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Homebuilt NES PC, Nice Little HTPC / Desktop, What next?

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July 4, 2011 4:28:14 PM

So I've been wanting to build a Desktop or HTPC inside of an old NES console for quite awhile, however the performance/power for the available platforms was never there for me. I considered an Atom/Ion board for a bit, but ended up passing as it seemed to be powerful enough for a good HTPC but not quite there for use as a desktop replacement.

The recent AMD E-350 Fusion APU hit that sweet spot of power and heat efficiency while being strong enough to function as a HTPC or desktop replacement, so I finally made my NES PC.

So I gutted an old broken Nintendo Console, added an AsRock E350M1 board, along with 2gb of ram, 40gb 2.5" drive, wireless N bluetooth, and an 80w Pico PSU. The front led as well as power/reset buttons have been wired into the motherboard. Originally I had the harddrive under the motherboard, but as winter became summer, the indoor temps went up as did the harddrive temps, and I ended up moving the harddrive to the top to give it more airflow, and added an exhaust fan to the top of the NES after removing a bit of plastic crossbars to improve air flow.

I've been using it primarily as a HTPC, streaming Hulu and Netflix, and controlling the Boxee media streaming via an Ipod Touch. It's functioning fantastically, and I wish I was back in college as I would have loved to have had this little NES sitting on my desk as my primary PC. HD streaming takes around 1/3 of the dual core's cpu, and I can even get some Portal and Crysis gaming on the machine. After 'stress testing' it for several hours of gaming during the summer, temps remain reasonable, max of 65C on the Cpu/Gpu, and 39C on the harddrive, and I have been continually impressed by the performance of such a small power efficient machine.

I'm looking for any other potential ideas that I may have missed in its creation. My only current ideas for the future are switching out the harddrive for a SSD, or possibly adding an intake fan to the bottom left of the machine. I've also experimented with controlling the NES pc with a Wiimote via bluetooth, and have had a good bit of fun using it for retro gaming.

Let me know what you think and if you have any ideas for it.











a b B Homebuilt system
July 4, 2011 4:37:45 PM

Lol, it's a super funky looking machine. Very ingenious.
The first thing I would do is mod away the controller ports, and put in some USB ports =p I see you've already wired the LED, but what about the power switch?
and then lastly I would mod a slimline Blu-ray player like this: http://www.blogcdn.com/www.engadget.com/media/2007/12/1...

Then it woud be a polished HTPC!
July 4, 2011 4:45:01 PM

striker410 said:
Lol, it's a super funky looking machine. Very ingenious.
The first thing I would do is mod away the controller ports, and put in some USB ports =p I see you've already wired the LED, but what about the power switch?
and then lastly I would mod a slimline Blu-ray player like this: http://www.blogcdn.com/www.engadget.com/media/2007/12/1...

Then it woud be a polished HTPC!



The Power and Reset buttons are wired up to the appropriate headers on the mobo, along with the LED (wired to the power led header).

I had considered much of your other recommendations. I looked at slimline dvd and bluray players and was considering putting in a slot loading model, however I realized that although I would be entertained by it being there, I already had 3 separate devices in my entertainment center capable of playing dvds, and one blu ray player, so all it would do would be take up space and further limit air flow in an already very tight case. What I didn't have next to my Tv was something capable of streaming HD internet content, as well as play computer games or browse the web.

As for the front ports, I considered wiring them up either as usb ports, or replacing them with an intake fan, but in the end I decided that the front of the NES PC was what was visible, and I wanted to keep it as much like an old NES as possible, so I decided to leave it unmolested and just shaved off all of the plastic from the back of the controller port for more interior room.
!