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Thread: Boinc-Box

  1. #1


    It's been a while since my last work log. I'm very excited about this next project.

    As usual, I'm going to try and do this mod on a shoe-string budget. I'll be modifying an old Compaq Presario case. The overall theme and main purpose of the PC will be BOINC. For those who haven't heard of BOINC, it stands for Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing.
    From BOINC's website:
    "BOINC is an open-source software platform for computing using volunteered resources. Use the idle time on your computer (Windows, Mac, or Linux) to cure diseases, study global warming, discover pulsars, and do many other types of scientific research."

    I wanted to do something different with this machine and I've decided NOT to have any hard drives in this PC.
    WHAT? Am I crazy?
    Answer: a little. But that's not the point. Since this PC will be crunching numbers 24/7, I don't want to have to worry about the hard drive failing at any point. Plus it will use less power and run quieter.
    To get around the need for a HDD, I will be booting to "BOINC PE". 'PE' stands for "preinstalled environment". Basically, instead of the computer booting from the hard drive, it boots from a CD or DVD and runs the software in RAM. It has its limitations, but for this purpose it will be perfect. The BOINC PE is still in BETA and I haven't tested it on this hardware, so I'm kind of walking the tech tight rope here and hoping it will work. If it doesn't, I could always have it boot from a flash drive.

    The bracket I made to hold the optical drive.

    To make room for the touch screen fan controller I want to use, the optical drive in the machine will be moved to the bottom/front of the case, sideways and partially sticking out. I've seen other people put windows in their optical drives and always wanted to try doing that. I still need to come up with the 'window' itself. The acrylic that I have is slightly too thick. Any ideas would be appreciated...

    I made my own fan grills for the rear exhaust fan out of modder's mesh I purchased from

    Currently, I'm working on cutting out the BOINC logo at the top/front of the case. Under that, I plan on putting blue and yellow acrylic windows and lighting that up with some white EL Wire:

    The paint job will be three colors: white, metallic blue and yellow to match the BOINC logo.

    More to come...

  2. #2


    Interested in seeing where this goes...I have a mostly identical case and have been wanting to do something with it. Hopefully I get some ideas.

  3. #3


    Awesome I love when old boxes are used! You can really go crazy with theses as they are not "pre-modded" at all.

  4. #4


    Quick Update:

    I tested BOINC PE yesterday and couldn't get the network adapter drivers to work right.... bummer. Hope is not lost however!! I have discovered an awesome website called Suse Studio. Suse is a Linux distro made by Novell and Suse Studio is a website that allows you to easily custom-build your own Suse Linux distro!!

    I am currently working on BOINC-Box Linux and hopefully, it will be ready to go by the time I get done with the hardware.

    Check out Suse Studio's website for more info:

  5. #5



    I'm currently working on the BOINC logo at the top of the case. I'm using my Dremel and hand files to cut it out. Sorry, no pics to show at this time. I have also decided to scrap the current optical drive. I'm not 100% happy with the window I cut in it. I picked up another drive yesterday that I think will work better. I will be cutting on that this weekend.

    As far as software goes: I'm 90% sure I'll be using a Linux live CD called "Dotsch/UX". I've tested it and it actually works! Suse Studio is awesome, but I just can't get BOINC to connect to the account manager. Oh well, I'm glad I found out about it though, I could use it in the future for other projects.
    For those who are interested, the URL for Dotsch/UX is:

    I hope to update again sometime this weekend.

  6. #6


    Late-as-hell Update:

    I've been busy the past few weeks and haven't had a whole lot of time to mod. I did manage to get a few things done.
    I did a test-fit with all the parts (mobo, optical drive, fan controller, PSU, etc) and I noticed that two capacitors on the motherboard were going to get in the way of the power connector from the optical drive.
    This will not do.
    So, I decided to move the drive to the bottom and turn it 90 degrees. Plenty of room there. The other optical drive hole (mistake hole) will get covered up by the front panel anyway.

    I cut the rear fan grill out to make room for the fan grill I made out of the modder's mesh.

    Finally, I managed to cut out, file and sand smooth the BOINC logo in the top of the case.

    I've also been working on sleeving all of the cables that will go into this thing (power supply, fan wires, power button wire, etc). Pics of those will be in the next update.

  7. #7


    Looking good.

    Logo's are a pain in the arse to cut out sometimes! :evil:

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