7 2.0mm JTPM header)
  • 30 cm cables for ASRock motherboards (2×9 2.0mm TMPS header)
  • 30 cm cables for Supermicro motherboards (2×6 2.54mm JTPM1 header)
  • 30 cm cables for power and reset buttons (front panel header)

Chinese New Year 2021 from Feb 3 to Feb 18

As the Chinese New Year 2021 celebrations are about to get underway, we’d like to inform you about the impact the festivities will have on shipments and order processing.

Our China-based partners will not process orders between February 3 and February 18. The online store, customer support and community forum are not affected and will be available throughout the period. Barring any unfortunate circumstances such as a resurgence of the coronavirus, we expect operations to resume gradually after the celebration period. All orders placed during the celebration period will be processed once the logistics team is back in action.

Also, we’d like to inform you that all products are back in stock with sufficient quantity.

The entire Open Benchtable team wishes you Xīnnián kuàilè (新年快樂) (a happy New Year). May the Year of the Ox bring great fortune and prosperity to you and your families!

The ox’s earthly branch, meanwhile, is associated with yin, which is slow, soft and passive. Its element is earth, representing “stability and nourishment. It is believed these additional associations and the characteristics of the ox have great synergy and are mostly favorable.

Kathryn Wortley, Japan Times (https://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2021/01/01/lifestyle/2021-year-ox/)

BC1T Open Benchtable Pre-Order Now Available

From November 1, 2020, you can pre-order the BC1T Open Benchtable. The pre-orders are expected to start shipping out from mid-November and arrive on your doorstep not much later. The BC1T Open Benchtable is available exclusively through the Open Benchtable web store for the next couple of months.

Open Benchtable Product Family

The Open Benchtable project set out to create an open testbed platform for PC components, adapting to the evolving needs of PC enthusiasts and IT professionals. The project has now developed a range of benchtable products that are highly suited to the needs of a travelling PC enthusiast, overclocker, or any professional who needs to test components efficiently.

The lightweight BC1 Open Benchtable has received praise from tech enthusiast and reviewer worldwide including prestigious awards from Red Dot and iF Design. Eminently portable and fully integrated, Open Benchtable products contain all the components needed to set up a full system. Blueprints are open-source allowing the platform to grow and evolve.

The BC1T Open Benchtable is the seventh addition to the Open Benchtable product family.

The original Silver version launched all the way back in 2016 as a community edition of the Streacom BC1. In 2017 the product family expanded with the popular additional color variants Black and Red. Later that year, the full-size bench tables were joined with a triplet of tiny BC1 Mini for the small form factor fanatics.

This year, we expand the product family In celebration of our partner Streacom’s 10 year anniversary with the Titanium color variant.