Weird and Wonderful PCs and PC Mods, Your Stories

Two Mobos, One Case - Say What?

From: Russ Lohman

In response to your recent article on Weird and Wonderful PCs and Mods I thought I'd submit my little weekend tinkering project, at least for the weird category if nothing else.

One day I decided to put together a computer consisting of one of my old Micro-ATX Intel boards. After breaking out a new case and installing the motherboard, I notice that there was ALOT of extra space available. After thinking about it a bit, I decided to see if I could conceivably fit two Micro-ATX motherboards into a mid-tower. I found a not-too-old AMD Socket A motherboard in my stash and proceeded to install both motherboards in the mid-tower.

After re-drilling a few holes I managed to get both motherboards installed happily into the case. My next problem was power. I couldn't feasibly install two power supplies in such a small area, simply because I had already taken over the original power supply location with part of a motherboard.

I did a little research and found that it was possible to run multiple ATX motherboards from a single power supply, but only one board would have control over the ATX functionality.

After locating a power supply that would support both boards and creating an ATX Y-cable, I installed two hard drives, one for each motherboard and prepared to fire it up.

To my surprise, it booted and both of them appeared to be working.

This is my personal favorite picture, just because it shows how everything fits into the case without the power wires and IDE cables in the way.

After doing some diagnostics to make sure everything was running smoothly, I decided to make this box into an all-in-one Web Server. On the Intel board, I installed windows 2000 Server and set it up for IIS and FrontPage extensions. On the AMD board, I installed CentOS 4 and setup an Apache Web server. With both sides setup for remote access, I removed the KVM cables from the inside of the case and simply mounted the two network ports out the back along with a single power connection.

All in all, it didn't look pretty, but it ran like a dream and took up a lot less space :-).