DIY Builds

As a kid, if you liked to tear things apart just to see what made them tick and didn't worry about being able to put things back together later, this section is for you. Anybody with a screwdriver, some zip ties and a little bit of know-how can build a custom enthusiast gaming PC. Here we'll offer you that all important know-how, skill set and insight, along with some other cool project-based stuff, from DIY Amigas to retro gaming systems built on maker platforms like Raspberry Pi and even 3D Printers.

    So what does a PC Geek and EIC for a Hardware Enthusiast site do on a holiday long weekend?  Well, beside sipping a few umbrella decorated drinks by the sea, at night you can find this odd breed playing with the latest Tech Toys of course! This weekend I built a new high performance Workstation/Gaming Rig - something I haven't done in a VERY long time...        The case I chose is the bomb... ThermalTake's VA7000BWA Shark.  In all seriousness, this case is REALLY nice.  Light-weight aluminum, 300mm fans and an HD rack with trays that have rubber bushing screw mounts for vibration dampening - like I said "da bomb"! System Specifications... Read more...
When we pause to think of some of the more memorable, market driving, changes to the computer industry, the advent of the mini-PC is one of the first to come to mind.  What started out as a single offering from Shuttle has grown into a market in and of itself, with new entries from a wide range of companies hitting the retail channel regularly.  What was a bold, pioneering direction to take for Shuttle, ended up being far bigger than many of us would have imagined. Now that mini PC products have had time to mature, they have evolved into a major industry.  What started as a basic design now brings innovative ideas to the table such as unique cooling designs aimed at lowering fan... Read more...
Watch any episode of "This Old House", "Hometime", "The New Yankee Workshop", or any other Do-It-Yourself type program for that matter, and you're bound to hear a certain phrase repeated over and over. Carpenters, mechanics, plumbers, chefs, they all use it. This phrase has almost become a mantra for anyone who takes pride in their work. The phrase is, "use the right tool, for the right job."  Doing so will yield far better results, than half-heartedly tackling a project with whatever tools are handy.  You won't see a carpenter smacking a nail with the side of a wrench, and you won't see a good mechanic prying apart seized metal with a screwdriver,... Read more...
  By, Marco Chiappetta April 8, 2004 Almost four years ago, we took at a look at Asetek's original version of the Vapochill designed for the Pentium III, and we came away impressed.  The enclosure was a basic beige full-tower, which by today's standards isn't very exciting. The installation was tedious, but we were able to take a Slot 1 933MHz Pentium III all the way up to 1.16GHz, using an Abit CX6 motherboard.  No small feat considering it was June of 2000 and Intel was still using a .18 micron manufacturing process to build their CPUs.  A couple of years later, Asetek updated the Vapochill for compatibility... Read more...
asetek Vapochill Extreme Edition How can cooling be such a hot topic? Written by: Robert Maloney September 29, 2003 What a better way to end the summer season then to write a review about CPU cooling, in this case about the latest Vapochill unit from asetek, the Vapochill XE.  For the uninitiated, asetek, based out of Denmark, has been producing the Vapochill line of CPU cooling units since 1997.  The technology behind these units is called Vapor Phase cooling, and although you may not know the name you should be quite familiar with its use.  That's because pretty much every refrigerator in the past century or so is based on the same principle.  In the Vapochill, heat from... Read more...
  asetek's ChillControl Windows beta An exclusive look at asetek's latest efforts Written by: Robert Maloney October 12, 2003 A first look at asetek's Windows-based ChillControl The best just got better As we alluded to in our review on the Vapochill XE Cooling Unit review, asetek has been working on a Windows-based version of their ChillControl software.  In the past, making modifications to the cooling system required connecting a cable from the ChillControl unit to an available COM port, and then booting from diskette into a DOS-based version of the software.  While not elegant, it still was an easy enough process to change the settings, although it required restarting the system... Read more...
