Moving My PC Into the Basement

Most computers generate a lot of noise and heat. A few months ago, coincidentially the middle of summer, I realized I could move my PC into the basement and solve both of these problems.

Here is a photo of my tower in my desk - pardon the dust:

PC In Desk

It's pretty dusty, and since it's in a fairly enclosed area, it runs hotter than it should. My original solution was to add a fan to the desk, and drill holes to allow the air to flow through. Unfortunately, this turns my desk into a giant room heater.

Originally I planned on running the cables through the wall down to the basement, but the DVI cables have large ends, and I didn't want to remove much insulation from an outside wall. I decided to instead drill a hole in the floor using a standard size used in desks so that it's easy to cover/cap as needed.

This is the type of grommet I picked up:

Floor Grommet

I used masking tape on the wood floor to avoid splintering, and then used a hole saw to drill a 2.5" hole.

Here is what the finished hole looks like, with the plastic ring dropped (again, the same as what you would use in an office desk) in to make it look nice. It's near the wall so that it's out of the way, and my desk is close enough to the wall to run my cables under the desk into the hole.

Finished Hole in Floor

Let's head down to the basement.

I built 2 brackets to hang from the floor joists and hold the tower.


Here they are installed with the PC sitting on top. I'm going to put some hooks in for wire management.

PC Mounted in Basement

Blu-Ray Drive

One issue with having my PC in a different room is that I can't phsyically access the Blu-Ray drive without going into the basement.

I found a USB 3.0 to SATA adapter that connects to the drive and provides power and a data connection.

Anker USB to SATA Adapter

I don't want to scratch my desk, so let's add some protection.

Blu-Ray Drive Feet

Here it is sitting on my desk.

Blu-Ray Drive on my Desk

Other Connections

Not a lot of cables are required for my setup. I have 2 dual-DVI connections, a 3.5mm audio connection, and a couple of USB extensions allowing me to connect a USB hub and other devices.

One suggestion if you're thinking of doing this - run a few USB extensions so that you can directly connect devices like keyboards to the PC. If your keyboard runs through a USB hub, you may run into issues if you need to get into the BIOS since the USB Hub drivers may not work at boot time. I've also seen delays in Windows recognizing the keyboard when connected to a hub.

I keep my PC on 24/7, so accessing the power button isn't important. It's easy enough for me to go into the basement in the rare case where I need to push the button. If you need access to your power button remotely, it would not be overly difficult to run 2 low voltage wires and connect a momentary switch. The power button simply closes a circuit momentarily, so it's easy to extend.


Even though my setup was extremely quiet before, it's noticably quieter now. We also had some warm days recently and my office stayed nice and cool. I'm happy with the solution so far, and the extra space in my desk was a great place to hide my printer.

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Azure in Plain English

Recently I saw a great page called Amazon Web Services in Plain English. I searched for the Azure equivalent, and as it turns out, one doesn't exist! Time to set that straight.

The most interesting thing about this exercise is that Azure services are actually named fairly well. For each of the official names, it was extremely difficult to come up with a better name.

Base Services

Azure Service Could be Called Use this to... Like AWS...
Virtual MachinesServersMove existing apps to the cloud without changing them. You manage the entire computer.EC2
Cloud ServicesManaged Virtual MachinesRun applications on virtual machines that you don't have to manage, but can partially manage. 
BatchAzure Distributed ProcessingWork on a large chunk of data by divvying it up between a whole bunch of machines. 
RemoteAppRemote Desktop for AppsExpose non-web apps to users. For example, run Excel on your iPad.AppStream
Web AppsWeb Site HostRun websites (.NET, Node.js, etc.) without managing anything extra. Scale automatically and easily.Elastic Beanstalk
Mobile AppsMobile App AcceleratorQuickly get an app backend up and running. 
Logic AppsVisio for Doing StuffChain steps together to get stuff done. 
API AppsAPI HostHost your API's without any of the management overhead. 
API ManagementAPI ProxyExpose an API and off-load things like billing, authentication, and caching.API Gateway


Azure Service Could be Called Use this to... Like AWS...
Notification HubsNotification BlasterSend notifications to all of your users, or groups of users based on things like zip code. All platforms.SNS
Mobile EngagementMobile PsychicTrack what users are doing in your app, and customize experience based on this data. 


