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Anyone ever build a computer from scratch? Answered

Has anyone ever done it? I'm building a micro linux computer that should be able to fit in an altoids box. It's going to be running an Atmel ARM chip at 400mhz. If anyone has done anything similar, suggestions are appreciated!


Well i don't know if anyone besides the original creators of the computer have ever built an ENTIRE computer from scratch, i mean, you would have to get a lot of silicon...and melt it....and stuff...that sounds really hard. I would recommended against trying to build your computer from /scratch/

Hi, i'm wondering if you're been able to do it.. I'm planning on making something of an open source tablet. But it's going to be an adventure to start with a blank ARM processor.. Ideas for me?

Well here is a gumstix gumstix.com

How do you actually plan to make such a small computer that has all the outputs...and inputs...and the power... :O

well, all the computer would be (like an ipod or a smart cell phone) is a suped up microcontroller (kinda, it has external components). The majority of the pins are for RAM and memory, and a lot of them have USB capabilities built right into the chip, very little external components are required, just a couple of ICs with decoupling capacitors.

Ah I see... And how is it going along? What about the ultra small Tesla coil that you were building??? Thanks !

i have a tendensy to start and not finish projects :P The farthest I really ever got into this project was read a whole lot of datasheets and did a lot of research, but nothing ever physical. On another note, right now I'm repainting my 728 Jornada and adding in some additional features via an AVR microcontroller. The Tesla Coil is going alright, still working on it every now and then, but school and friends has taken up the majority of my time. (~34 days of school left, yay)

Yea, I know what you mean... Well, good luck with all your projects... I have about 40 days of school left... :P


9 years ago

Sounds like a BeagleBoard
There were some less complete boards built onto SODIMM form factor boards.
Here's one example but search for "sodimm arm" will turn up more.

Building one from scratch probably means PCBs with more than 4 layers, BGA packages, and other feats of fine-pitch soldering well beyond amateur skills. IMO.

Answering to a bunch of the comments: I was thinking of building my own "motherboard" type circuit board with all parts built in, like ram and stuff. It'd run uClinux BTW by scratch I mean solder it all together, not get all the parts and plug them together. Also, everything but the circuit board should cost around 40-50 dollars including shipping, assuming all goes well

What about the CPU socket - can you buy them? L

i dunno, a lot of these cpu's are smd, and have like 500 pins in a very small area, I dunno if they make sockets for a majority of them; also, it looks like most real single-board-computers (SBC's) have them directly soldered in.

Look-up "micro ATX" (And good luck) L


9 years ago

A super-extra-catering-size 5kg Altoids box? Can you get consumer motherboards that will fit in a regular Altoids tin? I'm guessing you are planning to use a Gumstix or something similar. I second gmjhowe's suggestion that moving up a size will give you far more power if size isn't a limiting factor, but if you are constrained to building a computer that small then it can be done. What flavour of Linux are you going to use? I can't imagine a desktop variant more intensive than DSL running very well on such a tiny computer- but you could always make it "headless" and run things via a console.

Sure, original computer scientists

Thats great! Ive been eyeing up parts to build something myself.

Which platform you making it from? I know some of the super small systems are not set up to use a desktop version of linux.

Might i also suggest the ever so slightly bigger Pico ITX? 1ghz processor makes a big difference. What kind of price range you looking at?

I must say i have not looked into it for a while as i now have a super small computer running a 400mhz chip, and a slimline version of osx - my iPod Touch! It kinda replaced my need for a low cost, low power internet browser. My 400mhz neoware thin client is now used just to raise my monitor up higher...

¿¿¿INSIDE AN ALTOID TIN??? thats awesome! Ive only heard of a $72 Comp and it runes of DSL. Your's too? (the DSL)