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View Full Version : Suggestions for a mini-PC project


CaptNKILL
11-20-05, 01:44 AM
Ok, I want to make a mini system to run emulators on. Not just a mini case though, Im talking a full mod using an old console of some sort (im looking at using something more rare like a colecovision or intellivision right now).

I've been looking at some mini-ITX boards, but Im not real sure which one to use. I see a lot of VIA C3 based mini-itx boards, but I want something that can handle a decent load. I want something that will run anything we throw at it as far as game emulation.

It will deffinitely need a half decent (probably integrated) video card too because a lot of emulators have D3D and OpenGL support to accelerate games, so if the option is there, I want to be able to take advantage of it.

Anyone have any tips for a project like this? I already know to use laptop drives (to save space) but the motherboard and video are what are throwing me off here.

Are there any other possibilities besides mini-itx boards?

Also, the power supply is another thing im not sure about. Will one from a mini PC (like the Shuttle XPCs) work for something like this? Are there any alternatives?

Normally I wouldnt have to ask so many questions, but hardly any stores carry this stuff so its hard to research :(

TierMann
11-20-05, 02:17 AM
I've been thinking about this for a while...
Hold on while I get you some links.

CaptNKILL
11-20-05, 02:34 AM
I've been thinking about this for a while...
Hold on while I get you some links.
Cool, thanks :)

If anyone has any real old consoles laying around, let me know, I need some measurements so I know what kind of space I have to work with. Ive been looking for some size specs online and cant find squat. A colecovision looks like a real nice shape for something like this, but I cant find any exact sizes.

TierMann
11-20-05, 02:35 AM
This kit (http://www.mini-box.com/s.nl/sc.8/category.94/it.A/id.349/.f) takes care of the PSU (http://www.mini-box.com/s.nl/sc.8/category.13/it.A/id.300/.f) and Mobo (http://www.mini-box.com/s.nl/sc.8/category.99/it.A/id.230/.f).

If the onboard graphics aren't enough (which it should be. I used to run nintendo and sega emulators on much less like 10 years ago) you can always grab a cheap pci 5200 (no fan and no extra molex needed) or something and a pci riser to fit it in there nicely.

Then for more space you could use something like this (http://www.pcalchemy.com/product_info.php/pName/panasonic-uj845b-slim-slot-load-8x-dvdrw-supermulti-drive) for your cdrom drive.

I've been wanting to make a little mini box for a while and that's what I'd do anyway.
LiquidX is selling an atari 2600 with some games and controllers (http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=60036). (kinda tight on space though)

CaptNKILL
11-20-05, 03:04 AM
Hmm... thats a pretty nice package. Thatd fit in anything and its probably plenty powerfull enough to run any old MAME\SNES\Genesis etc stuff.

Price isnt bad either considering it has a CPU, motherboard, PSU, Video (with TV out, which is AWESOME), network and sound all in one neat package.

Deffinitely keeping that mind :)

I was just looking at things a little more powerful and I cant believe what you can buy for dirt cheap these days! You can get a micro-atx S754 6100 IGP board and a 2400+ sempron 64 for $125!

I have an extra 256Mb stick of PC-2700 here so I could put that in the system to knock more of the cost off. I think Im really gonna do this :D

jAkUp
11-20-05, 03:08 AM
That would be sweet! Put it in a nintendo or something, so when you lift up the cartige cover, you eject the cd there :D

CaptNKILL
11-20-05, 03:13 AM
That would be sweet! Put it in a nintendo or something, so when you lift up the cartige cover, you eject the cd there :D
But thats been done so many times... I think they even did it on TechTV. I want to do something sorta original. Otherwise, id just buy a tiny ATX case and use that.

Anyone know of a good place to find old old oldd consoles\computers to buy? Preferably dead ones... there arent many of these things around any more and Id feel bad ripping the insides out of a perfectly good system to put in new PC parts :(

EDIT: Also, what kind of adapter will I need to convert this to normal IDE?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16827136065
I found a 40gig laptop hard drive and an IDE adapter for that... thats no problem (I use them often at work), but CDROM drives like that are a different interface, although it does say "IDE".

EDIT: Nevermind, found one:
http://store.yahoo.com/directron/cddvdadapter.html
Only $10 too :)



Heh, this is going to be a pretty expensive little "project". Im looking at around $400 for all the parts :o

TierMann
11-20-05, 11:03 AM
NICE.. I didn't even see this before. Nano-ITX... Via's site is messed up but here's a pdf (http://linuxdevices.com/files/misc/Mini-ITX.pdf) for it. It's 4.6x4.6 inches instead of 6.7x6.7 :D.
There's only a mini-pci (and it's pricier) too which could be the big downside. Custom PSU too :(.

CaptNKILL
11-20-05, 01:52 PM
NICE.. I didn't even see this before. Nano-ITX... Via's site is messed up but here's a pdf (http://linuxdevices.com/files/misc/Mini-ITX.pdf) for it. It's 4.6x4.6 inches instead of 6.7x6.7 :D.
There's only a mini-pci (and it's pricier) too which could be the big downside. Custom PSU too :(.
Yeah I was looking at that board... $300 for that little thing :eek: