I know the trend has been mini ... cost is an issue, even designing multi-function cards to reduce slot count. I look at the polls too.
But I've been slowly moving forward with alternates - even if it ends up cost prohibitive to produce in mass the same time as
applying power/fan mods to existing but dwindling PEBs.
Metal forming isn't my forte nor do I have the equipment to reimagine existing products. I do love the mental
challenge and the design process though. I took Thiery's Hyper-AMS idea and combined it with a 68-pin round cable,
widen data path to replace the PEB interface. This would be a removable card, but not accessible - add another
slot and give 9 back to the user. 14-16 lines leftover to bring out a lot of the inaccessible PEB backplane.
Convinced myself may as well throw in a full 16-bit wide data path and perhaps expand AMA.A - AMC.A up to the
equivalent addressing of A23-A0 with still plenty of ground/shield mixing on data pairs within cabling. Of course, a
standard console couldn't utilize the additional signals, but I would have solid footing as I continue MB redesign to
accommodate/utilize those. Weight would be an issue, which is why clear, acrylic cell cast square stock and sheet
would help keep price down. $30 Meanwell 133 watt triple rail ( +5V @10 amps, +15V @ 4.5 amps, -15V @ 1 amp) power supply
would do. I needed a +8V and a +12V supply, but those can be had with two more buck converters from the strong
5V rail - make each individual PEB slot able to jumper between +15V and +12, also +8 and +5 for those cards out
there that people have removed regulators from to reduce heat. That should allow a mix of original + new designs.
Perhaps adding a 16-pin card edge connector to a couple of the slots would allow future multi cards access to the
benefits of a 68-pin cable interface. Heck lets get rid of most of the internal drive power cables too and let the PCB
carry the drive power to a molex connector ... it was doing that already.
Just one of another vaporware projects that keep my bench happy strewn with parts and schematics.