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 Post subject: Dual-Core Atom NES-PC
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:03 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:42 pm
Posts: 8
Another great post that I had to pull from the old forums:

First I have to say 'thank you' to cbutters for giving me the inspiration and desire to make a project like this. While I have made and modded a few computers and cases, I have NEVER attempted anything so brain-racking or exciting. This project LOOKED like it should be straight-forward and relatively easy, which is why I chose to try it. But it took over a year of on/off toying and tinkering, and scraping money together for a cool project like this. The NES Stealth mod was my inspiration, but I went in a different direction as you can see. The benefit of the Stealth mod is that is looks and operates like a genuine-looking NES, but the downside is that the parts aren't totally secured and can move and shift if not handled with reasonable care. My NES is not a Stealth mod like cbutters since I cut a hole for the I/O panel, but it looks original from any side except the rear. Here are the specs: Jetway ITX NC92-330LF, 2GB PC5300, 80GB SATA II HD, 802.11G wireless, BlueTooth KB & mouse, aftermarket copper heatsinks w/40mm fans (and custom aluminum blue southbridge heatsink), 2x50 mm case fans running @ 25%, and Win XP Pro SP3 w/ MS Security Essentials. The front panel Power & Reset buttons work, along with the red power LED. The NES controller ports are wired to a USB header. The cartridge bay houses a SMB/Duck Hunt cart that has front panel audio (mic / headphones), green IDE activity LED and two USB 2.0 ports. I chose not to install an optical drive since I could install the software via USB or network link.
The NES rests beside our Nintedo Wii, hooked up to an HD TV, and is primarily used to watch streaming TV or run emulators (NES/SNES/N64/GBA, etc.) It will run Half-Life 2, but the settings have to be brought down considerably due to the relatively weak onboard graphics (GMA950). I have also installed a handful of older games like Age of Empires II, Black & White II, Anno 1602/1503, Civ III/IV, Sid Meier's Pirates!, Oblivion (Oldblivion mod), Peggle and a few other games. You can actually watch a stream while playing a game, but ANY interruption (MS Update, anti-virus, defrag, etc.) will bog it down to a standstill.


Attachments:
File comment: The open NES with all of the guts removed except the front panel board. All of the risers need to be removed (except the 4 corner posts) along with the U channel.

NES front panel (open).jpg [ 118.55 KiB | Viewed 2022 times ]
File comment: I used an old Via 800 to mock up the board placement and cut the I/O panel.

mock up (open).jpg [ 142.31 KiB | Viewed 2022 times ]
File comment: Once the channels were removed from the base, the structural integrity was about the same as an empty box of Pop-Tarts. So I glued some plastic (styrene) to the base using PVC cement.

reinforced housing (inside lower).jpg [ 116.03 KiB | Viewed 2022 times ]

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Grant: NES-PC

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GruntUltra
Post subject: Re: Dual-Core Atom NES-PCPosted: 28 Feb 2010 04:06 am


Joined: 20 Aug 2008 11:15 am
Posts: 15
Location: North Carolina
Picture group 2:


Attachments:
File comment: I painted the styrene on the underside of the case black to make it less noticeable and retain the stock look.

Underside painted.jpg [ 162.57 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]
File comment: In the upper-right corner you can see the front panel buttons and LED modded to fit around the Via board. I'm using a Pico-PSU power supply.

Buttons modded.jpg [ 203.39 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]
File comment: The system with the actual Atom board installed. The board is screwed in from the bottom and secured with nuts inside. It strengthens the system considerably.

Open Pre-assembly.jpg [ 293.82 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]

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Grant: NES-PC

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GruntUltra
Post subject: Re: Dual-Core Atom NES-PCPosted: 28 Feb 2010 04:10 am


Joined: 20 Aug 2008 11:15 am
Posts: 15
Location: North Carolina
Picture group 3:


Attachments:
File comment: Atom board inside the pre-assembled NES.

Pre-assembly door open.jpg [ 102.04 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]
File comment: I sacrificed a Super Mario Brothers / Duck Hunt cartridge for the front panel audio & USB. It's all good though, the cart was dead and I didn't want to destroy a good Zelda cart!

Duck Hunt cut.jpg [ 183.88 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]
File comment: The half-cart with the hardware awaiting installation.

Cart Ports.jpg [ 134.74 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]

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Grant: NES-PC

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GruntUltra
Post subject: Re: Dual-Core Atom NES-PCPosted: 28 Feb 2010 04:14 am


Joined: 20 Aug 2008 11:15 am
Posts: 15
Location: North Carolina
Picture group 4:


Attachments:
File comment: The ports in the lower half of the cart. Securing them from being shoved in or yanked out took considerable effort.

Cart lower.jpg [ 110.12 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]
File comment: Installing a green IDE LED into the right corner of the cart.

Upper cart IDE LED.jpg [ 120.91 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]
File comment: The cartridge is installed (glued) to a cd case which is glued to the upped NES housing.

