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Media PC inside a NES case


Soupdog50
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This is my first forum post but I'm a long time viewer!

I've been considering building a media pc for streaming videos and music to from my main deskop which runs loud and isn't exactly lounge worthy. When I got given a NES the size looked quite nice for a media PC case under a TV and I remembered this.

I have some questions that it would be great if any of you could help me with, I don't want to get to far into this and realise I've made a stupid mistake.

My first consideration was if I used an EEE PC 900 motherboard there would be several advantages:

  • Low Power
  • Small Form factor which would fit easily inside the NES case
  • quiet, only the one fan (CPU)
  • Power supply doesn't have to be inside the case
  • Quite cheap
  • Small built in SSD big enough for the OS and maybe some emulators

To save you looking them up here are the specs of an EEE 900 board:

  • 900MHz Intel Celeron Processor
  • SD Card Reader
  • VGA out
  • Mic+Headphone sockets
  • LAN
  • 3 USB ports
  • Sound+Graphics built into the board
  • 512MB RAM
  • Wifi card

First off, I'm not sure whether this is powerful enough (With an undecided Linux distro) to handle the HD Video Streaming I require (can VGA out handle high enough resolutions?), any thougths there? Seccondly seeing as I want it to be a neat and tidy mod. All of the ports are on the sides of the board, and I want everything to plug neatly into the back, I'd have to make my own I/O Area which sounds like a bit of a nightmare.

cba3_2.JPG

I'm considering going for a Mini or Micro ATX/ITX (I'm not sure what the differences are) becuase it will offer more power, even if it is much hotter, more expensive, bigger and louder.

I haven't decided what Optical Drive I want to go for, but it will pop out of the cartridge door. I was hoping Blu Ray but there's no way and EEE PC could handle that. I'm also assuming that I'll have to go for a laptop sized drive which will bump up the price.

Having the ability to use the dolphin emulator to play Wii games on it would be pretty kick ass, only something I just considered because of the latest couple of eps.

Any thoughts would be appreciated

Sadly I have 1st Year Computer Science Exams coming up, so this will probably have to take a back seat.

EDIT: Fixed a bullet point that was annoying me

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Oooh, I never thought of doing something like that. You won't be able to get very good high def through the eeePC, 720p max if that. I'd recommend getting something like the AspireRevo. It uses the Nvidia ION platform which uses the GPU for bluray decoding, allowing for full 1080p playback. It only costs $260, so it's pretty affordable for what you get.

As far as the dolphin emulator part goes, I'm sorry but that's not going to happen. With dolphin being just last gen it'll take a powerful computer for it to play anywhere near full speed. But you could always throw an NES emulator on there =D

Edit: I should add, the AspireRevo is looking at a mid may release date. So it'll be after your CS exams =)

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Streaming HD on that little guy... not going to go over super well. I would recommend getting yourself with a micro-atx with a small psu and an efficient C2D for the processor. Would be able to stream HD just fine, do any emulator you'd like, etc. and it wouldn't use that much more power than the EEE... however I'm not sure you'd be able to fit it into a NES case.

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Ok, so that's the EEE PC idea out then. It was just a minor thought anyway, having everything so well contained seemed to good to be true. I'll spend the next couple of days looking at micro atx boards and power supplies. Fitting it all in is definitely going to be an issue, I'm not sure how cool this is going to run either, its not like I have space for a big HSF ;)

What would be the minimum specs for hardware that could stream at a useful level of HD quality?

Like 2Ghz and 1GB+ RAM?

I guess the wireless wouldn't have to be internal either seeing as I have a buffalo airstation about here somewhere it would probably be far more efficient to use that in conjunction with my Xbox 360 (and yes I do realise I could stream to that).

I was considering using XBMC as the front end but I've really fallen out of love with it on my Xbox 1 and my PC recently so any tips on what Distro I should use would also be appreciated.

Thanks for the suggestions and input.

Sorry if my posts are a bit long, I tend to go on a bit.

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This is where that linux plug would be cool to store inside an old NES. Gutting and mounting small HDD and DVD drive with video out from SDIO, you then have a little media server that plays DVD's and stores media files on the HDD Add a small USB hub with ports on the back or side, hook up IR remotes to the USB ports and you can control it fromt he couch via media center remote or wireless keyboard and mouse.

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The project looks good, but i have one issue with it, and its the issue that i had when trying to set up a small media server. Resolution. RGB output to a 42" LCD looks kinda bland, SDIO from what Ive seen only can produce 640 x 480, which also isn't all that good looking, specially when we have 720p movies to play.

The best bet i found was for 300$AU to buy an Xbox 360 Arcade. (i got the pro, but for Price Arcade works just as well). This allowed Xvid streaming, just no mkv's sadly.

Though sadly this doesn't help the idea of modding into a Nintendo case, but is the cheapest / efficient solution that i concluded on last year.

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Thanks for all the suggestions, I really like the Sheeva Plug idea. Do you think 1.2GHz 512MB RAM would be enough for what I need?

I have my Xbox 360 Premium or Pro (I don't remember the name Microsoft went for in the end) but its a launch and I expect it to Rrod any day now. I broke the warranty ("adjusting" the firmware on my DVD drive...) already so that's a whole other issue.

The whole web browsing in the living room thing is also tempting, as are older emulators, probably up to N64. If it ran quietly and used little power I would use it for my legal torrents as well.

EDIT:

I like this mother board

Intel Desktop Board D945GCLF2D with Integrated Intel Atom Processor

  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 17.1 cm x 17.1 cm
  • Chipset Type: Intel 945GC Express / Intel ICH7
  • Max Bus Speed: 533 MHz
  • Processor: 1 ( 1 ) x Intel Atom 330 / 1.6 GHz
  • Cache Memory: L2 - 1 MB ;
  • RAM: 0 MB (installed) / 2 GB (max)
  • Supported RAM Technology: DDR2 SDRAM
  • Storage Controller: ATA-100, Serial ATA-300
  • USB Ports Configuration: 8 x USB
  • Storage Ports Configuration: 1 x ATA, 2 x SATA
  • Graphics Controller: Intel GMA 950 ( 224 MB ) - Dynamic Video Memory Technology 3.0
  • Audio Output: Sound card - 5.1 channel surround

21FYXF8lnKL._SL500_AA200_.jpg

At 17.1cm by 17.1cm it looks like it will just fit but judging by that picture it looks quite tall. This will be a problem because I want the DVD drive to eject through the cartridge slot. I think I might have to find another way to cool the damn thing. Because of space it looks I'll definitely have to use a laptop Hard Drive or even a USB stick, I'll investigate whether the board can boot from USB tomorrow. I think 1.6Hz should be enough, booting off of a USB or SSD (if I can afford it) would speed things up a bit too.

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@h3%5kr3w Yeah I linked to it in the OP, its a very helpful guide.

Bought my new dremel the other day but haven't got round to cutting anything yet. I spent ages cleaning up the case the get the weird Yellow tint that old consoles get off. I'm still looking at Motherboards but Computer Systems revision keeps getting in the way.

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