The Neo-Deco PC
February 27th, 2006
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Here is another one of my "new" Art Deco visions as I attempt to emulate the style using modern day computer components. This one is different because it is a true case mod. I took a manufacturer's existing case and I modified it to my tastes and needs.
This Kem Webber designed clock from the thirties was a major influence in my faceplate design.
First off, I need a USC (Universal Size Comparator) picture. Recent trendsetters in computer fashion have been the Apple Mac-Mini and the AOpen Mini PC. These computers are primarily identified by a very, very small, perfectly square footprint. A big part of the Neo in this computer is the small square footprint.
I replaced the modern-styled aluminum faceplate with an art deco-styled wood piece. The faceplate is solid 1/4" Spanish cedar. I cut it out of the bottom of a fancy Fuentes Opus X cigar box. I sanded it down and hand rubbed the wood with mineral oil. Spanish cedar is not in the cedar family but instead belongs in the mahogany family. Recycling it from "garbage" was a bonus.
Everything else is aluminum, including the thumbscrews.
I handcrafted the IO plate mainly because the board I used doesn't have one. The maker doesn't provide one because it is a low volume engineering sample. I spent around fifteen hours creating a paper template, hogging out the openings with a drill and Dremel, and finally finishing it up using various tiny hobby files.
The Neo-Deco PC began life as a Silverstone LC-12. It is a fairly new mini-ITX case offering that was debuted at the C3 Expo in New York last June. The sample I received was the actual display unit from that show. It is typical Silverstone in that it oozes quality from every perspective.
I did have an issue. The LC-12 is very deep at around 11". The form factor is what I like to call a "half-a-Shuttle". I have seen other case makers build this style which is exactly like cutting a Shuttle in half from front to back. With a mini-ITX board installed there was a massive amount of unused space remaining.
What you see in this picture is a four-inch section of the case that I cut out. It has the mounts for the power supply and the front panel connectors.
This is the modified drive bracket that spans from the front of the case to back. It allows either a 2.5" or 3.5" hard drive and a slim CD drive. Instead of cutting a section out of it I was able to make one cut and double the bracket over onto itself. It is hard to even notice it but a part of this bracket is actually two layers of aluminum.
The money shot. With the case shortened up by four inches it acquires the perfect square footprint. To the left is the iTuner picoPSU that replaces the case's stock power supply. It practically disappears when you plug it in. The board is an AMD Socket A mini-ITX creation with a Geode NX1750 installed. The heatsink is from a Geode NX1500, which is a fanless version of the processor. The NX1750 is not fanless so I installed a side mounted 50mm fan.
Toss in 1GB of Crucial DDR memory, a Western Digital Raptor 3.5" SATA hard drive, a slim slot load DVD burner and various cables (including the SATA one slung over the top) and you have a pretty decent little computer. The AMD NX1750 processor is a little rocketship.
Upended! I recycled the feet from another Silverstone case. They are a little large but they sure get the job done.
The paint is the same Vista Green that I used in the DECOmputer project. The CD is "Hard Candy" by The Counting Crows.
Thanks for looking!
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