Having been practically raised on arcade and console video games I've wanted to build a MAME system for a really long time. When I was a kid I would collect bottles and cans along the roadside for deposits and then ride my bike ten miles round trip to hit the local video arcade and play the awesome games from the eighties... yep, Galaga. I would have preferred building a full sized stand up arcade machine, but I'm severely space limited and there's no room for one in my home. Small and cheap is so far the loose plan for creating a self contained dedicated MAME system and pinball emulator. I've ordered all of the necessary computer hardware for the build and plan to pull the whole thing off for around $500. I've owned almost every home video game system since the Atari2600 (including the TurboGraphix16 and 3DO), the biggest difference between playing on an actual arcade machine versus any home console arcade port is that arcade controls have a tactile feel and response that can't be recreated by any home gaming systems handheld controller. Building a computer that can run MAME is no big deal, the hardware required doesn't need to be high end, the controls however are another story entirely. I plan to build a seriously small - authentic feeling arcade emulator PC... that said, I found this deal on two joysticks and a bag of 20 buttons for $42USD shipped, it smelled like a bargain. I had researched building my own arcade controls and then debated over just buying a ready made solution instead of hacking my own. Seeing how much cheaper it is to just do it myself I figured I'd give that a shot first. I found some really small game pads, ten button w/retractable USB cable, I bought the last two Wal-mart had on clearance for $9.00USD apiece, these things are seriously freakin' tiny. This next bit is taken directly from the ebay listing of the mini-ITX HTPC system I bought for $99USD with free shipping... CPU : Intel Pentium M 1.80-GHz Memory Total : 1GB PC2100 DDR SDRAM HD : 2GB CompactFlash Installed. Optical Drive : None Network : Onboard integrated One (1) 10/100/1000Base-T Gigabit Ethernet and One (1) 10/100Base-TX Fast Ethernet NIC Floppy : None Power Supply : Included 100V - 240V Video : Onboard integrated video controller Ports : Four (4) USB, Four (4) Serial, One (1) PCMCIA and Two (2) PS/2 Form Factor : Mini-ITX Memory Config. : 1x1GB Audio : Onboard integrated sound (Line-In and Mic) Dimensions : 13" x 11" x 3" inches Model Number : i3368G-LF Condition : Used, tested, working, and sold with warranty, Power Adapter Included I almost considered using it in the project as is, but I'm trying to use every bit of space I'll have wisely, the HTPC case is far bulkier than this project requires. Before I could move on I had to be sure the computer works, and it does... Everything gets unplugged and the fun part begins, time to dig in and see exactly what my $99 scored. Clockwise from the top left there is a 2GB 120X compact flash card, 1GB Samsung DDR PC3200 (listed as PC2100), two different PCI riser cards, a PCI PCMCIA adapter card and a mini-ITX motherboard with a P4 1.8GHz processor. It's actually a pretty nice board with features a modder might find useful... like dual LVDS connectors, that's just crazy. But wait, there's more... like a seven foot power cord and power brick, a small 80W power supply and a neat little HTPC case. I could have ripped out the front mounted CF reader, power button, blue LED's and 60mm fan from the case, but didn't because I'll be using it in a future project. I checked and the PCI risers alone are worth $20... the PC is a great deal at $99. Below is what I plan to use instead of a hard drive, a poor mans SSD. 16GB should be plenty of space for WinXP, pinMAME, MAME32 and a few gigabytes of ROMs. The adapter was $14 and the CF card was $31, so far the project total is $206... not too bad. I knew this next part would be pricey, but I decided early on that this project deserved a touch screen. I found an ebay for an 18" commercial LCD touch screen with power cable for $175USD, it was too good a deal to pass up - here are the specs: Part Number: EFL-1801X LCD Panel: 18.1" Active Matrix (TFT) Native Resolution: 1280 x 1024 @ 60 Hz / 75 Hz Display Area: 360.4 mm X 288.9 mm Pixel Pitch: .264 mm X .264 mm Display Color: 16.7M Contrast Ratio: 500:1 Brightness: 250 cd/m2 typ. Viewing Angle: -80 ~ 80 (H), -80 ~ 80 (V) Signal Input: Analog VGA (DB15) Power Input: 12V DC, 3.8A Touchscreen: 3M Cleartek 19.18" (13-5361-01MA) Touchscreen Connector: Standard 9-Pin Serial (RS232) Cable Touchscreen Controller: 3M Capacitive Serial EXII (5406120) Dimensions(mm): 423.9(W) X 335.0(H) X 61.9(D) I didn't have a DB9 serial cable so I haven't tested out the touch screen part of it, but the monitor itself works great, I ordered the serial cable off ebay for $6.99 with free shipping from Hong Kong... the project is at $388 so far. Other than speakers, all of the parts are here. Time to do some measuring, this time I'm going to skip the usual pencil sketches and jump right into Google SketchUp. Here's a side measurements view... 3/4 side view showing parts placement... Front view showing joystick and button placement... And lastly the back view... I still have to order speakers and the materials for the construction of the case, as soon as it all gets here this mods on like Donkey Kong.