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OSXBox 360

Joined
Feb 12, 2013
Messages
81
Motherboard
Ivy Bridge Powermac G4 mod
CPU
i5-3330
Graphics
GTX650 Ti
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac Pro
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
iOS
Hi there! Thought I should share my latest mod. The idea was to make a small, cheap but yet capable machine, mainly intended for usage under a TV set.

So, my basis was an Xbox 360 case, which was stripped and then re-filled with x86 parts. It's far from perfect, but I had some standards I'd like to meet and I think I've done it:

1) It must have an internal PSU
2) It must have a discrete GPU (sorry Intel HD, you're just not enough)
3) It should run as quiet and cool as possible while being frugal!

The hardware used is:
- XBOX 360 case (obviously). The metal cage was cut and drilled, but the top metal case was scapped altogether cause the parts wouldn't fit.
- Gigabyte B75N
- Celeron G1610 w/ stock cooler
- 8GB RAM DDR3 @ 1600MHz
- Sapphire Radeon 7750 1GB DDR5 Low Profile
- Kingston SSDNow 120GB 1.8" (tiny!)
- Mini-PCI wifi card scrapped from an old macbook
- a generic tiny cheap Bluetooth adapter
- Seasonic SS-250SU 250W Flex ATX PSU

Build process:
After clearing all the old console hardware, I dressed the metal case with duct tape (so that the motherboard's backplate wouldn't short circuit) and then I fitted the mobo. The PSU was placed next to it and secured in place with a couple of screws and some double-sided adjacent tape. The SSD was stored in a corner (and again secured with double-sided tape, after all it's very light) and finally the GPU was laid flat on the PSU after using a PCIe riser cable. The only unplanned modification was the large "X" grille I had to add on the side, purely for ventilation reasons but I tried to make it as pretty and stylish as possible (ie instead of cutting a rectangle I chose the X shape)!

Software-wise, Mavericks works like a charm, everything seems to be in order. A minor issue is that I need to set the BIOS to boot with the iGPU active (or I get kernel panics), so until OSX boots there is absolutely no video (since my video cable is connected the GPU). But since I've set this in the first place now it's no big thing.

Tests & behavior:
OSX runs smoothly, albeit with some occasional hiccups :beachball:, but nothing too serious or unbearable. Don't forget it's only a humble Celeron inside. 8GBs of RAM are essential when you have such a lowly CPU. The system is relatively quiet but not as quiet as I'd like. The CPU and GPU fans are inaudible in idle / light use, but the PSU fan isn't. Unfortunately I expected more but then again the PSU was selected based on pricing and availability as it's a rare piece of hardware anyway. Performance-wise, 4K youtube video is not a problem for the CPU and also it's capable of 720p gaming as I've discovered.

Benchmarks & stats:
Geekbench 3.0 32bit single: 1919pts
Geekbench 3.0 32bit multi: 3483pts
Sunspider 0.9.1: 340ms
3D Mark Ice Storm (default settings under Windows 7 64bit): 54247pts
3D Mark Cloud Gate (default settings under Windows 7 64bit): 5737pts
3D Mark Fire Strike (default settings under Windows 7 64bit): 1941pts
Power draw (idle / max load - Furmark): 42w / 91w
CPU temp (idle / max load - Furmark): 25C / 55C)
GPU temp (idle / max load - Furmark): 32C / 65C)

And now some pictures!
photo 3.jpgphoto 2.jpgphoto 2 (1).JPGphoto 1.jpgphoto 1 (1).JPG02_MOBO+PSU(2).jpgphoto 4.jpg

Feel free to comment!
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
Messages
81
Motherboard
Ivy Bridge Powermac G4 mod
CPU
i5-3330
Graphics
GTX650 Ti
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac Pro
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
iOS
Thanks Rick! My initial plan included an apple-shaped white-backlit cutout window, but I had to let go because of ventilation problems, not to mention that it's already very cramped inside the case and there is very little room to play with extras such as lighting.

After a lot of research I have come to realize that we are very limited by the power supplies form factors; the evolution here is very slow, considering the boom in mini-ITX demand lately. I mean, nowadays you can find an ATX-sized PSU delivering 650w easily. Shouldn't the 200w PSUs be much much smaller? (even smaller than TFX). I'd even be willing to build my own PSU to save some space if I could find blueprints for a tiny form factor for my next project.
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
Messages
81
Motherboard
Ivy Bridge Powermac G4 mod
CPU
i5-3330
Graphics
GTX650 Ti
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac Pro
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
iOS
It definitely seems to be a better quality piece and it's wattage is much bigger as well (400w vs 250w) than what I've used but the size issue remains; actually it's a bit bigger: 3.2" x 1.7" x 6.0" while mine is 3.2" x 1.6" x 5.9".

Thing is: with a system consuming a peak of 80-90w I think we could be using half the volume PSUs; after all we only need 150w tops I reckon.

:idea: My latest idea is to use a 150w picoPSU, but since these have a usually a 12v DC in, combine it with a custom open frame AC-DC 12v adapter, if I could find or build one. Then the total PSU volume would be reduced to the 12v adapter (picoPSU size is irrelevant since it hooks on the motherboard).

I might need the help of an engineer though, regarding the adapter specs: 110-220v input, 12v output, but what about the w or the Ah?
 
Joined
Nov 18, 2011
Messages
1
Motherboard
Asus P8P67 Pro
CPU
Intel Core i5-2500k
Graphics
Radeon HD 5770
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
@dj_aris: It's from the german Amazon Website but do you mean something like this:

http://www.amazon.de/dp/B00EHJJ4JS/?tag=tonymacx8603-21

It would have helped me alot with my PSU Problem and the old classic xbox, but now hopefully it will help you, my project is more or less stopped because of this problem...
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2012
Messages
38
Motherboard
Windows
CPU
Core i7 4770k Haswell
Graphics
EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti SC
Mac
Mac Pro
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
iOS
This is one of the coolest mods I've ever seen, makes me want to try it too. Good job.
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
Messages
81
Motherboard
Ivy Bridge Powermac G4 mod
CPU
i5-3330
Graphics
GTX650 Ti
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac Pro
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
iOS
@ Flykai: Well, the little yellow 24pin picoPSU part is indeed what I have in mind. You plug this in the motherboard and you are ready to go. But one of my goals (already achieved with this mod, but difficult to achieve with even smaller cases) is to have an INTERNAL PSU, which means no external power brick. Unfortunately all picoPSUs are DC-DC (usually 12v input to triple 3.3v, 5v, 12v outputs for 24pin + 4 pin mobo and an additional molex/sata).

So right now I'm looking for a decent AC-DC adapter, 220v to 12v, at least 8A and at least 150w, as small as possible. I think these figures should be enough to feed a core i3 "T-series" and a 750Ti which seem to be in the sweet spot of performance / power draw at the moment.

@ reckonalpha: Thanks! I have saved a few pictures from the process, if you need any help feel free to ask!
 
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