After all the gutting and cleaning of the amplifier, and several hours tinkering, that idea didn’t work out. The issue was a matter of a centimetre really. Everything fitted fine, barring an optical drive (it was going to be a streaming video player anyway so not an issue), but the graphics card was too tall and prevented closure of the case. That, and with the amount of modifications required to fit everything properly I might as well have built a new case from scratch. So I cut my losses and abandoned that phase of the project. However, it’s not the end for the media centre idea. An important part of this project is where to place the PC. Should it be concealed? Out in the open? In line with the rest of the Hi-Fi equipment, or above everything else? I’m limited regarding space, as the unit housing the TV is built into the wall and only supports a 21″ CRT, with the rest of the space taken up by various players and also a mini bookcase. Luckily there’s a cupboard underneath which should be perfect for the job, so all the cables should be concealed, and all the input devices I’ll be using are wireless.
Todays work followed my Dad’s suggestion that an alternative case, namely that of the Dell Dimension XPS T450. Yep, it’s an XPS from way back in 1999, which was powered by an Intel Pentium 3 (or !!! depending on how excited Intel thinks you are about it). The idea is that a desktop case (horizontally orientated rather than vertically) will sit better in the cupboard, and it is also slightly slimmer and better built than my ordinary tower. Say what you will about Dell, but they are damn good at building PCs. From tool-less entry to removable cages for optical drives and HDDs, it seems to have it all. Even the motherboard clips are fantastic. At first I was a skeptic, as I am normally skeptical of anything proprietary in computers, and I had only ever used the normal motherboard post and screw system but I soon saw the light. A spacer/post, and securing hooks in one package! I’m sorry if this seems ridiculous to anyone normal, but I get excited about this sort of stuff. It also had something I hadn’t seen in a long long time, a cartridge processor! I always loved them, mainly because they are so different from ordinary socket processors, and also because of the similarity to consoles with cartidge systems.
So far, I’ve gutted and cleaned the XPS T450 and replaced the innards with my system and everything has gone smoothly. Well, mostly. Some tweaks such as gluing the motherboard I/O plate to the oustide (normally it pops in from the inside and clicks into place) and removing all the old cooling system. The next phase is testing, and possibly reinstallation of Windows XP to make sure everything is running smoothly, then onto installation.
This was just a brief update, and I’ll have photos of the whole process online tomorrow hopefully.