I figured I would start a thread on this quest of mine to revive an older HTPC to a modernized HTPC rig. The system is an older Gateway 901X HTPC which really has seen better days. I have been wanting to upgrade this for some time now but there are a lot of issues with that.
If your not familiar with the system I am speaking of then here is a picture of it for refrence.
I would have taken some pictures myself but I am already in the process of stripping it down lol...
There are several problems with this system, hence the reasons for my modding:
First the motherboard is limited to a Pentium 4 3.0GHz and only 2GB of memory.
The on board SATA is not easily recognized by windows 7 or any OS for that matter.
The case is special made for the motherboard.
The VFD on the unit only works for XP Media Center.
The entire front is specially made to only plug in to the motherboard that came with the system. I struggled with trying to figure out the pinouts for everything, but since the VFD wont work anyway.... I might as well do it over and replace it all. There were integrated buttons for controlling media center, a VFD, IR receiver, memory card reader, front firewire, front audio, front USB, video inputs, etc, etc.
Now I know a lot of you are thinking this is a HTPC.... you don't need much power. Well part of that is true.... but at the same time my HTPCs have always been all in one boxes... and by all in one I mean Gaming is a big part of it. In addition I know there are a lot of cases out there.... but the size of this case combines with it's custom buttons always attracted me as it looks more like a HT component. The biggest appealing factor to me is that when I am done this will be a one of a kind system
So here is the list of things I am trying to do through this:
Change from the ugly champagne color to black to match my components and give the system an updated look.
mod case to take any mATX board
Keep all buttons functional on the front face of the unit and behind the drop down door in the front.
Replace VFD with new unit that will work for Windows 7 & and possibly beyond
Integrate windows Media Center IR receiver
Integrate Xbox 360 wireless receiver
Fix face plate to use a 3 1/2" drive bay memory card reader and USB
as soon as I get the last bits taken apart here I'll post pics of the mess I have made
As always I am looking for any input for this mod, things like:
Should I have the aluminum parts anodized instead of painting? Any ideas on costs?
or what is best way to paint aluminum to prevent easy scratches if I don't anodize this?
recommendations on a VFD for my setup?
Silk screening labels and logos after the painting / anodizing?
This project will be a slow going one, I want to take my time on this and do it right. I want this case to last me a very very long time