MyOpenPC DOMA Pro PCI Benching Station Review

If you want to be serious about benching, you need to get yourself a benching station. Luckily, there are some low cost solutions, like the MyOpenPC DOMA Pro PCI, so upgrading from the box your motherboard came in doesn’t have to break the bank. The DOMA Pro requires some assembly out of the box, but that helps save money on labor and shipping. Also, that adds to the do-it-yourself (DIY) aspect of building computers, which I thoroughly enjoy.

First Impressions

Opening the box for the first time, I was greeted with several Acrylic panels all covered in protective film, the fasteners in a nice plastic case, and the directions.  Seeing it all laid out in front of me certainly made think twice about how long I thought it would take to put together.  Everything looked straightforward, but it did look like there was more work than I was expecting.

All the parts were nice and tidy with no scratches, nicks, or dings. It’s also nice that there are gloves included so you don’t get fingerprints all over the transparent Acrylic, though I’m not that particular and don’t mind the fingerprints. If your motherboard doesn’t have power and reset switches built in, then there are some included with the case as well as an HDD and Power LED.

Motherboard panel with Handle, mATX PSU, and cable routing cut-outs

Motherboard panel with Handle, mATX PSU, and cable routing cut-outs

Back panel with ATX PSU, I/O, and Add-On card cut-outs

Back panel with ATX PSU, I/O, and Add-On card cut-outs

Drive Cage panels and miscellaneous connection pieces

Drive Cage panels and miscellaneous connection pieces

Wrench, screws, bolts, LEDs, and switches

Wrench, screws, bolts, LEDs, and switches

Gloves to keep finger prints off the clear panels

Gloves to keep finger prints off the clear panels

Assembly

All in all, taking off the protective film from the Acrylic panels was the most tedious part.  Some of the nuts were tough to get in to the Acrylic and took some extra force to push in.  I actually started using the included wrench to help push things in place, which worked very well.  Once I got my procedure down, the rest was a breeze and it took me about an hour to put the whole thing together, including taking pictures.  The directions were clear, all the parts were labeled correctly, and I had no problems figuring out what went where.  When it is fully assembled, the DOMA Pro isn’t completely rigid and it does wobble slightly.  Overall, I didn’t mind putting this together.

The directions and screw box are labeled clearly

The directions and screw box are labeled clearly

Fully assembled

Fully assembled

Rear view

Rear view

Underside with two drive cage panels installed for stability

Underside with two drive cage panels installed for stability

Using the DOMA Pro PCI

Once the benching station is assembled, putting the computer components in is simple.  The basic layout is similar to a standard case where the power supply (PSU) is located above the motherboard.  This crowds the area above the processor but there may be two practical reasons for this design.  First, the PSU helps add stability to the back panel but the PSU doesn’t get screwed down to the main motherboard panel so no positive connection is created, leaving the weight of the PSU to do the work.  Second, PSUs with their fan located on the bottom of the unit will help draw air over the power MOSFETs.  Still, I’d like more room for my hands here and would prefer the PSU was located on the underside of the motherboard panel.

Everything installed

Everything installed

I like the sliding locks for the drive cages and add-on cards (PCI, PCI-e) because they are quick, easy to use, and tool-less.  They keep the parts locked in snugly and don’t come unlocked when they’re not supposed to.  The only down side to the drive cages themselves is changing physical drives is a little tedious because the drives are screwed in with regular screws.  Adding to that, both sides of the drives need to be screwed in to the drive cage since they are two pieces of Acrylic that are not connected by any other means.  This wasn’t a big deal for me, though, because I devote one hard drive to benching and don’t have a need to swap it out.  The same issue is present with optical drives, but, again, I devote one DVD drive to my benching rig and don’t have a need to swap it out.

The PSU limits hand room around the CPU

The PSU limits hand room around the CPU

There are several cut-outs in the motherboard panel for routing wires.  There is even a handle and yes, it is possible to carry the benching station around, fully outfitted, by the handle with only one hand.  Though, you might not feel too confident doing that since you will see parts move when it is picked up.  The only cut out that is missing is a proper hole for changing the backplate of the CPU heatsink.  There are two holes that are close but neither would allow proper access on an AMD 890fx board and a Intel P55 board.  That will be a problem if you happen to change your heatsink often since you’ll have to remove the entire motherboard to do so.  Another thing missing is for some way to mount more fans and direct them at crucial components.  Making your own mounts or dangling fans isn’t that hard to do but does add clutter.

