I was looking at computer cases the other day for my big PC, as it's getting older, and while the hardware is all still good and plenty fast for me, I figured it might be time for a cosmetic upgrade. Everything looked like the same boring thing. I was like "Man I wish I could get a case that has a retro look...then got to looking at some cool case mods...and then it hit me!
For those that don't know, a case mod is where you shove PC innards into something besides a regular computer case. I had a buddy that shoved PC components into an old Xbox case, you can look online and see everything from giant, custom made beautiful cases, to the downright strange (a computer case made completely of ice...somehow?)
I looked online, a casual search showed that nobody seems to have made a case mod out of an old Intellivision...so I decided that's what I'm going to do!
Space-wise, there obviously isn't enough room for my big PC to fit into the Intellivision, but I have a little server/HTPC on my living room TV, and with some experimentation last night it looks very possible to fit everything inside!
I have a broken Intellivision I bought to fix the controllers on my working one, so it'll be perfect to use and not sacrifice a working unit. Only downside is that there is only one complete controller, so I plan on having that one for realism, and the other side I'll maybe 3D print a cover or some sort of clever thing to make it nice (besides, I might need the space for airflow or the power supply...). I can cut away most of the mounts for the Intellivision innards, and cut out the appropriate holes for the GPIO, power, & USB header
I've got my little server/HTPC, it's in a tiny HTPC case, and consists of a mini ITX board, card reader, hard drive, and power supply (also had a DVD drive...but I can forego that):
- The ITX board just barely fits without cutting, so when I cut the hole for the GPIO, it will fit perfectly, and the CPU fan aligns just right with the center controller cord grille. I can take out the ITX mounting plate from the case, so the board will be secure.
- The hard drive is a 3.5in, but I have an extra 2.5in laptop drive that will be better for space, I figure I can mount it on the upper cover somewhere.
- The card reader may not fit, I was planning to put it where the cartridge slot is, but it looks a bit too long for the upper cover mount. However...I may not use the upper cover mount screws...so that will be a wait and see. If not the card reader, then just the smaller USB header that does fit.
- The power supply will be the biggest hurdle. It simply doesn't fit no matter where I put it, too fat. I'll probably need to buy a new one, but even the smallest kind will be tough to fit without lots of cutting. Alternatively, I may try to open the power supply up and see if I can mount the innards to fit.
- Since it is very low power (the thing draws less than 40 watts at full throttle!), it doesn't need a whole lot of airflow, so I think as long as a I keep the CPU fan & power supply fans unblocked, I won't need additional cooling. The Intellivision already has some vents underneath the wood grain, so it will be a good intake from the bottom, exhaust up top flow.
- Obviously mounting everything will be custom, I'm thinking a shopping trip to Frys Electronics to get some stuff for mounting. I'll attempt to keep everything as hidden as possible, but that missing controller will be a dead giveaway either way
As far as keeping it look nice, the Intellivision has seen better days, but should be fine after a good cleaning. I'll try and keep most of the mountings and screws and things on the bottom or back of the case where they can't be seen. I think for the sake of airflow and possibly mounting things I may need to put taller "feet" on the console, but it shouldn't be noticeable. I'm thinking I might put a hinge on the cover, so I can open it up easy.
I think I'll start by cutting away the old plastic mount moldings in the Intellivision so I can start figuring out where exactly to put things, I'll post some pictures tonight.
I know there are easier things to do, yes I'm aware of the Raspberry Pi, & other such items. But I want a full-blown Windows PC that I can nicely display on my living room TV, and I already have almost all the parts for it!
Hope 'yall enjoy reading, and hope I can get it done in a reasonable amount of time. Should be a pretty fun project I think. Let me know if you have any tips/ideas, or questions!