Ever since the G4 cube, I have wanted a small cube computer. Cubes were expensive, and typical Apple, not very upgradable. As they aged, their prices fell, and the cases cracked, I still longed for a passively cooled small cube. Fast forward a bit and suddenly we have mini-ITX. The problem is it's price, Cube prices, and the performance if it all. You can't exactly fit a high end graphics card into a case that size. Especially passively cooled. However, I started eying them for a potential file server, but the prices were still too high or they were underpowered. My current file server is an Intel Pentium 520/Intel 855, not the most efficient thing, but according to my ups, with careful power management, idles around 35watts (probably not accurate). It does however transfer files at 110MBps over gigabit, something I'm not convinced an Atom can handle and certainly not most cheap NAS boxes. I don't mind losing some speed, but I love having that transfer rate as it's almost like having the drive right inside your box. Plus, it's paid for. I needed a good reason to change it (okay, not really ). Then I found the Sempron 140, they are cheap, decent enough power, and you can get some cheap ITX boards... The stage was set. I just needed an excuse and a case for it. As much as I would like a Mac Cube, most are either over priced, scratched, cracked, or cracked, scratched and overpriced. Besides, I can make a smaller cube. Parts: Zotax Geforce 6100-ITX motherboard AMD Sempron 140 PNY 2GB DDR2 Rocketfish Universal CPU Cooler (rebadged Cooler Master Hyper TX3) Seagate 2TB Low power Operating system - Windows 7 or Linux 120watt Pico Psu on order. Current status: Just need final photos. The original plan was the motherboard on the right side, power supply up the back wall, and the HD up the left wall. A Tower cooler sticking into the center and a single very slow speed 120 or 140mm fan in the bottom blowing up though a hole in the top like a G4 Cube. I already checked and the heatsink will stay plenty cool, it can almost passively cool. Unlike a G4, my ports will exit out the rear. The reason for this is two fold... First, exiting out the back allows for a larger fan in the bottom, and second, exiting out the bottom means a tight bend for the cables and raising the cube further off the ground. Ever see how high a G4 Cube sits? Mine will be able to be half that. I did some mockups of it to see how it all fits into place in the smallest package I can. Yes, there is actually a board under there. That's the re-badged Cooler Master heatsink. Nothing spectacular, but I don't need more. The PSU was going to lose it's shielding, allowing it to tuck in a little tighter when I got to that point. However I have since ordered a pico psu. This is the new layout, the orientation has changed a bit, and I'm switching to a Pico PSU. This should be the view looking in through the small window. Missing is the Pico Psu and a 120 or 140mm fan underneath it all blowing upwards. Not much to see, but then, there just isn't much there. With the internal wiring hidden and a soft glow inside it should prove nice. I was thinking red inside, but I'm not so sure now. My first plan was to cut up an old Lenovo mid tower chassis, I got a good way into it then started thinking, why do I need a chassis? Here is how far I got with the Lenovo (120mm fan for size comparison). It's a little smaller It started out as 460mm x 460mm x 200 was down to 200mm x 200mm x 200mm. Interestingly about this chassis was that the aluminum rivets were harder to drill than the steel chassis. Not sure how Lenovo managed that one. As soon as I cleared the metal head the drill bit would immediately sink through the sheet metal. The last chassis I built I used metal from a Supermicro server chassis, talk about a difference. That stuff was TOUGH, this stuff is like paper. Oh well, at least it's easy to work with and lighter. At this point I was planning to skin it with the stock tin, then Plexiglas, then wood, even resin casting a one piece shell, or using fiberglass. None of which seemed right. Then I realized, I don't need any of the framework, which was really frustrating me. Once I realized this, it opened it up to almost any materials. So let's start with oak! 19mm square to be precise, cut into 220mm lengths. Notched It was while making one of these that the saw decided to kick, one of the few times this saw has ever done that. I had noticed the boards slipping in between the blade and table and thought I was being careful, but apparently not enough. It kicked back, the one on the right is the push stick which ended up tearing open my hand. The sliver in between them is part of it. It slammed hard enough to break that off of the push stick. The large sliver to the left, is what is left of the case part. The rest of it is unknown. I found one other part about 25mm x 20mm x 2mm and that was it. I can only assume it shattered, I can't find anything. Even if that one bit was all that broke off the rest, it still shattered oak! I'm glad I only got a minor injury. My hand feels like it's been hit with a hammer. If you didn't bleed, you probably didn't do it right, well, I bled. After that I cut some angles on the ends leaving 190mm inside and about 200mm outside length. A touch smaller than a G4 Cube I believe. I didn't have any of those fancy angle clamps to use while gluing, but I did have zip ties... Lots and lots of zip ties. It works surprisingly well. Ahhh! They are multiplying! Shiny! Yes, that's a 120mm fan. Skin time! I wasn't sure what to do here, I considered plexiglas, but felt that would be tacky, besides, its a server. Besides, there isn't much inside to see. Se we'll use 24ga. Aluminum. By the way, ditch your silly jigsaws and Dremels, buy yourself an angle grinder. Cleaner cuts, and CHEAP to operate. Just be sure to wear eye and hearing protection. This cut took all of 5 minutes to cut and clean up. It's not as crooked as it looks, a lot is slag that came off fast (a lot with just a razor). As you will see in a moment. Don't make fun of my homemade bending brake! It worked well. See, I told you it was a clean cut. No distortion in the metal either. Something I never could accomplish with the jigsaw without clamping it with wood and making a difficult cut. I just never got good results from a jigsaw on this thin of metal, and the Dremel would take FOREVER and who knows how many disks. I was leaving the back open and planned to skin that with Plexi, mostly because the sheet was too short. Then I noticed that the bends weren't as close to the edges as I would like. GRRRRRR! Still, it looks nice as it is. So I started thinking about my options... I could leave it, it's not bad, but I got to thinking with a slight change in arrangement, I could turn the sheet around and put the gap in front with two supports and a window in between. This leaves me with a solid back, which I have to trim anyhow to clear the motherboard anyhow. This allows me to push the sheetmetal out flush against the framework instead of trying to redo it entirely and gives it some character, which I was trying to figure out how to include. Here it is with my ITX mockup board installed (cut down matx). Sorry for it being blurry. I'll get a better one later. Like I said, it will actually be the other way around but this gives a nice view of the direction of the project. Still working on the colors. Black is too over-used. Blue lighting is over-done. You can't go shopping for electronics anywhere without companies throwing blue led's in your face. On the other hand, black metal, with clear oak would be nice. Just would need a nice internal lighting color. On the other hand, raw aluminum and raw oak isn't bad looking. Black stained oak, black aluminum and purple lighting? Hmm... I still have to work on the internal mounting system for the motherboard and drive, as well as a way to hold it all together. I have some ideas on that. To Do List: Another coat of clear on the oak? Fix a post (explained in post) Final assembly (partially started) Wiring This should be simple and I have a lot done. Most just needs a little clean up or shortening. Embed a light in the front Lexan to give a glow when the HD is accessed.