The drives are tucked neatly away below the motherboard

The drives are tucked neatly away below the motherboard

Conclusion

The DOMA Pro PCI is a great entry level benching station.  If you are looking for something inexpensive that is more durable and stable than a cardboard box, this fits the bill.  The only major downside to this is the location of PSU since it limits hand room, but it isn’t a complete deal breaker.  I wouldn’t say this is the best benching station on the market, but retailing at $49.99, it is hard to beat.  I certainly enjoy using it and would recommend it to others who are looking for an inexpensive benching solution.

- splat

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Discussion
  1. Hi everybody!

    I.M.O.G.'s explanation is correct.

    The hand screws are intended to use small fans, e.g. 40mm or less because only one side(hole) can be screwed.

    Practically, if more height is needed or you want to use it with other than motherboards, we have hand screws which have both male and female screws as shown in the below picture. By adding this one, the hight is lengthen.



    Bobnova,

    We are selling this hand screw set as an accessory in Korea and Japan.

    One set of hand screws consists of 9 pieces of spacer, handscrew and normal screw as follows:



    We are planning to launch some accessories including hand screw set when next container is coming.

    Thanks again!

    Benjamin Ko / MyOpenPC

    EDITED: I am sorry that I post price of the hand screw set at this post. I just intended to answer Bobnova's question:

    If you have any further questions on the hand screw set, please e-mail me:
    Ed, looking at them and judging by what he said, they are big so its easy to twist them onto screws/standofss by hand.

    It also sounds like you could mount your board directly to the standoff, screw it down with the handscrews, then mount a fan on the handscrews blowing down onto your board.
    The white long plastic things have female thread on both ends so you cannot use it for screwing anything tight or loose, I;'m a bit puzzled at what it is used for?
    Khemikal
    Cool thanks! Aren't those white screws just tool-less screws and not long standoffs, or are they both?


    Hi Khemikal;

    Thank you for your interest in our product and your question.

    There are two reasons why the hand screws (= white screws) are longer than expected.

    First, to ease when fastening and loosen the hand screws. The longer the hand screws are, the easier and safer it is to use them. We would like to call it ergonomic design. :)

    Second, you can attach additional fans on top of the hand screws to cool the spot of motherboard under it. In this case, the length of hand screws keep fans apart from parts on the motherboard.

    Anyway, hand screws enable a user to swap even motherboards for testing easily without screw drivers! I think motherboard hand screws are one of must-have items for computer geeks.

    Thanks again!

    Benjamin Ko / MyOpenPC.com
    Brolloks
    That is correct, the white standoffs is about two inhces and screws on top of the board, according to the instructions that is, does not make sense, I will cut them back to about a 1/4 inch


    Cool thanks! Aren't those white screws just tool-less screws and not long standoffs, or are they both?
    Bobnova
    Is there anything to hold the PCIe cards up? Hard to see from the pics cause it's all clear.


    Yes, there is a row of slits at the bottom and at the top, once I have stuff on the board I will take close up pics

    Khemikal
    Is it safe to say that bench stations (and cases in general) with the hole under the cpu do not need long standoffs to be able to accommodate mounting hardware (nuts, bolts, and the like) on the bottom side?


    That is correct, the white standoffs is about two inhces and screws on top of the board, according to the instructions that is, does not make sense, I will cut them back to about a 1/4 inch
    Bobnova
    Is there anything to hold the PCIe cards up? Hard to see from the pics cause it's all clear.


    After looking at it, I'm pretty sure that bar on top of the tall side of the frame moves up and down to hold cards. Brolloks will have to conform, but that's what it looks like at least.
    Is it safe to say that bench stations (and cases in general) with the hole under the cpu do not need long standoffs to be able to accommodate mounting hardware (nuts, bolts, and the like) on the bottom side?
    thats good, i'd say the biggest downside of the doma pro is that its not 100% study since the connections between pieces aren't all positive. it's a great beginners bench and i enjoy using it a lot, but the one you got certainly looks like its more "professional" in quality
    I have the box sitting on the carpet, want to take pics in various stages but too tired after a long day at the office...will post some pics tomorrow, sorry for the delay guys.