MP 7,1 Under desk rack mount for Mac Pro 7.1

jasoncarle

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 13, 2006
237
127
Minnesota
I have been doing some googling and have not been able to find one of these, is anyone here aware of this thing? Does it exist?
 

jasoncarle

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 13, 2006
237
127
Minnesota
What kind of solution are you thinking of? This is a heavy machine.
I have a pretty stout solid hardwood desk and I was hoping to mount it underneath that with just the front exposed, of course, and able to be pulled out when access to the inside is needed.
 

ytk

macrumors regular
Jul 8, 2010
226
9
You should be able to get yourself a couple of these and mount them to the underside of the desk, one in the front and one in the back. Just make sure you can attach them to the desk VERY securely. You might even want to add some sort of structural support beams running from the front to back, allowing you to secure the whole bracket to the desk with multiple attachment points.
 

s66

macrumors regular
Dec 12, 2016
182
127
I'd just get a MP with wheels.
I've run server rooms so I'm very familiar with all sorts of 19" racks. But also with their drawbacks. I'm pretty sure there are still some racks out there that have some skin of mine on their insides.

One of those drawbacks is if you need to access devices in the lower Us of the rack that it's really not all that comfortable. Even when there's no desk over it making it even harder.
So what one puts low is heavy stuff (not to have to lift it high (or in bad cases: stability of the whole rack) and stuff that you can "forget" once installed. Typically you'll find a rackmount UPS near the bottom of a rack or something like that in setups without a central UPs for the entire room/facility: little to no need to touch it, and heavy like nothing else (batteries).
A system like a MP7,1 has ports and buttons on both the front and back. In a somewhat typical desk it's also not deep enough to be easy to access both front and back without crawling under said desk.
-> I'd go for something on wheels. The comfort of getting to the machine's ports outweighs most other arguments unless you have it 100% dedicated and will almost never need to attach anything to the back side.

If you go for a 19" racks small enough to fit under a table that has wheels, then why not go for a MP7,1 with wheels ... It's got it all in one go.

If you really need a rack: read up on the apple specs on how to mount the MP in it. Ny far not all 19" racks can hold all equipement. The depth of the rails from the doors (if any), the number of posts, the type of holes, etc.: it all matters.
Personally the racks I liked to work with the most are the open two post telco style ones from Chatsworth (CPI): their cable management solution rocks and I've never hurt myself working in a room with those in it.
But by far not all equipment's rail systems like a 2 post central setup. And once that happens you get squeezed in by the posts hitting, scraping you as you work in and around them all the time.

FWIW: I do have a 19" rack at home in the basement, holds our servers. But our MP7,1s are wheeled and under our desks.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: erroneous

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,624
4,626
The Peninsula
in bad cases: stability of the whole rack
Very, very important point. If you use normal rack rails that offer full extension - you have a very heavy item hanging out from the desk. Most likely, it will tip the desk over unless you design for that. Pro Display XDR comes crashing to the floor, or maybe on your head.

In my lab¹, we:
  • Put UPS systems at the bottom.
  • Large systems (6U or up) next up.
  • Normal 1U and 2U commodity servers next.
  • Top-of-rack network switches in the top of the rack. ;)
  • Bolt each rack to its neighbors (8 bolts - front top and bottom, rear top and bottom)
  • Bolt each rack to the floor (4 bolts - two front, two rear)
Unstable racks are at best costly, at worst deadly.

¹ It's probably worth mentioning that my lab is 13 km from the San Andreas Fault to the southwest and 16 km from the Hayward Fault to the northeast.

Hayward fault is ‘tectonic time bomb,’ more dangerous than San Andreas
 
Last edited:

deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
8,886
1,747
....

If you go for a 19" racks small enough to fit under a table that has wheels, then why not go for a MP7,1 with wheels ... It's got it all in one go.
....

FWIW: I do have a 19" rack at home in the basement, holds our servers. But our MP7,1s are wheeled and under our desks.
The MP 2019 Wheels have locks? I haven't seen any pictures that indicate that they are present. ( that could be the 'ugly' part so Apple hid it. )

If there are 2+ other devices attached to the Mac Pro with relatively limited length cables then the wheels on the Mac Pro don't really 'solve' the issue ( if it doesn't relatively easily roll away. ) .
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
8,886
1,747
You should be able to get yourself a couple of these and mount them to the underside of the desk,
First, if look at that page there are some other 'options" there for "heavy" for the smaller U sizes. There isn't a "6U heavy" here. Perhaps 6U is only their variant of "heavy" but this is a bit dubious for the weight of this object.

Second, really need to look at how the Rack Mac Pro rail system works. The manual's " install into rack " section covers this with pictures. of the Manual. When the Mac Pro is fully telescoped onto the extended rail what is going to happen to your desk you have bolted these brackets to??? It called Torque and moment of inertia.

one in the front and one in the back. Just make sure you can attach them to the desk VERY securely.
You don't bolt the "faceplate" of the system to the rack. The rails go on the rack and then the Mac Pro goes on the rails. The top and bottom of that "two piece" set up not being attached isn't the stable system being targeted with Apple's standard mounting solution. You can probably cobble a 'Plate'/'flat Drawer' for the Mac Pro to sit on. It is so heavy it should move much once get it into place.

