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Cardboard Box PC
Written by Allan Nielsen (19/Sep/03)
Page 1 of 1

Untitled Document As I was offered a motherboard and some RAM for free (Thank you "dod" and "Daniel~), I decided to look into my drawers for components to make up a secondary folding@home rig. I had a lot of items from older computers, and I was pretty sure all of them still worked fine.

I found that I had these at hand:

CPU: Duron 800
CPU cooler: AMD Barton 2500+ stock cooler
RAM: 256 MB PC133 CL2
MOBO: Jetway 867AS with onboard sound
VIDEO: Geforce2 MX-400 32 MB RAM
NIC: Realtek 10/100 Mbit
HDD: 2.1 GB

The most critical thing in my setup was without a doubt the PSU. I didn't really think that a 145 Watt power supply would be enough to power this rig - but after putting it all together on my bed, it startet right up without a hitch.

Now, all I needed was a case!

Well, my budget didn't exactly allow me to go buy a new case, so I decided to build a card board box PC. This has been done many times before, but not by me.

I went looking for a perfect sized card board box, and I was lucky to find one in the closet. I measured it, and saw that it was almost a perfect fit.

This was supposed to be cheap, and as I was out of duct tape so I had to use some red tape instead. Not as good, I must admit. But it does hold it in place.

Taped the hard drive and PSU onto a square piece of card board.

I cut holes for the PSU, and put the hard drive and PSU into the bottom of the "case". I was then to put the motherboard on top of these, seperating them with a piece of card board and an anti-static bag. Inside the bag, I put a piece of soft wrapping material, which you can see in the next picture. I also mounted a 12 db 80mm Papst case fan to create a bit of air flow in the box.

Notice the rubber band holding down the motherboard

Now I cut matching holes (or mis-matching, as you will see) in the card board box for the motherboard and its components.

Presto, installing all the hardware and closing the box and it looks like this from one side:

Notice the fan grill and the two wires sticking out

Closeup of the wires. (Ed: And the shameless plug ;)

These wires are connected to the motherboard pins, as I didn't have a switch suitable for the job. I just connect these two wires to each other for a split second and the computer boots right up.

This is the last picture of my small card board box. I gave it a green "handle" on top so it is easy to carry around, and I added a remote control for size reference.

Card board box computer

I put Windows XP on it (takes up half the hard drive), and then folding@home which is basically all it needed.

The computer is now folding away, and hasn't crashed yet. Hasn't set anything on fire, hasn't leaked capacitor fluid, hasn't messed up my apartment, hasn't destroyed any hardware nor software.. it just works great! Perhaps in the future I will go for a faster CPU, but currently the Duron 800 is doing 1000MHz with a stock Barton cooler.

Mmmm, card board box PC. Doesn't draw much power, and doesn't take up much space. I must admit that I like it!

Allan Nielsen

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