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Scratch Build – Complete ⭐ Nintendo Entertainment System PC

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by -EVA-, 28 Sep 2020.

  1. -EVA-

    -EVA- What's a Dremel?

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    Hello everyone, this is my first scratch build PC and I wanted to share it with you all today!

    In 1985, Nintendo released its first video game console, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) to North America.35 years later, its legacy still influences the gaming industry to this day. Computers have come a very long way since the 80's and its amazing how much computing power can fit into smaller and smaller systems. So I thought, how much of a modern computer can fit into a NES? 2 years later, I can confirm a very capable system can!

    For this build, I decided to make the case from aluminum sheet metal. I have seen others make computers in a NES with the original case but I really didn't want to destroy my old console (and it isn't exactly designed for hot PC parts in the first place). I started with CAD and researching SFF components to see what could actually fit. My requirements for the build were:
    1) No external components (GPU, PSU, etc)
    2) Re-purpose the NES I/O and case features. I wanted to make the controller ports into a USB 3.0 port and the Audio/Video output on the side into headphone jacks. The top vents could be used for fans and I wanted to have the cartridge door open to a CD ROM drive.
    3) Realistic part selection - The goal is to build a gaming PC for retro games and modern games. Ideally for 1080p use on my TV. Obviously I can't choose the highest level parts due to thermal, power, and size concerns. I won't be picking parts until the case is ready for me to test fit them
    4) To learn how to do the metalworking myself!

    The CAD took the longest time (on and off about a year). Who knew it would be so hard to design an SFF system into an 80's console? Haha...
    For the parts I deigned it for I went with:
    ITX- Form Factor motherboard
    Low Profile graphics card - a big limit to my options and performance, but extremely compact
    HDPLEX 400W PSU - The only high quality SFF PSU that is small enough and of good quality. Still requires a power brick
    CPU cooler no taller than 45mm
    Same goes for the RAM^
    Adequate cooling...other NES modders are aware this is a big concern

    This is the final design I eventually landed on. The two case halves split apart like the original so the PC parts can be assembled in the base, and the disk drive and fans would be mounted on the top half. The three black brackets I decided to design as machined aluminum, and smaller parts like the door hinges would be 3D printed.

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    After my design was 100% done, it was on to manufacturing. I started with the brackets because I was most confident I wouldn't need to make any last minute changes to them. The brackets were to be made from a 6061 Aluminum L channel and machined via CNC mill. I wrote the code myself and used the CNC tools I had access to at my school to cut the 3 brackets. I learned the importance of work holding (after an end mill torque'd up and bent my practice part) and tool height offsets (after ramming an end mill into the vise...).

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    The next task was to cut the flat patterns for the case. I took advantage of the water jet we have at school to cut my aluminum patterns.

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    And a quick test fit!

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    I am going to split this post up since the forum gave me errors when I tried to post with all my images. More to come below
     
  2. -EVA-

    -EVA- What's a Dremel?

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    Part 2

    At this point I determined that bending the sheet metal on my own was going to require the help of an expert. I reached out to a friend who had a contact at a local sheet metal fabrication company. He was able to do all the bending I needed with the tools at his company and did a great job!

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    Now it was time to get all the parts and test fit. For the components I went with:
    MSI B450i Gaming Motherboard
    AMD RYZEN 5 3600X CPU
    Noctua NH-L9a-AM4 CPU cooler - works well to keep the 3600X cool
    CRUCIAL Ballistix RGB 16gb 3600mhz DDR4 RAM
    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1650 D6 OC (Low Profile)
    HDPLEX 400W SFF PSU
    ADATA 2TB NVMe SSD

    And as with all things, nothing ever fits perfect the first time. Some Dremel-work needed to be done on the inside of the case to fit the power supply, and it turns out I got a height measurement wrong for the graphics card. With some improvisation I was able to get it all to fit but there was still the issue of the...cables...
    Cable management was a nightmare. In order for me to get all the cables (CPU cable, USB cables, audio cables, 24 pin motherboard cable, SATA cable, DC input cable, fan cables) to fit, I had to break out the soldering iron and shorten them to suitable lengths. For the CPU cable I went as far as to make my own, as this cable had to be the most reliable (and I didn't want to have to wrap the original around the VRM...).

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    Finally with everything together, a successful test boot was a relief.
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    censored_Prometheus_ likes this.
  3. -EVA-

    -EVA- What's a Dremel?

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    Part 3

    Before I moved on to get the case painted, I wanted to have the brackets tumbled to remove the rough machining lines and make it smooth. The company I now work for has a machine shop and I was able to have them tumbled there.

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    Now it was time to get it all painted with that classic NES color scheme. I went with powder coating to give the aluminum an even but non metallic matte color to it, as to look like the plastic on the original. I turned to another local company for this, and they were able to help me match the colors of the original. They turned out to be an almost perfect copy of the original's color scheme.