Azure Service Could be Called Use this to... Like AWS...
SQL DatabaseAzure SQLUse the power of a SQL Server cluster without having to manage it.RDS
Document DBAzure NoSQLUse an unstructured JSON database without having to manage it.Dynamo DB
Redis CacheEasy CacheCache files in memory in a scalable way.Elasticache
Storage BlobsCloud File SystemStore files, virtual disks, and build other storage services on top of.S3
Azure SearchIndex & SearchAdd search capabilities to your website, or index data stored somewhere else.CloudSearch
SQL Data WarehouseStructured Report DatabaseStore all of your company's data in a structured format for reporting.RedShift
Azure Data LakeUnstructured Report DatabaseStore all of your company's data in any format for reporting. 
HDInsightHosted HadoopDo Hadoopy things with massive amounts of data. 
Machine LearningSkynetTrain AI to predict the future using existing data. Examples include credit card fraud detection and Netflix movie recommendations. 
Stream AnalyticsReal-time data queryLook for patterns in data as it arrives. 
Data FactoryAzure ETLOrchestrate extract, transform, and load data processes.Data Pipeline
Event HubsIoT IngestorIngest data at ANY scale inexpensively. 


Azure Service Could be Called Use this to... Like AWS...
Virtual NetworkPrivate NetworkPut machines on the same, private network so that they talk to each other directly and privately. Expose services to the internet as needed. 
ExpressRouteFiber to AzureConnect privately over an insanely fast pipe to an Azure datacenter. Make your local network part of your Azure network.Direct Connect
Load BalancerLoad BalancerSplit load between multiple services, and handle failures. 
Traffic ManagerDatacenter Load BalancerSplit load between multiple datacenters, and handle datacenter outages. 
DNSDNS ProviderRun a DNS server so that your domain names map to the correct IP addresses.Route53
VPN GatewayVirtual Fiber to AzureConnect privately to an Azure datacenter. Make your local network part of your Azure network. 
Application GatewayWeb Site ProxyProxy all of your HTTP traffic. Host your SSL certs. Load balance with sticky sessions. 
CDNCDNMake your sites faster and more scalable by putting your static files on servers around the world close to your end users.Cloudfront
Media ServicesVideo ProcessorTranscode video and distribute and manage it on the scale of the Olympics.Elastic Transcoder


Azure Service Could be Called Use this to... Like AWS...
Azure Resource ManagerDeclarative ConfigurationDefine your entire Azure architecture as a repeatable JSON file and deploy all at once.CloudFormation


Azure Service Could be Called Use this to... Like AWS...
Application InsightsApp AnalyticsView detailed information about how your apps (web, mobile, etc.) are used.Mobile Analytics
Service FabricCloud App FrameworkBuild a cloud optimized application that can scale and handle failures inexpensively.

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Ignite 2015 Mega Post



  • Azure Stack
    • Use ARM templates on-premises
    • Storage support
    • IaaS
    • Service Fabric
  • ExpressRoute supports Office 365 connectivity
  • IaaS
    • Azure DNS Public Preview
    • User defined routing
    • Standard VPN Gateway
      • Use a site-to-site VPN over Expressroute
    • Multiple VIPs per cloud service
    • Expressroute and VPN co-existence
    • VM Volume encryption for Windows and Linux
      • Encrypt boot and data volumes
    • VM Scale Set public preview
      • Set-based operations on identical VMs through an API
      • Great for big compute scenarios
    • C++ Storage 1.0 GA
    • Client-side encryption for Azure Storage Preview
    • Xamarin storage client library
    • New Storage Blob Type - Append Blob
  • Azure DNS
  • Public preview of Advanced Threat Analytics


  • Office 2016 Public Preview
  • Power BI mobile app
  • Delve Dashboard
    • Show email, meeting, Skype, Yammer analytics
    • Work/life balance stats
    • Work map
  • Skype integration in Office
  • Office desktop collaboration
  • Sway will be coming to the education and business O365 plans
  • Skype for Business
    • iOS and Android by fall CY
    • Mac by end of CY 2015
    • Coming soon to the cloud: Enterprise voice, audio conferencing, PSTN calling
    • Broadcast to up to 10,000 viewers
    • DVR functionality for conferences

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Jason Young I'm Jason Young, software developer at heart, technical evangelist for Microsoft by day. This blog contains my opinions, of which my employer may not share.

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