please help with building my dream machine


M

Mike Henley

I grew up admiring the compact macs and when i had the pleasure to use
one in the summer of 1992 i fell totally in love with the little
machine. I purchased the CRT imac once but although the snow machine i
got was nice i preferred to remain within the x86 world. Now i have an
idea to build a machine i love... so please help me with suggestions
or tips....

(I plan to get the parts from ebay and plan to build things myself.
I'd like to reduce costs to as little as possible while at the same
time getting as much fun as i could. My main use of the computer will
be for the web, usenet, filesharing of mostly videos, i am learning
scripting, i intent to learn linux and gentoo is one that seems to
have a buzz around it. My likely OS for the machine might turn out to
be linux. I'm curious about clustering as a hobby, though i'm still
learning.)

I plan to get a compact case macintosh color classic off ebay... if
you wonder why there's an element of nostalgia that might be explained
by this article; http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/00/08/circuits/articles/24macc.html

Some good guys advised me to use the via epia motherboards that are on
mini-itx.com. Someone posted info on that site about a project he did
with a macintosh SE, though it shocked me that he butchered much of
the case off. http://www.mini-itx.com/projects/wraithse/

I have the intention to keep the case as intact as possible, and
therefore I intent to use replace the motherboard with a mini-itx
that's as fast yet as quiet as possible, install an internal hard
drive that's as large as possible, and yet if possible retain the
original floppy and CRT monitor, as they are part of the case design.

I therefore intet to use an external optical drive and display; since
it is a "dream machine" i have the intention to get an external drive
that can write/rewrite both CDs and DVDs, and if possible a large
enough LCD screen if i can find one for a good price on ebay.

I am curious about clustering more than one mini-itx; they are
inexpensive and i like the idea of fitting as much power as i can into
that small little classic macintosh case. If they fit in, i'm curious
about clustering two or more mini-itx motherboards internally, or if
necessary having another motherboard and along with the external
optical drive use some sort of elegant and small external case for it.
I also like the idea of adding nodes to a cluster over time; i guess
supercomputing has always been a "boys toy" i fancied though as yet
i've not had the time to learn much if anything about it.

I am curious if it'll be possible to have both the external LCD/CRT
working at the same time as the macintosh color classic internal CRT.
I am also wondering if i manage to fit in two motherboards if its
possible to send different content to each display. I've never built a
machine before and i have little or no experience with using more than
one monitor. I know the internal CRT is less than 640x800 but i think
i saw somewhere on those mac mods sites that someone has managed to
convert it, the original CRT, to 640x800 though i don't recall how he
did it. I also considered getting one of those small LCDs or CRTs but
generally the only ones i found in that 10" size are the point-of-sale
equipment which tend to be redicolously expensive, and i'm not sure i
can find one that'll fit neatly, therefore i'd much prefer to keep the
original CRT. I guess this only matters as a "feeling" thing, 'cos
after all from a practical point of view if i have an external
relatively large LCD then i shouldn't care about the internal CRT, but
i feel i'd like to retain "life" to the classic macintosh and there's
a slightly sad feeling if its internal screen won't be operational;
strangly it matters for me to have both running either at the same
time or optionally.

I like the whole package to be as nice looking and matching as the
macintosh color classic. It's a labour of love after all, and sort of
a tribute to a childhood object of affection. I am willing to paint
the case to black if necessary, which actually might be more elegant
nowadays. Beauty and matching of the external LCD and optical drive to
the color classic case, though i'm willing to paint it, are very
important regardless of how superficial this might sound. I am
willing to spend time on it, and go through some hassle though i'd
like at some point the end product to be hassle free from there on.

Do you have an comments regarding possibility, feasibility, or
suggested components? or perhaps variations on the concept that might
make it even cooler?
 
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T

Tim Auton

I grew up admiring the compact macs and when i had the pleasure to use
one in the summer of 1992 i fell totally in love with the little
machine. I purchased the CRT imac once but although the snow machine i
got was nice i preferred to remain within the x86 world. Now i have an
idea to build a machine i love... so please help me with suggestions
or tips....
Some good guys advised me to use the via epia motherboards that are on
mini-itx.com. Someone posted info on that site about a project he did
with a macintosh SE, though it shocked me that he butchered much of
the case off. http://www.mini-itx.com/projects/wraithse/
Ewww. That's butchery indeed. Only for the extra fan and front ports /
DVD though. You already plan an external optical drive and you could
easily stick the ports at the back. What about widening the floppy
slot and finding a slot-loading optical drive?

You would need more ventilation but perhaps you could jack it up off
the ground an have air intakes below and a fan + few extra holes in
the top?

[snip]
if possible a large
enough LCD screen if i can find one for a good price on ebay.

I am curious about clustering more than one mini-itx; they are
inexpensive and i like the idea of fitting as much power as i can into
that small little classic macintosh case.
Clustering would give you more power but it's certainly not a case of
"add another board, everything goes twice as fast". It's not even like
having a dual-processor workstation. You need apps that are written
for clustering and not all apps take to that very well - that's why
some people still buy Cray machines instead of clusters of PCs.
I am curious if it'll be possible to have both the external LCD/CRT
working at the same time as the macintosh color classic internal CRT.
If you can make the CRT work, or replace it with something that does,
then with two video cards (one PCI card plus the on-board) you can do
dual monitor display and have different things on each one. You can
even drag windows from one monitor to the other; I can drag windows
from my secondary monitor, through my main monitor and onto my TV if I
fancy.


Tim
 
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