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NESputer

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NESputer

A project with an actual chance of success! Usually work slows down, I feel like doing smm'thing, and right in the thick of it work ramps up again. Thread dies. This time however, the finish line is in sight.

As you may have seen from the Show Off thread I've been buying these items over the course of a couple years, mostly waiting on (real) sales and lack of time. I also moved this year. Since buying the motherboard, ASRock has released two newer STX boards, including a Ryzen model that would probably crush my build in capability five times over. However, I am not unhappy, just means that there will be additional projects in the future! Also, I have been emulating for a very long time -- I've seen what a Pentium 200 and Celeron 400 can do, lol. It's only gotten better in the last two decades.

Goal
  • 1080 HTPC (source: Emby home server + streaming services)
  • Emulator (local collection of mostly cart games but I have also ripped my PS1 discs)

Hardware
  • The housing is my first console! A 1989 NES-001 which included the orange version of the zapper.
  • The power is an FSP 90w 19v PSU. It's one of the smaller units I could find and I *really* wanted to keep the power supply internal.
  • Getting to the heart of it is an Intel G4600T on an ASRock H110M-STX with 8GB of CL14 DDR4-2400 -- only the best for HD 630 graphics! The T-variant of the G4600 loses 600Mhz to drop the TDP down to 35w.
  • The storage, a 1TB Crucial P5, is more than this build deserves but Crucial has been good to me. I have three M4's from 2012 that are still in use today.
  • Last item is an Intel WiFi + Bluetooth m.2 stick.
Have started to use a mild steel wool on the outside to take out scratches and reveal a fresh surface. BTW, anyone with "old plastic" that wants it to be as close to the original color as possible should look into the retrobrite process.

An obvious goal is to have functioning power and reset buttons since they are, like, right there to be used. The controller ports will be switched out for USB ports. Around the rear is the where the power and a "semi-fixed" HDMI cable will go.

project-nesputer-by-disparia-20201124-1.jpg project-nesputer-by-disparia-20201124-2.jpg project-nesputer-by-disparia-20201124-3.jpg

Next
  • Have a few more cuts to do, the most obvious one being access to the power port. There's also an internal plastic standoff that needs to be cut as it's right in the way of a motherboard "leg".
  • Do thermal testing without a fan, using vents already present. Get an idea of how much additional flow will be necessary.

Links

ASRock H110M-STX (6th - 7th gen support)
Intel Kaby Lake

ASRock H310M-STX (8th - 9th gen support)
Intel Coffee Lake

FAQ

Q. Will an ITX board fit?
A. Yes-ish. Before STX I had printed out a 1:1 scale ITX board to figure out how to do it and I believe the right modder could pull it off. I'm sticking to EZ STX.
 
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Looks fun. I've been checking prices on STX motherboards, and even cheaper Gigabyte H310MSTX-HD3 is still a bit too expensive. How much did you pay for yours?
It's probably cheaper for me to get a complete DeskMini and scrap the chassis, which will leave a hefty 150W PSU as a bonus.

Regarding cooling, you can always throw in a pair of NF-A4x20's and make some holes or slits for intake-exhaust. They are relatively quiet and can push some serious air. I have two of those in 1U supermicro chassis cooling an old 80W Xeon E3-1240 no problem.
 
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Hell yeah! This looks like a fun little project! I do get kinda sad thinking about that poor NES though, gutted like a fish. By the time I came around in '86, we'd had the NES for a bit -- the one with the OG grey Zapper -- and when I was 2, I learned how to play Super Mario Bros. from my dad. Sigh...so many good memories attached to that system.
 
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Looks fun. I've been checking prices on STX motherboards, and even cheaper Gigabyte H310MSTX-HD3 is still a bit too expensive. How much did you pay for yours? It's probably cheaper for me to get a complete DeskMini and scrap the chassis, which will leave a hefty 150W PSU as a bonus.

Regarding cooling, you can always throw in a pair of NF-A4x20's and make some holes or slits for intake-exhaust. They are relatively quiet and can push some serious air. I have two of those in 1U supermicro chassis cooling an old 80W Xeon E3-1240 no problem.

I think $55. Had started a sheet with the exact prices I paid, need to find it again...

Oh yeah, I've used those fans before. Good quality. Have also used the 5 volt A4x10 with the Raspberry Pi.

Hell yeah! This looks like a fun little project! I do get kinda sad thinking about that poor NES though, gutted like a fish. By the time I came around in '86, we'd had the NES for a bit -- the one with the OG grey Zapper -- and when I was 2, I learned how to play Super Mario Bros. from my dad. Sigh...so many good memories attached to that system.

It performed admirably until 2015 :)

Dad didn't game, but Mom would enjoy Wheel of Fortune from time to time.
 
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Mouse Logitech G603
Keyboard Zalman K500 modded (Gateron brown)
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I think $55. Had started a sheet with the exact prices I paid, need to find it again...
damn... even if it's just a ballpark, it's cheap. Here a 310M-STX will drain your wallet by $120-$130, while Gigabyte options retail around $110. For $170 you can get the whole barebone.
 
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Temperature

Plugged it in and ran a NES game for quite awhile with success. No fan + top on.

Then I opened a SNES game and the degrees started to tick upwards. Don't even have a screen shot of it, as when it hit 90 degrees I pulled off the top and closed the emulators. No surprise to any of us, but a fan will be a must-have with this build.

project-nesputer-by-disparia-20201125-1.png

Hmm... just remembered that FF3 is on the SNES Classic... I should probably mention at this time that I own physical copies of Godzilla for NES and Final Fantasy III/6 for SNES ;)
 
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Still waiting on the fan to arrive, but the feet came in! Soft rubber that will fit within the existing spots and lift a little.

project-nesputer-by-disparia-20201205-1.jpg project-nesputer-by-disparia-20201205-2.jpg

New territory for me, but I also got around to trying out some of my PS1 and PS2 games, and I think it did rather well considering I didn't have any expectations for either the hardware or the software.

Jacked up the settings and 4x upscale... the music starts and OH MY FEELS


...after Wild ARMs' awesome intro FMV, the gameplay was silky and I didn't experience any problems.

Then to try PS2, I went with Wild ARMs 3. It was also a good experience at high settings.

Notes

* ePSXe GPU core 2.0 worked while Pete's OpenGL2 GPU core 2.0 didn't
 
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Rei

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Still waiting on the fan to arrive, but the feet came in! Soft rubber that will fit within the existing spots and lift a little.

View attachment 178318 View attachment 178320

New territory for me, but I also got around to trying out some of my PS1 and PS2 games, and I think it did rather well considering I didn't have any expectations for either the hardware or the software.

Jacked up the settings and 4x upscale... the music starts and OH MY FEELS


...after Wild ARMs' awesome intro FMV, the gameplay was silky and I didn't experience any problems.

Then to try PS2, I went with Wild ARMs 3. It was also a good experience at high settings.

Notes

* ePSXe GPU core 2.0 worked while Pete's OpenGL2 GPU core 2.0 didn't
+1 for Wild Arms!!! :clap: :peace:

Would've gone with P.E.Op.S. Soft GPU instead of Pete's OpenGL2 PSX GPU.

Also various ePSXe optimized plugins on that site such as SPU plugins & CDR plugins & such, if you have known about it.

 
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Been cold and/or wet lately so I haven't done as much body work as I wanted. Did get the bottom vents filled in with JB Weld for Plastic and will be doing a thick fill-in where the component video and audio would normally be installed (but there's now a power supply in that spot). Want as be able to direct as much air around the components and out the top vent on the other side. This shouldn't be a problem because I need to throw out my earlier temps as I forgot there was no paste on the CPU. Had put the heatsink on to check case clearance and forgot to apply some paste once power-on testing started! Temps are more in-line for a T-variant CPU.

project-nesputer-by-disparia-20201223-1.jpg

Also tried out Duckstation, a new PS1 emulator and can say that it works well on this platform. Compiling shaders with upscaled resolution did take awhile but once in the game it was smooth.
 
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Holy crap it's 2021, I need to get moving on this so I can play some games from 2001!

project-nesputer-by-disparia-20210126-1.jpg project-nesputer-by-disparia-20210126-2.jpg

Fans holes, standoff holes, and holes for the new feet. Was also primed as you can see in the pics.
 
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Wait! what!? It's a GOLD edition NESputer! I heard those are like, very rare, as to my knowledge I've only made one.

project-nesputer-by-disparia-20210129-1.jpg project-nesputer-by-disparia-20210129-2.jpg project-nesputer-by-disparia-20210129-3.jpg

Might notice a missing port cover... I blame a cat. Will hopefully locate it or fab a new piece.

Not bad for spray gold. Should it ever become scratched I could buy a gold tinted chrome kit to really up the shine. On the other hand, some basic painted plastic is reminiscent of my childhood toys so I'm diggin' it.
 
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Wait! what!? It's a GOLD edition NESputer! I heard those are like, very rare, as to my knowledge I've only made one.

View attachment 186132 View attachment 186133 View attachment 186134

Might notice a missing port cover... I blame a cat. Will hopefully locate it or fab a new piece.

Not bad for spray gold. Should it ever become scratched I could buy a gold tinted chrome kit to really up the shine. On the other hand, some basic painted plastic is reminiscent of my childhood toys so I'm diggin' it.
Not a fan of gold color, but that's one mean looking NESputer!
 
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Wait! what!? It's a GOLD edition NESputer! I heard those are like, very rare, as to my knowledge I've only made one.

View attachment 186132 View attachment 186133 View attachment 186134

Might notice a missing port cover... I blame a cat. Will hopefully locate it or fab a new piece.

Not bad for spray gold. Should it ever become scratched I could buy a gold tinted chrome kit to really up the shine. On the other hand, some basic painted plastic is reminiscent of my childhood toys so I'm diggin' it.

House Lannister approves! :rockout:
 
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