The "Ammo Box"
By Guy Pracy
Posted on May 23, 2003
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Mission Requirements

Build a small, robust, portable PC, with moderate gaming abilities, for LAN parties, etc.

The components:-

- VIA EPIA M M10000 Mini-ITX motherboard
- 256Mb 2100DDR Ram
- 30 GB Maxtor Hard drive
- Standard 300W PSU
- GeForce 2 MX 400 PCI video card
- A few square feet of sheet aluminium
- A couple of LEDs, a push button, fan guards, and assorted nuts, bolts and screws

Oh, and the case…… an ex-Army 50 calibre ammo box


Testing all the parts prior to shoehorning them into the case. I've found this is virtually a "must" when working in such confined spaces. It's so much easier to sort operating problems while it's still spread out (over my cooker in this case). Not quiet as daft idea as you might first think, provided the cooker is not on or still hot from your "fry-up", it makes a good "earthed" work surface and cuts out the worry of static electricity doing nasties to your chips.

Trying the GeForce 2 for size. It was vital the card did not extend beyond the motherboard. Thumbs up here, bags of clearance. It was one of the reasons I ended up with the GeForce 2, and not the 4. The only 4's I could find seemed to have a large "overhang" at the back of the card.

Close up of the M10000.

I made an aluminium sub-frame to mount everything on. The whole sub-frame assembly should just slide in and out of the case. Motherboard resting in place, awaiting final fixing.

PSU and mounting for hard drive in place. I went for a standard size 300W PSU for a couple of reasons, 1) It made no difference what physical size the PSU was, I had the room. 2) As the M10000 supported 4 USB 2.0 ports and 2 Firewire ports I didn't want to run the risk of running out of power when I started plugging things in.

The sub-frame assembly fits in the Ammo Box like a glove. The only problem I had here was the depth of the Ammo Box, 17cm, the same as the motherboard, and I thought 17cm was 17cm. I found that I was almost 1mm too big for the case if I wanted to get the lid on. The cure for this is NOT recommended! I had to file 1mm off of the back of the motherboard, using a fine hand file, and lots of care and attention.