By Jason Olmstead - Posted on March 8, 2003
Here's a shot of the internals... after the redesign of the internal
setup... and I numbered them so I could explain what stuff is... This is
before I mounted the switches or the front mount IDE cables in the box.
Notice there aren't any attached to the front panel there.
1. This is the tiny power supply I got. It's about
3/4th the width of a normal power supply, 3/4 the length, and about 1/4th
the height. The rough size is about 15cm x 4.5cm x 7cm. Pretty small. There
was really no way for me to mount this with screws without drilling thru the
case, so I went to Walmart and got some two-sided 3M automotive trim
adhesive to mount this to the bottom of the case. That tape is STRONG, and
if you use it, get it right the first time cuz it's a bitch getting it back
2. This is a actually a gutted serial mouse... Windows doesn't display the
mouse cursor if no mouse is connected to the PC... a little problem I ran
into. I didn't want to take up a PS2 port, so I used an old black serial
mouse I had, took the motherboard for the mouse out of its case, shortened
the cord to the eact length I needed, removed EVEYTHING from the mouse's
motherboard that I could (the little holder for the mouse ball, the casing,
buttons, etc.) and was left with what you see there. I made a little
rectangle on the top of the power supply with electrical tape and used the
same 3M trim adhesive to mount the "mouse" there. Now Windows thinks there's
a serial mouse connected all the time, and shows the cursor. I connected the
other side of the cord to the serial port, and ran it inside the case RIGHT
next to the serial port (Dremel baby) for a completely clean look.
3. This is the laptop hard drive. 3.2GB... big enough for a lot of roms.
It's pretty quiet, doesn't generate a lot of heat, and is very small. Becuse
of its size it was easy to mount.
4. This is the converter plug I got to convert a laptop drive interface to
an IDE interface. You can see the rounded IDE cable plugged into it.
Electrical tape for now, but maybe later I'll clean stuff up and get some
5. These wires go to the fan on the top of the case, incase you were
6. These yellow wires come from the "stock" buttons and LEDs on the front of
the case. Chris and I made work with the new motherboard by tracing the
leads on the PCB that the LEDs and buttons are mounted to and splicing on
some motherboard connectors. I was able to score some old motherboard
connectors off of some trashed 386 cases at work.
7. Two IDE ports... I could add up to three more hard drives if needed, or a
CD-ROM drive. Eventually I want to get a black slimline CD rom drive and add
it to the unit for audio playback or video playback. I think it'd be cool if
the box played Video CDs, SVCDs, and DIVX movies too.
8. 128MB of RAM. Woohoo.
9. VIA 800Mhz C3 processor. Not a screaming machine but fast enough to run
ROMs at 60fps with 44Khz and stereo sound. Good enough for me. This board is
actually faster than I thought it would be. The onboard video has minimal
2D/3D accelleration, but it works pretty well. Not bad for an all-in-one
solution for $100.
10. The VIA northbridge. I might put a slightly bigger heat sync on this
when I get a chance.
11. The ports: Mic in, Line out, Line in, Serial, Parallel, PS/2 for
keyboard, PS/2 for mouse, 2 USB ports, VGA output, S/PDIF output/Composite
video output, 10/100 LAN, and S-Video output. Not bad. For hooking it up to
the TV I just use the S-Video output, and audio line out.
This is an updated picture, notice I mounted those two USB ports in the
front in ports 1 and 2 of the XBOX. They're attached to the pins on the
motherboard for an extra pair of ports so I didn't lose functionality of the
two in the back. I had to make a female pin grid because the VIA pins are a
little smaller and closer together than a standard motherboard USB header.
The connector might not look the best, but it works. Notice it's not hooked
up yet in this picture either - this is because I hadn't built the header
quite yet. It's done now though, and it works great.
I also mounted switches in the banks for controllers 3 and 4. One of these
switches sits idle, and one of them controls the fan on the top of the case.
Eventually I'm going to replace the fan with a green/blue LED fan, and put a
10" green neon tube down one side of the inside of the case, and a blue one
down the other side. There are a lot of vents in the side of the case for
light to radiate from and I think it'll look pretty sweet once it's done.
The second switch will most likely control that pair of lights.
Here you can see the front USB ports and the LED switches a little better.
The blue one is quite a bit brighter than the green one. Both are lit in
this picture but the blue one is the most visible, thanks to my cheap
Here's a shot of the box as it sits today, connected to the TV. I'm using a
Sidewinder gamepad for right now, but I'd like to get some wireless
controllers when some are released that are actually comfortable. I took a
look at the current options and am not impressed with any of them, but maybe
someone will release some comfortable, black wireless controllers... or
maybe I could get some XBOX wireless controllers and interface those to the
box. Hmmmm.... ;-)
This was a pretty fun project and I learned some things from it. I'd gladly
try it again if I ever look at something else someday and thought "Hey, I
wonder if I could stick a PC in that." :-)