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.
“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]
We’ve seen a lot of the Monome, a USB based controller often used as a sampler, here at Hack a Day. This is one of the more creative hacks. [brothernigel] took a Monome 40h kit and fit it inside the case of a vintage radio. The faceplate was a custom order to fit his purposes and incorporates the original radio frequency display. The USB port was well placed in the side of the wooden housing. For extra “soul”, pen and ink art adorns the insides. His work log gallery takes you through the process from start to finish.
We never noticed before, but the Monome makes a great vintage-looking-electronics project. All the lighted buttons are straight out of a ’60s military command center.
[Ben Heck] has put the final touches on his Pelican case Xbox 360. This prototype was constructed for use by troops stationed overseas. When he announced the project in October, he already knew some of the hurdles he would face. An industrial Velcro style product is used for all component mounting so the air/water-tight seal of the case remains intact. He sanded the surface so that it would stick better. [Ben] mentions that he ended up using less Velcro than he planned on because it held so well. Not being able to cut the case meant the DVD drive had to be converted to top-loading. The tray movement limit switches have been relocated so they now respond to lid position. He regrets not being able to motorize the lid, but let it go since this is still just the first attempt. Extra copper was added to all of the heat sinks to improve cooling. This Xbox is for sale and he’d love to hear from anyone that wants to put it into production. The write-up has a ton of pictures and you can see a video of it below.
Continue reading “Pelican case Xbox 360″
Normally case mods are all show and no go, but [Fredrik Perman] and [Michael Stabile] took their old render farm and made it a working showcase for the front lobby. This is a perfect combination of function, beauty, and practicality. It is a great conversation piece, allows easy working access, and provides a tremendous space savings in one sweet looking wall-mounted case. The frame is aluminum, the back consists of sheets of polished diamond plate, with a clear acrylic sheet for a cover. The case sides are left open to allow the blue LED fans to circulate air. Cooling a render farm crammed in a closet can be quite difficult, but isn’t a problem with this open design. This build is also much prettier and maybe more manageable than the setup in ExtremeTech’s Build Your Own Render Farm article.
There are a few more pictures after the break.
Continue reading “6 PC render farm in one clear case”
[Gordon Johnson] recently completed part 1 of his toaster computer project. He used a standard four slot toaster as the enclosure and cut holes for access to the ports and a wireless antenna. While the specifications of the components used are not mentioned, the build is well documented on his site, complete with lots of pictures and a video. While he used a traditional fan based cooling method for part 1 of the build, he plans on using a special cooling method for part 2 that uses aluminum and mineral oil to create a thermoelectric cooling effect.
What happens when you take a little [Ben Heck] ingenuity, a little Lian Li utility, an Xbox 360 and an LCD HDTV and mix it all together? You get the Microvision 360, a combination LCD HDTV and Xbox 360.
The mod is not particularly complex. The Microvision 360’s creator [PvP_LostKnight] only removed the working parts from the Xbox 360’s case and mounted them to the back of the TV. A few of the inputs of the TV had to be moved and rewired, and a repurposed and painted tupperware container was added to cover the Xbox 360 parts. Unfortunately, [PvP_LostKnight] did not post a writeup, and even added “The wiring for this is horrible, I would not recommend anyone trying this.”
Setting aside his recommendation for a moment, a few of the advantages to his design are improved airflow to the Xbox 360 and better space usage. What we’d like to see added more than anything is power integration, with a single button to turn on both and a single power source powering the TV and the Xbox. See the proof of concept video after the break, or more photos and comments at the read link.
Continue reading “Xbox 360 and LCD HDTV rolled into one”