Welcome to the kom-pew-pew-pew-t0r!
This is the build log for this super awesome amazing magical PC case mod!
My motivations for this were simple. PDXLAN Summer 2020 @ Home is having a case mod contest, I really freaggin love memes, and I wanted to see how crazy I could go with only spare parts on hand. There was zero purchases for this build, and zero asking others for any parts. All of these came from things I had laying around my apartment.
- Case: Amazon Cardboard Box
- CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 640 (4-core, 4-thread, 3.0GHz)
- Motherboard: M4A88T-V EVO/USB3
- RAM: 4x4GB G.Skill RipJaws DDR3 in Dual-Channel configuration
- Storage: 64GB Kingston SATA SSD
- Storage: USB 1.44MB Floppy
- Sound: Creative Labs SoundBlaster Audigy (on 1x PCIe riser)
- Sound: Onboard AC97
- Network: Dual-Port SFP+ 10gbe Emulex OCE10102 (on 1x PCIe riser)
- Network: Onboard RJ45 1gbe RealTek
- Network: USB WiFi N
- Network: USB BlueTooth 2.0
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce 8400 GS 512 MB (on 1x PCIe riser)
- GPU: Integrated ATI Radeon HD 4250 128 MB
- PSU: 10+ year old modular 650w with ripped off tag (sorry, don’t know model anymore)
- RGB: Custom made ATTiny85 based LED controllers
- Keyboard: Logitech Internet Navigator Keyboard
- Mouse: Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 2.0
- Monitor: Dell LCD @ 1280x1024px
Right near the start of the build, #DayJob happened. The Equinix LD8 datacenter in London suffered a near total power failure. My company houses a significant amount of infrastructure in this location, and being on the TechOps team, we went into around-the-clock emergency mode to bring out systems back online after power was restored. Sadly, this ate into my build time. Many of the planned memes and featured games are missing from the final case design and video. At the end of this document, I’ll leave an unedited copy of my personal Windows Notepad brainstorming notes for what I wanted to include. Most is written in short-hand, but it’ll at least give an idea!
All of the extra cardboard used to hold components in place are pieces from this same box, repurposed after being cut out!
The motherboard is held in by 9 traditional mount screws. I cut small holes into the cardboard and screwed these in. They were not quite stable enough, so I added some hot glue to each. Now that motherboard is rock solid, and not moving. 🙂
Next, the PSU. This thing is massively heavy. Using larger thumb screws, these acted as pseudo washers against the cardboard. This mostly keeps the power supply in place. I wanted a little extra stability, so I added some extra cardboard internally to stabilize it.
Next came the I/O. I had a bunch of spare 1x PCIe risers, and I didn’t give a damn about performance!!! So yup, just had to use these for the LAWLz. This is how the GPU, Sound Card, and 10gbe NIC are attached.
One of the random items I had recently purchased for another project was a USB floppy drive. I needed internal USB ports, so I rummaged through my old wire box. I found a 4-port USB 2.0 bracket, and this motherboard luckily has a pair of USB 2.0 headers ready to go for it. The bracket was also stored with a USB WiFi dongle and USB BlueTooth dongle already attached, so SCORE! Bonus features.
The RGB LEDs are not your typic kit. They’re not attached or controlled by the motherboard at all. These are WS2812b LEDs, just like other ARGB LED strips. But by designing my own LED controller and knowing my power budget, it means I can do some extra things with it. I attached each of the two strip’s power sources directly to the PSU’s 5v output. This means I don’t have the normal 500ma power limitation that USB or motherbaord LED strips have. Because of this, I can run them at max brightness without worrying of damaging components (consumer purchased LED controllers wont allow for max brightness usually, due to fear of straining power budgets, which can harm components or even catch fire… which yes, I’ve done while building my own controllers!!)
As you can tell from the video, all of the gaming was done on Windows 98 SE! … but wait … Win98 doesn’t support more than 512MB RAM, or wifi, or bluetooth, or 10gbe, or more than 1 CPU core, or….
**** SPOILERS ****
The host OS is actually Windows 10 1909, with a Windows 98 SE VMware Workstation guest. When I went to set this system, I couldn’t find my Windows 10 2004 USB drive, so I pulled an older 1909 out of my shelf of stuff… then an hour later when I needed my house keys, realized that the 2004 USB drive was attached to my key ring 😛 GO ME.
If you watch the video, you can actually see the VMWare BIOS boot screen during the Windows 98 SE install process while the system reboots. You can also notice the gray bar at the top of the video. Also, after a few days, Windows 10 started showing the “ACTIVATE WINDOWS” always-on-top text, and these shows up in the last few screen recordings.
SORRY for the repeated audio. The last couple clips that have sound were recorded in a hurry before I left the apartment for the weekend (I’m actually publishing this from another location on my laptop and barely meeting the deadline WHOOPSS!). Things got rushed, because once again, the massive server outage at work ate a LOT of time unexpectedly this week!
All in all, this was a fun little build. It runs. It plays games. It looks cool. It memes hard. It has already brought smiles to the faces of those that have seen the work in progress. In the end, that’s all that matters, gaming, and our gaming hardware, bringing smiles of joy to people’s faces!
Windows Notepad Brainstorming“NOW PARTS ARE IN CASE!”
r-g-bees – printed out pics of bees, colored with red/green sharpie
* installing windows 98
* each of the games
* 3dmark 2000!
LCD-9001 (printed piece of paper with “LCD” on it)
fan goes BBBBRRRRR
over a clock (overclocked)
print out of 3d rendering of a character named mark
^^^ Mark the Minion
DONT COPY THAT FLOPPY
case provided by charity: cases for chris
cboard xtreme 2020 edition
cable manager, inspector, supervisor, worker, cheif cable officer
^^^ xkcd characters
^^^ printed out and pasted inside case
iconic sounds from games
wolf3d (whatever the German phase the guards say)
diablo “AHHHH, FRESH MEAT”
FPS Doug (need I say more!?)
use knife to start computer, because everything runs faster with a knife
equinix LD8 / xkcd sys admin
rgb power budget / brightness
FLOPPY! becase WHY NOT!?
10gbe! because WHY NOT !?