First off, my main construction guidelines for this project were to use completely unmodified & standard internal PC components. Next was to keep everything self contained. And finally to try and keep the front, top, and sides of the NES as unmodified as possible to maintain a somewhat original look. When I finally completed this project, I felt like I had achieved these goals.
Now, originally I was going to lay the PSU flat in the bottom of the case, as you can see by the extra plastic cutout around the PS/2 ports (Which I consider to be pretty much the only screw-up on this project), But once my motherboard arrived (about a week after I had the PSU), I realized that my original layout plans would have to be scrapped, and an alternate layout method would have to be devised.
This meant I had to stand the PSU up on its side, and that I had ALLOT of sanding to do to make it fit that way. You can see that by sanding the top of the NES, not only allowed the PSU to fit standing up, but it actually opened up the original NES vents, which turned out to be a very good thing for thermal management!
Next came the mounting of the CD-ROM and HD. The CD-ROM was actually quite easy. I just made some mounting brackets for the front out of some of the tin metal that came out of the original NES, and it worked quite well! I also used some of this tin metal to later make the HD mounting brackets. Last, for the CD-ROM, I cut out a strip of plastic from and old AT keyboard, and ran it from the front to the back of the NES top to secure the back of the CD-ROM into place. You will also note a plastic spacer the sits between the CD-ROM and the top of the case, this helps keep the CD-ROM fairly level, and prevent vibrations. The last part of mounting the CD-ROM was to custom make some plastic pieces for around the CD-ROM. This really took quite a while to get the fitment right, tons of fitment testing. The two plastic peices I used were 5.25" bay covers from old junk cases. Once all the test fitting, and final trimming was done, they were super glued into place.
I might possibly in the future add some LAN & HD LED's just under the CD-ROM, and I have also thought about mounting some front USB & FireWire ports under the CD-ROM as well.
Mounting of the HD was actually allot of trial and error fitment. My first attempt had it too far forward, and it interfered with the height of the SDRAM modules I would be able to use. So rather than limit that, I simply remounted the drive back further. And I used an old 2.5 to 3.5 cable converter I had laying around from the iopener days! Also, much to my luck the IDE cable management was quite easy with things laid out this way, as you can see, they are pretty much out of the way of everything!
Motherboard/CPU. First a little history. When I first looked into making this project (Sept. 2002) The EPIA boards were a perfect choice as far as size went, but at the time they were (and I think still are) some what underpowered. This led me to look for alternatives. I ended up finding the Freetech board. This allowed me to use a fairly powerful P-III or Celeron processor of 1+Ghz. I ended up settling on the 1.1a Celeron for price and thermal considerations.
Now, mounting the motherboard was a very time consuming process, which I probably rushed, which led me to make, what I consider, some-what sloppy I/O connector cutouts. Anyways, since I was laying the motherboard into the bottom of the NES, it required cutting out allot of the raised plastic in the bottom tray. This weakened the strength of the bottom half of the case, so I decided to put a layer of plexi between the bottom of the case, and the motherboard. So in a sense, this NES actually has a window mod! Well, sorta ;) Although the bottom of a motherboard is pretty uninteresting...
Another item of concern for me was the original power & reset switches. They were very functional, and I saw no reason to lose this functionality. Although, in the end I had to HIGHLY modify the stock switches for space concerns, they both still work perfectly, and I even managed to add a nice looking blue LED for the power light. In the end I ended up just cutting down the stock circuit board, and switches, and then using very short front panel wires custom fitted into the old switches, using super glue, and a soldering iron melt part of the wires into a position that provided a momentary contact for the power and reset buttons.
Cabling the NES was pretty easy, the one PSU wire for the HD and CD-ROM wrapped perfectly around the case (I couldn't have planned that better if I had tried). The other power connector was later used to help make the NES controller ports to the front functional again. And the ATX power connector just wraps around nicely to plug right into the motherboard.
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