  The Asetek Vapochill Vapor Phase Cooling System Taking the Pentium 4 To 3.3GHz And Beyond By, Dave Altavilla October 23, 2002 The last time we checked in with the folks at Asetek, back in July of 2000, we were working with the Pentium III at its highest core clock speed of 933MHz at the time.  The world of Personal Computing has changed dramatically since then and so has the Vapochill, Asetek's Vapor Phase Cooling System for Pentium 3/4 and Socket A Athlon platforms.  Back then, we were impressed with the capabilities of the unit but were set back a bit by its somewhat complicated and cumbersome setup and assembly process.  Regardless, once the product was properly setup,... Read more...
The Asetek Vapochill and Abit CX6 An Adventure In Over-Clocking June 27, 2000 - By Dave Altavilla  Art form, hobby, addiction.... whatever you want to call it, Over-Clocking and the quest for every last MHz. that can be wrung out of a CPU, is beginning to become a national and global past time.  With each new Motherboard, CPU, Heat Sink or Over-Clocking tool, new plateaus of performance are being reached that were unattainable with standard equipment.  The "need for speed" has truly been the mother of invention.  Some extreme over-clocking setups begin in the lab and others still are conceived in a garage or basement.  In either case, the people behind the cause... Read more...
Shuttle's SS51G XPC Mini Barebones System The Baddest Mini of Them All! By, Jeff Bouton August 18, 2002   Ever since we saw the first mini PCs from Shuttle back in December, we've been impressed with the XPC Mini PCs themselves, as well as how quickly new models have become available.  Starting with the release of the SV24, the first of the mini PCs, we've seen Shuttle maintain a rigorous timeline, releasing new and improved models in rapid succession.  Yet with this aggressive timeline, we've seen no signs that Shuttle was cutting corners.  In fact, we have quite the opposite impression.  Instead, we've seen Shuttle add new features as well as make design improvements... Read more...
Shuttle's SS40G XPC Mini Barebones System! A Big Package with a Small Footprint By, Jeff Bouton August 13, 2002   Ever since our initial introduction to the first mini barebones PC from Shuttle, we were intrigued not only with its ground breaking design, but with the prospects of future "mini" machines as well.  The SV24 was the first in a rapidly growing line of mini barebones systems to be released by Shuttle, each bringing new features and improvements to the previous design.  The Pentium III based unit wasn't the most powerful system in the market, but it offered such features as USB, FireWire, onboard Ethernet, and TV-Out, making it very rich in features.  The... Read more...
Shuttle's SS50 Mini Barebones System! Good Things DO Come in Small Packages! By, Marco Chiappetta May 30, 2002 For years, the only decisions computer user's had to make, dealt with speed and capacity.  How fast is the CPU?  How big is the hard drive?  How much memory is included?  These types of questions were heard by prospecting computer sales people throughout the world.  Recently, in part due to the efforts of companies like Apple Computer and Compaq, things have changed.  The days of plain, beige computers are long gone, and now buyers can not only choose from an assortment of colors, but also an assortment of sizes.  Looking to capitalize on the trend... Read more...
Shuttle's SV24 Mini Barebones System! Taking "Coolness" To a New Level! By, Jeff Bouton December 30, 2001 Today we will be straying a little from the norm with a review of a fairly uncommon type of system that has been making quite an impression around the internet in the last few months.  The SV-24 Mini Barebones System is a uniquely design mini barebones machine being offered by Shuttle, Inc.  Their goal is to provide a compact yet powerful system capable of offering a user a wide range versatility to create a customized system to fit their specific needs. Whether you want to build a workstation that has a small foot print or want to create your own multimedia server, the... Read more...
Enlight's Bare-Bones AMD / KT133 System Mid Sized Socket A Athlon Performance By Dave Altavilla - November 10, 2000   These days, many "build-it-yourselfers" and PC Systems Integrators are looking for pre-configured products that take some of the busy work out of putting together a system.  Hence the "Bare-Bones" package was born.  The premise of a Bare-Bones System is to provide the End User or Systems Integrator, a base product that is ready for customization according to the individual's specific needs.  The base product should have fairly "universal appeal" and be set up for the mainstream user for simple configuration and expansion. Enlight... Read more...
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