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Black Beauty

Back in 2016 I started dedicating myself to music more than I had previously. To do this, I needed a computer that I could use as a (mostly) dedicated music machine for recording and producing. With limited resources I was able to cut costs by ordering inexpensive but capable components as well as building my own case. I was able to really cut costs by using materials found in the Dollar Store and Walmart.

She might not win any awards but she was fun to build. All of the wood is from panels that are sold at the Dollar Store. The white plastic vent material is meant for rug hooking and was found at Walmart.

Computer, front wiew.

Once the PSU and Power button are unplugged, the hinged side/back panel drops down for easy access to the motherboard. The motherboard is attached to the side panel with velcro, so it can be swapped out fairly easily.

Computer, side/back panel opened.

And of course it closes up nicely. The weight of the mobo seems to hold it in the upright position quite securely, and it fits tightly against the side panel.

Computer, side/back panel closed.

I added a fairly heavy duty led lit power button that has a nice "click" feel when turning the machine on and off. It also adds ambiance to the room at night.

Illuminated LED power button.

The specs on the PSU I ordered showed the fan exhaust in a different position than where it is actually located on the product, so this abstract design, originally intended as a vent ended up being purely decorative.

Abstract design intended as fan exhaust.

The whole project was put to together pretty quickly, and despite the genuinely cheap quality of materials used, she's held up nicely. The only damage has been to the lid, which is just a panel with a large ventalation strip that sits on top of the unit. The lid was one of my cat's chewing stations, until I moved it to higher ground.

Here's a quick cost breakdown in $CAD(2016):

From New Egg
Hard Drive (WD Blue 1TB) - $54.99
Motherboard (Gigabyte GM A1M1 S2H)- $39.99
CPU (AMD Athalon 5350) - na / included in total
RAM (2 X 4G Ripjaws DDR3) - na / included in total
Total : $231.62

From Amazon
PSU (Cooler Master 460W)- $32.51
Power Button - $7.49
Indicator LEDs - $2.64
Total : $42.64

From Dollar Store
4 X 8"x10" wooden panel - under $16.00
Total: $16.00

Rug Hooking Mesh - under $2.00
Total: $2.00

GRAND TOTAL: $292.26
For an 8G (DDR3 RAM), 1TB, micro-ATX, 2.1 GHZ Quad-core, Home-Made-with-love Dedicated Music Maker!
(happily running Linux).
:) :) :) :)

Added another 1TB drive (WD Black) in 2019.

~ Cory

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Cory (Daniel) Todd is a Canadian Artist and Musician. | Listen: Spotify and iTunes. | Watch: youTube | Visit for more info.
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