Project NFF - Nano Form Factor
By Jeffrey L. Stephenson
Posted on November 9, 2003
Jump to:


Even though I have several projects in the works, this is the one I couldn't leave alone. It took on a life of its own after a while. I had just received a package from Kontron that contained a 100mm x 140mm 3.5" form factor mainboard called a J-Rex AND a multimedia daughterboard called a J-Flex. The two pieces combined results in what the manufacturer calls "the highest feature density" mainboard in the world. I felt obligated to convert these pieces of industrial equipment into something cool and fun.

The specs:

• 600MHz VIA Eden CPU (fanless)
• 512MB PC-133 SDRAM
• 32 MB on-board 4x AGP video, DVI, S-Video, Firewire, USB, Optical SPDIF out, Line-in, Line-out, Mic, and amplified Audio-out

I decided to go with an MP3 player. That way, I have an excuse to re-rip my CD collection that I screwed up years ago.

Click image to magnify

For a case I decided to go with a 4-bay 5.25" format drive cage from an old ATX tower case. I drilled out four rivets to free it. The drives have steel rails attached to each side. These rails match up with guides in the cage. The unit slides in and snaps into place. Serious over-engineering. I painted the piece teal as a primer coat. It shows up well in this picture.

Click image to magnify

My idea was to build/purchase 5.25" modules and use the rails to attach them to the cage. First up is the drive bay. These units are designed for rack-mount server cases to save space. It contains a slim-line CD burner, floppy and hard drives in the space of a full size CD drive. On top of the drive bay I mounted the J-Rex board. Here is the cage, painted black and sporting wood accent pieces, next to the drive/mainboard unit.

Click image to magnify

Finished case. Yes, this is a computer case. It came out of an Enlight I believe.

Click image to magnify

Backside shot. I wanted the case to be open and "airy" because the CPU is air-cooled.

Click image to magnify

Another backside shot. The three wood panels are all the exact same size. It would be very easy to build your own customized panels.