The underside of any vintage design oak desk is probably going to be a physical mismatch for this. It doesn't matter how 'sold' the top slab of oak is.
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
8,886
1,747
those angled 1U oriented rack "slots" aren't going to work. The Mac Pro is deeper than the average approximately 15" depth here. [ To the handles to back is 21" but the handles aren't that tall. Need something in 19" range. ]

Second, the face plate of the Mac Pro doesn't "bolt" into the rack. The rails attach to the rack and the Mac Pro attaches to the rail. The difference is somewhat illustrated here in a picture from Mac Stadium of the MP 2019 and 2013 rack mounted side by side.




The bolts holding in the MP 2013 rack frames on the left and not bolts visible on the right.

The edges next to the "bolt" holes would pragmatically need to allow the Mac Pro to fit in. (not sure from spaces pics that works. )

The other major issue is that with rack on rails it will be relatively hard to pull the Mac Pro out onto the extended rails because gravity will be trying to pull the system back into the case. ( going to be a minor wrestiling match to push the buttons to disconnect the Mac Pro from the rails.

https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-pro-rack/install-mac-pro-into-a-rack-apd56f1382d3/mac)





That company makes seriously badass desks with built in rack storage as well. I’m drooling over the Aura sit/stand desk at the moment - https://argosyconsole.com/aura/aura260-ss
Similar issues with the desk rack "slots" that are on an incline. There are some 19" range, horizontable slots but need 5U worth at the full 19".

But yes this kind of a "partial wrap around " desk where the rack is in the 'wings' mainly solve the ease of access to front and back of the device. Do have length issues if running monitors to the other side of the desk with some types of cords though.
 

deconstruct60

macrumors G3
Mar 10, 2009
8,886
1,747
I'd just get a MP with wheels.
....

If you really need a rack: read up on the apple specs on how to mount the MP in it. Ny far not all 19" racks can hold all equipement. The depth of the rails from the doors (if any), the number of posts, the type of holes, etc.: it all matters.
....
P.S. on the other hand. Using the tower with wheels also means that have to disconnect everything from the back ports before can take the case off. If have enough "play" with the cabling to pull the Mac Pro forward on the rails then can take off just the top to get to the slots. Changing Memory ( or service to T2's SSD ) is in disconnect everything board ( as generally have to put the rack into tower like orientation rest on back plate resting vertically. . ).

For folks who swap cards every several months the wheels are a bit of a dual edged sword.
 

s66

macrumors regular
Dec 12, 2016
182
127
The MP 2019 Wheels have locks? I haven't seen any pictures that indicate that they are present. ( that could be the 'ugly' part so Apple hid it. )
No locks that I've found on ours. They are "locked" with a cardboard "box" in their shipping box, but I've not seen any other locks. They do give enough static resistance to plug in a TB3 or so, no problem there.


P.S. on the other hand. Using the tower with wheels also means that have to disconnect everything from the back ports before can take the case off. If have enough "play" with the cabling to pull the Mac Pro forward on the rails then can take off just the top to get to the slots. Changing Memory ( or service to T2's SSD ) is in disconnect everything board ( as generally have to put the rack into tower like orientation rest on back plate resting vertically. . ).
Memory is on the underside of the rackmount MP7,1

Mounting it low enough to go under a desk: might be hard to reach the underside and take that cover off. Without removing it from the rack
Anyway: who's willing to put their face between a MP7,1 dangling on a potentially unstable rack and the floor.

For folks who swap cards every several months
They'd better look up the durability of the connectors.
I'm sure Apple uses good connectors, but those internal connectors are far more fragile than those on the outside (USB/TB etc.)

Example of 50 lifetime cycles of connecting/disconnecting as a specification for PCIe connectors: https://www.mouser.com/pdfdocs/bwb_pcie_cardedge.pdf
 

ytk

macrumors regular
Jul 8, 2010
226
9
First, if look at that page there are some other 'options" there for "heavy" for the smaller U sizes. There isn't a "6U heavy" here. Perhaps 6U is only their variant of "heavy" but this is a bit dubious for the weight of this object.
The “heavy” designation really seems to matter more when using a single mounting point, for equipment that is cantilevered from the rack, and it's probably to keep the rack from flexing. When using two of them, it shouldn't make a difference, because the additional support would heavily reduce or eliminate flexing.

Second, really need to look at how the Rack Mac Pro rail system works. The manual's " install into rack " section covers this with pictures. of the Manual.
It works more or less like every other rack mount rail system I've ever seen works, not sure what you're getting at here.

