The "Frame"
By Mark Pepper, Staffordshire, UK
Posted on May 10, 2005
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As with most people interested in PC construction, I have been putting together computers for many many years and was always depressed by the ugliness of the boxes available. The choice of "container" for your PC ranged from the medium box to the big box, only expanded recently with the small box. All these are boxes, and usually beige.

So as soon as small motherboards and importantly small PSUs became affordable I began to think about what I could do to hide a computer and perhaps turn it into an object that was unusual. I also wanted (and this is very very important for us married types) to get a PC into the living room, an area out of bounds to PCs due to my wife’s exclusion policy for the room. The Frame was born.

The "Frame" sits almost silent by our fire side (fire never used!) and is accessed remotely over the wireless network connection. The "Frame" is used as a file server, providing Video and Audio files out to other computers in the house. It is, however, still possible to connect the usual monitor/keyboard/mouse/speakers etc.

Parts List

The project needed a small motherboard, small PSU and small HD. The following components were assembled:

• EPIA V10000 motherboard, 128MB RAM
• PW-200V PSU / EPIA-80W-Brick
• Maxtor 120GB HDD
• 54Mb Wireless USB LAN card
• Blue Sound activated Electro Luminescent (EL) string
• Blue Lazer LEDs
• Large picture frame (from a craft shop)
• Sheet of polycarbonate (scrap bin)

Measuring up and mounting

I picked a frame that would fit all the components, arranged to produce the lowest profile possible then mounted these to a sheet of polycarbonate cut such that it will mount onto the back of the picture frame’s box sides.

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The frame’s surround, made of wood, was cut to accept the motherboard’s utilities and painted black.

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