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    Finally for the finishing touches. I did not account for the thickness of the paint to be a deal breaker for fits but I had to do some sanding to get the brackets to fit right in place. I then got the base, door, and controller bracket silk screened:

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    Now the final assembly we have all been waiting for:

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    So I've had Windows running on it for a couple of weeks and I have to say it preforms very well for a SFF system. Though the 1650 does limit the kinds of graphical quality and resolutions I can run at, but I intend to use this for TV (1080p) gaming, emulators, and video like Netflix. For thermals, it does get pretty toasty (though part of that was due to cables stuck on the fans, that's fixed). The bottom half of the case gets pretty hot to the touch during a game, and the CPU idles at about 60 degrees C. Though from what I have heard, it is normal for Ryzen gen 2 CPU's to run hot at idle. During games such as Halo Reach from the Master Chief Collection that I have been playing lately, the temperature gets up to about 80 degrees. It does help if I leave the door open with a fan blowing inside, those 5 tiny fans work hard to keep it from overheating!

    My final thoughts on the case - I am glad that it turned out really nicely and is able to run retro games as well as modern titles (though at lower settings). In the future I may try and replace the disk drive bay with an SSD bay - wouldn't it be cool if it had a cartridge shaped hot-swappable enclosure?

    Let me know what you all thought about it! I am curious what you veteran case modders have to say about it, and what you might've done differently, as this was my first custom PC case build (and I have plenty more ideas for the future). Thanks for reading!
     
    TaRkA DaHl, Aytos and Cheapskate like this.
  4. -EVA-

    -EVA- What's a Dremel?

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    Here are some additional photos I took today of the PC

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  5. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Absolutely fantastic. :rock: The fact that you replicated it in metal with that level of accuracy makes it even better.
    80 degrees, though. ow! :lol: also: FIRST mod? Stop raising the bar so high. You scare off the kiddies. :D

    edit #3: Oh, this is definitely a scratch build. You should change that label. I'm suspecting this will get in MOTY unless COVID caused some even crazier stuff to get built this year.
    Welcome to Bit, too. :D
     
    Last edited: 28 Sep 2020
  6. wolfticket

    wolfticket Downwind from the bloodhounds

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    Wow. Fully fabricating a perfect NES in metal is much more pleasing, hardcore and generally awesome than gutting one. Amazing work.
     
    -EVA- likes this.
  7. Defyant Mods

    Defyant Mods Multimodder

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    WOW that is amazing ! :rock::rock:all made possible thanks to that incredible little power supply !!!! Can i ask why the top wasn't welded but the bottom was?
     
  8. -EVA-

    -EVA- What's a Dremel?

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    The guys who did the metal bending and the welding for me had some difficulty with welding the bottom half and really didn't want to try the top since the sides were not as close together. I figured it would be OK since this was probably going to need as much air flow as possible...and indeed it really does get hot in there. It would definitely look much cleaner completely closed... something to try again in a version 2!
     
    Defyant Mods likes this.
  9. -EVA-

    -EVA- What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks!! There's definitely some amazing builds here and I love to see them! Good catch by the way, fixed
     
  10. Ianovski

    Ianovski Rawr!

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    This is insane! Superb job, looks stunning!
     
    -EVA- likes this.
  11. lowfat

    lowfat Minimodder

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    Incredible.....
     
    -EVA- likes this.
  12. TerHorstCustoms

    TerHorstCustoms Minimodder

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    This looks EPIC! :jawdrop:
     
    -EVA- likes this.
  13. kim

    kim hardware addict

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    hard to find adjectives that haven't been said yet... I love repurposed items.. remarkable work :jawdrop: truely :thumb:
     
    -EVA- likes this.
  14. -EVA-

    -EVA- What's a Dremel?

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    Thank you all for your support back in September and helping me win 3rd place for MOTM! I've been using the NES as my daily ever since and haven't run into any problems yet.

    Though, I have not received my prize yet from Bit Tech yet and I've been trying to get in contact with them for a couple of months, receiving very few responses. Anyone know the best way to get in contact with them? Much appreciated!
     
  15. enbydee

    enbydee Minimodder

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    I think from other threads that Corsair were struggling to fulfil their obligations but @MLyons might be able to tell you more.
     
    -EVA- likes this.
  16. MLyons

    MLyons 70% Dev, 30% Doge. DevDoge Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Hi @-EVA- . Yes as enbydee said the Corsair stock situation is currently very tricky with some stuff delayed for I think 15 weeks if I remember from their investors call yesterday. If you send me a DM along with your email address or the way you contacted us I'll make sure to have a look tomorrow for you.
     
    Last edited: 11 Feb 2021
    -EVA- likes this.
  17. Jean R built

    Jean R built Modder

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    I wanted to give updates about my situation, since the beginning of this month I'm starting to get the deliveries from Corsair.

    Each part was sent with different deliveries, right now I have the Reservoir and the CPU block, something is going to be delivered by the 15 February don't know what it is.

    They are sending the prizes, but like everyone else the COVID situation isn't helping anyone to stay within the scheduled time.
     
    MLyons likes this.
  18. TerHorstCustoms

    TerHorstCustoms Minimodder

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    Same here cpu block and pump res combo showed up last week. (Won a cpu and gpu block) today a comander pro arrived. To sure what is going on exactly but parts are getting send out :)
     
  19. -EVA-

    -EVA- What's a Dremel?

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    Ah, I understand. Manufacturers are definitely having a hard time keeping up for the demand for computer hardware right now. I will send you a note MLyons, thanks again
     

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