When the Mac Pro is fully telescoped onto the extended rail what is going to happen to your desk you have bolted these brackets to??? It called Torque and moment of inertia.
Depends on how heavy the desk is. I have two 4U Supermicro servers racked in a moderately heavy 18U transport case, about three feet from where I'm sitting. Even though both of them are loaded with hard drives, I can extend either one of them fully with absolutely no danger of the rack tipping over. I might not want to extend both of them, but even with the rack otherwise empty I can, and have, fully extended the machines with no problem. I can guarantee you that a fully loaded Supermicro 848 chassis is several times heavier than a Mac Pro. The Mac Pro weighs about 40 lbs, and just the empty 848 chassis with no drives is 96 lbs. And the rolling rack probably weighs less than a large desk would.

You don't bolt the "faceplate" of the system to the rack. The rails go on the rack and then the Mac Pro goes on the rails. The top and bottom of that "two piece" set up not being attached isn't the stable system being targeted with Apple's standard mounting solution. You can probably cobble a 'Plate'/'flat Drawer' for the Mac Pro to sit on. It is so heavy it should move much once get it into place.
I'm not sure what you mean here. I didn't say anything about bolting the faceplate of the Mac Pro to the rack. I think I didn't describe what I was thinking of all that well, though. My idea was to get two of the 6U units, and screwing them to the underside of the desk so they are hanging down. One in the front, and the second one in the back. The rails would be installed between the two units, and the Mac Pro mounted into the rails. You would then be able to extend the rails to slide the Mac forward.

Again, the Mac Pro isn't really all that heavy as rack mount systems go. I'm pretty confident that a reasonably heavy desk would be in absolutely no danger of tipping over with such a setup. The real danger would be that the screws used to mount the racks to the desk wouldn't be capable of supporting the weight/torque. One possible solution would therefore be to add more screws, by connecting the front and back rack units, with, say, 2 or 3 lengths of steel square tube with screw holes drilled into it. That would allow you to use a lot more screws to mount to the desk. Alternatively, if aesthetics aren't a huge concern, it might be possible to drill holes through the surface of the desk and countersink some carriage bolts into it.

The underside of any vintage design oak desk is probably going to be a physical mismatch for this. It doesn't matter how 'sold' the top slab of oak is.
I really don't see why that should be the case. A 6' x 3' oak desk can easily weigh 120 pounds. Even with the rails fully extended, the center of gravity of the entire setup should still be well over the base of the desk. And if it does present a tipping hazard, one could probably find a way to add weight to the desk.
 

jasoncarle

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 13, 2006
237
127
Minnesota
I'm not sure what you mean here. I didn't say anything about bolting the faceplate of the Mac Pro to the rack. I think I didn't describe what I was thinking of all that well, though. My idea was to get two of the 6U units, and screwing them to the underside of the desk so they are hanging down. One in the front, and the second one in the back. The rails would be installed between the two units, and the Mac Pro mounted into the rails. You would then be able to extend the rails to slide the Mac forward.
This is exactly how I understood what you wrote. I thought it was a good idea.
- - Post merged: - -

I really don't see why that should be the case. A 6' x 3' oak desk can easily weigh 120 pounds. Even with the rails fully extended, the center of gravity of the entire setup should still be well over the base of the desk.

Again, you nailed the dimensions of my desk. It has a solid Walnut top of 2 inches thick, with a steel base and legs. Its not going anywhere. It's probably more of a table than a desk as far as a traditional desk is concerned, but I use it as a desk.

The tip above of making sure the cables are long enough to remain connected when the Mac Pro is extended was a good one. I will make sure of that and order longer cables if I have to.

If any of you have seen Niel Parfitt on youtube, he has a couple good videos on the advantages of the Mac Pro Rack mount version, and why he chose it. He basically doesn't want to unplug everything just to get inside the machine. My use case isn't as extreme as his, but I have the same reasoning, as well as others.

 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: erroneous

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,624
4,626
The Peninsula
I'm pretty confident that a reasonably heavy desk would be in absolutely no danger of tipping over with such a setup.
Do you define "reasonably heavy" as 'won't tip over when the chassis is slid out'? And "not heavy enough" when the desk tips over when the MP7,1 is slid out?

Don't underestimate torque.
 

jasoncarle

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 13, 2006
237
127
Minnesota
It's a shame you don't have the resources to post a photograph of your desk.

If only someone were to invent a device to take a picture that could be shared...

Perhaps such a device would be too expensive for a Mac Pro owner to have.
- - Post merged: - -

Do you define "reasonably heavy" as 'won't tip over when the chassis is slid out'? And "not heavy enough" when the desk tips over when the MP7,1 is slid out?

Don't underestimate torque.
I sat on the edge of it, lifted my legs off the table and stretched them straight out. I am 200lbs. The table didn't budge...

Really, some of y'alls objections are ridiculous...
- - Post merged: - -

That might be harder than it would seem for TB3 cables.
believe it or not, there are optical cables that will plug into a copper port...
 

Attachments

Last edited:
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.