Building a very low power, full featured desktop

For a few years now, [mux] has been playing around with extremely efficient computation. In 2010, he built a fully featured MiniITX / Core 2 duo computer that only consumed 20 watts. Last year, [mux] managed to build an Intel i3-powered desktop that was able to sip a mere 8.3 watts at idle. He’s back at it again, and now his sights are set on a fully featured Intel i5-powered build with a built-in monitor that will draw less than 6 watts of power.

Like his previous 8 watt i3 build, [mux] reduces the power requirement of his build by carefully measuring the power draw of every component on his board. The power savings come from a simple fact of any power supply; when converting from AC to DC, or from one DC voltage to another, there’s always a little bit of power lost in the process.

[mux] reduces these power losses by removing a few voltage regulators and re-routing power lines across his motherboard. So far, the power draw on [mux]’s computer is more than half of what it was when the parts were stock, and we can’t wait for the finished build that includes a built-in monitor, UPS, and a proper case.

N64 in an N64 controller

We’ve seen portable N64s before, but none were at the level of [Bungle]’s oversized N64 controller casemod.

Instead of the usual ‘sanding Bondo and gluing styrene’ method we’ve seen in other casemods, [Bungle] decided to make a silicone mold with a positive master. Not only did [Bungle] end up with a case indistinguishable from something produced in a factory, but the molding process left him with more internal room and the ability to make identical duplicates of his over sized controller.

The electronics are the standard fare – a slightly modified N64 with a PSone LCD screen. Because the rumble and memory packs are built in to the body of the gigantic controller, [Bungle] added a multifunction pak to provide ports for power, brightness controls, a/v, and a second controller.

This is an amazing build that really steps up the game for console modders. You can check out [Bungle]’s demo video after the break.

Continue reading “N64 in an N64 controller”

SNES-001 Advance puts displays in the controllers

Twenty years ago, [Downing] would fight with his siblings over who got to watch TV. Obviously, this gave him the idea of putting a television inside his Super Nintendo controller, but at he tender age of 12, [Downing] had neither the experience nor skills to make that happen. Now that he’s older, and much less impressed by the Sega Nomad, [Downing] made his dream a reality.

Reading over [Downing]’s madebybacteria forum thread, he began the build by adding two controller ports and painting the system a classic Famicom red and white. The prominent feature of [Downing]’s design – a display in each controller – are connected to the console through a second pair of SNES controller ports. Internally, the video signal generated by the SNES is broken out to each controller; the controller displays are just a small mirrored version of whats sent to the TV.

Like [Downing]’s previous Genesis portable, the SNES-001 is a master work of Bondo and vacuum forming. After the break you can see a few demos of what this console mod can do.

Continue reading “SNES-001 Advance puts displays in the controllers”

Resurrecting a Mac LC for server duties

It might just be a case mod, but we love [Eduard]’s take on a modern Macintosh LC (translation). The donor motherboard came from a disused home server, and the LC came from [Eduard]’s childhood memories of playing Glider and The Incredible Machine.

The case was donated from a venerable Macintosh LC, manufactured circa 1990. The original LC had a Motorola 68020 CPU, which [Eduard] upgraded to an Intel Atom board. It was a somewhat tricky build – he adapted a 90 Watt power supply from a piece of old office equipment to power the new Intel board. With a great deal of very careful Dremel work, the old-school Apple logo was modified into a power button for the new computer.

For frequent readers of Hack a Day, it’s no surprise that we’ll grab up any old Apple or Mac build. [Kevin] built a weather station and analog joypad for his Apple IIc, We’ve seen custom Mac ROM SIMMS, and of course [Sprite_tm]’s amazing SE/30 emulation. If you’ve got something that will send our 68k senses tingling, send it on into the tip line.

Ammo Tin ][

Ammo crate PCs have been around since Unreal Tournament LAN parties, but this one goes further back than that; [Simon] put an Apple II in an ammo crate. It’s a fitting anachronistic build from the same guy that built the TARDIS MAME cabinet.

Thankfully, [Simon] didn’t tear apart an Apple IIc for this build. A bare-bones Celeron motherboard was acquired for this project to run the AppleWin emulator. Instead of shoving all the parts into the box and calling it a day, [Simon] did it right and fabricated a very nice frame for the computer. With a wimpy CPU and no expansion cards, the Ammo Tin ][  can run very cool without drawing a lot of power.

We really have to hand it to [Simon] for this build. The metal work on this build looks great (it should for someone who is rebuilding an Austin 7), and we’ve got to respect the love for the Apple II. Now all that’s needed is a real Apple II keyboard on that USB port.

Cray-inspired PC case

35 years following its introduction, and despite fewer than 100 systems deployed, the Cray-1 remains one of the most recognizable computers in history; it is a timeless icon of pure supercomputer badassery. Custom case builder [Daryl Brach] pays homage to this classic with his third-scale model housing two modern PC motherboards.

In an interesting reversal, the base of the model — the upholstered bench that housed cooling and power distribution for the original Cray — holds the PC motherboards and storage, while the upper section is currently just for show but may house a water cooling rig in the future. The paint scheme is inspired by the Cray-1 on display at the Smithsonian, though Daryl’s model does make a few modern concessions such as LED lighting. Hinged panels in the base flip open to access the systems’ optical drives (perhaps to watch Tron on DVD).

The Cray-1 ran at 80 MHz and could house up to eight megabytes of memory…just about unfathomable performance in its day. It’s not clear what processors [Daryl] chose to outfit his system with, but regardless, even an entry-level modern PC doesn’t just run circles around its progenitor, it runs ray-traced glass spheres around it. Technology marches on, but good design never goes out of style.

Modded C64 eye candy

“Everyone needs a hobby,” they tell us. For the blogger mysteriously identified only as “R,” that hobby would be an almost fanatical nostalgia for the Commodore 64 computer.

At first we thought this was a fan community site, but apparently it’s all the work of a single person. [R] has tweaked, extended, repackaged and resurfaced this 1980’s icon in nearly every imaginable way. They tend to gloss over the technical aspects of these mods, but that’s okay – the C64 is such an exhaustively documented system now that the site dwells mainly on the aesthetics and meaning of these reborn devices.

The 64 has made an indelible impression on electronic music, and the machines are still sought after by collectors, composers and circuit-benders. [R] pays homage by housing these vintage systems in styles reminiscent of even vintage-er synthesizers. Any one of these would warrant a post here, yet there’s a whole collection to browse. Check it out!

[via Retro Thing]