Mini-ITX Emulator Box in an NES
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May 14, 2009, 08:27 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Regina, SK
My System Specs
Software Writeup and Final Shots
While I waited, I decided to get the software side of things handled. I chose to go with Linux for the box, as the eventual sale of it meant that I would have had to buy a legitimate copy of Windows for it—another $100+ down the drain. As I have never before worked with Linux, I decided that Ubuntu was the way to go (though I hear Linux Mint is also excellent, and I may try it soon in the future). The install went fine, and I then went about trying to learn how to install software.
Software installation made me glad that I had taken a couple of C++ based classes in university, and spent so much time fiddling around with MSDOS as a kid. The syntax was different, but I more or less understood the ideas behind everything. The only thing I missed was the inclusion of additional software repositories, which meant that I did most of the beginning stuff the hard way before I smartened up and did some online reading.
The next kick in the ass came when I found out that the GMA 950, the GPU within my 945GC chipset, has some MAJOR OpenGL issues with Linux, which meant that my ZSNES emulator would only run games at 640X480, and STILL dropped frames. I was not impressed. After much detective work, I found
and downloaded the Intel 2009Q1 graphics package. While it doesn’t claim to support the GC chipset, I decided to give it a go, installing both the 2D driver, and MESA for 3D. Because I couldn’t get the latest drivers via a repository (and only the most recent contained the OpenGL bugfix), I had to install everything manually, and individually source the dependencies which each stage required. A LONG night later, the problem was solved! ZSNES happily handled my ROMs in any resolution, and with all the “pretty” factors turned on.
Unfortunately, the next day when I rebooted, the problem was back again, and the same solution didn’t fix anything. Finally, thinking I might just have to swap to a WinXP install, I made a last ditch effort and tried Ubuntu 8.04…which worked like a charm. No problems as yet.
In my entertainment centre...
For those of you with sharp eyes, you'll note how hot the system was running. I decided a couple of fans were in order, and so I installed a mini-kaze 40mm exhausting in the rear, and a Delta 60mm on the top as intake--which blows right onto the passive motherboard heatsink, on the bright side.
There are only two snags left; first, the new power adapter fixed nothing, which prompted me to test the DVD drive with another system...and it didn't work. RMA in progress. The other snag is a minor software tweak I'm working on to have the system recognize the 4 different gamepads I have attached and assign them the same input slot EVERY BOOT, so that the emulators can retain the settings they need for buttons. I'm oh, so close. Anyway, here are the final pictures:
The last pic is the air intake on the top of the NES--if you look closely you should be able to see the fan underneath. Unforunately, the original openings were 'L' shaped, which made for awful, restricted airflow, so I lopped the bottom part off of each "L." It looks awfully ugly this close up.
Last edited by vulcan500rider; May 14, 2009 at
My System Specs
Asus P67 Sabretooth
Sapphire 5850 Xtreme
64GB Crucial M4 2x640GB WD Black 1x 2TB WD Green
Samsung DVD-RW, ASUS Blu-Ray Reader
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