Cart installed.jpg [ 119.51 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]

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GruntUltra
Post subject: Re: Dual-Core Atom NES-PCPosted: 28 Feb 2010 04:20 am


Joined: 20 Aug 2008 11:15 am
Posts: 15
Location: North Carolina
Picture group 5:


Attachments:
File comment: All lit up - now I need to fix the NES controller ports. I hacked them up during the removal phase thinking I'd just put some USB ports there. But the more I worked on it, the more I wanted the ports working.

Front LEDs.jpg [ 99.93 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]
File comment: Inside the case - the HDD is mounted with 2 screws underneath and fits into a soft styrofoam slot glued to the upper housing. I cut and installed a blue heatsink for the SouthBridge. Notice the hacked controller ports?

Interior Feb 15 2009.jpg [ 189.85 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]
File comment: NES RetroKits soldered to new NES controller ports. Each kit comes with 6-feet of cable to be bundled and stuffed inside the NES!

RetroKits soldered.jpg [ 175.37 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]

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GruntUltra
Post subject: Re: Dual-Core Atom NES-PCPosted: 28 Feb 2010 04:27 am


Joined: 20 Aug 2008 11:15 am
Posts: 15
Location: North Carolina
Picture group 6:


Attachments:
File comment: The rear of the NES-PC. I still have the original A/V outs on the side, but they are purely cosmetic.

NES Completed Rear.jpg [ 106.62 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]
File comment: The controller ports are wired (via 6 ft of cable each) to the board. The large fan was initially 'placed' on the CPU heatsink and held in place by a duct I built around the vent on the upper housing, but it hummed loudly when sitting in the entertainment center - so I had to find another method.

Interior w NES RetroPorts.jpg [ 219.07 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]
File comment: Playing NES Open on my NES-PC. This is what it is all about!

NES Open.jpg [ 139.26 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]

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GruntUltra
Post subject: Re: Dual-Core Atom NES-PCPosted: 28 Feb 2010 04:33 am


Joined: 20 Aug 2008 11:15 am
Posts: 15
Location: North Carolina
Picture group 7:


Attachments:
File comment: I replaced the Jetway heatsinks with EnzoTech Copper sinks with SilentX 40mm fans. I also removed the 2x6ft of USB cables for the controller ports and soldered a header directly to the chips.

Copper.jpg [ 214.5 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]
File comment: My duct was removed from the upper housing vent and now I have 2x50mm case fans running @ 25%. One is intake and the other is exhaust.

Case Fans.jpg [ 129.28 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]
File comment: My dual-core Atom-Powered NES!

Atom NES.jpg [ 152.57 KiB | Viewed 2021 times ]

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cbutters
Post subject: Re: Dual-Core Atom NES-PCPosted: 28 Feb 2010 05:41 am
Site Admin


Joined: 21 Apr 2007 07:32 pm
Posts: 85
That is some excellent work Grunt, everything looks very clean and tidy. you did an excellent job, I like the idea of the cartridge providing additional ports, and your implementation of it is functional and your mod work looks very nice, clean lines. I am very impressed. Makes me want to build another one.



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GruntUltra
Post subject: Re: Dual-Core Atom NES-PCPosted: 01 Mar 2010 12:49 am


Joined: 20 Aug 2008 11:15 am
Posts: 15
Location: North Carolina
Thanks, man. I appreciate it - and it was thanks to this forum that I jumped into this build. I wish now though that I had gone with a different board like one of the Zotac ITX kits that can handle a C2D, +4GB of RAM, NVIDIA 9300 gfx, and built-in RAID 0. That would be a SCREAMER! The other thing I still need to do is get a set of SNES to USB cables, the NES controllers are pretty limited. I guess I'm planning out my next build, if only the money permitted. A lot of people have asked me what I would charge to build one of these. The parts alone would easily run between $300 and $400 (plus an NES). Factor in the time and software and you have a pretty expensive toy, but a rare one nonetheless!

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Muradom
Post subject: Re: Dual-Core Atom NES-PCPosted: 04 Apr 2010 10:04 pm

Joined: 25 Jun 2009 12:07 am
Posts: 2
This is nice! I´m also about to start my nespc project and you and cbutters have gave me some awesome tips and ideas, thank you



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GruntUltra
Post subject: Re: Dual-Core Atom NES-PCPosted: 06 Apr 2010 10:23 am


Joined: 20 Aug 2008 11:15 am
Posts: 15
Location: North Carolina
Thanks, it was a very fun, (although expensive, time-consuming, and challenging) project. I use the NES-PC about every other night, mostly for streaming NHL games to my TV. If you need any assistance, let me know or send me a private message.

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cbutters
Post subject: Re: Dual-Core Atom NES-PCPosted: 10 Apr 2010 05:39 am
Site Admin


Joined: 21 Apr 2007 07:32 pm
Posts: 85
I'm so jealous, I might just have to build another one of these, been scoping out parts lately. I'll keep the board updated if I start anew.



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GruntUltra
Post subject: Re: Dual-Core Atom NES-PCPosted: 14 Apr 2010 10:57 am


Joined: 20 Aug 2008 11:15 am
Posts: 15
Location: North Carolina
Do it! You know you want to! I recently acquired a Q8200 and I've been trying to decide whether to build another NES with the Zotac/9300 system, or maybe just make a home theater/gaming pc with a dedicated video card. Money is too tight do do either right now!

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