Friday, March 25, 2011

Multimedia Computer: Part 1, The Case

I've taken my first step to building an Multimedia Computer; I've purchased the case. This is the same case that I indicated in the blog entry wherein I laid out my plan.

I pledge that I will try to take my time with this. Really. This is a hobby and there is a level of expense one expects with a hobby. I shall try not to exceed that quantity as ambiguous as it is. Having preached to myself a bit, let me proceed to a discussing of the case.

I am not much of a photographer. I concede that immediately. Were I a better photographer there are two things on the front that you would notice. In addition to the usual USB ports and audio and video jacks, there is a Firewire port. I hadn't even considered Firewire in this construction. Now I will have to because I've been given a choice: either get a motherboard that supports Firewire or live with the idea that I've got a place to plug something into that doesn't work.

The second thing you would notice is that this has a handle that folds out. This reminds me of the old "portable" Rainbow computers that Tandy put out. They had a six-inch screen, they weighed nigh onto 40 pounds, but they had a handle with which you could carry them, ergo they were portable.

One thing that I had been wondering, given the dimensions of the case, on which side would the motherboard be mounted: the bottom or the left-hand side. I now know that it will go on the bottom. Installing it will be an interesting exercise as there are a lot of cables and a lot of brackets. I will, no doubt, have to enlist the services of Lydia my lithe-fingered assistant.

The cables are bundled and covered by cloth, which is something new for me. It makes me think of this as a high-end case. It might also make me wonder why I am getting it for a relatively inexpensive price. I didn't have to look very far to see the reason and this calmed my mind. There is only one SATA power connector. I will need two of these, at least, if I am going to install two drives. It doesn't take very much imagination to believe that this device was designed and built when hard drives had switched to SATA but optical drives were still IDE. There is no longer a market for such cases and it is cheaper to sell them to hobbyists than it is to stick another SATA power connector in there. At least this is the story I will tell myself until the ghost of a murdered Chinese worker emerges from the power supply seeking revenge.

So, having opened the box, I learned that I need to order a $2-part. I should also note at this point that I neglected an important consideration in my original plan: a TV PCI card. This is the sort of thing I mean. It goes for about $50.

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