Step 3: Put in the Motherboard

Now theZotac ION ITX board is a very full featured motherboard for this project. It has everything from Dual Antenna Wi-Fi, HDMI-out, USB 3.0 Ports, a built in CPU, and is claimed to be fanless (more on this part later). However the most important aspect is that it has a external power supply, like a laptop. This gives us the room to beef up performance, reduce heat, and reduce the space needed in the case. When working with any of the electronics in the system make sure you are grounded by touching some metal and never work while on carpet as it can generate a static charge and risk messing up the boards.

Now instead of placing the mother board into the case and screwing it to the case itself, lets make a platform for it out of plexiglass. The primary reason for this is that I wanted the board to "float" and have as much air around the board as possible. So get out that plexiglass, measure the size of the motherboard, and cut out a piece of plexi that will cover the entire size of the motherboard's bottom. I used a radial arm saw to cut this out and was shocked that it didn't shatter it and cut it fairly well, just keep on the protective film on the plexi until all modifications to it are complete.

Now simply lay the board on top of the plexi, and using a marker, simply mark the holes where the motherboard will be bolted into it. Use your drill and make the mounting holes in the plexiglass.

Ok, now remember those nylon spacers from the material list? These are what separate the motherboard from the plexiglass to create that air flow for all around the board. So, lets mount the board to the plexi and lay it in place. This gives us an idea of where the motherboard will be in relation to the back panel that we have to cut out.
<p>could you have done this with any old computer you have lying around</p>
Not likely due to the small style motherboard, however I won't say never. But to fit it all in, the right size motherboard would be required. The newer Raspberry pi2 would be a nice cheep alternative though, just can't use this exact front end software.
<p>Jealousy ensues! </p>
I am not very good with tech work let alone have the time to learn and do the work. I have several game consoles and finding the games let along being able to afford them is a hassle which has led me to try a different rout. Is there anyone online who can take any console (nes, master system, coleco, ect..) and mod and install the games on it for a price?
<p>Emulators are your friend. </p>
<p>Yes....</p><p><a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/retroscience/retro-sciences-gem-a-whole-home-entertainment-syst?ref=discovery" rel="nofollow">https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/retroscience/...</a></p>
So many people have been messaging me for an updated motherboard to use. Basically any mini itx motherboard should work, however finding one with an external power supply can be tricky. The following SHOULD work, but it needs a processor still and the laptop brick. <br>ASRock AM1H-ITX AM1 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 DC-In/ATX Power Input Mini ITX AMD Motherboard<br><br>Found it on new egg. However you could also use a Pico psu for any mini itx board. Hope this helps. <br><br>As an additional note: the raspberry pi works wonderfully as an alternative if your open to a Linux front end. You can just directly write the controllers into the gpio pins. Happy building.
I was interested in trying to build this myself but have a few questions... <br> <br>1. What would be a good motherboard combo to use since the one called for in the list is now discontinued? <br> <br>2. As far as the hard drive goes, does it have to be 40GB? Can it be larger? <br> <br>3. Can you install say Windows 7 Ultimate on it? <br> <br>I'm sure I have more questions but those are it for now...
<p>Here's a similar Motherboard: <a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813176013" rel="nofollow">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...</a></p><p>It has to be windows xp 32 bit because the skinning software can replace the bootscreen with the Nintendo logo. If you do not want the Nintendo Logo, then use any operating system you want that can run the required software.</p>
do you have any idea where you could purchase that motherboard now? I havent done much looking for boards similar to this but so far none of them ive viewed also have the power supply. Im looking to build one like yours and also try to stuff a gaming pc into one for a steam box, but im not here for option 2 lol im just curious about the motherboard.
<p>Made an account just to say this...</p><p><a href="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813176013" rel="nofollow">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...</a></p><p>Here's a similar product.</p>
<p>did you get my message? I hope I hear back :)</p>
Epic! I think I claimed mine was the best looking... Maybe still is;) but this blows mine away in gaming performance and just the sickness of your mods. I do have all NES roms and 2 controllers, may have to go back into mine! Anyway just wanted to say OUTSTANDING job, guys like you inspired me to do my crap:)
That's awesome bro
Great dude! =D
Thanks for the swift reply! I was worried I had to wait a while for a response, if any, with an old post like this. I'm not too savvy with this stuff, but I do understand it. So, thank you for the information! I really wanna build this. <br> <br>Cheers
Had to make an account just to ask this, but the motherboard has been discontinued on Newegg and cannot seem to find the same one anywhere else. Any ideas or substitutions that would not make my life difficult when spending the money and building this?
Actually you can get any mini itx form factor motherboard. Just get a combo one with processor and video onboard. Then choose you other options. I just looked and found a few with hdmi out for $75. However, if you want to keep from having to get a pico power supply make sure your motherboard combo has a power supply built in. That is the hard part, but a pico PSU is nice. <br> <br>The other option is the raspberry pi, just need different software. It's cheep but not as nice looking.
i did just that with a sega mega drive two years ago, and i won a prize in the Euskal convention in Spain. The space inside a Mega was almost impossible to do, a NES is a little more bigger, and you can put the stuff inside more easily. Anyway, good ible! i have to do an ible to the mega, but i never remember to upload all the pics
How much does this wind up costing you?
I put most of the prices on the material list. However, it ran around $400 US. It could be done for less, i just wanted to give it WiFi and hdmi out. The Solid state drive also added a bunch.
This is basically the instructable I've been waiting for all my life! The only thing this is missing is a slot for <a href="http://www.creditcardpaymentpro.com/credit-card-processing-solutions/" rel="nofollow">credit card processing services</a> ha. Thanks again.
Try the Raspberry Pi, it is only $25, the size of a credit card, never overheats, and has plenty of power to run pretty much and emulater
Took the advise and we should see my new project with the raspberry pi soon. Got to learn python and linux in the process...
So much hype around the Raspberry Pi recently actually got me to order one. Unfortunately I am on the 3 month waiting period for one to ship. I have already gotten some ideas for it though. I was thinking of upgrading either my old gameboy to an NES/GBA system or my old gamegear to a Genesis portable system. A Rasp. Pi ($25) along with a automotive backup video monitor (about 20 bucks) could get a fairly nice portable system running for under 100 bucks. Thanks for the comment.
Check out the Nintendo's I made into PC's:<br> <a href="http://www.speedlimit88.com/indoors/snes/" rel="nofollow">http://www.speedlimit88.com/indoors/snes/</a>
Not too shabby. Great case mod. It also seems you ran into the same issue i did, cost effectiveness, thus why mine is a personal toy as a console system. It has a very specific target audience. My new project should run very cheap using a raspberry pi. Of course, as you know, sometimes it's all about the build rather than the final product.
I looked into the board you had listed here and I just wondered why so expensive, I looked at newegg and found some micro ITX boards for under 50 dollars with everything including processor, nothing fancy mind you and ram still required but it made me wonder looking at the machine you have built here it really makes me want to build my own but only as a novelty to have ALL NES games on it.
That was a modification from the original plan. Originally I planned to start XBMC from hyprspin to stream netflix and turn it into a media pc as well. The board had dual antenna wifi,power supply as well so it fit well. You could always go inexpensive and get a pico psu for power supply. The reason i moved on from the original plan was accessing the internet with it cause a lot of issues. Primarily the need for anti-virus clogging up the speed of the system and always having to need updates to download and install. It became too distracting from the primary purpose. Focusing on cheeper boards is definately possible, finding one with a built in PSU is hard though, so you may need a PICO PSU to fit it into the system. If you do go cheep, find one with a yellow video out and try and use all the old outputs on the case so you retain the same NES look all around. Good luck with the build.
Hey congratulations on being a finalist in the hack it contest! Good luck to you!
I had a laptop with the same CPU/ GPU combo. It didn't fare to well... <br>Just saying be careful with that setup. Saturn emulation pulls a lot of CPU power and that CPU has been known to die under loads. Perhaps a bit of overclocking can help. My laptop with that setup when I still had it was able to go from 1.8 to 2.3 GHz overclock on CPU and up to 700 MHz on the ION GPU. That may help to make the system last longer. Bumping the speeds up to reduce the workload.
The reason I added that top fan was to prevent burnout. Most laptops run a bit on the warm side, and thats about the temp it was running prior to the fan installation. So even though its a &quot;fanless&quot; system the fan brought it down from around 90 degrees C to about 33-34 degrees C. Even pulling in my saturn emulation. In addition I dont have any background programs really running because the O/S was gutted for the simple necessities to provide great boot time. <br> <br>I do notice some blocky parts in the Saturn emulation though, so the overclocking might be a good way to boost the performance. Unfortunately I have never overclocked a CPU or GPU so if I do that I may have to do some homework on it. Thanks for the suggestion!
Feel free to contact me further if you need help with that. I know how to do it on both CPU and GPU.
Nice job! I am trying to do the same but with a Nintendo 64 and an Intel DN2800MT motherboard.
I just looked at your board. Its a nice, thin, and powerful. Im wondering if you would have the room in it to wire in your connections without cutting the outside of the N64 case. Also the top loading cart would be a nice place for &quot;accessories.&quot; Like making it a USB slot and build either a USB hub into a dead cart. Good luck with the design and make sure to send us an instructable.
good <br>
Voted, Wonderful job! <br>
After looking at some the raspberry pi stuff, I would think you could do the same with it and you would have a ton of room to play with in there. Otherwise I love the concept.
Fantastic idea for actually using it as a Gameboy encasement. I really liked the hyperspin front end however and love previewing the games via the videos. I also have not had much experience with linux, even through tinkering. I actually have a Psychology degree and have no professional training, just pure tinkering. I do think the Rasberry Pi put into an original gameboy with a linux based front end would be a fantastic idea though. One downside I could see however is that it couldn't handle a Sega Saturn Emulator, so I couldn't play the translated versions of Shining Force 3 Episodes 1-3. (One of my own personal reasons for going the distance on this project)
This is truly awesome and would make a fantastic addition to anybody's man cave. I want one. Great instructable too.
Thanks, it took nearly 7 months as a hobby and it was also my first experience soldering. So I think it turned out well.

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